Let's welcome Felicity Niven, a steamy Historical Romance author!
Felicity Niven is a hopeful romantic. Writing Regency romance is her third career after two degrees from Harvard. And you know what they say about third things? Yep, it’s a charm. She splits her time between the temperate South in the winter and the cool Great Lakes in the summer and thinks there can be no greater comforts than a pot of soup on the stove, a set of clean sheets on the bed, and a Jimmy Stewart film on a screen in the living room.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want/expect from your genre/sub-genre?
I write the book I want to read. Always. Sometimes that means playing with tropes, breaking rules. But I'm lucky that I am finding readers that like what I like. The one rule I will NEVER break? Always, always, always, I will deliver a happily-ever-after that feels real. AND happy.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Gosh, I was lucky enough to meet Alexandra Vasti at the start of my publishing adventure last summer. She is a brilliant writer of Regency romance romcoms (the Halifax Hellions novellas that you get free with her newsletter and the upcoming "Ne'er Duke Well" next year from St. Martin's Press), and she taught me the most valuable lesson. I was despairing after reading Sherry Thomas' "The Luckiest Lady in London"—feeling I could never write anything as wonderful or brilliant as that book and Alexandra said "You write the books only you can write." That thought has saved me from the comparison game and helped me push forward time and time again.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
My research varies. I spent a long time researching mathematical work on Fermat's Last Theorem for my first book (Convergence of Desire) which features a female mathematician, but most of my research happens while I am writing the book, not before.
If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
I think I did the right things FOR ME. I read widely and voraciously. For the most part, I didn't take creative writing classes. I didn't let someone read my writing when I was young and vulnerable.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
When I sit down and really get into it? A month.
What are the essential characteristics of a hero/heroine you can root for?
The MCs have to have respect for each other. That's the most important thing.
Has writing and publishing a book changed the way you see yourself?
Yes. I guess it would not be surprising that I see myself as an AUTHOR now and I love that. When I was young, I thought authors were god-like and amazing creatures so it's very cool to be one now even though I know I am very human and dorky.
Where did you get the idea for your first book and/or series?
I read a few Regency romances and said to myself, "I think I can write one of these!" (I don't know why I felt so sure I could . . . but I turned out to be right!) I wanted to write a difficult woman who finds a male partner who nurtures her genius. It's something women have done for men for century after century so I wanted to see a man do it for a woman. And I knew a little about Fermat's Last Theorem and the female mathematician Sophie Germain and I was off to the races with Convergence of Desire.
Anything else you'd like readers to know?
I love the fairy-tale setting of historical romance with dukes and princes, grand houses and castles, horses-and-carriages, ballgowns, balls, formal courtship. But I also love LOVE. And for me, real love is a little messy. Real lovers are a little flawed. So all my characters are imperfect but always striving to be better. There's some angst along the way, some hurt feelings and mistakes, but by the end, readers should feel that the main characters deserve each other and their shared happily-ever-after.