Author Interview: Margaret Bennett

I began writing Regency romances as a hobby, and soon learned I loved the plotting, inventing characters, and scheming to create humorous scenes. I currently have eighteen sweet Regency romance novels independently published.

Are there any books or authors that inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always been a fan of historical novels, but very young I got hook on novels by Barbara Cartland, a British author who wrote sweet historical romance novels set in the Edwardian or Victorian eras. I later found Georgette Heyer, another British novelist, who was herself of Jane Austen. Heyer unique voice, infused with humor, and attention to the historical detail of the Regency era has set the tone for Regency romance writers.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Just write, and save whatever you write. I get lots of ideas, many are just quick flashes for a plot, but I’ve learned to write them down, and often go over them when I am plotting a new story. I also joined a local chapter of Romance Writers of American and found this invaluable. Lecturers helped me refine my craft, and their advice was inspiring. At one lecture, I heard for the first time, write something, no matter how bad it is, for you can’t edit a blank page.

Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym, and why or why not?
I actually do write under a pseudonym. My full name is Margaret Anne Bennett Feuerbacher. It was obviously clear to me that no one would ever remember name Feuerbacher, nor get the spelling correct. So I chose use my maiden name.

Have you ever traveled as research for your book?
No, but because I write romances set in England, I have learned to do a lot of research via Google maps and images. Google maps allows me to become familiar with London streets, particularly the Mayfair and Hyde Park areas, and Google images allow me to see the exterior and interior of the historical estates and other historical places.

How do books get published?
I’m a huge fan of Kindle Direct Publishing. KDP make publishing an ebook and a paperback easy. KDP does all the work if you want to design your own book cover and also has templates for formatting your book.

How do you come up with character names for your stories?
I research British website that list the names of historical and current members of the nobility. I often will take a first name from one person and pair it with another’s last name. I try to be accurate in using names that reflect the time period.

How do you develop your plot and characters?
There are two ways I develop plot and characters. Once I have a story line, I have used 4 x 6 index cards to write scene outlines. Then I can line them up or organize them in a logical order. This also lets me move a scene easily in the plot line if I need to. Another method and the one I currently use to use a notebook for each story. In the back, I’ll jot down scenes in no particular order. Sometimes I categories them, but it doesn’t matter. I check them off when I use them. Some never get used. Then, as I chronically write the story, I start at the front of the notebook and use a page for each scene. That way I can see the smooth transition of scenes, and if I need to move one, I can tear it out and paper clip or staple it where I want it.

For characters, I use Google images, and cut and paste the images of my characters in a Word Document, usually three images to a page. I will then write the characters’ physical descriptions, character traits, and some history if need beside the photo for easy access when writing. I’ll do this also for their large estate homes, posting inns, countryside, etc. It’s fun and gives me handy, visual references for my story.

What are your favorite blogs or websites for writers?
There are three websites I subscribe to and find very helpful in marketing my books. The first is All Author sends members a weekly mock ups for advertising books.

Another is Rocket Publisher. This website provides information on listing categories, keywords, and author sales information for your book.

And lastly, Kindlepreneur is a great website for marketing tips and just about every other aspect of writing.

What books do you enjoy reading?
I tend to read other historical romance authors. However, because many of my plots involve spying and criminal activities, I like to read fast detective and legal stories by authors like John Grisham, David Baldacci, Stewart Wood and Halen Coban.

What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?
Writing is a craft, which means it can be perfected. When I read an author’s work, I watch for their pacing, dialogue an interaction between characters, repetition of information or characters’ feelings. Every scene should be relevant to moving your plot along. Every character should have a purpose or role to play in that plot, even those throwaway characters who can help set an atmosphere. And most importantly, editing your book, not just for grammar errors, but for unnecessary words and redundancy which can slow down pacing.

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