After writing two well-received historical novels about Eleanor of Aquitaine (THE QUEEN'S PAWN [NAL, 2010] and TO BE QUEEN [NAL, 2011]), author Christy English returns to an early love--Shakespeare's plays. An actress who has performed Shakespeare's works countless times, English is penning a series of romantic retellings of the Bard's plays set in Regency England. LOVE ON A MIDSUMMER NIGHT (Sourcebooks Casablanca), the second novel of the series, published this week and re-envisions A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM. At times sweet, at others saucy, but always equally endearing and entertaining, LOVE ON A MIDSUMMER NIGHT is sure to please readers hungry for a romantic tale. Christy visits today to explain her move from historical fiction to straight romance and to share her fascination with the Regency period.
Looking at your first novel THE QUEEN'S PAWN and your latest work, LOVE ON A MIDSUMMER NIGHT, the two are as different as night and day. What made you move from writing Historical Fiction to straight romance?
Even in my historical fiction, romance has always been a river running through all of my books. True love is a compelling theme for me, one that deserves its own story. That's why I got started writing Regency romances: I'm in love with love. And being able to write happy endings doesn't hurt either. Historical fiction rarely ends well.
Your last novel, HOW TO TAME A WILLFUL WIFE, re-told Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, and LOVE ON A MIDSUMMER NIGHT seems to reflect on A Midsummer Night's Dream. What is it about Shakespeare that keeps drawing you back in?
I have loved Shakespeare since I studied Othello in the 7th grade. When I first started, his language was a locked door, and it took me years to really begin to unpack it and find the story hidden within. Once I did, it was worth it. There are so many layers to Shakespeare's storytelling. The beautiful language is only the first.
What about the Regency period in British history fascinates you the most?
The clothes. The manners. Wait...that's two things. But they reflect each other. The beautiful, buttoned-up clothes that both men and women wear in my books hide a vein of passion, one that romances novels allow me to mine. Love and passion are two of the things that make story-telling exciting. The Regency period lends itself very easily to that. Jane Austen started it all, and now we writers follow in her footsteps.
What's next for you?
I'm continuing the Shakespeare in Love series with MUCH ADO ABOUT JACK coming out around Valentine's Day. A re-telling Much Ado About Nothing, this third romance was a lot of fun to write. The banter between Beatrice and Benedict in the play really opens the door for a lot of verbal sparring in my book. My characters fall in love in spite of themselves.
You can learn more about Christy English and her books at her website.