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Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday Spotlight: Lesley-Anne McLeod

The Language of Regencies

I write Regency romances, and I love the language of Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and other fine traditional Regency writers. I love the odd twists to our familiar English.

I love the archaic words, the unusual constructions, and the long sentences of the best Regency writing. And I try to emulate it. A reviewer from Long and Short Reviews once said of my book The Education of Portia, "I love classic literature especially that of Jane Austen and this book is definitely akin to that brand of story from the characters, plot and language. This is a historical novel that will not throw you out of the time period. You might just believe you are actually reading a period piece." That is the finest compliment I have ever received. That is what I try to do; I want the reader to believe they are in the Regency period.

Names are a pet peeve of mine. Authors have to do their research and use names of the period. Heroines named Cindy or Heather make me crazy, as do heroes called Tyler or Cash. And writers really need to be aware of the change of gender in names; Courtney, Evelyn and Lindsay used to be male names. So if they are used in a Regency romance story, they should be male characters.

Out and out anachronisms are inexcusable in my opinion. Words like 'cuppa', 'monocle', 'guv', and 'sassy' have no place in a Regency. Why can't authors do their homework? Words like that jerk the reader right out of the period, and sometimes they don't even know why. And some of the biggest names in Regency historical writing are at fault in this.

It's the subtleties of the Regency language that I enjoy using. Authentic language creates authentic voice. It is essential to creating a believable Regency world. I will keep throwing books with pathetic Regency voice against the wall. And I will keep striving to use the most authentic Regency language I can. You can probably tell I feel deeply about it.


Sherry Gloag said...

Oh my! :-) I so agree with you! And the sentence construction that is so modern you almost forget it's supposed to be Regency.
Somehow you have slipped through my author search, but no more. I'm off on a search for you books.
Thanks for giving me a 'new' author to look out for with great anticipation.

Lesley-Anne McLeod said...

It's lovely to meet you, Sherry! Please visit my blog and my website--I'll look forward to hearing from you often :)