Where Writers Write #4 – Author Regina Jeffers
Regina Jeffers, writes era romances. She has worn many hats over her lifetime: daughter, student, military brat, wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, tax preparer, journalist, choreographer, Broadway dancer, theatre director, history buff, grant writer, media literacy consultant, and author. Living outside of Charlotte, NC, Jeffers writes novels which take the ordinary and adds a bit of mayhem, while mastering tension in her own life with a bit of gardening and the exuberance of her “grand joys.
Where do you feel most comfortable writing and at what time of day?
I prefer to have everything within my reach. Purposely, I separate where I write my novels from where I word process and edit my novels. I need the “disconnect” in order to separate the steps. I still write all my novels in spiral notebooks, usually wide ruled because I write large. I know from experience that 25 pages of my handwritten story equals about ten pages of typed text (Times New Roman, 12 point font). I, personally, despise reading chapters which are longer than ten pages because if I MUST break, I do not wish to stop in the middle of a chapter, so I have trained myself to work toward that particular goal. If you read my novels, you’ll note the consistency in the length of my chapters.
I write with a lap desk across my knees. Note the encyclopedic dictionary and synonym finder beside the chair. Very handy when I am searching for a particular word. Someday, I will be required to have this chair reupholstered. However, I fear my “inspiration” lies in the lumpy cushions. Then what will I do? Normally, there is a cup of tea sitting on the nearby table. When I first began writing, I would write in the evenings, after I came home from teaching high school English all day. Nowadays, I find the mid-afternoon more productive. The television is usually on, but I rarely watch anything. It is simply my background noise.
Do you have a certain routine you follow to get yourself prepared to write?
I tend to be very disciplined in life, as well as in my writing. I write most days. Upon occasion I must allow a scene to develop. On those days, I pull LOTS of weeds or do some deep cleaning around the house. I have learned if I dwell on the problem, then nothing comes to me. I must NOT be thinking on how the scene should go, before “how to proceed” materializes. I do not outline my stories. I am a “pantser,” not a plotter. Before I begin writing, I have key plot points in mind, meaning I know points A, E, J, S, and Z. I do not know how the story will progress from point A to point E, just that moving from A to E is my first step in telling the story.
How long do you write before closing up shop?
Some days I may only write 500 words. Other days, I write a complete chapter, which is generally between 3500 and 5000 words. I attempt to write a new chapter every 3 days, but sometimes I must take a break because a plot point/minor character has hijacked the story or, as I write historicals, I must stop to research what first appears to be an insignificant fact, but turns out to be the key to the story I had been seeking.
I also often stop to look up word origins. If one is writing a story set in England in the early 1800s, using the word “automatically” is not a good choice, for the term originating from the Industrial Revolution was first popularized by the English economic historian Arnold Toynbee (1852–83) to describe Britain’s economic development from 1760 to 1840. It was close to 1900 before the word “automatically” knew widespread usage.
Describe your writing workspace.
Once I have written the book, I retreat to my “office” space to do the hard work. My office is the smallest of the three bedrooms in my North Carolina home. From the window, I overlook the curve of the cul de sac upon which I live. Not much happens in this small incorporated village, something I appreciate. It is quiet and relatively crime free. When I first moved here in 2003, “Miss Kitty,” my neighbor, brought me over a chocolate cake. (I didn’t tell her I prefer white cake to chocolate and red velvet cake to either white of chocolate. It would be rude.) I love the South!!! I also did not tell her that her name reminded me of the TV series “Gunsmoke,” for I am certain she had heard someone say it previously.
I love oversized furniture, and post-It notes are my organizational strategy. They surround the computer screen and are on the nearby closet door. Different colors reflect the urgency, especially due dates. If you know anything of me, you will realize there are multiple pictures of Matthew MacFayden adorning my wall. I started following his career back in 1998 when he played Hareton Earnshaw in “Wuthering Heights.” On the screen, he smiled, and I was smitten. The man has a great smile! All the pictures are signed. (Yes, I realize this is an obsession, but daily I remind myself the word “fan” comes from “fanatic.”) The other walls hold more traditional images of early 19th Century ladies enjoying tea and such. There is also a sign which says, “I’d rather be at Pemberley.” Which is impossible, but one can wish. On top of my desk is a paperweight bearing a Benjamin Franklin quote which says it all for me: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
What genre do you write? How long have you been writing?
I write stories set in the Regency period (1800 – 1820) in England. Most are romantic suspense. Some are cozy mysteries. Others are simply love stories. My first novel was published in February 2009. I have written and published 55 tales (including 8 novellas) since then.
What awards, if any, have you accomplished?
I have been fortunate to claim the recognition of the Frank Yerby Award for Fiction, the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, the Write Touch Readers’ Award, the Booksellers’ Best Award, the Hot Prospects Award, the International Book Award, the International Digital Awards, the New England Book Festival Award, and several more.
Where can we find your books?
My books are available on Amazon, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Smashwords. Many of my titles are available to read for free with Kindle Unlimited.
Social Media Links
I can be found at . . .
Every Woman Dreams (Blog) https://reginajeffers.wordpress.com
Austen Authors (Blog) http://austenauthors.net
You Tube Interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzgjdUigkkU
Thank you for joining us. I tingled when I saw you won the Frank Yerby Award. I loved his books. I know everyone will be impressed with your office and life.