Coast to Coast Romance

Regency Romance with special guest Kate Batemen

November 07, 2021 Ann Jensen & Skylar West Season 1 Episode 13
Coast to Coast Romance
Regency Romance with special guest Kate Batemen
Show Notes Transcript

Special guest, Regency Author, Kate Bateman

In this episode we discus

Kate Explains regency time period and the subgenre. 

What drew her to regency?

Bridgerton series, differences between the adaptation vs. the books. 

How much real live events go into your writing?

Kate's Background in history 

Are her character driven, or plot driven as an author?

Non PC or dated values. How does she find the balance between reality adjacent close to real but not stepping on modern toes?

Kate discusses reinvention for entertainment.

Customs in Regency that need to be observed?

Do you have any particular influences for fiction or nonfiction that inspires you to write Regency?

Regency newbie, what should we know if we are going in to read our first regency book?

Suggestions based on tropes and preferences.

Are there other sub genres you write in, or would like to write in? 

As a reader, do you run in the opposite direction and read alien romance 😊 or is there a specific type of romance you enjoy reading simply for pleasure?

Discusses the writing reading relationship

Contact us:

Ann Jensen

Skylar West

Kate Bateman / K.C. Bateman, is the #1 bestselling author of Regency, Victorian, and Renaissance historical romances. Contact her via her website: and sign up for her newsletter to receive regular updates on new releases, giveaways and exclusive excerpts. 

Sign Up for Kate’s newsletter:

Join Kate’s FB reader Group 'Badasses In Bodices':

Find Kate's books at:
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Hi, I'm Ann Jensen coming to you from the east coast of New Jersey. Hi, I'm Skyler West coming to you from the west coast of Canada. We are two Romance Writers using our life experiences to break down and share with you all things romance, how you find your next book boyfriend, discovering genres and tropes and looking at what works and why. What doesn't work and why. Alright, so welcome back to coast to coast romance. We have a very special guest today. I'm really excited that she's here. So welcome, Kate. Hello. Hi, everyone. Hi. Yeah, we've talked, we've talked in a couple episodes before this, that her and I are completely ignorant on Regency and so we searched out someone we were like, someone has to explain Regency to us. What Regency virgin is brilliant. Okay, let's do it. Okay, well, first of all, first of all, if you haven't heard of Kate Bateman, that's who we have with us today. And I actually read lots and lots of historical I can't imagine ever writing it because well, that's one of the things we want to talk to you about is what is involved in creating this because we know there's the people that follow Regency are diehards. Right? Yeah. Yeah. That's a good way of putting it. My question for you, I guess my first question is, is there's a couple varying opinions about what the time areas for Regency perhaps like, what do you view it as? What's your thoughts on that? It depends how technical you want to get. Okay, so obviously, the madness of King George the Third, George had a what they think knows Porfirio, which is he basically had bouts of madness, but they didn't understand it. And so his son, George, the who would be George the fourth, but pretty fat Prince George got to be the region, technically from 1811 to 1820. That was the actual years he was regent, then he became king George for about 10 years after that till we didn't before. But in general, people talk about a real disease like those last, I don't know, 20 years, about 1800 to 1830, maybe 30 years, that kind of last part of the sort of, I guess, 19th, or early part of the 19th century lost much of the 1800s or the 1700s. It's funny, because there's so much of history out there. And yet, we are absolutely fixated on this very slim, very tiny piece of like, especially just in England as well. I mean, there are very few I mean, I do a few sort of French Revolution kind of overlap things that's like the Sunday 92nd thing and a bit of Victorian creeps in but in general, it's amazing that there's such a huge sub genre of purely Regency, which is just Yes, it is fascinating it and it's huge. I mean, you can't even call it a sub genre anymore. It's its own genre. And it's weird what the others are because like you can do sort of historical but it has to be men in kilts with swords. That's kind of medieval Highlanders has a very strong following. Or there's sort of some American like Western or Amish romance. They've got their own kind of niches. But in general, yeah, I mean, there's very few historicals people like Elizabeth Hoyt, I guess you're writing in sort of really sort of Jordan, England like the mid 1700s. So those and I guess Georgette Heyer, or higher heavyset, she probably started it all with a lot of her regencies that kind of popularized it in the 1920s. And then I guess it's grown from there. But people seem to love it as a period. I think it's it's far enough away that it's safe history, but they're close enough that you think they might be real people in or not that divorced from them. And they're not too difficult to understand. So it's that kind of great medium, I think in terms of history that makes people enjoy it as fantasy, but at the same time, it's sort of real. I don't know. So what drew you to it? I love reading. I mean, I was a reader before I was right. Obviously, my background was English literature and history. But I did you know, I was an antiques appraiser for 10 years before I started writing. So I've read a lot of historical romance. So I started with the old school like, you know, Woody Wes, and oh, my goodness, like Judith McNaught and people like that, you know, John and Lindsey that proper body strippers so they completely un-pc now. And one of my favorites is Laura can sail who I think is an absolutely amazing author. And she'd written a whole bunch of different time periods. She's not scared to hit, you know, medieval Italian releases and things like that. So I'd I wrote, I read around, but there's a lot of other kind of straight straight reverses. And when I say straight, I don't mean like in terms of the pairings, I mean, just like very much stuck in the region seed. authors like I mean, I guess everyone's heard of Julia Quinella projections coming out. But I've heard Yeah, I've heard that the people that have read the bridgerton series have claimed that what Netflix has done is very different. Yes, I mean, I read them because they're quite old are quite old. Now the originals and some of them have not aged well and some of them have done better with a modern lens. And it's very and obviously things have changed. That's like any adaptation of anything Pride and Prejudice. You know, everyone Pizza Dough loves it. And it's certainly been glammed up and sexed up when everything for the TV. I prefer the BBC production of it. It's difficult, isn't it? I mean, we're here to entertain. And so what is what is the point of that? Was it to be exactly faithful to the text? Probably not. Because actually, the texts are quite, they're less racy, if you've read the originals. And they do have some, you know, issues in them that don't read well now after 20 years, which I'm sure Julian would not write the same book now that she wrote back then. And really, she was too young when she wrote it. So I guess that's the same for everyone. But I'm all for it. I mean, anything that brings historical to a new audience is great. However, whatever your entry level drawing is, I'm all for that. That's a good way to put it Yeah. It's a gateway it's a gateway to Regency Julie go and I think was one of mine. I picked this has I picked one of hers up at a train station to go on a train journey and it didn't look like a romance. It was one of those ones with like, just like a gate and a house on the cover. So I could get away with reading it in public on a train without like Fabio on the cover. I didn't know what it was, I thought it was just historical fiction, you know, like, Julian Mary Reno or something like that. But I literally read the first chapter and I was hooked. I it was mind blown. It's like this is all the cool fun romance stuff of history that I love and literature without the woman dying, you know, where romance is central, you know, it was brilliant. And I just that was all the depressed without all the depressing parts. Okay, I mean, I studied literature, and that was so depressing for me. I mean, I love there is obviously a place for exploring the human condition in literature written by rich white men, but there are lots of other there are lots of other lenses we can read through as well. And I got so fed up with like Anna Karenina, you know, I was like, Oh my gosh, no kidding. Don't go to the train station just running. Oh, you know, Madame Bovary. Just don't poison yourself. I really, I don't know Tessa the devil was was probably the last straw. So angry that this was just such a couple that Thomas Hardy finished me off. I was like, right, I'm never reading this. So here's a question for you then. There's lots of pisco historical events that took place in that short period of time, we just, I guess I assumed that was one of the reasons why people had picked up on it. It's like, there's some major world like events going on. So when you decided to kind of get into this style of writing, were you inspired by any particular historical events? Yeah, I mean, not my my background was history. And in fact, as an auctioneer, you know, I was constantly hearing these incredible stories of the items that would come in and fantastic things. And you just think, well, that's so bizarre that no one will believe it. If you put that in a book kind of thing. I love that is the provenance is the thing, the story behind it. But I mean, my whole life was what are the histories or the provenance? You're right? It was such an extraordinary time of you know, you're just before the industrial revolutions kicking off you have the French Revolution, that's just happen. And yeah, I mean, all my stories have a currently they start out as some ridiculous historical fact that I've just discovered from noodling around on the internet and just goes, that's fantastic. So I mean, I was thinking of my Steelheart, which is the first section spies, that was a real prison escape, I found a book called a guy, a guy called only let you who genuinely escaped from two prisons, and the Batmobile and Latour, in Paris, and he'd written out an account of how he did it. And I thought, that's so cool. And he wrote exactly how he broke out, like literally every single step. And I thought, that's cool. But you can't use that in a book. And then I was reading about the dough fan who was obviously died, sadly died like a 10 in prison. And the author migos. Well, yeah, but what if he did? What if there's the conspiracy theories, like did he escape did he did he escaped England? I thought, Okay, well, what if he was in prison, and we got him out using or we let us we broke in using the way or we broke out. And so that kind of turned into the plot of that book, and then the whole meeting together happily ever after, to somebody that clearly didn't have it in real life. Yes, that's how it turned into. That's fantastic. It was really fun. And some of it's so ridiculous. You can't even put it in a book so that he he trained rats, he'd been there for like two years, he trained rats to run messages to the next door cells and and I you know, you put that in a book of mine, just like I can give you the boring through the wall of the castle and escaping up his chimney and making his clothes into ropes for 50 feet and Tyree walking across the moat, but I will not give you the rat running in. It kind of sounds like the Count of Monte Cristo a little bit. That was one of my favorites. I too. And yeah, counter Monte Cristo, you know, all of those kinds of swashbuckling The Three Musketeers Yes, yeah. swashbuckle but there was never enough romance or the romance was sort of marginal and I wanted that so that's the feel of some of my the secrets and spies you know, it's all the people on the on the margins of just on the edge of the law or having really fun adventures and the Things like that. So again, another one that was catching. Well, that was the second in my bowstreet series was the the real French crown jewel sort of stolen. And that was, you know, where did they go? They basically disappeared for 20 years. And it's like, whoa, like, where did they go? And they turned up there was limitations that Napoleon put on it because he was trying to get them back. And it was basically there was no prosecution if, after the statute of limitations, you can give it and you won't be prosecuted for information. And it was one day after it. You know, one day after the statute, someone found them in London in a jewelers. It was so bizarre. And you just think, Where have they been hidden for 20 years? And what if someone was stolen back and you know, so that that's what did that and that ended up with my my heroine who is a jewel thief, an international jewel thief who's trying to steal back the crown jewels of France. So I have a lot of fun with them. I did another one, which was a regency summary, an American guy called Robert Fulton had created a summary for the spine for the French, and then he defected to the English, those sort of things like just make me go well, that's ridiculous. I didn't know that in the Regency. There were even submarines but also, the romance writer migos wolf submarines are small and dark, and you can smash people together inside them. So you know, a part of that will hit it really well with the history nugget that I can stick in there, too. So it kind of comes together. So it sounds like one of our questions we usually ask is, are you character driven? Or plot driven? It sounds like you find this cool plot? Yeah, it's a bit of both because like, you have to have the right characters to do they bounce off each other. Right? So if you have, you know, if you haven't seen the jewels, you have doubt, you know, the hero could have been a jewel thief. But then I kind of like twisting the trope and flipping that and say, Okay, what if he's the most strict runner and he's, and that gives you loads of fantastic conflict between different sides of the law and morally gray areas. And that is from a hero and heroine point of view is great, but it's nice to to be able to pull like some some small facts. Yeah. And literally, like you said, base your I like the idea of the dolphin being able to be broken out of prison. And if you're talking about Marie Antoinette's children, yeah, right. I mean, you think about the daughter. I think her story is even worse, like it was horrific. What happened with her? Well, she survived at least Yeah, well, she did. But she survived in a really nasty place in the dark alone for 15 or 16 years. It was terrible. Yeah. So take that, like just know, he escapes. And he lives as a vicar in England for happily ever after. And nice. You know what, why not rewrite an ATA for some of these people that obviously didn't have them? Right. Yeah, exactly. Exciting. Now, it's interesting. Earlier, you were talking about how with bridgerton Some of her writing or whatever was non PC or dated? How do you find that balance between I use the term reality adjacent, like where it's close enough to real, but you're also not stepping on modern feelings. I know. I struggle with this daily, because obviously, you have that you want to be faithful, in a sense, but we are in effect writing historical fantasy, you know, we have no idea really what how an 18th century person spoke or felt or thought and it would have been so completely different to how we think and speak now. But it's, you know, we're writing looking at it from the 21st century and putting our interpretation on all of these events, realize he was probably better and worse than we think it. I don't know. I mean, I want it. So I talked about Laura concelebrate. She did a medieval and she wrote one of them was almost completely I think it's my lady's heart in like old Middle English, like very dense, hard to read. You had to do a lot of effort for the story, and it's technically brilliant. But is it really enjoyable for the modern audience? It's a fantastic book, right? What I have enjoyed equally if it had been slightly more modern language and what I've forgiven it. Yes, definitely. So it's really difficult. I mean, I get dinged I wrote a medieval Italian Renaissance one but and somebody didn't for using the word magnet and said, you know, there's no company compasses and I was like, well, there are in 1320 because they were in 1100 where Maga barely went, you know, China. And yes, they would have used the word lodestone as opposed to magnet but the concept would have been understood these a seafaring company. But I'm not going to get a big fight over it. I mean, every American historical I've ever read uses the phrase gotten he'd gotten me so mad. There's not an English person in the entire world that's ever said that phrase. The hands of 90% of the readers because that's your normal. So does it really matter? I mean, who cares? People go on about the acoustic costumes and the music in bridgerton. And they have like Rihanna in the background. I think that's fantastic. Well, they say I did too. I loved it. It's it's a new interpretation of our old thing. Everything is reinvention what's fashion if not reinvented. You know, it's it's to entertain and shouldn't be taken that seriously, if I was you remember this historical book, I would write one I don't want to, you know, I want it to be fun and enjoyable for eight hours, however long it takes you to read this book you leave happy. You know, that's, that's my goal. Yeah. I was gonna say, I wondered when I saw that in bridgerton, when they played the upbeat music actually use their soundtrack to write with sometimes. So I have that playing on my Spotify. But did you ever see a Knight's Tale which is usually go in that didn't know. Yes, exactly. And I loved and I saw and I love that it's based on the old English story. Or there's the choice is Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, which I've read in the original zero fun. I mean, it sounds like it was like, this is a horrible translation, genuinely ruder and funnier than you think. Because, you know, they were incredibly rude and less, you know, fantastic and a lot funnier, and say, with Shakespeare, but we lose a lot trying to take it too seriously. I mean, a lot of it, but they never sat there and thought, God, is this a serious polemic on you know, political, you know, whatever. No, it was just there, you would go into the theater for two hours of fun. So I mean, I think we can overthink things. Absolutely. Now, are there certain one of the things that I had heard about Regency was that there are like customs, like the language of flowers, and like all those kinds of things that you have to be very careful of, because like, you could by accident, like proposed to someone or not now as a bit of a myth, that's more of a Victorian thing. And it's okay, fascinating that, in fact, you're getting more prudish and more rule oriented. By the time you're in the Regency, because the Georgians were just all over the place. I mean, they were absolutely bawdy. And there's, I mean, look at Georgiana Duchess DeVinci. I mean, it was ridiculous for like, 100 years before the reasons the reasons, she was kind of getting a bit more uptight. And by the time they hit the Victorians, they've gone the opposite way. And, you know, all their perviness was absolutely undercover, and, you know, never spoken off. But people don't change, people are just as ridiculous and, you know, moral or immoral, you know, either in public or behind closed doors as they ever were. So it's, I don't know, it's a fascinating time, because I love the constraint of it, it's a time when you still had loads of inequality in times of massive wealth, massive, you know, poverty, you had these small number of people with a huge amount of power scandals, and you could be ruined, you know, if you're in that small world, you could be ruined, your stakes are incredibly high, you know, you could literally be cast out, and you'd have to go and live in Buffy in Scotland for the rest of your life and never speak to a decent person, again, kind of. I mean, it's, it's an interesting time, as an author, it's great to have those constraints because it's nice to have the rules in place to fight against them and to write heroes or heroines that skirt the edges of that or managed to play the system or, or game it, or I kind of like that of the people that are finding ways to live in the society that they're in, which is what we're all doing, right. People are all trying to find their way and, you know, get get away with stuff if they can. So yeah, it's a really interesting time. I mean, lots going on, as you say, there was, you know, England was sort of colonizing everywhere, not necessarily for the better, and assuming it was the right thing to do. And the friendship just locked the head of their King and decided that was the way they wanted to go. So there was massive instability and huge war, you've got aI specifically right around 1815 1816, which was more to learn the end of the appellate World Wars. And that was an enormous, like, cultural shift, you know, from basically a hereditary Regency ruling everyone to this idea that democracy was the best thing to do. And you know, the Americas, you pesky colonials, were all you know, decided you could rule yourselves without help from us perfectly reasonably, you know, why should we tax you're not you're not have any say in it. So it was a fascinating time. But I mean, I guess that's why it's interesting. There's a lot going on. I mean, nobody really wants to read write about the 2020 election. I don't I saw this is true. That's funny. Well, you know, one of the things about the Georgians was, that made me laugh was their window tax. And you come across that the window tax was like, okay, so you got these wealthy Arista. Cats are crabs taking out their glass and replacing it with boards so they don't have to pay the taxes. That windows all England is crazy, crazy. There's a Horrible Histories. That's a collection of books. Oh, I love my kids. I've got those. My kids do too. And that's where and they made it into a show. And so my last child who I have five, she's 11 years old. She's the youngest. She's now watching them and she loves them to her blast. She also has me reading her. Antonia Fraser Oh, yes. Okay. Yeah. And so Alison and Antonia Fraser Margaret George, those heavy reads She has me read those to her because she's so fascinated by English history. She'll be on Outlander next which I've never read. I, oh, I want the series. I'm put off by the size that they're a doorstop with and they are big. You know, you'll enjoy it when she stopped, but it's just a big. It is a commitment. But I also read. What's that old Russian book? It was the largest piece No, yeah, I read that when I was 19. Yeah, I want to say it was this big. Yeah. You know, this is a podcast that can So for people that can't see me, it was I think 5000 words or, like, sorry, it was, hey, it took me three months. It was the biggest book novel, at that time in history that had been published. It's huge. It sits about six inches high. When you put it on a table, it's called a coffee table book for a reason. There was like six different Nicholas's and i i read it at names because they've got like their family name, and then they sort of zactly Yeah, a bit. Jenny. Yes. But again, there was a sort of love story when I read that I teased out the bit that's the love story. And she did a fantastic adaptation of that recently, which was so he did it was very good. Alright, so your advice for Alright, um, my Regency newbie, Virgin, whatever we want to call it. What should I know if I if I'm going into reading my first Oh, well, there is something for everyone and that's what's so great is it's such a broad thing that you can have if you like you know, funny light hearted and you know witty go for like Tessa dare if you like a bit more heavy on the history, you know, go for, if you like angsty, go for carry on burn. And there's a whole bunch of people that you can go for. I mean, we're often slated for not being proper literature. In Romans. I'm doing my little air quotes here for those that can't see proper literature in letters. And Louisa James is also Mary Bly, who is I think she's a chair of English it one of the main universities here, so it's not like the authors don't know their stuff. There's some fantastic writing going on. And just as there are some terrible agencies out there that just give absolutely no, you know, lip service, I guess, to you know, their modern people dressed up in Regency clothes, and there's no effort at all to make it feel authentic, which if that's what you like, it doesn't bother you Absolutely. Go for it. I'm not gonna Yup, you're young. So yeah, there's a sort of depending on your mood. There's something for everyone. I mean, lots of people say, Loretta Chase, she's, she's one of my favorites. She did a lot of scandals, which is when like, this seminal text, which everyone seems to read, which is fantastically brilliant, mainly because technically, she she, like, twists every trope about the kind of male rake and it's a heroine that does it. So like it's a heroine that falls asleep during sex or after sex. I mean, it's just brilliant. She shoots out really, it's so funny. It's brilliant. So yeah, there's there's loads of loads. So I think you my favorite, so I've got them all behind me on my bookshelves that you can't see on this podcast. Yeah, there's quite a lot that I enjoy reading. That's my go to read is a historical. Alright. Now, if you couldn't write Regency anymore, is there a different sub sub genre that you'd be interested in writing? Well, I don't want I could do historical and other periods which I have done, I did tell him that he wants to double to pay which was before I knew that that was a completely unsalable to traditional publishing. I wrote that just for fun for me, and I've done others I've done Regency Egypt, that was a fun one to do that as an affiliate, but I'm kind of jealous of fantasy and paranormal for just that they can make stuff up, like I'm stuck with some fairly strict rules of what people can and can't do. Whereas they just, you know, they can magic people out of situations, they can just create stuff. So I read I might try that. That sounds like a lot of fun. Yeah, I think there's a lot of writers that do that a lot better than me, I've just watched the Shadow and Bone that was the LIBOR do go series, which I thought was fantastic. Even that's like an NA, are ya they HAVE to do such world building. And you know, for Regency, you don't have to because it's a shorthand that everyone already understands that world, you know, the fashions I don't have I could, as an auctioneer describe every tiny teacup and piece of furniture and dress fabric in the room. But you know, after a page or two of that people don't care you it's just a couple of bits that remind you that we're in this time period, but it's sort of window dressing, I think. But that is the world that exists already. So I'm kind of lucky that you've got that for historical. I think in other periods, you have to work a little bit harder and created like Italian relations, people think they know what it is. And we've all got this idea in our head of like the Borges and things. I think you have to work harder to, like make that in people's heads right? Now? Do you mostly read historicals? As well as write them? Or do you read different than you write? I can't read historicals while I'm writing my own. So if I'm writing my own book, which takes us so long, like, I'm such a slow writer, it's like five months or something? I did, because you kind of can't help picking up the style and the flavor of the people that you're reading. And I try not to do that. So I read everything but historical songwriting. And I read sort of everything. I mean, whatever catches my fancy, it's mainly romance, though I have to say I absolutely love you know, what's a bunch of Romance Writers in the room when you're going? It takes me forever to write a book like five months, whereas like sci fi, and like non Romance Writers are taking two years to write their book. Even Yeah, opus magnum. Yeah. No, I am so I mean, there's a lot of indie writers that can write in six weeks but I don't want to do burnout and I draw the put out the best book I can and be a bit slower about it because it's out there forever. And if I'm not happy with it, you know, you're not going to be forgiven that many complete duds by the readers because there's so many other people out there doing fantastic work so yeah, I want to put out a really good product Yeah, it's a Yeah, most general thing where I'm reading at the moment it was I just finished reading the Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Moss, which I'm not sure is that fantasy or ya or something that was YA fantasy. That was that was kind of fun. I'd heard a lot there was a lot of buzz about it. I'm very late on the bandwagon. I think my teenagers should be reading that instead of me. But majors are reading that are still on the bit like the Harry your Percy Jackson. They graduate from Harry Potter that they're on the Percy Jackson and that kind of Wings of Fire series. Shadow hunters as the other ones my kids are. Oh, yeah. I read some paranormal. I did. Joe Ward Black Diamond brotherhood, literally is like a friend of mine gave him the first one. Like, I'm gonna hate this and literally two chapters. And I was like, what does she do? Like, it was so good. I read I I lost it after about book seven. I mean, she lost me. But the first five or six was ridiculous. I didn't speak to anyone for about two weeks. It was great. So that was fun. And then I contemporary Sally Jones hated game. I thought it was absolutely amazing. Quite like Lucy Parker, she did the act like it. And that series of contemporaries that were sort of set in theater world and things like that in London. So anything, I'm a complete vagabond, when it comes to reading, wherever someone suggests I will read and I got all the friends whose stuff I get, you know, get to read pre pre publication, which is fun. All right. Well, that was the last of our questions. It's been wonderful. Talking with you today. Is there any books or upcoming projects that you want to tell the listeners to be on the lookout for? Well, I got a new release out next week, which is the first of a new series, which is my ruthless rival series. The book is called reckless match quick, this will be coming out after it comes out. So Oh, well. In that case, new release is a retros match which I like enemies to lovers. It's one of my favorite tropes. And this whole series is exactly that. It's sort of loosely based on the Hatfields and McCoys. So it's to Regency families on the England Wales border, who've hated each other and argued for about 500 years and everything is basically coming to a head and they they kind of hated and loved each other for years. And so that this is the first book in that have three of some siblings that basically Yeah, sounds great. So yeah, breakfast match. That's my latest. Awesome. Sounds fantastic. Thank you, everybody. Tune in with us again next week for our next episode of coast to coast romance. Thank you for listening to coast to coast romance. I'm Ann Jensen. And I'm Skyler West. If you'd like to contact either of us. Our links are located in the show notes. Have a great week. Thanks so much for joining us.