Author Interview: Beth Elliott / The Wild Card

Welcome to the Books Delight and todays Author Interview! We are excited to have Beth Elliott here with us to talk about history, writing and her Regency Era books.


JMR-Welcome to the Books Delight, Beth. Tell our readers where you live, what you do for fun and what does the perfect day look like?

BE- Thank you for inviting me, Jeanie. I’m so proud to be featured on your Books Delight Blog.

I’m a Lancashire lass, also half Welsh, but I now live between London and Oxford, near the town of Reading, on the River Thames. The river has always been a highway, so there were Viking invasions and lots of Royal visits in earlier times, to the rich and powerful Reading Abbey, which is now a ruin but still imposing. An enjoyable outing is to walk along the river for a few miles. It’s incredibly peaceful by the water, sheltered by tall trees along both banks. There are swans and various waterfowl and the occasional boat glides past. Upriver is a lock usually with a queue of one or two boats in each direction, [remember Three Men in a Boat ?]. To make the outing perfect, on our way back we’d stop at the lock-keeper’s flower-filled garden cafe for tea or an ice cream.

JMR-What’s your favorite historical time period? Why?

BE- I’ve always been fascinated by life in medieval southern France. With its mild climate, they had wealth and leisure, and enjoyed listening to troubadours singing tales of courtly love. But the Regency period appeals even more, as life in that period seems to be reasonably civilized and healthy, at least for people in the country or small towns. As I live near enough to visit Jane Austen’s home at Chawton, I have seen what daily life was like in that time. There are similarities with how my Welsh grandmother lived in wild Mid-Wales, so I can relate to many of the daily tasks and routines. And it was a period of great change in all fields, and a vast range of literary and musical talent.   

JMR-Who is your favorite historical figure? Why? If you could ask them one question, what would it be? If your first choice is not a woman, who would your favorite female be and why?

BE- Queen Elizabeth I has always been my favourite person, especially as I share the name. Her example has made me strive to be worthy of it. I admire her scholarship, her wily character, her courage and determination. From experience, I believe that when a really capable woman is at the head of an organization, things run well. Elizabeth was shrewd, determined and she knew how to choose competent advisers.  My question to her would be: Which one of all her suitors was she most tempted to marry?

JMR- How did you come to be a writer of historical romance? Did you always want to be a writer?

BE- Far away and long ago always attracted me, so through school and then over the years I wrote stories in various historical times and mostly in far off settings. When I wrote with the aim of getting published, the Regency era felt like a familiar place to set the tale. We still have so much evidence of that time, towns like Bath or Brighton, museums and so on. Then the characters do need to think and act according to the period. Cue Jane Austen as a teacher of social behaviour and finally add in some personal ideas and experience.

JMR- Authors of historical romance walk a tight line between the romance and the history. What do you consider to be a well-balanced historical romance?

BE- Jeanie, I could write pages about this. A novel is totally ruined for me if the author alters items like known dates, places and actions of historical figures. But that’s my opinion.

 Creating a story appropriate for its time period, yet appealing to a modern audience, is a task as delicate as spinning a spider’s web. Each writer of historical romance has their own method. No doubt readers sample until they find authors who write a blend of history and romance that they are happy with. That’s why, on my website, I put “Welcome to my world of Regency tales”, as no doubt there are some gaps or mistakes in my knowledge. I really admire authors like Loretta Chase, whose research is formidable but never overwhelming in the story.

JMR- Your books take your characters outside of England to the Continent and to Mediterranean countries. What inspired you to include far flung settings in your stories?

BE- I’m a linguist and love nothing more than communicating in new languages. You may say I met my Waterloo when, living in France, I met my Turkish husband. Like me, he’d studied French and Italian at university, so at first we had those two languages in common. He then learned English and I learned Turkish. We taught in eastern Turkey for some years, and thanks to visiting his numerous relatives in various regions, I’ve learned much about customs and skills, and experienced incredible kindness and hospitality. It was a pleasure to show a little of that warmth in my stories. And the crowning glory, where else is there an ancient city set on two continents, with such a rich heritage? Istanbul, or Constantinople as it was at the time my stories are set, is truly magical. I’m always overjoyed when I go back there.

But France pulls at me as well, especially the south-west and the Pyrenees, which remind me of Wales, but so much grander. So I combined the two, and had a French diplomat marry a Turkish princess. They live in his chateau in the Pyrenees. They have three sons, whose adventures now fill three novels.

JMR- I’ve recently read some backlash against the Alpha Male. What is your take this popular trope?

BE- Actually, I seem to do quite well writing Beta heroes, and they have a number of fans among my readers. My definition of an Alpha Male is a character strong-willed and powerful enough to be a leader, but also responsible and caring. I tend towards the ‘parfit gentle knight’ type, which is why I prefer historical stories. The modern Alpha uber-polished, silk-suited and aggressive billionaires do not appeal.

JMR- Beth, tell us about your new book.

BE- This is something of a Dilemma! My very latest book, The Outcasts, is still on my website as ‘Work in Progress’, although it has today been sent out.

So my current latest book is In All Honour, set in 1812 in Bath. It’s about a young woman’s struggle in a time when to be without money was to be completely powerless. Sarah’s brother has gambled away his inheritance and her dowry, but unpleasant Lord Percival offers to take Sarah as his wife in lieu of the debt. Major Greg Thatcham’s brother apparently also owes money to Lord Percival. Greg seeks help from Sarah and attraction flares between them. However, he is promised to her best friend so she must, in honour, resist him. But then Lord Percival kidnaps her and only Greg can save her… This story has a Beta hero who is popular.

JMR-What projects do you have in the pipeline?

BE- For a change I’m writing about a 40ish Englishwoman who starts a new life in France, in the wine growing region I know best. Set in 2012, it depicts life in the slow lane, but I haven’t put in any troubadours – yet! Then I have two more Regency tales, one in Lisbon during the Peninsular War, and one involving Lord Byron in Albania [ a dramatic and delightful country to visit ].

JMR- Tell our readers how to find you on social media and the web.

BE-  website 

         Twitter    @BethElliott

      Facebook      Beth Elliott         

JMR- What question were you hoping I’d ask but didn’t?

BE- What little bits do you slip into your stories to amuse yourself?

Here and there I deliberately add something for fun. Like in Scandalous Lady [where else], the Alpha hero cuts her corset strings – with her consent. Well, it’s a tongue-in-cheek bodice-ripper moment. And it’s obligatory for my wounded heroes [several of them] to get a kiss while on their sickbed. Ned, the poet, supposed to be guarding the heroine from a rakish courtier at the Brighton Pavilion, picks up a novel and is so engrossed he wouldn’t have noticed if an orgy had taken place around him. I don’t give the title, but he was reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It makes me smile that I’ve been asked to write Ned’s story. He’d need a very managing heroine. 

JMR- Thank you, Beth, for stopping by The Books Delight! Readers, I’ve included a link to Beth’s books, as I know you’ll want to check them out.











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