Regina Jennings is homeschooling mother of four from Oklahoma. She enjoys watching musicals with her kids, traveling with her husband and reading by herself. When not plotting historical fiction she plots how she could move Highclere Castle, stone by stone, into her pasture and how she could afford the staff to manage it.
Regina is the author of Caught in the Middle, Sixty Acres and a Bride and Love in the Balance. Her novella An Unforeseen Match is also included in the collection A Match Made in Texas. She loves to hear from readers at her website – www.reginajennings.com and on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
Welcome to The Engrafted Word, Regina! It’s wonderful to have you here!
Savanna: Can you name a historical figure you would have enjoyed getting to meet in person and have lunch with?
Regina: I’ve always admired George Washington and would love to share a meal with him and Martha at Mount Vernon. Wouldn’t it be grand to get a personal tour of his beloved farm? And wouldn’t it be interesting to hear him express his hopes for the country? Plus I hear he was a superb dancer.
Savanna: That does sound like fun! 😉 Congratulations, by the way, on your latest release, Caught in the Middle. I’ve been hearing LOTS of good things about it. 😉 Can you tell us what first sparked the idea for the novel?
Regina: Nick and Anne both appear in my earlier books Sixty Acres and a Bride and Love in the Balance and as they had nothing in common, I really looked forward to sticking them together and making them fall in love. Sharpshooting Anne was inspired by Annie Oakley, although our Anne has a much rougher past. Clearly Anne was going to need someone very patient and gentle to see her through her transformation.
As for Nick, I’ve always enjoyed Regency and Georgian romances and the tough dandy is a well-established character in those genres. The lords knew how to cut a figure—or at least their valets knew how to dress them—but they also were fearless soldiers and managed large estates. Inspired by those men, I decided to have a Western hero who appreciates the finer things in life and save the dusty cowboy for the next book. Nick’s railroad ambitions were inspired by Stephen Ambrose’s Nothing Like it in the World, a book about the men who built the Transcontinental Railroad.
Regina: As anyone who follows me on Pinterest can attest, I love the dresses of the era. I really do mean to pin practical things like recipes and kids’ projects, but then I see more hoops and bustles and I can’t help myself. Pin! Pin! Pin!
As far as the times in general, the 19th century was the century of opportunity. Advances in communication, transportation and science (along with Western expansion) made everything seem possible. At the same time, the quaint charms of days gone by had not yet been replaced by our relentless modern efficiency.
Savanna: I’m definitely with you there on the fun distractions on Pinterest! 😉 On your website, you mentioned traveling a lot for your husband’s job and for your church’s Missions Team. Has there been a particular place you visited that really inspired your writing?
Regina: My husband is an insurance adjuster, so naturally we’ve spent a lot of time in Texas with their hurricanes, softball-sized hail and wind storms. No surprise that’s where this first series takes place. Someday, though, I’d like to write about Louisiana. While working Hurricane Katrina, our family got some time off to visit the “Laura Plantation” – a beautifully restored Creole plantation. Forget what you learned about the South from Gone with the Wind, the aristocratic Creoles belonged to another culture altogether. Just fascinating!
Savanna: That sounds very intriguing. 😉 I love hearing where writers find new inspiration. Since I was homeschooled and I know you homeschool your children, do you have a particular favorite subject you enjoy teaching them?
Regina: History and Literature! Is that a surprise? We’ve used Sonlight Curriculum for 14 years now and cherish all the read-alouds we’ve done as a family. Having a codex of stories that the kids have shared together is a wonderful family treasure.
Savanna: I loved reading your Publication Story online and how you shared your journey so honestly and humorously. Do you have a word of advice for aspiring writers still on the edge of jumping in to publication?
Regina: It’s tough to give advice because God has different plans for everyone. The mistakes I made might actually work for someone else. Still, I think joining writers’ groups and finding critique partners will contribute no matter where you are on your journey. Through writer’s groups you’ll find accountability and support, while a good critique partner will help you hone your skills and spot the trouble areas that you miss.
Regina: Well, this next series takes place in a little known area called the Missouri Ozarks. Have you heard of it? 😉 The first book stars a Civil War nurse named Abigail Stuart who feels like her only friend in the world is the sweet but gravely wounded patient Jeremiah Calhoun. Fearing he won’t survive, the Confederate soldier’s last wish is that Abigail look after his sickly sister at home. Marry him, return to his horse farm, and it’ll be hers.
Abigail takes him up on his offer and moves to Missouri after his death, but just as the family learns to accept her, the real Jeremiah Calhoun appears—puzzled to find a confounding woman posing as his wife. Jeremiah is determined to have his life back to how it was before the war, but his own wounds limit what he can do on his own. Still not fully convinced Abigail isn’t duping him, he’s left with no choice but to let the woman stay and help—providing that she give up her claim that she’s his wife and doesn’t ruin his chances with his childhood sweetheart.
“Inconvenient” barely scratches the surface of what the two of them feel about each other, but maybe they’ll find some common ground.
Savanna: Ah, I can tell I’m gonna love this one!! 🙂 A Civil War story like that set in the beautiful region I call home… I can’t wait to read it! Thank you so much for being with us today, Regina! Anything else you’d like to add? How can readers connect with you?
Regina: Thanks for having me on your blog, Savanna! And thanks for giving me a chance to let readers know how much I appreciate them. Their support of Christian literature and God-honoring fiction allows us to afford fast food for the kids so we can keep on writing.
Y’all can find me at these places. Don’t be shy, please. I love hearing from you.
Regina has graciously offered one copy of CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE to one lucky winner!
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