A Very Merry Chase was originally written 35 years ago while I was heavily under the influence of the wonderful writings of world renowned Regency Romance author Georgette Heyer.
I never ever wanted to be anything else but a writer....
I began my writing my first novel--a good old-fashioned Regency Romance inspired by the writings of Georgette Heyer and Barbara Cartland--about 35 years ago. Approximately one year later, I finished the first draft...and now--35 years and a great many drafts later--I finally published it! Yes, you read correctly...today--35 years later!
How did this miracle occur and why did it take so long?
I actually tried to publish my Regency Romance novel when it was first written; but quickly grew discouraged and gave up.
I wrote it after discovering Georgette Heyer and then reading every Regency Romance novel I could get my hands on--especially Georgette Heyer, the entire Coventry Regency Romance collection, and the sweet and simple, quick to read and almost painfully innocent Regency romance tales of Barbara Cartland (Who some of you will remember as step great-grandmother to Diana, Princess of Wales.) Unlike the amazingly and admirably prolific, impeccably made up, elegantly gowned and coiffed Dame Cartland, who turned out a new novel every two weeks while lying in an historic mansion, reclining on an ladies' fainting couch, eating bonbons and dictating to a secretary, I wrote mine over the space of a year sitting crosslegged on the foot of my bed in an impossibly tiny bedroom with my electric typewriter perched on the seat of a kitchen chair that had been crammed into the narrow space between the foot of the bed and the bi-folding closet door. Dame Cartland also wrote hers surrounded by the history, tradition and even customs, manners, furniture and accessories of the era because she was truly a British aristocrat--I, on the other hand, was just a little ole country gal from Tennessee who loved history and historical details.
Anyway, I finished my first novel, which was then named "A Most Independent Lady" mainly because I dreamed of not only being a writer, but also being a published author and earning my living--and to be completely honest, my personal independence--by writing. Once again I marched off to the library, this time to sit and research using their copy of Writer's Digest (Which as a reference book could not be checked out.) I found a lady whom I believe was named Rose Hyde White (Forgive me if the name isn't exactly right, it's been 35 years.) who worked for Avon Books. I wrote her about my book, and my love for the early 19th century Regency Romance era of England and peppered my letter with enough period details so that she could tell, I really knew my stuff. She wrote back and told me to send my book and that she greatly looked forward to reading it.
It took me three weeks to give my book one last read through and fix the errors I found at this point (Remember, I am a compulsive re-editor, and this was on an electric typewriter, no miraculous cut and paste or simply backup and retype. One small change meant that the whole pages, and maybe even subsequent pages had to be retyped.) Anyway, a few weeks later I sent my carefully (mostly retyped) and expensively packaged manuscript off to New York City. Now, I've never before or since had a psychic incident--and at that point in my life I was not in any way, shape, form or fashion an early riser--but three weeks later I woke up at about 6:00 am after dreaming that God had told me my book had been returned, but not to get discouraged and keep on trying. Well, I climbed out of bed, got dressed, and drove the eight miles to our tiny little post office in Jonesborough to be the first in line when they opened the doors that morning. Sure enough, my manuscript had been returned with a cursory note saying that Rose Hyde White was no longer with Avon books and that my manuscript was being returned unread as "unsolicited".... They included the advice, "Get an agent."
After that--epiphanies and psychic revelations aside--I gave up...at least on the reality of being a published author. The dream was always there, and in one way or another I did spend the next 35 years writing, just not attempting publication.
So what did I actually do with those 35 years?
Well, to make a long story shorter, I opened a used book store, wrote everything from a book reviews column for a local entertainment weekly to a Tolkien'ish Sword and Sorcery type fantasy called Star Birth Legend (Which I tried unsuccessfully to sell to George Lucas after Star Wars came out, receiving for my efforts a letter from a staff member stating that it was being returned unread for legal reasons....and the advice, "Get an agent!). I also wrote a semi sword and sorcery/romance screenplay about the adventures of an alternative reality, nexus traveling Lady Pirate and a scientist from our world called Renegades and dozens of short stories including several about a pseudo Vampire, Werewolf, Witch timetraveling trio. (Remember this was back about 1980 and I was actually way ahead of my time. I started a local writer's workshop, was bless with two sons and loved them with all my heart, wrote scripts for and hosted a Saturday Night Horror Show as Vampy Belle (a lady vampire with a strong Southern accent), got both a BA and MA in History, worked at a Home Shopping Channel selling jewelry and gems as the “Queen of the Gemstone Dungeon”, lost my job when they went bankrupt, bought an HTML for dummies book and opened and operated one of the first Women Owned and Operated Web Design firms on the Internet, put both boys through college and worked as the Human Resource Director for a non-profit agency--where I remain today.
Over the years the name changed from "A Most Independent Lady" to "A Very Merry Chase" but my Regency Romance novel is finally available for purchase. Now if you will excuse me, I have numerous short stories that I need to compile into a collection, and three other novels to edit and put up for sale, plus a screenplay that needs to be rewritten into a novel. Time's a wastin'....
Smiles and Good Reading,
Teresa Thomas Bohannon
Author of A Very Merry Chase--An Old-Fashioned Regency Romance novel.