Earlier this week, she published her latest novel, HOW TO TAME A WILLFUL WIFE, a delightful retelling of Shakespeare's TAMING OF THE SHREW. Publishers Weekly has hailed it as "refreshingly honest and passionate," and I couldn't agree more.
I was thrilled she agreed to take a few moments to discuss her new novel and, knowing my love of recipes, she even brought along one of her favorite novel-inspired dishes.
Christy, thank you so much for joining me today. What made you think of writing a new version of The Taming of the Shrew?
DeAnna, it’s an honor to be here. Thank you for hosting me. I know what you mean. As often as Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew is produced, it’s not the most romantic play in the world. Petrucchio basically drags Katherine to the altar, starves her into submission, and at the end, she is “tamed.” She falls in line with the medieval status quo, which means that she will docilely obey her lord and master for the rest of her life. And this is supposed to be a comedy!
Of course, I am over-simplifying here, and most modern productions I’ve seen manage to make light of the darker aspects of this play while also winking at the audience as if to say, “Well, Kate isn’t really tamed.” I suppose I took it a step further with this novel, and created a character in Caroline Montague who could never be subjugated. Caroline has never been docile a day in her life. So when she meets Anthony Carrington, the man her father has chosen for her, she hits a brick wall when he expects her to toe the line. But it doesn’t take us long to discover that Anthony has hit a wall right along with her. In the first scene, they are literally at daggers drawn. So the question is raised: Can these two people learn to live together as equals? It takes the rest of the book to answer that question.
Regency Romance seems a huge departure from your previous novels, TO BE QUEEN and THE QUEEN’S PAWN. What drew you away from the medieval period and into the world of Regency England?
Well, nothing will ever take me away from Eleanor of Aquitaine. I absolutely adore that woman. But I have always written romances for myself during my time off from Eleanor. And I finally thought, “Why not try to sell one?”
As much as I love historical fiction, I love a good romance novel, too. And the Regency period is my favorite.
Why is that?
It is such a romantic time. In my new novel, the Napoleonic wars have just ended and the officers are coming home and settling back into civilian life. Anthony takes Caroline to a ball at Carlton House, the Prince Regent’s opulent palace in London where they waltz in the ballroom. I love the lush beauty of this period. The nobility of England at the time really knew how to live. Regency gowns are beautiful, and when I write about the elite as I do in this novel, I get to dress my heroine in a lot of silk. Shades of Eleanor here… (LOL)
What is this new novel about? Of course, we know these two characters meet and eventually fall in love, but how do we get from point A to point Z?
Well, with a lot of conflict. And a lot of love scenes. (LOL) It is safe to say that, at least in the beginning, Caroline and Anthony settle most of their differences in bed.
Christy, thanks again for joining me on my blog. And thanks for including the recipe for braised beef. It sounds delicious!
LOL…I wish I could take credit. The geniuses at Simply Recipes came up with this one.
After years of acting in Shakespeare’s plays, Christy English is excited to bring the Bard to Regency England in HOW TO TAME A WILLFUL WIFE, a re-telling of The Taming of the Shrew. For those of you addicted to medieval history, please take a look at her historical fiction about Eleanor of Aquitaine, TO BE QUEEN and THE QUEEN’S PAWN. You can join her on her website http://www.ChristyEnglish.com or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ShakespeareInLoveSeries