Your A Midsummer’s Magic has been re-released as a kindle these days. What do you think of e-books as a writer and as a reader?
I’m of two minds about them. As a reader, I prefer paper; however, I have been travelling a great deal lately and carrying a Kindle with a hundred books loaded is a great convenience. I can also get a new book or a sequel within seconds, even while I’m in bed in my pajamas. I will still buy traditional books for my library, especially if they include illustrations, but there is definitely a place for e-books in my life.
A Midsummer’s Magic is a Regency romp. What is it that you most appreciate of writing historical fiction?
I enjoy the excitement of research, the discipline of adhering to the correct language and cultural norms of a period, and living in this other world as I write.
And what is the appeal of the Regency Era to you?
I believe I lived then in another life. Truly. I read Pride and Prejudice when I was fifteen, and re-read it seventeen times that summer. It was like going home. Everything about the early 19th Century English domestic world spoke to me. I was never very interested in the history of the period, although I’ve developed an interest in Napoleon, but the life of women and their concerns struck a chord.
As a writer, the tension between the rigid rules of society and natural instincts of young people in love often creates the conflict for me—choosing between what’s acceptable and what’s desirable.
If you could time travel to that time, what do you especially would you like to experience?
I would be the most interested in observing daily life, being a fly on the wall at Boodle’s or White’s, watching the ladies shop or even eavesdropping on the servants. I’m very curious, too, about how spoken English sounded. Was it as formal as the books portray it? Were there more dialects then, before the spoken word was recorded and standardized? So much to think about.
Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer with their different literary production are both masters in depicting the atmosphere of the age. What are the most important lessons you’ve learnt from them?
In their books, the setting is almost a character itself. Their depiction of the time plays an enormous role, as well as their emphasis on right action and propriety. There is almost no sex in my books; in Fortune’s Mistress, there is not even a kiss. I believe this is appropriate in a depiction of who people were and how they behaved. My goal is always to write a book that Jane or Georgette would have enjoyed and approved.
How would you introduce A Midsummer’s Magic to our readers in about 50 words?
One of my reviewers on described MM as “Jane Austen meets J.K.Rowling.” I would add “and they both meet Shakespeare,” as there are many elements of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well.It depicts a world within a world, a story in which magic with all its possibilities intersects with the Regency England and all its constraints.
What is Mary Chase up to? Working to a new book?
I’ve been teaching writing for the last year or so, so my writing production has suffered. I’m about halfway through a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, which I am tentatively calling Mary and Kitty: A Tale of Two Sisters. I’ve been publishing chapters as I write them, and invite everyone to read what I have so for at:
I’d love to hear from readers about how they think it is developing. I’m also working on a sequel to my contemporary mystery, The Fool’s Journey.
Mary Chase, who writes as Mary Chase Comstock, lives in Portland, Oregon with her Scottish terrier, Whisky, and her Brazilian husband, Jose Porchat. To read about her life and thoughts on a range of subjects, visit http://nulla-mary.blogspot.com/