I’m delighted to welcome Darkstroke author, Penny Hampson to my blog today. I have just finished reading her Regency romance/thrillers and loved every moment!
Thank you for inviting me onto your blog, Jo.
Well, you’ve asked me why I write, and I’d have to say it’s because writing gives me an escape from everyday life. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my life, but sometimes it’s nice to leave mundane things like housework and everyday cares behind. My original escape was in reading, in fact I’ve been an avid reader from a very early age. But a few years ago, when life got really stressful, I decided to try my hand at writing my own stories, and since then, I haven’t looked back.
The inspiration for my stories is rooted in my fascination for discovering the lives of people from the past. Strangely, I was never any good at history at school, but in my thirties, I decided to study the subject formally and enrolled with the Open University. The rest, as they say, is history. Studying with the OU was certainly one of the better decisions of my life, apart from marrying my lovely husband, of course, who has supported and encouraged me all the way.
My go-to author for when I’m feeling stressed is Georgette Heyer. I love her Regency novels, with their meticulous and detailed descriptions of Regency social life and manners. Heyer is accredited with inventing the genre of Regency romance. It is, therefore, no coincidence that the main inspirations for my writing are my favourite author and my love of history.
For many people, history usually means looking at the broad strokes — political movements, government decisions, wars, and cultural aspects, but I’m interested in the details too — the clothes, the pastimes, the food, and especially the personalities.
One such personality is my very first history ‘crush’ — the Restoration diarist Samuel Pepys (1632-1703). His lively and evocative diary (now available online at Project Gutenberg and also at https://www.pepysdiary.com/) is one of the most enthralling documents that I have ever read. His character comes across so vividly — the meticulous, thorough, archetypal civil servant, who adores theatre-going, is passionate about music, who occasionally is mean and petty (especially to his poor wife, Elizabeth)… and, it has to be said, is a bit of a lad. Read just a few lines of Pepys’ diary and you’ll be swept back to Restoration London.
Certain places are also inspirations for my writing, and I love including places that I’ve visited in my stories. Being able to recreate an atmosphere or an experience is, I think, an important element of a successful story.
Anyone who reads my books will know that I love Cornwall. To me, this county is a magical place, with its wild, windswept coastline, secluded coves, and quaint fishing villages. Steep wooded valleys lead down to quiet river inlets – you can almost sense the ghosts of smugglers brushing past you as they traipse their secret pathways to hide their contraband.
The city of Bath is another place I find very evocative, especially for the period in which the majority of my stories are set. So much of the architecture of Bath has its foundations in the Georgian period that it’s not difficult to imagine Regency bucks and young ladies promenading along Great Pulteney Street towards Sydney Gardens or dancing in the Upper Assembly Rooms, which is now home to the Fashion Museum. Cornwall and Bath fit in nicely with my contemporary stories too. They both make an appearance in my spooky romance/mystery The Unquiet Spirit.
So there you have it, these are the things that inspire me to write. It’s been great talking to you, Jo.
About the Author:
Penny Hampson writes mysteries, and because she has a passion for history, you’ll find her stories also reflect that. A Gentleman’s Promise, a traditional Regency romance, was Penny’s debut novel, which was shortly followed by more in the same genre. Penny also enjoys writing contemporary mysteries with a hint of the paranormal, because where do ghosts come from but the past? The Unquiet Spirit, a spooky mystery/romance set in Cornwall, was published by Darkstroke in 2020.
Penny lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).
For more on Penny’s writing, visit her blog: https://pennyhampson.co.uk/blog/
THE GENTLEMEN SERIES (Regency Historical Mystery/Romances)
A Gentleman’s Promise mybook.to/Gentlemans-Promise
An Officer’s Vow: purchase link ~ mybook.to/AnOfficersVow
A Bachelor’s Pledge: purchase link ~ mybook.to/ABachelorsPledge
The Unquiet Spirit (A spooky contemporary mystery/romance) purchase link ~ getbook.at/theunquietspirit