Today we go 'behind the scenes' as Jeanette (Jenny) O'Hagan interviews Meredith Resce
Jenny: Congratulations on your upcoming release. What inspired you to write to ‘License to Meddle series’ and this second book In Want of a Wife in particular.
Meredith: Thanks for having me, Jenny. The whole middle-aged mum with adult children situation is one I have experienced first-hand. Coming up with great advice and hints towards this nice person, or that nice person, is generally received with not much enthusiasm. Sometimes the exact opposite. So this series is probably mostly fantasy, in that meddling and matchmaking is not often done with success. I know of three or four cases where matchmaking has worked and worked really well. But the middle-aged mum still likes to dream of young love and romance.
Jenny: Tell us about the main character Luella Linley. Who is she and why does she feel compelled to meddle? Also, how many daughters does she have? And will there be a book 3?
Meredith: Luella Linley is a popular Regency Romance author and seems to have trouble in drawing a line between coming up with plot for her characters and plotting for her adult children. She is unrepentant about her daughter’s chagrin, not fazed by being told off for meddling. She has two daughters and one son. Yes, book three is in production at the moment, and you can see the pre-order cover live on Amazon now. All Arranged Book#3
Jenny: I have to ask, is ‘In Want of a Wife’ a direct quote from the opening sentence in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice? How have authors like Austen and other romance authors influenced your writing.
Meredith: You’re quite right. In Want of a Wife is a direct quote from the opening scene in Pride and Prejudice. Austen is my favourite author, and Mrs Bennett is annoying and unrepentant about her matchmaking. Luella is not as annoying, but just as incorrigible. You will find in all three Luella Linley books, excerpts from Luella’s latest work in progress, Regency romance in Austen style, each plot bearing a resemblance to the contemporary plot that is going on.
Jenny: That sounds delightful and sure to be a hit with Austen fans. My favourite book of yours is For All Time. Would it be true to say that most of your previous books have been historical romance? What challenges and joys have you found changing from historical romance to contemporary comic romance.
Meredith: For All Time was my one and only foray into time slip novel. I loved it. So much fun mixing contemporary characters with 1500s culture and context. Most other of my work has been historical drama, and while I enjoyed it, writing light-hearted contemporary romance is more fun. I like the funny side of the Brooker family. They are all blunt, a bit sarcastic and witty.
Jenny: You’ve now published over ten novels, plus a number of novellas and short stories. How do you come up with fresh ideas?
Meredith: Actually, In Want of a Wife is the twenty first title released (this includes two novellas, a self-help book, a fantasy novel, biographical account and a faction.
were nearly always inspired by old buildings, in the case of most of my
historicals. With this series, I guess when I started, I was in the middle of
parenting single adult children, and I was inspired by their lack of moving
forward towards marriage. They’re all married now, without any assistance from
Jenny: That's an impressive output :) How would you say publishing has changed since you published your first book in the late 1990s? How are the challenges and opportunities changed for writers over this time? Do you have any tips for new writers?
Meredith: Publishing has changed soooo much since 1997. The market has changed, so the way the book is produced has also had to change. The main change agent was the advent of digital marketing, eBooks, and algorithms. These things have decimated the bricks and mortar bookstore market, selling the paperback from the shelf. I used to pre-sell approximately 1700 copies to bookstores on new releases, without anyone having ever seen the cover. Now, I’m lucky if I can beg them to take 60-100 copies.
Algorithms now dictate how the book buyers will see what is new and available, and learning to provoke the algorithm to show your book in the top twenty is a game we’re all playing.
Also, when I started, I was one of two Australian Christian fiction authors, the other being Mary Hawkins. Now there are heaps of us. The writing is better, the range is better, and there is a wonderful group of Australian Christian writers. But the market is the most difficult it has ever been.
I only use print on demand now, and produce to the eBook platforms as well. Australian Christian writers supporting one another, as you are doing here, Jenny, is the only way we are going to push through and see our work find a home in the hearts of Australian and international readers. Getting on Goodreads and getting activity going about your own books and other Australian writers’ books is going to be a great positive thing to do in the reality we live in now.
Tips for new writers – welcome to the time when the most opportunity to learn to write well is available to you through many different conferences, writing chapters and online resources. Work on your craft (this was something I did not have access to when I started). You may have to go forward with the understanding that you may be writing for a small audience of family and friends, and thank God for ever little opportunity you get beyond that. It is a tough market to publish and sell into, but writing is often its own reward.
again, Jenny, for having me, and for supporting Australasian Christian writers
from here and New Zealand.
Jenny: You're welcome. Thanks you Meredith for taking the time share about your books and experiences.