It Was Much Easier When I Just Had To Shoot People, By Eileen Dreyer

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still shooting people. I’m just doing it with dueling pistols and muskets instead of MP5s and Sig-Sauers.

My life used to be so simple. I wrote modern-day romance, romantic suspense, and straight suspense. It was fun. It was satisfying. As a trauma nurse with a forensic background, it was relatively easy to research. Call a friend who’s a cop. Call a friend who’s a medical examiner. (Yes, I have good friends…) And if that wasn’t enough, I figured out a way to play with it. I took Police Citizen’s Academy, Death Investigation Training, and FBI Citizen’s Academy (site of my proudest achievement! Amid all the cop and military types, I won a blue ribbon in the MP5. I keep the medal hanging in my kitchen so my children never forget).

But for a long time, I’ve had this itch that SWAT training didn’t satisfy. I blame it on Melinda Helfer, legendary reviewer at RT. She saw I had developed a fondness for Regency romance, and said “Eileen, you need to write a Regency!” I laughed. You see, I long ago resigned myself to the fact that I suck at research. The kind you have to wade into books to get, since anybody who knew anything about it was already dead. I was a trauma nurse–I had no idea how to work in a library!

Not only that, I was finally diagnosed with ADD (I seem to be the last to know), which means organizing all that information and picking out the pertinent bits was way beyond me. So, there I was, happily decimating the population of St. Louis in a series of suspense stories under the name Eileen Dreyer, and this idea for a trilogy of Regency-era romances came to me full-blown (thanks, Melinda!). It wouldn’t leave me alone. It talked to me. The characters took shape. They demanded that attention be paid. But I kept saying, “No, no, later. I have things to do.”

Funny how that can be resolved. For me, the suspense market temporarily dried up. And my new heroines, who I had dubbed The Three Graces, said, “Really what you want to learn about is Waterloo. And early 19th century undergarments!” I protested fruitlessly. “But I can’t call anyone who was there! I’d have to read a book!”

And God said, “Let there be the Internet. And Wellbutrin.” (Which gave me the focus to actually read non-fiction books. My new favorite is Dancing Toward Waterloo by Nick Ffolkes). Clever, isn’t She? I can’t tell you how much fun I’m having. History really does fascinate me. Not only that, I’ve become a card-carrying member of the Anachronism Club, which means I pride myself on my acquaintance with Regency mores and habits.

And, since the first book begins the night before Waterloo, I still get to decimate populations. I still get to have suspense and sex, and the absolutely accurate research that is my hallmark over in Suspenseland.

And early 19th century undergarments.

How cool is that?
You can visit Eileen’s website (and learn more about her books!) here

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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12 Responses to It Was Much Easier When I Just Had To Shoot People, By Eileen Dreyer

  1. M. says:

    Fascinating to see how author paths develop. But the suspense-to-Waterloo road doesn’t really explain how ‘The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes’ happened (which, BTW, is smiling at me from the short stack on nightstand’s TBR pile, having graduated from the tall stack)*g*

  2. Diane Gaston says:

    Must be something in the water, Eileen! My past and present books feature Waterloo. See my blog from Monday!!

    Welcome to the Riskies…and to the Regency!!! It is great to have you in both!

    I, too, knew Melinda Helfer but not well enough. I’d just begun really knowing her through WRW when she passed away.

  3. Ladyhawk says:

    I am howling! What a wonderfully twisted path you’ve taken. And it’s made me realize that there just might be hope for me as a Regency writer! I don’t care for research either. But darn, just when I thought I’d managed a tenuous grip on it, now there’s another book on my ever-deepening TBR pile. ๐Ÿ™‚
    ~Judy

  4. Welcome Eileen.

    One of the things I like about the Regency is the lack of undergarments…

    What an interesting and twisted way to writing Regencies!

  5. ValerieL says:

    Since I don’t read contemporaries, I’ve never read any of your books. But I would love to try your Regencies and will go looking for The Unfortunate Miss Fortune. Also, I’ve read Dancing Toward Waterloo and thought it was fantastic.

  6. Thanks for visiting, Eileen! I gotta tell you that you gave one of the best workshops I’ve ever seen, it really inspired some of the WIPs I had going at the time (I emailed you to tell you so, too).

    I am very excited to read your Regency stuff, I read some of your rom-com because it was you, and I liked you so much.

    Yay! Thanks for visiting the Riskies.

  7. I *meant* to say rom-suspense. I did read the Fortunes book, but I have read others of your single titles.

  8. Eileen D says:

    Thanks for the welcome to the land of the quadrille, everybody. As to the short side-road to the Miss Fortunes, that was just one of those serendipitous things in publishing where Jen, Krissie and I were at the same RWA, came up with the idea, and it wouldn’t leave us alone. Problem is that now that I’ve dabbled in fantasy, I want to do that, too. Later. I’m busy.

  9. Cara King says:

    Thanks for joining us, Eileen!

    BTW, I know it’s not a recent book, but I just wanted to say how very much I was moved by “A Rose For Maggie” (from your Kathleen Korbel persona)!!! Amazing, amazing book.

    Now I can’t wait to read the Unfortunate Miss Fortunes!

    Cara

  10. Janga says:

    Hi, Eileen!

    I’m a long time fan. I’m with Cara on A Rose for Maggie. It’s one of the best arguments I know for the the substance that a category romance can possess.

    I love the Daughters of Myth books too and The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes and the mysteries, but I especially love the Kendall books. Some Men’s Dreams ranks with ARFM. I look forward to the Regencies. I ‘ll be delighted to add more Kathleen Korbel/Eileen Dreyer books to my keeper shelf. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Eileen D says:

    Cara and Janga, thank you so much. You definitely touched on a book that means a lot to me. I’m not very woo-woo myself, but I swear I channeled Maggie. It’s based on the story of my friend Lee and her lovely Eric, and it’s definitely a love story. Thank you! I do love suspense, but I”m so glad to be able to be Kathleen Korbel again.

  12. “now that I’ve dabbled in fantasy, I want to do that, too. Later. I’m busy.”

    LOL, Eileen! I totally hear you there–sometimes I want to try everything. ๐Ÿ™‚ (but I can’t imagine what a journey from Regency to rom-suspense would look like for me…)

    Welcome to RR!

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