DG Rampton - Feel-Good Historical Romance
Bestselling author DG Rampton writes feel-good historical romance, featuring intelligent heroines, dashing men, and sparkling banter. An engineer by training but a romantic by nature, she left behind her corporate career to follow the call of her artistic inclinations and write stories that bring people joy. She has written two humorous romance novels set in the English Regency period and is currently working on a third. Her novel ARTEMISIA reached #1 on the Amazon Best Seller list for British Historical Literature, and her writing is regularly compared to the works of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about this book.
Please give us a short introduction to what Artemisia is about.
ARTEMISIA is a traditional Regency romance that chronicles the love-hate (or rather hate-love!) relationship of two strong-willed people used to getting their own way, who discover that despite their prejudices they cannot live without one another.
The story centers around high-spirited Artemisia Grantley, niece of the Duke of Wentworth, who has never made any attempt to conform to the feminine ideal expected of a lady of quality, nor has she ever had the benefit of an unfavorable opinion formed against her. However, when her uncle’s friend the Marquess of Chysm enters her life, his lordship seems to be always at hand to witness her shortcomings and bring them to her attention.
As Artemisia reluctantly embarks upon her first London Season, with Lord Chysm’s charming sister as a chaperone, a scandalous family secret and a conspiracy that stretches all the way to Napoleonic France threaten to entangle her with the one person she could happily throttle.
Why do you like to combine humor with Regency romance?
Having been weaned on Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, I find humor a vital component of storytelling. It adds levity and a sense of fun, and makes a story more engaging. Also, at the end of the day, I write because I want to make people feel good. The time they spend in the world I create is an escape from their reality and I want their visit to be as enjoyable as possible, and what better way to bring joy into people’s lives than through romance and humor!
Tell us more about Artemisia Grantley. What makes her so special?
Artemisia is very dear to me. She was the first-ever character that popped into my head and demanded to be given her own story. She’s an intelligent and feisty young lady, more interested in her books and tomboyish pursuits than the time-consuming business of being a debutante, and despite her rough edges, she has a warmth and candor to her character that endears her to others.
Why did you pick a greek goddesses theme for this series?
It happened organically, it wasn’t planned in the least! I fell in love with the name Artemisia after watching a film about the life of Artemisia Gentileschi, the Renaissance painter. Artemisia is the name of a Greek goddess and as all things classical were very much in fashion during the Regency period, I thought it was a fitting name for my heroine. Also, it suited my sense of humor that the Greek goddess Artemisia and the Roman goddess Diana are one and the same…and my given name happens to be Diana! The heroine in my second novel is uncommonly beautiful and that naturally led me to the name Aphrodite, and so the Regency Goddesses series was born.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Being an engineer by training, I love to manage a project, any project! Whether it’s to do with construction, publishing, film or simply throwing a party, the project manager in me likes to take control.
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent, refusing to do what you had planned for them?
Yes, all the time! It often feels as if my characters are alive in their own right and they help me to tell their story.
What makes the Marquess of Chysm such a great love interest?
I must admit I'm a little in love with Lord Chysm. He embodies many of the traits that I find utterly attractive in a man, such as integrity, the strength of personality, intelligence, wit, and of course passion. And I don’t think I’m the only one who has a soft spot for him. He has been quite a hit with my readers.
Your work has been compared to that of Austen and Heyer. Which Regency romance authors would you like to name as influences?
I've always been open about the fact that Austen and Heyer have been my main influences, and though I’m told that I have evolved my own style, I still owe them a great deal and to be compared to them, even in some small way, is such an honor!
I do have a secret third influence: Oscar Wilde. Readers who are familiar with his writing may recognize a flavor of him in my dialogue.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
Once I’m seated in a comfy spot with a lovely cup of chai tea, I think up an opening scene that will immediately capture my readers' attention. I once approached the literary agent for the Georgette Heyer estate with an early manuscript of ARTEMISIA and he gave me the best advice I’ve ever received. He pointed out that Georgette Heyer was brilliant at quickly introducing her characters and setting up the tension between them, drawing the reader into her story from the start. I’ve never forgotten that.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I like to write in coffee shops where I know the owners so that they won’t kick me out if I sit there for four hours typing away. When people know I'm writing a book they are always so interested and supportive. It’s a wonderful feeling and I have some lovely memories from my time in coffee shops, both in London and Sydney.
What are you working on right now?
I recently started writing novel no. 3, the third book in the Regency Goddesses series, which is really exciting. I love starting a new novel as there are so many possibilities before me. I only have a rough idea of where I want the story to go and the rest simply evolves as I write.
I should point out that the books in the series are stand-alone. However, as an insider joke, there is one secondary character that returns in each one. No one has ever mentioned that they have noticed the connection, so it may have gone undetected…but for anyone reading this, I would love for you to get in touch and let me know if you have discovered her (hint!).
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I always love to hear from my readers and I try to reply to each of them, even if it takes me a few months. They can usually reach me quickly through my social media accounts ( Instagram - @fortheloveofjaneausten, Facebook - DG Rampton), or through my website (dgrampton.com).
For a limited time, ARTEMISIA is exclusive to Amazon (paperback) and Kindle (ebook). However, APHRODITE can be purchased at Amazon, Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Apple iBooks, and Google Play.
Some other fun facts…
Recently, I was fortunate to be involved in adapting the classic Victorian novel NORTH AND SOUTH, by Elizabeth Gaskell, with digital publisher Manor House Books. The aim was to place greater emphasis on the romantic elements of the story and make it more accessible to a modern audience. The Manor House Books edition is well worth a read for it is wonderfully romantic (reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice) and it has a happy ending, which is always my preference as an author and a reader.
I have also recently completed a reading of my second novel APHRODITE (in its entirety) as a podcast. This arose out my desire to provide some entertainment for our elderly loved ones who are stuck at home because of the Covid lockdowns. I thought they might enjoy a friendly voice reading to them. The podcast, "A Reading of APHRODITE - a historical romance inspired by Jane Austen", is available through Google Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, and other platforms.
My most exciting moment as an author so far was when I was invited on ABC radio to discuss the romance genre with two other best-selling authors. After suffering from terrible nerves in the beginning, the experience ended up being so much fun that I could have kept going for hours! Although we did have one slightly odd gentleman caller who seemed to want to take the discussion into x-rated territory. There’s always one!
If anyone is interested in listening to the program here is the link ... https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/nightlife/romance-is-thriving-for….