Let’s sit with the very proper Lady T.L. Jenning…
Q: How did you come up with “Lady” as your first name?
A: When I first started publishing I knew that I wanted to write under a pen name (since I’m personally ridiculously shy and no one knows that I write at all). I was considering calling myself simply “A. Lady” at first, but I expanded it a little, although I kept “Lady” part and became “Lady T. L. Jennings”.
Q: Historical M/M romance is so rare. What made you decide on this as your genre? (we are thankful you did!)
A: Why, thank you dear!
Initial I wrote very short and more Gothic Victorian stories (for example the “Lust and Lace” collection). I didn’t make a conscious decision about moving on to M/M, however suddenly more and more of the characters that turned up on my mental doorstep and demanded that I wrote about them and their stories were men… and gay.
Q: What kind of research do you do to keep the stories accurate? Is it difficult to work around the conventions of the day?
A: I do all kind of research, which I thoroughly enjoy. Since I’m fortunate enough to live in England I’ve visited many of the places in my stories (London, Oxford, Bath, Dartmoor, Scotland, etc) and sometimes I arm myself with my camera to go out hunting for stories and inspiration, which I post on my website www.mysecretquill.com.
I also visit museums (Victoria and Albert’s museum, British museum, Pitt River’s museum, Kensington Palace) to get inspiration.
And I read a lot of Victorian classic literature. I like sneaking in small accurate details in my stories and I can happily spend an entire afternoon engrossing myself in researching the water and pump system in London online. Wikipedia and other online resources are a good source.
Q: Which is more difficult to write – your M/M Victorian or the M/F? Which do you enjoy more?
A: I don’t find either genre difficult to write… however sometimes the M/M genre demands a little bit more… research.
I honestly enjoy writing both M/M and M/F and have even written a couple of F/F stories. My stories are always about love (and lust) and not about gender.
Having said that, I do enjoy writing historical M/M perhaps a little bit more than M/F, because the gentlemen during the Victorian era have this wonderful combination of self-restrain and perfect control in combination with the romance of the Victorian era. (Did I mention the billowing shirts, snug breeches, and silk laced cravats? No?)
That and the danger of temptation and desire (this was after all a time when gay liaisons were a hanging offence) create this tension between my characters as they are torn in between their feelings and their “common sense”. Writing M/M is also about writing what it feelings like to be different (something that I can relate to), but also the general message that love in the end conquers all (including social barriers and laws).
Q: What genre do you read for yourself?
A: I’m a voracious reader and tend to read in the most different genres (as you can see if you check out my Goodread’s page). I read fantasy, SF, thrillers, classics, and paranormal novels. Some of my favourite authors are:
19th century classics: Jane Austin (of course), Charlotte Brontë, and Oscar Wilde.
Modern historical writers that I like: Sarah Waters (Tipping the velvet), Belinda Starling (The Journal of Dora Damage), and Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell).
Fantasy: Robert Jordan, Robin Hobbs (the assassin trilogy is wonderful!), and lately G.R.R. Martins.
Other writers that I admire: Anne Rice and Neil Gaiman.
Q: Are you a cat lady or a dog person?
A: Both. I like all kind of animals. I’ve a black cat, which often sleeps on my laptop…
Q: Who is your all time favorite character in a book?
A: Oh, my God! How on Earth should I be able to choose? I think I need to narrow it down to choosing one of my favourite characters in the Jane Austen novels. And in that case the answer is: Mr Wickham! (I always fall for the “bad guys”). He is such a romantic scoundrel and quite is quite irresistible.
Q: You collect corsets. Do you wear them?
A: Yes, as a matter of fact I do, but only on special occasions. My favourite is a steel-boned satin steampunk corset with metal buckles…
Q: What is the most difficult thing about writing?
A: I think the hardest part for me to write is when my characters are quarrelling. I get very emotional and upset and can be almost depressed for days. When I wrote the scene in “Secrets Letters” when John rejected Adrian and pushed him away on the cobblestone streets after Adrian had confessed his feelings outside Radcliffe camera in Oxford, I was completely wretched for days!
Q: Do you read your reviews?
A: Sometimes. I try not to read nasty reviews (because I know that my stories are not for everyone and it’s easy to get depressed and self-critical if you read negative opinions about your work that you have poured in half of your soul in to. It is really, really hard not to take criticism personal and there’re unfortunately a lot of internet bullies out there). Having said that: A positive review will make me tear-eyed and happy for days to come! So yes, I do read them, but not always and not all of them.
Q: Tell us about a true afternoon tea.
A: True English afternoon tea should always include: A pot of tea (preferable Lady Grey, my favorite tea), homemade hot scones (but not made by me, of course), at least three sorts of marmalade or spreads and a generous amount of clotted cream from Devon. The best afternoon tea I’ve ever had was together with a friend at the Jane Austen Tea Room in Bath in the literary company of Mr Darcy.
Q: Do you have any upcoming projects?
A: I’ve recently finished my third short story collection: ~ Secrets and Seduction ~ a Victorian Romance and Erotic Short Story Collection. Vol. III, so I’m about to start something new. It will most likely be M/M and I’m thinking about either writing a new novelette collection or a sequence to one of my novellas. Sebastian from “Complicated affairs” is constantly in my mind, but I’m also interested in see what’s going to happen to my three characters from “Blackmail”.
Q: Short bio please!
A: Lady T. L. Jennings is a shy writer who loves the Victorian era and afternoon tea. She lives on the outskirts of Oxford in England, and writes Victorian erotica and romance with a dash of gothic mystique in longhand with a fountain pen.
She collects books, corsets, and lovers (all with varying levels of success).
Victorian Romance and Erotica short story collections
by Lady T. L. Jennings
~ Lust and Lace ~
a Victorian Romance and Erotic short story collection. Vol. I.
~ Corsets and Cravings ~
a Victorian Romance and Erotic short story collection. Vol. II.
a Victorian Romance and Erotic short story collection. Vol. III.
Gay Victorian Romance and Erotica
by Lady T. L. Jennings
~ Blackmail ~
a Gay Victorian Romance and Erotic Novella
Leave a comment for Lady Jennings by 10/14 for a random chance to win a copy of Secrets and Seduction!