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INTERVIEW: Felicity George on Chasing Dreams

Updated: Jan 30


Welcome to the Tuesday Author Interview with Christina Boyd for the Who, What, When, Where, and Why.


I first met Felicity George when she sent me an email, asking me what I did as an editor, specifically as a line editor. She even sent me an opening excerpt from a work in progress, and it's delicious. I was hooked from the start. Her second novel, A Courtesan's Worth, has recently released.


CHRISTINA: When did you first think you had a book to write and how did you start?


FELICITY: Ever since I was a little girl, I have created stories in my head. But it wasn’t until the start of the Covid lockdown, when I lost my creative outlet of teaching drama, that I finally sat down and started writing a novel.

I worked seven days a week until I had a draft. It wasn’t a good draft – that first novel will never see the light of day – but it provided the boost I needed to believe in myself enough to study the craft. Ultimately, after another practice novel, I wrote A Lady’s Risk, which landed me my agent and my book deal with Hachette UK.


CHRISTINA: Interesting how what seemed like such a worldwide struggle sent you on a different path.


If you could tell 21-year-old Felicity anything, what would you share?


FELICITY: People often tell younger generations to follow their dreams, and I agree everyone should chase what brings them joy in life, as long as it doesn’t hurt others. But my twenty-one-year-old self didn’t know how to chase her dreams. She didn’t know how to believe in herself. She listened far too much to the little hater in her head that told her she wasn’t good enough, that she could never do it. So, I would say to her: "Silence that hater. She’s a bully, and she’s wrong. Every time she tries to poison your thoughts, tell her to hush, because you can succeed. Now, go and chase your dreams!"

White lady with blonde hair dressed in pale yellow Regency gown sitting on wooden bench next to a stone wall.
Felicity George, June 2023, went up Chawton Great House in Hampshire, former manor of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight (now a research center for the Study of Early Women’s Writing, 1600-1830) and found my YULETIDE anthology bench, #15, in the Walled Garden. (YULETIDE, a sponsor in the “Share a Bench with Jane” fundraiser.)

CHRISTINA: Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Push away the negative self-talk. You will never get anything done listening to doubt.


What comes first, plot or characters?


FELICITY: For me, the characters always comes first. For the "Gentlemen of London" Regency Romance series (in which the books are linked by five bachelor friends), I begin with the male hero, determining what has so far kept him from love. This might be a traumatic event, or a childhood wound, or a mistruth he believes about himself. From this, I determine the arc his character must travel in order to open his guarded heart to love. As I explore this, a perfect partner for this journey develops. Then the work on the heroine begins, for she naturally she must have her own wounds and hurts, and her own arc; I like for the two protagonists’ journeys to mirror each other. The plot develops from this character work. (Just a bit of advice for readers interested in writing romance: remember, whether you start your character work with H1 or H2, it’s critical that both protagonists are given significant character arcs. They both must change and develop before they can be whole-hearted partners.)


CHRISTINA: I like that. They must both change and develop to be whole.


As you know, I am in the query trenches, trying to find an agent to champion my debut novel. Now that you have published your second book, what is your best advice for new writers like me?


FELICITY: My best advice for new writers is to get your stories into the hands of readers and listen to their feedback. This can be so terrifying, but until we know how our writing makes others feel, we can’t improve. It might help a new writer to remember that published novels go through a team of readers – from family and friends to editors, copyeditors, and proofreaders – before they make it onto a bookstore shelf. And every author has heard ‘this doesn’t work’ or ‘let’s rework this’ countless times. Learn to receive constructive criticism as a good thing – it means that someone cares enough about your book to read it and tell you where to improve! And remember, every revision makes the story stronger.


CHRISTINA: All good advice! And I agree, getting early readers is vital. They help you know what works (which is the needed boost for an author) and what isn't (which is critical to writing a good read!)


While reading, I can't help but cast famous faces in the novel. Tell me, who would you dreamcast in your next book?


FELICITY: The hero of the third book in my series (A Debutante’s Desire, coming April 2024) is definitely a young Richard Armitage, in my mind. His heroine, who I can’t wait for my readers to meet, would be perfectly played by Jenna Coleman. But as for book two, A Courtesan’s Worth, that released July 6, I’m afraid I don’t have any contemporary actors to cast. In my head, heroine Kitty was always a more statuesque Vivien Leigh. And as for hero Sidney, I’ve never quite found anyone who resembles the image in my mind. I’d love to know what my readers think, though!


CHRISTINA: Ooh, yes. Richard Armitage in anything is a hit. Reading A Courtesan's Worth this week, I imagined Kitty to be played by Lily James. I just love her.

dark haired woman in black gown with white long gloves surrounded by candlelight.
Dreamcasting actress Lily James as Kitty. Image from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, 2016.

And I adore your second book! Congratulations. Thank you for your time to answer my questions and sharing your journey and great writing advice. Best wishes on the book series, too. I hope the words are flowing. Again, thank you for finding my YULETIDE bench at Chawton House. What a thrill for me!




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Felicity George is a writer and teacher from Toronto, where she lives with her husband, her two teenage children, a large cat, and a tiny dog. A lifelong devotee of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, Felicity adores a happily-ever-after.


Felicity is currently writing the "Gentlemen of London Regency Romance" series (Orion, Hachette UK). Her debut novel, A Lady’s Risk, is available on ebook, paperback, and audiobook. Her second book, A Courtesan’s Worth, published 6 July 2023.


Connect with Felicity on social media. Twitter: Felicity George @ElizabethWelke; on Facebook: Felicity George, Author @FelicityGeorgeRegencyRomance. Represented by Kate Nash at the Kate Nash Literary Agency.



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