Regina Scott is the award-winning author of more than 25 historical romances, most set in the Regency period. Her stories have traveled the globe, with translations in many languages including Dutch, German, Italian, and Portuguese. She and her husband of over 25 years reside in Washington State with their overactive Irish terrier. Regina Scott is a decent fencer, owns a historical costume collection that takes up over a third of her large closet, and serves as the chief organizer for her family and friends.
“The Bride Ship is such a charming story. The hero, Clay, is a man among men. He’s a rough and tough man who knows what he wants but underneath he has a heart of gold. Allegra was married to his brother but is now a widow. Clay is completely opposite from his brother who was a refined gentleman. Clay lived a life of adventure panning for gold in California and shipping lumber from the forests of Oregon Territory. Now Clay wants to help Allegra because of his devotion to his brother. But that is not the real reason. His love for Allegra shines through.” –Review by Author Linda Weaver Clarke
Welcome to my blog, Regina. The Bride Ship is your first venture outside the Regency era. Please tell us about your novel.
The Bride Ship is the first in a new series that chronicles the real-life story of a group of women who left the East Coast after the Civil War to start new lives in frontier Washington Territory. Though my heroine, Allegra Banks Howard, and her friends are fictional, the challenges they face are real to that fateful journey and time period. Some of the women came hoping to be brides. Others merely wanted a chance at a future away from sad memories of husbands and brothers lost to that bloody war. None expected the trip and the destination to be so ripe for adventure, and love.
I have never heard of this before. That’s so interesting. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?
I first learned about the Mercer Belles (one of the kinder names given to this stalwart group of ladies) when I was a girl growing up in the Puget Sound area of Washington State, and I’ve wanted to write a story about them ever since. What would make a woman willing to travel thousands of miles, to leave family and friends behind, most likely forever? To attempt life on the frontier with nothing but the clothes on her back and the faith in her heart? How did that woman react when she saw fledgling Seattle, which wasn’t nearly as civilized as she had been led to believe from the materials given her by the group’s recruiter and organizer, Asa Mercer? I could imagine dozens of ways the stories might have played out, all depending on the lady herself.
I bet the trip was very hard to endure. What kind of research did you have to do?
I read every account of the Mercer party I could locate, including journals of the ladies in the group. I studied in the state Historical Society archives to learn what befell the others once they reached their hallowed shores. I owe a lot of my material to the journal of Roger Conant, which has been published as Mercer’s Belles: The Journal of a Reporter. He was a New York Times reporter embedded in the Mercer party, who not only described their adventures but shared the stories with the newspaper to the delight of his many readers. He had a rather patronizing attitude toward the ladies, calling them “fair virgins” and emphasizing every time any of them so much as batted her eyes at a gentlemen. But the stories he tells, of exploring the wonders of Rio de Janeiro, navigating the desolate Straits of Magellan, being chased by a Spanish man-o-war in Chile, and visiting the Galapagos Islands, are amazing!
Please tell us about the main character in this story and what you love about her.
What I love about Allegra is that she is trying her wings for the first time. A pampered Boston socialite, she went through life as the dutiful daughter, doing everything her parents required, including marrying the son of family friends when his brother, the man she loved, headed West. Now her husband and parents have died, and she can see how her mother-in-law is determined to shape Allegra’s young daughter into the same mold. Isn’t there more to life? Shouldn’t Allegra be the one guiding her daughter’s footsteps? Shouldn’t Allegra have the right to choose who she’ll marry, if she’ll marry again? She may make some mistakes along the way, but she picks herself up and keeps on trying, knowing that it’s not only her own future she’s championing, but her daughter’s. When Clay Howard, the man she once loved, shows up to “rescue” her, she’s not so sure she wants rescuing. And then it’s his turn to learn a few things.
Wow! Your story sounds so intriguing. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.
I believe in living the history I write about. I’ve sailed on a tall ship, driven a carriage four-in-hand, sipped the waters in Bath, and strolled the shops on Bond Street in London. If you need a fourth for an English country dance, I’m your girl. But don’t be surprised if I step on your toes. We have many women named Grace in my family. I am not one of them. J
Haha! Now I know the real you! Thanks for this wonderful interview, Regina. This has been a real pleasure getting to know you.