Meredith Simmons~ Lost in the Past

Do you love historical romance? So does my guest today. Meredith Simmons is one of the 10 finalists in Kensington Brava’s WRITING WITH THE STARS contest. The last contestant standing in this rout will emerge with a publishing contract in her hand. Which one will it be? YOU can help pick the winner at RT BookReviews.

But right now, I’d like you to get acquainted with Meredith.


Thanks for having me, Mia.

I love historical romance. I enjoy picking up a book and finding myself in a completely different world. Now, don’t get me wrong. If there were a time machine that could take me back in time, but which offered no way back, I won’t go. I’m enamored of all sorts of modern conveniences. I’m a fan of flush toilets and hot showers. I love getting in my car and traveling further in an hour than anyone could go on horseback in a day. I really like that I’m not surrounded by the odors of unwashed bodies and raw sewage. But… Ah, you knew there would be a but.

Isn’t there something incredibly sexy about a man on a horse? Don’t you like the glorious clothing of the past – particularly when you don’t “really” have to wear it and the accompanying constricting undergarments? Isn’t it rather nice to inhabit a world where there isn’t instant communication and you can leisurely consider how you’ll respond? Don’t you like having a more absolute set of standards, rather than the nebulous situational ethics of today, especially when you can still be as nebulous as you want?

Yes, if I get to live in a fictional place – and it is fictional – then I choose the past.

When I was researching the background for Indentured Hearts, which takes place in Georgian England and the American colonies, I found the information fascinating. Since I live fairly close to Colonial Williamsburg, it was easy to submerge myself in the milieu. I could mentally move the wonderful plantations along the James River to the York River, where I wanted them. And then, of course, there were the imaginary men on horseback…

Do you prefer historical or contemporary romantic fiction? And if you like historical, which time period calls to you the most, and why? I’m looking forward to your answers.

Excerpt from Indentured Hearts

York, Virginia – August 1751

The women pushed and shoved as they shuffled along the ship’s passageway. Some laughed and joked, but the majority were silent. The hideous voyage was over. The unknown lay beyond the bright square of light coming through the hatch.

Cassy was one of the silent ones. She held herself upright by force of will. Dear God, could this nightmare finally be over? As she stepped onto the deck of the Agatha Jane, the sun blinded her. She unconsciously put a hand on the woman in front of her, following wherever she led.

“Women to the right,” a crewman yelled at the group emerging from the hold. “Form a single line.” A hand roughly grasped Cassy’s arm and shoved her back a few steps. She retained her balance with difficulty. “Single line, ya stupid jade.”

The deck burned her bare feet, but she resisted the urge to move them around, not wanting to draw the crewman’s attention. The past weeks had taught her the wisdom of remaining as invisible as possible. She wiped her watering eyes and squinted around her.

The refuse from the holds had been assembled on the deck. The men formed a line directly across from the women. Some stood proudly. Some appeared as beaten as Cassy felt. She’d always thought of herself as a daring risk-taker. Now she was defeated.

She took a deep breath of untainted air. It smelled of salt and fish and rotting sea weed. After the stench of the dank hold where eighteen unwashed women had been closely confined for over two months, no perfume had ever been more alluring.

Bereft and abandoned, Cassy could only hope someone would buy her labor. The lady compared to a Dresden figurine in London ballrooms had fallen very low.

Meredith’s Bio:

Meredith Simmons is a storyteller whose award-winning short stories have appeared in various science fiction and fantasy magazines and anthologies. She loves to read, write, talk, and travel in both the real world and the world of her imagination. She has a “day job” as a real estate broker, which means she’s recently had a lot of time to write.

Meredith’s mentor is Brava author Bronwen Evans, author of dark, gritty Regency romance. (Come on, you didn’t really think Jane Austen’s England was all tea and crumpets, did you?) Bronwyn’s INVITATION TO RUIN hits the shelves Feb. 22, 2011. Check out an excerpt on 

Be sure to leave an answer to Merry’s question. What’s your favorite romance subgenre? And I’d like to toss out a related question–why does a man look hotter on horseback? ;-)

24 thoughts on “Meredith Simmons~ Lost in the Past

  1. Meredith Simmons says:

    Laura -br /br /Thanks for stopping by. And I can definitely see why you#39;d be partial to men on horseback. Foxhunting – how cool! It#39;s like living in the past and still having flush toilets. :-)br /br /Merry

  2. Meredith Simmons says:

    Hi Bron -br /br /It was great working with you. I was fortunate you were chosen as my mentor. I#39;m looking forward to meeting you in person – and seeing the beauty of New /br /Bron#39;s location was the one thing that made our collaboration quot;interesting.quot; We#39;d each get a brilliant idea in the middle of the other#39;s night – and have to wait for her to wake up to get feedback. But we made it work!br /br /See you soon – Merry

  3. Laura Browning says:

    I love lots of romance sub genres, and really like a Georgian or Regency. As to the men on horseback…I can answer that. That#39;s exactly how I met my husband — foxhunting — and there is nothing sexier than a man in tight breeches and tall boots! lol

  4. Bronwen Evans says:

    Hi Meredith and all historical lovers. br /br /In answer to Mia#39;s question of why men look good on horse back, I think the Regency period is why. Those tight breeches on long masculine limbs, ending in black Hessian#39;s – could anything be more sexy. br /br /Anyway, I love your story Meredith and it was an honor to mentor you. I#39;m looking forward to catching up for lunch when you visit New Zealand in a couple of weeks. Good luck with the contest.

  5. Meredith Simmons says:

    Hi Daz -br /br /I think you#39;ve indicated THE most popular historical period – the Regency. It seems to be most people#39;s favorite, probably because, as you#39;ve indicated, so many terrific books have been set in this time period. Glad you stopped by and shared your /br /Merry

  6. Meredith Simmons says:

    Kate -br /br /Thanks for your nice words on the excerpt. Interestingly enough, about a year ago I would have agreed with you about historical novels set in America, but then I read a biography of George Taylor, who came to the colonies as an indentured servant, ended up a wealthy owner of iron works, and eventurally signed the Declaration of Independence. Such fluidity in class was available nowhere else. It also made me wonder what it would be like for a member of the nobility to suddenly be reduced to the role of servant, moving to a much lower class. Characters and plot suddenoly presented themselves and Indentured Hearts was /br /Merry

  7. Daz says:

    I would say without a doubt that the Regency sub genre is my favorite in Historicals. I love the gowns, the manners, the culture, the families and the relationships … oh yes, and the dukes. I remember the first time I ever read a Regency was many, many, many years ago, it was a Johanna Lindsay quot;Malloryquot; book. After that, I was hooked.

  8. Kate Parker says:

    HI, Merry, I love the excerpt, but I love Victorian anywhere and medieval Europe better than American /br /And men look sexy on horseback because in my imagination, their hair is tossled and their shirts are open to the waist, showing a lightly hairy chest. Now, this wasn#39;t the way they really looked, but hey, it#39;s my imagination.

  9. Meredith Simmons says:

    Lynn -br /br /I#39;m glad you liked the excerpt. You#39;re seeing the heroine at the end of the voyage from hell. She#39;s been seasick for months, her best friend died, she arrives in the wrong location, and she#39;s being sold as an indentured servant to pay for her passage. But I#39;m sure you can guess that her life is about to improve. :-) Thanks for stopping /br /Merry

  10. Anonymous says:

    Merry,br /br /Loved the excerpt from Indentured Hearts. Can#39;t wait to read the rest. Historical Romance definitely wins, in my estimation. br /br /Good luck in the /br /Lynn Scott

  11. Meredith Simmons says:

    Hi Stephanie -br /br /Since you#39;ve read my stories in the plural, you#39;ve quot;outedquot; yourself as a sfamp;f reader. Thanks for coming /br /Merry

  12. Meredith Simmons says:

    Penelope -br /br /Thanks for your good wishes. I too am attracted to the formality. I wonder if men today realize how incredibly sexy they look in a tux? I suspect if they did it wouldn#39;t be so hard to drag them to formal functions – where we women could get all gussied up, which is so fun to /br /Merry

  13. Meredith Simmons says:

    Mia -br /br /I loved your comment about selective history. It is so true. And the point you made about your husband riding a horse – oh,yah! I#39;m married to a man with a Harley and, well, it works the same. Thigh-wise, of course. :-)br /br /Merry

  14. Stephanie says:

    Congrats Meredith! I love your stories!

  15. Penelope says:

    Merry, congrats on being a finalist for this contest!br /br /My vote is for historicals, with paranormal a close second. I find that I reread my historicals over and over again….I just can#39;t get enough of them. I love the juxtaposition of the formality of Regency England with a lusty, romantic story. It#39;s such a great combination!

  16. MiaMarlowe says:

    Hi Dale! Thanks for dropping by again. br /br /When we lived in Wyoming, my DH wanted to have horses, so we bought a pretty little paint mare for me and a bay quarterhorse for him. I knew he#39;d had horses as a kid growing up on an Iowa farm, but I had no idea I#39;d been sleeping with a centaur all those years. The man could RIDE! br /br /When I#39;d see him galloping across the pasture, leaning over his mount#39;s neck urging him to more speed, with all that rippling power pounding between his legs, . . . well, that#39;s maybe more than you wanted to know! ;-)

  17. MiaMarlowe says:

    Nancy, I#39;m with you. I love the romance of history. The realities of cholera and dubious hygiene would make actual time travel something only the truly adventurous would /br /Then there#39;s the actual plight of women in history. Even the well-born ones didn#39;t enjoy the personal freedoms we do. I can#39;t imagine sitting by meekly without the ability to vote or being able to pursue an education. I wouldn#39;t last a week in the early 19th /br /But I love to write about it and visit the fictional versions of that time. Selective history is the essence of romance.

  18. Meredith Simmons says:

    Hi Dale -br /br /Thanks for your kind words on the excerpt. And I definitely agree with your reasons for finding a man on horseback sexy. I also really like how the thighs are accentuated. Yeah, nice muscular thighs. :-)br /br /Merry

  19. Meredith Simmons says:

    Hi Nancy -br /br /I agree. I have a couple of other stories that are set in the Regency period. I love the high-waisted gowns. You can come and dance at any of the imaginary balls I give.:-)br /br /Merry

  20. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Merry! I love, love this excerpt. Really well done! I adore regency historicals – and have devoured them since a teenager. As to why does a man look hotter on when riding a horse – it#39;s that commanding presence, that aura of power – very sexy!

  21. Nancy says:

    I have always loved regency england with all the balls, but if i had to give up modern conveniences to live there? No way! Good luck with the contest and I hope your book gets published.

  22. Meredith Simmons says:

    Yeah, I too like paranormals, probably obvious since I#39;ve previously written sci-fi and fantasy, but they so often have a comtemporary setting and there#39;s something so satisfying about the richly textured ambience of the past. When they#39;re combined, however… great fun!br /br /Merry

  23. MiaMarlowe says:

    Here#39;s a working link to your site, Meredith. a href=”” rel=”nofollow” br /br /Oh, and put me down solidly in the historical romance camp. I adore historicals. Paranormals run close second. A combination of the two is perfectly yummy if it doesn#39;t overshadow the history.

  24. Meredith Simmons says:

    Hi Mia -br /You#39;re so kind to do this for the WWTS contestants. The first thing I did this morning was come to your blog, and there I was. So exciting! And I really was lost in the past and forgot to mention my website – I#39;d love for people to stop /I#39;m looking forward to the answer to your horseman question, but I#39;m temporarily keeping my opinion to myself. :-) br /Thanks, Merry

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