“Meet the Teacher”

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

Let me introduce myself to you, dear readers. I am a product of the Finicky 50s, the Salacious 60s, and the Scathing 70s. I spent 40 years in the public classrooms of three different states, educating the “youth of America.” I have been a Time Warner Apple Award Finalist, twice Teacher of the Year, and a Martha Holden Jennings Scholar. I was recently a part of an Austen program at the Smithsonian. Besides Jane Austen, I am passionate about many things: my son Joshua, close friends, my God, yellow roses, period dramas, the NFL, track and field, martial arts, dancing, romance novels, dark chocolate, the scent of lavender, digging in my garden, words, words, and more words.

“What might I tell my readers that might give them a better idea of my personality?” I ask myself. First, I am a “lead, follow, or get out of my way” type of person. My OCD demands that I have six White Outs on my desk in a double row of 3. I went into labor six weeks early in the middle of my theatre class. Acting meets Marriage and Family Life! We do martial arts at my house. My half brother is Chuck Norris’s highest ranking instructor, and my son and I hold multiple ranking belts. Although I am a vegetarian, I craved Wendy’s hamburgers when I was pregnant. Go figure! I tell myself I needed the extra protein. A man once told me I had a “photogenic” memory. Needless to say, my “photographic” memory recalls distinctly how I told him to never call me again. I cannot carry a tune, so I sing in the shower and in the car. Because of rheumatic fever, I did part of my early schooling at home. I hate the words “said” and “that,” as well as the phrase “I can’t.” I possess a caustic sense of humor and sometimes do not think before I speak.

My late mother, literally, placed a book before me when I was no more than a babe propped up against a pillow. Reportedly, she would display a comic book on a makeshift stand, and I would contentedly “coo” my way through the pictures. When I created a fuss, she would turn the page. My mother read voraciously, as do I. Mixed with my choices of historical offerings (was obsessed with George Custer for several years), she suggested many of the classics: Dickens, Hemingway, Faulkner, the Brontës, Flaubert, etc., etc. Enter the incomparable Jane Austen. I was not quite 12 years of age, and I was hooked.

As I said earlier, I grew up during the Sputnik scare, when our educational system placed a premium on pushing U.S. students into advanced classes. Because I was an avid reader and because God saw fit to endow me with a high IQ, I was one of those chosen for the challenging courses. This was a heady experience, but it also increased my negative self image. It was not “cool” to be so smart among my friends. Compound that dilemma with Mother Nature’s cruel trick: I grew to 5’7″ by age 11, head and shoulders above my petite cousins, my 5’1″ mother, and every boy I wanted to meet in junior high school. I was “freaky” smart and terribly tall – too smart and too tall for any young man to seek me out.

Then Jane Austen introduced me to Fitzwilliam Darcy, a man who chose his “unsuitable”mate because she had a face “rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes,” because her figure was “light and pleasing,” because “he was caught” by her playful manners, and because of “the liveliness” of her mind. Austen convinced me that there must be a Darcy for me – someone who would embrace my intelligence and my lithe and majestic figure. (LOL!) Of course, I did not account for Jane’s humor. Miss Austen forgotten to mention how many “George Wickhams” a girl must encounter before Darcy appears. For years, I cursed Jane’s oversight.

Three years ago, my Advanced Placement English class challenged me to write my own book. “If you know all this, do it yourself.” They planted the seed, and I began to wonder if I could tell Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. So, in semi-secret, I began to write a book of my own in the evenings. Three months later, when it was ready, I paid one of my students to draw the cover art, and with the help of a friend in the publishing business, I self-published the book. Darcy’s Passions was a gift to them and to me – a way of announcing, “I accepted your challenge; now you must accept mine.”

Darcy’s Passions rose quickly on the Amazon sales list, and Ulysses Press contacted me about publishing the book. The rest is history, so they say. We followed Passions with a sequel, Darcy’s Temptation (aka Darcy’s Dreams), which was a 2010 Booksellers’ Best Award finalist. Vampire Darcy’s Desire came next – a Gothic twist on the tale with Wickham as the purveyor of a 200-year old curse and Darcy as a dhampir, fighting his desire to possess Elizabeth as both a man and a vampire. Captain’s Wentworth’s Persuasion (aka Wayward Love) tells Austen’s Persuasion from Wentworth’s point of view. This month we released The Phantom of Pemberley: A Pride and Prejudice Murder Mystery. I also have a modern adaptation of P&P, entitled Honor and Hope, set in the North Carolina wine country. Soon I will release my first Regency romance, The Scandal of Lady Eleanor. It is the first in a five-part series about a secret British government unit known as the Realm.

If one examines my writing, he will discover my love of history incorporated in the pieces. In my works, the reader will find the Peterloo massacre, British naval supremacy, Regency era customs, the use of saturation bombing and chemical warfare, toys and games, the Abolitionist movement, the earliest case of DID, the Child ballads, and urban legends. The list goes on and on. Predictably, as a teacher, I make a point of explaining some key ideas within the story lines. I am aware that not everyone who reads my novels knows as much about Jane Austen and the Regency era as do I. One will also note that I use as much of Austen’s original wording as possible. My novels are quite liberally doused with Austen quotes.

About Regina Jeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and historical romantic suspense.
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