Philippa Jane Keyworth, also known as P. J. Keyworth, and known to her friends as Pip, has been writing since she was twelve in every notebook she could find. Originally trained as a horse-riding instructor, Philippa went on to become a copywriter before beginning a degree in History and graduating with First Class Honours. She now works in Digital Marketing and part-time as an author.
Philippa has three historical romance novels out, each a standalone with indomitable heroines and lovable heroes. Her third novel, Fool Me Twice (Madison Street Publishing, 2016), follows the exploits of a notorious female gamester whose carefully orchestrated life is turned upside down by the arrival of a most ineligible gentleman?
The Edict marks her first fantasy novel and is the first in a trilogy. Following the stories of strong yet markedly different heroines, the world of The She Trilogy will see the ultimate struggle between good and evil played out in a fantasy world, bringing it to the brink of destruction.
1) Do you have an ‘elevator pitch’ for The Widow’s Redeemer, to summarize it for our audience members who maybe haven’t read it before? It focuses on Letty Burton ? she’s the opposite of what would be eligible. She’s a widow, penniless, and doesn’t have any connections in the Regency world (1815) and she comes across the most eligible and scandalous bachelor.
2) I just discovered the whole “Regency” genre. This qualifies, right? Can you define that term for us? There’s a few definitions: the period of 1811-1820, which was when the Prince of Wales, the son of the King George III, became a Regent because George III was the mad king, and he was ineligible to rule. Literarily: authors take different amounts of time for this. She’s heard it as broad as 1790 to 1830. She’s a bit more old school and stricter about it though: she keeps it to the actual Regency. In that time period, so much happens: the French Revolution, Revolutionary Wars, Napoleon? There’s a lot of change. It was on the brink of the Industrial Revolution. Pride and Prejudice came out in the late 18th century, so it wasn’t technically Regency, but the film adaptations display the people with Regency clothes. NOTE: Philippa contacted me afterwards and corrected herself that P&P was actually published in 1813! 🙂
3) Tell me a little about your journey writing The Widow’s Redeemer. I understand that you got the idea from the Book of Ruth? She is a Christian, and Ruth is a book of the Bible. It’s a love story played out in ancient Bible times. There are authors like Francine Rivers who dramatize novel versions of Bible characters. She thought it was cool and brought it to life: putting the same story in a different time period. She loves Ruth and thought she’d have a go at that. She started it when she was 19. She also always loved Jane Austen and Georgette Heyre (who writes really witty dialogue) and decided to try to write something like that. She listened to Mumford and Sons: Winter Winds (she always has a theme tune to a book and that was the one for the Widow’s Redeemer). She wrote the first draft over a year and a half. In that time, she got married and moved. She couldn’t find a job at the time, and decided to spend time writing.
4) You’re hybrid published, right? How did that come about? She takes the opportunities that were given her. She tried to find agents, but a friend mentioned this publishing house. She just submitted on a lark, and then when they offered it to her, she went for it. She queried a lot of agents on the fantasy book, but no one was super keen. But she loved the book and wanted it to see the light of day. Her editor at the publishing house and freelance editors are both brilliant. If you’re with an indie house, you get more support, and you don’t have to do the formatting, etc. She did have to do that for self-publishing. It’s a lot more work to self-publish. She’s also met a supportive community through self-publishing.
5) What advice might you have for other authors out there: what’s the most effective marketing strategy you’ve used to date? (Or perhaps the top three?) There’s nothing that will beat word of mouth. All you can do is make sure that what you put out there is the best you can do. She’s also heard it said that books sell books: the more you have out there, the more you sell. Then, being active on social media in a genuine way: be interested and interact with people, and do it because you enjoy it. Blog tours work well too!
6) Tell us a little about your backlist ? are you working on the Edict trilogy now? She’s working on the She Trilogy now, but it went on the back burner bc she wrote a sequel to Fool Me Twice. It’s just gone to her editor. It’s not technically Regency: it’s the 18th century, 1774: Big dresses and big hair. She really loves the hero, Tobias ? he’s not what you’d expect. Not very eligible, a younger son (not a great thing in that period of time: no title), and he’s a scapegrace: gets into loads of trouble. When you meet him at first, you wonder about him. Caro has no money and she’s living a double life: she’s a gamester: going to the gaming halls in London and makes money but in the day, she’s pretending to be a separate woman, very genteel and looking for a good husband. He meets both versions of her and causes trouble.
7) Who are some of your favorite authors/books that you would consider to be your inspirations? Jane Austen, Georgette Heyre (she often finds that Jane Austen lacks the description she wants; Georgette Heyre is a little more accessible to a modern audience. She also writes great heroines), Daphne DuMaurier (Frenchman’s Creek ? very clever at getting people’s thought patterns down), Alan Bradley (the Flavia de Luce mysteries are about an 11 yo sleuth). Very brilliantly written: she’s a young kid, but she’s also a genius. And he has a way of turning a phrase!
8) Anything I haven’t asked you that you want to make sure you communicate to our audience?
Philippa’s Amazon author page