Then and Now: Jane Feather


Jane Feather then ...

... and now. 

Beloved historical romance author Jane Feather is known for her sweeping dramas and dark heroes. Feather began publishing books back in 1984, writing contemporary romances for two years as Claudia Bishop before she released her first historical romance as Jane Feather in 1986. Over the course of twenty five years the author has written thirty seven novels and her works have been included in several anthologies. Today we chat with this bestselling author about how the romance genre, and her writing, has evolved since she debuted on the scene.


How do you think romance readers’ expectations have changed since you began writing?
I think readers expect a lot more from the characters, a much deeper emotional side to the love story, and three dimensional characters. In the "old" days, the characters were much flatter, less complex, less real, if you will.

How were your early heroines different from the heroines who you are writing about these days? How about your heroes?
My early heroines were quite often ingénues, which was popular then. The unsophisticated but feisty virgin and the strong and usually older hero. Now the heroines are all grown up, with family responsibilities, as often as not, and a complex back story to frame out the narrative. The heroes are more real, I think. Flawed in some way, but usually sensitive, willing to be in love with strong and self-determining women. And willing to learn from them, as the women are willing to learn from the men.

Are there any elements that your fans might see in a novel that you are currently writing, which would not have been in one of your early stories?
Again I think the issue is reality. The sex, for instance, is much more honest, and plain-spoken. In the "old" days, sex was depicted in flowery language, euphemisms galore, man root comes to mind! Now the characters experience lovemaking in ways that I hope readers can identify with, the good, the bad, and the occasionally unsatisfactory, and they call it as it is.

Do you have a favorite read from the early days of the romance genre that you would like to see reprinted?
The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy. It was first published in 1905 and my copy is falling apart.

What is the "next frontier" that you are working on in your writing?
I would like to write more stories where the romance per se is not the main focus of the historical narrative. A love story, certainly, but with more historical meat and a wider cast of characters.


You can read her latest historical fiction, All the Queen’s Players, which has just been released in paperback. And be sure to keep your eyes open for Feather’s next novel, A Wedding Wager, which will hit shelves in June of this year!