An Interview with Author Philippa Jane Keyworth

Philippa Keyworth photoPhilippa Jane Keyworth, 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. A born again Christian, Philippa lives in the south of England with her handsome husband.

Philippa has always written stories and believes that, since it is one of her loves and passions, she always will. In her early writing career, she dabbled in a variety of genres, but it was the encouragement of a friend to watch a film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that began her love affair with the British Regency. Since then, she has watched every Regency film and TV series she could get her hands on and become well acquainted with Georgette Heyer’s novels which gave her the inspiration to write her own.

Both as a reader and a writer, Philippa believes it is important to escape into a world you yourself would want to live in. This is why she writes stories that will draw you into the characters’ joys and heartaches in a world apart from our own. Her debut novel, The Widow’s Redeemer (Madison Street Publishing, 2012), is a traditional Regency romance bringing to life the romance between a young widow with an indomitable spirit and a wealthy viscount with an unsavory reputation. The novel has been received well by readers and reviewers who have praised the heartfelt story and admirable characters. Her second novel, The Unexpected Earl (Madison Street Publishing, 2014), explores another romance in the Regency era when an impetuous young woman has her life turned upside down by the reappearance of the earl who jilted her six years ago. Her third novel, Fool Me Twice (Madison Street Publishing, 2016), is a Georgian romance that has just been released.

If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be?

This is a tough one! There are quite a few characters from Fool Me Twice that I would love to spend time with, but I guess if I’d have to choose, I’d want to spend the day with Lady Rebecca Fairing. She’s the best friend of my main character Caro Worth and the life of the party. I like her because although she’s a privileged lady of society, she also has a lot of heart and a good sense of humour!

I wouldn’t mind popping into Mr Negri’s confectionary shop in Berkley Square with her, just as she and Caro do in the book, and share the latest On Dits while enjoying a pistachio ice…

What character in your book are you least likely to get along with and why?

Here I don’t want to give too much away! But I think it would be safe to say I would never get along well with Mr. Rivers. He’s one of the cronies of a rather nasty noble, and I never like a person who will follow along with nasty people without their own principles.

 Tell us about your book cover and how it came about.Fool Me Twice Philippa Keyworth

I really love the cover of Fool Me Twice – am I allowed to say that? Well, it’s too late now…hehehe! My publisher was great when it came to the cover, we went back and forth with ideas, and ended up with something which reflects the story really well. The dark of the cover reflects the Gaming Hells where a lot of the story takes place, the background of the library on the front cover reflects the scene where the hero and heroine first meet, and I like how Caro’s face is half missing from the cover. It allows the reader to make their own version of her in their heads, while also showing that no one fully knows the woman living two lives!

And I love that when you get a paperback copy, the matte cover feels so good!

How do you choose the names of your characters?

That depends. Sometimes I am pragmatic and use resources that give me lists of Georgian names and I’ll pick one I like the sound of. Sometimes, when a character is partly based one someone, I’ll use an associated name. More recently, I have started to look at the meanings of names, using that aspect to build another layer into my stories.

For instance, De Sauveterre is the owner of a gaming establishment which appears part way through the book. The meaning behind the name comes in two parts, ‘sauve’ means ‘safe’ and ‘terre’ means ‘land’ meaning the name can mean ‘safe haven’. I chose it because it is a play on the establishment in the book. It’s a place which is thought by Caro Worth to be safe, but she confronts something else entirely while she’s there…

What book do you wish you could have written?

Ooo, another hard one. Let me think… I probably wish I could have written Georgette Heyer’s Devil’s Cub. This was one of the first Regency romances I read after Jane Austen and I absolutely loved it! I am such a fan of strong heroines and Mary Challoner is exactly that. You’ve got to respect a woman who will shoot to protect her honour!

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

I absolutely love doing this, and I’ve worked out my characters for my first two novels, but I genuinely haven’t thought about it for Fool Me Twice. Well, there’s no time like the present, I’d probably have the following:

Caro Worth: Christina Cole

Tobias Felton: A young Toby Stephens

Lady Rebecca Fairing: Kate Beckinsale

Lady Etheridge: Dame Maggie Smith

The Marquis of Ravensbough: Mark Strong

Do you use beta readers if so, why or why not?

I have used beta readers. They’re a great asset to me and so helpful both in encouragement and critiquing. I think they’re well worth having if you have a group of trustworthy, loving people who love to read your genre!

What is your writing Achilles heel?

I would have to say looking at other authors. I am awful at comparing myself to other authors, it’s so easy to do with social media, but actually every author is different and we should enjoy each of our strengths and be confident in who we are as individual creatives!

 How do you get over writer’s block?

Good question – when I figure that out I’ll let you know! The things which have helped are walking in the country, reading, relaxing and spending time with friends.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Good question. I think the best money I’ve spent has to be on a ticket to go to the Historical Novel Society conference last year in Oxford. It’s an amazing conference and was so inspirational for me to be around so many writers and learn so much more about the craft. I’d highly recommend it to fellow authors.

Click on the link to learn more about Philippa’s novel Fool Me Twice.


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