The Regency Period, strictly defined as Britain during the years 1811–1820, was a fascinating time. The plethora of events, fashion, the larger-than-life aristocrats who peopled the ton (Society), as well as their moral (and immoral) behavior is an ideal time for the historical romance writer to place characters. The Beau Monde, a specialty chapter of the Romance Writers of America®, is a community of Regency writers, both published and unpublished, who specialize in the Regency genre.
Jo Ann Ferguson and Kelly Ferjutz began the Beau Monde chapter in 1993 as a special interest chapter devoted to a specific period that attracts members from across the country and abroad. We provide access to our email loop where our members are in constant contact with each other, providing historical information as well as industry information and support to members. The Beau Monde’s web site is an additional resource for members and non-members. The Beau Monde also sponsors email loops for Book in a Week (BIAW) and contest preparation. Our informative Regency Academe presents online classes taught by some of the most respected experts in our time period. (These are also open to non-members.)
Our current membership of 300 includes over 100 published authors. Their novels include both traditional Regencies and historicals set during the Regency period, as well as novels in other genres. Our members have been the proud recipients of many awards, including the Golden Heart (for aspiring writers) and the RITA (for published authors) awards given annually by Romance Writers of America. The Royal Ascot, the chapter’s annual contest, has become well-respected among editors and agents. Half of all Royal Ascot finalists have gone on to sell their manuscripts. In 2002, all three Traditional Regency finalists sold their entries to the editor who judged the contest.
So what is a Regency novel? A traditional Regency focuses primarily on the social strictures of the time period and often is described as a comedy of manners. Traditional Regencies range in tone, but the sexual tension in these books is usually more muted than in other romances. A historical set during the Regency period is almost always longer, and the sexual tension is much more a focus of the story.