Featured Member for July: Bill Haggart

QG: When did you first get hooked (and what hooked you) on the Regency era?

From an early age, I loved reading about the Napoleonic Wars, laying a foundation for my later love affair with the Regency period. The 1995 Pride & Prejudice and then reading Austen’s novel hooked me. From that point, I read all the Regency romances I could.

QG: What is your favorite thing about the Regency – what do you like to write about?

How similar, yet different the period is from today. I enjoy exploring that theme with time travel romances, where so many of the unspoken assumptions shared by the Regency culture compared to ours can be explored. I do still enjoy writing ‘straight’ Regency romances. I suppose one thing that fascinates me about the Regency was the heavy emphasis on ‘not saying’ what you really meant to communicate, everyone then translating. 

QG: What is your favorite Jane Austen book and Georgette Heyer books? 

 Of course, Pride & Prejudice. For Georgette Heyer, I am torn between Fredricia, An Infamous Army, Nonsuch, and Regency Buck. They all have fascinating characters and are very different from each other and many of Heyer’s other, some more popular works.

QG: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Write what you enjoy writing.  Too much time is spent on ‘analyzing’ the market and trying to write ‘what sells’ or is the latest craze.  I have a niece, a fantastic writer, who wrote several books of what she thought would sell.  They didn’t.  She then wrote a book she enjoyed writing, the kind she enjoys reading. She received a $150,000 advance on that book, and a three-book deal with Berkeley. The other advice is, if you want to be published, perservere, perservere, perservere.

QG: Tell us about your current project or latest release.

It is a time-travel Romance that begins during the 1808 British retreat to Corunna, Spain and ends up in London. It involves a U.S. Army Ranger captain and a Regency miss with the army.  That is done and soon off to the editor.  The next one is called The Problem with Buying a Wife, and then a sequal to Stealing Time.

QG: What is the most surprising or amazing thing you discovered while researching a book?

Between 1756 when a restrictive divorce law was enacted to 1872, it was not illegal to sell your wife. Conventions grew up around the practice over 100+ years. During the Regency, it was done in the street, at livestock auctions, ads were placed in London papers by gentry, military men, and cits alike offering their wives for sale.

QG:  What comes first, plot or characters?

Oooh, good question. Neither. I start with events, imagining, say, someone selling their wife. Why, where?  Once I have some scenes in mind, even some dialogue, I think about the characters who would create such a scene.  Last comes the plot.

QG: Who was your favorite author as a child?

Andre Norton and Robert Heinlein

 QG:  Pantser or Plotter or hybrid?

Dedicated Pantser. I minimally plot. I love discovering the story right along with the characters. I have tried outlining but found it boring.  Pantsing the story feels ‘fresher.’  Obviously, instead of spending the time outlining etc., I am having to go back to change details and events when the story or characters go off in interesting directions.

QG:  What music do you play when writing

I tend to find a piece that I know the character will like and play that, such as my heroine in Stealing Time, who loved Cold Play’s “Clocks.” For a time-travel romance, there is something ironic there. I more generally play what is called ‘epic music’ by such composers as Two Steps from Hell and James Paget. Both are known for their movie scores.  No words, just dramatic music like that of Game of Thrones or Pirates of the Caribbean.

QG: What would surprise people most about you? Generally, I am not that ‘surprising’ a person, so many friends are surprised to discover I competed in the bareback event during a Rodeo in Cimmaron, New Mexico.


 One day in 1993, after tossing some badly written Romances, Bill began writing because the love of his life, Joy dared him to do better.  It wasn’t that easy. After entering 4o odd writing contests, winning several, a judging editor asked to see his manuscript. His first novel was published in 2020.


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  1. Thrilled to see this week’s post is a conversation with one of my favorite people and a Lord of the Realm, Bill Haggart. A much beloved member of RFW, bill has always been generous with his time to teach the rest of us. His willingness to answer writer questions about the Peninsular Wars and Regency Gentlemen has provided many writers the historical details they need to write their books. BTW, I love the wife selling example. Thanks Caroline and Bill.
    Ann Chaney

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