Interview with C. Hampton Jones

What's the story behind your Regency Romantic Warriors Series?
I started reading Regency romance and thought it would be fun to try to write my own book about that time period.
I did read a lot of Sharpe books (Bernard Cornwell) and I liked to put the adventures of officers in the British army into my own books as well. The war with Napoleon gives me a lot more adventure to add. Only romance without a bit of a plot is not very exciting, I think. Hence the appearance of the Regency Romantic Warriors. It may seem quite different that I like to express the thoughts of the men as well as the women in my books and I sometimes give the men a more prominent place than the women for the sole reason that in Regency times men were definitely able to lead a more adventurous life than women.
I started to write a tome of 600 pages and then decided it would be best to make the tome into a few smaller books.The book I wrote first, is now number 4 in my Regency Romantic Warriors series. (A Mercenary Major part 1.) Together with its sequel (novel 5) I think it is the most romantic book of the series. You can clearly see the 'romantic influences' I got when reading huge amounts of Regency Romance in those days.

I inserted Lionel's story - A Major's Mistake (volume 6) into my first tome as well, but it became so entirely different from: A Mercenary Major, novel 4+5, that I made it into a separate book. That was not an easy feat and I had to revise the book numerous times.

Lochiel's story - A Lieutenant at Large (novel 1) I wrote as an entirely separate novel. I did not foresee at all that it would become number 1 in a whole series. Mind, I only published Volume 1 a few months before 'About Officers and Gentlemen' (Volume 7) was published!

One day my attention was attracted to the historical facts of the rounding up of gays in 'The Vere Street Coterie' in 1810 with the ensuing executions. That was when I got inspired to write Hengist's story - A Major in Distress, part 1+2 (Volume 2+3 in the Regency Romantic Warriors Series). It was not that I was championing gays (and lesbians) rights but I had to find a reason why Hengist's brother Philip was not remotely interested in consuming the marriage with the beautiful and rich Marguerite. That I put my finger on the shameful treatment of gays in those days is an extra 'bonus'. I must agree that Novel 2 and 3 in the series have a darker quality than e.g. the romantic novel 4 and 5, but it has everything to do with my development as a novel writer. I was not content with only writing very romantic historical fiction where the heroine and hero are almost superhuman and their romance is the most important item, disregarding the reality of life in those times.

Book 7 is about the period between the wars in 1814 and 1815. It is e.g. also the description of what happens to Lizzie Campbell (after her adventures in the first novel - A Lieutenant at Large) and her marriage to Lord John. What I like most in this novel is the insight you get in marriages in those days. Quite a lot of the men are unfaithful, but it is truly no wonder as the people of the Quality were mostly forced into advantageous marriages, where love and affection were the most disregaded emotions. How women coped is also an interesting story.

Although Book 8 is called Waterloo Warriors it does not tell too much about the last battle against Napoleon in 1815. Many books have been written about the technicalities of that battle. The story concentrates more on Jeffrey Burroughs' unexpected love for Bertha Dunstead, who is too proud to become his mistress and Peter Wallace, who loves his dead wife's sister Amelia Aubrey, who is married to a very dangerous and abusive spy. Waterloo Warriors plays for the bigger part in Brussels, close to Waterloo. I do insert a lot of new information about everything surrounding Waterloo and Quatre Bras, information that popped up in the last 200 years and it puts the whole myth around the Battle of Waterloo and Quatre Bras into a different light.

The Regency Romantic Warriors Series will consist of 9 books.. The 9th book is called 'Homecoming' and will be a book of solutions and (maybe not so) happy endings.
The books A Lieutenant at Large, novel 1, Both novels 'A Major in Distress together (novel 2 and 3), Novel 4 and 5 both (A Mercenary Major) can be read not in sequel with the series, but I would not advise it, as many characters come back in other novels in a bigger or lesser role.

I noticed that out of curiosity readers like to jump from novel 1: A Lieutenant at Large, to novel 7 about Officers and Gentlemen, as Lizzie's story continues in 7, but there will be so many new characters introduced that it will only be very confusing to try that jump.
Wat made you design and write Graphic Novels or illustrated historical fiction?
I am a real history freak, a romantic, a writer and an illustrator. I like to create pleasant things you can look at.
For the first books I wrote (now number 4 and 5 in the Regency Romantic Warriors Series) I started to design a collage of pictures and soon the idea to actually illustrate all my books was born.
Instead of 'Graphic Novels', my books are 'Novels with Graphics.'

I designed collages of different (shopped) pictures on top of each chapter in my novels.
I did not put an illustration on each page of the books, as telling a story needs a lot of word space even if 'a picture tells a thousand words.'

Just like the booktrailers I created, the graphics almost take more time to design, than to actually write a book.
I like to be in the 'niche' Illustrated Historical Fiction.
Why did you put in the COLLAGES in your STORYBOOKS
I like to enhance the reading experience on tablets and smartphones. It is a pity that many e-book readers are only black and white, but I gather that will change soon enough.
I like to combine my artistic qualities with my writing. As a child I loved to paint and draw and my father allowed me an artistic development by putting me into a course called 'Famous Artists'. He was not in favor of sending me to the Art Academy, so I read law instead: International Business Law and later Information Technology Law. I went back in a way to my first love: art, by designing my own covers, illustrating the books with collages and making my own booktrailers.
I had this idea to create Collages when I kept looking at some extra drawings on historical novels. It's like peeping into that specific time that is not greatly known and so the collages were born.

Collages are the French word for Glued Pictures. My illustrations are exactly that: groups of illustrations or shopped photographs that have something to do with the story in that specific chapter. You may notice that the photographs don't always feature the same person, who is important for that chapter. I think it leaves people of all ages room to 'fantasize' about the collages.
What can you say about the erotic details in your books?
I think scenes are erotic when they are written to titillate which is not my goal. Love and sex are as much part of a person's life as food, drink and sleep. I think my sex scenes are not enormously descriptive, I tend to think I am a bit businesslike about it. I personally don't like books in which sex scenes are definitely avoided, because sex is as much part of the package as e.g. a career or a marriage.
Did anyone ever comment on the more 'sexual' content of your collages?
As a matter of fact yes. I was asked to remove photographs that showed too much of what people might find offensive. Of course I complied. Most photographs were easy to shop into 'acceptable' content. I did not like them any less for it.
How do you react when you get a less kind review?
Unkind reviews are not something any author likes to get, but indeed I got a one star review in the beginning of my Indie-publishing and I took it to heart:
The 'bad English' could be changed by hiring an editor and the problem about the books being a series, but hard to figure out the sequel I could easily doctor by putting numbers in the descriptions and on the covers.
I took Mark Coker's advice (founder of Smashwords) to heart: revise revise, revise.
I learned not to dislike revising, it's like being a wordsmith, or a poet: fitting in words that make the book better readable. In this respect I think it is hard to be an Indie-publisher. You don't have a whole team of editors and proofreaders behind you, but you do have to come up with the same quality writing a publishing house may offer.

I did notice that on the Internet people thrive on giving as many bad reviews as possible, just for the sake of it. I hope people who are reading such reviews are aware of that fact.
How do you approach cover design?
I design my own. I have specific programs to make them.

For the Regency Romantic Warriors series covers and illustrations I ask handsome people if they allow me to use their photographs. I must add that my three sons are on the covers as well. (Not without protest.)
It is a painstaking process but at least I get what I want. I use Artweaver to shop the covers and to insert titles. The program is cheap but quite brilliant.

My covers have never been 'refused' so I guess that makes them alright. My artistic son (who is on the cover of novel 7) told me that nobody is doing what I am doing (not really a compliment I think) but I am fine with that. I like to do what nobody else is doing. Somebody called me 'a pioneer'. I think that is a great compliment.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I was just too impatient to wait for some agent to 'discover' me and after I got a letter saying "that it was a great book but SHE was not going to do it" I was already fed up with the 'old system.'

Somebody I knew within the circle of my article writing referred a few webpages to me about Indie publishing and I started working through Kindle(Amazon). I found Smashwords in June 2013.

I must say I love the Smashwords concept. For one Smashwords makes me rethink the formatting of my books, because they are quite strict regarding the formatting form and process. It is something you don't think a lot about: as a writer you only focuson the contents of your novel. You tend to forget about publishing details. In this respect Smashwords forces you to become a real publisher and I think it is a great learning experience.

I actually LIKE to be an Indie publisher. It's not something I feel I do out of necessity.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a city close to Amsterdam in the aftermath of the second World War. We did not have warm water or central heating until we moved to a family home near Rotterdam in 1960.

We lived in a bit of an 'uppity' area and people were not used to the fact that my mom was of Indonesian descent so that my skin was slightly darker than theirs and I became quite shy and observant. My father had a knack for history and I guess I got that in my genes as well.
My Dutch father did very well and made a wondrous career. That placed me soon into another sort of world. I think a childhood with so many mixed influences was good for my ability to 'feel,' observe and research things.
When did you first start writing?
As soon as I started to form words, I started writing stories, but it took me into the 2000's to restart writing books 'seriously.'
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was about a girl who had four brothers who were knights. She desperately wanted to be a knight herself. I never finished it.
Describe your desk
It's an organized mess with two laptops and a big BENQ screen that can do miraculous things like open up many windows at the same time. Great for translating, collage-designing, designing a booktrailer or working on websites.
I have piles of DVD's out of which I choose fragments for my booktrailers. Underneath are letters for my household finances and whatever I need to do. Most of my files are in my laptops, I hardly ever print.
What is your writing process?
I don't have a very strict process. I start thinking about a plot and determine the period in time. I do a lot of research as I mostly write Historical (Romantic) Fiction. I start writing and do a lot of revising later. When I am sure to have finished the story I ask my editor to have a stern look at it.
Because I write 'storybooks' (novels with graphics) I gather and shop a lot of photographs to turn them into 'collages' during the writing process.

It does happen that I have to rearrange things in the whole series, when my new story might not be entirely compatible with what I wrote before. It is good that my French and German translators are such wonderful patient people who insert my changes without too much comment.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I write a lot less hours than I do my work as an Indie-publisher: working on book-trailers, websites, blogs, administration etc. I wish I could only be a writer, but that is impossible. I have a lot of things to do regarding my household, finances and I write articles for library sites such as Hubpages and Infonu.

I am also in the process of translating my books from English into Dutch. From the Regency Romantic Warriors series I still have to do five novels and the translations are really eating up a lot of my time. I don't want to ask a Dutch translator to do the Dutch translations for me. It's such a challenge to write in that language. Truth to tell my Dutch novels are more rewrites than translations.

I walk our big dog and love to play extreme golf and to ski. (I live often in a golf and ski-resort.) My husband and I have a very busy social life.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I browse, search, take advice on social media.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I got myself a pocket book size Samsung tablet on which I can load any app: Kindle, Pdf, Kobo etc, so I can have the book of my choice within seconds. I can read on it in the dark so I won't wake my husband when I want to finish to read a book at night. It is the best present my husband recently gave me.
What are you working on next?
I am working on Novel 9 in the Regency Romantic Warriors Series called Homecomings. It will be the last book in the Regency Romantic Warriors series. Although I finished about 90 pcrt of this book in December 2014 I put it aside for a while to be certain I included everything I want to see solved in this book and lo and behold: I was able to add a few surprising personalities whom I already mentioned very occasionally in about all the other books. I was afraid the 9th novel might become slightly boring: only happy endings, but these persons throw an intirely differnet light on things that happend in the RRW series.
I recently published a historical paranormal/spiritual fiction book in Dutch and I am working together with Alex Blackburn (editor of the whole RRW series) to have it translated in English.
I still have a trilogy about the Caroling family (714-814) waiting for much needed completion and I would dearly like to write a compelling story with entirely new insights about Nostradamus. Also I did research on Jesus Christ's wife and descendants that might be quite shattering. I think of them as my 'Shroud'stories.
When I am less inspired to write or do research I continue with the translations of my novels in Dutch. It keeps me well off the streets, I might say.
Is it true you publish the same series as a different one on Amazon?
The books that are especially designed for Amazon Kindle Select are the same stories as in the Regency Romantic Warriors series. The difference is that the books 2 and 3 (A Major in Distress) are compiled in one book, just like novel 4 and 5 (A Mercenary Major) and 8 and 9 (which is called: The End of a War).
Also A Lieutenant at Large is called 'A Lieutenant at his Best' (novel 1), A Major's Mistake is called 'A Major Abducted' and About Officers and Gentlemen is renamed: 'Only Officers and Gentlemen.' Also the Amazon Kindle Select editions don't have the collages, (The Storybook Editions) which are put in the whole Regency Romantic Warriors Series. The reader can make a choice now: either to have the books with the illustrations or have the books only in their compiled versions eventually. It will not be possible to sell the versions which I put on KDP Select on platforms such as Smashwords as they are under KDP Select restrictions.
Published 2016-09-29.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

A Lieutenant at Large (Vol.1 of the Regency Romantic Warriors series)
Series: Regency Romantic Warriors, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 55,680. Language: English. Published: June 4, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Regency, Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Manga
(5.00 from 1 review)
A romantic adventure: Lochiel Cameron, a 25-year old lieutenant in the 42nd Scottish regiment, has to escort Elisabeth (Lizzie) Campbell from Ayre to Edinburgh. Lizzie is to marry Lord John Montgomery, second son of a duke. Lord John hates it that he has been forced to marry Lizzie. Lizzie, angered by Lord John's indifference starts an affair with Lochiel with far reaching consequences.(Vol. 1)