Inspirations and Influences” is a series of articles in which we invite authors to write guest posts talking about their…well, Inspirations and Influences. The best part about I&I posts? Writers are given free rein so they can go wild and write about anything they want: their new book, series or career as a whole.

Today, we are delighted to be a part of the blog tour celebrating the release of Stolen Magic, the third book in Stephanie Burgis’ amazing, incredible, superlative Kat Stephenson series.

Stolen Magic Stephanie Burgis hi-res

Here to talk about her Inspirations & Influences for the incorrigible Kat and her adventures, please give a warm round of applause to Stephanie Burgis!

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It is a truth universally acknowledged…that I love, love, love Jane Austen! I can’t count how many times I’ve re-read her novels, ever since my dad first read me Pride and Prejudice when I was eight. I became obsessed! I tore through all of them as a kid, and then I re-read them again and again. I still re-read them regularly for their humor, for their quiet but deeply-felt romance plots, and, most of all, for Austen’s sharp, ruthless insight into the way people really work, for better or for worse.

But my Regency-set Kat novels don’t spring purely from Jane Austen…because when I was twelve, I discovered Georgette Heyer. I picked up Heyer’s Regency rom-coms only because they were set in the same period as Jane Austen – but then I fell in love with them because they were fabulous. The zany humor! The wild adventures with highwaymen, notorious rakes, smugglers, and cross-dressing! And oh, the fabulously over-the-top, passionate romance! I swooned and swooned again as I read them. I was in love.

And then, just two years after I first fell in love with Georgette Heyer’s madcap Regency world, I discovered the urban fantasy novels of Emma Bull and Charles DeLint. I’d been a fan of high fantasy ever since my dad first read me The Lord of the Rings, and I already adored high fantasy novels by Robin McKinley and Patricia McKillip – but I was utterly overwhelmed by the impact of magic actually incorporated into ordinary, everyday life. Magic in the real world! How amazing was that?

From the moment I finished reading War for the Oaks, I knew: I wanted to be a fantasy writer. And I’ve never changed my mind since then.

So maybe it’s not surprising that when I sat down in 2006 and let myself start writing exactly what I wanted – only what I wanted – the book that would be the most fun for me

I wrote a zany adventure set in Regency England, with highwaymen, balls, and marriage plots – but I told it from the perspective of a snarky younger sister deeply involved in magical adventures of her own. Magic may be the greatest scandal in Kat Stephenson’s Regency England – but that won’t stop her from using it and anything else she needs to do what’s best for her exasperating older siblings (whether they like it or not).

As I sat down to write Kat, Incorrigible, I spent the first ten minutes of every writing session reading through Jane Austen’s letters to get the right period voice into my head. I wanted to write an homage to Jane Austen herself, so I wrote Kat as the daughter of a vicar without much money, because that was what Jane Austen was, too. Austen’s father used to be a Fellow at Oxford (known as “the handsome Fellow”), so Kat’s dad is a former Fellow, too – one who, like Austen’s father, often tutors students in his home.

But when it came to the Regency ingredients for my series, I reached straight for the madcap tropes that Georgette Heyer made famous, the ones that Regency romance authors have been playing with ever since. I wanted to play with the sheer fun of them, too, but only and always from Kat’s smart, skeptical twelve-year-old perspective.

Highwaymen ride around Kat, Incorrigible – but don’t turn out quite the way that Kat expected! A notorious rake who knows that he’s irresistible to women swaggers right into Book 2, Renegade Magic – and Kat puts him firmly in his place. In Stolen Magic, smugglers lurk in the caves below Hepworth Park – but they aren’t romantic. No, the real romance is saved for Kat’s hapless older brother Charles…who has no idea what to do about it!

So it’s a good thing that he has a younger sister who’s only too ready to roll her eyes at him and take charge of everything – even as she fights to save her family and her country from a dastardly magical plot.

Kat’s voice and adventures are all her own…but I could never have written them without the books that I fell in love with forever, the ones that are still on my keeper shelf and always will be.

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About the Author: Stephanie Burgis grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, but fell in love with Regency England when she discovered the novels of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. The author of Kat, Incorrigible; Renegade Magic; and Stolen Magic; she decided to be a writer when she was seven and sold her first short story when she was fifteen. Stephanie lives with her husband, fellow writer Patrick Samphire, their son, and their dog in Wales.

Visit her online at StephanieBurgis.com, and follow her blog and on twitter (@StephanieBurgis).

Thank you, Stephanie!

The Giveaway:

We have THREE copies of Stolen Magic up for grabs. The contest is open to addresses in the US and Canada, and will run until Sunday, April 6 at 12:01 am EST. In order to enter, use the form below!

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60 Responses to Stolen Magic Blog Tour & Giveaway: Stephanie Burgis on Inspirations & Influences

  1. Nadine says:

    Hello Booksmugglers!

    I just recently bought a copy of the first book in the series without knowing much about it. It was the cover that drew me in. Now that I know there’s Austen-esque humour and style, I can NOT wait to get started. Thanks for the great article. I am now officially jealous of Stephanie Burgis – wish my dad had read me P&P when I was that young. :)

  2. wendy says:

    i just Read Your Blog Entry About The Whole B&N Fiasco, Has That Been Settled Yet Or Is It Still Ongoing?

    (And I’mWriting Thus From My Phone, Which Is Why The Capitalization IS So Wonky)

  3. wendy says:

    And My Favorite Heroine Is Probably P&P’s Elizabeth Bennett, Because She Knows What She Wants

  4. Hi Wendy, thanks for reading my blog entry! Sadly, the B&N/S&S dispute is still ongoing, so it’s doubtful that you’ll be able to find my (or any other affected S&S author’s) books in your local B&N.

    However, I’ve heard from lots of wonderful independent booksellers who are stocking it in their stores – indie bookstores FTW! Alternately, if you don’t have an indie bookstore in your area, there are lots of online buy-options (including Indiebound.org and Amazon). So, I’m really hoping that everyone will still be able to get hold of Stolen Magic one way or another!

    (And I love your reasoning for choosing Elizabeth Bennet! I LOVE heroines who know what they want and go for it.)

    And Nadine, I really hope you enjoy the books! :)

  5. Favorite Regency heroine is the one and only Ms. Bennet of course!

    I read about the S&S/B&N debacle over on Steph Su and I went to my local indie to pick up Kat, Incorrigible yesterday. They were unfortunately or fortunately sold out but they did have hardcovers of Renegade Magic and Stolen Magic. I ordered Kat and I can’t wait to read it!

  6. Linda W says:

    I always love these inspirations posts! Good luck to you, Stephanie. Your influences are my influences for writing as well. I called the closest B & N and ordered Renegade Magic (home delivery). I’m an Austen fan. My favorite heroine comes from Persuasion–Anne Elliot.

  7. Katie says:

    I don’t really have a favorite regency heroine. However, I do have a favorite MG heroine other than Kat herself. I loved Reveka from “The Princess Curse.” She was smart, compassionate, and mature for her age.

  8. Heather says:

    I absolutely loved Kat, Incorrigible and really need to read the rest of this series. I’m also from East Lansing, MI XD
    I got Kat, Incorrigible from our local bookstore, Schulers. :)

  9. Heather says:

    And of course, I forgot to add, I suppose that would have to be Kat XD
    Truth be told, I have read some of the classics… but I don’t think I’m well versed enough in this genre to pick a favorite.

  10. While it’s not very original, Lizzy Bennet is my favorite Regency heroine. I also like Georgette Heyer’s character Venetia, from the book of the same name.

  11. I love all those heroine picks! Lizzie Bennet and Anne Eliot are both fabulous in very different ways. Reveka is so smart and fierce and determined. And I loved Heyer’s Venetia! (Ohhh, how I swooned over Damerel when I was a teen! I really need to reread that book.)

    Maggie, thank you so much for telling me about Kat, Incorrigible selling out in your local store! I really hope you enjoy it when your copy arrives.

    And Heather, I LOVE Schulers! My whole family has spent an insane amount of time and money there…very, very happily. :) It’s such a great store!

  12. mary anne says:

    I am an avid Georgette Heyer reader, even though as I get older I am more bothered at how elitist her stories were. Some of my favorite of her characters were from her (I guess it was) Georgian period novels – Mary Challoner from “Devil’s Cub” and Prudence from “The Masqueraders” (because they were both competent and capable, very undervalued characteristics in romance heroines). I think my favorite of her Regency heroines is Frederica – also very capable and sensible.

  13. Hi Mary Anne, I totally agree on the elitism in the Heyer novels (as well as some awful anti-Semitism) – I still love her books, but as an adult I can definitely recognize the problematic aspects. Like you, I never paid the ingrained elitism of her books any attention when I was younger, but I definitely do now. (And it’s actually a part of why the Kat novels are so strongly anti-elitism!)

    But oh, Heyer did write wonderful heroines. I love Frederica’s ruthless competence and the fact that she’s so absorbed in raising her younger siblings properly that she barely even notices (for a long time) the gorgeous, witty Marquis who’s clearly in love with her! :)

  14. mary anne says:

    I should be going to bed – just finished 14 hours and have to be back for another 12 in 8 hours, but….I had to add on to my previous. Carla Kelly writes wonderful Regencies. Totally different style from Heyer or most of the others, more down-to-earth and informal tone. I love to pick one up on a rainy day, with a cup of tea at hand and just enjoy the warmth and coziness. They are feel-good books. And some are available in pretty affordable e-book format. I would recommend “Marian’s Christmas Wish” to start (because I love to read this one at Christmas time.)

    Also, if you’ve not read “Sorcery and Cecilia” by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, it’s a really fun Regency/fantasy/epistolary (sorry, that may not be the word – my brain is running kind of sluggish) mash-up. And has a few sequels, but the first is the best.

  15. Ooh, I’ve never read any Carla Kelly novels – thank you so much! I’m downloading a Kindle sample of Marian’s Christmas Wish right now.

    And I LOVE Sorcery & Cecilia! So, so good. :)

  16. Pam says:

    I LOVED all of Georgetts Heyer’s books. I made sure I collected every single one of her Regency novels. I haven’t read them in many years now, so the character’s names are long gone from my memory.

  17. Superbwg says:

    I love all the Austen girls because of all the variations they bring to the table, but besides by favorite Ms. Bennet, I have to say I love Emma because she is so well-meaning, yet so flawed, just a believably human character. Mariann from Sense and Sensibility is a a character I identify with because her over the top nature is something I’ve been known for on occasion :-)

  18. I love how all of Austen’s characters, including her heroines, are imperfect! She had a great line in one of her letters talking about how much she hated sickly-sweet, too-perfect heroines in the books she read – if I’m remembering right, she wrote “Pictures of perfection make me sick and wicked.” :)

  19. jenmitch says:

    I have to jump on the bandwagon and say that Lizzy Bennet is my favorite regency heroine. You just can’t go wrong!

    Also, I love September from “The Girl Who…” series by Cat Valente. I’m not sure if other people count it as MG, but I do.

    Thanks for the giveaway, these books look awesome!

  20. scribe k. says:

    september from the girl who circumnavigated fairyland in a ship of her own making! <3

  21. I think September definitely counts as an MG heroine! :)

  22. Megan S. says:

    I admit I have a soft spot for Pen from The Corinthian. Her hijinks are some of the most amusing that Heyer ever wrote. But I think Devil’s Cub‘s level-headed Mary Challoner may be my absolute favorite.

    What a great question, and the book looks delightful!

  23. Mary is fabulous! I LOVE her level-headed approach in the face of melodrama. :)

  24. Lozza says:

    I recently read the Smugglers-recommended book “Ordinary Magic” by Caitlin Rubino-Bradway, and Abby is my new favorite MG heroine- I’m crossing my fingers for a sequel there!

  25. Isn’t Abby amazing? I want Ordinary Magic 2 SO BADLY!

  26. Serena says:

    Like many before me, when I first think of a favorite Regency heroine, Elizabeth Bennet is the obvious choice. However, Emma has always held a special place in my heart as a heroine who is flawed and human, and all the more loveable for it.

  27. Alexandra the Great says:

    My favourite regency heroines would have to be Cecy and Kate from the Sorcery and Cecelia books. They’re awesome.

  28. Shel says:

    Another vote for the cousins from Sorcery and Cecelia, fun read. And of course love Lizzie, P&P never gets tiring.

  29. Lexi says:

    I think I have way too many MG heroine favorites. I like Reveka from The Princess Curse. Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle, any of Tamora Pierce’s books, Cimorene from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. That is probably a good start.

  30. Tim R says:

    I know that I am old. Still, I’m going to throw out two of my favorite MG heroines, Claudia, from “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” and Meg (age of reader more than heroine) from “A Wrinkle in Time.”

  31. Alpa says:

    My fav regency heroine of all times would be Anne of ‘Anne of green gable series’. :)

  32. Nicole R says:

    Lovely post!

    My favourite(s) would be Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching, Diana Wynne Jones’ Sophie Hatter, and of course, Lizzie Bennet. So y’know..girls who go around doing things competently and awesomely!

  33. Michelle says:

    I have to agree with those above about Sorcery and Cecelia-one of my favorite series.

  34. Jasmine S. says:

    I really love Kat. REALLY love her. However, I also love early-Hermione, and Abby from Ordinary Magic. And I love most middle-grade heroines? I just really love the genre! And I’m kinda sick so my memory isn’t working so well right now.

  35. Kemendraugh says:

    I’m going to go back to my roots on this one, and say my favourite MG heroine is Emily of New Moon :) She taught me so much about imagination and writing and loss and friendship and family. It’s a book that’s probably always going to be lodged in my heart.

  36. My favorite MG heroine? I’m not sure if it’s Anne of Green Gables or Tamora Pierce’s Kel (in the first two books; after that I consider her YA). Or Hermione, in the early books — so much like my daughter! And oh, how can I leave out Meg from A Wrinkle in Time and Menolly the Harper from Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong and Dragonsinger?

    My favorite Regency heroine is tough, too… I read a lot of historical romances set in that period. I’m very fond of Penelope (aka Lady Whistledown) from Julia Quinn’s Romancing Mr Bridgerton (and the rest of the series). Kate (from The Viscount Who Loved Me, in the same series) is another favorite, for her wit and her fiercely protective love for her sister and her awkwardness. And I admire Freya Bedwyn’s love of adventure and how much of a risk-taker she is, as well as for the compassion and vulnerability she scorns to show. (Slightly Scandalous, by Mary Balogh.)

  37. Stephanie K. says:

    My favorite regency heroine is Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey.

  38. Kay-Kay-Bay says:

    Another vote for Abbey from “Ordinary Magic”. One of my favourite books of the year so far. And I also love Polly from “Fire and Hemlock” by Diana Wynne Jones. That might count as a YA book, not MG…But she’s young enough for much of the book, so I’m counting it.

    As for Regency heroines, I also love Austen’s Emma. She has so many flaws, and many of my friends don’t like her for that. But I’ve always loved her anyway. Sophy from Heyer’s “The Grand Sophy” is another of my favourite Regency heroines. Though the book has one fairly serious flaw, Sophy herself is funny and eccentric and Grand indeed.

  39. Kendra says:

    I cheated and bought Stolen Magic from Amazon UK when it came out there. Mwahaha! Love you Stephanie!

  40. Great post. Really I am surprised about this post.Thank You very much.Self Book Publishers Blog.

  41. I am nodding my head SO vigorously at all of these named heroines! I love what Nicole R says, which basically sums a lot of it up: “So y’know..girls who go around doing things competently and awesomely!”

    That is JUST my kind of heroine. :)

  42. Jennifer says:

    Meg from A Wrinkle in Time and September from Fairyland. :)

  43. I really need to read Fairyland after reading all these recs! And I loooove Meg. :)

  44. Andrea says:

    Oh wow, so many good heroines to choose from! I’ll have to say that my all time favorite is Cimorene from Tamora Pierce’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles, but I do also love the gals in Sorcery and Cecilia by Patricia C Wrede and Dianna Wynne Jones’ Sophie Hatter from the book version of Howl’s Moving Castle.

  45. Jillian T. says:

    Favorite MG heroine is probably Effie from Patricia Wrede’s Frontier Magic series. Though I’m definitely ready to see how Kat compares!

  46. Hannah H says:

    I suppose it wouldn’t be much of a comment if I just seconded everything everyone else has said, but know that I want to!
    I just finished reading Faro’s Daughter by Georgette Heyer and loved it, so I will be following up on her books.
    My favorite MG heroine is probably Cimerone or Sophie at the moment.

  47. Anna Wing says:

    This sounds like a fabulous series! I’ve always been in love with the Tamora Pierce heroines myself–although they might tip into YA territory. Alanna, Kel, Tris, and Sandry were all fabulously determined and no-nonsense, and they were definite role models in my own MG years!

  48. Hannah, Faro’s Daughter is my favorite battle-of-the-sexes rom-com ever!

    I love Cimorene, too. I devoured the Enchanted Forest books when I was in middle school!

    And Anna, I still remember the sense of real wonder I felt when I read my first Alanna book and thought, WHOA…a GIRL gets to be a KNIGHT? It genuinely felt like a revelation. It was so exciting!

  49. Kaethe says:

    It’s tempting to just repeat someone who’s already been mentioned, because there are all kinds of fabulous heroines listed here. Instead, let me recommend Flora Segunda by Ysabeau Wilce.

  50. Justine says:

    Does Anne Shirley count as MG? If so, she’s my favorite!

  51. sarac says:

    My fave MG heroine is Turtle from the Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. Smart, spunky, wonderful.

  52. Oh, isn’t Flora WONDERFUL? I adore those books.

    And fabulous Anne-with-an-E Shirley is definitely MG. :)

  53. Quill2002 says:

    Oh, I loved the first two! I am so excited to read the third.

  54. Quill2002 says:

    Oh, and my favorite MG heroine is Tamora Pierce’s Daine. I really connect to her personality and I LOVE her adventures!

  55. I really hope you enjoy Stolen Magic, Quill2002! And oh, I love Daine, too – I only discovered those books as an adult, but I’m saving my copies now for my kids!

  56. Jill the OWL says:

    Hmmmmmmm I think I would have to say my favorite is Olive from The Books of Elsewhere series. Love her!

  57. Ooh, I haven’t read the Books of Elsewhere series yet. Must add to my TBR list!

  58. Colette says:

    I love Kat of coarse, but I also love Sophronia from Etiquette and Espionage.

  59. Oh, Sophronia is fabulous! I LOVED Etiquette and Espionage.

  60. Darith L. says:

    Hmm, I think it’s Hermione Granger from HP. Loves her :D

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