Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. A longtime lover of romance, especially that of the Regency era, Carolyn holds a degree in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Carolyn’s latest release The Elusive Miss Ellison (Kregel Publications) is the perfect novel for fans of Jane Austen who enjoy the Regency Era as well as wit and romance.
Where did the inspiration for this novel come from?
I’ve always enjoyed reading authors who depict the Regency period, such as Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. I wanted to write something similar but with a Christian perspective–and a twist of humor – that would be the sort of book I’d like to read. I wanted a character who was raised in the church (like I was) who really needed to see beyond her prejudices (like I need to) to demonstrate the grace offered to us all by God. Years of pastoring have taught that showing grace to those who have hurt us deepens our faith.
Can you describe the plot of The Elusive Miss Ellison in one sentence?
Can the reverend’s daughter and the reluctant Earl of Hawkesbury look beyond painful pasts and present prejudice to see their future?
Is this novel part of a series? If so, what are some overarching themes in the series?
This is the first book in the “Regency Brides: Legacy of Grace” series. The key themes involve grace – trying to understand the depths of God’s mercy to us and the challenge of showing forgiveness to others, and also the practice of faith in adversity, and seeing God’s enabling power despite our weakness.
Can you tell us about any research you did for this novel?
In 2015 I was extremely blessed to make the long trek from Australia (nearly a day’s flying) to visit my sister who was living in London, England. During the course of that visit we visited some of the areas that The Elusive Miss Ellison is set, such as the walk near North Nibley, in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, where a monument stands to William Tyndale, who translated the New Testament into English. We also visited a number of stately homes, including those used for the ‘Pride and Prejudice’ films, which certainly proved inspirational.
Who’s your favorite character in the book?
I love Lavinia. She holds certain similar traits as I do, such as a love for music, art and gardens, and probably a few flaws as well, such as the propensity for always thinking I’m right! Despite this, she undergoes experiences where she learns to live her faith more truly, which results in her finding deeper joy and answers to questions she’d never even dreamed.
What makes your protagonist an interesting character?
Nicholas Stamford, the seventh Earl of Hawkesbury, is an ex-soldier, forced to the Earldom by his brother’s death. His reluctance to perform his duties and haughty demeanor (hello, Mr. Darcy!) is easily misunderstood, hiding his inner turmoil and fears. His journey from arrogant village newcomer to humbled, faith-filled suitor is shadowed by family, financial and societal pressures – issues many of us can relate to. I love how his tenderness is finally revealed (sigh). If I wasn’t happily married…
What influences your writing the most?
I try to creatively explore issues I’ve either personally undergone or know others are currently wrestling with: prejudice, forgiveness, miscarriage, infertility, depression, etc. God has proved Himself my Savior so many times I try to bring something of what I’ve learned about His grace to my writing.
The Elusive Miss Ellison
Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace