Today we welcome Georgette Heyer’s biographer, Jennifer Kloester, to the blog. She has some exciting news for Heyer fans.
Jennifer has unearthed Heyer stories that were long out of print. And now, three new Heyer stories are being republished.
Read on for Jennifer’s detective story . . .
Snowdrift & Other Stories by Georgette Heyer
Millions of romance readers the world over love Georgette Heyer’s sparkling Regency and Georgian novels. Since 1921 when, as a teenager, she published her first novel, The Black Moth, Heyer has delighted us.
For many readers Georgette Heyer is the ultimate re-read — the books to return to for comfort, pleasure and pure entertainment.
In recent years, a new generation — by my calculation the fourth — has helped to propel Heyer back into the ranks of consistent bestsellers. She has sold over a million of her titles in the UK, USA and Australia in the past decade. Hardly surprising for such a witty and entertaining author.
New Heyer Stories?
This year Random House UK are republishing her 1960 short story anthology, Pistols for Two. It has a new title — Snowdrift and Other Stories — and an appropriately gorgeous cover (shown here). Plus three ‘newly discovered’ Regency stories as a bonus for Heyer fans.
These new stories — ‘Incident on the Bath Road’, ‘Runaway Match’ and ‘Pursuit’ — were originally published between 1935 and 1939. And, while two of them were reprinted in Mary Fahnestock-Thomas’s self-published Georgette Heyer: A Critical Retrospective (2001), they have never been published commercially in book form.
‘Incident on the Bath Road’, in particular, made its very first appearance in Woman’s Journal in 1936 and The Australian Women’s Weekly in 1937. It has not appeared since.
How it feels to discover New Heyer Stories
I remember the thrill I felt in seeing these stories for the first time in their original form.
It was fifteen years ago while I was researching Georgette Heyer at the British Library. This was in the days when the internet was still young. Google was in its infancy then and digitisation on a mass scale a distant dream. Back then, the only way to find Heyer’s long-forgotten short stories was to go to England and physically search for them.
A couple of lines in one of Heyer’s (then also recently discovered) very early letters were my inspiration. She wrote of being published in the ‘Red’ and the ‘Happy’ magazines.
Intrigued by the idea that there might be unknown Heyer stories out there and with an invitation to meet and interview her son, Sir Richard Rougier, I set off for England.
Scrolling through hundreds of microfilm and turning page after page of multiple magazine titles (over 3,000 individual mags in the end) was laborious but ultimately incredibly rewarding.
I cannot describe the excitement I felt.
On turning a page, there was Georgette Heyer’s name below the title of a story I had never seen before.
In the end, I found in those magazines eight ‘new’ contemporary short stories and five ‘new’ historical shorts. The sixth Regency short story, ‘Pursuit’ I also first read in the British Library. It was in the 1939, Queen’s Book of the Red Cross. (Heyer had contributed as part of the war effort.)
And what do these New Heyer stories offer fans?
It is exciting to think that for the first time these three early Heyer short stories will be published together for a worldwide audience. Fans and new readers alike will delight in them.
Many Thanks to Today’s Blogger, Jennifer Kloester
Jennifer Kloester is the author of Georgette Heyer’s Regency World, an illustrated companion to Heyer’s classic Regency novels.
She also wrote Georgette Heyer: Biography of a Bestseller, the authorised biography which was nominated for an Agatha Award in 2013.
Jennifer loves writing fiction, too. Her YA novels, The Cinderella Moment and its companion, The Rapunzel Dilemma, were published by Penguin Australia in 2013 and 2014. She is currently finishing her latest novel which, though contemporary, has the Regency era at its heart. You can find out more on the Jennifer Kloester website or on Twitter @jenkloester.
When writing, Jennifer sometimes wishes she could channel Georgette Heyer which is probably true of many authors, including Joanna and Sophie of this Parish! Jennifer loves re-reading Heyer’s novels because they make her laugh out loud.
Snap! from Joanna, who said exactly the same in her Love Letter to The Grand Sophy. And very many thanks to Jennifer for this blog on a subject dear to many hearts.