About Me

I’m delighted by the way The King’s Falcon has been received by existing readers and new ones alike – and a special ‘thank you’ to anyone who took the trouble to post a review.

All three books in the Roundheads & Cavaliers series have separate stories but, for everything to make complete sense, they’re best read in the right order.  If you haven’t read any of them, start with The Black Madonna, followed by Garland of Straw and finally The King’s Falcon.  A Splendid Defiance, being the story of Justin Ambrose, is loosely connected to both Madonna and Garland but is actually a stand-alone novel.

Recently, I’ve taken a break from the Civil War to write a third novel in the Rockliffe series.  The idea for The Player was born whilst I was working on the digital edition of The Mesalliance.  As well as realising that I’d like to meet Rockliffe again, I wanted to write the story of L’Inconnu; the actor Rock sees on-stage in Paris and thinks he recognises.  I wondered what had driven that man from England … who he’d become during ten years of exile … and how he would cope when circumstances forced him home again.  As ever, I like to give myself a challenge and writing a hero who prefers acting a role to being himself was no exception.  I hope you enjoy the result as much as I enjoyed creating it.  And my favourite moment in the book?  Probably the day Adrian and Caroline meet Mr Bailes, the gardener.

The good news for the many readers who have asked is that my next project is the long-awaited novel featuring Eden Maxwell.  This will not be available any time soon but I’ll try to keep the wait down to less than twenty years!  Unless the book takes an unexpected turn (always a possibility), I’ll be calling it Lords of Misrule.

So what do I do when I’m not writing – which is most of the time, actually. Inevitably, I read a lot. I enjoy dancing, amateur dramatics  and travel, both abroad and in the United Kingdom. My husband and I moved to the lovely medieval town of Sandwich in Kent a year ago and are enjoying getting involved in the local community.  I volunteer in the Guildhall Museum half a day each week and really enjoy meeting new people – visitors and locals, alike.

I also enjoy hearing from readers – so please drop by for a chat whenever you please.  You’ll always get a reply.


170 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Hi Stella, I grew up reading your books – they’ve been the subject of much book thievery between myself and my sisters over the years, with each of us practically padlocking our precious, much read and tattered copies of the Black Madonna, Garland of Straw, Parfit Knight and the Marigold Chain to our bookshelves, jealously guarded. I can’t tell you how delighted I was to see them come out on kindle. I’ve re-read every one and now to find a NEW Stella Riley book – it’s a dream come true! Can’t wait to read the King’s Falcon, it’s my treat of 2014. Please do keep writing!!!

  2. Hi Meg,
    Thank you for your kind comments. The image of anyone padlocking tatty copies to the shelf made me smile – but I know what you mean. I once loaned and never got back a copy of possibly my favourite book ever (The Way To The Lantern by Audrey Erskine Lindop), since which time I’ve picked up no less than 3 second hand copies which are never let out of the house.
    If you’ve read the Kindle editions of my back-catalogue, you’ll have noticed some changes which I hope you found added rather than detracted. I hope you enjoy ‘Falcon’. I certainly enjoyed writing it. And if you cared to post a brief review for any of my books, it would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Hi Stella
    Thank you for The Kings Falcon, I loved it. It has been a real treat to have something new from you to lose myself in for the last few days, familiar in one way with the characters, the style of writing and period detail but new and exciting at the same time.
    I have left a review on Amazon and am always telling my friends to discover you.
    Since I found you again, I read A Splendid Defiance when it was first published, I have thoroughly enjoyed The Marigold Chain (love Chloe) and The Mésalliance as eBooks.
    I do hope you write another story and thank you again for coming back!

  4. Thank you for letting me know that you enjoyed ‘Falcon’ – and even more for leaving a review and recommending my work to others. Not being a very high-profile author, this kind of appreciation means a lot. I’m currently working on something new but think I’d better wait a while longer before revealing what it is.

  5. I have just finished reading The King’s Falcon and I, too, have left a review on Amazon. I was thrilled when I discovered you had written a sequel to Black Madonna and Garland of Straw. It was a brilliant read and impossible to put down. Such a fascinating period of history that you have brought vividly to life and such wonderful characterisation – especially Francis and Pauline. Thank you so much for bringing me so much pleasure.

    • Hi Jill,
      I’m glad you enjoyed Falcon and thank you for posting a review. I was particularly pleased that you liked Francis and Pauline because they took on a completely unexpected life of their own during the creation process and I had a lot of fun going along for the ride as they wrote their own scenes.

    • Good Evening, Sir,
      It’s so nice to hear from you. I wouldn’t imagine that any of my output is particularly your cup of tea – but have you read any of them? This is the point where I have to pay tribute to Mr Haslam. No doubt you remember him? He’s the man responsible! The many things I learned from you came in handy when I was teaching and even handier on the amateur stage.

  6. I’m glad you remember me. I own two books, The Marigold Chain and The Black Madonna (signed by you) and have borrowed others from libraries. And yes I have read them. You may not know that Mr Haslam died last year. But I am still keeping an eye on you!!

  7. Of course I remember you! After all the additional help you gave me, how could I not? Also, there are some teachers who are extra-special and you were definitely one of those.
    I’m sorry to hear about Mr Haslam. He is another teacher I always think of with affection.
    I hope you are well and enjoying retirement and am delighted you got in touch.

  8. Hi Stella
    have just finished reading the Kings falcon on my new kindle (Christmas present). So glad you are back writing again. I had just been re-reading your other books prior to Christmas. Enjoyed the Falcon but since i have both Garland of straw and Black Madonna ( the latter picked up while on holiday in Australia) I still think of Tobias and Tabitha as Felix and Felicity. i loved Francis and Pauline combo.
    Are you going to write another about Eden Maxwell… I want to know what happens to him and his family ????
    Perhaps would have liked a few more links back to England in the Falcon .
    A good read The Kings falcon ..look forward to hearing more from you

    Lis Key
    New Zealand

    • Hi Lis
      Thank you for getting in touch and for your various comments. I’m glad you enjoyed Falcon and particularly liked the relationship between Francis and Pauline. Those parts of the book were good fun to write – and also amazingly easy. Yes,I do plan to write Eden’s book – though this will take some time as I’ll have to do the research (1653 to 1656/7) before I can begin it.
      Enjoy your new Kindle and best wishes for the New Year.

  9. Hi Stella I was having a poke about on Amzon and discovered you were there after all these years. I leaped off the sofa shouting Calloo Callay oh frabjous day, and then bought all of them. My copies of the. Black Madonna, The Garland of Straw and A Splendid Defiance are in the nearly read to death category. I did once manage to get the library to locate A Parfit Knight, but the others were Not Available , not even on ABE Books. I too never allowed my precious paperbacks off my bookshelf. I have some others like that… Ira J Morris’s The Troika Belle and The Fortune Hunter both of which turned up in the Hospice Shop and Speculation Miss by Francesca Martin. Elizabeth Goudge is also beginning to appear.
    Welcome back. I couldn’t. be more thrilled. And there is another on the way… Hurray. I would love to hear more of Luciano and Kate…my favourite characters.

    • Hi Anne-Marie,
      Thank you for your kind remarks. As you are probably aware, the original print versions have undergone some revision and/or extension during the course of their transformation into e-books. This is particularly true of The Mesalliance which was cut to the bone in it original incarnation. You will notice changes to the other titles as well – and I hope you enjoy them. If you do, a brief review is always both helpful and welcome.
      I understand exactly what you mean about never letting books that will be difficult to to replace out of the house. I once loaned someone my copy of The Way To The Lantern by Audrey Erskine-Lindop, didn’t get it back and spent years trying to acquire another. Now I have two of them!
      The next book in the Rockliffe series will be available for pre-order quite soon. I’ll be announcing exactly when and giving further information on this website.

  10. Thank you Stella that too is good news. I enjoyed both of the earlier ones immensely, though the period detail is much lighter. A prequel is what I want in this series… Just who was the fascinating and exotic lady who passed her night dark eyes and raven locks on to her descendants and since Tracy was the fourth duke, just why did Charles ll ward him a dukedom…

    • Thanks Vivienne. I hope you enjoy it. To be honest, I turned to Rockliffe for a bit of light relief before tackling Eden Maxwell – for which I’m just starting the research now.
      I get the impression that your own books are doing pretty well – congratulations.

      • Thank you, Stella, for your kind words about my own writing.
        And I’m sure I’ll enjoy the Rockcliffe light relief, even as I eagerly await the return of Eden Maxwell (a distant, if imaginary, kinsman perhaps?).

  11. Sorry the tablet ate one clause… Why did Charles ll award the first Duke of Rockcliffe a dukedom… And was the first duke the one who had the dark lady as his duchess…

  12. Hello Stella – I am so glad you are writing another book in the Rockcliffe series, I very much enjoyed the Parfait Knight and Mesalliance and look forward to more.

    Just as an aside I caught a news item in the East Midlands about a Museum due to be opened this ‘spring’ in Newark dedicated to the civil wars (1603-1688). I wondered whether you had heard about it? It seems appropriate really as Bolsover Castle is not far away which was home of the Earl of Newcastle.

  13. Hi Kate,
    No, I hadn’t heard anything about a new museum – so thanks for telling me. As you say, Newark is an appropriate location what with Rupert’s famous relief of the place when it was under siege and also the King fleeing there when Oxford was under threat etc.
    The Player is now available for pre-order. Hope you enjoy it.

  14. Hello Stella, I had discovered The Player was available and have consequently pre-ordered it, and started reading the Parfait Knight again! Am really looking forward to Eden’s story though, best of luck with the research.

    I would just like to thank you for the hours of pleasure I have had whilst reading your books. I particularly enjoy the characterisations of the protaganists in all your books and love the way you draw all the strands together.


  15. Thank you so much, Kate. I had fun with The Player – just something a little different. Eden, of course, it another matter and at the moment it’s just a slog through some fairly heavy and detailed books. About a dozen of them, to be precise. Until I have the history firmly laid out in my head, I can’t begin to construct the story … if that makes sense?

  16. Hello Stella, that all makes perfect sense to me – I too tend to read around a subject, individual biographies and specific incidents interesting me most. All historical, of course – late medieval to early 20th century mostly.


  17. My first read was The Marigold Chain which is now a tatty paperback having been read so many times.I then borrowed others from the library. I thought you had stopped writing so I am delighted that you have a new book. I will have to read the others again to refresh my memory before ready the new one. Great news

    • Hi Sylvia,
      I did stop writing for quite a long time and, when I started again, it was really only with the intention of re-publishing my back-list. However, once that was done, feedback from readers such as yourself gave me the nudge I needed to carry on and write the long-delayed third part of my Roundheads & Cavaliers series. As for The Player … the idea for that has been lurking at the back of my brain since I re-worked The Mesalliance. I hope you enjoy it – and thanks for getting in touch.

    • Sorry – no. I’ve been asked this quite a few times but remain convinced that there are too many problems with Lucifer to make it worthwhile. I hope The Player will make up for any disappointment!

  18. Hi Stella! I’m a recent addition to your fans and have just arrived back into the world of the living after binging badly for a couple of days on your kindle republications. I still have books 2/3 of the civil war series to go, but I’m just here to gush about you. A lot. I haven’t read books of this caliber, and in this setting, in a long, long, LONG time. Really I can’t thank you enough for writing these books (also for the dashing Justin and Luciano), and my heart just took a flying thump when I realized that you are writing Eden’s book too. I’ve been procrastinating (for days!) on my assignments by reading your books, so I promise to leave reviews on GR after I’m done – but mostly I hope that you’re inspired to keep writing.

    • Hi Alexis,
      It’s always a pleasure to hear from a ‘new’ reader and I’m delighted that you are enjoying the books. I worry about your heart’s ‘flying thump’ in respect of Eden’s story because, at present, that book is still in the planning stages and will be some time coming – though hopefully not another twenty years! Meanwhile, if you exhaust the Civil War series and don’t mind something a little lighter (and shorter) you could try my Rockliffe series. Book 3 – The Player – is due for release very soon.
      As for you posting reviews – these are always welcome, so thank you.

  19. Like Alexis, I am a new fan. I recently saw a reference to one of your books on a blog and decided to try it. That led me to read all your eBooks currently available from Amazon and WOW. I loved every one of them. I especially love how well the secondary characters come to life. I am looking forward to The Player and Eden’s story. I just finished The Marigold Chain and was wondering if you had ever written or considered writing a story for Giles Beckwith? If you have written his story, will that book ever be available in eBook format? Will there be other stories from your backlist available in the future? Thank you so much.

    • Hi Karen,
      Thank you for your kind remarks. To answer your last question – I’ve now released as many titles from my back-list as I intend to. The only one lurking in obscurity – and destined to continue doing so – is Lucifer’s Champion which, as you’ll see from earlier responses, presents too many problems to be worth the trouble. With regard to Giles – I’ve no plans in that direction but wouldn’t rule it out as anything is possible. At the moment, of course, the priority it Eden’s story – and that will take some time to complete. I hope you enjoy The Player. There will be a piece on it at Romantic Historical Reviews on Saturday, followed later on by a full review.

  20. Hi Stella – it took me less than a day to read “The Player”, and I think I enjoyed it the most of the Rockcliffe series, perhaps because Adrian seems more modern in his ideas than, for example, Rockcliffe himself. Although I like this series, and I can understand why you like writing something a little lighter, I’m really looking forward to Eden’s story. I’m currently rereading “King’s Falcon”, and falling in love all over again with Ashley and Francis!

  21. Hi Fiona
    Writing something like The Player is obviously much easier and quicker than writing one of the Civil War books – so it was almost like a little holiday. I’m glad you enjoyed it and are now in the happy position of choosing between Ashley and Francis. If you have the time, a brief review of either book is always greatly appreciated.

  22. Hi Stella – thanks for writing such great books; I have now read all of them. As an Australian, it sparked my interest in the English Civil War, a sadly neglected part of my history education – we did the Tudors to death. TO DEATH. I was so interested I bought the “By the Sword Divided” TV series, which I thought was really well done for the time (acting and sets have improved since!), and went on to read all of Pamela Belle’s books, scrounged from eBay. I reguarly check back on this forum and saw “The Way to the Lantern” was mentioned – naturally I bought it and I LOVED IT. So funny! What a find! I can’t believe I’ve never heard of it before. Thanks so much for the tip. While we’re all waiting for the next installment, would you consider posting up a link to your methadone list of all-time favourite books to read in the interim???

    • Hi Stephanie
      Thank you for getting in touch and I’m glad you have enjoyed my books. You’ve obviously been on a bit of a Civil War ‘binge’ as a result. Like you, I did the Tudors for A level but the 17th century is a much livelier period with a fantastic cast of characters. My favourite books of all time? Well, you’ve already read one of them and, for the rest, I’ll have to think about it. Working along similar lines, I was considering putting something on this site asking readers to vote for whichever of my heroes they liked best – but since I suspect Eden Maxwell will win hands down, it hardly seems worth it.

    • Hi Diane
      Yes, there’s a possibility that Nicholas will get his own book – if and when I finally finish the frequently requested happy ever after for Eden Maxwell. I’m pleased that you enjoyed The Player. Perhaps you’d care to review it?

  23. Stella,
    Just thought I’d drop in and say a quick ‘thank you’ for the painstaking research you do for your books (though I suspect you enjoy the research as much as the writing!). I’ve spent the last two weeks reading the Rockcliffe series and the first in the Roundheads and Cavaliers series, and I am so thrilled to have found a new (to me, anyway) author with whom I can spend all of the time I should be spending on grading essays and cleaning my house. I had exhausted my known reservoir of books that pass the ‘dude’ test (i.e., if I can replace the words ‘my lord’ with ‘dude’ at any time and it doesn’t sound anachronistic, I stop reading–very low standards indeed as the well runs dry), so I was more than a little pleased to have found your deliciously long, meticulously researched, exquisitely written novels. Your books are such a great escape, and the characters you create are welcome specters that take a good long while to fade from my psyche.


    • Hi April
      Your extremely kind comments have improved what began as a less-than-promising day immeasurably. Thank you! You seem to be one of only handful of my readers who has enjoyed both the Rockliffe series and the Civil War novels. Most people like one or the other – usually finding one too light and the other too heavy. Since you are clearly a very literate lady, if you cared to post a review on any of the books you’ve read so far, I’m sure that would be great help to other readers – not to mention being enormously appreciated by myself as I struggle dementedly through the very early stages of Eden Maxwell’s story.
      With regard to your remarks about the difficulty, despite the huge number of books available, of finding something that satisfies rather than irritates – that is a feeling I know only too well and have recently been reduced to re-reading old favourites.
      Once again, thank you for taking the time to get in touch.

      • Just finished Garland of Straw. So. Good. My favorite so far, in fact. The trial of King Charles…fantastic! I left a more coherent (I think) review on Amazon. Thanks again!

      • Hi April
        Sorry for the delay in replying to you – I’ve been on holiday for the past week. Thank you for your comments. I’m glad you enjoyed Garland and will look forward to reading your review.

  24. I enjoy everything you write. You have a wonderful, flowing writing style and a rare facility with language. Having just finished and greatly enjoyed ‘The Player’ – loved the East Kent names and setting as I live in Herne Bay – I too have been reduced to re-reading old favourites and have just finished (my second or third reading) your re-written ‘Mesalliance’. It is such a well-constructed, satisfying book with deftly-drawn, totally memorable characters, a triumph of the genre. I don’t think many writers would be able to produce both ‘light and heavy’ as you have done so successfully and am certain that the Eden book will be worth all the hard work on your part and the long wait on the part of many readers. I don’t normally do Amazon reviews but am about to make an exception in your case.

    • Hi Hazel,
      Thank you for your kind comments. I’m glad you enjoyed The Player with the whole East Kent bit. Some of my earlier books (eg A Splendid Defiance, The Black Madonna and Garland of Straw) were set largely in the areas where I lived at the time of writing – and, having moved to Sandwich just a year ago, it was a real pleasure to have the opportunity to feature this neck of the woods.
      If you care to post a review of any of the books you have read, this would be greatly appreciated as it helps both me and future readers.
      Eden is not currently cooperating as consistently as I would like but I hope to pull him into line soon.

  25. Actually Gabriel is my favourite of your heroes but I might be out of sync with the majority of your readers. Just as an aside though (and this might be taking us into a far future which you might not yet be ready to consider) would you contemplate writing another Civil War novel after Eden’s story? I note that Lords of Misrule is due to end up in 1656/7 but there are a couple of really interesting years between that and the Restoration that I feel your deft hand could make much of.

    • Hi Sarah,
      You’re not alone in liking Gabriel best. I just get the impression that Eden is the general favourite because so many readers have asked for his story. As to a further ECW book after this one – I daren’t think that far ahead yet. On the other hand … you never know.

      • Hi Paula and Sarah, Gabriel is my favourite as well (so I must be out of sync too!), followed by Justin, although I am now rather fond of Adrian of The Player fame. I have a feeling Eden will give them a run for their money.

  26. I have a handful of authors whose work I consider “keepers”and yours certainly ranks among them. I enjoy books that make you think about what you are reading and see how the same event is perceived by the different characters. Your books remind me of those written by Dorothy Dunnett, they are rich tapestries of people both real and imaginary and the fascinating times in which they lived. Whether they are set in the upheaval of the English Civil War or the lovely decadence that is Georgian England they are wonderful to read and I look forward to your next books.

    • Hi Beth,
      Thank you for your extremely kind remarks and I’m glad my books give you pleasure. It’s also nice to hear from someone who enjoys both series – generally, I find it’s either one or the other.

  27. Hi,

    I’ve read all your ebooks in a rush over the last week and a half – so enjoyable! I find your balance of history and romance hits the perfect spot. Thank you for giving me some really wonderful reads! “The Marigold Chain” is my #1 favourite, I think. Good luck with writing Eden’s book – can’t wait to read it whenever it’s available, and I hope you’ll be writing more books after his, too!

    • Hi Emily,
      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my books and thank you for your kind remarks. I find it interesting that your favourite is The Marigold Chain. On the whole, it’s received as much criticism as praise and I seem to recall one of the most recent reviewers taking a real dislike to Alex Deveril – so it’s good to hear from someone who (I presume) liked him.

  28. Hi Stella,
    So glad to hear you are writing Eden’s story – in fact I’m so glad to see that you took up the keyboard again after such a long break. Having re read all of your Roundheads and Cavaliers series I was driven to write my own stories – and thanks to your inspiration I have finally summoned up the courage to publish on Amazon. I just had to say, ‘Thank you’ for your stories and your inspiration – and please, carry on writing :)

    • Hi Paula
      Congratulations on writing and publishing on Amazon. Aside from the achievement, I hope it’s going well for you. I’m honoured that you found my books some sort of inspiration. Reading something you like and feel you could try it yourself is a nice way to start. I began when I read something particularly dreadful and thought, as so many of us do, ‘I could do better than that!’ … and was then motivated to try. Meanwhile, I’ll look out for you on Amazon.

      • Hi Stella, I’m trying to persuade Regency Romantics to sample Roundheads and Cavaliers – why is it that there are thousands of RR novels and so few about Cavaliers and Roundheads? Keep writing Stella – you are a bright star in a dark sky!

      • Thank you, Paula – that is so kind. Part of the problem is that the English Civil War doesn’t play well in America – which, of course, is a huge market. Also, sites reviewing historical romance novels tend to shy away from historical fiction; and such sites also concentrate largely on high-profile writers – of which I am not one. But I do really appreciate the encouragement I receive from people like you. On days when the words just refuse to flow, it makes the fight worthwhile.

  29. Hi Stella, I yelled with delight when I found you on Amazon, having only old, battered copies of your books and spending many frustrating hours in second hand bookshops looking for titles I didn’t have. I have loved all of your books as it is your style of writing that I enjoy. As for heroes I would have to say that for me Justin just about edges out Alex. Great to have you back!

    • Thank you, Kate. You are the first person to vote for Justin – and I’m glad you like Alex because recently, a couple of readers have taken a real dislike to him. Oddly enough, Gabriel Brandon is coming out slightly ahead so far – but it’s early days.

  30. Nice to get 2 new books almost together – I had hard covers of Lucifer’s Champion, Marigold Chain, Garland of Straw and paperback of A Splendid Defiance, didn’t know of the Rockliffe set, or find a copy of The Black Madonna until you reappeared :Huzzah, huzzay! on Amazon. So I have uploaded the e-books I was missing and splurged. Unlike most of your readers, I felt like giving Eden a swift kick on several occasions, (which doesn’t stop me from hoping your muse keeps you writing his story – he has improved) All your main protagonists are intriguing, male and female alike, and I liked Alex, Justin and Luciano. I think your Georgian heroes reveal more of their feelings and thoughts and that has carried through to King’s Falcon – so Eden my improve still further? Just please keep writing. And thank you for hours of enjoyable reading.. Margo

  31. And an afterthought – as a newspaper-trained proof reader I would be happy to offer my services. For instance – Marcus Sheringham is Mr in The Parfit Knight, and elevated to Baron in The Player. Margo

    • Hi Margot
      Thank you for taking the time to contact me and for your comments. Your remark about giving Eden a swift kick gave both my husband and myself a good laugh. Though naturally I am delighted that so many readers are besotted with Eden, I am vaguely baffled by their continued devotion.
      With regard to Marcus Sheringham, I realise that you are right and that obviously I should have re-read the previous works whilst writing The Player.
      As for your kind offer to proof-read, perhaps you might contact me on my g-mail address for more private discussion.

  32. Thank you! I’ve spent the past few weeks acquainting myself with your Regency romances and Roundhead and Cavalier books, and am most seriously pleased. Eden Maxwell’s story I am sure will not disappoint.

    • Hi Nadia
      I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the books. Eden’s story is progressing and is now about half-written but it’s still too soon for me to be able to predict a release date.

  33. Hi Stella, On rereading ‘The Marigold Chain’ recently, I had a thought that the height of the male Wynstantons, allied with the dark eyes, (though maybe not handsomeness; the lady would of course contribute) could be attributed to certain royal genetics? About the time of the 1st Duke of Rockliffe? As I said, just a thought! Margot

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