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A teacher by day, famous author by night

Regina Montenaro teaches by day and writes by night.

She teaches English at Porter Ridge High School in Indian Trail. Two years ago, she published her first book, "Darcy's Passions."

Writing under her maiden name, Regina Jeffers, she writes books that are sequels to Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." Her sixth book, "Captain Wentworth's Persuasion," hit bookshelves on March 1.

Regina does her writing seated in her favorite chair using a lap desk, and handwrites her manuscripts in a spiral notebook.

"It doesn't work to write anyplace else," she said. "I don't know what I'll do when it wears out."

She usually completes a book using 41/2 to 5 notebooks with three to five months' writing time, while teaching full time.

"I have to balance my time," she said.

Many nights she stays up late at night finishing a thought and never has writer's block.

"I do revisions in my head. I go back to add description, but the basic story line rarely ever changes," she said.

Her educational background includes an undergraduate degree in language arts comprehension and two master's degrees - one in reading from Marshall University and one in special education from Ohio State University. Before she ever thought of writing, she found creative outlets by working in community theater, choreographing dance routines and dancing on Broadway years ago.

The next big step will find Regina traveling from her home in Lake Park to Washington, D.C. She has been invited to speak at the Smithsonian as part of a one-day Jane Austen Institute.

Montenaro will join a panel of experts making presentations and participating in a roundtable discussion on March 9. Discussions will include what Jane Austen might think of the popularity of sequels to her classic novel "Pride and Prejudice," 200 years after she wrote the book. The presentations and discussions are open to the public.

"It amazes me," Montenaro said. "I don't feel like an expert, because I'm always learning something."

With plans to retire this year after 39 years of teaching, she won't have time to rest. She participates in numerous book signings, and one of her readers plans to start a fan club.

Her publisher, Ulysses Press, has contracted her for three new books, including a mystery. Her books are available at Barnes & Noble, as well as online with Amazon. Learn more at or reach her on the social networking site Facebook.

Written by: From the Charlotte Observer
Posted: Mar 22, 2010 by Ms. April Dawkins

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