Sunday, 31 August 2014

Avoidance of plagiarism!


Avoidance of plagiarism - Literary snobbery aside - the conscious Vs the subconscious when penning historical novels.
 
I dare any author of historical novels to deny they have read books and historical accounts of their chosen period before they began painting pictures with words and thus conveying a story intended to delight readers. No matter what we read, whether it's a fiction novel, a biography or indeed historical records etc., we glean and thus we gain knowledge. As authors our imaginations can run rife and our subconscious will log details whilst the conscious mind is distracted by all manner of things.
 
 
However, when we finally settle to the task of writing our novel the "subconscious" jogs the "conscious" and then, as we consider the opening sequence, is it merely our imagination taking hold or is it a memory of something we read, some aspect having struck us as unusual, brilliant or beautiful?
 
Casting omnipotent godlike perspective aside, take Novels with simple dialogue as the opening to a book.
 
a) Sometimes the reader is most definitely eavesdropping (as though standing near) as characters reveal elements about themselves and their surroundings: the latter drip fed to the reader through the eyes of the characters, and the sequence is all action from start to finish.
 
b) Now consider the "narrative" approach to the same scene with the same dialogue whilst the author/narrator describes the surroundings, character features and dress, and the conversation is just that a conversation and every nuance of character action is fed from the narrator's viewpoint.
 
 
Who would you say tends toward the former (show) and who the latter (tell) of the great novelists who depict whatever era?

Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Interview - David W. Wilkin.

Today I have the inimitable D. W. Wilkin, talking about his latest novel:
"Caution's Heir".
 


 

 
 
Award winning author, Mr. Wilkin is a graduate in history. He has been writing in various genres for thirty years. Extensive study of premodern civilizations, including years as a re-enactor of medieval, renaissance and regency times has given Mr. Wilkin an insight into such antiquated cultures.
 
Trained in fighting forms as well as his background in history lends his fantasy work to encompass mores beyond simple hero quests to add the depth of the world and political forms to his tales.
Throughout his involvement with various periods of long ago days, he has also learned the dances of those times. Not only becoming proficient at them but also teaching thousands how to do them as well.
 
Mr. Wilkin regularly posts about Regency history at his blog, and as a member of English Historical Fiction Authors. You can read that blog at English History Authors. His very first article was published while in college, and though that magazine is defunct, he still waits patiently for the few dollars the publisher owes him for the piece.
 
Mr. Wilkin is also the author of several regency romances, and including a sequel to the epic Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. His recent work, Beggars Can't Be Choosier has won the prestigious Outstanding Historical Romance award from Romance Reviews Magazine.
 
The Interview:

 
(1) What actually inspired the writing of your novel(s)?

 
 
I started the first draft over four years ago and I am now not sure how I came to this story. The character of Mrs Bottomworth was clear from the first moment. A guide for my heroine that was provocative and evocative. But the basic plot and story points are now lost to my memory. I believe I thought that Heyer might have used such a device and perhaps I thought that I could tell the same idea in my own style. A man wagers all and loses his home and all his belongings on the play of the cards. Including his daughter…

 
(2) Alpha or beta hero –profession/title/rank?– brief description!

 
 
I think of Lord Arthur, the Earl (courtesy) of Daventry, as an Alpha. The father of a friend who seeks a polishing influence has a discussion with Arthur, and we see that our hero is one who is a sober example of what one should be in the Ton. His father spent the family fortunes in his youth and so when Arhtur went off to school he had very little. He has used what skills he has with cards to add to his small allowance and with good investment and guardianship, he has done well.

 
(3) Can you describe your heroine’s personality- title/rank?– description!

 
 
Lady Louisa. For all but the last few months, she was the Honourable, for her grandfather and uncle were a Marquess. Then recently her father became the Marquess, and yet he is the worse one imagines with such a title. For he does rather quickly gamble away all his wealth, and then absconds for the new world. Leaving her behind and with nothing. She however had only the good traits she has learned form her other relations. The late Marquess, and that family which allowed her profligate father and she to live on the manor grounds.

 
(4) Are there secondary lead characters with important roles?

 
 
There are many secondary characters for Daventry leads a set. This includes a young man whose mama wants him married, and who needs some more maturity. Lady Louisa has a boon companion thrice her age in Mrs Bottomworth whom I am told is a favorite from amongst the first readers.

 
(5) Where is the novel (s) set? – time-frame – country etc.

 
 
It is Town and Country. Post war. Our heroes are only just thinking of what they need to accomplish in life and so have yet to take up any serious profession. Nor are they old enough to have served functionally in the war. Near the end of the reign of George and near the beginning of William, though nothing of worldly events intrudes on the tale.

 
(6) What is it about your chosen era/periods that you most enjoy?

 
 
This is my sixth regency (and I have a modern book with Jane Austen, so perhaps this is #7) and so I feel comfortable here. I have the tropes down, and I explore different themes. Two Peas, for instance covers a lot of ground of men just back from the war, and carrying the burdens of what they have seen, while the regular Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, regency motif plays along. I find the regency a place I can have fun as a writer, with he said/she said, misunderstanding, love.

 
(7) Which if any of your characters do you dislike, and why?

 
 
I don’t dislike any of my characters. Even the ones I have my heroes plant facers on! They serve a purpose and I use them for that. Some of my characters I really like, and there are some tales where I wish I could jump right in and live the life I have made for that character (In regency and fantasy though I need to create indoor plumbing to make me truly wish I could jump in, and a parrallel for Tums…) Sometime I do have pure evil, but usually those who we see as bad, live to their own code and see what they are doing for the expedient reasons that they need to. One countries bad seed, is another countries hero. (Or sometimes just plain crazy and in power.)

 
(8) Do you avoid sex scenes, gross violence or other in your works?

 
 
I do avoid most of that. My Regencies tend to end at the last page with the first kiss between our hero and heroine. In Beggar’s I had to have the couple be married so sex was off camera! There was one scene of nudity that was needed for the story line, but otherwise, (and our heroine there was married and had two children as the story progressed) there was the thoughts of what lovemaking had entailed, but not the action of it. In a few stories (I just finished a first draft in a fantasy) short quick euphemisms serve to take us in a sentence through the beginning, middle and end of foreplay, the act itself, climax and le-petit-mal. There are plenty of places I find that one can read that, and to me it detracts from the telling of a story.
 
 
Or let me put it this way, if I had my faithful fans sitting around a campfire wanting me to read my story to them, what could I read aloud and none of us be embarrassed.

 
(9) How would you rate your novel – historical fiction, romantic fiction, tear-jerker, emotional drama, swashbuckling adventure, or...?

 
 
I think Caution’s Heir is Romantic fiction. I do not take a great deal of time in putting in a time point in history in this particular tale. It happens in the later part of the regency, but we don’t see much of the world beyond what our characters encounter as they go through their lives.

 
 

 
 
 
Back cover blurb:
 
 
Teaching a boor a lesson is one thing.
Winning all that the man owns is more than Lord Arthur Herrington expects. Especially when he finds that his winnings include the boor’s daughter!
 
 
The Duke of Northampshire spent fortunes in his youth. The reality of which his son, Arthur the Earl of Daventry, learns all too well when sent off to school with nothing in his pocket. Learning to fill that pocket leads him on a road to frugality and his becoming a sober man of Town. A sober but very much respected member of the Ton.
 
 
Lady Louisa Booth did not have much hope for her father, known in the country for his profligate ways. Yet when the man inherited her gallant uncle’s title and wealth, she hoped he would reform. Alas, that was not to be the case.
 
 
When she learned everything was lost, including her beloved home, she made it her purpose to ensure that Lord Arthur was not indifferent to her plight. An unmarried young woman cast adrift in society without a protector. A role that Arthur never thought to be cast as. A role he had little idea if he could rise to such occasion. Yet would Louisa find Arthur to be that one true benefactor? Would Arthur make this obligation something more? Would a game of chance lead to love?


Author web site.


Blog.




Amazon

Sunday, 10 August 2014

The Interview - Anne Stenhouse.


Today I have the lovely Anne Stenhouse  talking about her novel:
 "Bella’s Betrothal".





Anne Stenhouse writes Regency era historical romance which is dialogue rich and humorous. She spent many years writing drama and loves to carry the skills learned from theatre work into her novels. Married to her own hero and dancing partner for over thirty years, Anne has acquired an interest in old buildings and opera. From the buildings, she crafted her hero, Charles Lindsay. He’s based on the gentlemen architects whose skills built Edinburgh’s New Town and many wonderful country houses still extant. From her own life-long interest in dance, she created young ladies like her heroine, Bella Wormsley. From the opera, she understands that no plot is ever too far-fetched.
 
Anne lives in Edinburgh but travels widely. Recent forays have included Vietnam and Cambodia where the architecture in both is jaw-droppingly fantastic.
 
 
Anne continues to live in Edinburgh and enjoys being able to walk out to the streets which her heroine would have trodden.
 
The Interview:
 
 
(1) What actually inspired the writing of your novel(s)?

 
Or who? I just loved historical romance as a teenager and read piles of it. I discovered Georgette Heyer as a young adult and dived in head-first. Wonderful stories full of glamour and sparkling wit which are as readable today as they ever were.
 
 
(2)Alpha or beta hero –profession/title/rank?– brief description!
 
 
Charles Lindsay is an architect, but also a Scottish laird. Not a person of the top ranks like the Royal dukes or even the aristocrats, but a person of family and clan responsibility. Does that make him beta? I thought he was pretty attractive: good looking, intelligent, touch of arrogance in need of taming…
 
 
(3) Can you describe your heroine’s personality- title/rank?– description!
 
 
Bella Wormsley, Lady Isabella, is the daughter of an earl and the granddaughter of a duke. She’s top drawer, but she’s half Scottish and so like Charles has a strong sense of the value of others. Her hair, beautifully realised by Charlie Volnek’s cover, is that mass of red corkscrew curls seen around in Scottish society. She’s a lady of huge energy, talented as an artist and headstrong. A clash is inevitable.
 
 
(4) Are there secondary lead characters with important roles?
 
 
Bella’s aunt and uncle, Hatty and Mack Menzies and her cousins form a colourful backdrop when they give Bella shelter from scandal. There is also a villain, Graham Direlton, whose ambition drives a lot of the plot.
 
 
(5) Where is the novel (s) set? – time-frame – country etc.
 
 
Bella’s Betrothal opens in an inn bedroom in Dalkeith and moves to Edinburgh, 1826.
 
 
(6) What is it about your chosen era/periods that you most enjoy?
 
 
I enjoy thinking myself back into the restrictions and social norms and niceties of that period. I try to use the differences to make a colourful canvas. Many of them are limiting, but many of them allow such interesting What ifs? I enjoy that moment in time where English, the language, was modernising. One gets to Jane Austen and thinks, “I understand this.” I am horrified by the social rules and use them to infuse reality as background. I think it’s really important to remind women in particular how recently we did not vote as of right, or own property, or go against the family wishes for fear of ending in Bedlam.
 
 
(7) Which if any of your characters do you dislike, and why?
 
 
I dislike my villains because I have crafted them from personality traits I dislike. I wouldn’t spend a lot of time with some of the lesser characters because they’re not the positive people in the leading roles.
 
 
(8) Do you avoid sex scenes, gross violence or other in your works?
 
 
I do avoid those things. The novels have a lot of sensuality, I hope, but I don’t go in for graphic description or extended bedroom romps. I like to write by the tenet that “the pictures are better on the radio”. I think readers are intelligent and enjoy the fantasies they can weave from the hints you drop in your words. I abhor violence. Of course there is violence around wherever people live together, but I don’t regard it as entertainment. So, murders may be committed, but the details are sparse. Any other fearties like me are quite safe with my prose, I think.
 
 
(9) How would you rate your novel – historical fiction, romantic fiction, tear-jerker, emotional drama, swashbuckling adventure, or...?
 
 
Bella’s Betrothal is Regency style Scottish historical romance with touches of intrigue and much laughter.
 
 

 
 
Back cover blurb:
 
 
BELLA’S BETROTHAL by Anne Stenhouse, published MuseItUp, Canada.
 
While she is travelling north to find sanctuary from the malicious gossip of the Ton, Lady Isabella Wormsley’s room in a Dalkeith inn is invaded by handsome Scottish Laird, Charles Lindsay. Charles has uncovered a plot to kidnap her, but Bella wonders if he isn’t a more dangerous threat, at least to her heart, than the villainous Graham Direlton he wrests her from.
 
 
Bella settles into the household of her Aunt HattyMenzies in Edinburgh’s nineteenth century George Square where Charles is a regular visitor. She has been exiled to the north by her unfeeling mama, but feels more betrayed by her papa to whom she has been close. Bella hopes the delivery of her young cousin’s baby will eventually demonstrate her own innocence in the scandal that drove her from home.
 
 
Bella’s presence disrupts the lives of everyone connected to her. Direlton makes another attempt to kidnap her and in rescuing her a second time, Charles is compromised. Only a betrothal will save his business and Bella’s reputation.
 
Mayhem, murder and long suppressed family secrets raise confusion and seemingly endless difficulties. Will the growing but unacknowledged love between Bella and her Scottish architect survive the evil Direlton engineers?

 

Anne blogs at Novels Now which is here: Anne
 
 
Bella’s Betrothal is available from many online vendors. Amazon UK and Amazon US

 
Thank you.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

The Interview - Lindsay Downs.

          Today I have Lindsay Downs in the Interview Chair, talking about a recently released novel:
"The Guilty Countess" 
 
Lindsay prefers to remain anonymous!
 
 
 
 
Brief bio: What does it take to be a bestselling author?
 
Determination, skill, talent, luck or taking a risk with a venture into a totally new genre. For me it was a little of some and a lot of the others. In 2008 when I got two books published I thought it was due to skill; little did I know it was more luck than anything. Over the next three years I wrote, submitted, got rejected. I then did what I tell everyone who asks; I wrote some more. I didn’t give up. More on a dare than anything, I tried my hand at a regency, one of the most difficult genres because of the rules. I broke almost every one, I might add.. Within two days of its release the book was on a best seller list and stayed there for two months.
Turns out it is all of the aforementioned.

 
After two failed marriages, one from divorce and the other from the death of my wife, I decided upon retirement to move. That opportunity came in September 2012 when I migrated to Texas. For me, as a multipublished author, making the decision to be an author was one of the best things I’ve done to date. Now, every day I can write, creating stories to take my readers to places they can only dream about. I’m also a member of the Published Authors Network (PAN) by the Romance Writers of America (RWA).

 
The Questionnaire:
 
 
(1) What actually inspired the writing of your novel(s)?

 
 
When I was writing The Masked Lady and The Murder I got the idea for this book. It was, once again “a what if” question. What would happen if Lady Kersey was accused of killing her husband but the unanswered question-did or didn’t she. To find out that answer you’ll have to read the book.

 
 
(2) Alpha or beta hero –profession/title/rank?– brief description!

 
 
Lord Robert Markson, Viscount of Hampshire, is an alpha but is smart enough to listen to his wife, even to where he will follow her advice. He’s five and twenty and a former captain in the Guards. I don’t describe him so as to let my readers decide what they want him to look like.

 
 
(3) Can you describe your heroine’s personality- title/rank?– description!
 
 

Lady Kristina Markson, Viscountess of Hampshire, achieved the title by marriage. She’s very strong willed, with a mind which easily can see when something is wrong. When she does she wastes no time in informing Lord Markson.
She has mousy brown hair with pale blue eyes.

 
 
(4) Are there secondary lead characters with important roles?

 
 
Yes, Lady Donna Kersey. She is the older sister to Lord Markson and plays an important role in the story in helping to find out who killed her husband.

 
 
(5) Where is the novel (s) set? – time-frame – country etc.

 
 
The book is set during the regency period in England. It starts out in London then to hide and protect Lady Kersey Lord and Lady Markson smuggle her to his country estate. Then they travel to Stratford upon Avon in disguises and by public carriage to interview a possible suspect before returning to the estate. Finally, as the last pieces of the puzzle come together the three return to London openly. Yes, there is a bit of traveling but I can assure you at each stop valuable information is learned.

 
 
(6) What is it about your chosen era/periods that you most enjoy?

 
 
I wrote my first regency period piece in 2012 and developed a love for setting my stories in the period after having read a great number of books set during it.

 
 
(7) Which if any of your characters do you dislike, and why?
 
 
Lord Ethan Rosewood is the heir to the Earl of Crossington title and feels it’s his duty to attempt to control Kristina. He’s overbearing, obnoxious and demanding. You will only see a very little bit of him in this book but fear not he will have his own story. The reason I dislike him is he reminds me of my older brother.

 
 
(8) Do you avoid sex scenes, gross violence or other in your works?

 
 
I purposefully avoid sex scenes as I don’t feel they do anything to enhance or move the story forward. I will show the end result of gross violence but not the act. It’s the same with the other books in the series and my other regencies.

 
 
(9) How would you rate your novel – historical fiction, romantic fiction, tear-jerker, emotional drama, swashbuckling adventure, or...?

 
 
This is a historical mystery fiction where none of the characters are real.

 
 

 
 
 
Back cover blurb:

 
Accused of murdering her husband, Lady Donna Kersey turns to the only people who can prove her innocence, her brother and his new bride.

 
 
As Robert and Kristina start their search for the real killer they learn the murder might be more complicated than first thought. Uncovering evidence sends the three in pursuit of a possible suspect only to find this person is innocent, or is he not guilty of the murder but not something else.

 
 
When Robert and Kristina learn Lord Kersey might not be exactly who they believe him to be that’s when the facts become murky. It takes a surprise visit by Kristina’s brother to help set the record straight which only adds more confusion to the facts.

 
 
Will Robert and Kristina find the killer of Lord Kersey before the authorities take Lady Kersey away in irons?
 
 
 
 
 
Facebook Pages- (1)   (2)
 
 
Twitter   

LinkedIn

 

Thank you.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Interview - Renée Reynolds

Today I have the lovely Renée Reynolds in The Interview chair talking about her aristocratic heroes from The Lords of Oxford series!



 


 Author Renée Reynolds grew up all over the world as the daughter of a globe-trotting Marine father and spirited and supportive mother. Their family motto: you can never learn too much, travel too much, or talk too much.
 


She majored in majors in college, and after obtaining a handful of degrees, she decided not to use any of them.  Instead she writes about what she cannot do - go back in time to dance at balls, flirt with lords and scoundrels, and gallop unfashionably down Rotten Row during the most fashionable hour.
 

After dodging a few Collinses and Wickhams, Renée happily snared a Darcy. Her HEA turned out to be in Texas, where she resides with "the hubs, the kiddos, a boisterous menagerie of indoor and outdoor animals, and a yard of meticulously maintained weeds." She has happily tagged on this addendum to the family motto: you can never read too much, too often, or too late at night.


Questionnaire:

(1) What actually inspired the writing of your novel(s)?


I've always been an avid reader, the type to get lost in a story and see the characters and plot playing like a movie in my mind. Jane Austen is my favorite author, and the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice opened an entirely new reading world to me – Austen fan fiction, sequels and reimaginings, and the historical romance novel.  As I devoured author after author, discovering storylines and characters that I liked and loathed, I suddenly found myself picturing a plot I could create, characters I could bring to life.  After an encouraging “just do it!” from my husband, I sketched the outline to several novels . . . and just did it.


(2) Alpha or beta hero – profession/title/rank?– brief description!


My heroes are a combination of the alpha and beta hero, which some have defined as a third type – the gamma.  My heroes are strong, capable, and dependable without being obnoxiously arrogant or insufferable.  They are the gentlemen you hope to meet in real life, the ones you picture yourself marrying without having to grit your teeth and hope to change his overbearing and high-handed ways.  My heroes are Jonas Leighton, Duke of Dorset (Book 1) and Roman de Courtenay, Marquis of Stafford (Book 2).  They are peers of the realm that take their obligations seriously without letting themselves be consumed by Society's demands.  Dorset wants his sister married because she's driving him crazy, but he's not going to toss her to the first or wealthiest suitor.  Stafford feels pulled in too many directions by his family and title duties, and just wants a bit of a break from his pile of responsibilities.  Both lords love their families, recognize the good and the bad in the Society to which they were born, and strive to find a balance between what's expected and what works for them.


(3) Can you describe your heroine’s personality- title/rank?– description!


My heroines are Ladies Juliet Quinn (Book 1), daughter of the Marquis of Lansdowne, and Miranda Leighton (Book 2), sister to the Duke of Dorset.  They are best friends, and personality foils to each other.  Lady Juliet is witty and cerebral, and very proper in Society.  Lady Miranda is outgoing and gregarious, and skirts the edges of indecorous behavior in her efforts to see and experience all life offers.  Both ladies enjoy the bit of independence their high titles afford them, in comparison to some other ladies of the time period, and have strong opinions and beliefs that they express, when asked.  Picture the Duchess of Devonshire without the gambling or endless affairs.


(4) Are there secondary lead characters with important roles?


Family is important in my stories, so parents and siblings are characters that I've fleshed out and given relevant voices, but the strongest secondary character would have to be Catherine Allendale, Countess of Ashford.  She is the aunt of Juliet (and her brothers, Charles the Earl of Bristol and Marcus the Army Major), and a force of nature.  She endured a marriage typical of the time – a merging of titles, lands, and monies – but her husband was also cold and even emotionally abusive at times.  After his death, she capitalized on the freedom that widowhood brought and resolved to live in a manner that suited her beliefs and desires.  She tells Juliet and her friends how to be proper but strong ladies, encouraging them to be respectful without being meek.  She educates the younger ladies on their roles in Society and their future homes, but that they don't have to be mindless drudges.  And she really delights in doing things she knows her late husband, the dearly-departed and unlamented Earl, would have abhorred and forbidden.


(5) Where is the novel (s) set? – time-frame – country etc.


My novels are set during the Regency period in England, specifically the summer of 1814.  Napoleon has just abdicated his crown, for the first time, and England is celebrating the Glorious Peace.


(6) What is it about your chosen era/periods that you most enjoy?


I love the manners, the dress, and even the structure of Regency society.  Mind you, there were plenty of things wrong during this time – from abject poverty to oppressive taxation to war – but it was also a time of industrial growth and increasing enlightenment.  Every period in history has both its positive aspects and its horrors, and it can be difficult for us to wrap our modern minds around some of the things that were considered acceptable in the past.  I think it's also true that each era has its independent movers and shakers – those who push the boundaries of the status quo – so we have to be careful to read with a mind toward historical accuracy in all its forms.


(7) Which if any of your characters do you dislike, and why?


I have a villain causing havoc in each storyline that is particularly disgusting, the Viscount Melville.  He really has no redeeming qualities, and is a broad caricature of the stereotypically nasty aristocrat of the time period.  He is self-absorbed, arrogant, threatening to his sister and other ladies, and not good ton, to quote a phrase from that period.  But it's hard to say I dislike him.  As a person, he's repulsive, and I would stay far from him.  As a character, he's necessary in spite of his awfulness, which is exactly as he should be.


(8) Do you avoid sex scenes, gross violence or other in your works?


I keep the sex behind the bedroom doors, but the kissing, longing, and desire is front and center.  The scenes are sensual but still subtle.  As for violence, my villain uses both intimidation and force to further his purposes.  His level of aggression increases in Book 2, because of the rising desperation he feels over his situation, but I refrain from gross violence.


(9) How would you rate your novel – historical fiction, romantic fiction, tear-jerker, emotional drama, swashbuckling adventure, or...?


Definitely historical fiction, heavy on the romance.  They are also full of shenanigans.
 
Back cover blurbs:






Lord Love a Duke:
Jonas Leighton, Duke of Dorset, hastily organizes a house party to find a suitor for his spirited sister, Lady Miranda. To thwart him she enlists her closest friend, Lady Juliet, and they unleash a series of pranks meant to confound his plans - if only he would cooperate and be the victim. Nothing goes according to plan for any of the scheming guests, yet the party will indeed end in a wedding.







A Marquis For All Seasons:

Lady Miranda Leighton and the Marquis of Stafford, Roman de Courtenay, have a similar problem: their families want them to find a spouse. Together they hatch the perfect scheme: in Society, he will play escort to Lady Miranda and his sister, but for their families, they will pretend an attachment, all in pursuit of one last season of unencumbered entertainment. Yet, in each other's constant company, they find their ruse giving rise to some surprisingly very real feelings. What happens when you set out to fool Society, but only end up fooling yourselves?

Author blog

Thank you.