A new trilogy featuring THE CHARRINGTON SISTERS. I’m hugely excited to tell Anna, Margaret and Kate’s tales – finally I’ll write my regencies!
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Where do you get your ideas from?
Do you draw on personal experience when writing your love scenes?
What interests you most about the historical genre?
How many hours do you usually write per week?
Do you find it difficult juggling real life and the fictional life of your characters?
Do you fall in love with your characters? Do they become so real to you that you confuse them for reality?
What influences you the most in your work?
How important are the little details in historical fiction? Clothes? Food? Setting?
A little being appears in the attic to offer them at random periods in exchange for goods and/or services to be stipulated at a later date. I’m a bit concerned, actually. I’m pretty sure my account will come due soon.
I’m kidding. It’s actually a troll.
Or it could be I am influenced by everything around me – books, movies, random comments. All meld together and spew out on the page. (Hmm. That sounds rather gross.)
So, either/or. Potayto, potahto.
Yes. No. Um, what was the question again?
Ohhh, this is a toughie!
There is something so romantic about the past. I love the clothes, the manners, the mystique of it all. One dressed up to cross the street in the past – gloves, hat, matching handbag. Now, the public is lucky if I exchange my pyjamas for a tracksuit.
It’s an idealised version, of course. I’m sure none of us would actually want to live in the reality of the past, with the dirt and the smells and the lack of equality.
I think mostly, though, it’s the fantasy. When you read an historical, you totally immerse yourself in that world. Unlike contemporaries, which by definition set themselves in a world that could quite possibly be mistaken for the ‘real’ one, historicals portray a world we will never inhabit, simply because it has already happened. Thus, the fantasy is that much more complete, and there is something extremely alluring about that.
If I can offer that sense to others, I feel my work here is done!
Quite a few. I don’t think I can pin down an actual number. I do find myself thinking about characters and story arcs at random times throughout the day.
I always thought it was facetious when I read interviews with authors who claimed you should write something every day, even if it’s not that good. Pshaw, thought I. I don’t need to do that. What do they know anyway? (Yes. I was that silly.) Imagine my surprise when I did start writing every day and found, golly gee whiz, I actually got better! My work flowed more naturally, problems in plotting were resolved quicker and I generally had more fun.
Writing is just like any activity – the more you do it, the better you become. That is what is behind the mantra of ‘write every day’. You don’t have to, but if you do, you will become better.
Not at all. I think the fact that they either take place in the past or a fantastical realm clearly separates the two for me! However, I do think on my characters when bored, such as at a play or a movie or a work meeting…
Oh definitely! They become so real it’s heartbreaking when you realise you are finished and you will no longer spend time with them. It’s also difficult to shift to the characters of your next story, to get inside their heads. I’m always still solidly in the heads of the previous characters! Also, if previous couples are featured in your next novel, it’s a real struggle to not put too much of your previous hero and heroine in.
Money. Lots and lots of money. Nah. Having the characters, and the story, make sense. That is the biggest influence on how I write.
It sounds simple, I know, but you’ve got to make sure your characters stay true to themselves. In real life, people might act ‘out of character’, but later you look at the event and realise the signs have been there. This is true of fictional characters as well. You can’t just throw something in because it’s great conflict. You have to make sure it makes sense in the logic of the world you’ve created. And that is tough.
I always remember the quote that if you mention in passing a gun in the first act, make damn sure you use it in the third. It’s a mantra I live by. If I’m going to mention anything, be it a whole character, a character trait or an actual object, it better be there for a reason.
Seriously, though, it’s the money.
Very important – ‘God is in the details’.
The believability factor is greatly increased if small things are thrown into your story. The background – things like food, clothing, etc – these are things your characters take for granted. In real life, we don’t often comment on how long cars have been on our roads, when they were introduced or why we have to go a certain speed limit…but we do all know what a car is and we accept them as being on our roads. As an author, I have to know these things, as well as when gas lighting was introduced to London, what a busk is in relation to a corset, how long it takes to get from Dover to Calais in 1845. And then, I’ve got to discard 90% of the information I’ve uncovered.
An example. For a small portion of my third novel, the hero and heroine are in Austria. In order to make it authentic, I researched the nobility structure of the time, the Opera Haus, the layout of Vienna, a smattering of German and the musical movements of the day. All for a scene that does not number above 1000 words. However, this attention to detail helps the reader believe in the setting, believe those characters are real and that, indeed, they were in Vienna in 1843.