Q: What is Romantic Historical Fiction?
A: The role and importance of history in historical romance can be a controversial topic, as is the presence of detailed emotions and sex in historical fiction. There are camps who believe stringent historical accuracy gets in the way of the romance and camps who believe any HF with detailed sex, passion, and romance is automatically a “Mills & Boon in disguise”–neither camp is wrong, since we all have our reading preferences. Yet, I believe there are readers who want the passion of historical romance combined with the historicity of historical fiction, and this is where Romantic Historical Fiction steps into the breach!
My final definition of RHF: fiction set in the past about a woman’s (or multiple women’s) emotional journey that ends with a romantic and personal HEA.
Q: Where can I buy your books?
A: My books are immediately available at all online retailers. You can order print copies from your local independent bookseller or brick-and-mortar store (B&N, Books-a-Million, etc).
Q: Why do you write romance?
A: This is a question I ask myself whenever I sit down to write, or brainstorm, or even just read a book. I write romance for a myriad of reasons, the most important of which is that romances touch the wide spectrum of emotions. What other genre out there can both scare you and make you cheer (romantic suspense), or make you cry buckets and learn a bit of history (historical romance)? I also find that in romance novels, the gaze is focused firmly on the heroine and her wants, her agency, her dreams, and her desires, and as someone who is sometimes unsure of my place in this world, or whether anyone considers me important, I find it vital that here is this genre that says it’s okay to feel unsure or bold or whatever, and that someone out there will love and respect you no matter what.
Q: Why the Edwardian era?
A: Because there are too many flippin’ Regencies out there. 😉 I actually began writing Regencies since that was what I read, but it never felt quite right for me. I made brief forays into the Civil War/Restoration era (second love) and Revolutionary France, but when I read Jane Feather’s Duncan sisters trilogy, I grew super excited about the setting. Since then, I’ve slowly built up my library of resources and to supplement all of my research, I began Edwardian Promenade in 2007. Also, the first decades of the twentieth century are monumentalin understanding our modern day society. Whether it be the First World War, to the mandates that divided the Middle East, to women’s suffrage, to the emergence of organized, mainstream African-American activism and Pan-Africanism…there are so many stories to be told in this period.
Q: Who are your influences?
A: My primary influences have been biographies of amazing people and classic cinena. But when I think about the game-changing books in my life, I would name The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton as key to my development as an adult writer. I can re-read it and still discover new complexities about class, sex, gender roles, society, and marriage, to name a few. Since I primarily write about relationships, and this book has been a cornerstone.
Q: How do you write a book?
A: One word at a time. It sounds easier than it looks, and there are many days when I am filled with anxiety over getting my word count out for the day, but I have to make a decision: do I want this enough to overcome those fears and doubts? And if this is no longer fun, or if this creates more stress in my life than I want to handle, I can easily walk away (but of course I don’t 🙂 ). However, if I could turn back time and give some advice to myself when I first began writing, I would strongly advise younger me to stick out the lonely party of writing a book until I developed a tough enough skin to be confident and assured of my work, my vision, and my goals. I jumped into the writing community a bit too early, and all of the talk of markets and hooks and whatnot really shook me. So go in with your eyes wide shut.
Q: What are your Favorite Books?
Off the top of my head…
The Custom of the Country & The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume
The Blacker the Berry by Wallace Thurman
Steal Away by Jennifer Armstrong
The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales by Virginia Hamilton, Leo Dillon and Diane Dillon Ph.D.
Plum Bun by Jessie Redmon Fauset
The India Fan by Victoria Holt
Eden Moore trilogy by Cherie Priest
Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Merlin’s Keep by Madeleine Brent
The Wedding by Dorothy West
Maud Martha by Gwendolyn Brooks
Georgia Douglas Johnson’s plays