Get Lost in This Story…
Never Say “Never” to Passion
“I do say I’ll never marry, but I have always wanted to be a widow.”
With those fateful words, Lizzie Paxton sets out to defy convention and make her outrageous goal come true – if only she could skip the marriage and the man. But when her childhood friend Captain Jameson Marlowe proposes a marriage in name only, it’s an offer she can’t possibly refuse. Because as soon as Marlowe sets sail on his mission, she’ll have all the independence she craves. She trusts Jamie’s word, but she doesn’t trust the scintillating desire he evokes in her.
Marlowe knows he shouldn’t take up with Lizzie, especially with his uncertain future, but the moment he hears Lizzie’s outrageous declaration, he just can’t help himself. And he wastes no time in seducing her and taking her over the precipice of desire. Yet not even his beautiful new wife can deter him from his cause.
But when Lizzie discovers her husband’s deception, Marlowe must choose between devotion to his duty, and loyalty to the woman he cannot live without …
The Pursuit of Pleasure was released last week, and is available now!!!
Today, I’m thrilled to welcome historical romance author Elizabeth Essex to the blog. When not re-reading Jane Austen, sipping tea or mucking about her garden, Elizabeth can be found at her computer, making up stories about people who live far more interesting lives than she.
It wasn’t always so. Elizabeth graduated from Hollins College with a BA in Classical Studies and Art History and then earned her MA from Texas A&M University in Nautical Archaeology, also known as the archaeology of shipwrecks. While Elizabeth loved the adventurous life of a working archaeologist, after writing and reading all those dry, dusty reports on ship construction, she would daydream about how lovely it would have been if only someone had fallen in love on just one of those ships. And so now she writes stories about just that.
Elizabeth lives in Texas with her family.
So let’s begin our Pursuit of Elizabeth…
Heather: How often to you get lost in a story?
Elizabeth: As often as possible! I absolutely adore it when I can melt into the world created in the story. I read mostly historicals, and my family often accuses me of letting early 19th century England bleed into our real life. I call all my teenager’s friends Miss So and So, and my own friends tease me that my home looks like it could be a set for one of my novels (without the extensive grounds or armies of servants!).
Heather: What’s the first book you remember reading?
Elizabeth: Hmm. I do remember our Kindergarten readers, which had a boy named Tom and a dog named Flip, but the first book I remember having read to me was a delightful Christmas story called “Mr. Willoughby’s Christmas Tree.” I can still recite it from memory! The other book that stands out from childhood was “The Wind in the Willows.” I still adore that book, and tend to think of my heroes as the archtypes presented in the wonderful animal characters in that book. Mr. Ratty, and his fondness for simply messing about in boats, still strikes such a chord with me that I think there is a little of him in all of my heroes, who tend to be sailors – of His Majesty’s Royal Navy.
Heather: Where do you read and how often?
Elizabeth: I read everywhere – in a car, on a plane, in the tub, in my bed, while cooking, instead of watching television, when I should be writing. I am firmly convinced that the first step to becoming a writer is becoming a reader, a lover of words, stories and books.
Heather: Be honest, when reading 1st person...do you miss the hero’s POV?
Elizabeth: I definitely want the hero’s point of view, and I firmly believe that one of the reasons I love romance is that the hero’s POV shows me that he really ‘gets’ the heroine, in a way no one else could. And although I do read books written in 1st person, they tend to be mysteries. But in romance, I love the push and pull, the tension between what two different people think about the same thing, that two 3rd person points of view can give.
Heather: Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?
Elizabeth: Sometimes. It depends on the story I’m writing. If I need inspiration I will listen to a huge variety of music on my ipod – everything from Bob Marley to Maddness, Madeleine Peroux to Coldplay. Anything with an evocative lyric. If I am revising, or know what I want to write I most often listen to baroque classical music. There’s something about the regular, stately tempo that pushes me along.
Heather: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Elizabeth: Read it. I never type ‘The End,” because the first thing I want to do is revise. I always think I could have made it better, or tighter, or have more tension, or create a more surprising plot twist. But when I absolutely have to send it off to my editor, I make myself get out of the house so I don’t sit there waiting for an email telling me if she liked it or not!
Heather: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
Elizabeth: I only read the ones that my editor or my agent forward to me, because I know if they have done so, the review will be positive. I don’t seek out reviews or do “Google Alerts” because I think they would interfere with the book I’m writing at that moment. The publishing cycle for books is so long, that I’m usually already deep at work on another novel, and have a couple of others in some stage of publication development when a book comes out, so I try and stay focused on the work in progress and not get sidelined by reviews. Although I will admit, the nice, positive reviews make me want to work harder, and do help me get back to the current work with renewed enthusiasm.
Heather: If you couldn’t be a writer anymore, what profession would you take up?
Elizabeth: This is easy, because I had my first dream job before I became a writer. I was a nautical archaeologist, and I excavated shipwrecks underwater! As an archaeologist, it’s part of your job to look at the material remains at a site and try to clearly envision what life had been like for the people involved, and what had happened to create the shipwreck site. But with shipwrecks there had been no happy ending – they had already ended up at the bottom of the sea – and I think I segued into romance because I wanted the imaginary people who had sailed those ships to have their happily ever after.
Heather: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Elizabeth: Without a doubt it has to be ROMAN HOLIDAY. I laugh, and I cry, and it breaks my heart every time I watch it. I love that long shot at the end, when Gregory Peck’s character is walking away, and we can still see the door in the background, and until the last moment, when the credits roll down, I still keep hoping she’s going to come out of that door and they will get their happily ever after. Sigh. I guess that’s why I write romance – I want everyone to get their HEA!
Heather: Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?
Elizabeth: The delightful and indispensable Mr. Essex wakes me up each morning by bringing a cup of frothy latte to me in bed. I drink coffee only in the morning, but in the wintertime, hot tea or hot cider throughout the afternoon. And I try and drink it out of whatever kind of cup my heroine would be drinking out of! Bone china tea cups for fashionable ladies, or stout beakers for less privileged girls, or chipped old mugs for anyone on a ship.
Heather: Which era would you least like to have lived in, fashion-wise and why? Most?
Elizabeth: I am a huge fan of the fashions of the period I write, the late Georgian, or Revolutionary period, because I love that politics and ideals were expressed through clothing and that we can see the cultural influences of the past, from ancient Greece and Rome, melded into the fashions. It was a time of great change in fashion that reflected the great changes in society, and I imagine it was both frightening and exhilarating.
Heather: What would you say is your most interesting quirk?
Elizabeth: Talking like my characters. When I revise my work, I tend to read the dialog out loud, so I can get a sense of the cadence of a character’s individual speech. But once I get the hang of it, I find it incredibly hard to give it up. One of the last heroines I wrote, a thief named Meggs from my third book, THE DANGER OF DESIRE, had such a rich, vibrant way with slang, that I found myself saying all sorts of outrageous things for at least a month after I finished the book.
HEATHER’S GOTTA ASK – ELIZABETH’S GOTTA ANSWER J
Heather: What is the most fascinating thing you learned while researching or writing this particular book?
Elizabeth: I already had a firm grasp of the 1790’s from my archaeological research, so I concentrated on reading books written in the period, works that my heroine might have read. I spent a great deal of time reading Mary Wollstonecraft’s “Vindication of the Rights of Men,” and it’s companion piece, “Vindication of the Rights of Women.” I think we tend to think of both human rights and women’s rights as very modern constructs, but her arguments in the cause of personal liberty, education and self-determination still ring astonishingly true.
GOT A QUESTION YOU’D LIKE TO ASK YOUR FANS?
Many romance novels seem to have groups of related stories, like Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton books or Julie Ann Long’s Pennyroyal Green stories, where a group of characters are introduced and each given their own stories. THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE can stand alone as a single book, but some of the characters from that world come back in my second book, A SENSE OF SIN, due out in April 2011, and again in the third, THE DANGER OF DESIRE, due out later in 2011.
Do you like an author’s books to have related stories, or not?
WILL YOU HAVE A DRAWING FROM THOSE LEAVING COMMENTS?
I would love to give a copy of THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE, along with a bonus gift – an audio book of Georgette Heyer’s VENETIA read by the swoon-worthy Richard Armitage!
Thanks for coming by today, Elizabeth!
If you’d like to learn more about Elizabeth, you can friend her on Facebook or visit her website www.ElizabethEssex.com
Readers, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance at the drawing.
We will announce a winner here and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Get-Lost-In-A-Story/
You can also follow us on Twitter @GetLostInAStory
Come back tomorrow, where our guest will be best-selling author Kathleen Eagle!