Tuesday, September 2, 2014

#GetLostInAStory 's guest is Elizabeth Essex on Desert Island Living #Regency #historical

Welcome to Get Lost in a Story and to our special guest, Elizabeth Essex!

         Elizabeth Essex is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Reckless Brides series of  historical romances for St. Martin’s Press. She is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Reckless Brides series of historical romances for St. Martin’s Press. Her books have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and RWA’s prestigious RITA Award, and have made Top-Ten lists from Romantic Times, The Romance Reviews and Affaire de Coeur Magazine, and Desert Isle Keeper status at All About Romance. Her fifth book, A BREATH OF SCANDAL, was awarded Best Historical in the Reader’s Crown 2013.
         When not rereading Jane Austen, mucking about in her garden, or simply messing about with boats, Elizabeth writes, and has done so for over twenty years. She graduated from Hollins College with a BA in Classics and Art History, and then earned her MA in Nautical Archaeology from Texas A&M University. While she loved the life of an underwater archaeologist, she has found her true calling writing historical romance full of passion, daring and adventure.

Vicki: Hi, Ms. Essex and welcome to Get Lost In a Story.
Elizabeth: Thanks, Vicki. I love visiting with the whole GLIAS crew here!

Vicki: You have taken your readers on some big adventures in your Reckless Brides series. Where are we going this time? 
Elizabeth: We are going to a deserted island in the South Pacific! How’s that for adventurous? Many readers may already know that long before I ever put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard as a romance novelist, I was a nautical archaeologist—an underwater archaeologist who studied and excavated
shipwrecks. Blame it on late night readings of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and Kidnapped, or on too many National Geographic Jacques Cousteau specials as a kid, but I have long wanted to combine my archaeologist past with my romance novelist present by writing a shipwreck story. So with A SCANDAL TO REMEMBER I got to write a romantic adventure of shipwreck and survival. (Was their survival in doubt? This is a romance novel, after all. :) )

Vicki: How much of your own experience and background as an archaeologist ended up in the story? 
Elizabeth: A lot! One of the greatest pleasures in writing A SCANDAL TO REMEMBER, was that I not only got to depict the lethal drama of the shipwreck, but I also got to strand my hero and heroine alone together on a deserted South Pacific atoll. This was familiar territory for me, because I had spent many field seasons much the same way, in remote, inaccessible camps, or on uninhabited islands in various parts of the world.

Vicki: Oh my, Ms. Essex! Being in a remote camp sounds a tad dangerous. Your heroine, Jane Burke, must be very intrepid! 
Elizabeth: Jane is a lot more intrepid that I ever was—after all I had some modern conveniences, like a satellite phone for emergencies, and an entire crew to keep me safe and fed—my hero and heroine have only themselves. In A SCANDAL TO REMEMBER, Jane Burke is a conchologist, a bluestocking scientist in a time when women scientists were not the norm. She succeeds against the disapproval of both her family and society because she simply does her job better than anyone else. It was really fun to try to create a heroine who was a lot like the archaeologist I used to be—determined and really well-prepared. I had Jane spend hours and hours planning out the details of her field project, and carefully packing her fragile equipment for transport, because that is exactly what I used to do—plan excavations and purchase equipment, repair mosquito netting and seal tarpaulins, test and ship scuba equipment for an entire camp full of working archaeologists and students for the long May to September field season.

But the thing that I really have in common with Jane Burke is that I thought that working in my chosen field on a remote island was the best job in the whole wide world, and the most fun imaginable!

Vicki: And obviously, you translated all your wonderful experiences into your books. Tell us about your hero. Is he another of your Royal Navy officers?
Elizabeth: You know me so well, Vicki. He is! Lieutenant Charles Dance is a character who made his first appearance in the Reckless Bride’s world as a midshipman in the first book of the series, ALMOST A SCANDAL. Now, in A SCANDAL TO REMEMBER he is in charge of the run-down ship that will take an expedition of the Royal Philosophical Society, including our bluestocking lady scientist, Miss Jane Burke, to the Islands of the South Pacific. Unfortunately for our hero, nothing, with the exception of the surprisingly lovely Miss Burke, goes right. Storm, sabotage and shipwreck ensue!

A wee excerpt:
         Dance awoke to the terrifying feeling that he was alone. Empty and depleted.
         Jane was gone.
         The clawing pressure building in his chest might have felt like panic, if he allowed it to be. He lurched to his feet, only to find himself unsteady. He raised his hand to shield his eyes from the glare of the watery gray sunlight.
         The yellowish cast to the western sky that had obscured the sun for days still made him feel uneasy. He’d been at sea for more years than he liked to count, and sailed the Pacific twice before, and he’d never seen the like.
         But the truth of the matter was that his unease was not due to the strange weather, but from the fact that Jane Burke, who had clung to him as tenaciously as one of her precious barnacles for uncounted nights, was gone.
         She was nowhere nearby. She was not within his sight.
         “Jane.” He staggered toward the boat, hoping that she had taken shelter within its familiar confines. But the pinnace was empty. More than empty—items were missing. The line that had been the main sheet, controlling the sail, was gone, as were many of the tightly packed supplies. “Jane!” he bellowed.
         That was panic, cracking his voice wide open like a boarding ax.
         Dance turned a full circle to see her running—tearing up the beach at him as if a tribe of spinster-scientist-eating cannibals were after her.
         No. There were no cannibals.
         And she was smiling.
         She was running toward him as if she hadn’t just spent however many days it had been in a small boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Her feet were bare in the sand. He could see her small toes, and her white, white ankles and shins where she had tied her skirts up to keep them out of the water. Her hair was streaming loose on the breeze.
         Everything that had heretofore seemed so buttoned up and battened down was coming gloriously undone. The drawn, coughing girl of the boat was gone, and left this glowing creature in her place.
         When she reached him she held out her hand and offered him a handful of shells, as if she were giving him rubies and pearls, or manna from heaven. Or better yet, carpentry tools with which he might fix the broken boat.
         He looked again at the contents of her outstretched palm. Shells. But she was beaming at him as if she were ecstatically happy.
         Happy. Shipwrecked only God knew where in the middle of the ocean.
         “It’s unbelievable.” She was breathless with her joy. “You won’t believe what I found. Tridacna gigas. Giant bivalves. Clams as big as a breadbasket.” She spread her arms to indicate the monstrous size. “And more than that. A Venus comb murex, Murex pecten, and another murex, I think, but that I’ve never seen before but it’s definitely a gastropod mollusk with a very wide operculum. And this whelk of the Triton type that I’ve never seen anywhere but is definitely some sort of Cabestana. Oh, Dance. It’s—”
         Dance thought her face would split in two with the width of her smile.
         And then she hurtled herself into his arms, wrapping her arms around his back, and sighing into his chest. “Oh, Dance. It’s heaven.”
         Heaven. Impossible.

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Elizabeth: What about you? Do you think you could survive on an uninhabited island with a group of people? Or how about with just your one and only? Would the two of you, and your love  survive?


  1. Good morning, Ms. Essex! I had so much fun doing our interview. Recently, I did one and a question came up about what 3 things would I take: waterproof tarp, flint, container for boiling water. How did I do?

  2. Always a pleasure to have you. Love your books!

  3. You did brilliantly, Vicki! Those are in fact the three things that my heroine brought along that saved her. :) So you're ready to be the heroine of your own story. :)

    Thank you so very much for hosting me here today. Cheers, EE

  4. Angi,

    IT is always a vast pleasure to be here at GLIAS! But it looks like I neglected to say I would do a #GIVEAWAY, which is silly, so I'm going to give away a print copy of A SCANDAL TO REMEMBER to one of your lovely readers!

    (Better late than never!) Cheers, EE

  5. maybe if there was stuff on the island

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  6. B.N.

    :) Stuff like a spa and cabana boys? I will admit that at this point in my life, that is the only "stuff" I could survive with myself. :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by to chat today, and best of luck in the drawing. Cheers, EE

  7. I would not last with a group of people... Definitely start to get annoyed after the first day for sure! Although, I might last if it as just my one and only ;) So excited to read this one!

    1. Krysten,

      I remember when the show "Survivor" first came out, I thought it was cheating to let people get voted 'off' the island. "The real horror is having to stay and work with them all summer," I would say. :) But that fantasy of being alone with your one and only, Aahhhhhh. That's a lovely idea, isn't it?

      Thanks so much for stopping by to chat, and best of luck in the drawing. Cheers, EE

  8. I think I would rather be stranded with only my hubby rather than a group. (Less people to use up resources.) After many years as cub scout and boy scout leaders I think we could survive fairly well. :)

    1. Angelina,

      It's very hard to fault both logic ( "Less people to use up resources") and experience (Scout leader) and true love. I believe you've scored the trifecta! You would definitely be the most likely survivor. :)

      Thank you so much for stopping by to chat this evening, and best of luck int he drawing. Cheers, EE

  9. Love your books & writing Elizabeth & can't wait to read this. I don't think I'd do well unless there was someone else taking charge. I wouldn't know what to do & would be at my wits end.

  10. I could not stand on an island with a group of people it would start bugging me, but I think that would come with just my one and only