From the moment Constance stepped into her first school library, she was enthralled by the idea that a wonderful story resided in every single book. The enchantment never faded.
Amazing worlds full of adventure and history were hers for the reading. She also realized—much to her relief—that the imaginary characters living in her mind were nothing unusual. Obviously a great many people lived with stories in their heads. That she could share her tales and actually write a book wasn’t something she considered until quite recently, but about six years ago she began writing seriously.
Constance's first books were written in collaboration with her sister, Diana, and published under the pen name Diana Hussey. (Lord Waring’s Quest and An Angel for St. Clair). Now Constance writes independently under her own name.
Today, Constance is sharing how she gets her ideas.
Behind the Scenes with Connie Hussey
Writers are frequently asked where they get their ideas. The answer, just as frequently, is everywhere. Something heard, seen, read; all these sources provide ‘what ifs’ that can start a story.
Years ago, in the course of some research, I stumbled upon a brief account of Napoleon’s edict to arrest all Englishmen between the ages of 18 and 80 found on French soil, in May of 1803. This was his response to the English Parliament’s declaration of war when the terms of the Treaty of Amiens failed. During the short-lived truce, many of the English aristocracy and upper classes had flocked to the continent, particularly France, after being pent up in England by the long war. For all their centuries of war and contention, France and England had many ties—property ownership, trade, and family relationships.
Few in England had expected the treaty to last. It was more of a breathing space on both sides. England knew there would be no peace in Europe as long as Napoleon was in power, and of course, Napoleon had made no secret of his determination to invade England.
Knowing all this, the government officials whose responsibilities included obtaining information about the French government and military organization, had a limited time to arrange for funding ‘agents-in-place’ within France. That said, and resting on the fact that England truly did have a network of informants, who can say that an effort to fund that network was not made? And hence, St. Clair’s mission to France was born. Of course, he had to have a lovely lady with him to complicate matters and Angel’s half-French parentage seemed a helpful circumstance. And so, like many stories, An Angel for St. Clair grew from a history tidbit.
I freely admit I’m hooked on history. The differences in the culture, language and way of life people experienced during other ages continue to fascinate and delight. Imagination can take you to so many different times and places. Every story involves you in the lives of men and women of another world who have their own problems to resolve. And yet they aren’t unlike you and me. Women in bygone times had to cope with husbands, children, illness, and loss just as we do today. Men struggled to provide for and protect their loved ones. Indeed, some things haven’t changed at all—a truly sad commentary on our civilization. Society still has to deal with stalkers, abusive spouses, crippled and orphaned children, misuse of the environment, and men’s greedy exploitation of those less able or fortunate.
An Inconvenient Wife reflects a shift away from the war to more societal issues. Impoverished and haunted by a stalker, Anne nevertheless befriends two orphans, and ultimately takes Nicholas’ crippled daughter into her heart in their marriage of convenience. She puts her own needs and dreams aside to care for these children and fights tirelessly to heal the emotionally wounded man who offers her refuge. The story of Anne and Nicholas evolved from a search for a missing child into an adventure that unexpectedly led to the founding of a family.
While I do have a rough outline and general idea of the story—at least the beginning and end—the characters more-or-less write the middle. This is not as disorganized as it may seem since I prepare an in-depth biography for every main character before I begin. Just as we are a composite of our heredity, upbringing and culture, fictional characters are as well. In order to create interesting, believable people, it’s important to understand their basic personalities and have some idea of why they behave and think as they do. As a writer, one of the most surprising things to me is how often the unexpected happens as the story unfolds. Even though it is my story, the characters sometimes do or say something that never surfaced in my conscious mind. Similarly, secondary characters take on a life of their own. Or the tale itself unfolds in such a manner that a continuation becomes quite natural.
This happened with An Inconvenient Wife when at the very end of An Angel for St. Clair a reference to a missing child is made. Although each book stands quite independent of the other, those readers interested in learning more of Angel and St. Clair have that opportunity in An Inconvenient Wife.
Constance want to ask readers how they feel about having societal issues (such as Anne being stalked) appear in Regency romance.
Constance is giving away books to 4 winners! The winners will have their choice of either An Angel for St. Clair or An Inconvenient Wife. Winners can request either paperback or ebook if in the US—ebook only if international.
Keep up with Constance on her Website and Amazon. Both of the books mentioned and others of hers are available there.