Hi Elizabeth and thank you so much for being our Author of the Month for March. It's so nice to have you with us and I know that our readers are happy to get to know you a little better also.
Let's start off with the basic question that is usually asked. How is it that you decided to write romances for a career?
I always wanted to be a writer-just one of those people who always knew what they wanted to do. And when I started reading romances in my teens, I knew I had found my niche. I adore love stories and happy endings, and the whole excitement of the romantic chase, as well as being a complete history buff/geek-so romances, especially historical romances are a perfect fit.
With such an exciting career as a paralegal and working with such government agencies as the FBI, Us Customs and the Canadian RCMP, helping them round up the 'bad guys' in fraud, forgery and espionage cases, writing a romance novel must seem tame. Do you ever miss all that excitement?
Actually no. Because as exciting as that all sounds, the few hours of real excitement were usually proceeded by months and months of painstaking work. I used to call my job, "hurry up and wait." Wait for the evidence to come in. Wait for the court to issue an order. Wait for a plane to get there. And as a stay at home mom with two sons-I get all the superhero action I could ever long for. Don't get me wrong, I loved my former work, and it gave me all kinds of fodder for my books (in fact the counterfeiting thread in Brazen Angel came after I spent an afternoon hanging around with a couple of RCMP officers while we waited for a court order to be issued. They got out their counterfeit money collection and we played pick the fake). However, my love of writing always trumped my love of my job. Writing was in my blood and no time clock could compete with that.
Have you ever thought about writing a crime novel; maybe with an historical twist?
My editor and agent have both bugged me to write suspense or such, but honestly, having done it for a living, it's rather dull to me. But I do like a good mystery and a bit of suspense so I try to incorporate those threads into every story I write. Not to say that if the right story came along, I wouldn't write it. It's all about the right story.
This Rake of Mine is a follow up to Something About Emmaline. Are these two books a part of a series? Will there be a third book? Maybe Pippin and Dash's story?
I started Something About Emmaline without the least idea of writing another series, but then those darn Danvers characters started popping into the story line and then Jack came in right on the first page and I sort of had to give into the notion that there was going to be more than one book and that it was loosely connected to the other Danvers books. This Rake of Mine is really the first book in The Bachelor Chronicles series featuring Felicity and her infamous journal of eligible men. I am just starting the next book in that series, which will be Felicity's search for her perfect duke. And yes, I do plan on writing Pippin and Dash's book, but not until Tally's had her chance at love.
Actually, I've got another series in the works-completely and utterly different from my previous books--that I am very excited about. The first book, His Mistress By Morning, comes out in August. This is a series I've had my eye on writing for some time and finally wore my editor down enough to let me try it out. The books are about a ring that grants the bearer one wish, with of course the maxim being, "Be careful what you wish for." His Mistress By Morning features a spinster who inherits the ring and wishes to be the woman the hero loves. When she wakes up the next morning, she is the woman he loves, but she's also his mistress. Mayhem ensues as she discovers her inner courtesan and the problems she's caused by making her wish. The book is a lot of fun and a light, fun paranormal set during the Regency and I hope it will find fans with both readers of Regencies and paranormals.
Your very first book, Brazen Angel was met with huge success, winning the Dell Diamond Debut Award and going on to with the Romance Writers of America RITA Award for Best First Book. How long did it take to get your first book published?
I had been writing for about five years when Brazen Angel sold. The best thing I ever did was join RWA-that really helped me hone my craft, understand the business and work toward writing books that would sell. Without RWA, I have no doubt it would have taken me years longer to sell.
After writing so many books, how do you keep coming up with fresh ideas for each book?
I wish I could stop getting ideas for books. I get story ideas and "what if" questions all the time. The real difficulty is picking the right idea. I know now that not every idea is perfect and so when I decide which book I want to write I have to make sure of two things: 1) That a story idea has had enough brewing time in the back of my imagination so that I have a complete picture of the book when I sit down to start writing and 2) That I am positively ecstatic to write that story. With those two elements in place, then the process is fun and exciting and translates into a better book.
How much research do you have to put into writing a story? What kinds of references do you use? We aspiring writers are always looking for new places to look for to do research.
Research is research---it's just a matter of digging down until you find the best source. I don't think you can really find a new way to do the work. Always your best sources are primary sources -journals and diaries, newspapers and magazines from the time period give you a priceless peek into daily life and those aren't too hard to find---search in your local college library catalogue, look for magazines from that time period. I love reading the Ladies Magazine from the early 1800s, which is a wonderful "People-esque" peek into what was popular. I've borrowed many of these items through inter-library loan.
Also, since I've been writing in the same time period (Regency England) for some time, I have a pretty good library of books that I draw from. Each story requires varying degrees of research depending on the characters and the setting. For This Rake of Mine, I had to research smuggling, the area and topography around Hastings, follies (since the folly on Jack's property figured prominently in the story), and magisterial law. I used the internet, my local library, purchased some books, and asked questions of other authors.
I am always careful about using Internet sources-while the Internet is great for researching places and tourist sites, you have to be cautious about relying on it completely since anyone can put up a website and call themselves an expert.
Just to give you an idea of how I accomplish specific research, for say, smuggling, I started with some websites, then purchased the book, The Ordnance Survey Guide to Smugglers' Britain. Then I used the bibliography from that book to find some great primary sources and Hastings specific books that gave me detailed information about smuggling during my time period.
Another thing I've done is join my local Jane Austen Society chapter. They have wonderful programs every month about this time period and I've learned some great things by attending the meetings and talking to other members. If you have an interest in an area, there is more than likely a club or organization out there that shares your passion-and it's delightfully fun way to do research.
All of your characters are very believable and easy to fall in love with. Have you ever emulated a character after someone that you know?
Oh, sure. Felicity, Tally and Pippin are modeled after Julia Quinn and her two sisters, whom I consider great friends-and are wonderful characters in real life. I've used old boyfriends, family members, my grandmothers, you name them, if I know you, and you'll probably end up in some form in one of my books. Everyone has some and many aspects of their personality that makes them really interesting and I love mining around when I meet people to see what makes them tick and how they view life. My point of view would get very boring very quickly, so I love to "collect" characters.
Elizabeth, when you find time in your busy schedule to relax, what kinds of things do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies?
I have a bit of a knitting addiction. Okay, a huge knitting addiction. It is how I relax at night. I also love to garden, so in the summer I am quite content to be weeding and plotting stories.
What authors do you like to read the most? What genre of book to do you like to read?
I love so many different authors-including some of my dearest writing friends, Tina St. John, Julia Quinn, Jaclyn Reding, and Candice Hern. I think they write some of the best romances out there. When I read romances, I prefer historicals, straight regencies, and medievals. I also love mysteries and am very addicted to Laura Joh Rowland's samurai series, and Fiona Buckley's Ursula Blanchard mystery series set during Queen Elizabeth's reign. And every few months I get a new Georgette Heyer and read another one of her books. And of course there is my daily reading of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, as well as Goodnight Moon.
Now for the question that every Elizabeth Boyle fan is dying to know…what are you working on now and when can we expect to see it in the stores?
I have the new ring series coming out in August starting with His Mistress by Morning, and Felicity's book coming out in mid-2007. After that, well . . . I'll have to see what story strikes my fancy next.
Elizabeth, thank you again for talking with us. I speak for everyone at ARR in that we wish you nothing but success in the future. Keep those great romances coming, because we'll be sure to keep on buying them!!
Thank you so much for inviting me! I love hearing from folks, so please feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. Or drop by my website-I usually have all kinds of freebies available, a monthly contest, and sneak peeks at upcoming stories. In the meantime, all my best wishes to each and every one of you!