by Caren Crane
Some of you may have heard me boast about--er, mention--that one of my dear friends is none other than the elusive and seldom-seen-in-cyberspace Liz Carlyle. Liz is the NY Times best-selling author of dark, hot Regency romances. I am thrilled to have Liz guesting with us today. All I had to do to secure this visit was tackle her in the Whole Foods parking lot and hold her organic kumquats hostage until she agreed! *ahem*
Welcome to the Bandits' Lair, Liz!
Thank you, Banditas! It's a pleasure to be in the saddle with you today. (Should I have worn a mask? A kerchief over my face? Just wasn't sure of bandit etiquette here . . . )
Never worry about your attire. Should you require a mask, Donna has extras. For now, we'll spend time gazing at you adoringly. (gazes adoringly) Such fun to have you here today! Coincidentally, today is the release date of the latest in your Never series, Never Romance a Rake, isn't it? (blinks innocently)
Yes, Bandita Caren! Coincidentally, it is. Wonder how that happened?
I cannot discuss my powers of Amazon...er, divination. *ahem* Anyway, I gobbled up Never Lie To a Lady and Never Deceive a Duke. The hero of Never Romance a Rake , much to my delight, is Baron Rothewell . I and all your other slavering fans have waited a year for Rothewell's story. A long year. What can you tell us about his book?
Well, I can tell you that if you think the book was a long time coming out, you should have seen me writing it. (Oops, actually, you pretty much did, didn't you?) As my dearest friends know--having observed the gnashing of my teeth these many months--this book was hard sledding. Rothewell was such an intriguing character to so many readers and, well, let's face it--a bit of an asshole. So redeeming him was a challenge, as was writing the sort of book he deserved. Because, you see, an author's characters are her children, and she knows the good in them, even when others cannot see it. I knew there was a tender heart this dark, hulking, hard-drinking, mean-tempered man--I just had to find it, sober him up, slap him around, then convey him on the page to my readers. Without totally wussifying him, of course.
Inquiring minds simply must know. What sort of woman could possibly tame such a beast as the luscious...er, dark and dangerous Rothewell?
A woman with a whip and a chair? Seriously, this girl is intense and--in her own way--a little ruthless. That, to me, was what it was going to bring the old boy around. I know conventional wisdom tells us opposites attract, but in Camille Marchand, I found myself with a heroine who really could go toe-to-toe with Lord Rothewell. She was not afraid of him. And from the very first, he is taken aback by her, and almost as quickly smitten. She makes him work for it, though. I really thought he needed to be punished for his wicked ways. I wanted him on his knees, and Camille got the job done. Of course that blade cuts both ways . . .
Oh, my! It sounds like the beginning of another stormy, lightning-hot romance. I don't suppose you are selling tickets to the Rothewell taming? What's that? I have to read the book? Well, if I must. Camille comes across as an exotic and definitely not British woman. She isn't alone in that. You have had a number of non-British characters in your novels. What made you decide to include these more exotic characters in your novels?
I like the contrast of two people from slightly different cultures, with different languages. As an author, right off the bat, you've got your "fish out of water" element to play with. And there's nothing sexier than a whispered endearment in a foreign language--especially French or Italian. I think, too, that society was very fluid, even then. There was a good deal of travel between countries (depending upon what war was going on where) and it was a hallmark of an educated mind to have traveled, or at least to have a passing knowledge of another culture, especially French.
Right now I'm working on my next hero who is a little bit Spanish, a little bit Gypsy--maybe a little Sicilian thrown in for good measure. Even he isn't sure of his heritage--a mongrel, he calls himself--and I must say, I'm having a great time with him so far.
I am certainly looking forward to that hero. (Sorry, my "Gypsy/Sicilian man" picture didn't look very historical. Oopsie!) I love endearments whispered in foreign languages. (clears throat) So, we have a bad boy hero coming out TODAY and this fascinating hero of unknown origin coming out next year. In the meantime, you will be at the Literacy Autographing in San Francisco at the RWA Conference. Yippee! We are looking forward to that. What are you looking forward to in San Francisco, Liz?
Going home. Yes, as all my friends know, I am the ultimate homebody. You have to blow me out of the house with dynamite.
Ok, seriously. I'm looking forward to hanging out with my pals--especially you, Bandita Caren--and just chilling. I have tried to keep planning to an absolute minimum this year so I can be--gasp!-- spontaneous. Also, I really enjoy the literacy signing--I love to meet readers and fellow writers, and it's for a very good cause.
Spontaneity, you say? I'll believe it when I see it. (Note to self: pack dynamite to blast Liz out of hotel room.) But, dear readers, any of you in the San Francisco area (or those of you at Conference) should plan to stop by the Literacy Autographing to meet Liz in actual, real live person!
Oh, Liz, before you crawl back into your cave, is there anything you would like to ask our Bandita Buddies today?
Yes, Bandita Caren, I would like to pick the learned brains of your esteemed Banditaship. How do the Banditas like their historicals nowadays? How hot is too hot to be appropriate in today's historical (non-erotica) market? Does sex play and light bondage seem out of place? I've got a difficult hero and heroine on my hands here, and they seem to require some discipline, but I'm not sure I'm ready to play the kinky card yet. I'll do it only if the characters warrant it, not just to throw in gratuitous kinky-ness. So...think it will be a wallbanger? Will they strip me of my Historical Author Tiara for this?
Let Liz know what you think and you will be entered in a drawing to win an autographed copy of Never Romance a Rake!