Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sara Bennett Visits the Lair!

by Anna Campbell

Sara Bennett is a fellow Aussie and a fellow Avon historical romance writer. Not only that, but she writes great Victorian romances! Perhaps she and Donna could talk about the delights of writing about all that underwear! I'm delighted to welcome Sara as my guest today in the lair. Oh, and there's a giveaway - so get commenting, people!

Sara, you write historical romance as Sara Bennett and paranormal romance as Sara Mackenzie. Can you tell us something about the difference in your two personas? Are there yet more Saras inside you, yearning to get out, perhaps the Sara who writes chick lit or romantic suspense?


LOL, Anna. There probably are more Saras, but they’ll just have to wait their turn, at the moment I have enough to do. And don’t ask me to say which one I like the best, because I can’t. I just know how lucky I am to be writing my two favorite genres for Avon. Are they different? Yes, definitely. I like to think that my Sara Bennett historicals are lighter—they’re certainly easier to write, but I think that’s because I’m working within a framework of real historical events. The Sara Mackenzie paranormals are much darker in tone, and I have to create my own framework, my own world, so that makes it more difficult.

Can you tell us about your next release, HER SECRET LOVER, which comes out from Avon in November, 2008?

HER SECRET LOVER is the final book in my Aphrodite’s Club series, and a real page turner. It’s the kind of book that keeps you up all night. Briefly, heiress Antoinette Dupre, a practical heroine, has fallen into the clutches of a fortune hunter. Imprisoned at his country estate she makes the acquaintance of highwayman, Gabriel Langley, who also has his secrets, and sparks fly between them. The story moves to London and the Great Exhibition of 1851, where Antoinette and Gabriel must learn to trust each other if they’re going to defeat their enemy.
You’re clearly a huge fan of series. Can you tell us why you love to write interconnected books and why you think they’re so popular? Any hints to girls who haven’t yet written a series about the best way to go about it (um, not mentioning any names here!)?

When I wrote my first book, THE LILY AND THE SWORD, I didn’t start off planning it to be a series. No one made me do it. It just seemed like a good idea, because I had plenty of characters and I wanted to explore each of them in more detail. It also gave me an opportunity to revisit Radulf and Lily now and again. And I like writing series—there’s something very comfortable about dipping back into a world you’re familiar with, like visiting old friends. I think that’s why people like them. Any hints about writing a series? Mmm, I think you need to do all your planning first, because you’ll need plenty of characters—ie four books equals four brothers, or four friends, or four somethings. I like to have each book as stand alone as possible, but I also like to have a mystery or plot thread that runs through all of the books, as I did in the Greentree Sisters trilogy. I think writing a series is a bit like juggling and trying to keep all those balls in the air without dropping them—so what are you like at juggling, Anna?

You started out writing medievals but now write Victorians. What is the appeal of each period? I love a great medieval and regret that there are so few on the shelves these days. Would you ever go back to writing them?

I love medievals, too, and I’m sorry they no longer seem to be as popular as they were. To be honest, it was the current market that persuaded me to move into the Victorian time period. And I liked the idea of all that seething passion beneath the tight corsets and dozens of petticoats. The Victorians were so much about appearances and what was proper, and I just love my characters to break all those strict rules. But I do still hanker after those medieval alpha heroes, so who knows.

Can you tell us about your writing journey?

Mmm, can I remember that long ago? I suppose I was writing from a very early age—as a shy, introverted child I loved reading and make-believe, so it just went from there. I recently found a book of stories I wrote when I was seven and they weren’t half bad  When I was a teen I had some short stories published in magazines and won some contests, then I had a book accepted by Mills & Boon in 1982. Later on I wrote Australian mainstream historicals, and in 2000 I began writing for Avon. I’ve been lucky, really, even when times were tough—and there have been a few tough times—I’ve learned to have an open mind and not to be afraid to try something new.

What’s next for Sara Mackenzie?

Sara Mackenzie has a new trilogy pending.The Dark Lords, who are linked to my first trilogy, Immortal Warriors, are even darker and more dangerous. These books have taken longer to write than expected because I’ve been concentrating on my historicals, but hopefully they’ll be ready next year. I also have a short story in THE MAMOTH BOOK OF PARANORMAL ROMANCE the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance, which will be published in June ’09, so watch out for that.

What’s next for Sara Bennett?

Sara Bennett has just finished writing the first book in her new series, to be published in June ’09. I don’t want to say too much yet, but it will be a five book series and tells the stories of five friends who decide not to be content with just any husband—they go after the men of their dreams.I’m really excited about the idea and the series, and looking forward to starting on book #2.

Sara has very kindly offered one lucky commenter a signed copy of her most recent Avon historical romance, A SEDUCTION IN SCARLET, which you can read about here. So she'd like to know - Victorian or Regency? Do you have a preference? Why? Do you think there's a difference between romances set in these two periods?

116 comments:

Sara Lindsey said...

OMG, I think I got the GR! I told Anna in SF that my life would be complete if I could just get him once... YES!

Sara Bennett said...

Thanks for inviting me to Romance Bandits, Anna! And congratulations Sara--I've heard about this magical creature...

Sara Lindsey said...

Okay, just had to get that post up as quickly as possible...

First, nice name, Sara!
Regency or Victorian? REGENCY!
Jane Austen or Edith Wharton? JANE!
Colin Firth or Daniel Day Lewis? CF!

Seriously, though, I love both periods even though I write in the Regency era. The Victorian era is so fascinating, and I think it's really emerging in the world of historical romance. It's fresh and exciting for most readers, where the Regency set romances almost function like the series in that the world, with its language, historic personages, etc., has that familiar, old-friend feel.

Victorian clothing is wonderful, too, and the mid-19th century is such a time of innovation and change in all spheres of life. Hey, Victorians actually sound pretty fun... Hmmm, maybe someday!

Donna MacMeans said...

VICTORIAN!!!

LOL - Sorry Sara L. Regency is fine, but Victorian truly rocks my world. First off, the concept of corsets is so ultra-feminine and sexy. Plus I love how Victorian society pretends to have such strict morals - but then the women dress to emphasize and exaggerate every inch of their curves. Plus the Industrial Revolution just made life so much easier and innovative. Gotta love Victorian - or at least I do *g*

Sara - love your covers. The cover goddess smiled on you. Love to hear more about your paranormals. Are the immortal warriors time-travelers?

Congrats Sara L. on nabbing the GR!

Anna Campbell said...

Sara, it's official! Your life is now COMPLETE! LOL!

Sara B, as you see, the chook is a hot property!

Sara, I know I was in charge of the questsions but I didn't want to scare you with all the many things I want to know about the fabulous SB. Firstly, what's the best way to undress a Victorian miss? All that underwear is a serious barrier. Although given the size of families in the era, clearly not TOO much of a barrier. Are you a plotter or a pantser? My theory is you're a plotter because you're so prolific. Which leads me to my next question - can you give us some idea of Sara Bennett's work day?

Anna Campbell said...

Donna, I knew you and SB would be kindred spirits. What's your best hint for undressing a Victorian miss? Hmm, the lair is going to be full of naked Victorian misses the way it's going!

I must say I find the Victorians fascinating. All that boundless energy and passion, both repressed and not! And sticking sex so firmly behind closed doors actually gives it more power, in a funny sort of way. Does that make sense?

Sara Bennett said...

Regency is nice, Sara, I agree. And I love Jane Austen, and CF, but Victorian has the Bronte Sisters--Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, all good stuff. I always think Victorian is darker, or maybe that's just how I like to write it.

It's surprising how modern the Victorians were, too, with the steam train and gas lighting, and then electricity, as well as bathrooms and running hot water coming into their own.

And yes, the clothing is wonderful and irritating at the same time. Imagine undressing your heroine with all those hooks and buttons and ribbons, not to mention the dozens of petticoats! It's difficult to imagine doing much more than having a cuddle :)

Donna MacMeans said...

Well blogger just ate my long-winded explanation why Victorians rule. The gist was - corsets, exaggerated feminine curves (in contradiction to strict public society rules, and the Industrial Revolution.

Sara - I would love to hear more about your paranormals - are they time-travels? Are they historical paranormals, contemporary, or futuristic?

Sara L. - congrats on nabbing the GR. Don't let him hear that you valued his nabbing so highly - the bird has a big enough ego as it is.

Sara Bennett said...

Hi Donna, yes, the Immortal Warriors do travel through time, and find themselves modern heroines. I didn't think of the stories as time travel when I wrote them, because there's so much more in them--sea monsters and dragons and ghosts... I call them dark gothic fantasy.

Donna MacMeans said...

Best way to undress a Victorian miss?

Have her pose in front of Lord Nicholas Chambers

(You knew that was coming *g*)

Sara Bennett said...

Anna, no, I'm a pantser!! I just sit down at the keyboard and hope something happens. I do a lot of rewriting, though, so I think that helps me to develop knowledge of the characters and where the story is going. I've tried plotting but if I know what's going to happen I just get bored.

What about you?

Sara Bennett said...

Undressing Victorian misses...mmm. I usually start with the bodice, but they were so tight and those sleeves, the poor girls could hardly move. Sometimes it's easier just to pick her up and lift up her petticoats and...well, you get the picture. My next book is set in 1851 and the crinoline was still to come, so haven't have to deal with that yet.

Natalie Hatch said...

wow you women are fast

Anna Campbell said...

Nat, the rooster waits for no man - or woman!

Sara, laughing at the quick in and out approach to getting at our Victorian Miss. That way she doesn't have to worry about discommoding her bodice, does she? Snort! I always find it poignant to see photos of women in full Victorian dress in photos of early Queensland. They must have died of prickly heat. Not to mention been a bit on the stinky side!

How surprising, I definitely had you pegged as a plotter. I'm definitely a pantser - it's not the most efficient way to write but it seems to be the only way I can do it. Like you, I do mega rewriting. That's actually when I get the story into shape - it's a complete mishmash before that.

With your paranormals, did you base anything on old legends or myths? Or did you world build from scratch?

Sara Bennett said...

I do use folklore and legends and spooky stories but I made up the actual world, where the Sorceress rules and keeps her warriors sleeping before she brings them back to life and sends them out to redeem themselves. They're almost-heroes, you see. Heroes who have blundered in some way and no must find a way to make up for it.

The next series, the Dark Lords, involves witches and a world where merman are waiting to catch the unwary and eat them up...

Sara Bennett said...

Oops, sorry for the spelling mistakes. As well as a pantser I'm a terrible speller. It runs in the family.

Christine Wells said...

Sara, a very warm welcome to the lair from this Aussie Bandita! We're so pleased to have you here.

I used to stay away from Victorian romances, thinking the era far too staid but of course it was a hotbed of passion underneath, as your and Donna's books prove!

I love writing Regency historicals, though. I'm comfortable with the era, having amassed quite a bit of information about it over the years I've been obsessed!

When you started writing Victorians, were there many others doing the same? Was it a bit of a risk to stray outside the Regency/medieval mould?

Sara Bennett said...

Hello Christine, and thanks for the welcome! I understand completely your love of Regency romance. There's something really delightful and comforting about watching a DVD of Pride and Prejudice or Persuasion (my personal favorite). I do think Victorian is more edgy--appearances were important, while underneath all that morality there was a lot going on. Seething passion, yum.

When I started writing Victorian they were just beginning to become more popular, and I suppose there were so many Regency writers I wanted to be different. I don't think it was risky, I didn't think of it like that, I was excited by the challenge. Now if I'd decided to write a book set in Norway in 1200...there could have been some raised eyebrows.

Do you find publishers are reluctant to try exotic locations and time periods?

jo robertson said...

Welcome, Sara and Sara, to the Lair! Your paranormals sound fascinating. I like dark and intense.

Other Sara, congratulations. Isn't it quite the thrill capturing the rooster for the first time? LOL, it's nice to know your life is now complete.

I love the Victorian period. The Victorians were an uptight reaction to previous periods' looseness. But you know, human nature being what it is, that passion and sensuality of all sorts lurked beneath the surface. I love reading and writing about that contrast.

Darcy Burke said...

It's really funny you're asking this today because I was doing some research this afternoon and ended up getting sucked into Victorian-era stuff (my WIP is set in 1817, so, er, I got derailed). I then wondered if I would perhaps write a Victorian. I have plans to write an Elizabethan-set historical, but hadn't really thought about Victorian. Until today. And now you've got me thinking about it again!

I'm surprised you're a pantser when you also say you continue a thread through your series. I'm in total awe. Your comment about getting board is why I call myself a plantser. I plot, but I usually end up down some far away rabbit hole. But it works. :-)

Eva S said...

I do love both periods, have always been a Regency girl but nowadays it's been more and more Victorian for me. I agree with Donna, ultra-feminine and sexy, and a little darker...I love my dark heroes!

Sara, so far I've only found "Passions of the Ghost" in your Immortal Warriors series, loved it and will have to look more for the other books! Your new series sound interesting... But I'd love to read your Sara Bennett-books too!

Anna Campbell said...

Sara, sounds like the SM books (not S&M!) are redemption stories. How fantastic! I love a good redemption story.

Sara, I agree with you about Persuasion. It's my favorite Austen too. I love the Ciaran Hinds version - he makes an extremely dashing Captain Wentworth! Actually my books fall in between yours and Christine's - mine are all 1820s which isn't officially the Regency. I remember I wasn't allowed to enter the Beau Monde contest when I was unpubbed because I was officially outside the period. I like the darker turn of the world after the Regency proper too.

Jo, we seem to be drowning in a plethora of Saras today!

Anna Campbell said...

Darcy, my friend from San Francisco! How lovely to see you here! You were always so happy when I ran into you, you were a treat! Interesting you're finding yourself drawn into the world of Victorian romance. I must say one day, I'd like to write something set then. So I'm soaking up all the wisdom from Donna and Sara about the appeal of the period.

Eva, great to see you. Fantastic you enjoyed Passions of the Ghost. I don't know if you order from Amazon in the US but if you click on any of Sara's book covers in the blog, that will take you straight across to Amazon and you can order anything. Easy, huh? RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDER is SM's RITA-nominated romance from last year.

Christine Wells said...

Sara, I'm only very new to publishing, so I'm not trying anything set in Norway in 1200.LOL Publishers always say they'll take a good story whatever the setting but I'm betting it has to be absolutely outstanding to break out of the tried and true eras. I have no personal experience in that regard, though. I was lucky that my love for the Regency is shared by so many, I guess.

Sara Bennett said...

Hello Jo, nice to meet another Victorian lover. I think you're right about society reacting against the lack of morality, and I think Victoria and Albert had a lot to do with it.

Sara Bennett said...

Darcy, Elizabethan sounds good, it seems to be really popular lately. And I understand completely about the rabbit-hole. But I can't seem to write any other way--I plotted out my last book from beginning to end, to save time, then started writing...five pages later I was into a completely different book. Sigh.

Sara Bennett said...

Thanks Eva S, I hope you find Return of the Highlander--my personal favorite :)

Sara Bennett said...

Anna, I think you have the best of both worlds in your writing--Regency with a dark edge, lovely.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, Sara! Actually I'm sort of vaguely contemplating Victorian in the distant future because one day I'd love to visit Kylemore and Verity's children. I think they'd have a really interesting row to hoe!

What inspires your writing?

Sara Bennett said...

I always have trouble answering that question. It can be a word or a movie or a picture in a book or...anything. An idea just pops up. The weird thing is I most often get my ideas when I'm in the shower--I'm probably still in that half asleep frame of mind.

What about you?

Anna Campbell said...

Sara, I get my best ideas around water too. I think it gets my subconscious working somehow. Swimming, the bath (Courtesan definitely came to me in the bath, as did Untouched!), looking at the ocean. I've found trying to force ideas never works - is it like that for you. Insisting on the subconscious throwing out something wonderful just destroys the process! Where does everyone else find their inspiration?

Sue said...

Victorian is absolutely the most exciting and that's why I also write in your era. Lots of dark characters inhabit the seedy underworld and even more proper society is filled with intereswting peopel and exciting new inventions. I love reading and writing about all the weird and wonderful layers.
Sue Webb

Sara Bennett said...

Sue, it was a fascinating time, I agree. And there were a lot of self-made men moving into society, ordinary men who weren't born to a title or greatness, and that makes it interesting, too. The daughter of a mill-owner could marry a duke.

Sara Bennett said...

Anna, do you follow your horoscope? I am a Scorpio, a water sign, so that explains standing in the shower and having brilliant ideas. Are you a water sign?? Just a thought...

Helen said...

Congrats on the GR Sara

Great interview Sara and Anna I am having a big fan squeal here at the moment I have everyone of your Sara Bennett books and loved them all I can't choose a favoutite of them and am really looking forward to Gabriel's story in November.

I don't have a preference between Victorian or Regency love both eras and I love medievals as well. Once I start reading a book and I feel as if it is taking me on the adventure with the heros and Heroines I am lost and love it and don't want to put it down.

Sara I hope to see you at the Australian Romance Readers convention in Melbourne next Feb.

Thank you Anna and Sara

Have Fun
Helen

Margay said...

I love to read Regency era books. I don't know why, there's just something so magical about the time. But I think they're more popular because they're more easily identifiable (because so many people write about it) and they did have a lot of larger than life characters, both in literature and politics, that lend flavor to the books. The ironic thing is, one of the ideas cooking on my back burner is set in the - Victorian Era! Go figure.

Maureen said...

I enjoy both the Victorian and Regency periods. I enjoy all different time periods when the author really brings that setting to life for me.

Sara Bennett said...

Helen, thank you for your lovely comments! And you are so right, it's the book that counts, not the time period it's written in.

I'll be in Melbourne in February, so see you there :)

Sara Bennett said...

Hi Margay, I find that, too. The books I like to read are not always the ones I write. I'm a real fan of crime fiction but I don't see myself ever writing it.

And Maureen, you're right. A good book is a good book, doesn't matter where it's set or when. One of my favorites is set in England in Viking times--a long way from Victorian.

Sara Bennett said...

Hi Margay, I find that, too. The books I like to read are not always the ones I write. I'm a real fan of crime fiction but I don't see myself ever writing it.

And Maureen, you're right. A good book is a good book, doesn't matter where it's set or when. One of my favorites is set in England in Viking times--a long way from Victorian.

Gillian Layne said...

Good morning, Anna! Great interview. Congrats on that bird, Sara. :)

Sara, these look to be just lovely. Victorian is actually my first love, with Regency a close second. So much delicious change going on in Victorian times, and good heavens, the clothes were fabulous. I'm so glad you enjoy writing series. I never want books I like to end, myself.

And to Sara's Colin Firth or Daniel Day Lewis, may I add: Alan Rickman!

Gannon Carr said...

Congratulations, Sara L. on nabbing that elusive GR!

Great post, Anna and Sara. Sara, I really love the Regency period--Jane Austen, P&P, and Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. *sigh* But the Victorian era is a fascinating time period. Frankly, as long as a book is well written, I don't really care what time period it's in.

Your paranormals sound like my cup of tea. Time travels have always been favorites of mine.

And I absolutely love a series. When I become engrossed in the lives of the characters, I hate to say good-bye. A series allows me to hang on a bit longer.

Buffie said...

Hey Sara! First off let me just say that I totally love your books!!! And how is it I didn't know you write paranormals too??!! Needless to say, I am really looking forward to HER SECRET LOVER. And I think I better be adding Mackenzie to my paranormal author list!

It sounds like you are pretty busy woman. What do you like to do for fun? Other than writing, of course!

Dina said...

Welcome Sara,

I like both of them for reading, but I would have loved to lived in Victorian times.

Louisa Cornell said...

YAY, Sara L!!! Good on you, my Avon FanLit sister! You can now cross that off your Bucket List. Watch him though, he is NOT to be trusted!


Sara Bennett!!! SQUEEE! Another fan girl moment in the Lair! I LOVE your books!! Of course I adore the Greentree sisters, but on of my all time favorites of yours is actually ONCE HE LOVES. Wonderful story, features a singer (my fav) and the hero is DELICIOUS!

I am a Regency girl all the way, however, I do love a good Victorian! I think with the Regency period it is the dichotomy - all the rules on the outside and yet the public scandals that happen, but don't happen. Everyone knows your secrets, but if you are powerful enough they choose to ignore them. Lots of fodder for a real explosion when it finally hits the fan, so to speak. I love the elegance and excess of the period. With the Regency period you get a complete immersion in the past. With the Victorian period you are on the cusp of the modern age. I think I was just born in the wrong time!

Susan Seyfarth said...

Hi, Sara, welcome to the lair!

I love historicals but since I don't write them I have to confess to only the most limited grasp of the differences between the various periods. I know there are A LOT of readers out there who are sticklers for historical accuracy, but I'm one of the readers who couldn't care less about anachronisms & historical inaccuracies as long as the story sweeps me away.

Having said that, I really enjoyed Eloisa James' recent book (can't remember the title) set in (I think) the Georgian period. The one where selected men actually came into a married woman's chambers to help her pick out her clothes, her patches, her ribbons, etc. Very loose & open acceptance of sexuality & it made for some interesting situations. :-)

Susan Seyfarth said...

p.s. Hey, Darcy! My fellow Pixie Chick! Welcome to the lair! Such great fun meeting you in San Fran!

peggy said...

Ilove both. but victorian is
my first choose .the balls cloths
every thing about that era sounds
fascinating.

Kirsten said...

Sara Bennett, darn you! I had just locked myself in The Cave to get some actual writing done, and now I've got to crawl back out to get your books because they sound fabulous! :-) I was just bemoaning the fact yesterday that it seemed the big series were all planned around the heros -- and here you are with (if I'm understanding right) series planned around your heroines! Can you talk more about that? Do you think there's any truth to the idea that romances are all about the hero? I also think it's interesting that you find it easier to write your historicals. I started out writing Regency and then moved to paranormal, and I found it much harder to write in the real historical world than to make up a new world! You must be a marvel at the research side of the game.

Sara Lindsey, I am thrilled beyond measure that our little blog has contributed to completing your life. Wow. What an accomplishment! ;-) Too bad that three book deal didn't do it for you. I guess it makes sense that you had to turn to the rooster... *g*

Anna, I shudder when I think of what you'd put poor Verity and Kylemore's children through. You mean mean wench.

Darcy, I want to see the Elizabethan time come back for our romances -- and I suspect you can guess why...PIRATES!!! Forget corsets. Forget repressed sexuality and strict morals. I say, bring back the pirates!!

Cheri2628 said...

Sara, I have to admit that I haven't had the pleasure of reading any of your books...yet. Your books do sound wonderful, and the covers are gorgeous! I am going to have to add you to my TBR list for sure. I love to read historical romances. It doesn't matter what the locale or time period is.

Cheri (AKA Cheryl)

CrystalGB said...

Hi Sara. I love your books. I am a big fan of both periods.

Minna said...

I like both Regency and Victorian.

rebekah said...

I like both Regency and Victorian. I usually just pick up what ever type I'm in the mood for. Thanks for the great post.

terrio said...

Goodness, y'all are off and running today! Congrats on the chook, Sara L. Give him some lemons! LOL!

I love the Regencies but I really love to read anything set in the Victorian era. There was just so much happening and I love that women were gaining more rights and freedoms and then there's all the technology that came along. Love it!

Sara B. - you mention that writing the Historicals is easier than writing the paras but I would have thought it would be the other way around. Seems being able to create your own world would be the fun part where the Historical would take so much more research. So that's an interesting take.

Do you fit your stories around real Historical events or write your story then find events that fit into it along the way?

Elyssa Papa said...

Yay, Sara!

Victorian or Regency: Both, sorry, it's a Sophie's choice that I refuse to choose.

Jane or Edith: Jane!!!

CF or Daniel Day-Lewis: Both. I want my Darcy but then I also want my dark, brooding, moody DDL.

Obviously, I want to have my cake and eat it, too! LOL.

flchen1 said...

Hi, Sara! Thanks for the terrific interview today! I love your covers--the Bennett covers are especially nice! There's something so beautiful about a woman's back, especially when framed by a gorgeous gown...

As for preference between Victorian and Regency, I'm not sure... to be honest, I haven't paid enough attention to understand the differences *blush* Usually the stories are what catch my attention, and I'm along for the ride! Congratulations to you on your successes in your favorite genres!

And congrats on the GR, Sara Lindsey!

Virginia said...

I love to read both. I just love a good historical no matter what the setting is.

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Sue! Great to see you here! Hey, Banditas, Sue is a finalist in the Emerald contest in Australia, our equivalent of the Golden Heart. Wish her luck - they announce the winners in Melbourne on the 23rd August! Your Victorian sounds really intriguing.

Sara, I must admit my fondness for Victorians was bolstered by North and South, seeing you mentioned mill owners.

Anna Campbell said...

Sara, actually I'm a Virgo, but maybe there's some water stuff rising there. Or perhaps as an earth sign, I need the water!

Helen, I thought you might get a buzz out of Sara's visit. I know you're a fan! Yes, I hope Sara is coming to ARRC too. It's going to be a pretty exciting line-up.

MsHellion said...

I can do both. (And sometimes it does feel almost every historical is Regency--so Victorian sometimes is a nice change of pace.) I think it depends more on the author voice and the characters involved.

Julia Quinn's regencies are wonderful and fun to read--what I think of when I think of "regency-regency"--fun and bantery, a lighthearted romp.

Victorians have all that repressed passion tied up in their corset strings--so those stories are almost always more dramatic and emotional/darker. Which isn't bad now and again. I do love to laugh--so it can't be all dark and dramatic--but I remember Betina Krauhn's The Last Bachelor, which was the strict confines of the Victorian period--but it was so darned funny at the same time. You'd be laughing on one page; then on the other, you'd be crying. I sometimes think Victorian set novels have more potential to be more "lingering"/leave a more lasting impression on the reader than a Regency because of the emotion expected of them.

Admittedly I'm an odd duck (pirate), but most of the books that have left lingering impressions on me were from a different period than the Regency. Either Georgian or Victorian. And I think it's because the Regency period was supposed to be one long carefree party of soirees and balls, filled with laughter, dancing, and witty banter.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Margay, cool on the Victorian stewing away in your mind. Good luck! I think one of the reasons the Regency is so popular is that people are in love with both Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. They want to revisit that particular world and of course, sadly neither JA nor GH are with us any longer so people have to cast their nets wider.

Maureen, I'm a bit like you - if it's a good story, I'll read any setting.

Anna Campbell said...

Gillian, I must say my heart belongs to DDL! I know Colin has his fans, but honestly, just think of The Last of the Mohicans! And you're another Victorian fan, I see! Oh, and I'm with you about Alan R! Sigh!

Gannon, I love a good time travel too. That fish out of water plot is such a classic. I've been interested to hear from a few people that editors seem to be interested in the genre again - Pamela Palmer has sold a series of Time Travels to Berkley, for example. Yippeeee!

Anna Campbell said...

Buffie, I can tell you on good authority, that Sara likes to swing from the chandlier wearing a French maid's costume when she lets her hair down ;-)

Dina, interesting you want to live in Victorian times. I must say I'm quite happy to live in the modern era with all its conveniences and its medicine and the fact that women have legal rights, at least in some countries!

Anna Campbell said...

Louisa, what an interesting take on the difference between Regency and Victorian. I think you're onto something! So glad you enjoyed meeting Sara. I thought she'd fit into the lair like a hand into a glove, and I was right!

Susan, I have a very soft spot for the Georgian era too. I love that the men dressed like peacocks but were actually killing machines - they went armed most of the time and were ready to use those swords!

Anna Campbell said...

Peggy! Another Victorian fan. Sara, have you noticed you've brought out a heap of non-Regency gals?

Kirsten, nice to see you popping your head out of the cave (I'm picturing a little groundhog here!). We're having fun in the lair today, aren't we? Interesting what you said about inventing your world as compared to using a real one - I must say I like the rules imposed on me by using a real world. I like to work within restrictions, it releases my creativity somehow! And yes, I must admit I did have a slight snicker, that Sara L's three-book deal couldn't possibly compare with our rooster! ;-) Hey, did you know Amanda McCabe, who has been my guest here too, is writing a trilogy for Harlequin Historicals set in the Elizabethan age and pirates feature strongly. I'm really looking forward to the third one where apparently, according to Anna Campbell, there's "historically accurate nookie" on a pirate ship!

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Cheryl! Always great to see you here. Another girl for whom story is the main thing - I'm with you! And you're right about Sara's covers!

Hey, Crystal, great to welcome a fan here! Thanks for popping by!

Hi Minna! I love that we can read books set in both periods too. I love the Regency but it's not the ONLY thing I ever want to read.

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Rebekah, thanks for dropping into the lair today. Glad you enjoyed the interview!

Hi Terri! I'd be interested in Sara's take on using actual events too. I noticed in her blurb for HER SECRET LOVER that the Great Exhibition got a mention. Mind you, ever since PASSION by Lisa Valdez, the Great Exhibition has held a special place in my mind! ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Ely, do you know what's nice? In the world of historical romance, you CAN have your cake and eat it too. I'm not going to comment on your fantasy life, though! ;-) I must say, though, that I'd take Jane over Edith any day. Edith had rather a grim view of life! Or at least she did in the couple of books of hers I've read. Perhaps there's something jolly out there by EW that I haven't encountered yet.

Hi Fedora! I agree with you - the story is the thing! And those covers are fantastic, aren't they? So romantic and lush!

Anna Campbell said...

Virgina, another story is the main thing girl! Excellent to see!

Hiya Hellion! I'm now seeing a duck with a wooden leg and an eye patch! It's quite a funny picture ;-) If you want funny Victorians, Connie Brockway did two corkers, the Bridal Path and Bridal Favors. They're hilarious - she's so witty! Mind you, she also did a couple of really heart-wrenching ones too. And a heart-wrenching Regency called All Through the Night. Hmm, I wonder if there are no rules for this particular question.

Anna Campbell said...

Goodness, Sara is going to be absolutely stoked when she wakes up and sees this great welcome you've all given her! Thank you so much, everyone!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Sara, welcome to the Lair! And congrats to Sara L on nabbing the GR. He's a wily one, that chook. Probably heard that you wanted to snag him, in order to make your life complete, and orchestrated the whole thing, devilish bird! :>

I'm with Maureen and Gillian - any era's great if the story takes me away, and Yes, Ma'am, Alan Rickman!

Oooh, and Sara L, I see that Kirsten broke the news of a big sale, good for you! Huzzah!

Kirsten, I'm with you, much as I love the Victorians AND the Regency, give me a good pirate tale any day. Or a man in a ruff. Snork.

Then again, the book set in medieval Norway wouldn't be bad either, if you had a hero like Alan Rickman. Grins.

Great interview, Anna, and thanks for being here, Sara! I see that I too will have to stack a few more on the TBR pile. I love connected series, and paranormals...so there you go, another trip to the bookstore!

Anna Campbell said...

Jeanne, are you saying you like a ruff edge to your love scenes? Snork! And I must say I've read some great Viking romances so I'm definitely not anti the idea of a book set in Norway in 1200!

Jane said...

Welcome Sara,
I like both Regency and Victorian romances. I've read far more Regency books because they're more abundant than Victorians. I can't really say what's different between these two periods. Was sexual repression more pronounced during the Regency or Victorian period?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Ruff, rough, woof. I'm up for just about anything if its a good story - not a dog as indicated by the woof. :>

I like the Vikings too, but they can be done with SUCH a heavy hand (pun intended) that they can really bomb. I read a partial on one from the GH a couple of years ago that I wished had gone on to final. It was brilliant. But alas, no such luck...

Then again, a ruff is a fine thing.

Anna Lucia said...

Great interview, Anna and Sara!

I think there must be strong differences between the periods, but I don't think every author brings them out - sometimes books set in Regency and in Victorian times seem interchangeable...

A year ago, I'd have said the Regency was my fave, but recently I've read some Victorian-set romances that have nearly changed my mind!

But truth be told, I inhale historical romances with a lust that can never be satisfied.... ;-)

Pat Cochran said...

Hello Anna,

Add one more name to the "story is
the focus" list! It's me for the
involvement and envelopment in the lives and loves described by the author! I have to thank Ms. Sara again for the generous prize I won this Spring. I thought I had won
one of her books in a contest. When the package arrived, it was four books and I loved them all!!

Pat Cochran

Beth said...

Welcome to the lair, Sara! Your books sound wonderful - luckily, I haven't finished my latest Amazon order so now I can preorder HER SECRET LOVER. Yay!

As for the question of Victorian or Regency, I can't choose. I love historicals no matter what the time period :-)

Thanks for the great interview, Sara and Anna!

Anna Campbell said...

Jane, I'd definitely say there was more repression during the Victorian era - although it's all relative! And repression can work like a volcano - you know all that heat has to spill out some time!

Jeanne, I'm glad you clarified the dog thing ;-)

Anna, lovely to see you. It was a real treat to meet you in SF. I hope you enjoyed your conference - we didn't seem to cross paths again after that first meeting. Nice to see you're a voracious reader of historicals! Sara and I both thank you!

Anna Campbell said...

Pat, you seriously win the BEST prizes! Four books of Sara's would be such a treat! So glad you enjoyed them.

Hi Beth! Great news that Secret Lover is on its way to you. So glad you enjoyed the interview!

Sara Bennett said...

WOW! I woke up this morning and what do I find, lots and lots of lovely comments, thank you! What a wonderful bunch of ladies you are.
I'll do my best to answer you all.

Sara Bennett said...

Thank you, Gillian! I agree about not wanting books to end--sometimes I while away the time making up what happened next.

Sara Bennett said...

Gannon, yes a series is so comfortable, like visiting your other family. And when you come to write the next book you know everybody. But the first book of a series...eek, that's tough.

Sara Bennett said...

Hi Buffie! Time travels seem to have lost favor lately, but I love them too. What do I do for relaxation, mmm. I used to do cross-stitch, and I still buy kits. I have so many I'll have to live to 100 to finish them all. And I love gardening, but at the moment there are more weeds than flowers. Recently I spend a lot of time watching dvds and reading books, to help refill the well.

Sara Bennett said...

Dina, I'd like to have lived in Victorian times, too--as long as I was rich and had plenty of servants!

Sara Bennett said...

Hi Louisa! So glad you like my books. ONCE HE LOVES is a favorite of mine too. Funny what you remember about books, but this was my first one with my new editor and I remember being nervous she wouldn't like it. She did!

Sara Bennett said...

Hi Susan! The Georgian period is much underrated, I think. I wrote BELOVED HIGHLANDER in Georgian times and I loved it. Maybe there'll be more.

Sara Bennett said...

Peggy, I think you've made the right choice, LOL

Sara Bennett said...

Hi Kirsten, and sorry to interrupt your writing :) Yes, the Aphrodite Series, which started with the Greentree Sisters trilogy, is all about women--three sisters--and I did that on purpose because there were sooo many brothers around at the time. As for historical being easier to write than paranormal, I think it's because I have a framework already in place and historical details I can look up--there are things I know I can and can't do. Maybe I'm the sort of person who likes boundaries.

Helen said...

I am another one who really likes books in a series probably because as someone else has said they become like family and you need to see all the wonderful characters get their HEA as well.

Sara I am really excited about the new 5 book series that you are writting WTG more books for me to read love them!!

I am off to work now so will check back when I get home

Have Fun
Helen

Sara Bennett said...

Hi Cheryl! TBR piles just grow and grow, don't they? Mine is just about to swallow me up.

Hi Crystalgb, Minna and Rebekah, nice to meet you, keep reading!

Sara Bennett said...

Terrio, I love research, so I suppose that's why I love historicals. Even my paranormals have a lot of the historical in them. And I usually choose the time period first and fit the story into it, although there have been times when I've taken a few liberties with dates and places...but don't tell anyone.

Sara Bennett said...

Elyssa Papa, eat away, I say!

Fichen1, I have been blessed by the gods of covers. I love those backs, too, and I have something even more beautiful coming up for my next series.

Sara Bennett said...

Hi Virginia, there's something about historicals, and you can get away with all those flimsy plots, like forced marriages and heroines won over a game of cards, that you can never do with contemporaries.

Sara Bennett said...

Anna, North and South, don't get me started!

Sara Bennett said...

Mshellion, I think Victorians suit me because I write those emotionally charged books and tend to get a bit dark, no matter how I try to lighten up. And I love pirates!!

Sara Bennett said...

Hi Duchesse, Anna does do a good interview, and all those pretty pictures. Wish I was that clever.

Sara Bennett said...

Thanks for the welcome, Jane, and it was the Victorians who were sexually repressed, which makes them so interesting. Seething passions beneath their corsets, feeling faint at the sight of a man's bare chest, becoming overheated with lust etc.. You get the picture.

Sara Bennett said...

Hi Anna Lucia! Yes, I think some books are interchangable, but that's okay. Mine tend to be more obviously Victorian, but not everyone likes that--yes, I read the Amazon reviews...

Sara Bennett said...

Hi Pat! So glad you enjoyed your prize :) I must start another contest soon, just haven't had the time recently. Maybe next month...

Sara Bennett said...

Hi Beth! Enjoy Her Secret Lover :)

Sara Bennett said...

Thanks Helen, the new series is another one with girls taking center stage, although the heroes are gorgeous, too. I'm really enjoying writing it.

Kirralee Schmidt said...

I think my comment is going to get a bit lost in the crowd - there have been so many replies, this must be one heck of a book - otherwise Sara Bennet has a MASSIVE fan base!

I've always loved Regency, but after reading Donna McMeans The Trouble With Moonlight, I'm rethinking my favourite. I've decided I love them both equally!

Sara Bennett said...

I just want to say again what a pleasure it's been to be a guest here on Romance Bandits, and what a great bunch you are--and talented!
And thank you Karen for asking and for doing such a great interview, and helping me through :)

Happy reading and writing to you all!!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Kirralee! A fan of a Bandita! How cool is that? Thanks for popping by and you'd NEVER get lost in the crowd, m'dear! And of course Ms Bennett is followed by rabid fans!

Anna Campbell said...

Sara, you've been one my favorite guests ever. We'll have to do this again some time, if you're game! You fit right into the lair, in all your chandelier-swinging glory! Good luck with HER SECRET LOVER although I'm sure you don't need it. I think it's a hit in the making. And can't wait for the new Sara Mackenzie series to hit the presses.

Thanks for everyone who has made Sara's visit such fun. Don't forget to check back in a day or so to see who won the signed copy of A SEDUCTION IN SCARLET.

limecello said...

Oh goodness - I love Victorian and Regency novels - but I think Victorian edges Regency out. The changing times, styles, everything. Oh, I'm easy - I do love both though. Historicals probably are my favorite genry, and I'm constantly looking for more authors who write it. For a while I maxed out every author I knew, which led me to branching out into other genres. Thanks for visiting with us today, Sara!

Anna Campbell said...

Limecello, hasn't it been a fun day? Interesting you're leaning more towards the Victorians these days. Honestly, I love anything that's done well so I'm not fussy! I like the different challenges a hero and heroine face in the Victorian era, though. But I'll never give up my love for the Regency either.

catslady said...

I have to say I like them both too. In fact, any historical timeframe is fine with me!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Sara, it was great to have you with us today. Great job on the interview Anna! :>

Dina said...

Anna, I like the now too, but if I could choose between those, that's what I would want, of course once I was there, I might change my mind, lol.

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Catslady! Another story is everything gal, I see!

Actually, Dina, as long as I had money and nice people around me, I think I'd pick the Regency. Dressing would be easier!

Thanks, Jeanne. Delighted you had a good time here - ruff, ruff!

robhap said...

Hi Sara, REGENCY
What a great story, congradulations
I'm sure it will be a great success.
I feel the Regency theme seemed to hit me as I read through, can tell yo have put a great lot of the regency field into this great story. Robhap

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks for popping by, Rob. I think we're fairly equally divided on Regency and Victorian with most people actually saying if the story is great, they don't really care ;-)

Joan said...

I choose Rome.

Oh. That wasn't a choice?

Dang.

Seriously, Regency or Victorian as long as it is a good story, I'll read it and yours, Sara sound fantastic!

I see my fellow Banditas and the BB's have kept you well entertained while I toiled at the DDJ. Thanks for visiting the lair!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Joan, great to see you back in the lair. That DDJ - grrr! We've had quite a party, as I'm sure you've seen.

Dina said...

Anna,

I like the clothes for both, but would want the easiest too, hate going through all that. :)