Jenn Roseton – who does well written and highly sensual romance –
– was kind enough to make me one of her blog hopper’s, so I have some questions to answer.
1. What are you working on now?
My temper? Reforming into a worshipper of the status quo? After all, followers of this blog will know that my last reading matter was a sentimental Victorian novel about a reformed rebel.
That apart, as I have said a few times, I’ve been working on a spoof historical romance (and I didn’t type ‘hysterical’ that time) on the tired theme of Disgraced Earl turns Brigand due to the machinations of a Conniving Cousin and Rival in Love, and hence my reading sentimental Victorian novels (looks about guiltily, gnawing nails), as I remembered that as a perfect example of a melodrama on that theme.
‘Ravensdale’, then, which I’ve just sent off to my writing partner – the wonderful and overworked Jo Danilo- is a comedy set during the French Revolution, in 1792, just two years before ‘That Scoundrel Emile Dubois’ and is in fact about Reynaud Ravensdale, Emile Dubois’ cousin and childhood companion in delinquency.
Wrongly accused of killing one of his best friends, he becomes a smuggler and later, a highwayman (as Emile later does). Returning to the country to see his debauched father in his last illness, he runs into the strapping, hoydenish Isabella Murray, the one young women in the district who doesn’t find him a romantic figure. Becoming fixated with her, he goes in a ludicrous disguise of fussy wig and glasses to apply for a post as librarian in her house, where he can feel bliss by ‘gazing upon your face’.
Meanwhile, her social climbing parents are anxious to marry him off to his cousin (naturally) and he is eager to rescue her from such a fate.
But Isabella doesn’t want to be rescued by any man; she wants to be a Gentlewoman of the Road…
2. How’s it different from other work in the genre?
I’d say through the ironical treatment of the theme, through revelling in the use of cliche. I hope, as ever, to give readers a good laugh. Also, more than anything when reading various treatments of the Jealous, Conniving Cousin framing his handsome rival the Earl’s heir – it seemed to me that mere pecuniary motives weren’t sufficient – the intensity of the relationship between the two cousins, which often seemed more intense than that of their relations with their women love object – was neglected, or swept to one side, possibly, as Not Very Nice and too deep a topic for a romance, historical or otherwise.
In Robert Ravensdale, I am depicting a man motivated by a tormented and unrequited love that has dismal consequences for everyone.
2. Why do you write?
I seem to be driven to. I think that’s a common answer. I sometimes think that what a peasant woman from the eighteenth century called
‘writing down lies’ is very strange.
4. How does your process work?
I don’t know myself! I come by some idea and gradually it builds up. I think about it when doing prosaic things, like washing floors, gardening, etc.
I write in longhand in a notebook first thing in the morning, before and during my early morning tea. I always admire people who get 1,000 words a day done. That would be an exceptionally good day for me, I do about four hundred on average. Later I type it up.
I did suffer from dreadful writers block on ‘Ravensdale’ and it took me about a month to get over it, more, in fact. I simply didn’t see how I could get all the characters lined up for the finale, but it came to me in the end,and then I wondered how I’d had so much difficulty. It was the same with ‘That Scoundrel Emile Dubois’ and ‘Aleks Sager’s Daemon’. The first two thirds go swimmingly for me, but that last third is like swimming through a marsh (or worse) as distinct from gliding through a warm sea.