Saturday, February 21, 2009
Author Interview: Emily Bryan and Vexing The Viscount
Today is a happy day at Melange's Reviews. I have a guest blogger today to talk about her newest book, Vexing the Viscount.
Emily Bryan, author of Distracting the Duchess and Pleasuring the Pirate has been kind enough to answer a few questions about her books and being an author in general. She'll also be giving away a free copy of Vexing the Viscount to one lucky commenter. Whoever wins the copy of Vexing the Viscount, will also receive the first two books read only once, by me.
On to the question and answer part of this gig:
Emily's answers are in bold type.
In most historical romances heroines tend to be naïve about sexual matters, or at the very least they are shy about 'new' things. But, in Distracting the Duchess, Artemisia is knowledgeable (not in a wanton way of course) and also seems to be willing to try anything was this something that came naturally to her character, or was this something you wanted to write?
Artemisia is a widow, so she isn’t completely ignorant of men when DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS begins. However, her experience with them was limited to her much older and now deceased husband. She was raised in Bombay and has a broader outlook on life and a healthier sense of adventure than most Victorian women. Since as an artist she paints men in the nude, their form holds no surprises for her. But the function . . . ah! There’s the rub. She knows there must be more to lovemaking than the brief, painful and embarrassing experience of her wedding night. Once she meets Trevelyn Deveridge (in his guise as Thomas Doverspike) she decides to find out what she’s missed. Part of Artemisia’s unabashed sensuality has to do with her thoughts on the status of women at the time. A married woman was legal treated as a child or an imbecile. Artemisia was neither and refuses to be treated like one. In order to retain control of her person and funds, widowhood is her only option. Since she’s wealthy, why shouldn’t she offer Thomas carte blanche? After all, men keep mistresses with no discredit to them. Why shouldn’t she be able to set Thomas up in a discreet little love nest? And yes. The theme of a woman taking ownership of her own sexuality was something I wanted to write.
In Pleasuring the Pirate five of the secondary characters were Gabriel's nieces. Did you enjoy writing these little girls or were they a challenge like they were for their loved ones?
I loved writing the Drake girls. It seemed to me that a prodigal pirate deserved to have 5 devious nieces to care for as part of his penance. I try to let all my secondary characters bring comedy to my stories and this little crew of demons was so natural at it, they almost wrote themselves. Most little girls in this time period tortured their families with clavichord recitals. The Drake girls specialized in rather mean practical jokes and really dreadful amateur theatre. And another strawberry in giving Gabriel Drake 5 nieces is that I also began writing my heroine for VEXING THE VISCOUNT, though I didn’t know it at the time. Daisy, the brains of the outfit, grew up and needed her own story. If I didn’t want a spider in my coffee, I knew I’d better comply.
Why after writing in the Dark Ages did you decide to turn to Regency? Do you plan on writing again as Diana Groe?
I had just finished SILK DREAMS, my 11th century harem tale. Though I love that story, and some of my most complex characters live in it, I felt the need of a change. When I used to sing professional opera, I performed a good mix of repertoire, both grand opera and light-hearted operetta. We all have different facets of our personality and my comedic side hadn’t been able to shine in my darker Diana Groe stories. When I told my editor about my idea for DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS, she gave me the green light to run with it. The resulting writing voice for my comedies was so different from my dramas, my editor suggested a 2nd pen name was in order. Emily Bryan was born. Technically, I haven’t written in the Regency period yet. DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS is set in 1851, early Victorian. Both PLEASURING THE PIRATE and VEXING THE VISCOUNT are Georgian, 1720 and 1731 respectively. Even my upcoming Christmas anthology (A CHRISTMAS BALL, October 2009) is set in 1822, two years after “Prinny” became King and the Regency officially ended. But I may get around to the real Regency soon. I would love to return to the Dark Ages and my Diana Groe stories at some point. Like so many things, it comes down to market support for a product. My 3rd “Song” book to complete the MAIDENSONG and ERINSONG cycle is already written. (It’s DRAGONSONG—Moira’s story. If you’ve read ERINSONG, you’ll remember her as the heroine Brenna’s younger sister. I couldn’t bear to leave her with that loathsome Fearghus!) In a sneaky sort of way, I have written as Diana Groe again. You’ll find that voice in the secondary love story in VEXING THE VISCOUNT. It’s the tale of Caius Meritus and the Celtic slave girl Deirdre and takes place in Roman Britain, 405 AD. This may sound a little skitzo, but there is a definite difference in style, in cadence and word choices when I tell those older stories.
I've tried before to do research on a certain area in history and often would get frustrated when I couldn't find a certain detail. Did you have any problems like this when you were doing the research for these three books? Where did you find most of the research material you needed?
The only time I ran into trouble was when I thought about making a young man into a nobleman through adoption. Adoption has been around since ancient times, yet I couldn’t find anything to give me a hint as to how it might have been done in 18th century England. Finally I discovered that while fostering was common enough, adoption was unheard of in England until the 20th century! It’s because bloodlines were of primary importance and an adopted son could never carry those elevated genes necessary to continue the line. I had to scrap the premise as unworkable. I haunt libraries. I bookmark a number of reputable internet sites (Try http://www.heyerlist.org/slang.html for a good giggle over Regency slang.) Re-enactment societies are a fount of useful information and they take their history seriously. A visit to the art museum is a wonderful way to study period clothing. Travel is a great way to immerse myself in research. When you walk down the same cobbled streets as Sir Isaac Newton or listen to the choir in a great cathedral, you acquire a deep sense of place.
What has been the most rewarding part of your writing experience as Emily Bryan? What has been the most frustrating?
We are living in trying times. People have enough to worry about in their real lives without letting their literature depress them. Readers have let me know my Emily Bryan stories have kept them up till the wee hours, laughing (and blushing) all the way to the end. That’s a win in my book. Most frustrating? Hmmm. I try not to dwell on the negatives. My recent brush with colon cancer reminded me we only get so many trips around the sun. The number is always too few to waste on the bad stuff. I’m married to the man of my dreams. I get to write full-time about gorgeous heroes and plucky heroines. I have the joy of making people laugh. If there’s a downside, it’s not worth mentioning
Here's a blurb about Vexing the Viscount:
Daisy Drake is leading a double life! By day, she's Lucian Beaumont's
unwanted assistant and by night, she masquerades as the masked
courtesan, Blanche La Tour, a Frenchwoman who agreed to give Lucian
lessons in sensual love!
There's only one problem. Daisy speaks fluent French and can read
ancient Latin without moving her lips, but she doesn't know the first
thing about the pleasures of the flesh!
Good thing she has the real Blanch La Tour's very explicit memoirs for
Lucian Beaumont, Viscount Rutland, longs to see his family's standing
returned to its glory days, before his father lost their fortune. And he
thinks he can manage it, if he can only discover the hiding place of an
ancient Roman payroll.
Daisy never forgot her girlhood fascination with Lucian, even though his
father has a score to settle with her uncle. Now that they're all grown
up, she's determined to help the viscount find his Roman treasure.
Whether he wants her help or not!
Award-winning author Emily Bryan learned much of what
she knows about writing from singing. A classically trained soprano, she
gleaned the elements of storytelling while performing operatic roles.
She and her husband have lived in nine different states, but she now
makes her home in the heart of New England.
And here's a personal note from her to my readers:
Thanks again for having me, Melange! If your readers would like to learn more about my books, please direct them to:
I’d like to give away a signed copy of VEXING THE VISCOUNT to someone who leave a comment or question here today. And be sure to check back tomorrow to see if YOU are the winner my DH pulls out of his hat!
And for anyone interested here's a widget you can add to your blog, to count down to the joyous day of the release of Vexing the Viscount!!
I would like to thank Emily for being here today and for writing such wonderful books! Don't forget to comment if you'd like to win free books!!!