Wednesday, April 08, 2009

IMHO welcomes "unusual historical" author Carrie Lofty!




I am pleased to kick off this month’s contest with a fellow writer of “unusual historicals,” a term referring to those historicals set in unusual locales or time periods. Carrie Lofty was born in California, raised in the Midwest, and found the love of her life in England. After earning her master’s degree with a thesis on Old West legends, she was excited to learn other parts of the world have history too—and then set about researching it all. Two daughters and a half-dozen moves later, Carrie and her family settled just north of Chicago, where she is busy creating her next adventure.

Carrie is the author of What a Scoundrel Wants, an intriguing tale about Will Scarlett and his lady love, which she’ll put into the April “COFFEE, CHOCOLATE & ROMANCE” gift basket. Romantic Times BOOKReview gives Scoundrel 4 stars, saying “The leading man will win readers' hearts as only a bad boy can. Lofty writes adventure romance like a born bard of old." Dear Author says, “The story is also a good mix of emotion and adventure. Those looking for derring-do will find it, as will people who want some raw, searing encounters between two people fighting to find love.”

Carrie founded the blog site Unusual Historicals to focus attention on those books readers might otherwise have a hard time learning about. I’ve been delighted to be a guest on the site in the past, and will be again in May. In the meantime, let’s welcome Carrie to IMHO!

IMHO: Welcome to IMHO, Carrie, and tell us about the book we almost didn’t read.

CL: Thanks, TJ! The book you almost didn't read is my Zebra Debut, What a Scoundrel Wants. I'd been eager to begin writing an historical romance set during the silent film era of the 1910s--a tough sell, but I had the research, characters and a rough plot all ready to go.

However, I changed my mind after I rented Disney's version of Robin Hood for my toddler daughters. I realized I hadn't seen Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in ages. I know it's cheesy and overwrought, but the action, the impressive sets, and the larger-than-life performances made a lasting impression on me as a teenager. It was romantic on a grand scale, and in re-watching it as an adult, I was again transported by that same sense of fun and grandeur.

I also discovered a renewed fascination for young, surly, hotheaded Christian Slater, who played Will Scarlet. Sure Robin and Marian got their happy ending, complete with Sean Connery giving away the bride, but what ever happened to Will? He had angst, anger, and a sort of fiery, youthful impetuousness that told me he wasn't done making trouble.

I paired Will with Meg of Keyworth, a blind alchemist with a prickly disposition that hides a great deal of pain. Because of the popularity of paranormals, I went out of my way to attribute her skills to actual science--not witchcraft or magic, which meant a return to basic chemistry. This time around, it was much more interesting than I remember from high school!

When my finished manuscript finaled in two contests, I felt I'd chanced upon that elusive "high concept." The Romance Writers of America’s (RWA) Hearts Through History chapter planned to announce their contest winners during an annual breakfast at Nationals. After Ann Aguirre and I basically dared each other into going, I had a roommate, an editor pitch appointment, and no more excuses. When editor Hilary Sares, then of Kensington, sat down for my pitch, she read the twenty-five word blurb on my business card and said, "I want the full."

A mere seventeen months later, What a Scoundrel Wants hit the shelves, all thanks to Disney, Christian Slater, my peculiar brain, and a lot of luck.

And speaking of another almost-never-was, I've been serializing a full-length romance titled SERENADE. I'd been offered contracts from several e-publishers but decided it would be more fun for fans to read it for free. Set in 1804 Salzburg, Seranade tells the story of a widowed violin prodigy who falls in love with the composer she idolizes, only to discover that he stole the symphony he's most famous for. The latest chapters just went live yesterday, and I'll be publishing more each month. Sign up for my Yahoo! newsgroup to receive updates on when new chapters are available.

IMHO: Oooh, I'll look forward to reading that. Thanks for sharing with us today, Carrie! Folks, look for Carrie’s sequel to What a Scoundrel Wants, Scoundrel’s Kiss, featuring a Spanish slave raised to kill a king and the troubled opium addict he's sworn to protect coming from Zebra Debut in Jan 2010. If you don’t want to wait that long, you can read Through the Garden Gate, a print anthology featuring Carrie's 1958 Italy time travel short story, "Sundial," available from The Wild Rose Press in Dec 2009.

And be sure to leave Carrie a comment to start competing for that basket prize. Let her know if you like historicals with unusual settings or characters, or if you prefer the tried-and-true.

Take care,
TJB

34 comments:

Margay said...

Carrie, I read about What a Scoundrel Wants on other sites before and was totally intrigued by the idea of Will Scarlett's story. My fascination hasn't waned - I still want to read this book! And Serenade sounds like an interesting read, too.
Margay

jcp said...

I love stories set in early 20th century. It was such a fascinating time in historical. i will look for your book. I am so enjoying the Zebra Debut program:)

Isabel Roman said...

I have What a Scoundral Wants on my TBR pile and really want to get to it but haven't the time. I think now it's my airplane reading material next week! Great interview, Carrie!

Raven99 said...

I loved What A Scoundrel Wants. It was filled with lots of action and adventure and had great characters. I am really looking forward to reading Scoundrel's Kiss.

Carrie Lofty said...

Hi, everyone!

Thanks first up to TJ for inviting me to stop by. Chatting about my books is, well, fun! It's also fun to see how much enthusiasm people have been expressing for both What a Scoundrel Wants and unusual historicals. Yay for variety! I hope everyone has a great day, and that you enjoy whatever story of mine you decide to try. I'll stop back later in case anyone has any questions!

Best,
Carrie

housemouse88 said...

Hello Carrie,

Loved the interview. I enjoy an author who sends me to places unknown. I feel like I'm discovering a whole new world I never knew existed. Have a great day.

Virginia said...

Hi Carrie, nice to see you here. I will have to say I have read What a Scoundrel Wants and I loved the book. It was different then any thing I have ever read! Keep up the good work, can't wait for your next book.

Marilyn Brant said...

Carrie,
You know I'm already a fan :). As far as historicals, I've like both the very traditional and the more unusual settings. I really enjoyed some shorter romances I read once set during WWII and a short-story romance that took place in Ancient Greece...but I never turn down a Regency either! Compelling characters can draw me into any era...

Tai Shan said...

ooOOOOooo What a Scoundrel Wants sounds *very* interesting. As I read your post, I kept thinking, I want to read that! I can see why Hilary Sares was prompted to ask for the full :).

Carol L. said...

Hi Carrie,
I'm so happy to meet you, I love meeting new Authors (for me)and What A Scoundral Wants sounds like my kind of book. I love anything Historical and the unexpected. I look forward to reading your books.
Great interview.
Carol L

lindseye said...

I am intrigued that you wrote a book set in Italy in 1958. I do not remember ever reading a book with a similar setting. While I love Regencies and Georgian romances other time periods are worthy of exploration. Can't wait for your upcoming books.

Carrie Lofty said...

lindseye, the Italian-set one is actually a time travel short story, if that makes any difference to you.

I don't plan on stopping my unusual settings any tie soon. I enjoy the research and the adventure of it too much! Glad to hear everyone's so enthusiastic about trying something new. I think it's important for romance to challenge itself on occasion...while still being sexy and heartfelt :)

Thanks again for stopping by, everyone!

Carrie

Colleen Thompson said...

Love the idea of serializing a book. Sounds like a great way to gain fans. Best of luck with your release. Will Scarlet -- *sigh*

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Carrie!
I love your "call" story. Sounds like your great story idea put you on the motorized walkway to rapid publishing success. Go you!

I also like the idea of serializing a story, especially in this "tight budget" era.

I'm intrigued by your unusual historicals and wish you the very best success!

Trish Albright said...

Carrie, what a scrumptious scoundrel you have! I've always been a big fan of Will Scarlet. So sorry Meg can't see him...I guess she'll have to feel him to learn his better side...though I'm guessing both sides are very nice! You've definitely sparked my imagination and curiosity. I'm going to pick this up asap to see how you deal with Meg's blindness and Will's angst. Break an arrow!

Carrie Lofty said...

Trish, that was one of my first thoughts. If she can't see him....

:)

Marie said...

I enjoy all historical romances, especially those with unusual settings and characters. And I love bad boys, so What a Scoundrel Wants is definitively going on my TBR pile.

chey said...

Hi Carrie. Nice to meet you! I enjoy historicals, the more unusual the better!

Pam P said...

Ooh, Christian Slater as Will! Can't wait for the next one, Carrie. Serenade is looking good, but I like to read a story start to finish, so I'm waiting to read it all at once.

Carrie Lofty said...

Pam P: When I've finished posting Serenade, I'll be compiling it into a downloadable PDF and making it available in print on Amazon. So your options for reading it all at once will be many :)

JeanP said...

What a great story and in one of my favorite genres. It is definitely in my TBR pile

Emma said...

Carrie great interview .What a Scoundrel Wants sound like a wonderful story.I like historicals,and the unexpected. I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Lisa said...

well, I am going to get my own copy today. It sounds wonderful! I am glad I found this blog to add to my list. wonderful site!

Deborah said...

Hi, Carrie! I love historicals with traditional and unusual settings. What A Scoundrel Wants sounds very intriguing! I'm definitely putting it on my TBR list! Thanks for the great interview!

Anonymous said...

I loved WHAT A SCOUNDREL WANTS. So glad to know there will be a sequel! Will Wild Rose Press do a print version of the other?
Merri (who forgot her password)

Carrie Lofty said...

Hi Merri,

Yes, "Sundial" will be offered in print as of December 4th as part of an anthology of other winners from the same contest. You can read more about THROUGH THE GARDEN GATE here. Thanks again, everyone, for stopping by!

Lori Brighton said...

Great interview! Thats the thing I like about Kensington is that they seem to be very open to "different" books. Can't wait to read it!

Judy said...

I can't wait to read What A Scoundrel Wants.

Jody F. said...

I do like historicals, but I don't want to feel like I'm reading a history book. That's why I enjoy The Tudors on Showtime so much. Using real history, but amping up the drama makes for a more interesting story.

Maureen said...

I do enjoy historicals set in all different places and time. Carrie's definitely sounds unusual and unique.

LuAnn said...

I like my historicals with unusual settings (although I will read the tried and true, as well). When I read, I love to travel the world and visit places I never could in person.

Cheri2628 said...

Carrie, your books sound so interesting and unique! I love reading historical romances with a twist.

aromagik said...

Color me boring, but I like tried-and-true settings.

~Lindy

aromagik said...

Having said that (above - lol), I especially appreciate how some authors can take one of my favorite tried & true themes (best friends fall in love, for example) and give it enough twists that it's fresh. I guess certain things appeal to me so I'm drawn to similar books, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate a unique approach.

And I LOVE unusual characters. While I enjoy a good story with a duke for a hero, I'd like to see more historicals where the hero is humble and just plain nice. Maybe even a Regency-style nerd would be fun.