Wednesday, April 08, 2009
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.