Wednesday, March 11, 2009

IMHO welcomes debut author Lisa Marie Wilkinson!

IMHO is pleased to welcome a fellow Medallion Press debut author, Lisa Marie Wilkinson. Lisa Marie began her writing career as a lyricist, working in collaboration with composer Marti Schwartz and receiving a number of awards for songwriting. Lisa Marie also acted as a music critic and reviewer, all the while devoting her “spare time” to working on the idea that became her first completed novel, Fire At Midnight, an historical romance set on the Cornish coast in 1703 and featuring a brooding hero, a windswept lighthouse, and lots and lots of atmosphere and sensual tension. She'll be putting Fire at Midnight in our giveaway basket. Her second historical romance, Stolen Promise, will be available from Medallion Press in March 2010.

Lisa Marie's fiction has been honored with awards from over 60 (!) writing contests, including the Maryland Writer's Association Novel Contest, the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest, and the Daphne du Maurier award for unpublished writers.

A native of Ohio, she grew up in California and now lives in Tennessee. And, apparently, not only were our heroines separated at birth (despite not having read each other’s work before publication, we were both amused to discover how our heroines found themselves in remarkably similar circumstances in the beginning chapter of our books), Lisa and I were also separated at birth, as I spent many years in California and my family hails from Tennessee. Convinced that great minds think alike, I knew I had to have Lisa join us at IMHO for our “I LOVE ME SOME HISTORICALS” gift basket giveaway this month.

IMHO: Welcome, Lisa, and tell us what the “story behind the story” is for this wonderful book.

LMW: Thanks, TJ! It is my pleasure to share the “story behind the story” as it applies to my debut historical romance novel, Fire at Midnight.

The setting of my book is 1703 England—the Southern coast of England to be specific—where smugglers match wits with Custom authorities and evil doers known as ship wreckers use a variety of methods to lure unsuspecting ships to their doom upon the Eddystone Rocks. The hero of Fire at Midnight is smuggler SebastiĆ©n Falconer, a Frenchman with a chip on his shoulder whose burning desire for vengeance against the informant responsible for the seizure of his ship places him on the path toward a fateful confrontation with Rachael Penrose, the woman wrongly credited with being the informant.

The “story behind the story” is that the fate of the Eddystone Lighthouse as depicted in Fire at Midnight is a true event. A climactic scene in the book features a violent windstorm that imperils the lives of the lead characters and sweeps the lighthouse from its rock perch, leaving only the iron rods that once anchored the beacon affixed to the rock.

In the story, Henry Winstanley, the designer and inventor of the structure, journeys to the lighthouse on the night of the fateful storm and is swept into the sea with his creation. Winstanley’s fate and that of his lighthouse as depicted in Fire at Midnight are recorded history, but the scenes featuring SebastiĆ©n and Rachael are wholly fictional and resulted after I asked myself the question, “what could be happening to my characters inside the lighthouse as the storm outside is building that would rival the drama and danger of the Great Storm itself?”

The scenes featuring Winstanley interacting with other characters within in the novel are fictional, of course, but my idea to use the destruction of the lighthouse as a featured scene in my novel occurred to me after extensive research on the Eddystone lighthouse and The Great Storm of 1703. The unusual structure not only made a perfect sanctuary for my hero and heroine, it also provided the perfect setting for scenes of romance and suspense. The history of the Eddystone Lighthouse is the fascinating “story behind the story” of Fire at Midnight.

IMHO: Thanks, Lisa Marie! It's always so interesting to hear what inspired an author to write a particular story. Thanks for being our guest today. Folks, be sure to leave a comment for Lisa Marie. Do you enjoy novels that feature real historical events as a central theme? Let her know for a chance to be entered into our contest this month for the "I LOVE ME SOME HISTORICALS" gift basket giveaway.


Anonymous said...

great interview
it dont matter to me either way


Margay Leah Justice said...

Lisa Marie, I just wanted to congratulate you on your debut. As a debut author myself, I can understand how giddy, frightened, intimidated, and thrilled you must be right now. Enjoy it!

Billie Jo said...

Hi Lisa

Congrats on the debut.

I love historicals. Historicals are the first romance books I picked up and I will always be faithful to them.

Billie Jo

Anonymous said...

Interesating interview. I will look for the book.

JeanMP said...

Congratulations Lisa Marie on the debut
I love historicals, always enjoy them

Anonymous said...

You've definitely captured all the emotions I'm feeling right now!

Congratulations on your debut!

Lisa Marie

Lori Ann said...

It sounds like you put a lot of research into writing this book. Thank you for sharing the "story behind the story." It sounds like a very interesting book. I love to read historicals. It always draws me into a story if I know it is based on a real historical event. Congratulations on the release of Fire At Midnight!

Meljprincess said...

Hello Lisa Marie,
I think you and I were seperated at birth. I have a French pirate in my ancestry who married a British woman. He sailed the waters of Virginia though. I couldn't help but compare this info to your story.
I absolutely LOVE real historical events as a central theme! I would love to read FIRE and it has a beautiful cover. Nice to "meet" you here on TJ's blog.

Mel K.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed the story behind the story! Like you, I love historicals, too.

Your ancestry sounds fascinating! Did your French pirate ancestor perhaps sail with Jean LaFitte? It was nice to "meet" you on the blog, and thank you for stopping by!

Pat said...

I enjoyed reading about the Eddystone lighthouse and how you included its actual destruction in your manuscript. Good luck with it!

Maureen said...

I do like it when authors take a historical event and have it as part of their fictional story. It makes the whole story seem very realistic to me. I am not familiar with the Great Storm of 1703 but it sounds like it caused tremendous destruction.

Tara W said...

Congratulations on your debut. I wish you much success!
I love Historicals. It doesn't really matter if the story is based on real events or not as long as it reads and feels like a historical. Does that make sense? LOL. Not just the occasional "aye" and "nay" tossed into the story.

I loved the interview.

Unknown said...

Hello Lisa Marie, I would like to congrats you on your debut novel. I love any type of historical. I will reach for the historical book everytime I pick up a book. They have always been my first love and always will when it comes to books.

Randi said...

Congrats Lisa on your debut book. I would love to entered into this contest. I have been looking for your book and haven't been able to find it.

I love historicals with it centered around a real event or not.

Anonymous said...

Too many people to thank individually for the very nice comments, so please accept this as a general "thank you" to all.

I agree with Tara W's comment that an historical should read and feel like a historical. I tried very hard to make "Fire at Midnight" feel like a moment out of time and I hope you enjoy the novel as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa, just dropping by to say Hi!!! You number one fan from Illinois.

Julie Hilton Steele said...

I wanted to say hi! as well. Loved the book, am sending a copy to my sister who got me started reading historicals. LOVED it and I am a more contemporary sort of gal.

Lisa Marie, don't forget us when you are on the NY Times list :-)

Peace, Julie

Anonymous said...

congratulations on first book! I do like novels with real events as a central theme but only if the topic interests me alot, like scottish/viking stuff. Otherwise, it doesn't matter either way.

Anonymous said...

I am glad that you are keeping your historical in the past! I dislike when writers have thier H/H
use slang that they did not use in their day. Congrats Lisa on your debut book. I am sure that it will be a keeper. :)

Anonymous said...

Fire At Midnight sounds really good. When I began to read romances again a few years ago, I read all kinds - contemporary, paranormals, historical. With one or two exceptions, I read mostly historicals these days. I love the descriptions of how people used to dress, eat, entertain, etc. in the past. A real historical event as the central theme is just icing on the cake for me. LOL. Kathy

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your debut book! I love reading historicals! It's even more exciting when there is a real historical event in the book. Fire at Midnight sounds awesome! Thanks for blogging here today!

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed reading your comments so much, and thank you all for taking time to visit TJ's blog to read the "story behind the story" of Fire at Midnight!

TJ Bennett said...

Lisa Marie,

Thank you so much for being my guest today. I've enjoyed reading all the comments right along with you. Folks, feel free to continue to leave your comments here and remember, to be eligible to win, leave your comments for at least one other author. The more authors's blogs you comment on, the better your chance of winning.

And come back on March 18 when we have guest host VICTORIA DAHL! She's a delight to read and a great gal (and a self-described naughty girl, so her post should be very interesting).

Again, thanks to Lisa and to all our visitors today.

Take care,

TJ Bennett said...

"authors's blogs"

Sigh. Of course I meant "authors' blogs."

Darn these glasses!



Meljprincess said...

Thanks, Lisa. Not sure if he sailed with LaFitte but it's a possibilty.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading the comments.
I love reading historicals and I like it when the story relates to or takes place during a historical event or time.
JWIsley AT

Anonymous said...

I *love* lighthouses and want your book for the cover alone :). It is icing on the cake that the story sounds very interesting and dramatic also. Can't wait to win (or buy if I don't win) the book!

flip said...

Creating the atmosphere and setting is the most important part of historical novels for me. If there is a real historical event, the writer should be accurate.

Your novel sounds great Lisa Marie. Love novels on the Cornish coast ever since I read Lyonnesse Abbey almost 40 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the debut novel! It sounds great!

I enjoy stories with a real historical event, but I want the author to feel free to change things a bit to accomodate her characters. The perfect example of this is The Tudors on Showtime. I know that the events on the show are not historically accurate 100% of the time, but the changes make it alot of fun to watch. Plus, any excuse to see Johnathon Rhys Meyers nekkid is a good one.

Pam P said...

Interesting on the background story about the lighthouse, Lisa. This story gets my interest, always have enjoyed historicals set in Cornwall and about smugglers, and the excerpts are very good.

cheryl c said...

I've read an excerpt of this book, and I am so intrigued!

Congrats on getting so much praise for your very first book!

photoquest said...

Congradulations on your debut!! your book sounds wonderful and loved the background story.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your debut novel! Your books sounds fabulous!

Carol L. said...

Hi Lisa Marie,
Congratulations on your debut book.
It must be an amazing feeling. I love a good story period but if real events are wwhat inspired a story, all the better. I definitely will read this one. So glad I found this blog because of all the Authors guesting and the info.
Carol L.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the debut!!!Sounds like a wonderful story I can't wait to read.The bookcover is fantastic!!!

Jackie P. said...

Congrats on your debut!I love to read historical novels.

Happy Spring!

Unknown said...

This one sounds wonderful. Lisa is a new author to me but I am very intrigued by what I have read so far.

aromagik said...

I do like books that include real historical events, but I don't usually want it to be the main focus of the book. I'm more into interpersonal relationships than historical facts. :)


Anonymous said...

Using real historical events or locations adds a lot to stories. It is like adding another main character. Sounds like a good story. Look forward to reading it.

cheryl c said...

It was interesting to read the historical background of this story. I have always loved history.

Fedora said...

I have enjoyed reading historical romances, and do enjoy those that include real-life events. If that's the case, I like it to be a balance of accuracy but not an overwhelming barrage of facts--I want the feel of it, not a history lesson :)

Lisa Marie Wilkinson said...

Wow, great comments everyone! I had to come back by and read them all to make sure I hadn't missed any.