APEC is creating havoc in Waikiki. Those residents should have escaped to the ninth island, Las Vegas. Today's guest takes us on an escape to the gambling world of the Georgian era - please join me in welcoming Emery Lee!
Emery Lee is a lifelong equestrienne and history buff who loves nothing more than a romantic story that also provides food for the intellect. She currently resides in NE Georgia with her husband of twenty-eight years, two sons, a little dog with a big attitude, and her two horses.
|Georgian painter George Stubbs|
Emery: First of all, thank you so very kindly for inviting me to your blog!
Kim: You're welcome! I enjoy sharing paradise with romance authors! What drew you to horses and history?
Emery:It is said that writers should always write what they know, but I say to write what you love, as your passion will surface in your writing, and learn what you don’t’ know- that’s what research is all about!
When I wrote my first novel, THE HIGHEST STAKES, ( a tale of passion, retribution and horseracing), I already had a deep interest and solid understanding of equines, having been involved with horses for the greater part of my life. I also had a strong love of history but knew little about the mid-18th century, the era I had chosen to write about. Because I wanted to vividly and realistically build the world my characters lived in, I set out to learn all that I did not know to the inclusion of anything that might touch their lives - and it was certainly not limited to horseracing!
Thus, I went to work. I studied the wars and politics of the era and discovered the King of England at this time wasn’t even English, nor was he very secure on his throne!
|Georgian artist William Hogarth|
I learned of a political system rife with corruption that was well known and frequently satirized in the scandal sheets, the art of William Hogarth, and the plays of John Gaye and Henry Fielding.
I learned that marriages in the upper classes were almost never made for love- the reason why so many men kept mistresses, and that wives were legally viewed as little more than their husband’s property.
The aristocracy scorned anything resembling work, and for this singular lack of virtuous industry, immersed themselves instead in vice. Gambling was all the rage from horseracing to cockfighting, pugilism and cudgeling, cards and dice. Even many women became obsessed with gaming. Parliament tried to control it with legislation but the upper classes, feeling themselves above the law simply thumbed their noses and paid off the magistrates!
All of this is encompassed in the Georgian world of THE HIGHEST STAKES and FORTUNE’S SON.
|Georgian artist Thomas Gainsborough|
Kim: Can you share a funny or unusual story about a historical horse?
Emery: Although not humorous, I do have a fascinating historical fact to share that is somewhat related to my stories:
One of the minor secondary characters I used in both THE HIGHEST STAKES and FORTUNE’S SON is William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (Billy the Butcher after the ’45 and Battle of Culloden). He was George II’s youngest son, a high ranking general and an avid turf follower who upon his retirement from his infamous military career, largely dedicated himself to breeding racehorses. It was from his stables in 1764 that a young horse named Eclipse emerged. In his racing career Eclipse was undefeated and later became a phenomenal success as a sire. It is estimated that Eclipse is now a tail-male ancestor of ninety five percent of contemporary thoroughbreds, or nearly every living thoroughbred in the world!
|George Stubbs' portrait of Elipse|
Kim:Who helped you along your path to publishing?
Emery: Honestly, I had little help in the beginning as I had never taken any classes outside of college literature, and didn’t even know any writers when I started writing. Losing my job in 2008, however, game me tremendous incentive! I finished my manuscript while I was still job searching and remarkably found a publisher who was willing to take a chance on me. I then learned everything I had done wrong! My first agent was very hands-on and helped me to polish my writing skills. I worked very hard and am a better writer for it, but it was very much a crash course!
Later, upon growing enough confidence to feel I belonged, I joined the Georgia Romance Writers, RWA and the Historical Novel Society- all wonderful and supportive groups for aspiring novelists.
Kim: What inspired FORTUNE'S SON?
Emery: FORTUNE’S SON is a character driven novel that was completely inspired by two prominent secondary characters from THE HIGHEST STAKES, Philip Drake, a reckless adventurer disowned by his family and Lady Susannah Messingham, a beautiful young widow. When Philip and Sukey first came together on the page in THS they had this incredibly chemistry. They also had a long history that was much implied but little told. When I finished THS, I found I just couldn’t let these characters go. They kept invading my dreams and demanding I write their story! So I did.
Although my first two books are connected by characters, there are some elemental differences. FORTUNE’S SON is set in the gambling, rather than the turf world, and has a stronger emphasis on the central characters’ romantic journey. It also has a higher level of sensuality than my first book.
|Georgian artist Thomas Rowlandson|
Kim: What's next for Emery Lee?
Emery: I actually have a number of writing projects in various stages of development. I hope you will soon see THS and FS come full circle with THE BASTARD’S LEGACY, another Georgian era romantic novel that features Philip’s bastard son and Robert and Charlotte’s daughter as the main protagonists.
Kim: Oh, I love it when an author brings us full circle! Mahalo, Emery for joining us today! In honor of your visit, I am giving away a print copy of FORTUNE'S SON to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,
1. Leave a comment about something for which you are fortunate - I am fortunate to live in Hawaii!
2. This giveaway is open to all readers.
3. Comments are open through Saturday, November 12, 10 pm in Hawaii. I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 13.
Kim in Hawaii
Check out my review of FORTUNE'S SON on Goodreads at this link.
To learn more about Emery Lee and her books, log onto her website at www.authoremerylee.com.
To learn more about the Georgian period, check out Emery's blog at www.georgianjunkie.wordpress.com.