On this date in 1814, the Sixth Coalition Forces marched into Paris. The allies - Austria, Prussia, Russia, Portugal, Sweden, Spain, several German States, and the United Kingdom defeated Napoleon Bonaparte and returned him to exile on Elba.
Writing, like a military campaign, requires a coalition - family, friends, and other authors to encourage the craft. Today's guest, Edie Harris, has her own coalition as she writes Historical Romance.
Edie: I currently live in rural eastern Iowa in the Midwest United States, though not because I have any great desire to be a country girl—I'm simply renting part of a house situated on a property of about eighty acres. My favorite sight is the view from my patio, of the rolling hills of as-yet-unplanted farmland. For all that I'm an urbanite at heart, I'm loving the complete lack of motor vehicle noise; it is seriously quiet out in the country. And as for smells...well, there are cows across the gravel road, and I do not count their odor among my favorites.
|From Edie's camera ...|
Kim: You wrote in your bio, Edie’s luck truly changed in the months after attending a Chicago-area Romance Writers of America conference in 2010.
What did you learn at this meeting that helped you get published?
Edie: It wasn't so much the conference that provided the luck—though I learned a ton by attending—but my mindset afterward, which led to a change in attitude. I was trying to sell an unsalable book. That initial version of LOVE SONGS had a whiny martyr of a heroine, a hero with no motivation, a decided lack of sexual tension between the protagonists, and a very flippant style of prose.
I was able to meet NYT-bestselling historical romance author Julia Quinn at that conference just for a few moments outside an elevator, which she likely doesn't remember, but she said something that stuck with me: "If you aren't in love with your characters, how can you expect anyone else to fall in love with them?" When I did eventually rewrite LOVE SONGS, I thought on her words long and hard, and I made sure to write a heroine I could like and respect at all times and a hero I was absolutely crazy about.
In the end, that was what made Audrina and William's romance work for me as an author, and (judging by the incredible feedback I've received) it seems readers are doing exactly what Ms. Quinn implied they'd do: They've fallen in love with the characters.
Kim: What feedback did you receive from the AGONY/ECSTASY anthology?
Edie: Quite the mixed bag of responses, actually! It seemed as if readers either really loved it or really hated it, and I completely understand why: "Shameless" (my story in the anthology) does not have a romance-novel ending—not a "happily ever after," not a "happy for now." However, that was a very conscious choice on my part, as I was writing an erotic short story—not an erotic romance. Erotica doesn't require an HEA or HFN ending, and Caro, the heroine, didn't need one; what she required was that singular interlude to mark the end of an old, unhealthy relationship and the start of her new, admittedly challenging life as an independent woman in 1859 Philadelphia. Vaughn, the hero, was able to give her that interlude.
But, like I said, there's no romance ending, and if there's one thing readers of this genre demand, it's a happy ending. Luckily, the people who appreciated "Shameless" for what it was were incredibly vocal and complimentary about it on Goodreads and other sites. I loved all the feedback I've seen, even the negative stuff. There's a sentiment we had when I worked for a newspaper, something along the lines of, "We love the hate. If they hate it, and hate it enough to comment on it, that's awesome—at least it means they're reading you." At this point, this early in my writing career, I love the hate. (But I love the love more, I gotta admit.)
|The Forsythe residence on Iliad Lane|
Kim: Tell us about the Iliad Lane Series and your new book, LOVE UNTAMED.
Edie: I've always loved historical romances where the books of the series detail the siblings of a single family falling in love. We get to see the family dynamic as they relate to one another on a normal basis, as well as the reactions to any given sibling's significant other. As someone who comes from a small family (one much-younger brother), the interplay between a large number of siblings fascinates me.
The Iliad Lane series is set in the late Regency era, in London; LOVE SONGS and the prequel novella ARDENT both take place in 1823. The five daughters of Baron Forsythe are all special, each in her own way: the musical Audrina, the athletic Cadence, the scholarly Edwena, the stunningly beautiful Jocosa, and the compassionate Serenity. And they know that true love never lasts—their flighty French mother became a prime example the day she abandoned her husband and children to go "adventuring" with her new true love. Luckily for them, there are five wonderful men out there to prove these sisters wrong.
LOVE UNTAMED is the second full novel in the series, the story of the elegant-yet-tomboyish Cadence Forsythe and Benjamin Maene, the lower-class Scottish horse trainer who reluctantly—very reluctantly—falls in love with her. There are midnight mansion break-ins, secret sexy stable rendezvous, a racehorse that may or may not have a faked lineage, and a whole lot of emotional angst. At this time, I'm not certain when LOVE UNTAMED will release (hopefully later this spring), but here's an excerpt, from right after the heroine has taken an unexpected fall from her horse...courtesy of the hero:
His gut clenched as he looked down at her, her shallow breath panting through barely parted lips. He’d broken her. His temperamental descent in recklessness had broken the crazy, pretty, rich woman who’d owned his thoughts, both waking and sleeping, for the past twelve hours.
Panic twisted his guilt into something harder, more desperate, and he patted her cheek. “Hey. Hey, wake up.”
“Damn it,” he whispered. Bending closer, he slid his hand down to cup the back of her head, feeling with damnably trembling fingers for injury. Her coiffure made his search more difficult, so he gently pulled free several wicked-looking pins and dug his fingers into her scalp. Long waving strands fell like cool silk over his skin, and his bare fingertips felt the damp hint of sweat at their roots; she’d obviously been riding hard prior to her fall.
Then he found it: the large knot forming on the back of her skull. Thankfully, when he drew his hand away, there was no trace of blood, and he breathed an unearned sigh of relief. This time he stroked cheek, instead of patting it firmly. “Miss Forsythe?”
He tried not to notice the harsh contrast between his skin and hers. His hands were chapped and callused from working day-in and day-out with the horses. His knuckles were large, lending his fingers an almost misshapen appearance, and his roughened skin was dark and reddened compared to her fair complexion. It felt criminal, touching her pristine perfection with his raggedy hands.
Clearing his throat, he tried again. “Miss Forsythe?” Then, “Cadence?” It annoyed him how much he liked the rolling of her name on his tongue.
A frown appeared between her slashing black brows.
At this sign of renewed awareness, the knots of tension in his shoulders eased somewhat. “C’mon, Cadence, wake up now.” His thumbs swished back and forth over her cheekbones, warming the skin, pinkening it, and he couldn’t seem to stop the action. “Wake up and…and see to your horse, Cadence.”
2012 Copyright by Edie Harris
Thank you so much for having me on your blog! This is my first guest appearance anywhere—I'm so excited about it that I'm worried I'll overuse exclamation points. And there's nothing worse than overused exclamation points, as we all know. (!!!)
Mahalo, Edie, for joining us at SOS Aloha! Edie is generously giving away a copy of LOVE SONGS to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment about which daughter of Baron Forsythe you most resemble: the musical Audrina, the athletic Cadence, the scholarly Edwena, the stunningly beautiful Jocosa, and the compassionate Serenity.
I believe I relate with Serenity!
Comments are open through Saturday, March 31, 10 pm in Hawaii. I'll post the winner on Sunday, April 1.
Kim in Hawaii
To learn more about Edie and her books, check out her social media:
Official Site: edieharris.com
Daily Blog: authoredie.com
March Madness continues here at SOS Aloha! All commenters in March will be entered into a special drawing for prizes from RT in Chicago. 3 US, 3 Canadian, and 3 international readers will win a package with books and goodies. Comments can be made at:
- SOS Aloha, sosaloha.blogspot.com
- Aloha On My Mind, alohaonmymind.blogspot.com
- My guest posts at the Reading Reviewer (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) at marygramlich.blogspot.com
I'll post the winners of March Madness on Monday, April 2.