I am delighted to open the Den back up with special guest Isabel Roman as part of her blog tour for her latest book in her Dark Desire of the Druids series: Sex and Subterfuge. You may already be familiar with Isabel and her work from Ravenous Romance or her frequent appearances on Un:Bound. If not, you’re in for a treat!
First, a little about Sex and Subterfuge:
A master magicker, Morgana Blackthorne has a tenuous hold on her following. When a strange Englishman arrives on her doorstep with news of other druidic magickers, and magicker problems, she’s intrigued but suspicious. There hasn’t been contact between the American and European druids in over a hundred years. Plus she has her own worries and doesn’t need the handsome earl adding to them.
Lucien, Earl of Granville, left England to seek out the Blackthorne Druid line and discover what they’ve been up to since contact was lost. Once he and Morgana meet, their mutual attraction distracts him from his purpose.
Embroiled in her problems, he finds himself more concerned with her welfare than is practical for a passing affair.
When I invited you into my bed, it never occurred to me I wouldn’t want you to leave.
There are darker forces at work and the hunger of a weak magicker desperate for power. Will Lucien convince Morgana of his true feelings before things spiral out of control? Or will the surrounding subterfuge tear them apart?
And now, please welcome Isabel as she talks about why she writes historicals!
Why do I write historicals? You bring up a good question. I could go with the easier and infinitely more boring: “I love history” answer, but it has more to it than that.You can do a lot with an historical you can’t with a contemporary. Morals and norms were different than today, stricter, harsher, what we might call more narrow minded but they considered enlightened. Plus there were the things that make us who we are today.
History is filled with fascinating things, and often it’s a war, a conflict, a decision that sparks an idea for a story. I say it all the time, but the History Channel really is filled with wonderful little tidbits. By taking the society and putting in something as modern-sounding as ‘romantic suspense’ or ‘paranormal’ or ‘mystery’ and making it historical adds a layer to the story.
Can’t pick up the phone and find out if your dear friend is really departed or not! Can’t check those bank cameras to see who accessed your ATM and cleaned out your account. Can’t call 911 but have to scream for help and hope someone who actually is going to help appears.
Instant access for them was days of travel or Morse Code over the telegraph. The telephone didn’t connect everywhere and even then those pesky operators could overhear everything.
Fastest mode of travel? Steam power-trains and ships went so much faster than they did even a decade before, but it still took days or even weeks to reach your destination. News? Again, think telegraph; but finding out what happened as it was unfolding only really worked if you were in the center of the action.
Mentality: there’s a reason the US spans the continent and it’s called Manifest Destiny. Sure, you can disagree with it all you want now, but when Americans were pushing west, they believed they had a right to do so. Same for any power: any European nation, Russia, China, Japan, India, Ottoman Empire. Might really did make right and whether or not you agree with the politics behind it, that thought process shaped the world we live in today. Spawned more than a few wars, too.
Rights and freedoms: Each right and freedom we enjoy now was won only through long hard fighting. Women didn’t get the right to vote until the 1920s, so writing about a strong and in-charge heroine in the 1820s requires tweaking. And limiting. She couldn’t really be in charge of the company-but the woman behind the power is always a great story!
Thank you, Isabel! And everyone, please join the discussion! One random commenter on Isabel’s tour will receive a Vice Versa beaded fashion purse, a summer shawl, and a box of Godiva chocolates!
Read Dark Desires of the Druids: Sex & Subterfuge available now in bookstores! And be sure to check out Isabel’s free story!
4.5 Cherries from Whipped Cream Reviews: Isabel Roman has stepped up the action in this second book of her series. The characters are all well defined and multi-faceted. Morgana is a strong woman, but one who is willing to give all to those she cares deeply for….I also appreciated the research that must have gone into this book to make everything so true to the time period. I respect the author’s time taken to get it right.
4 Stars from Love Romance Passion: Do you like jealous heroes and love triangles? How about sizzling sexual encounters atop of dining room furniture? If you answered yes to either question, you’re going to love this novella. I’m also recommending it, if you enjoy reading paranormal romance, historical, or erotica.
Whew! Up and running and right after midnight east coast time!
And with much thanks and our apologies!! 🙂
I’m impressed, Dana! Thanks for dong this so last minute-and for hosting me!
Congrats on finishing your zombie story! 🙂
Nice post! I’m so with you on the history issue, Isabel! It’s almost like writing science fiction, in that you’re taking the reader to a different world. Good luck with the DDotD:S&S book tour!
Hiya, Kilt! Thanks for stopping by and being the official ‘first’ guest! Would you do me the honor of letting your FB friends know about this?
History is a wonderful resource, though sometimes it’s so depressing to realize that we have come as far as we have and STILL insist on making the same tiresome mistakes: such as assuming that our way has to be the only way. And regarding other folks’ plans and desires as necessarily opposed to our own plans.
If only we would learn the lesson which Kipling’s tribal elder tried to teach us: “There are nine and sixty ways
Of constructing tribal lays.
And every. single. one. of. them. is. right.”
Obviously I expect way too much. (Sigh.)
Good to see you blogging again Dana. I hope this means that you have that #%^$@* WIP nearly whipped at last.
Great to see you too Kilt.
And always wonderful to see you, Isabel. Thanks for taking us with you on your journies. 🙂
Jack!!!! So glad to see you! And as for my WiP, go on Facebook and take a peek…
I’m very glad Isabel chose to write about this topic (okay, I asked her to, but she graciously agreed!) and I especially love the list of possible ideas spawned from various sources… G&T, Isabel?
I absolutely love history, and finding history combined with fiction pretty much pushes all my buttons. The good ones.
Isabel, the story sounds like a yummy one. I’ll definitely have to check you out. Dana, thanks for the heads-up. I always like checking out authors new to me.
Interesting discussion, Isabel. I hear people say all the time how much fun it’d be to travel back in time, but no one really stops to think about the more unpleasant aspects. For women in particular, not so much fun.
What made you select the Druids as your theme?
I love history as well, and the different morals and mores of different times. Congratulations on your new book, Isabel, and congrats to you, too, Dana, for finishing your undead (but wonderful) monster!
hah! Caught a bunch of comments hiding in moderation! Welcome, all!
Isabel and GF, for some reason AOL didn’t notify me about your comments in moderation – I had emails for the other ones… Just like AOL to snub the authoress!
Beth, thank you so much for stopping by, and it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Isabel’s writing!
Carpespider, yeah, I think about the stuff we wouldn’t have back in time and the shit we’d put up with… I definitely prefer the romantic viewpoint as opposed to what would be the reality.
Elizabeth (another wonderful writer of historicals, with her book The Last Duchess coming out soon), thank you! I figured you’d enjoy this post!
And no cell phones! And no internet!
Writing historicals requires really different plotting, and I agree, it can be a lot of fun!
Thanks for the interesting post, Isabel, and best of luck with your release!
Howdy, Lisa! Nice to see the Lurkers out and about today!
LOL Dana, it’s The Second Duchess. The Last Duchess, well, that’s another story entirely. 🙂
Apologies for not getting here sooner; I had a bit of paperwork to finish. Let me add my congratulation to Dana as well on completing the zombie novel! You zombie killer 😉
I totally agree OF COURSE about the fun of writing the past and trying to bring it to life (try to do that in my teaching as well). Do you find you have a lot of people double checking your facts or questioning their veracity? Just curious.
Oh jeez, Elizabeth, sorry! And I did know that… *smacks herself*.
C. Margery, lovely to see you whenever you arrive, you know that!
And thank you, btw, for the congrats. It’s so nice to be able to host at the Den without my brain shooting off in the direction of zombies… for once!!!
Dana, you know me all too well. Definitely a G&T! No worries about the comments, I’m sneaking in at work to read this. Nothing like work to interfere with a nice blog chat!
Kilt, you’re definitely right about history as science fiction—it’s a totally different world and you have to get all the aspects right.
Jack, I hadn’t heard that quote but it’s true! High expectations always lead to depression. On the other hand, it’s always nice to hope that people will (finally!) learn.
Beth, thanks for the compliment! I hope you do check my Druids out, it was such a fun series to write.
Carpespider, I’d love to travel back in time, but maybe not live there. I’d love to travel to India for a day or 2, see only what I want to see and then leave. No living required. But that’s unrealistic and I know it. I don’t even camp! I’d never be able to survive without running water, showers, toothpaste, clean & filtered water.
Druids…I chose them because they haven’t been done in a more modern setting. I’ve read a lot of books with them in England in the Middle Ages and even further back, but not in a more modern setting and the 1880s seemed perfect. There isn’t fast transportation or information highways, and it still takes time to do things. Plus, if there’s a suspicious death or fire, there isn’t modern forensics to discern the cause.
Thanks, Elizabeth! And I’ll have to check out your book.
Haha, thanks, Lisa. Yeah, I’m not sure I can survive without the internet anymore. Sad but true!
CMK, hey! Thanks for dropping in. And yet! People question me all the time, but I have a BA in History and am meticulous (some might say anal but really, they’re just synonyms) about my history. If I’m doing alternate history it’s obvious and I immediately let people know what’s changed. Otherwise, the history is true. Or as true as some of that stuff can be. You can never tell with some of the secrets they put out there for mass consumption.
OMG. the book sounds wonderful! And I’m a fellow junky for the History Channel. And I write historicals for many of the same reasons you do. My first manuscript started out as a contemporary, until I realized how hard it would be to fake your own death, with modern DNA, dental testing, fingerprints, etc. Move it back to 1830, and voila! All those pesky forensics go poof! Plus, there’s just something uber-scary about wandering a gloomy castle by lantern light, or making love by firelight. Puuuurrrr!
Kat, I totally agree! It’s really hard to do a lot of things these days-pity. I wanted to do a contemporary story where the heroine faked her death, took on a new name, got a job and everything. Not happening! Not today at least.
Isn’t it nice to go back and forget about forensics! Makes certain plots much easier.
I take a quick trip to See’s Candy and see what happens! Hi, Kat!! and Isabel, here’s that G&T… you’ll need it if you’re still at work, after all!
I actually really like the point of avoiding modern forensics by setting something far enough back to avoid it…
Isabel, you can never be too serious (or anal) about history. The point if alternate history is speculation about what might have happened if….
For instance, as Somtow Sucharitkul speculates in his Aquiliad trilogy, suppose a harried provincial Praetor let a certain itinerate Jewish rabbi off the hook instead of crucifying him, as the hired Temple mob wanted. (Without organized Christianity, the empire endures into the twentieth century. )
Or suppose (as Harry Turtledove does in The Man With The Iron Heart) that Reinhard Heidrich survives the attempt to assasinate him and winds up leading the Guerilla Werewolves in post war Germany.
Love all this stuff. Please keep writing Isabel. We’ll be waiting anxiously for everything you can come up with.
LOL, my novel I’m about to ship off takes place in the present time but in a US that lost the revolution and is consequently a sort of Canada-ish province but more conservative (yes, differences that are subtle and not really part of the plot except to explain a few peculiarities).
Do you think it takes more time to write an historical then? With all the fact checking? Or is there less? I tend to use time periods that I know, but there are all kinds of practical details I have to research that I never figured out while teaching literature of the past.
Don’t know if alternate historicals take that much more time due to research. I do know that the geeks will be reading every line in hopes of catching anything they consider an error. (Being something of a geek myself I can somewhat understand this frame of mind.) But heck, it’s the story which is supposed to carry the book; not so much the details.
You just write about what you know and don’t worry about the small details. Speculate as freely as you choose. You always manage to turn out a winner anyway. After all, authorship is your business. Good hunting.
There are always people who nitpick no matter what, but it does behoove us to do our research…
I don’t know if it takes longer, but then I tend to write in times I know well or want to research because the era/country fascinates me. I do know it takes longer to dress and undress in historicals. 😉 I think historical readers are more attuned to mistakes because it’s what they love and want to read.
Plus, it’s sloppy.
I admit to nitpicking about these things, but mostly because the things I hate tend to be obvious and yank me out of a story. I once read 1/2 of a novel that took place in the late 1400s where one of the bad guys used the word crap like we would when something went wrong. Took me right out of the story and I couldn’t read the rest. I later looked up the origin and while it was around then, I can’t seen an evil monk going “Oh, crap!”
Good luck, Kate! But then having read your work, I can’t imagine anyone rejecting you.
I love history, true, but some of the reasons you listed give a great deal of depth to a story. Also a lot of need for independent and strong people able to make a decision that today would entail a flurry of phone calls or emails with a complete picture of the situation before action. Simpler times but still the decisions made had far reaching and intriguing effects.
There is some wonderful time periods to play with and some freedoms to stretch things or set up plots and add story twists that wouldn’t be possible in our day of high technology.
I have to say, while there were some strong women, they had certain prescribed parameters they could act within. Nothing ticks me off more than a *historical* that is nothing more than modern characters wearing period costumes spouting the occasional phrase of the times. It doesn’t ring true.
Hmm, I’m thinking I’ll have to check out your latest, Isabel. 🙂
No, but he might snarl a muffled “Stercor!” Which is latin for good, old fashioned “Shit”.
Just having fun here. Always follow your instincts. You won’t go wrong then.
Damn but this book sound like fum. I’ll have to read it. And thanks for the heads up.
Aw, thanks! It is hard keeping out those pesky little anachronisms. I remember someone drinking coffee FAR out of their time and had to go back and figure out what they would have been having in the morning. Ironic, as I’m not a coffee drinker myself, but hey.
Boy, I’ve got to get caught up on my druids! I’ve had so little time to read since I got back in the States. Writing like mad, but not much reading. Must remedy that.
isabel, I can’t get past the monk saying ‘crap.’
Jack, I’m going to be muttering Stercor! for days now…
You can even mutter it in polite company and no one will have a clue what you’re saying. (Unless someone is a classical scholar that is…)
Btw, you always make ME feel good with your laughter, your wonderfully crazy sense of humor, and your luminescent personalty.
Shine on lady! Banzai!
Thanks, everyone, for a wonderful reopening to the Den!