Today begins a series featuring the wonderful talent of our Down Under authors - from Australia and New Zealand - across a number of romance genres.
The first series will showcase our HISTORICAL ROMANCE AUTHORS.
Please welcome my first guest...Sophia James!
Sophia James writes historical romance for the Harlequin Historical imprint in London.
A double winner of the Romance Writers of Australia R*BY 2010 & 2011 she has also finalled in the Australian Romance Readers Awards and won the Romance Writers of New Zealand Clendon Award.
Sophia has been a mentor at the RWA 5 Day Intensive (5DI) in Brisbane in 2010 & 2011 and has run a similar mentorship programme in New Zealand in 2012.
She has a degree in History and English from Auckland University and a background in teaching.
Published works: I have published eleven books to date in two time periods; Regency England and Medieval Scotland.
Publisher: Historical Harlequin.
What is historical romance and which era intrigues you the most?
The Regency period was full of anomalies, the manners of the time balanced against the ruthless push of ‘getting ahead’ and ‘marrying well.’ A period like this always sets up a great background for tortured characters who have been thrown around by the unreasonable expectations of Society.
My other time span in Medieval Scotland and the brutal raw harshness of the period always presents other challenges (such as just staying alive).
What's the most fascinating aspect about writing in this genre for you?
I love historical because I feel I am not so constrained in aspects of character. A medieval knight can kill with barely a hint of shame and it’s so freeing to be able to thumb your nose up at the strict conventions of the Regency in print.
What challenges did you face publishing in this genre?
The challenges are the research and getting it right. When I began writing I had read many historical and so sort of knew the terms and expectations by osmosis really. But further on in my career I realise I am a novice in research and accuracy and it is one of the things I am trying to get better at.
Which authors have inspired you in your own writing? Or which ones do you enjoy reading?
I love Diana Gabaldon and her Jamie and Claire series. She is such an intelligent writer and her characters just leap off the page for me. I reread Judith McNaught and I love Joanna Bourne.
When you get a chance to relax, what do you like to do?
I walk or go to the gym. I read. I visit art galleries. I renovate my old house. I garden.
Could you share your latest release, or a selected book, and tell us a little bit about it?
The heroine, Isabel Dalceann, is fighting to save her keep from David the Second and is a figure bards tell of all across Scotland; a witch they say who has repelled three sieges upon her castle and a disfigured woman who dresses as a man.
The hero Marcus de Coutenay is a commander of the armies of Kings. He is feared and lauded in both France and Scotland.
If you would like to read more I have their first kiss as an excerpt on my website.