Author Interview: Genella de Grey

Thank you so much for arranging our visit today! And can I say that you have a spectacularly BEAUTIFUL blog? 🙂 It’s so… ME! 😀 😉

1What inspired you to write this particular book?

Aside from the fact that history intrigues me to no end, I’d written a minor character, Valerie Hempstead, in my book, REMEMBER ME, who was about to take a journey to the continent. She and her mother were often on the outs, and the first leg of her traveling would be without a chaperone – which as you know, just isn’t done, especially when your mother is a traditionalist! 🙂 But Valerie, having found not only a shred of courage but a long-hidden rebellious streak, wasn’t about to let anything or anyone stop her. I felt compelled to tell her story in The Art of Temptation, and as a writer, you just can’t ignore inspiration when it strikes with such strength!

2.  Does the book contain any underlying themes that are important to the story?

Yes, two. And oddly enough, when put together, they seem to contradict each other at first. But if you’re bold and believe in yourself, you can push through the difficulties to something wonderful you may not have even dreamt of. Themes: Taking a risk, chance or leap of faith can lead you into dark places – and – if you believe in yourself, persevere and hold tight to your dreams through the unbelievably hard times, you will be rewarded.

3What kind of characters do you enjoying creating for a hero or heroine? Do you believe they both need to be strong to have a good story?

I could neither read nor write about a character who didn’t attempt to bust out of a dire situation in any way possible, no matter what the time period. And I honestly don’t think today’s sophisticated historical romance reader wants to read about the women who sat in a corner and embroidered handkerchiefs. If they did, they would be reading historical fiction and not romance.

On that note, let’s think about a few characters written long ago who were strong and reveled in their rebelliousness:

  • In Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice (Published in 1813) Eliza Bennett made a habit of walking alone, turned down Mr. Collins’s offer of marriage, and defied Lady Catherine de Bourgh to her face.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz written by L. Frank Baum (published in 1900) Dorothy Gale: Yells at creepy old lady, runs away from home and travels around – unchaperoned – with three guys.
  • In William Thackeray’s 1848 satirical novel Vanity Fair, Becky Sharp, one of his most popular characters, works her way up the social ladder, using her only friend as a stepping stone. Now, no, she doesn’t have an entirely happy ending, but audiences loved her for her strength and determination. I often wonder if the author was surprised that people adored his conniving character, Becky.
4.  Did you do any special historical research while writing the book?

If so, what interesting things did you learn?

As you might imagine, I did research on the history of the Moulin Rouge, which was awesome in and of itself, but I also got to incorporate two real dancers into The Art of Temptation: Jane Avril http://www.janeavril.net/gallery.html and Louise Weber (also known as “La Goulue”) http://theburnsarchive.blogspot.com/2010/10/la-goulue-glutton-lautrecs-muse-fallen.html

In my research, I learned that Jane and Louise were fierce rivals, which put yet another speed bump (so to speak) in our heroine, Valerie’s, plans.

There were so many different stories about the birth of the Cancan, that I needed to, for the sake of the story, fuse some of them to fit into my fictional tale. Not only that, but I incorporated my fictional characters with true historical figures, which I do in a good many of my books.

5.  What historical era do you like the most – Regency, Victorian, Edwardian, other and why? 

I truly love them all. But I will tell you, Victorian characters come to me, demanding I tell their story, more often any other time period. It was a fascinating time, especially the later part of the era, experiencing the industrial revolution and being on the brink of a new century and the origin of women fighting for their rights.

6.  When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and how did you get started? After writing a very short (almost like an outline) story in high school for an English project, I must confess that I didn’t read romance for at least a decade. Then my friend Cyndi handed me a Judith McNaught’s Until You and I was hooked! A few month’s later, after I’d exhausted my friend’s cache of historical romance novels, she planted the bug in my ear that I should write one of my own. So that’s exactly what I did.

7.  What challenges do you face as an author either personally or professionally?I always have that fear that I’ll run out of story ideas. Oddly enough, that has never been the case.

8.  Tell us about any previous works or any new works you’ll be releasing in the future.I have a couple things in the works, but I’ll share with you at bit about my next release: Cat and Mouse coming soon from Total-e Bound Publishing: England, 1898. A proper lady would never steel or lie; nor would she enjoy the sting of her lover’s hand upon her posterior. See a bit more here: http://www.genelladegrey.com/books/book-cat-and-mouse-1898/

9.  Add anything else you’d like to tell your readers.For a few extras related to my book, The Art of Temptation, please stop by the official Book Page on my website: http://www.genelladegrey.com/book-the-art-of-temptation-1889/ AND, for the most up-to-date info and other assorted goodies, here are these:
Twitter: @GenelladeGrey
Facebook Page: Facebook
Website: www.genelladegrey.com – Where you can sign up for my newsletter and/or subscribe to get alerts when I blog (which is only every week or so.)
Thanks again!
Genella deGrey – Heating-up History

AUTHOR Bio:

Born and reared in Southern California, Genella deGrey longed to be your typical blonde, tanned, surfer girl but failed miserably. Unable to sit idle without falling asleep, she embarked upon several artistic endeavors. Makeup and set dressing for the entertainment industry, Resort Enhancement for The Walt Disney Company and writing sexy historical romance top the list of her favorite activities.

Genella has a keen interest in the spirit world. She loves wandering around in graveyards, traveling to battle fields and other haunted destinations, the older the better. New Orleans is one of her favorite places to encounter the supernatural, as is Tombstone, AZ.

 

Book Promo & Interview: "Silk & Scandal" by Cassandra Dean

Author Interview:
1. What inspired you to write this particular book? – SILK & SCANDAL came from a few different sources. I was lucky enough to be asked to write a story to headline Decadent TEASE: Captivate, a brand new line from Decadent Publishing. So I put my thinking cap on. At the time, I was obsessed with a couple of law-based shows – the UK series Silk and an Australian series called Rake. So, when I was developing the idea for this new book, I decided Thomas, the hero, should be a barrister, circumspect and concerned with propriety. So, of course, what else could the heroine be but a lady mired in scandal? Thus, SILK & SCANDAL and the start of a brand new series!
2. Does the book contain any underlying themes that are important to the story?  – What a wonderful question. A few years ago, I had the great fortune to see Joss Whedon speak at the Sydney Opera House. I admire Joss to no end, and his talk made a huge impression on me. The point he made that I really took away was that every writer writes from their ‘dark place’, that deep seated fear they’ve buried inside them. It was a real eye-opener, and made me examine my own reasons for writing what I do. So, to answer the question: Acceptance that who you are, who you want to be, is okay. You don’t have to apologise for who you are, what you want or what you do. I think these themes run through all my work and probably hint at my own ‘dark place’.
3. What kind of characters do you enjoying creating for a hero or heroine? Do you believe they both need to be strong to have a good story?I believe the characterisation needs to be strong. Your hero and heroine could be soft and seemingly weak, but as long as their characterisation strongly emphasises this, all is a-ok. A good story is made by compelling characters, and as long as you have them sorted and your reader engage, you’ll have a fantastic story.
4. Did you do any special historical research while writing the book? If so, what interesting things did you learn?– Oh my, lots of research, though I think about 80-90% of what you discover you don’t use. For SILK & SCANDAL, I learnt about corn laws, and the change of power in English parliament in 1846, and red ribbons meaning defence briefs while white meant prosecution. I learnt about the Inns of Court, and being called to the bar, and the year women were first admitted to law schools in England. Lots and lots of stuff!
5. What historical era do you like the most – Regency, Victorian, Edwardian, other and why? –  I think Victorian. It was such an expansive era, and saw so much change. It also had many different facets, making it irresistible for writers – you could have a straight historical story, or you could tap into the spiritualism and mysticism of the time and write a paranormal. Or you could go with the murderous Jack the Ripper era and write a murder mystery, or perhaps a story about the great social upheaval that occurred thanks to the Industrial Revolution.
6. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and how did you get started? –  I’ve always wanted to be a writer, from the time I first learnt how to hold a pen. However, I was convinced only super cool people could be authors and so I put my dream to one side. However, when I met my critique partner and friend for ever Lucy Clark, I realised that perhaps I was cool enough to be a writer! So I wrote TEACH ME and ENSLAVED and shopped them around. Finally, Decadent Publishing offered me a contract for ENSLAVED, and subsequently TEACH ME. The rest is history!
7. What challenges do you face as an author either personally or professionally?– Finding the time to write is pretty challenging. Between the Day Job, the family, friends, promotional work, and a pretty intense television watching schedule, it’s rather hard! Well, perhaps I could cut the TV, but the other things are pretty non-negotiable 🙂 Still, I write because I love it, and when you love something, you find the time.
8. Tell us about any previous works or any new works you’ll be releasing in the future. –  SILK & SCORN, the second in The Silk Series, will be coming soon from Decadent TEASE: Captivate, and will feature Thomas’s friend, Arthur, and an annoying girl from his childhood. I’m currently writing the third in the series, SILK & SCARS. I’m also writing the third and final book in The Diamond Series, an Old American West tale. Featuring characters from ROUGH DIAMOND and FOOL’S GOLD, EMERALD SEA features gunslingers and vengeance seeking ladies.
9. Add anything else you’d like to tell your readers. Thank you so much for stopping by, I hope you enjoy SILK & SCANDAL and The Silk Series!