Thank you so much for arranging our visit today! And can I say that you have a spectacularly BEAUTIFUL blog? 🙂 It’s so… ME! 😀 😉
1. What 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.
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 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?
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/
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Genella deGrey – Heating-up History
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.