Friday, August 15, 2008

Interview with Emily Bryan

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Emily Bryan. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Thanks, Kim. Chocolate and free advice is impossible to pass up!

I understand you have a new release out called Pleasuring the Pirate. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

My newest release is the fast-paced tale of Gabriel Drake, a prodigal pirate. He earns a royal pardon for his wicked ways and returns to take up his former life as the son of a gentleman. Instead he finds his father and older brother dead, the castle overrun by his orphaned nieces and everyone taking orders from Jacquelyn Wren, the courtesan’s daughter who’s been acting as chatelaine. She grooms him for a well-moneyed match, but Gabriel’s eye is drawn to Jacquelyn instead. And everyone knows, what a pirate wants, a pirate takes.

Pleasuring the Pirate is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

My previous title Distracting the Duchess is a funny, sexy romp. By keeping the same pattern (XXXing the XXX) I hope readers will realize Pleasuring the Pirate is following the same comedic, sexy vein. And my next book is Vexing the Viscount (March 2009). But I think I’ve about tapped out this pattern. Diddling the Duke is just too silly.
What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love historical romance. When I read, I want to be swept away to another time and place and if I can have a laugh (and maybe a tear or two) mixed up with my love story so much the better.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

My stories always start with the characters, who they are, where they’ve been, what they want and how I can keep them from getting it. Writers are required to be a little sadistic in that respect. Nothing can come easily for our literary children.

The idea for Gabriel Drake came when I read about a real pirate who started out as an honest seaman and was pressed into service on the pirate ship when his naval vessel was taken. Gabriel is a 2nd son who went to sea and was trained as a navigator. When pirates sink his ship, he is given a choice—turn to piracy or claim a watery grave. He decides to live and makes quite a splash as the Cornish Dragon, but when he rescues the king’s cousin and earns a pardon, he wants to return home. I’m fascinated by stories of redemption and restoration and even though the father he wanted to make peace with is dead, Gabriel finds acceptance in the love of a woman. Of course, this is the same woman who tried to kill him when she first laid eyes on him, but that’s what makes the story interesting.

What are your favorite historical research books and why?

Timelines of History is indispensable. It hits all the highpoints of each year and gives me jumping off points for more in depth research elsewhere. I also use Bulfinches’ Age of Fable. Myths are always a source of inspiration for me. I make use of original source material (journals, letters from the time period) where ever I can. Librarians have been known to cringe when they see me coming.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I enjoyed writing Jacquelyn Wren. She deals with several inner conflicts. Her mother, the famous courtesan, saw to it she was educated like a lady, but without the pedigree to accompany her education, Jacquelyn couldn’t take her place in society. She longs to be a lady more than anything, yet she fights against her birthright—the passionate nature she inherited from her mother. Coming to terms with all the facets of herself is a difficult journey for Jacquelyn.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing?

My goodness, that sounds well organized. Of course, I don’t do anything like that. Mostly, I listen. My characters begin whispering to me of their hopes, their dreams. In short order, I recognize their voices, the conversation begins and I start writing them. They’re quick to tell me if I get it wrong.

How does your research affect your character development?

People are products of their age. We are defined by our education, status, expectations, beliefs, friends and family. I need to know how people in the age I write about thought about themselves and their world. If my character deviates from the societal norm, I have to explain and motivate their actions in order to make them believable.

What are some common speech terms, dress modes, transportation or housing facts that you found interesting for your time period?

One of the most unusual tidbits about ladies clothing in the Georgian period is that they wore no underwear. At all. The only thing under those broad skirts was the wire and horsehair panniers and the stockings that were gartered at the knees. And since the skirt was held out by the hoops, nothing would touch the bare skin. It would feel like running around naked from the waist down. No wonder the Georgian Era had such a naughty reputation.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I’m inspired by the Gothics of Victoria Holt, the epic romantic stories of MM Kaye, the magic and beauty of language of Mary Stewart. I admire several authors who are writing now—Jo Beverley, Madeline Hunter, Jennifer Ashley, Shana Abe, CL Wilson, Joy Nash and Marjorie Liu.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

It’s hard to know since I have no way to quantify how effective something is. I do a wide variety of things. I speak for conferences. Next week I’m heading to Seattle to give a workshop for the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. I do a limited amount of print advertising—Romance Sells, a small RWR ad, and I’ve been able to get a couple articles published in RT. I print bookmarks to give to booksellers and readers. I visit bookstores and sign stock. I maintain a website ( ) and blog ( ) , a MySpace ( ), Facebook ( ), and a handful of other social networks. I’m on several email loops. I attend the Romantic Times Convention and RWA Nationals.

Of all the things I do, I believe my web presence has helped me connect with readers most effectively. When I attend the national conferences, I meet lots of friends I’ve made online. It makes the conference so much more pleasant because, like many authors, I’m a tad introverted.

What do we have to look forward next?

After PLEASURING THE PIRATE at the end of this month, VEXING THE VISCOUNT will be out March 2009. And my editor and agent are negotiating a holiday anthology for October 2009.
I do have a couple other things in the hopper—a romantic suspense and a paranormal. Visit to read an excerpt and enter my contest. Aspiring writers will enjoy my Writers Corner. I’ve recently added several pages of content just for them. While you’re there, check out Em Recommends. I interview other authors and share books I’ve read. Enjoy!

Thanks so much for the chance to visit with your readers here at MuchCheaperThanTherapy. I had a great time.

Thanks, Emily!

To celebrate her book release, Emily is offering a free book of Distracting the Duchess to one lucky commenter on today's blog. Please make sure to leave your e-mail address so we have a way to contact you if you win. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Bio. Award-winning author Emily Bryan learned much of what she knows about writing from singing. A classically trained soprano, she gleaned the elements of storytelling while performing operatic roles. She and her husband have lived in nine different states, but she now makes her home in the heart of New England.

Check out author’s website at


The (Mis)Adventures of a Single City Chick said...

I would love to win this book! I had every intention of stopping by at the literacy signing in SF to visit you then my entire night got away from me. Great to see you tearing up the blogosphere, though! :-)

Rowena Cherry said...

Wow, another great interview, Emily!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to read Pleasuring the Pirate. Great interview!


Kim said...

I really enjoyed Distracting the Duchess. I picked up a copy at the RT in Pittsburgh. You have great characters.

Excellent interview.:)

EmilyBryan said...

Hey Christina! Who know? You may win the Duchess today.

Rowena, thanks for stopping by. If the rest of you haven't tried her witty, naughty futuristics, look for her new one KNIGHT'S FORK. It's full of sly chess references. . . among other things!

Spacey, I appreciate you posting today!

And Kim, I'm glad you enjoy my characters. I take pains to make sure they aren't the usual suspects. Will you be in Orlando next year for RT? I'm planning on it. First I'll be doing some workshops for Bobbi Smith's Aspiring Writers, then a workshop on Story Structure called WHAT A NOVEL IDEA once the convention gets in full swing. Hope to see you there!

Ashlyn Chase said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Diddling the Duke!
You kill me.


Debra Parmley said...

Great interview, Emily! Pirates and tales of the sea are some of my favorites.

(And I enjoy Rowena's chess references too.) ;-)

Sounds like I'll be seeing you at RT next year. Bobbi has asked me to join in with the writing program and that's a first for me, so I'm really excited about it.

Fingers crossed to win.


Sarai said...

Saw you were over here from Goodreads and had to stop buy. Great interview!

Anonymous said...

Hi Emily,
Thanks for blogging with us today. I kind of liked Diddling the Duke too. Show's my sick and twisted mind. So, just curious, were there any scenes that your editor made you take out that you absolutely adored? Have a great day.

Meloni C. said...

I agree, Timelines of History is a must for every historical writer. Use it myself. I enjoyed your interview and getting to know you a little better, and I adore wicked men!

Tricia said...

Very nice interview, Emily! Your book sounds great. I love anything to do with pirates and this sounds like a fun read. I was wondering, how long were you writing before you got published?

Jennifer Drake said...

I've been dying to read this but *sadly* have no book spending money lately! : P Heres hope'n I win it!
ALSO can't wait to check out your pirate book! I've been searching for a good one.

Tee said...

What a wonderful interview! I absolutely love pirates! I imagine that in my past life I must have been a volupious wench who captured the eye of a handsome and daring free-spirited pirate... I can't wait to read Pleasuring a Pirate...

I would very much love to win a copy of Distracting the Duchess!

Sharing some pirate love,

Tee said...

Thanks for sharing with us today!

Angela said...

I just found out about this blog at 1:00 p.m. So, I just stopped by to say hello.

Caffey said...

Hi Emily! Would be a joy to be in the contest! Loved DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS. I have the first sentence from that book down as one of my favorite! I just had to smile and kept reading on til it was done! I just read excerpt on Gabriel at your site and already falling for him :) and Jack's a blast too!

Emily, is there some other settings you too would like to write in a historical?

Ana said...

Hello my fellow friend Emily,
May I give another suggestion for you? How about "Rallying The Reader" for you did indeed make me go for it and I am so wishing to earn your book too!!

Becky said...

I bought Pleasuring the Pirate for my daughter-in-law who is writing a book about a female pirate sort of as a "research book." She said it was good, but won't lend it to me (not thus far, anyway). I guess I'll have to buy my own copy if I want to see what she means. Meanwhile, I've read what you've said about Distracting the Duchess in the Eastside online newsletter and think the mix of art and mistaken identity sounds like a lot of fun.

Pat Cochran said...

Interesting author interview! My
goodness, now you've got me doing it!
This sounds like a great book, I'll be looking for the "series" when I
next go book shopping !

Pat Cochran

Marie said...

Emily, What a fabulous interview! I'm looking forward to reading Pleasuring the Pirate. It sounds great.


Sue said...

I love your "sick and twisted mind"! I can't wait to read Pleasuring the Pirate after reading Distracting the Duchess. Your characters hold a certain fascination for me.

I am so glad you were interviewed here today!
Sue "Sunshine"

EmilyBryan said...

Thank you all for stopping by and posting! There have been a few questions that I'd like to address.

Kim said "So, just curious, were there any scenes that your editor made you take out that you absolutely adored?"

No, not in my Emily Bryan books, but there was a second scene in the opening of my MAIDENSONG (a Diana Groe title) It shows Magnus Silverthroat, an aging bard, saving the abandoned infant heroine from an ice floe. Many years pass and he's dead at the opening of the first chapter. I love Magnus and wish I could tell HIS story sometime. A man who saves stray children knows what love is.

Maybe I should post the scene on my site.

EmilyBryan said...

Here are a few more answers to posters' questions.

Tricia asked "how long were you writing before you got published?"

I started writing in 2001 and my first novel, MAIDENSONG sold in 2005 for May 2006 release. I wasted a lot of time before I joined Eastside RWA (I was living in Seattle at the time). Learning more about genre expectations and making friends with other writers really turned me down the right road.

Jennifer said, "I've been dying to read this but *sadly* have no book spending money lately."

Actually, Jennifer, I have a page on my website that deals with this. You'll find instructions on how to contact your local library to ask them to order my books for you.

Caffee: Emily, is there some other settings you too would like to write in a historical?

Oh, there are so many wonderful places in the world I would love to explore. India, the South Seas, Alaska, the Caribbean, European countries--but right now, however, the market seems to be dictating either England or Scotland for historicals.

Ana: How about "Rallying The Reader" for you did indeed make me go for it!

Thanks, Ana. I feel like you've been Appreciating the Author!

© 2006, Liz Carpenter said...

Emily, I'm looking forward to reading your books. Do you think that

© 2006, Liz Carpenter said...

Emily, I'm excited to read your books. I'm interested to see how you have made your heroine playful, strong, and sexy and yet remained true to the period. That is what has always drawn me to really good historical romance writers. I'm off to the bookstore in the morning. Thanks for the Goodreads suggestions.

LadyVampire2u said...

Great interview and I simply loved the excerpt on your site for "Pleasuring the Pirate". I'll definitely have to pick up your books here.

kimmyl said...

I hope I'm not late. I would love to enter to win also.
My question is:
Where do your ideas come from? What sparks a story?

EmilyBryan said...

As far as I know, posts still count as an entry. No one has let me know who the winner is yet.

Thank you all for your kind comments. Creating heroines who are spunky yet true to the period is a challenge. One of the ways I do it is to make them not the usual suspects. My heroines are not the sheltered ingenue. Jacquelyn Wren (Pleasuring the Pirate) is the bastard daughter of a courtesan. She's already out of the box. Artemisa (Distracting the Duchess) is a widowed duchess who was raised in India. Not a helpless little ninny waiting for a man to take care of her.

The germ of a story can infect me anytime, anywhere. A blobby little clay horse one of my daughters made inspired the horse statue (an important plot device) in Distracting the Duchess. For PIRATE, my editor said not to set the story in the Caribbean, so I imagined the wild life of a sea wolf, then wondered what would happen if he left that "on the edge" existence and tried to re-enter society. And just for fun, let's give him a crumbling estate and 5 orphaned nieces to take care of--problems he can't solve with a cutlass.

I've posted a whole section on writing on my website under Write Stuff. I talk about ideas, submitting, self-editing, etc. so if you're an aspiring writer, please check it out.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Angela. You're the winner for this weeks book from Emiy Bryan. Thanks for posting everyone and don't forget that we do author interveiws every Friday adn we also need a way to contact you.