Friday, January 15, 2010

Interview with Carrie Lofty

I'd like to welcome our guest today, Carrie Lofty. 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.

I understand you have a new release out called SCOUNDREL'S KISS. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Scoundrel's Kiss is the stand-alone sequel to my Robin Hood-themed debut, What a Scoundrel Wants. When last we saw Ada of Keyworth, she'd just been rescued from the Sheriff of Nottingham and had seriously burnt bridges with her family. She and a young admirer, Jacob ben Asher, head off to Spain together. But she's haunted by the unlawful and sickening torture she endured and turns to opium for relief…

Gavriel de Marqueda is a warrior on the verge of taking his vows with the Order of Santiago. Before he can do so, he must pass one final test: save Ada from herself. He's vowed obedience, nonviolence, and chastity, but Ada refuses to be held against her will, even for her own good, and vows to use every possible resource to thwart Gavriel's offer of aid.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I majored in history in college, then went on to get my master's degree in history from The Ohio State University. I started my history binge at age ten when I became obsessed with the Lincoln assassination plot. Not long after that, I discovered historical romances. Little did I know but that was my destiny!

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

I wanted to create a warrior monk hero. That's where it started. Maybe it just sounded intriguing and sexy to me at the time. Imagine all the training and the hard-earned experience of a warrior, but all the humility and, ahem, self-control of a monk! I also knew that my heroine was going to become an opium addict. Opium was available from Chinese and Arab traders throughout the Middle East and North Africa, but the easiest place for an Englishwoman to accidentally get hooked on opium was Spain. Once those two pieces came together, I was off and running.

What are your favorite historical research books and why?

Because I work on so many historical periods--ranging from medieval England and Spain to Napoleonic Austria to 1950s Italy--I really can't rely on particular books. Instead I start my research on the internet, find titles from Amazon, and then make the absolute most out of inter-library loan!

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

Of course I loved my hero and heroine, but they were the main crux of the book and therefore caused me the most problems. The character that turned out to be my saving grace was Fernán, another monk--but one not nearly so manly as the hero. Instead, Fernán is a coward and a complete comedian. But even my favorite self-professed coward turned out to be a little bit of a hero himself...

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

I love knowing my characters! I really relate to the show "Castle" because I know that the premise is sound. Authors can be very perceptive when it comes to human nature. Research helps me figure out what kind of person could've lived during a particular era, but then one of my favorite things to do is take a Myer-Briggs personality test on behalf of my hero and heroine. Once, my husband was reading over my shoulder as I took the test and said, "That's not you!" From there comes the plot, which is always last and subject to change. I'm a very character- and research-oriented pantser!

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

The monks within the Order of Santiago, which my hero wants to join, were required to where white robes emblazoned with a cross known as the fleury cross: the points of the cross are daggers. Their commitment to acting as God's warriors against Moorish tribes was right there on their chests!

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I love lush, beautiful writing, so my favorite romance authors are Candice Procter, Penelope Williamson, Laura Kinsale, and Patricia Gaffney. They all craft such amazing stories, not simply packed with emotion and fascinating characters, but with poetic language to describe every aspect of the hero and heroine's lives. I read those books and knew that's what I wanted to write. Those are the kinds of stories I love to read, so why not give them a try in my own style with my own unique voice?

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

Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk…!

What do we have to look forward next?

My Austrian-set historical romance--in which a widowed violin prodigy begins a steamy affair with a renowned composer, only to learn that he stole the symphony he's most famous for--will launch Harlequin's new digital-only venture, Carina Press, in June. You can read an excerpt at http://carrielofty.com/Salzburg_1.html.

Then, coming soon from Penguin, is the "Dark Age Dawning" trilogy of hot-n-dirty apocalyptic that I co-wrote with Ann Aguirre. We're working together under the name Ellen Connor. Visit our website for excerpts and details: http://www.ellenconnor.com. It's all very new and exciting for me!

Thanks, Carrie!

To celebrate her book release, Carrie is offering a free signed copy of SCOUNDREL'S KISS to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (Please check the blog Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Born in California, raised in the Midwest, Carrie Lofty met her husband in England--the best souvenir! Since earning her master's degree in history, she's been devoted to raising two precocious daughters and writing romance. Her January release, SCOUNDREL'S KISS, featuring a Spanish warrior monk and the troubled woman he's sworn to protect, is the sequel to her Robin Hood-themed debut, WHAT A SCOUNDREL WANTS.

"Lofty writes adventure romance like a born bard of old." -- Romantic Times
Check out author's website at www.CarrieLofty.com and www.EllenConnor.com.

10 comments:

Kim Watters said...

Good Morning Carrie. I hope you're enjoying your chocolate. Wow, you're one prolific writer. Do you work on multiple projects at once or one at a time? How do you keep everything straight? Thanks for blogging with us.

Carrie Lofty said...

First up, let me thank the lovely ladies at Much Cheaper Than Therapy for inviting me to stop by. I really appreciate it!

@Kim: Yes, I work on multiple projects at a time, but I don't *write* them at the same time. For example, yesterday I was working on writing a new book, brainstorming a proposal, editing two, and promoting SCOUNDREL'S KISS. Once the ball gets rolling, things begin to overlap as the projects drag out in their many stages. And yes, I keep many notes!

Thanks for stopping by today. I'll be around for the duration of the draw if anyone else has questions.

All the best,
Carrie

Carrie Lofty said...

Oops, forgot to hit the follow-up comments box the first time!

Mason Canyon said...

An interesting post Carrie. Nice to "meet" you and learn about your books. Kim, thanks to you and the others at Much Cheaper Than Therapy for introducing me to such a wonderful new author. Even though I read mostly murder mysteries, I do enjoy expanding my reading into other genres and this sounds fascinating.

Rebekah E. said...

Sounds like a great book. I have never read a book set in Spain and robin hood theme where can you go wrong with that.

Linda Andrews said...

Your books sound fascinating Carrie. I love that you bounce between historical and futuristic. Have you been able to incorporate any historical customs into the apocalyptic story? And since you admitted to being a panster, did you characters do anything you weren't expecting in Scoundrel's Kiss?

Carrie Lofty said...

@ Mason: I love readers who give something new a try. I know I feel proud of myself when I do :)

@ Rebekah: Welcome! Thanks for stopping by.

@ Linda: The first book doesn't have any historical customs, now that I think about it. The characters were just too busy fighting off monster dogs :)

As for being surprised, one of the characters in SCOUNDREL'S KISS, a reluctant monk named Fernan, completely surprised me. I intended him to be a comic relief figure, but he would up having a very interesting secret and proved willing to do some unpleasant things to keep it. Believe me, that was not what I had imagined for him. I love when that happens!

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Sounds like a fabulous book, Carrie! So glad to have you here to find out about your work...and gotta love that cover. :}

CrystalGB said...

Hi Carrie. Great interview. Scoundrel's Kiss sounds good. I love the cover.

Sue A. said...

Scoundrel's Kiss sounds like a great read. Spain is such a romantic setting.