Tuesday, August 27, 2013

An interview with author Elizabeth Camden



ElizabethCamden writes historical novels blending romance, adventure, and a hint of inspiration. She says … When I’m not writing, I have the best job in the world as a librarian at an idyllic college in Florida. Librarianship is a great day job for a writer, because I have easy access to books, technology, and lots of really smart people.  This last year has been the highlight of my writing career when my novel Against the Tide won the Christy, the Rita, and the Daphne Du Maurier award for Inspirational Romance.

Elizabeth has agreed to give away a print copy of her latest novel, Into the Whirlwind, to someone in the continental U.S. or an electronic copy to an international winner. Leave an answer to this question from Elizabeth to qualify for the drawing:

I’m dreaming up ideas for my next book, which will be set somewhere in gilded age America.  Which topic sounds good to you?
  1. A reunion story of two people who once loved each other years ago
  2. Longtime friends who develop into a romantic relationship
  3. An across the tracks romance (rich boy, poor girl)
  4. A spooky and gothic romance…remote mansion, isolated heroine, all the classics of the genre.

And now, on with our interview!


Hi, Elizabeth, and thanks for joining us at Novel PASTimes! We’re glad to have this chance to learn more about you and your books. And congratulations on the release of Into the Whirlwind earlier this month! Introduce us briefly to the main characters.

Mollie Knox is a watchmaker who runs a very successful business selling high-end watches in Chicago.  Zack Kazmarek is the lawyer for the glamorous department store that sells her timepieces.  He’s also secretly been in love with her for years, but has complicated reasons for not being able to act on his feelings.


And now that we know who we’ll be reading about, tell us a bit about the storyline for Into the Whirlwind.

Mollie Knox is a woman whose comfortable world is shattered the night she loses everything in the legendary Chicago fire of 1871. As she struggles in the aftermath of the fire, two powerful men vie for her affection. One has always loved her, but the other has the power to save her.

Into the Whirlwind is a turbulent love story set amidst the rubble of Chicago as Mollie endures the challenge of survival and the triumph of rebuilding the city.


I can imagine that being a librarian means you’ve had a longtime love of books and learning. When and how did the desire to write historical fiction grow in you?

I’ve always loved reading novels, but never contemplated writing one until I was almost forty. At that point I had written three non-fiction history books and had just earned tenure at the college where I work. Most people don’t realize that a lot of college librarians are professors, but yup, we are! Getting tenure opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me. I decided to try my hand at writing the kind of novel I always loved reading. The road to publication was a little rockier than I anticipated, but I finally got there!


I hadn’t thought about the college librarian/professor connection, but it makes sense. You like to describe your books as being about fiercely intelligent people who are confronted with profound challenges. I love the description “fiercely intelligent!” Tell us what you mean by that, and why it’s important to you in your books.

I think a lot of romance novels suffer from relying on physical attractiveness as the only attribute that makes a character desirable. And sometimes inspirational novels fall a little flat because they depend too much on the basic “goodness” of a character. Intelligence and wit is something a writer can easily put on the page. A novel crackling with smart dialogue and characters who spark off each other simply seem more interesting to me. 


You’ve written books set in Baltimore, Boston, and Chicago. What drew you to write stories in these cities?

This was a very practical decision. As a writer, I need to differentiate my books from other romances in the field. Inspirational romances tend to proliferate on the prairie, but many readers want a different vibe, so putting my books in glamorous, urban settings during the gilded age gives me a chance to serve up something unique. Perhaps more importantly…. I want my heroines to have interesting jobs. There were lots of women working in professional capacities by the 1880’s, but this happened mostly in the larger cities. So far I’ve had the following professions for my heroines: a journalist, a translator for the Navy, a watchmaker, an illustrator, and coming soon, a medical researcher. 


Historical fiction requires so much research. What’s the most interesting (or unusual, or funny) thing you’ve done in the name of research for a book?

Visitors, come back tomorrow for Elizabeth’s answer to this and other questions – including the part of being an author that she has a love/hate relationship with. And don’t forget to answer her question in the comments for your chance to win a copy of Into the Whirlwind! Here’s the question again:

I’m dreaming up ideas for my next book, which will be set somewhere in gilded age America.  Which topic sounds good to you?
  1. A reunion story of two people who once loved each other years ago
  2. Longtime friends who develop into a romantic relationship
  3. An across the tracks romance (rich boy, poor girl)
  4. A spooky and gothic romance…remote mansion, isolated heroine, all the classics of the genre.

See you back here tomorrow! 
~ Leigh 
 

9 comments:

Carla Olson Gade said...

Such a nice interview. I love hearing about Elizabeth's writing. To answer the question I'd like to see a rich boy, poor girl or vice versa story. Economic contrasts can create some interesting conflict.

Amy C said...

Lovely interview with Elizabeth. I love all of the ideas for upcoming book. I think of the four, I would choose:
A spooky and gothic romance…remote mansion, isolated heroine, all the classics of the genre
Sounds intriguing!
Thanks
campbellamyd at gmail dot com

Chiara Keren Button said...

Lovely interview! Interesting insights into how to find a unique place in the market.
I think I would choose two people who once loved each other long ago. It would probably provide more unique scope (older characters, etc.) than everything previously on the market.
Would love an international electronic copy.
Chiara
chiarakerenbutton [at] gmail [dot] com

windycindy said...

I like the idea of a reunion story of two people who once loved each other years ago...Been there!
Thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Hayden said...

What a fun question! I'd say either the second option (longtime friends) or the last (as long as it's not *too* spooky ;)

Merry said...

Great interview. I like the reunion of two in love long ago, so romantic!
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Brittany said...

Elizabeth, I have loved all of your books. Cannot wait to read this newest one.

My favorite choice would definitely be spooky and gothic:)

Brittany

rolltide_04(at)yahoo(dot)com

Wendy Newcomb said...

I would like to see a reunion story or and across the tracks romance. Thank you for the chance to win Into the Whirlwind.

wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

Anonymous said...


Hello. I thought I already entered, but don't see my comment so will answer the question again. I would pick a story about a couple who were once in love. I would love to win Into The Whirlwind. It sounds good.
Thanks for the give-away. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot0com337ngur