Welcome, Celia May Hart
by Celia May Hart
part of The Harem
Aphrodesia -- December 2006
Chandari's destiny is with the Maharajah, not with the lieutenant escorting her. But as temptation grows into a hunger neither can resist, two star crossed lovers are willing to risk everything for stolen moments of sheer ecstasy...
Celia will be giving away a copy of The Harem to one lucky poster! We'll do the drawing randomly and announce the winner this coming Saturday.
Your novella, East Meets West, is set in Regency India. How did you become interested in this time period and location? What you love about it?
When I was first asked to write for the anthology,
What do you like least about this period? Anything that constrained you or that you had to plot carefully around?
No, I think I pretty much laid it all out there. At his age, Benedict West should have achieved a higher rank or be dead (the death rate for Europeans was spectacularly high), but that just added character complexity. Chandari being half-caste, lived in that shadowy world between cultures, and had this been a novel I would have delved into that more deeply.
When I think “harem” I think of those of the Ottomans, of Topkapi and Dolmabahce. What made you think outside this obvious box?
The women in India, in the upper classes, once married lived in zenanas -- which were off limits to men (and especially foreigners), surrounded by female relatives as well as any additional wives. The aristocracy in
What sparked this novella? Was it a character? An historical event? A scene you just couldn’t get out of your head?
Lieutenant Benedict West inspired it. Actually, I sorta brainstormed with my editor. She quoted a line from a Beatles tune and there was the story -- the lieutenant climbing into Chandari’s window on a crazy drunken bet with his fellow lieutenants.
Did you have to do any major research for his book? Did you stumble across anything really interesting that you didn’t already know?
I had to research just about everything. All I knew about
What do you like to read?
Everything except horror. That keeps me awake and scared and I need my beauty sleep. I’ll read paranormal (Robin T. Popp is a current fave), science fiction and fantasy (can’t go pass Lois McMaster Bujold or Elizabeth Bear), romance, the odd mystery, all sorts of non-fiction “research” that I’m sure I’ll use in a book one day.
Care to share a bit about your writing process? Are you a pantser or a plotter? Do you write multiple drafts or clean up as you go?
I’m kind of both. I know how it begins, and how it ends usually. (It completely freaks me out when I don’t know how it ends.) So I plot up to a certain point and then the synopsis reads “And stuff happens”. When I get to that point, it’s usually brainstorming how to stop that middle from sagging.
I don’t clean up as I go, but I do mark writing that is lazy or possibly anachronistic with
What are you planning to work on next?
I’m between contracts so I’ve sent off a bunch of ideas to my editor for the next Aphrodisia (and threw a few historical ones at her as well). I haven’t heard back yet, so I picked out one of the historical ideas and am working on that. It’s set in Dark Ages Britain (because I was an Arthur nut before I discovered Georgette Heyer and the Regency period). There are a whole queue of ideas waiting for my attention including an out-and-out fantasy, but they will all get pushed back when a contract comes along!
Thanks for letting me be a part of the History Hoydens for a week!