History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

07 August 2007

Diane Whiteside Joins Us Again!

The Northern Devil

Temptation is no gentleman...

Rachel Davis would rather risk death than remain a prisoner of the ruthless man intent on gaining her inheritance. Trapped on a private train with the villain, she makes a desperate bid for escape and runs into the arms of an unlikely savior. Aristocratic, arrogant, and deeply cynical about love, Lucas Grainger is her last choice for a husband—even a husband of convenience. But desperate times call for desperate measures: taking Lucas to bed and submitting to his tender, hungry desires may be her only hope...

Lucas Grainger has sworn never to take a wife, but he's not about to let anyone else marry Rachel. He has his own reasons for marrying the gentle, quick-witted widow, reasons she need not know. But holding Rachel night after night awakens deeper hungers than he has ever known, and a calculated marriage soon yields to a blissful, blinding—and dangerous—passion. For if Rachel knew who Lucas really was—of the dark secrets that haunt him—she'd never choose him as her protector...

Theirs is a union both erotic and enduring, and any man who tries to part Lucas from the woman he loves will have the devil to pay...

Every woman needs a devil by her side.

Diane has agreed to give away a copy of The Northern Devil to one lucky poster, so don't forget to put your email address in your posts!

The Northern Devil is set in 1873. How did you become interested in this time period? What do you love about it?

I first became interested in the time period when I visited Tombstone and heard the story, which became THE IRISH DEVIL. Telling that story and giving it an Irish hero meant setting it in the early 1870s. When I did that, I knew nothing about the period. Then I started researching – and I fell in love with the people, their courage – and the sheer modernity of their rapid adaptation to change.

To me, 1865-1875 is a crack in time, the way the 1960s are. So much changed during those few short years and it changed so fast. For example, in 1867, dozens of Army soldiers were killed by Indians only a dozen miles from safety. By 1876, the Army wasn’t interested in sending out expeditions to map the US because everything had already been explored. In spring 1873 – only a few months after The Northern Devil takes place – the US enters an appalling recession, which only the Great Depression of the 1930s surpassed. The guns common in 1869 are those of the Civil War but by 1875, men are using names which would be recognized twenty years later. In 1871, ladies are wearing hoopskirts but by 1875, they’re attired in princesse-styled gowns that cling to their bodies from shoulders to hips. I’ve found that I need to check and double-check almost every facet of culture and technology to make sure that what I’m writing is true for my story’s dates.

The Northern Devil is the fourth Devil book. While my Devil books each stand alone, these first four (The Irish Devil, The River Devil, and The Southern Devil) happen to follow a chronological sequence. (It’s accidental, honest! I did NOT plan it.) Given that, The Northern Devil takes place in January 1873 during one of the United States’ most appalling political scandals. Its dimensions might sound familiar today: government contractors accused of feathering their own nests at public expense, overly complicated accounting practices which conceal the truth, politicians accused of protecting the accused contractors – but somehow managing to escape any retribution. The biggest difference from today is the amount of evidence that was available.

What do you like least about this period? Anything that constrained you or that you had to plot carefully around?

Here, I had to face the fact that folks with money could do almost anything and folks who didn’t have cash or connections were in real trouble. As in – the risking-death kind of trouble. Robert Louis Stevenson’s account of his trip across the United States is an incredible eye-opener. Yet he traveled several years after The Northern Devil and after one of the railroads vastly improved its third-class coaches. The dangers faced by Rachel and Lucas on their trip are actually sanitized versions of two real-life accounts – frostbite, starvation, measles, diarrhea, dysentery, etc.

What sparked this book? Was it a character? An historical event? A scene you just couldn’t get out of your head?

I freely admit that I love marriage of convenience stories. Mention one in back-cover blurb and the odds are very good that I’ll buy the book. But I’ve always wondered why the author comes out with a new conflict to shove the hero and heroine apart right after the wedding, after she’s put so much effort into figuring out why it’d be convenient for them to get married.

Did you have to do any major research for this book? Did you stumble across anything really interesting that you didn’t already know?

What do you like to read? Anything and everything. I read a ton of long non-fiction for research and for pleasure. I enjoyed The Terror Before Trafalgar and Riding the Transcontinental Rails, for example. Short romances go down very easily, given my schedule; God bless ebooks from Harlequin and small presses! And then there are my autobuy authors, who I somehow find time to read no matter what my schedule looks like: Angela Knight, Linda Howard, Elizabeth Lowell, Lora Leigh, Renee Bernard. . .

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? Would you believe all of the above? I write a fairly detailed synopsis for my editor, which I translate into index cards. Most of that survives into the final manuscript – the plotter side of me. Plus I rearrange the order as she wishes, satisfying the pantser side of me.

I refer to this part as “shuffling the deck.” I’ve been known to do it on airplanes, sometimes to the scandalized fascination of my seatmate. Figuring out the proper placement of sexual tension elements can occasionally appall non-writers.

What are you planning to work on next?

I’m currently working on BOND OF DARKNESS, the third volume of the Texas vampires trilogy, which opens in 1922 New Orleans. Researching 1920s Mardi Gras customs is rather challenging. They were organized differently than in the later part of the twentieth century, plus Hurricane Katrina damaged or destroyed a lot of records.

After that, I’ll start The Blue-Eyed Devil, the fifth Devil book, which is about one of William and Viola Donovan’s younger sons who meets his match in Edwardian Europe. It’ll be a different period and locale for me but much of the same flavor as the earlier Devil books – with stolen secrets, a hero reluctantly compelled to help a lady in peril, a chase across continental Europe... Writing a bluestocking bourgeoisie who has no interest, at all, in marriage will be a great delight – and challenge! I’ve already started doing the research for Brian and Meredith’s story.


Blogger Amy S. said...

Great interview!

7:51 AM  
Blogger Kalen Hughes said...

Hey Diane! So good to have you with us again. I just love the Devil series and can't wait to pick this one up.

8:20 AM  
Blogger seton said...

Hi DW! I had read the 3 Devil books and had no idea that you were continuing the series.

IRISH DEVIL is my particular favorite so I am happy to hear about your plans for BLUE EYED DEVIL :-)

9:09 AM  
Blogger CrystalG said...

Great interview. I love marriage of convenience books. :)

10:02 AM  
Blogger Kathrynn Dennis said...

Hi Diane, I have my copy of the Northern Devil on my bed stand.

I love this story---sexy and wonderfully romantic.


1:15 PM  
Blogger robynl said...

Hi and welcome Diane!!
I like this series and now have to get the next one. So glad there is another one on the way also.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Cherie J said...

Great interview! Sounds like a great story with captivating characters.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Sue A. said...

Hi Diane, I loved getting to know more about yourself and your book here. I'm looking forward to reading this series.

4:05 PM  
Blogger KimW said...

Wow...I want that devil by my side. I'm a big fan of marriage of convenience stories. This one sounds great! I enjoyed reading the interview.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Caffey said...

Hi Diane!!! I've so been looking forward to this one!
I'm glad these were continued. There's always something special with these reads. I always loved western historicals and to have the heat with it is so great!! They'd been keepers. I'd love to be in this contest. And looking forward to more of these books! Thanks for all you do to write them!


5:57 PM  
Anonymous diane whiteside said...

Thank you, Seton! I'm ecstatic about being able to continue the series. It's got all the advantages of a series but the guys can have unique motivations. I can stretch across time periods to William's sons or reach back to William's niece. It's both liberating and very reassuring at the same time. Heaven on earth!

6:01 PM  
Anonymous diane whiteside said...

Thanks, Kathrynn! Good to know it wound it as a romantic story. There were times I wanted to throw something at Lucas for being so stubborn about protecting Rachel all the time. LOL

6:04 PM  
Blogger janegeorge said...

*Hurricane Katrina damaged or destroyed a lot of records.*

Oh, how sad. That's truly awful.

Both your Devils books, and the Texas Vampire Trilogy sound intriguing. What is it with New Orleans and vampires? I know Anne Rice used to live there. And once I communicated on-line with a young person who claimed to be part of an underground vampire culture in New Orleans. I gather it's a kind of real-lfe RPG game, with "Sires" and everything. It would be cool to add that to a contemporary suspense novel.

6:08 PM  
Anonymous diane whiteside said...

Hey, Kalen! As a big fan of your Lord Sin, I hope you like this particular Devil.

Amy, Crystal, Cherie, Sue, Kim - I do so adore marriage of convenience stories! It's lovely talking to folks who like them, too. I swear I'll write another one if I ever get the chance.

Robyn, Caffey - Thanks for keeping my Devils close to your heart. Hope you like Lucas - and Brian!

6:10 PM  
Anonymous diane whiteside said...

Vampires seem to have done very well in sea ports ever since the Industrial Revolution, Jane. Maybe it's all those alleys and foggy atmosphere? But Heather Graham does a fabulous writers' weekend every Labor Day in New Orleans. http://www.theoriginalheathergraham.com/site/1545797/page/661686

6:17 PM  
Blogger Caffey said...

Too, this was a wonderful interview so I wanted to ask a fun question. Diane, since you know lots about what we didn't have in that time period but we do now, if you had to travel back in time to that time period, and could only bring three things with you, what would you bring?


6:21 PM  
Anonymous diane whiteside said...

Very interesting questions, Caffey! Actually this period is one of the few I'd be happy to visit.

I genuinely like the food. The top, top desert was fruit sorbets, which I adore! They had flush toilets, believe it or not, at least if you were rich. They also had good soap and cotton underwear, so you had the basics of hygiene, giving me a good chance at a long life. I enjoy the music and literature from the period, pretty much. Or at least I know that many of my huge favorites will be showing up in just a few years. (Bring on Sherlock Holmes!)

So right now I can only think of two things: synthetic rubies and condoms. Rubies because they're so nicely manufactured - and so popular back then! Hence, such a good, lightweight source of cash, beautiful cash. :-)

As for condoms? See rubies, above. LOL

7:55 PM  
Blogger Caffey said...

Condoms and rubies! Great answer! I was thinking too among the feminine hygiene items too. I learn so much in reading historicals about what they had back then and what they used and all. Sometimes I look up some historical facts because I love to see what they had back then and too, love to see the clothing! furniture and all. I think shines in your books giving me so much 'visual' in your writing that I can picture it all!


6:08 AM  
Blogger Caffey said...

One last question, I promise (I think, its exciting to chat with you!)

Any genres or themes you'd like to write some day? If so what would they be?

PS Looking forward to BOND OF FIRE. The cover is beautiful!
PSS I did find BLOOD SURRENDER and must read your story still. I saw at your site mentioning that you had a short story in that Anthology.


6:13 AM  
Blogger anne said...

Hi Diane,
I just love this series. It is so special. I visited Tombstone and loved it. But then I am crazy about Wyatt Earp and just loved the movie Tombstone which was fabulous.

6:27 AM  
Blogger aromagik said...

You always write the best stuff! Keep 'em coming, Diane. :>]


1:03 PM  
Anonymous diane whiteside said...

Hullo again, Caffey!

I'd love to write a space opera. And I'm one of those historical writers who'd dearly like to try my hand at the Italian Renaissance; The Silver Devil is a constant inspiration!

My editors let me write any themes I want to - or at least they haven't quibbled over my taste in themes. So I'm very happy!

9:35 PM  
Anonymous diane whiteside said...

Thank you, Anne and Lindy!

Tombstone is a constant inspiration to me, too. Did you know that movie is considered so accurate there's a book about the guns? Just so reenactors can get it right, too, because the movie has such perfect visuals. Wow.

And to think I was watching it for Kurt Russell and Sam Elliott...

9:38 PM  
Blogger Caffey said...

Thanks again for answering all the questions Diane. This was great!

4:18 PM  

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