History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

22 January 2008

Welcome, Julianne Lee!

Knight's Lady
by Julianne Lee
Available January 29th!

Knight's Lady is the third book in a series of Time Travel books that take place in Medieval Scotland. How did you become interested in this time period? What you love about it?

I don't think there's a particular period that interests me the most. Even an uneventful time or place has culture, custom, etc. that is different from ours. It's always interesting to find out what makes people tick, whether they're killing each other or creating great art.

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

Scotland being one of those places where things didn't get written down much, it is sometimes difficult to determine details of events. Very often I have to fill in details in areas where there just isn't any information to be had. I haven't had too many plot issues, though I did have to do a time shift in the first Tenebrae book because King Robert took so long getting from coronation to Bannockburn. His time in exile was an inconvenience, plotwise.

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

The Tenebrae series began when I heard a news story about two fighter planes that disappeared over the Scottish Highlands. My first thought was, "They didn't crash; they went back in time." The planes were later found, and had crashed, but the idea stuck with me.

Did you have to do any major research for this book?

I do major research for every book. They say "God is in the details," and I like to include as much detail as I can. I have an enormous library I recently inherited from my father, which is heavy on history, particularly British history. I read bits of it constantly. I also travel to the U.K. as often as I can afford. It's an ongoing thing.

Did you stumble across anything really interesting that you didn’t already know?

No real surprises, though I was rather shocked by the story of how Edward II died.

What/Who do you like to read?

For pleasure? Stephen King. I love the spooky stuff, especially ghosts. I also like a good mystery, though I'm picky about those. I like to read out of my own genre, because I think it's important to look beyond my own work. The Janet Evanovich numbers books are my guilty pleasure because they're funny. Every June I pick up the new paperback edition and let the brain rest for a while. Then I return to books like "The Powers of the Holy: Religion, Politics, and Gender in Late Medieval English Culture."

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 a plotter, though I'm capable of changing that plot if an interesting idea arises. I graduated from one of the top acting schools in the English speaking world, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and so am trained in plot, characterization, and other dramatic principles. If something isn't working, I'm able to analyze the plot, determine why it's not working, and make appropriate changes. So my method is a combination of purpose and inspiration.

As far as drafts, I prefer to lay out a first draft without a great deal of polish or revision, then go back and make several passes through the manuscript until it's as clean as I can make it. It enables me to see the overall story as the reader would, to view the shape of the plot, the pacing, and to be certain the characterization is consistent throughout.

What are you planning to work on next?

I've just delivered a straight historical about Mary Stuart and the murder of Lord Darnley. We anticipate publication of that next fall. I hope there will be more Tenebrae books, and I'm currently researching a potential project about England's Mary I. There's a fascinating character.


Blogger Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Julianne, your books sound fascinating. I will definitely be putting them on my list of books to purchase. I love time travel novels particularly those set in Scotland. And the period of Robert the Bruce is a particularly fascinating time in Scottish history. One of my favorite musicals as always been Brigadoon where the two Americans stumble upon a village in Scotland that only comes to life every few hundred years.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Amanda Elyot said...

Welcome, Julianne! It's always exciting to see a fellow actress morph into a writer. The theatrical profession certainly does give us a fabulous perspective on the craft of storytelling for just the reasons you mentioned.

Congratulations on KNIGHT'S LADY, and I look forward to the Mary Q of S/Darnley story. I spotlighted their affair in my upcoming nonfiction release ROYAL AFFAIRS, but unfortunately, having been given a word count, I could only delve into each affair so much. But during the course of my research for the book, I certainly became fascinated by them, and began to realize that Mary Queen of Scots needs her own story! I'm not sure if there's been a recent one, though sooner or later, Philippa Gregory is bound to get there.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Pam Rosenthal said...

Hi Julianne, thanks for blogging with us.

I very much enjoyed the excerpts on your web page and will look forward to Mary Queen of Scots.

12:06 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

Great interview, Julianne! These books sound fascinating. More to add to the ever leaning tower of TBRs! And I can't wait to read the Mary / Darnley story. I have always been intrigued by love stories set in or about the Scots. They really are a very passionate people!

2:41 PM  
Blogger Kathrynn Dennis said...

Welcome, Julianne. I too am looking forward to the Mary/Darnley story. ;-)

I'm thinking (hoping?) it's juicy and we get a better look at the passionate side of Mary.

Thank you for posting!

7:55 PM  

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