History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

13 May 2008

Welcome Back, Elizabeth Hoyt

To Taste Temptation

by Elizabeth Hoyt

TO TASTE TEMPTATION is set in the Georgian era. What about the book made it vital to set it during this time period?

TO TASTE TEMPTATION is part of a four book series set around four veterans of the French and Indian War in the American Colonies. It actually takes place in 1764, six years after the (fictional) massacre of the 28th Regiment of Foot, which my heroes all survived. I wanted to use the French and Indian War as the backdrop because first of all it took place in America, so I could introduce an American hero ;-) and secondly because I wanted a war in which the motives were a little fuzzy. Obviously the British were fighting the French for control of the New World, but that’s not quite the same as fighting to defend one’s country, which they would later do during the Napoleonic wars.

Tell us a little about your hero.

Samuel Hartley is an American Colonist. He grew up in the backwoods of Pennsylvania and hunted with his father for the family food. When his parents died he went from a cabin in the woods to living in a boys’ boarding school in New England. Later, he takes over his uncle’s importing business in Boston and builds the company. At the beginning of TO TASTE TEMPTATION, he’s a very wealthy businessman.

Along the way, though, Sam was in the Colonial army where he was a ranger. Rangers were elite companies trained in tracking, shooting, trapping, and spying. They were known for their lightning ambushes and their ability to move in the woods of North America. Army Rangers today are the descendents of these rangers.

What sparked this book? Was it a character? An historical event? A scene you just couldnt get out of your head?

I wanted to write about men returning from war and the difficulties they sometimes have entering civilian life again. I suppose in a way what sparked my interest was the current war in Iraq, but I’ve always been interested in men who’ve been to war. We now have names for things like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but naming the problem is actually fairly recent. It was known in the American Civil War and came to be called shell shock in WWI, but before that there wasn’t a name for the problem that many veterans of war had.

Did you have to do any major research for this book? Did you stumble across anything really interesting that you didnt already know?

Lots and lots of research, lol! I actually didn’t know all that much about the French and Indian War before I started, so I had some basic history to learn, such as whose side various tribes of American Indians were on. I researched British regiments, what they wore, what they ate (apparently a lot of ground up dried peas among other things!) army tactics, and various types of soldiers. For instance, a pioneer was a guy who went ahead of the marching regiment and cleared the trail. At one point in the book, Sam is cleaning his gun, so I had to figure out what kind gun he’d have (a Kentucky rifle—which led to a short digression into what, exactly, rifling is) and then how he’d clean it (boiling water, lint, and oil.) Sam wears American Indian leggings and moccasins for most of the book, and I had to find out what they would look like and more importantly, how one would take them off!

What/Who do you like to read?

Just about everything. At the moment I’m in a paranormal phase—I can’t wait for JR Ward’s latest! Right now I’m reading Jim Butcher’s PROVEN GUILTY.

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 revision queen. I do a detailed plot outline and character sketches, but I have a tendency to go off my outline fairly often. My first draft is VERY rough. Then I revise, send it to my agent, revise again, send it to my editor, and revise a third or fourth time. It’s all in the rewrite. ;-)

What are you planning to work on next?

Well, TO TASTE TEMPTATION is the first of a four part series called The Legend of the Four Soldiers. Next up is November’s TO SEDUCE A SINNER. Here’s the back cover copy:


For years, Melisande Fleming has loved Lord Vale from afar . . . watching him seduce a succession of lovers, and once, catching a glimpse of heartbreaking depths beneath his roguish veneer. When he’s jilted on his wedding day, she boldly offers to be his.


Vale gladly weds Melisande, if only to produce an heir. But he’s pleasantly surprised: A shy and proper Lady by day, she’s a wanton at night, giving him her body—though not her heart.


Determined to learn her secrets, this sinner starts to woo his seductive new wife—while hiding the nightmares from his soldiering days in the Colonies that still haunt him. Yet when a deadly betrayal from the past threatens to tear them apart, Lord Vale must bare his soul to the woman he married . . . or risk losing her forever.


Blogger Amanda Elyot said...

I love the way they've "branded" your series with your covers, Elizabeth. I'm curious as to whether you encountered any problems selling a series that takes place in 18th c. America, since the perceived wisdom in the publishing community is that stories about our own history "don't sell." I'm so delighted that you've become an exception to their stupid "rule" but I would be interested to know if you encountered any flak about the setting during the proposal process for the first book, or series in general.

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm quite pleased about the covers, too, Amanda!

But about the series...it's actually set in Britain--just the backstory is set in America. So, unfortunately, I'm not an exception to the rule. ;-)

9:12 AM  
Blogger Kathrynn Dennis said...

Hi Elizabeth,

We met in a cab on the way to nationals last year, didn't we?

You signed a bookmark for me. ;-)

I'm a fan. So glad to have you here! Thank you for joining us!

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Kathryn, nice to "see" you again!

10:24 AM  
Blogger Pam Rosenthal said...

Great series concept, Elizabeth. I'd love to read them.

11:44 AM  
Blogger doglady said...

Elizabeth, I am really looking forward to the is series for a number of reasons. I taught a Native American history course and a Native American Holocaust course in the five years I taught high school English and History. I think the British side of the story has received short shrift. I love the idea of seeing what affect fighting this sort of war had on Englishmen, who were no doubt used to a more "civilized" warfare.

Did you find that the heroines in this series had some qualities unique to them that helped them deal with their wounded warriors?

11:48 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Hi Elizabeth! I look forward to reading this series as well. The French and Indian War is one that's little known, apart from Last of the Mohicans. I vaguely remember the causes from American history classes (I remember that GW fought in the war), and that the fact that its called something different in England. I like the idea of dealing with how the war affected these men, and how it changed their outlook when they go back to civilization so to speak.

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you like the series, Pam!

Sounds like interesting courses you taught, Doglady! I remember taking a wonderful course in college comparing various Native American cultures (I was an anthropology major.) My husband is an archaeologist specializing in midwestern archaeology. He's been my consultant for the series, although like many academics he has a tendency to give overly elaborate answers to what I think are simple questions. ;-) Early in our marriage he made me watch BLACK ROBE with him. It's possibly the Most Depressing Movie of All Time, but he was very excited because it was supposed to be very accurate about the Native Americans portrayed. LOL!

I don't think my heroines have unique qualities besides the desire to understand the men they've fallen in love with. After all, most families that have returning soldiers are average ones.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Elizabeth Kerri Mahon!

Yup, it's amazing how little we know about the French and Indian War in the states. You're right, George Washington, who was a young officer during the war, made his name in it. And it's a continuation of the Seven Years War that Britain was fighting with France at the time.

10:23 AM  

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