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Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

23 September 2013

Welcome, Erin Knightley!



Available Now! 

I met Erin at the Anaheim RWA Conference when I tagged along to a dinner that ended up including some of the rudest service ever, but also some of the most charming company (and GIANT margaritas!). As writers, we're always being told "what the market wants", and often, I find myself thinking, really? One of the biggies currently is that "sweet" only sells in the Inspirational market. Which I though was crazy, considering that the Trad Regencies were almost entirely "sweet" and there were a LOT of readers out there looking for that same read. 

Well, Erin has proved that if you do it well, "sweet" sells! 

(If you haven't read Erin yet, don't miss the link and code at the end of the interview to get her novella, RUINED BY A RAKE, for free!)

 AN HONEST DECEPTION

Sir Colin Tate has never imagined marrying for money. But debts left by his artist father have put his siblings’ futures in danger. To wed an eligible heiress, this independent-minded Scot must play by restrictive rules—until an irresistible lady dares to pursue her passion for art…and him.

AN UNEXPECTED DESIRE

Lady Beatrice Moore can spy a fortune hunter as expertly as she captures subjects on canvas. But when she meets the striking son of Britain’s most celebrated painter, the attraction is instantaneous—blinding her to the possibility that he could ever be one of those schemers.…


Flirting with Fortune  is set in Regency England. Is there a particular reason you chose that year/era for the series?

 I’ve been a Regency fan for over a decade! It’s always been the era that most completely captures my imagination.

How did you become interested in this time period? What you love about it? 

There is something so compelling about the Regency world. The gowns, the wit, the societal structure—all the things that take me from my modern day world and transport me into a fantasy world that still actually existed. More or less, lol. I am not extremely strict with the time period. For me, I enjoy characters and storylines that I can relate to, accented by a historical flavor that sets the tone.

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

I least like the same thing that I love about it: the strict rules surrounding courting couples. Yes, it makes for tension and compelling story lines, but it’s darn difficult to come up with fresh and unique ways to get your hero and heroine alone together!

I know that in a world where they say “sex sells”, you’ve carved out a successful niche with “sweet” books. I’d love for you talk a little about that. 

 I’ve always skimmed the sex scenes in romance novels. I have nothing against them, they just aren’t my cup of tea. What I love—what I live for when reading—is that slow, glorious build of sexual tension and chemistry. To me, a long awaited kiss can be every bit as intimate and heart-pounding as falling into bed. I figured if I felt this way, that others might as well.  

To this day, after five books/novellas published, I still get a big goofy grin when readers and reviews marvel that they didn’t even realize the hero and heroine hadn’t slept together until after they had finished reading. And that’s my goal—I don’t want anything to be missing. If that were the case, then I didn’t do my job. I want my readers to feel fully content and satisfyed 

Anything you flat-out altered or “fudged”? If so, why? (I always find this one fascinating!). 
 Oh yes, I have fudged along the way! Although, I don’t know if I’m going to point them out—that’s kind of like telling someone about the feature you most dislike about your body. That will be the only thing people will see! Suffice it to say, I have glossed over some things in order to keep the plot streamlined. If I made everything 100% factual, the books wouldn’t be the enjoyable escape I wish for them to be.  

Any gaffs or mea culpas you want to fess up to before readers get their hands on the book? I know I always seem to find one after the book has gone to press. *sigh* Pool chalk. Bane of my existence. 

 LOL – I’ve had a few gaffs along the way! In RUINED BY A RAKE, I somehow wrote Tory when I meant Whig. Apparently, a reader thought I should be tarred and feathered over that one! *shrugs* I’m human, and I’m going to make mistakes. Sorry in advance for anything like that that may pull you from the story! 

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

Actually, I was reading about the famous writer, Sir Walter Scott, and was amazed to learn that at his death, he was in debt over fifty thousand pounds! I was fascinated by the fact that he actually managed to pay them off posthumously via the sale of his works, though it took many years. I suddenly wondered what it would be like if a straight-laced, no-nonsense, practically estranged son inherited a mountain of debt from his famous, eccentric father without ever having suspected that his father was up the River Tick. With no way of providing for the family that suddenly depended on him, how would he fare if he was suddenly thrust into society in order to find an heiress bride?

The fact that talented painter and reluctant heiress Beatrice despised fortune hunters and adored Sir Frederick was the perfect combination to make this book come to life.

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

I decided to make Colin a barrister in training, and I was fascinated to learn how the system worked. You didn’t go to law school like we do now. Instead, you studied and ‘took your meals’ at the Inns of Court, which meant that you attended a certain number of dinners in the company of men of law in order to learn more about the profession. 

It was also fun to learn about the painting methods of the day: the sable brushes and the pig bladder paint holders, the primed canvases, the smell of linseed oil, the hassle of mixing paint from pigments—it was all very interesting to me.

What/Who do you like to read? 

 I try to read fairly broadly. I enjoy many in my own genre (Heather Snow, Susanne Enoch, Sabrina Jeffries, to name a few), as well as YAs (Veronica Roth, Kassy Tayler, Sophie Jordan), and even some contemporary (Marquita Valentine, Sandra Brown, Susan Mallory). I also like nonfiction, usually to do with health and nutrition. The only thing I generally stay away from is paranormal—just not my thing.

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?

 Ha! I used to be a plotter, and then I sold to a publisher who expected things like outlines and synopses, lol. Now I’m a bit of a planster: I know the overall arc of the story and the general goals, motivations, and conflict, but the rest forms organically as I write. 

The only thing that is sure about my writing is that I NEED a deadline. As much as I hate it, I can’t seem to get any good writing done until it’s down to the wire!

Scrivener? Yes? No? Or What is that? 

 Maybe! I’d love to learn, but so far the classes haven’t been convenient. Someday I might find the time and check it out. For now, I will stick with my physical poster board and sticky notes.

What are you planning to work on next?

I am in the middle of writing my second series, Prelude to a Kiss. It follows three female musicians who form a trio during a music festival in Bath. Anyone who has read my first series will recognize the pianoforte-playing heroine, Charity, in the first book of the series titled THE BARON NEXT DOOR, due out in June 2014. I’m totally loving writing these books—they’re all like friends to me now! If only I didn’t have to drag them through their dark moments ;)

Thanks so much for inviting me to joint you today. As a treat for your readers, I’m happy to offer my novella, RUINED BY A RAKE, for free! Simply go HERE, choose the format best suited to your e-reader, and use the following code at checkout: NA85T

12 Comments:

Blogger Sharlene said...

Hi Erin - I am loving your books! I am looking forward to reading Flirting With Fortune this week! Thanks for the great interview!

10:42 AM  
Blogger Erin Knightley said...

Thanks so much, Sharlene! I hope you enjoy Bea and Colin's story :-)

10:55 AM  
Blogger Connie said...

Hi, Erin!

Thanks for the copy of RUINED BY A RAKE. How sweet and generous of you. I am sooo looking forward to reading FLIRTING WITH FORTUNE.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Erin Knightley said...

You're very welcome. Connie! I hope you enjoy both books!

1:14 PM  
Blogger rosebuding said...

Hi Erin, thanks for a great interview. I too jump over the sex scenes and I agree the build up is much more exciting. That is one of the reasons I mostly only read historical romance, the girls are so innocent. Love your books and look forward to reading more. Well done.

2:26 PM  
Blogger rosebuding said...

Hi Erin, I tried to use the code but it says that is expired. Am I too late or because I am in australia. Thanks Ros

2:35 PM  
Blogger Erin Knightley said...

Oh no! I've been getting downloads all day, so I don't know what happened! Try this code and PLEASE let me know if you have trouble: AJ74D

3:41 PM  
Blogger kipha said...

Hi Erin!!! What a great review! And thank you for this awesome freebie~ Of course I'm looking forward to reading your books!

4:22 PM  
Blogger Erin Knightley said...

Thanks for stopping by kipha! And it is my pleasure to offer the novella for you guys for free :-) Cheers!

5:12 PM  
Blogger Erin Knightley said...

Oh, and Isobel - I forgot about those margaritas!! I still have those pics, which crack me up :P

5:13 PM  
OpenID hannahdabink said...

I have already read Ruined by a Rake and I loved it, and I completely agree with you Erin about the build up of sexual tension. It's all about antici...pation.

9:28 AM  
Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

Great interview with two of of my favorite authors! I am reading Flirting with Fortune right now and loving it!

And I am truly looking forward to your next series! Regency musicians are right up my alley, as you well know!

12:11 PM  

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