How does an author tune out the modern world and channel bygone eras? Historical romance authors are able to not just take themselves back to days past, they re-create worlds and transport readers, too. Today RT convention attendees got a chance to get some inside information about how authors Lorraine Heath, Jennifer Blake, Loretta Chase, and Sarah MacLean craft their historical romances. These big names in the genre shared a look at the characters that they love, how they create the stories we love — and of course what readers can expect next!
We weren’t surprised that the authors all agreed on a few key truths about what it takes to make a good historical romance. A timeless love story is all about the hero and heroine, however, when it came time for authors to pick their favorite characters, MacLean wasn't shy in saying, "It's never the hero. He can drive you mad. For me it's the secondary characters." And Chase agreed with the sentiment that the heroes could be a real pain in the you-know-what to write, but she said, the mongoose in Mr. Impossible and the dogs in a few of her other stories were her favorites because, quite simply, "the do what you want."
When it came to which these authors preferred doing, writing or researching, Blake said that for her "research is fun, getting started is hard." And Heath thinks her favorite part is, "creating the world and being able to play in that world — it's not easy but there's a sense of satisfaction." And although Blake hates editing, Chase and MacLean say that they love doing that part of the work.
And if the question on the table is "to epilogue or not to epilogue?" then Heath thinks that the epilogue "closes out the story" and readers are interested in how the overarching story ends. It's what's beyond the happily ever after. Blake and Chase agree, some of the most frequent fan mail that they get from readers concernts when the author is going to tackle one of the beloved secondary characters in their works.
But we were also surprised by some of the things the authors revealed to the audience. Here are some of the fun facts we learned ...
- A new book never feels real to MacLean until someone else has seen it — she doesn't even talk about it until it's gone to a beta reader or her editor.
- Blake's favorite punctuation mark is the semicolon while Heath loves the period and MacLean loves the em dash!
- If Heath were stuck on a desert island with any one historical character, she couldn't pick just one and instead wanted the heroes from Chase's Lord of Scoundrels and MacLean's A Rogue by Any Other Name. She couldn't pick just one.
- Chase revealed that she likes the two stand-alone stories that she's written because they require less character judging.
- MacLean loves to put her older characters into her new works as Easter eggs for her readers — because that's what she loves to sumble upon when she's reading!
- Heath shared that her heroes always kiss the heroines earlier than she's planned for them to kiss.
And they each dropped a hint about what readers can expect from their next release:
Blake will be doing a new three-party series in the same medieval world as her Three Graces series. The books, which will tentatively be called the Tudor Heiress Brides series, features three heroines who are all wards of the King and must marry by his command. And making this news even more interesting is the fact that the author will be publishing these books through her own self-publishing imprint, Steel Magnolia Press.
Chase will be releasing the second in her Dressmakers series Seduction Wears Satin. The upcoming tale will feature the second sibling of the fashionista heroine from Chase's previous novel Silk is for Seduction. Readers have also met the hero Longmore, who is a much more laid back hero than his higher-strung heroine.
MacLean's One Good Earl Deserves A Lover is the second in her Rules of Scoundrels series. In these books all the heroes are fallen gentlemen who are trying to pull themselves up by the boot straps and have started this gaming club to help them get back on top. The upcoming hero is a math genius and the heroine is a scientist.
Heath will be bringing fans back into the world of her Lost Lords of Pembrook series with the upcoming book two, Lord of Temptation. This story is about a ship captain who falls for an English lady. And for all those who need one more detail, Heath shared that this heroine will have pale white hair.