by Ashley March, guest blogger and author of Romancing the Countess
I’m so thrilled to be visiting here at Love Romance Passion as I continue celebrating my newest release, ROMANCING THE COUNTESS!
When I first started writing romance, I knew that I would write in the historical romance sub-genre because that’s what I grew up reading and that’s what I loved. But beyond knowing I would write historical romance, I didn’t have any idea what would distinguish my writing from the hundreds of other historical romance writers (many of whom regularly inspire me with their own books).
I started writing my debut, SEDUCING THE DUCHESS, as a sequel to another manuscript (which most likely will never be published unless I revise huge chunks). I was such a novice writer with SEDUCING THE DUCHESS that I had pretty much no plot going in; all I knew was the duke’s character and that he was going to kidnap his wife at the beginning of the book. The greatest thing writing-wise with SEDUCING THE DUCHESS is that it became the book where I finally felt I had found my “voice” as a writer. Voice consists of many things, but outside of the style and tone of the way a writer puts their sentences and words together, to me it also includes the types of characters and stories the author chooses.
With SEDUCING THE DUCHESS I realized I enjoy writing about characters that interest me—not necessarily characters who I want to be best friends with or who I would vote as the next CNN hero, but characters that fascinate me in one way or another. I’d like them to become sympathetic over the course of the story, certainly, but it’s okay with me if they’re flawed at the beginning. When I say “interesting”, I mean they make me want to strip away all of their outer layers and discover who they really are on the inside, why they behave the way they do in others’ eyes.
As I moved on to my second book, I knew I had to write about characters who interested me, but I also realized I want to write about stories that interest me as well—stories that challenge me as a writer. The basic idea for ROMANCING THE COUNTESS—about an earl and his best friend’s wife who are drawn together after their cheating spouses die in a carriage accident—met both of these requirements. I’d certainly never read or heard about a similar historical romance plot, and I knew it would be a challenge to show the hero and heroine getting over the betrayal and deaths of their spouses while at the same time slowly falling in love.
I enjoyed writing both of these books (although I agree with the saying that I truly love when the books are written), and I’m so grateful to have found readers who enjoy my characters and stories just as much as I do. =)
My next book from NAL Penguin, which comes out May 1, 2012 and is titled MY LADY RIVAL, is another such book that consists of, in my opinion, both an interesting story and interesting characters. Although I don’t have official copy I can tease you with yet =) I can tell you that it’s about a wealthy English middle-class dyemaker whose father brought his family up from the slums of London, and his rival, the half-American daughter of the father’s former business partner.
However, if you’ve heard the recent news, you know that I made the choice for MY LADY RIVAL to be my last book with Penguin; I will continue writing as a self-published author. (For the details on this: www.ashleymarch.com/blog.) As I begin this new path in my career, one of the things I have to consider is the decisions I need to make in choosing what I will write. One of the factors that made self-publishing appealing to me is the ability to write anything I want—this means that I can write in any time period or place that I desire. The truth is, this is possibly one of the hardest decisions to make, because I always have ideas. What I can promise you, though, is that I finally know the place I’ve decided to make for myself in the historical romance sub-genre, and that place involves writing about interesting stories and interesting characters. To me, that’s a pretty good place to start. =)
I can’t imagine a time when I’ll stop wanting to write characters in Victorian England, but I also have ideas for many other time periods and places. I’d love to hear your top preferences of the following.
What possibility makes you most excited?
- Elizabethan England
- Ancient Rome
- 14th century Italy (or Italy in any time period)
- Other European countries and times, including Russia (be specific, please, if possible—I’m still trying to narrow ideas down myself =)
- 1920s New York and Chicago
- World War II (different places)
- Victorian India and/or China
- Morocco/Egypt/South Africa
One random commenter will be chosen to win a copy of my newest book, ROMANCING THE COUNTESS (open internationally)! Last day to enter LRP giveaway: October 15, 2011.
Also, find out how to win the ROMANCING THE COUNTESS Book Tour Grand Prize of 50+ romance novels by visiting www.ashleymarch.com!