Keira: What do you feel is the most important aspect to a successful romance novel?
Pamela Sherwood: The emotional connection between the hero and heroine! You have to feel that their minds and hearts are in sync, not just their bodies.
Keira: How is Sophie, that heroine of A Song at Twilight, the toast of the ton? How did she get there
Pamela: Sophie is a rising star of the concert and opera stage, a gorgeous lyric soprano whose voice and stage presence have taken London and the Continent by storm. She was always musical, but she’s also studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music for several years before embarking upon her career.
Keira: Robin is one of my favorite names and is the name for your hero in A Song at Twilight. What made you choose it?
Pamela: Robin is usually a diminutive of Robert, but no one calls my hero that! I chose Robin because it reminds me of the dashing Robin Hood, the merry Robin Goodfellow (another name for Puck), and Robin Ellis, who played the lead in Poldark, a British television miniseries based on Winston Graham’s historical novels of 18th and 19th century Cornwall.
Keira: Robin left Sophie once before due to mysterious reasons. Was it because a singer can never be considered respectable marriage material by the ton?
Pamela: Quite the opposite, actually. Robin encouraged Sophie to become a singer, because he knew she had an exceptional talent that would take her far, if she chose to use it. So he’d be pretty hypocritical if he rejected her for that reason! And of all performing artists, singers probably received the most acceptance from polite society. Opera stars like Jenny Lind and Nellie Melba commanded respect as well as desire, and several singers married advantageously, though they often retired afterwards. No, Robin’s reasons for leaving Sophie have everything to do with him–and his determination not to see her dragged down by the shadows in his past.
Keira: You say in your author bio that historical romances are like virtual time travel. If you could actually time travel when and where would you go? Let’s hypothesize and say it was permanent and then if it was only a two week vacation.
Pamela: For a vacation, I’d like to visit the 1920s, explore the fascinating new developments in the arts, sciences, technology, sample the exhilarating new freedoms available to women, and learn to dance the Charleston!
Permanent … that’s harder because while the past is an attractive place to visit, would we really want to live there, knowing how things turn out? I suppose the closest I can come to choosing a permanent time travel destination would be to relive a recent era that perhaps was not as appreciated as it should have been. Like the 1990s, which had its ups and downs, but which seems almost idyllic in comparison to the post 9/11 years.
Keira: What is the most interesting thing you discovered while researching for A Song at Twilight?
Pamela: How prevalent music was in Victorian society. Seriously, it was everywhere–from the classical operas of Verdi and Wagner to the humble music halls and burlesques–music was an entertainment form accessible to all walks of life.
Keira: How do you define love? Does your definition change if we talk fiction versus reality?
Pamela: Bruce Lee is credited with saying, “Love is like a friendship caught on fire.” I’d say that comes close to my own definition of love. But I think fiction tends to emphasize the fire over the friendship, while in reality, both are necessary to sustain any kind of relationship. You have to like each other and be good companions as well as physically attracted.
It’s rare for a fire to burn at the same level of intensity over the years, so the friendship, the emotional and mental compatibility, is all the more important because that’s what keeps love alive when the fires are burning low.
Keira: What makes second chance romances great in your opinion? What sets them apart from the rest of the genre?
Pamela: I suspect all of us have our share of regrets about the past, things we’d do differently if we were given the opportunity. The job we’d take that we previously turned down, the guy we never quite got out of our system, all the roads not taken. Second chance romances are the ultimate do-over when it comes to love. Readers who ask themselves “What if?” can live vicariously through the characters, and see if greater maturity, more life experience, or even a different set of circumstances can result in a happy ending this time around. Second chance romances also acknowledge that people can make mistakes in love, but also move on from them.
Keira: What’s percolating on your back burner now? What can we expect from you next?
Pamela: At the moment, I’m working on a novella featuring Thomas Sheridan and Amy Newbold, the secondary couple from my first novel, Waltz With a Stranger. He’s a slightly rakish artist, she’s a pragmatic American heiress, and together they find romance and danger when they travel to Newport, Rhode Island for the summer season. And I’m plotting a book about Sophie’s older brother Harry who falls for the mysterious beauty who’s renting a summer cottage owned by his family.
Thank you for hosting me today on Love Romance Passion!
AUTHOR BIO AND LINKS
Pamela Sherwood grew up in a family of teachers and taught college-level literature and writing courses for several years before turning to writing full time. She holds a doctorate in English literature, specializing in the Romantic and Victorian periods, eras that continue to fascinate her and provide her with countless opportunities for virtual time travel. She lives in Southern California where she continues to write the kind of books she loves to read.