Get into Bed with Pamela Sherwood (Author Interview)

SongAtTwilightKeira: 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.

Website: www.pamelasherwood.com
Blog: www.pamelasherwood.com/post
Facebook: www.facebook.com/PamelaSherwoodAuthor
Twitter: twitter.com/#!/pamela_sherwood
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5763255.Pamela_Sherwood

Buy: A Song at Twilight

Of Triangles and Twins

Waltz with a StrangerGuest Blog by Pamela Sherwood, author of Waltz with a Stranger

Hello to everyone on Love Romance Passion–thank you for having me visit today!

My hosts have asked me to talk about twins in romance, and to address the question of whether it’s looks or character that win the heart. My instinctive response is to assert that character always carries the day–but looks can certainly attract attention. Not just good looks, either, but any appearance that’s out of the ordinary. And when two people resemble each other as closely as Aurelia and Amy Newbold, the twin heroines of Waltz with a Stranger, looks can be a source of great confusion as well.

My first exposure to twins in fiction was a junior novelization of The Parent Trap that I found in my fourth-grade class library. On mentioning it to my mother, a teacher and former children’s librarian, I was promptly directed to the book that inspired the film, Erich Kästner’s Lisa and Lottie, which I found richer and much more satisfying. (Yes, that’s a recommendation.)

As I read on through the years, I encountered still more pairs of twins. The double duos of Antipholus and Dromio, who cause such pandemonium in Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. Alexandre Dumas’s Corsican brothers, formerly conjoined twins who literally feel each other’s pain. Harry Potter’s Fred and George Weasley, and Padma and Parvati Patil. And in the romance genre, Georgette Heyer’s Evelyn and Christopher Fancot in False Colours. Mary Jo Putney’s Kit and Kira Travers in Dancing on the Wind, and later Kyle and Dominic Renborne in The Wild Child.

I continue to find identical twins fascinating: two siblings–mirror images–who could be best friends or bitter foes, staunch allies or fierce rivals. And sometimes all of the above! But twins are also individuals, who can differ in tastes and temperament. The tendency in fiction is to polarize them–the good twin and the bad twin, the shy twin and the bold twin.  But the dichotomy between twins is seldom that simple. The shy twin may have unexpected reserves of courage and strength, while the bold twin may be more vulnerable and insecure than anyone suspects.

A triangle involving twins lies at the heart of Waltz with a Stranger–which is fitting because a poem about such a triangle was one of its main influences. Tennyson’s “The Sisters” tells the story of a man who inadvertently courts identical twins, with tragic results. Significantly, there is no villain in that triangle: only three well-intentioned young people muddling through a complicated situation and, sadly, getting it wrong. My goal was to take a similar situation, create a triangle in which all the parties were fully realized sympathetic characters, and make it come out right–for everyone.

Aurelia, the primary heroine, may be the most sympathetic of the trio: the quieter, more thoughtful sister who strives to reclaim the person she was before a riding accident left her scarred in body and soul. Her sense of self is on shaky ground, partly because she is no longer the mirror image of her twin, a circumstance that has defined her until now. Even after she regains some of her confidence, she must contend with more heartache on discovering that the man of her dreams–who won her heart when they shared a secret waltz in the conservatory–is now engaged to her twin.

Amy, Aurelia’s twin, may be the “other woman,” but she’s no villainess. More outgoing and confident than Aurelia, she is also the practical one, who leads with her head rather than her heart. Her poise and assurance, however, hide a vulnerable core. Too often stung by social snubs in the past, Amy is determined to make a brilliant marriage, not just for her own benefit, but for her family’s–especially Aurelia. While not in love with James, Amy likes and respects him, and intends to be a loyal wife and a perfect countess once they’re married.

Meanwhile, James–the hero–is caught between love and honor, and his genuine feelings for both women. Amy’s vivacity charms him, while Aurelia rouses his tender, protective side. But after he inherits an earldom and all its attendant responsibilities, it is assertive, ambitious Amy who seems the clear choice for his countess, rather than her sister, “fragile as a glass butterfly.” James is unprepared for the revitalized Aurelia who returns to London ready to take on the world–and equally unprepared for the desire she stirs in him. Only by gaining a deeper understanding of both women’s characters–and of his own heart–can he resolve the conflict that threatens to destroy all their happiness.

So, do you have any favorite romances in which twins play a major role? Or that contained well-constructed triangles that made you sympathize with all three parties?

Buy: Waltz with a Stranger

GIVEAWAY: 1 print copy of Waltz with a Stranger up for grabs. Open to US and CAN. Enter by telling us about your favorite twin romance!

Spotlight: Waltz with a Stranger + Giveaway!

Praise for Waltz With a Stranger:

“Sherwood effortlessly evokes the world of Edith Wharton and Henry James, and her exquisite character development, memorable secondary characters, and impeccably researched historical setting infuse this elegantly written debut with a richness and depth worth savoring.” ― Booklist STARRED review

“Readers will be enchanted” ― RT Book Reviews

“Sympathetic protagonists will keep readers engaged” ―Publishers Weekly

Waltz With a Stranger Book Blurb:

Crippled after a riding accident, shy heiress Aurelia Newbold shuns Society–until a dashing stranger draws her into a secret waltz and awakens desires she has long thought dead. After a year abroad to regain her health, she comes home to find the one man she’s been dreaming of–now an earl–engaged to the one woman she would never betray: her beloved twin sister.

One night James Trelawney took pity on a girl he saw as a wounded bird. Now the Earl of Trevanan, he is not prepared for the vibrant woman who returns to London, intent on reclaiming her life. Nor is he prepared for his growing desire for that woman–especially after he has proposed marriage to her dazzling twin.

As the scene shifts from London’s glittering ballroom to Cornwall’s windswept coast, forbidden desires resurface, and inhibitions begin to melt beneath the summer sun. But even as James struggles to resolve his feelings for both sisters, the secret that killed his predecessor reaches out from the grave to threaten his life–and that of the woman he loves.

Buy: Waltz With a Stranger

GIVEAWAY: 1 print copy of Waltz With a Stranger up for grabs! Open to US and CAN readers. Enter by leaving a comment telling us why you would love to read this book! Last day to enter is November 18, 2012.