Welcome, Laurie Alice Eakes!
by Laurie Alice Eakes
Avalon - August 2006
Surrounded by the most beautiful scents and potions in the world, The Honorable Miss Clarissant Behn toils away, unconcerned with romance. She doesn’t spend her days planning a wardrobe for the Season or wonder who she will marry. Against all conventions and Society’s rules, Miss Behn spends her days engaged in trade.
If anyone learns that her perfume business is the source of her family’s prosperity, the scandal will ruin both her business and her chances of marriage. Years ago she loved her sister’s forbidden betrothed, Tristan Apking. But he disappeared five years ago and is presumed dead.
But when Tristan returns to England, alive and mysteriously prosperous, keeping secrets could cost Clarissant his love and possibly their lives. Overcoming his deep sense of loss at her sister’s heart seems to be an impossible feat. Juggling everything for everyone else, Clarissant tries to keep the balance while finding love and happiness for herself.
Lovely Original Traditional Regency: Every so often if one is lucky, they will come upon a rare jewel when they least expect it. Finding FAMILY GUARDIAN by Ms. Eakes was one of those lucky finds.
—M. Rondeau (Amazon Top 500 Reviewer)
The date is 1817 to be specific. Because of the background of the hero, it needed to be post the Napoleonic wars. As to when I got interested in the time period, I think it was when I was fourteen and read my first Georgette Heyer. Then, in the 80s, when the Regency was so very popular, I read every one I could get ahold of. Later, I started reading nonfiction about the time period. Actually, I love the whole Georgian era. It's such a time of transition, of moving to an age when class started breaking down, people started having rights and freedoms. An awakening.
What do you like least about this period? Anything that constrained you or that you had to plot carefully around?
Mostly the formality of the language and address. Titles don't bother me, but the constant Miss This and Mr. That is difficult to keep writing and hard on the reader, so I fudged a bit. The language is a little less formal—contractions—and the forms of address a little more familiar than would have been completely proper at the time.
Have you ever gone to any reenactment events to conduct research?
Not for the Regency. I did sail on an eighteenth century frigate to get the feel of the sea for another novel which, being an American Revolutionary War tale, will likely never see the light of day.
What/Who do you like to read?
Jo Beverley hands down is my favorite author. Patricia Veryan, though, sadly, she is no longer writing, and an English historical novelist Gillian Bradshaw. Lots of others creep in and grab my interest, and these two authors have managed to sustain quality throughout their careers. Other than Regency and Georgian, I read lots of other historicals, though westerns don't do much for me. I also love women's fiction and romantic suspense. I also read considerable amounts of nonfiction from modern politics to historical treatises written centuries ago.
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?
I am more of a plotter in that I have a structure, a framework that I follow—i.e., my main plot points, lots of info on the goals and motivations internal and external, romantic and spiritual, of the characters, and definitely the dark moment and the conclusion. Within that, I make a list of everything that needs to happen. Literally a list. Then I start working out scenes, outlining those in detail before I write each one. I try to outline a few in advance, following the goal, conflict, disaster or reaction, dilemma, decision routes. This has cut down considerably on my rewrites. I used to do four. I still may do four of the first chapter, but not the whole ms. I prefer to write all the way through then edit.
What sparked this book? Was it a character? An historical event? A scene you just couldn’t get out of your head?
I haven't a clue. I read some stuff about perfume and wanted to write about it, but didn't want research to take over the story, and I wanted characters who weren't the usual lords and ladies of the time. I sought for little twists to give the characters some interesting backgrounds... And it just started coming together. This is also a kind of boy-next-door, best friend turned love interest story, and I have always loved those next to bad boy stories.
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 did a lot more research than the story ends up showing, mostly about scents. I learned lots of fascinating facts about fragrance like their herbal and floral compositions, how perfume wasn't made with chemicals but essential oils, until Channel came along, how fragrance affects our senses... It all got me really interested in Aroma therapy.
Any historical mea culpas to fess up to?
Nothing that stands out, and I am sure that at least one reader will point them out to me. I did run into a copyedit problem where the copyeditor changed Spenser to Jacket. I asked her to change it back to be historically accurate, and I confess that I haven't had the courage to see if they did this. I'd probably be depressed if it still says jacket.
What are you planning to work on next?
I am working on a Regency-set historical for Steeple Hill, the inspirational line for Harlequin. I have a few other projects to get out there, too, and this is my main focus—this series for Steeple Hill.