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Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

29 January 2008

Welcome, Christie Kelley!


Every Night I'm Yours
by Christie Kelley
Available Now!

A WOMAN YEARNING FOR A TASTE OF THE FORBIDDEN… At twenty-six, aspiring novelist Avis Copley intends to wear spinsterhood as a badge of honor. But when she discovers a volume of erotica that ignites a searing fire within her, Avis realizes just how much she doesn’t know about the actual pleasures of the flesh. Determined to learn more, she devises a daring plan…

A MAN READY TO TEACH HER MUCH, MUCH MORE… Avis chooses Emory Billingsworth, a fellow novelist-not to mention a beautiful specimen of manhood-to instruct her in carnal pleasure. But when the brash earl of Selby, Banning Talbot, a man she has known for years, unearths Avis’ true intentions, he claims she’s made a dangerously bad choice. Volunteering his services for one wicked night of reckless, abandoned passion, Banning promises he will satisfy all of her deepest longings. Yet Banning cannot begin to imagine the effect his willful, voluptuous, and very eager student will have on him-or how far an innocent lesson in desire can go…

Every Night I'm Yours is set in 1816. How did you become interested in this time period? What you love about it?

I love this year in particular because of the usual weather. This was the year without a summer due to the Mt. Tambora eruption in 1815. Being a weather nut, I found this year interesting.
But I love the Regency period in general. It was that last period in history before the industrial revolution changed the world for good. The dresses were beautiful, the manners and mores of the period make writing a book that challenges those social conditions exciting.

What do you like least about this period? Anything that constrained you or that you had to plot carefully around?

I can’t think of anything that I dislike about the period. The Regency period is a bit tougher to write then other because so many people know it so well. After all, who hasn’t read Jane Austin book or at least seen one of the movies.

Writing about a spinster who makes a logical decision to take a lover wasn’t easy. Many readers wouldn’t expect a lady to do such a thing. It’s one thing when a lady makes an emotional decision based on love to let a man into her bed, but Avis’ decision is not emotional. She is determined to find out exactly what happens between a man and a woman. But after seeing her parents’ marriage, she is certain marriage is not for her.

What sparked this book? Was it a character? An historical event? A scene you just couldn’t get out of your head?

I was writing another story that had my current hero, Banning and my heroine Avis as secondary characters. I had intended on writing that story as a stand alone book, but the minute Avis and Banning came to me it was obvious that they would end up together. The sexual tension between them they almost took over the other book. That first book never did get published, but it led to Every Night I’m Yours and a hero and heroine I fell in love with. The idea for their story came to me as a dream. When I was writing the other book, I awoke one night with Avis saying to a group of friends that she was going to take a lover. Well, I sat up and thought: No, spinsters from good families didn’t do that. Needless to say Avis wouldn’t let it go. After a few revisions (way too many to count) Avis’ dialogue ended up as the start of Chapter 2.

Did you have to do any major research for this book? Did you stumble across anything really interesting that you didn’t already know?

Honestly, I started writing this story in 2003. Three years later, it finaled in the Golden Heart as Her Scandalous Proposal and I sold it a little over a year later. It’s hard to remember the research I had to do for the book. My notebook has little tidbits that while interesting usually didn’t make it into the book.

I think the most interesting thing for me was reading some non-fictional accounts of married women who took lovers and even had their lover’s children. It’s fascinating to me to think that they just didn’t care about each other. Once the heir was born, their husbands left them alone. Now, I know that wasn’t the case in all marriages but it happened so it amazed me.

What/Who do you like to read?

Unfortunately, I just don’t have as much time to read as I used to. But some of my favorite historical writers and instant buys are Christina Dodd and Victoria Alexander. New authors I’ve recently discovered Anna Campbell, Christine Well and Donna MacMeans. When I’m writing, I don’t read historicals. It’s too distracting for me. So when I’m writing, I search out contemporaries or paranormals. Some of my favorite authors from those genres are: Dixie Cash, Kathy Love, Julie Cohen and Tawny Weber.

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?

My writing process has changed drastically in the past couple of months. We are in the middle of a major remodel/addition to our house so my office has disappeared. When the job is all finished, I’ll finally have an office with a door all to myself. So for the book I’m currently writing, I’ve been hitting the coffee shops in my area. I plug in my iPod with classical music, sip my coffee and write.

I guess I consider myself a plotser, someone who uses a little of both the pantser and the plotter. I must have an idea of where the story is going, especially the beginning. The opening scene is so important to me for setting the tone of the story that I agonize over it. Then I need one big turning point and most importantly, the black moment. Once I have those things in my head, I can start writing and see where things go. I tend to write a first draft, then put it away for a week or two before cleaning it up. Luckily, I have a great critique group who will read the entire story and tell me the good, the bad and the ugly.

What are you planning to work on next?

I am currently finishing up on Banning’s sister’s story. She is one of Avis’ best friends and a member of the Spinster Club as Banning called them. The Spinster Club is a group of five women who are all determined to remain unmarried, or so they tell each other. Only one of the spinsters is doing her best to make matches for each of her friends and expose their secrets.

Thank you for letting me blog here today. I’d love to give one commenter an autographed copy of my book, Every Night I’m Yours.

35 Comments:

Blogger Kathrynn Dennis said...

Hi, Christie! Welcome! Thanks for posting and I just wanted to say I judged "Her Scandalous Proposal" and loved it. ;-)

Glad to see it in print...I knew it would be. Best of luck.

Kathrynn D.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Maureen said...

Hi Christie!
Congratulations on the new book. It seems like the heroine thinks she can be intimate with a man without invovling her emotions. It sounds like a great story.

11:46 AM  
Blogger CrystalGB said...

Hi Christie. Great interview. Congratulations on your new book. It sounds great.

12:28 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

Hello, Christie! I have to say this book sounds like a real winner, oh wait it WAS!!! I LOVE a woman who does something everyone else says "Oh, my dear, you can't do that!" Of course the danger of being daring is you sometimes get more adventure than you bargained for. I had not realized that 1816 was the year without a summer. Little pieces of information like that make life interesting. Oh and I like the term "plotster" as it sort of describes my writing.

Will you go back and rewrite the novel that started you on Banning and Avis's journey? How hard would it be to go back and do that?

Can't wait to read this one!

12:51 PM  
Blogger Kalen Hughes said...

I love the fact that you used "the year without a summer". I stumbled across the fact that the Thames froze over the winter I'd already set Lord Sin (1788/1789) and I had great fun adding a frost faire scene to the book.

Congrats on your debut! It's a wonderful feeling.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

Hi,
Were spinsters really considered outcasts during the regency and other periods? Were they not considered respectable citizens because of their marital status?

2:02 PM  
Blogger Kalen Hughes said...

I'm not sure "outcast" is the right term, but they were usually condemned to the half-life of hanger-on. Most didn't have their own fortune, were unable to support themselves, and were thus subject to the control and whims of their relatives. And they were certainly viewed as "failures" by society, there was a certain shame attached to being unable to attract a husband.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Christie Kelley said...

Sorry I haven't been around till now. My house is in total reconstruction right now so I haven't been able to get online. On the plus side, my new kitchen cabinets are in and I have no sink so it's take out tonight.

Thank you for the welcome! I'll get to all the questions now!

3:17 PM  
Blogger Christie Kelley said...

Kathrynn,

Thank you for the kind words about Her Scandalous Proposal. It's taken me a while to get used to typing Every Night I'm Yours.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Christie Kelley said...

Hi Maureen,

Yes, Avis tries her best to ignore her emotions. Luckily for her, Banning doesn't let her.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Joan said...

Hi, Christie! (waving madly from the lair)

Congratulations on the release of Every Night I'm Yours. Can't wait to read it!

3:24 PM  
Blogger Christie Kelley said...

Crystal...thank you!

Doglady, nice to see you here! I doubt I will go back to the other book only bacause if you read Every Night I'm Yours, you'll notice Trey and Charlotte are already married. Right now I'm busy on the next spinster in the series.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Christie Kelley said...

Kalen,

After this series, I have to go back to one of the years that the Thames froze and they had the faires. It just sounds like so much fun.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Christie Kelley said...

I didn't say spinsters were outcasts, did I? The way my life has been lately, it would surprise me.

Spinsters were not outcasts, however if anyone had discovered Avis' affair, then she would have been. The fact that she choose to live alone instead of with her cousin might have been frowned upon but Avis does her best to keep her reputation in tact (until she decides to take a lover)

3:32 PM  
Blogger robynl said...

Would love to get to know Avis and Banning better so please enter me.
Congrats on the book Christie!!

3:32 PM  
Blogger Christie Kelley said...

Joan, welcome Bandita! You made it out of the cave! I hope the boys are still down there because I'm heading back tonight. I need those Romans to keep me company.

3:33 PM  
Blogger Christie Kelley said...

Okay, Robyn...you're in the running!

3:35 PM  
Blogger Anna Campbell said...

Christie, a huge congratulations on the release of Every Night I'm Yours. I've been dying to read this ever since we were GH finalists together way back in 2006. I love a good sexy Regency romance and yours sounds right up my alley. And thank you for the mention in your list of new favorite authors ;-) What interesting answers - love your weather geek stuff.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Christie Kelley said...

Anna,

Thank you for stopping in. Looks like the Romance Bandits have found me. I'm dying to read Untouched but I really don't like to read a historical when I'm writing one. Hopefully this book will be finished in a week and I can start your book.

And don't get me started on the weather geek stuff. I'm very disappointed that my kids didn't get that gene.

4:00 PM  
Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Christie! (waving madly!) I realized we're kind of twins - both '06 Finalists, both Romance Bandits, both weather geeks, and both Kensington authors! Wheeee! How fun! :> Oh, and we're in the same state too, so that's cool.

Cool about the historical weather stat. I'll have to look that one up. I can't wait to read your book, the local B&N keeps giving me the same spiel - 6 on order, not in yet. Grrrr.

I know what you mean about not wanting to read in your genre while you're actively writing. It's hard to keep yourself on track isn't it? :>

Congrats on Every Night and I can't wait to read it.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Christie Kelley said...

Jeanne, so glad you made it!! I didn't know you were a weather geek too. Woohoo!

One of my critique partners found my book last Wednesday night (after critique group) at the Borders in Columbia. Come east, young lady...

Of course I still haven't seen in my area yet either.

4:41 PM  
Blogger jo robertson said...

Hi, Christie, popping over from Romance Bandits to say hello! Great interview.

Hi, Kathrynn, waving your way; you and I shared a moment at National in Atlanta, remember? Small world!

Christie, I love the premise of your story. I really can't wait to get my hands on it! I don't think you've ever shared the whole story with us before. And how intriguing that you've chosen the year without a summer.

I envy you your new kitchen cabinets. My are sadly in need of refurbishing.

5:15 PM  
Blogger Christie Kelley said...

Hi Jo (waving like mad). Glad you could stop by. I'm taking a break from unloading the old cabinets into the new natural cherry cabinets. They are beautiful. Tomorrow is sink, refrigerator line, and gas cooktop. Woohoo! It's almost starting to look like a house again.

5:49 PM  
Blogger anne said...

Congratulations on your novel. I am captivated with the characters and this unique story. What an interesting interview. Thanks.

6:35 PM  
Blogger KimW said...

Coming in a wee bit late from a long day at work. Congratulations on your release! I love Regency romances. Every Night I'm Yours sounds like a great story. "a beautiful specimen of manhood" He sounds perfect!

6:44 PM  
Blogger Christie Kelley said...

Kim and Anne, thanks so much. It's 10pm on the east coast and I'm beat.

Yes, Emory is quite the specimen of manhood.

Thanks so much for having me. I'll stop in the morning to see if there are any other comments.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Donna MacMeans said...

Hey Christie - I'm here - just late as usual *g*.

I love a woman with a healthy curiosity. Tell me to you think Jane Austen ever...experimented in this vein? There's so much we don't know about dear Jane.

Can't wait to read Every Night I'm Yours - if I can ever find a copy *g*. With that hot cover, I'm sure it won't stay on the shelves long.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Caffey said...

A joy to meet you Christie! I so can't wait to read this one!!! I love reading alot of settings in historicals, and Regency is a favorite of mine too, the clothing, the culture, the rules, all so fastinating! We have alot of the same favorite authors so even more to look forward to!

Christie, do you have a web site? I'll check again, maybe I missed the link.

Too a fun question, if you could time travel back for one year to the Regency time, what three things from the present time will you bring with you? :)

8:18 PM  
Blogger Caffey said...

Oh And I'd love to be in the contest! LOL. I got excited reading about this one! Reading historicals do that to me. They are such a great comfort read!

One more question for you Christie, is there another historical time setting you'd also like to write?

8:20 PM  
Blogger Christie Kelley said...

Donna! I have to laugh at you comment on Jane Austin. My mom and I had just this conversation last Sunday. Personally, I doubt she did. At least that is how I'd like to think of her.

4:00 AM  
Blogger Christie Kelley said...

Hi caffey,

Three things I'd take back with me...okay, you asked for it.

1. Tampax--so not doing the rag thing.

2. Toilet paper.

3. Good dark chocolate.

My website is www.christiekelley.com

It's in the middle of being updated so bear with me.

4:03 AM  
Blogger Christie Kelley said...

Sorry Caffey, I missed your last question.

The other period I love to write about it the American west and America during the late 1800s. Most of those books are gathering dust under my bed.

4:05 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Hey, Christie! Great interview *g*

I can't wait to get my hands on Every Night I'm Yours! Congrats on your first release :-)

5:00 AM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

Sorry to be chiming in late--I was away from my computer most of yesterday. Thanks for the great interview, Christie, and congrats on your debut! The hero and heroine in my current series were originally secondary characters in a book that was never published, so I loved reading about how your hero and heroine were originally secondary characters in another book. I also loved your comments about married women who had affairs after producing an heir, often with their husband's very amicably going along with it. Not only did they give their name to children fathered by other man, they often seemed to be quite fond of the children (Emily Cowper's husband, Lord Cowper, being a case in point).

Your book sounds great--I love stories about novelists!

10:49 AM  
Blogger tetewa said...

Enjoyed the interview and good luck on your release!

8:25 AM  

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