Elizabeth, I’m delighted to have you visit today and thanks for sharing some insights into historical heroes and incorporating fact with fiction.
EE Carter: Moonstone Obsession
1. We know you write historical romance, Elizabeth, so your heroes have to be connected to a time and place in history. Can you tell us about that connection?
To make any historical romance a success, all of your characters have to be men and women of their time and while they show all the traits of people toda, - they love, the laugh, they get angry and sometimes are prone to anger and even violence, their arrival at that condition should be as a result of their time and place and not a projection of modern sensibilites.
For instance, James in Moonstone Obsession is very supportive and encouraging of Selina, but he wouldn't consider himself as a feminist as men today might.
In my new book Warrior's Surrender the hero's brother-in-law stays away while his wife is giving birth. Today if a husband did that to his wife, it would be considered grounds for divorce!
2. What character traits/skills do you perceive as essential to an historical hero?
He has to be an adult. I know, that sounds strange but what I mean is that your 25-30 year old hero can't still be living with mum and dad and fretting about 'finding himself' or be a layabout wastrel. He has to have 'launched' as the Americans describe it.
Up until the mid-20th century boys were taking on adult responsibilities from the age of 13 and if they wanted better in life they had to work hard for it.
3. What do you think the ideal hero should be like?
Well, he has to be heroic and by that I mean there has to be a nobility about him and I'm not necessarily talking about aristocratic connections.
He's not perfect by any means but he has a strong sense of right and wrong. He will stand up for what's right even the face of opposition and threat - even if he goes about things the wrong way.
My favourite heroes have a strong chivalric code (no matter what period of history they live in).
Oh, my ideal hero has to have a sense of humour too.
4. What problems did you discover when including real historical figures in your work?
I wanted to be sure I did them justice and have their place in history honoured. If someone reading Moonstone Obsession thinks they would like to read more about the life of William Pitt, John Newton, William Wilburforce or Mirabeau, then I'd be humbled.
5. Some people show their love through acts of service, others through physical contact and so on. How does your hero, Sir James Mitchell, Lord of Penventen, show how he feels about the heroine, Selina Rosewall?
In terms of the Five Love Languages, I would say James would be Words of Affirmation (as well as touch as anyone who has read Chapter 12 can attest). He's very attentive to Selina, not just spending time with her but also in his desire to *know* her. When she has something to say, he listens.
6. There are several splendidly heroic secondary characters in Moonstone Obsession. One of my favourites is, naturally, Sir Percy Blakeney. Can you tell us a little about how and why you used him?
Well, when you're talking French Revolutionary literary spies, he's the first to mind! I had fun creating a little bit of a backstory for him. I wanted give him a hint of his future cloak and dagger persona while emphasising that there is a real spy story going on.
7. Will you write about any of these other gorgeous males in future books?
James is enjoying his HEA with Selina, but Sir Percy will be making an appearance in my current WIP Moonstone Conspiracy. Poor Sir Percy is going to have his hands full with my hero Daniel Ridgeway who is a bit of rebel and doesn't necessarily follow orders.
From Moonstone Obsession, I have a soft spot of James' friend Toby Jackson, I did hint at a love interest for him, and one day I'd like to give him that. A post-Revolutionary America historical romance, mmmmm - lots of possibilities!
8. How important is it to create heroes with contrasting/similar personalities?
While the core of the hero - a good man, worthy of the heroine's love - is always the same, I thoroughly enjoy emphasising various characteristics and exploring various character traits.
For instance, James is a man who struggles with being manipulated - by his mother and by the Lady Abigail, Daniel in Moonstone Conspiracy is heedless of his own safety to the point of being a little reckless. He lives life on the edge which makes him the perfect man for the wicked but redeemable Lady Abigail.
9. To what extent does setting influence your characters?
As I mentioned before, my men and women are very much of their time and place. It's only natural that their life's experience colours their view of the world.
A classic example is James Mitchell and Toby Jackson. James is comfortable in society, although sees the shallowness of it, while Toby Jackson, being American has a more egalitarian mindset and has little time for the artificial and stuffy mores.
10. Would your story work if it was set in another place and time, or is it dependent on this particular period and place?
With very minor tweaks, I think Moonstone Obsession could work at any period of history, even as a contemporary work. As long as there are spies and there is love, there is always a Moonstone Conspiracy
Many thanks for sharing your work and your special hero with us today, Elizabeth.
11. What are you currently working on? Will any of these heroes feature in the next book?
I've just submitted Warrior's Surrender, a medieval romance with a very alpha hero Sebastian de la Croix.
Sebastian is very much an alpha man who adores his sister but has a blind spot with respect to his sister-in-law and that is going to be the catalyst for some major league angst.
Thank you so much for talking with me about James and Selina’s story. I can’t wait to read the next in this series and I look forward to Warrior’s Surrender in the near future!