AJ: What drew you to Historical Romance as a Genre?
CH: I’m a history person. Always have been. Even before I discovered historical romance (rather late in life, I confess) I read a lot of straight historical fiction. Not to mention lots of history and biography. I guess I am just fascinated by the past, or at least certain specific periods, eg ancient Egypt, Tudor England, Revolutionary France, Regency England, and early Hollywood.
As for what drew me to write historical romance as opposed to some other genre … I’d have to say that it’s the characters. I’m more interested in character than plot (as a writer), and romances are by nature character-driven stories. Plus, I love a happy ending. So romance was the logical choice for me as a writer. I love reading mysteries and thrillers, but I wasn’t born with the plot gene and I can’t imagine coming up with an intricate mystery plot. I have enough trouble coming up with my simple romance plots!
AJ: When did you begin to really study the history aspect of the genre?
CH: I was into history well before I read a historical romance. I had a solid grounding in English history before I began to write romance. But once I started writing, I found there was much more I needed to know. The detail stuff, like carriages and fashion etc. I never stop researching. There’s always something new I need to know more about for each book.
AJ: How old were you when you wrote your very first book (even if it wasn’t published) ?
CH: I vaguely recall writing short book, with pictures, when I was about 10. I remember it was about a boy named Ernest Higgenbotham. And that’s all I can remember about it. 🙂
AJ: What attracted you to writing was it through school, or some other avenue like fan fiction?
CH: I didn’t start out wanting to be a writer. I’ve always been a voracious reader and had a love of language. Over the years I did a lot of writing at work — proposals, newsletters, etc. But fiction never occurred to me until quite late in life. I had just discovered Regency romances and was reading dozens and dozens of old copies discovered at used bookstores. I already knew a lot of the Regency period, and one day a friend said that since I knew the history so well, I should write my own Regency romance. And all at once ten ideas popped into my head. I sat down and started to write. And 15 books later, I’m still writing.
AJ: Of all of your works who is your favorite character?
CH: This question is always so hard. I love them all! But if you put a gun to my head and forced me to name a favorite, I’d have to say Edwina from ONCE A SCOUNDREL. I like her because she is a strong woman, very self-possessed. And though she is not the typical Regency heroine, she is very much a woman of her time. Her character was inspired by several real women of the late 18th century who believed in the ideals of the French Revolution, and whose lives were not dictated by social convention.
AJ: And along that same trend, which character is the most like you?
CH:I suppose there is a bit of me in every heroine and even every hero. But I honestly can’t think of one character who embodies all of me. Just a bit here and a bit there. As an example, I gave the hero in JUST ONE OF THOSE FLINGS a love of Indian sculpture, which happens to be one of my loves, too.
AJ: What attracted you to the Regency time period? Why have you chosen that for your main period for your settings?
CH: As I mentioned, it was a period I already knew well, even before I read a romance novel. I suppose it is all tied to Jane Austen. Her books led me to other books of the period, and then to a lot of general history books to help ground my understanding of the period. Also, I collected antiques from the English Regency (as you can see on my website, here: http://www.candicehern.com/collections/index.htm) and like any serious collector, I needed historical and social context for the items I collect. So, besides the general history, I had a knowledge of a few specific areas, like jewelry and scent bottles and fashion plates, etc. I was only natural that I would write about the Regency. Fortunately for me, that happens to be a very popular setting!
AJ:What your feelings about love,and romasnce, and how much of it should be shown and how much inferred?
CH: Nothing satisfies me so much as a good love story. That’s what drew me to romance … all those hopeful, happy endings. Romance is so universal. I think we all need it. As to the second part of your question, I assume you are asking about how explicit the love scene should be. Right? Well, I think it’s great that there are all levels of sensuality available in romance, something for everyone’s taste. I am personally not much of an erotic romance reader, and will never write erotica because that’s just not me. But I don’t want to have the bedroom door closed in my face. I find that I miss the sex scenes when I read a book without them. Sex is an integral part of a romantic relationship, so I definitely want to see that part of the romance as it develops. But I don’t need all the graphic details. I’m more interested in what the two people involved are thinking and feeling, before, during and after sex.
But that’s just me. I think each writer has to approach a story’s sensuality in her own way, in her own voice, in whatever level of explicitness is comfortable for her, and is right for the story.
AJ: And lastly because you mentioned you just moved to the lovely state of Minnesota from California, How did you enjoy your first brutal Minnesota Winter? We had a tough one this year.
CH: If this was a tough one, then I’m going to be fine. I didn’t think it was so bad. In fact, I quite enjoyed it. Most people think I’m nuts when I say that, but I came from California and had never lived through a real winter in my life. So it was all a grand new adventure for me. Ask me in a few more years, though, and see if I still love it. 🙂