For today, I'm posting an online interview I did with romance author Eloisa James some time ago. Underneath are my questions and her answers:
1. When did you find out you wanted to be a writer?
writing books about the same time I learned to read properly. I wrote short
books and sold them to my mother. So even back then, while I was planning to be
a doctor or possibly the President of the US, I saw the benefit of having a
writing career. I also made homemade Happy Birthday cards, so I guess I could
have found myself working for Hallmark Cards.
did you fare with your first novel? Did you sell it straight away, or was it
more of a struggle?
first novel was written after college and it didn’t sell. It was the 80s, and
Passion’s Slave was (as I remember it) a pretty wild story about a woman who
falls off a boat in the Seine and gets kidnapped by a sheik (of course) and spit
on by a camel… Harlequin actually wrote me a letter and said they liked it and
would consider something else by me, but by then I was already enrolled in
novel was written when I was on sabbatical, many years later as a professor.
This was Potent Pleasures and it did, indeed, sell straight away and went into
you employ an agent, and if so, why?
from my first book, above, that submitting novels by oneself means waiting
months and months for a reply. Agents act as door-keepers. The editors turn to
the manuscripts they submit first, since they know those books are already
vetted. So when I decided to try writing again, the first thing I did was look
for an agent, rather than a publisher. I sent out query letters with one chapter
you deal with criticism?
have had a lot of it. My first book was absolutely deluged by criticism. I can’t
say I like it, but I’ve developed a very thick skin. And it is definitely true
that while one reader will write a heart-felt letter saying your newest is the
best thing she’s ever read, someone else will write into Amazon and say it(s a
prurient piece of wall-banging trash.
do you research the background of a new book?
a research assistant and she does the research for me. I have a full-time job as
a professor of Shakespeare, do I don’t have time to research in the regency
period, which isn’t even my primary field as a scholar. That said, much of the
details in my books are actually Renaissance, rather than Regency – all the
poetry, for instance. I don’t need to research it, because I’ve been
teaching and reading it for years.
have studied in Oxford. Is that of any influence to your
small details: I developed a love of rain and English flowers, an appreciation
for the slowness with which Englishmen develop friendships and the steadfast
loyalty they show to those friends they make. Research-wise, certainly the work
I did as a graduate student has filtered into my work. For example, my second
book, Midnight Pleasures, is based on a 1607 play that I first read while
studying at Oxford.
how far do you feel ‘linked’ to your heroines?
has a bit of my personality in her, something that acts as a catalyst. Gabby,
the heroine of Enchanting Pleasures, for instance, is a fibber and so was I,
when I was younger. The book I just finished is called As You Desire; my heroine
marries a man who has strong religious beliefs while she does not. I found
myself in the same situation when I married my husband.
you tell us in how many languages your books are
7 or 8 now.
am a member of a discussion forum, which has lots of Dutch and Belgian members.
All of us like to read historical romance, but unfortunately not all of these
books are translated into Dutch. Do you think that you and other Avon authors
could put on some pressure to ‘persuade’ your publisher to have all of your
books translated into Dutch?
have anything to do with my foreign sales – my agent handles them, through
foreign agents..So my Dutch publisher was sent my books by a co-agent in
Holland, and then when they decided to publish them, the transaction was handled
entirely through my agent. My publisher owns only my English language rights,
and not even for Australia and New Zealand. I have heard that my translator into
Dutch is very poetic and a lovely writer herself. I guess what I am saying in a
round-about way is that writers have no control over what happens in foreign
editions, unless they write for Harlequin. Harlequin controls all foreign
editions themselves, and gives their writers very wide coverage in many
you care to share with us whom your own favorite writers are, or which books you
love to read?
There are many: Teresa Medeiros, Loretta Chase, Christina Dodd, Lisa Kleypas, Connie Brockway. I also read a lot of contemporaries, including Jennie Cruisie, Janet Evanovich and Susan Elizabeth Philips.
vanovich and Susan