In the spotlight today is multiple award-winning author, Jacqueline Seewald.
Jacqueline has taught creative, expository and technical writing at Rutgers University as well as high school English. She also worked as both an academic librarian and an educational media specialist. Fifteen of her books of fiction have been published to critical praise. Recent releases are her co-authored mystery THE THIRD EYE and prize-winning historical romance THE CHEVALIER. Her short stories, poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in hundreds of diverse publications and numerous anthologies.
Her romantic short stories have appeared in such anthologies as: TOUCHED BY WONDER (story nominated for a Nebula Award), PASSIONATE HEARTS,
ROMANCE OF MY DREAMS 2, WITH ARMS WIDE OPEN, A WOMAN'S GOODNIGHT, and HarperCollins UK Mischief anthology HOLIDAY AFFAIRS.
Her sensual historical romance novel TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS received an endorsement from Jayne Ann Krentz which appears on the cover of that novel, published both as a hardcover from Five Star/Gale and in large print from Thorndike Press. It is soon to be released as an e-book from Steam eReads.
In which romance sub-genres do you write?
Jacqueline: I write historical romance, romantic suspense and romantic mysteries.
Why this sub-genre? What do you love about it?
Jacqueline: Today I will talk only about historical romance. I’ve always loved history and as an undergraduate in college I majored in English and history. The past fascinates me. When I took my graduate degree in English, I always read about the
background of authors as well as what they wrote. I wanted to know why they wrote what they did. The times writers live in play a great part in how and what they write. For many years I taught both American and British lit courses. I always discussed
the lives and times of authors with my students as well as the literature itself.
Where do your books fit within it? What is distinctive about your books?
Jacqueline: I like to think my novels are unique and special. I love reading romance fiction. But I try hard not to copy other authors or write to any formula. For instance, in THE CHEVALIER Madeline, my heroine, is far from perfect. She is young, romantic, passionate and prone to make mistakes in judging people. Her lack of worldly experience works against her. Gar, the hero of this Georgian romance, is in contrast, worldly and a bit jaded by his experiences in life and soldiering. He doesn’t trust easily.
I did considerable research for this novel because I wanted to get the details right. The Georgian period in British history is exciting and tempestuous. The Highland army supporting Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Young Pretender as he was called, nearly marched to London creating great panic in England.
What inspires your writing?
Jacqueline: By nature I’m a creative person. I paint landscapes, still life, and I love many types of music. Life inspires me to write. It might be people I talk to or a nonfiction article I’ve read.
Whose writing has influenced yours?
Jacqueline: Many writers have influenced me. I would say Jane Austen has been a strong influence on my historical fiction. I love all of her novels and have read and reread them many times.
If you weren’t writing in this sub-genre, what would you write?
Jacqueline: My Kim Reynolds romantic mystery series is one I hope to continue. Of course, that will all depend on readership. The first three novels in the series: THE INFERNO COLLECTION, THE DROWNING POOL, THE TRUTH SLEUTH, received very good reviews and sold fairly well in hardcover, large print and then paperback through Harlequin Worldwide Mystery.
The 4th Kim Reynolds mystery, THE BAD WIFE, is scheduled for an April 1, 2014 publication from Perfect Crime Books in print and e-book.
Where would be your ideal writing retreat?
Jacqueline: I would love to be someplace tropical. I’d like to see Hawaii and I do want to visit Australia. I think both places would be inspiring.
Tell us about your latest book/WIP…
Jacqueline: If The Chevalier does well, I’d like to write a sequel. The same goes for TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS which SteameReads will republish in a new ebook edition April 7, 2014. I’ve already written several new historical romances that are ready to submit to publishers as well as a new romantic mystery entitled THE INHERITANCE.
Thanks for visiting today, and for sharing so generously. I hope you’ll come back in the future.
Jacqueline: Thank you so much for inviting me!
Blurb for THE CHEVALIER:
Try as hard as they might, their overwhelming passion for each other cannot be denied. Madeline--young, romantic, passionate, impulsive--and Gareth--world weary, cynical—meet in a time of political upheaval. They are on opposite sides. Yet there is a strong and immediate attraction between them. Madeline's mother wants her to marry her Highland laird cousin, Andrew, but Madeline's heart is with Gar.
Extract from THE CHEVALIER:
From Chapter One:
“She found her warm shawl and moved with agility across the room and out the wide doors. There was torchlight to illuminate the walkways through the shrubbery, but the garden was deserted. Madeline bravely continued forward, shivering in the evening chill. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she could see the tall figure of a man off to one side looming near a carved bench, his leg raised as he leaned forward on it. She decided to simply walk past him.
"I wouldn't go walking through the hedge." His voice was deep, resonant and pleasing to her ear.
He had actually noticed her. She quickly turned around. "Why not?"
"It is not the sort of thing a young lady should do if she is unescorted."
"Then perhaps you might escort me?" She was glad that it was dark so that he would be unlikely to see how red her face was, for she was certain that it had colored deeply. In her whole life, she had never been so outspoken.
He let out a rumbling, surprised laugh that came from deep within his chest. "You would compromise your
reputation if you took a walk in the maze with me."
"Would we get lost?" she asked in a soft voice.
"Most assuredly, I do not know the way. And you would certainly be lost."
She stared into his eyes with interest. "I was told that you are a notorious rake. Is that so?" She
was mortified by her own audacity. What was wrong with her? Mama would slap her if she knew how badly Madeline was behaving.
He laughed again with a surprised sound that had the clarity of a bell. "You are either the most innocent chit imaginable or the most accomplished flirt I have ever had occasion to meet."
He sounded amused but she regretted her foolish remark. Surely, she had been taught better. "I am sorry. I truly did not mean to behave in an insulting manner."
He smiled at her in a forgiving manner. "Who protects you?"
Her brows rose questioningly. "Why do I need protection?"
"From men like me, of course," he said with a disarming smile that took her breath away. "We are prone to snatch away the innocence of young maidens. Who are you?"
"I am Madeline de Marnay. My father, Etienne de Marnay, was the Comte de Sarnou, French Deputy Ambassador to England. He died six months ago."
"My condolences. And you have not returned to France, Mademoiselle?"
"No, my maman is ill and does not wish to leave England quite yet. But when we go, I believe it will not be to France but to Scotland."
He narrowed his jewel-like eyes. "Why Scotland of all places?"
"Maman was born there. She still has family in the northwest. My grandfather was the chief of a clan in
the Highlands but he supported King James against the Elector of Hanover and was forced to flee with his family or be
arrested for treason." She was telling him more than she ought. Why did she have the unfortunate tendency to babble when she was nervous?
"So your mother wants to return to the Highlands, but why?" His tone was cool, disinterested.
"The Highlands will always be her home. And now that Papa is gone, she wishes to be buried with her own people."
Gareth Eriksen shook his head. "She is picking the worst possible time to go to Scotland. Tell her that the Young Pretender is on the march with a Highland army. Soon, they'll be facing a large British force and the danger to anyone caught in between could be devastating. She would be risking your life as well as her own."
His fierce frown was magnificently masculine and she let out a small sigh of admiration.
"Prince Charles Edward might make a fine showing, don't you think?" Madeline was unable to restrain the enthusiasm
from her voice. The passion she expressed for the cause masked the strange, disturbing feelings for the handsome stranger that so heated her blood.
She hoped that he could not read her mind; she would truly die of shame if he had an inkling of how desperately she wished to caress his cheek with the tips of her fingers. And Mother of God, if only this virile man would crush her into his arms and kiss
her—perhaps even make love to her! Where were such wild, outrageous thoughts coming from? She must be mad!”
Beyond the Bo Tree http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DTV0750
Death Legacy http://www.harlequin.com/author.html?authorid=2189
The Chevalier http://steamereads.com.au/product/the-chevalier/ or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GY95RTU/
Many years ago, David Lowenthal* wrote that the past is a foreign country. It has a different language and culture.
If, as authors of historical novels, we are to operate convincingly in that place, we need to learn the language and culture.
The best way that I know of to achieve this is through immersion in the period. I read broad histories of the period, for an understanding of it in overview; a multitude of web-based sources; and autobiographies and biographies, rich with the voices of the time through quotation.
Autobiography and biography let people from the past speak to us in their own words. They reveal cultural morés, emotions and thoughts. They provide detail! The insight into the people, place and Zeitgeist of the period provided by these primary sources is gold. Dig for it. Mine it. The time required to do so is worth the effort. Your stories will have the ring of authenticity that readers will love.
My 2013 novel, The Persuasion of Miss Jane Brody, was inspired by a biography of Mary Wollstonecraft, which led me to ask a number of ‘what if’ questions, such as "How would a woman who believed, like Wollstonecraft, in the equal rights of women and advocated educating girls, cope with falling in love; not with an intellectual like herself, but with a conservative aristocrat?" I just burned to tell that story. Such is the power of biography and autobiography to illuminate and inspire; and readers appear to like this approach too.
* David Lowenthal, The Past is a Foreign Country, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1985. (multiple reprints)
A great 5 star review for The Persuasion of Miss Jane Brody from Crystal's Many Reviewers. If you're interested, check it out at http://crystalsmanyreviews.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-persuasion-of-miss-jane-brody-tour.html?zx=5ce55f1391870985 (includes a book giveaway) or on the news and events page of my website.
Thank you to everyone who voted for The Persuasion of Miss Jane Brody in the ARR Awards. I am absolutely amazed and thrilled that my book made the short list of the favourite historical romance category. Congratulations to all finalists!
Elizabeth M Darcy interviewed historical romance writer Isabella Hargreaves today. They chatted about writing, making the most of rejections and The Persuasion of Miss Jane Brody. Want to know more? Go to: http://elizabethdarcyauthor.blogspot.com.au/
Blog Tour 16-20 January 2014
Featuring The Persuasion of Miss Jane Brody, join me on tour from 16-20 January 2014 with Dreams Come True Promotions. Details coming soon.
The Persuasion of Miss Jane Brody is set in Regency England. Jane Brody is a passionate follower of Mary Wollstonecraft's beliefs about the rights of women. She campaigns for better education and employment opportunities for girls so they can be independent of men. Jonathan Everslie, Marquis of Dalton, needs a wife and heir, but can't find a woman who doesn't bore him. Then he meets Jane Brody. He finds her attractive, but her politics dangerous. Will Dalton risk his political career to win Jane’s love and persuade her that they belong together?
Available now from Steam eReads: http://steamereads.com.au/product/the-persuasion-of-miss-jane-brody/ or download from Amazon.
The Persuasion of Miss Jane Brody is set in Regency England. Jane Brody is a passionate follower of Mary Wollstonecraft's beliefs about the rights of women. She campaigns for better education and employment opportunities for girls so they can be independent of men. Jonathan Everslie, Marquis of Dalton, needs a wife and heir, but can't find a woman who doesn't bore him. Then he meets Jane Brody. he finds her attractive, but her politics dangerous.
Available now from Steam eReads: http://steamereads.com.au/product/the-persuasion-of-miss-jane-brody/
Recently my favourite author, Mary Balogh, confessed that she doesn’t
read much in her writing genre because she wants ‘to spend my leisure time at
something different’, does ‘not want to unconsciously plagiarize’ and because ‘I
find myself most critical as a reader when I read romances, especially
historicals like my own’. Instead she reads ‘a great deal of
mystery’. [Mary Balogh, ‘What do authors read’, 27 August 2013 http://www.marybalogh.com/].
After 20 odds years of being a historical romance fan and now a
writer, I still find myself reading that genre, but I must say, I’m fussy. I’m
looking for that elusive thing – a book that I want to read more than once – a
story that reverberates in my mind for days afterwards – that makes me keen to
read more from the same author to test whether I’ve found someone whose stories are guaranteed to be enjoyable and worth spending precious hours of my life reading. Now and then I find one. I’m sure you know what I mean and do the same. Which authors satisfy your reading thirst?