I had a wonderful Christmas holiday with all my family yesterday, so I'm a little later getting a start today.
I'm thrilled to have Elizabeth Camden back with us. I loved The Lady of Bolton Hill, so I know I'll enjoy reading this book as well. Welcome, Elizabeth. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write the kind of books I enjoy reading. I always aim for a brisk pace that features highly intelligent characters who are plunged into profound emotional conflicts. Although I love imbuing my stories with interesting historical detail and plot twists, the romance will always be front and center in my books. My ideal reader is someone who loves a good stormy romance, but also wants glimpses of wit, delight, and joy sprinkled into the mix.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I can’t point to a single day. Every now and then, usually when I am doing something terribly mundane like tending the garden, I will suddenly be swamped with a profound feeling of well-being, even joy. C.S. Lewis has written a lot about the concept of joy, and he speculates that these feelings are when we experience the transcendent, the glimpse of the eternal that is only fleetingly available. For me, these feelings of joy have no association with grand events or spectacular entertainment……they come upon me during simple, mundane times. I wonder if it is because this is when I let my guard down and become open to the blessings that have been showered on me.
How has being published changed your life?
I used to have a lot of fear. Even though I loved writing, I desperately wanted to share it with someone, and I feared I never would. A different sort of fear overcomes a writer when they know their writing is going to hit the streets and there will be people who don’t care for it, but I can handle that.
What are you reading right now?
Life, by Pat Conroy; Dark Fever by Karen Marie Moning, and Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger. Reading
How do you choose your settings for each book?
I love the gilded age, but I also love writing about women who had some sort of a career. This funnels me toward an urban setting.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I think I would choose Condoleezza Rice. Despite her phenomenal accomplishments, (concert pianist, fluent in Russian, provost of
Secretary of State, etc.) she seems like a friendly and genuinely humble person.
She also knows everyone, had been everywhere.
I’ve seen her on interviews, and she is equally
conversant in foreign policy or football. I really admire people like that. Stanford University
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
For many years I suffered from the same malaise that afflicts the majority of unpublished writers. I didn’t have a distinctive voice. When I first started writing, I emulated the writers who I adored the most. I think this is pretty common and not necessarily a bad thing. It helped me learn the craft, but frankly, those early manuscripts are not publishable. My hunch is that agents and editors read the first few pages and simply didn’t see anything fresh to offer. It took me a while to screw up the courage and start to give free reign to a more distinctive voice that naturally emerged after a few years of “starter-manuscripts.”
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Learn how to have a constructive relationship with rejection. The odds are extremely high that you will go through a fair amount of rejection before finally getting The Call. This is actually a good thing. The few times I have heard seasoned authors who got published on their first manuscript, they inevitably end up saying they wished that book had stayed in their closet. I’ve got a couple of those. When I wrote them, I thought they were fabulous, and I couldn’t understand why they weren’t getting agents to pound down my door. After I got over those instinctive defensive reactions, I carefully analyzed my writing, my voice, and what I could offer an already saturated market. I actually began to take more risks in putting something fresh and different into my writing.
Tell us about the featured book.
The Rose of Winslow Street is set in 1879. Libby Sawyer’s quiet, respectable life in
Colden, Massachusetts, is
shattered when a bold stranger from invades her world. In short order, Michael Dobrescu seizes her house
and declares ownership in an attempt to unravel a century-old mystery that is hidden
deeply within the house. Fascinated by this
enigmatic man, Libby uncovers layers of mystery surrounding Mr. Dobrescu’s amazing past….and his plans for the
future in which she plays a startling role. Romania
The Rose of Winslow Street is a celebration of manhood. I think all women secretly long for a man who adores children, sets his woman on a pedestal, and will lay his life on the line for a cause he believes in. These qualities can oftentimes come bundled with a heavy dose of things that drive women nuts. I wanted to write a book that is open-minded about this sort of raw, brawny man. Michael Dobrescu is a brash, brawny hero who alternately makes Libby weak at the knees or want to throw him out of the house for his sometimes thoughtless, blunt masculine demeanor. He was hugely fun to write!
Please give us the first page of the book.
, 1879 Massachusetts
The stately houses of
Winslow Street looked utterly safe and respectable
in the hot summer twilight. Mikhail knew
all that was about to change.
He surveyed the neighborhood through the carriage window’s narrow opening. Immense sycamore trees sheltered the homes, with only the chattering of a few sparrows to break the tranquility of the evening. A trickle of perspiration slid down the side of Mikhail’s face and his fist tightened around the club on his belt. Beside him, Lady Mirela remained rigid as the carriage bumped and rolled over the gently worn cobblestones. Everything about this neighborhood spoke of wealth, stability, and decorum. It hardly looked like a place for the pitched battle that was about to occur.
On the opposite bench his two boys were playing a game of thumb-wrestling, oblivious to the turmoil roiling inside Mikhail, for he had always sheltered the children from the danger and uncertainty that was so much a part of his world. His gaze flicked to Turk. The man’s bulk could barely fit inside the tight confines of the carriage. The wooden box cradled in Turk’s ham-sized fists looked ridiculously delicate, but the contents of that box were too precious to be jostled with the rest of the family’s belongings piled atop the lumbering carriage. The only ornamentation on the box was the elegant brass hinges that held the lid securely closed. Nothing about it’s plain appearance hinted at the priceless vials stored within.
The carriage slowed to a halt and Andrei looked up eagerly. “Are we here?” he asked, excitement brimming in the twelve-year olds’ eyes.
Did the boy’s voice just crack a bit? It was the second time Mikhail had noticed that husky tone breaking through the childish voice, indicating his son was on the verge of becoming a man. Normally Mikhail’s heart would have swelled with pride at the symbol of his son’s impending manhood, but not this evening.
“Yes, we are here,” Mikhail said, forcing his voice to remain calm as he gazed at a stately house, looming three stories tall in the gathering darkness. An elegant wrought iron fence surrounded the property, but it there was no lock on the gate. Embellished with fancy scrolls and spindly bars, the fence was for decoration, not protection. Such a useless gate spoke volumes about the sense of security these people took for granted. His mouth thinned and years of training urged him to wrap his hand around the revolver tucked in his pocket, but he stifled the impulse. Tonight called for clear-headed courage, not brute force. He looked at Andrei. “I want you to stay in the carriage and look out for Lady Mirela, is that clear?”
Andrei would probably rather look after a hive of bees than stay with the ominously silent woman who accompanied them, but Mikhail gave the boy no choice. “Okay,” Andrei finally said.
Mikhail locked eyes with Turk, the only other person in the carriage who understood the magnitude of what they were up against this evening. “Guard the box,” he said to Turk as he twisted the handle of the carriage. “I will take only Joseph with me. There is no need for too much manpower on our first approach. Tonight, we will rely on the law to get what we want. Force is our last resort,” he said as he stepped down into the street. The well-being of his entire family depended upon the next few minutes, and Mikhail’s eyes were like chips of granite as he stepped out of the carriage.
The green, woodsy scent of hawthorn trees surrounded him as he emerged from the carriage. It was a good omen, yes? A place that smelled this fine would surely be a safe place to bring his family to live.
How can readers find you on the Internet?I blog about the romance genre and what’s going on in the industry at http://elizabethcamden.com/blog
Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
Rose of Winslow Street, The
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)
Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.
The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.
If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.