Well, now that I'm completly red faced with embarrasement and wondering why we thought that was a good idea *G* it's time to move onto something else special we have for you. And by the way, we aren't really planning on going to Budapest for vacation. I don't think............we aren't are we?
It might be handy to give a bit of background first for any new visitors. I lost my husband of 31 years a year ago last August after a battle with cancer. I had taken a leave of absence from my job to be his primary caregiver. A week before I was due to go back to work, I received notice that all contracts had been cancelled so there was no job to go back to. I wasn’t in any state emotionally to start looking for a job.
Thank goodness for the friendships I have made on-line. They helped keeping me going. One of the things that helped the very most was the Dreaming of You campaign. As I ‘encouraged’ more and more bloggers to give it a try – and they did and enjoyed it, I could laugh and smile and had a reason to get up in the morning. I know that sound almost overly dramatic, but it’s also so very true.
Then when I went to Dallas this past summer, thanks to Sybil for which I can never say enough thanks, I had an opportunity to meet this author in person and even go out for lunch with her. I blogged about it at the time.
So I sort of reluctantly agreed. I have no problem whatsoever doing favours for people, but I think, like many of us, I hesitate to ask. But I gathered myself together and sent her an email asking if she would be open to helping with The Crusade. She responded within the day in the most gracious of manners. Of course that was expected because she is truly a warm and gracious person.
I asked Katiebabs and Sula for some questions I could ask and along with some of my own sent them off. I wanted to ask tons and tons but then my brain shut down and I couldn’t think of hardly any. This is my first author interview – I’m sure you’ll be able to tell *g*. She responded with her answers and so here we go. I just adore her answers!!
Lisa Kleypas on North and South
Lisa, first off thank you so very much for helping us in our Crusade to get romance readers to see this fascinating series. Now many people may not know this, but I have a tendency to get a wee bit carried away when I’m blown away by something I’ve seen or read that really touches me and I can’t help wanting to share something that deeply touches me. Thankfully Kate and Sula both feel the same way and have joined the Crusade with me.
Now for a few questions.
You’ve seen North and South. Why would you think romance readers would enjoy this?
LISA K.: Kristie, this is one of the few miniseries I’ve seen that provides a similar experience to reading a great historical romance. Sometimes when a historical book is made into a movie, it seems as if the filmmakers are so concerned with the period trappings, they don’t spend enough time on the characters and their relationships. But North And South has it all . . . beautiful cinematography (remember when we first see Thornton , dressed in black, with all those feathery white bits of cotton floating around him like snowflakes?) . . . wonderful acting and compelling dialogue . . . and most of all it has Richard Armitage!
What made you decide to watch this series and what do you think makes it so special?
LISA K.: I had heard of it before, but I didn’t really know what it was and I hadn’t heard any recommendations, so I disregarded it. Then you mentioned it, and pointed out that Richard Armitage would make a good Derek Craven. Not only was I intrigued by that, but also by the time period, and the fact that it was a romance between a professional man (a mill owner) and a genteel young woman. As you know, that kind of story is right up my alley! When I started watching, I was immediately swept away by the quality of the production. It has a few enjoyable similarities to Pride and Prejudice, but it is also very fresh and different, with a grittier storyline. It’s Pride and Prejudice with a social conscience.
I know you know we kind of now imagine John Thornton aka Richard Armitage as our visual of Derek Craven, one of our most beloved heroes. How would you compare the two characters – other than the fact that one is written and one is on the screen of course?
LISA K.: I was almost flabbergasted by the physical similarities between Derek Craven and Richard Armitage, as well as the wonderful brooding sexiness Armitage gets across.
What I especially love is Armitage’s incredible ability to convey many qualities at once in a single scene. So when Margaret sees Thornton beating a man up, and Thornton realizes she’s seen him behaving so violently, his expression flickers with anger, defensiveness and a touch of resignation, all in quick succession. You know he desperately wants her good opinion, but he knows he’s just blown it, and at the same time he feels justified in his actions. And he’s angry at her for judging him, and he still yearns for her. You can tell that John Thornton has not had much pleasure or gentleness in his life, and that his inner grace of character (the fairness, the concern for his employees) has been hard-won. You can tell that his attraction to Margaret is an unwilling one, and that he is trying with all his might to resist her.
In my mind, that echoes the duality of Derek Craven, who struggles so hard to stay locked in his solitude, even as he is falling hard for Sara Fielding. Although Derek is in many ways a powerful man, he is completely undone by this very innocent woman, and he fears her power over him. I think he knows deep down that if he ever falls in love, it will affect him more than it does most men . . . it could save or destroy him. And because of his past violence and “dirty deeds,” he understands his own potential to harm the woman he loves. I think part of the appeal of “Dreaming Of You” is possibly because of this weird sense of relief that Derek and the reader feel when he eventually succumbs to his love for Sara, and instead of disaster, it becomes a healing experience.
It’s also been suggested that Daniela Denby-Ashe would make a good Sarah. What are your thoughts?
LISA K.: She would be perfect! The big eyes, the round little face, the mixture of strength and vulnerability . . . she would make a great Sara.
Why would a romance reader fall so hard for the love story of John Thornton and Margaret Hale?
LISA K.: It is that delicious storyline of two characters who, because of their reluctant attraction, have to rise above their initial impressions of each other. They have to learn to see the other person for whom he or she truly is. This process of reaching beneath all the defenses and misunderstandings, struggling to reach each other despite all the inner and outer forces that try to keep them apart, is truly romantic. One of my favorite parts of the story is a small but telling detail . . . do you remember when they’ve had a quarrel, and Thornton wants to “part as friends” and asks Margaret to take his hand? And she won’t. Because as gesture like that is “not done” where she comes from, and also she is wary of the physical contact with him and the vaguely sexual threat of their hands touching. BUT . . . later at the big party scene, she does bring herself to take his hand, and I swear you can see little sparks all over the screen. Moments like that are what show the conflict and yearning and pleasure between these two characters.
What did you think of the other parts of the series? The class struggles and the Master worker storyline?
LISA K. : As you know, class struggles are endlessly fascinating to me, and play a part in many of my books. So I loved that aspect of the series! It provided a dark and realistic framework for the love story, and Margaret’s and Thornton’s actions regarding the strike were a wonderful way to illustrate their characters. The way they tried to understand the other’s one’s viewpoint, and the principles that each tried to live by, showed how two people can disagree but at the same time respect their differences.
Now that you’ve seen what the BBC can do, is there any one of your books you would like to see made into a series if wishes were horses and we knew how to ride?
LISA K.: Oh . . . a Wallflower miniseries would be so fun!
This is more of a rhetorical question, but what do you think makes British actors so much more ‘real’ than many American actors?
LISA K.: This has always been a fascinating question to me. I’ve heard it said that American actors work from the inside-out, whereas British actors work from the outside in. And I prefer the latter method, because a British actor starts with his appearance, changes himself to fit the script, and goes deeper and deeper inside to serve the character. Whereas an American is more likely to change the character to suit his own personality. I think the British goal is far less vain, and far more effective.
If you ever get the time would you like to read the book?
LISA K.: I have the book! I had to order it once I saw the DVD. And I am going to read it over the holidays. It will be so fun to see the differences between novel and film.
Finally Katiebabs had a question she wanted me to ask. Here goes: I need to know this- In "Suddenly You", the scene were Jack and Amanda use a bowl of raspberries in a very shocking and erotic way has never been repeated or written in a comparable way that I can think of in any of your books since then. What made you use that scene and were you afraid your fans wouldn't accept it as well as you would imagine? I FOR ONE LOVED IT :)
LISA K.: LOL. Thank you, dear! At the time I wrote “Suddenly You” I was in a process of self-liberation . . . I was really enjoying the last few years of my thirties, because I loved the sense of confidence and sexiness I was feeling as I got older. (I wouldn’t go through my twenties again for anything!). I was also pregnant with my second child, and it was a really happy time for me. So even before I started “Suddenly You,” I knew it was going to be an unusually sexy novel because of the older woman/younger man storyline. And I decided to go for it.
To me, the appeal of such a pairing is that a younger man would tend to be more daring, more playful, and more sexually “out there.” Jack is a unique hero because he is a publisher, he adores books, and he has an imaginative and liberal turn of mind. And in his strong need for connection and intimacy, there is very little he wouldn’t want to try or experience.
So in that love scene, when Jack is trying so hard to reconnect with Amanda, I thought it would be appropriate for him to do something a little shocking. And she enjoys the experience, and to me it shows that she finally trusts him enough to let go of every last inhibition.
I knew that some readers would understand and like the scene, and that others wouldn’t. I will admit that I was surprised by the extremity of both reactions! But that’s the wonderful thing about sex . . . everyone has their own preferences and limits, fantasies and inhibitions. I would never expect all of my readers to like everything that happens in my books. When you think about it, the safest way to go is to make everything plain vanilla and predictable, and make every plot a “crowd-pleaser” . . . but that would be boring for everyone, including me!
Any final thoughts?
LISA K. : Just that I love your passion for sharing books and movies that you enjoy, because sometimes that is the only way that some of us (like me) will discover something really wonderful, like North And South. So thank you to you, Kate and Sula for doing your part to bring romance to all of us!
And a HUGE Thank You to Lisa for taking time out of her busy writing schedule to help with our crusade. I think anyone who has seen this series, while maybe not obsess the way we have, has enjoyed it. Lisa Kleypas has. *huge grin*