Monday, March 31, 2008

Interview with Pamela Clare - continued

(Just so you know - I'm working on this while listening to the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack *sigh* - what a great soundtrack!)

Now - onto Part II

And now, as regards to your historicals. One of the things I find most appealing about this is the time and the setting. Since historicals are predominantly set in England in the past few years, was it hard getting Sweet Release sold?

Oh, absolutely, yes! The fact is that Regency historicals totally dominate the historical market now, even though many readers say they’re sick of being stuck with one time period. I personally don’t like Regencies much. I need a bit more of the outdoors in my stories. I’m from Colorado, for goodness sake! Ballrooms would probably bore me to tears. Plus I find early Colonial American history fascinating. So my first trilogy — Sweet Release, Carnal Gift, Ride the Fire — was mostly set in Colonial America. My second trilogy, the MacKinnon’s Rangers trilogy, is entirely set in the area north of Albany between what was Fort Edward and Quebec to the north. (Yes, there will be some Canadian history in Connor’s story.)

Sweet Release was turned down by several publishers because it was set in Colonial America. I was told, “Write medieval Scotland or something.” But that’s not what I wanted to do, so I didn’t. I might do that one day, because I have some stories in my head now that weren’t there before. But I never want to be trapped by trends. I want to write the story that’s inside me asking to be written. Nothing else.

You, and many others, know how much I adore your historicals and Ride the Fire in particular *g*. How did you come up with the premise for this series?

It started with a lecture in my American history class. The prof talked about this little historical footnote called The Paxton Boys’ Rebellion and told how frontier Scotch-Irish rose up against Tidewater English all along the Colonial Frontier from the South to Philadelphia (not really Tidewater country, but you get the idea). They were angry because they felt they’d been ignored during the French and Indian War (Seven Years’ War) and left to suffer terribly at the hands of war parties. And they had been brutalized. Many had been slaughtered, some by burning alive. So they confronted the English city-dwellers. In the South, people died. In Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin went out, unarmed, to speak with them and turn them away.

This little story clicked in my head as a little-known part of history that I wanted to put in a book. So I took that as Book III, and went generationally backward so that I could have a trilogy. That took me to about 1730. I did 2-1/2 years of historical research on that period before starting Sweet Release. Nicholas, whom you so love, came to me in one chunk while I was writing Carnal Gift. I could barely wait to tell his story. Ride the Fire is also my favorite historical and is personal to me in some very significant ways. When I finished writing it, I was trashed. I’ve never been as emotionally drained as I was from that book. I couldn’t bring myself to write an epilogue. But the book is being reprinted in October with a new cover, and the epilogue will be made available online on Dorchester’s website. Which I still have to write. Any input, Kristie? *g*

I know Morgan’s story is next in your historical books. Do you have a release date for that one yet? I know a lot of readers are very much looking forward to it.

Yes, I do have a release date
and some raw cover art. The book is almost done and will be on out in November. (Want to post an excerpt?) It will tell Morgan’s story and that of the French-M├ętis woman he meets after being injured and taken captive at Ticonderoga. Amalie was raised in an Ursuline convent and is Abenaki on her mother’s side, but French on her father’s. She’s never lived with the Abenaki, so culturally she’s very French and very innocent. How else would you be if you’d been raised in a convent from the age of 3? I’m loving being with them, and I’m absolutely delighted to be with my Rangers again — Dougie, Killy, McHugh, Forbes, Brandon. The whole bunch. This also contains Canadian (French) history.

I, like a lot of women, loved the film The Last of the Mohicans, and my MacKinnon’s Rangers series is set in the heart of the same conflict that dominates that movie.

Can I say that I for one am glad you are writing in both genres. I love ‘em both!

Thanks so much for your sweet
words! I know a lot of people really want me to focus on the historicals, and I will continue to write historicals. But I think going back and forth helps me be a better writer because I’m never able to get sick of anything.

All your books have some very hot and highly charged loves scenes – just one of the many reasons I love them. There’s the shaving scene in Surrender, the shower scene in Hard Evidence and the tying up scene in Ride the Fire. And then in the upcoming Unlawful Contact there’s the car scene. I’m not going to say anything more – but wowzers – was it hawt! Is it hard writing such wonderfully wicked sex scenes?

I’m delighted that you think the scenes are hot. And the car scene... I thought that was just fun, plus I think Colorado has kind of a tradition of road head. Not sure why that is. Maybe the altitude. But, yes, I find sex scenes very hard to write if I want them to be fresh and good. I don’t want to use the same descriptions or metaphors. I want the sex to reflect the characters of that story specifically. There’s physical action to figure out, plus each character’s physical and emotional response not just to the stimuli but also to one another and the fact that they love this person (whether they realize it or not). So for me, it’s always a challenge to make the sex scene true to the characters, make it relevant to the story, make it sexy and make it read well. I just wrote the consummation scene in Untamed, and it took six 18-hour writing days. I’m not kidding. I try hard to avoid repetitive language from book to book, not easy when the sex act consists of only so many variations on a theme. I told a friend of mine recently that this is the only profession where you find yourself struggling at 3 a.m. to come up with a new way of describing ejaculate.

And how do you come up with your ideas – without going into too much details *g*?

I really focus on who the characters are. For me, that’s everything. Each character is his/her own person, and so ideas that I associate with them come to me. Or ideas closely related to their story. With the Jag, it was just clear — they must have sex in/on this car! I would! So I knew there’d be a Jag sex scene, but I didn’t know what it was until Marc and Sophie were driving past Macy’s and I knew he didn’t like her wearing those frumpy clothes and then Sophie gets this idea... Can you see what I mean? It comes from the characters, as crazy as that probably sounds. That’s probably most obvious with Ride the Fire, where Bethie has an absolute fear/loathing of sexual contact that fades only gradually as Nicholas frees her sexuality.

And one more question – I know you have two sons. Do they ever read your books? I’m just curious because I have two sons too and I suggested to my youngest one that he read one – half kidding – I like to throw him off sometimes and he just looked at me in horror. The oldest one on the other hand would have a more open mind I think.

Yes, they do read the books. I told them they might learn something. Yes, I said that. I came of age in Denmark, which is a very sexually free society. So I’ve been very open with my kids about the facts of life and sex since they were old enough to ask questions. My son Alec found it a bit weird when he read Sweet Release to see someone with his name in the role of the hero. But both boys are very supportive of me and what I do, contributing lots of hours of housework and meal-making to give me the time I need to write.

For the longest time Ron was not exactly happy with the fact that I was a romance junkie. He finally accepted it though and started getting me gift certificates to Chapters (our version of Barns & Noble) He would never did read them himself though. The closest he ever came was reading a Tami Hoag book once after she switched to suspense. He found them in the suspense section of the library and I got quite a chuckle when I pulled a couple of the ones I had off the shelf and showed him. I don't think he ever read any of hers after that *g*. And I never told him - but he reaped the benefits more than a few times after I'd read a particularly 'stirring' book *BG*

Too many men don’t realize the full value of romance novels. Let me correct that: VERY FEW men understand that these books offer them sex lessons AND turn their wives on. If they did, they’d read more and give their wives lots of gift cards for book stores. LOL!
Thanks, Kristie, so much!

And finally this wonderful picture is the artwork of her next Colonial book Untamed - think....consummation scene........

I'd like to say a hearty THANK YOU to Pamela for her time!


KT Grant said...

The first time I read the shaving scene in Surrender I was shocked speechless. Then I had to go back and read it again. *G*
I would think that is gets harder and harder to write creative sex scenes. It is one thing to come up with an interesting story and wonderful characters, but to write a sexy and emotional love scene must be the hardest thing to do. My imagination is very naughty so to write those things down would make me blush.

Carolyn Crane said...

Oh, excellent interview! That is so amazing that PC does so much research. And good for her for not following the trends. And I totally agree on the men reading romance novels point.

KB: you are so funny.

KT Grant said...

CJ: hee hee. Have you read Surrender? Hawt love all around!

Alyssa said...

Fabulous interview! And obviously I need to read Surrender. :)

Pamela Clare said...

Hi, KatieB — I'll take that as a compliment. A lot of people were shocked that I'd put something that graphic in a historical. But why not? It's not as if the modern world invented sex. My feeling is that when two people really love each other like Annie and Iain do, then anything goes. :-)

Pamela Clare said...

Whoa... Somehow that posted before I meant for it to post...

It does get harder and harder to write love scenes. I really have to be with the characters and think about who they are to come up with the sex scenes that are right for them. And I don't know that I'm always successful. I really do try to keep the language fresh so that they don't all start sounding alike.

They are, without a doubt, the hardest part of the book for me to write. If you find them satisfying, that's a HUGE relief for me.

Hi, Carolyn Jean —
Thanks! I'm glad you appreciate the research. I love that part of it. And if men understood that they could become Casanovas by reading romance, we'd sell more books to men than women. Hey, guys! You think you know what women want? Maybe not... Check it out. LOL!

Hi, Alyssa,

Thanks! And I hope you enjoy it. It will be re-released with a new cover in October.

Anonymous said...

As if the pimping at TGTBTU wasn't enough! *grumble*

Thank you, katie(babs)!

KT Grant said...

A definite compliment Pamela! *G*
Now I must go re-read some parts of Surrender. ;)

Azteclady: Just keeping the pimp hand strong!

Lone Chatelaine said...

Nice interview :)

That soundtrack is one of the greatest movie soundtracks of all time. The song "Promentory" is my favorite. I listen to it over and over sometimes.

Kristie (J) said...

LC: Isn't it great??? I just got finished listening to it again tonight.

Katie: I need to reread me some Surrender too! Or Ride the Fire. Or Hard Evidence - so many choices.

AztecLady: Sometimes you just have no choice but to surrender to the inevitable *g*. There's a reason it's been pimpled lately.

Pamela: oh trust me - they are VERY satisfying. VERY! *saintly smile*. And yep - the un-enlightend man is missing SO much insight by not reading romance.

Alyssa: *g* yes! You do need to read Surrender. And also Unlawful Contact too!

CJ: Isn't she great with her answers!

Kate: I was rather wide eyed when I read that scene too *g*

And Thanks Pamela for visiting!

sula said...

ack, see what happens when it takes me all day to get around the blog roll?

great interview and I'm excited to hear that more historicals are on the way. I am grateful to you, kristie, for pointing me in the direction of Ride the Fire. I get so weary of Regencies and was thrilled to get to read something historical and awesome that wasn't set in England (nothing against england and all, but c' need variety!)

As for LOTM, I just have to say, I have watched that film more times than can be counted. As a young impressionable 13 year old, I swooned to DDL and omg, Uncas! le sigh. And the thing is...ages later, it is STILL a freaking great movie. And soundtrack.

~ames~ said...

Oh man, I love those new covers!

And LOL to you Kristie, for asking about those sex scenes. hehe There's nothing to be disappointed with there...cuz you know I like them hawt. :P

Great interview again!

Rowena said...

Oh wow, this was a great interview...=)