Victorian Gothic Historical
Victorian slang, particularly in regards to sex. It was dirty, imaginative, and wonderfully expressive.
Observe Billy Finger’s eloquent usage of it in this exchange from Moonglow:
He rubbed his hands in clear anticipation, leering at her breasts as he did. “Ah but yer a fine full bushel. Wot will it be? A bit o' tip the velvet muff? Bump the goat?"
Daisy could only blink in shock. This was the infamous Billy Finger, Miranda’s former partner in crime? And here Daisy thought she was the sister with the lewd knowledge.
"Mayhaps somthin' darker, eh? Cat 'o nines tickle your fancy? Course, I wouldn't object were you so inclined toward working the gutter lane over the old lobcock here." With that he grabbed his crotch like an offering…” =)
For publishing: Never tell me the odds. Had I listened to the odds, I’d never have been published because I would have given up.
In life (and what I always tell my kids): be a shepherd, not a sheep. Which sounds like a fairly obvious plan, but I’m constantly surprised how many people simply go along with the flock, never once questioning why they do.
Do you have a favorite fictional hero? Favorite fictional heroine?
I tend to like duos, such as Emerson and Peabody in the Amelia Peabody mysteries, Lady Julia and Brisbane, or Elena and Raphael. I also have a soft spot for Lestat because he was so wonderfully irreverent, charming, yet he complete bungled up most of his relationships.
My own. =) I can’t help but think it would be very cool to actually meet someone you created.
What is one of your favorite book covers, your own or someone else’s?
I love my book covers, and because they are mine, they are definite favorites. As for other covers, while it’s now an overdone concept, when Twilight came out, I thought the cover was brilliant. It’s what got me to pick up the book – that dang cover kept tempting me! LOL In truth, most YA covers make me jealous. They’re usually so gorgeous!
What would readers be surprised to learn about you?
I failed my high school English classes. :D I’m mildly dyslexic, spelled phonetically for much of my teens, and was in a school system that did not care. I learned my craft by writing and reading voraciously.
That there were other Kristen Callihans! LOL. I preferred to live in a bubble of ignorance and believe that I was the only one. However, as the other Kristens appear to be younger than me, I shall take comfort in knowing that I am the original Kristen Callihan. ;-D
If you could go backward or forward in time which would you chose? Why?
I’d go to ancient Egypt. I’d love to see the pyramids and temples in their heyday. I’d also take a little trip to Victorian England, for research purposes, of course!
“FIRELIGHT” which was released by Grand Central Publishing a few weeks back.
FIRELIGHT is both a love story and a mystery. I like to call it a Victorian Gothic retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast story with a Jack the Ripper style twist. It tells the story of Lord Benjamin Archer, a man plagued with a curse that is slowly stealing his humanity and forces him to hide his appearance behind masks, and Miranda Ellis, the daughter of a ruined merchant and who must to steal to keep off of the streets.
Archer first meets Miranda on the way to kill her father for ruining his best chance of a cure. Archer is instantly drawn to her, so he convinces her father to give Archer Miranda’s hand in marriage. But Miranda is no helpless miss; she has powers of her own, and agrees to the marriage, for she sees something in Archer that mirrors her inner loneliness. Despite Archer’s masked appearance, the attraction between them grows. However when a series of murders occur and Archer is named as the number one suspect, Miranda must decide whether to trust what is in her heart, or believe the worst of him. And Archer must make the ultimate sacrifice: his soul in exchange for her life.
Victorian England was wonderfully atmospheric. The fog, the darkness and despair, and yet with all of that, it was a time of great growth, both technological and societal. In that way, the Victorian era is much like our own. There is something very sexy about their outward façade of staid, respectable behavior, and a hidden world of debauchery. Also…I just loved the dresses of the 1880s. =)
I love that fire is a huge element in your debut historical paranormal romance FIRELIGHT. Would you mind sharing what made you decided to make your heroine, Miranda Ellis, a fire starter.
I knew straight away that Miranda would have some power of her own. However, what it was had much to do with what Archer was. I thought if Archer’s curse was freezing out his humanity, slowly turning him into this cold, soulless being, then Miranda should be the opposite of that. It seemed natural to make her a fire starter. Plus, with a power such as that, she’d be a force to be reckoned with.
* * *
Lady Miranda Ellis Archer and Lord Benjamin Archer. (Waving franticly, trying to get the besotted couple’s attention). I know you two have gone through a lot to get to your happily ever after so I will try to be brief. (Blushes scarlet as she catches the intimate glance between the newlyweds, clears her throat).Okay, so you two are still in the honeymoon stage, I see. I would like to know what each of you thought when you first laid eyes on the other. Was it love at first sight?
Miranda: I first noticed his voice, so deep and rumbling… Ahem. Love at first sight? No. However, he…intrigued me.
Archer: Intrigued, eh? Is that why you copped a feel of my—Oof! Ahem. As for myself, it was Miranda’s fearlessness that first drew me, and then she turned. She was so lovely, it quite took my breath. No, it was not love. I believe love grows from knowing another. However there was quite a great deal of lus—Er… attraction. Attraction and admiration.
Miranda: Well, of course. How can one slog through dark times without the hope of love and acceptance somewhere on the horizon?
Archer: I always believed in love. I simply did not think it was in the cards for me.
Miranda, name the one thing about Archer that you believe won your heart.
Miranda: His kindness and his understanding. Archer and I have always understood each other perfectly.
Archer, name one thing about Miranda that you believe changed your outlook on love.
Archer: That love can hit one with the intensity that is close to pain. I did not expect it to be painful. But it is the sweetest sort of pain.
I absolutely adore you two. If you were given the chance to turn back time, would you?
Miranda: No, absolutely not.
Archer: I concur. The road I traveled has led me to where I am today. I would not change that for the world’s riches.
Miranda: I rather thought you owned half of the world’s riches already. But I see your point.
Archer: Cheeky. And yes, I knew you would; your logic is always sound, darling. After all, you had the good sense to marry me.
Miranda: Now look who’s being cheeky.
Miranda, what is your biggest fear?
Miranda: Fear? After what I’ve been through, there isn’t much to fear.
Archer, what is yours?
Archer: I agree with my wife. I no longer dwell on fear. It is a useless thing to do, as the longer you dwell, the greater the fear becomes.
Here is the big question that I have been desperate to ask after reading your love story. Do you, Miranda and Archer believe that true love conquers all?
Miranda: Do you want to answer this, darling, or shall I?
Archer: You do it, sweet.
Miranda: Does true love conquer all? No. But I…we…believe that it does something better. Being truly loved, and truly loving someone, gives you the strength to try. You may not win every battle, but that pales in comparison to knowing that whatever you do, you are not alone.
Archer and Miranda, what is one thing you would each like a reader reading your story to take away from it?
Archer: What my wife said about love sounds about right to me.
Now back to Kristen
The clearest scenes for me were the prologue (which was initially chapter one), the ending from Archer’s POV, and Archer’s reveal. I wrote the rest of the story around those scenes.
Kristen, what is more difficult to write: an intense sexual scene or a heart-wrenching emotional scene? Why?
Hmm…Well, they both have very similar challenges in that you’ve got to get the balance right. Too much and you’ve got a melodrama on your hands, too little and you lose the impact you want. However, I think the main key to both types of scenes is to build up the tension throughout the story, so that when these scenes do occur, the reader is already emotionally involved with the characters.
“FIRELIGHT” did you have music playing in the background? If yes, what type? Does music play an intricate part in your writing?
Yes, always. Usually, it is moody, atmospheric music. When writing “Firelight”, I was listening to a lot of trip hop such as Goldfrapp, Zero 7, Massive Attack, and Groove Armada.
Which do you find is most important to you as a writer, voice or story? Why?
Both. But story obviously is the main ingredient. A great voice without a great story soon becomes boring. And while you can have a great story without a distinctive voice – erm, DaVinci Code? – I’d rather have both elements in play, for it makes the reading experience that much richer.
Kristen, please share with desperate readers where they can connect with you in cyber world. =)
I’m a terrible blogger. :P I try, but it is never consistent. My main hang out is on twitter (@Kris10Callihan) or on Facebook. You can also find out information on my website: KristenCallihan.com.
I know this is a difficult question with there being so many amazing authors out there to choose from, but who are some of the GOT-TO-HAVE authors in your TBR pile?
Ack! That is hard! It depends on what subgenre you’re into. I read and love them all. I’ve got tons of favorites. To keep it somewhat short (ha!), I’ll just mention what’s in the cue for upcoming releases. I’m itching to get my hands on the new historicals by Meredith Duran, Tessa Dare, and Miranda Neville. As for paranormal, I’m looking forward to Nalini Singh, Meljean Brook, and Larissa Ione to name a few.
Moonglow is up next. Moonglow is Miranda’s sister Daisy’s story. Daisy is now widowed. She wants to enjoy life and become the person she was before her oppressive husband destroyed her confidence. Unfortunately, a mad werewolf terrorizing London puts a damper on her plans when it becomes obsessed with her. And the only one who can save her is the charming yet irreverent Ian Ranulf – a man who understands werewolves all too well.
Both Daisy and Ian hide a great amount of pain behind a façade of light indifference, and it’s been fun for me to see them get underneath each other’s skin as Daisy and Ian delve deeper into a secret world run by lycans – werewolves who hide in plain sight amongst proper Victorian London society.
After that, it’s onto Winterblaze, book 3 of the Darkest London series, which is Poppy’s story, and then book 4 (untitled as of yet), which will feature characters who first make an appearance in Moonglow. These books will come out in 2013.
Kristen, thanks so much for stopping by and chatting with Romantic Crush Junkies readers and myself; it has really been a blast getting to know more about you and your books.
Thank you so much for having me! It has been a pleasure to be here!
RCJR is proud to present an extraordinary new talent in the romance world. Kristen Callihan has burst onto the romance scene with her debut release FIRELIGHT this past February 2012 by FOREVER which is an Imprint of Hachette Groups.
THE PRIZE: Two (2) copies of FIRELIGHT are up for grabs.
To enter: Leave a comment for Kristen Callihan including your email address
(Email address are required for ALL entries.)