Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Great Big Blog Party 50 - Joanna Maitland

Today's Guest Blogger - just a day late (my apologies to Joanna) is another friend I've met through being a member of the RNA. Though it was only an accident of timing that meant I met her first at the Conference rather than later at some M&B event. My first nervous venture to the RNA Conference in 2001 in Cheltenham was made a lot easier and enjoyable by meeting up with M&B Historical novelist Joanna Maitland.

She had just had her first novel - A Penniless Prospect - published in May that year and we shared the new experience of the RNA Conference. And in the years that followed she offered me warm and generous support and friendship during some particualry difficult times in my family life - Thank you for that Joanna! It meant such a lot.

Since then Joanna has become a very important person in the RNA. As their Treasurer she handles all the accounts, balances the books and organises all financial matters with an efficiency and calmness that makes it all lok easy - though I know it isn't, At the same time she has continued her writing career with another five wonderful historical romancesa. Her latest book - Bride of the Solway is out in August and is already on my teetering TBR just waiting for a moment to be able to get to it.

I met Joanna again at the RNA Conference at the beginning of July and we were able to grab a few moments to talk about her latest novel - still in the revisions stage. This book has an unusual premise - one that grabbed my imagination so hard that I've been thinking about it ever since and I just can't wait to read it- Please get those revisions done fast, Joanna! I just have to know how this book works out.

And myabe if I'm lucky I'll be able to persuade Joanna to donate a couple of copies for my Bag of Books Contest (more on that soon) or the Christmas Stocking Stuffed with Books contest - depending on when it comes out.

In the meantime, I'm going to relax with Bride of the Solway. It's been quite a while since I read a Joanna Maitland book and I'm so glad there's a new one in print.

So here's Joanna Maitland

Many congrats to Kate on reaching the 50-book milestone with The Sicilian’s Red-Hot Revenge. I’ve read it -- got my copy signed at the Romantic Novelists’ Association conference -- and it’s a stunner. Your fans will be drooling, Kate. I certainly was.
I was so sorry to have missed Kate’s 50th Book party. Had to go to my husband’s birthday party instead. But I was with you all in spirit.
In my mind’s eye, I visualised Kate dressed head to foot in glowing gold, and gleaming at all the guests with the warm smile that reflects her immensely kind heart.Like many other authors, I was one of those RNA New Writers who was helped by Kate in the early stages and I’ll always be grateful.
I’ve got quite a long way to go before I get to 50 books – another 43 to be precise! – but with friends like Kate to encourage me, I may yet make it before I hit the bath chair!
It’s not a 50th book, but I have a milestone to celebrate, too. After a very long spell of not writing, I’m back in the groove. And discovering all over again just what a joy it is to write historicals. I even have a book out, to prove it.
Bride of the Solway is the first book I’ve set in my native Scotland. The hero, Ross, is running away from a broken heart and is determined to have nothing more to do with women, especially ones who need rescuing. The heroine, Cassie, is running away from much more immediate danger -- her half-brother has offered her a stark choice between being sold off in marriage and being confined to the lunatic asylum for the rest of her life. Perhaps not surprisingly, she doesn't fancy either. So she tries to escape across the Solway Firth to safety in England.
It doesn't quite go according to plan. For either of them.
If you want to know exactly what happens when they first meet, there’s an extract on my website: http://www.joannamaitland.com/books.html
love Joanna
I’m getting more adventurous with settings. My next three books will be set in St Petersburg in Russia, Vienna in Austria, and Lyons and Paris in France. What location would tempt you to read a Regency Historical? And why?

Signed copy of Bride of the Solway, my August 2007 release.


Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Wild wave to Joanna and Kate as I visit my most favorite blog on the internet!!!

London, England, would be my choice of locations for a Regency Historical and the time would be the late 1800s. Why? Because that era is magnetized. :D

Have a super day.

Hugs, JJ

Anonymous said...

Aw shucks, JJ. I've done those, several times. :)

Though to be fair, even my next book (the St Petersburg one) has quite a lot of the story set in London. It revolves around the celebration following the first fall of Napoleon (1814), when the Tsar of Russia, the King of Prussia, and all sorts of foreign nobility were in London, living it up. So you'll probably get the location you love, even though some of the book is set in Russia.

In other words, I'm trying to please my existing readers (stories based in England) and attract some new ones as well, with stories set in more unusual locations.

Can't blame a gal for trying, can you?


PS Apologies for the fact that my blog ended up with no paragraph breaks and is a bit of a stodge to read. It didn't start that way but, although Kate tried, it refused to paragraph on blogger. There are times when I really hate technology :)

Jenny Haddon said...

Well, I can't wait for your Vienna, Joanna. Why? Because it was heaving with intrigue and glamorous gold braided-soldiers in 1814-15.

But another place completely? Well, Naples would be lovely - fabulous scenery, wild seas, bandits in the hills and Emma Hamilton and her husband a scandal that was still being talked about. And the weather in summer just right to wear the flimsiest of fashionable muslins.

Do I tempt you?


Anonymous said...

Do you tempt me with Naples, Jenny? Actually, you do.

A couple of years ago, we went on a trip round the Mediterranean, visiting the places where Nelson had served or stayed. One of them was Naples, of course, hence the... er... relationship with Emma Hamilton and much other intrigue besides.

I've never yet done a naval hero even though I'm a huge fan of Hornblower. I found a couple of fabulous settings for naval stories during our trip and I do plan to write them. They didn't include Naples, but then again, I could always add a third, couldn't I?

That's after the three stories that are already planned, of course :) but I'll try to get to Naples as soon as I can.


lidia said...

The first romance books that I read were by Georgette Heyer. I kind of got used to regency romances being written mostly about England.

I guess if I have a choice, I'd like to read one set mostly in Scotland.


juliemt said...

Hi Joanna,
I was thrilled when I read that you had a new novel out. I can't wait to read Bride of the Solway!

England will always be a favourite setting of mine, but I quite like the idea of setting books further afield such as Scotland, Vienna, St Petersburg and may I suggest my own country, Malta?


Anonymous said...

Hi Lidia
Thanks for stopping by.

I'm a huge fan of Heyer, too. It's true that they're mostly set in England, but one of my faves is Sylvester. About half of that is set in France. Same is true of Devil's Cub which may even be my favourite Heyer of all.

Don't know about you, but I can never decide which Heyer really is my favourite. Seems to depend on my mood and -- can't think why, can you? -- on the particular kind of hero I'm drawn to at the time. I have Sylvester days. And then again I have Mr Beaumaris days. And yes, I may be drooling as I type.

If you fancy Scotland, you may enjoy Bride of the Solway, since it's almost all set in Scotland.


Anonymous said...

Hi Julie

Hope you enjoy Bride of the Solway.

I'm glad you like the idea of the settings I'm planning. I've never actually been to Malta -- it wasn't one of the places we visited on the Nelson tour I mentioned in my earlier post -- but it was a naval base and would probably make a great setting.

When I've written all the others, of course :)

now thinking that she needs another trip to the Mediterranean to research (!) wonderful locations

jennybrat said...

I've always read historicals but exotic locations like Russia give them a special appeal. Some of my favs by Johanna Lindsey and Lisa Kleypas are set in Russia.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jennybrat

Yes, I'm a fan of those two as well. In fact, I think Johanna Lindsey was one of the writers who hooked me on historical romance in the first place.

If you wait a little longer -- and if I manage to finish my revisions -- you'll get a Russian setting with my next book, possibly in 2008.

And also next year, I'm planning a trip to the Adriatic to look at naval locations around Greece and the former Yugoslavia. Some pretty exotic places there too.

You'll notice :) that I have to keep my research well ahead of my writing.


lidia said...

Joanna, I'll definitely be on the lookout for "Bride of the Solway."

I also cannot decide which of GH's books is my favorite -- have re-read quite a few of them many times.

Quite frankly I am not too keen on books set in Russia. I am of Ukrainian descent and for many years Ukraine was part of Soviet Union -- under Russian rule. I get negative vibes and while there are some fabulous books/movies (Doctor Zhivago for example) set in Russia it is not my favorite.

Anonymous said...

Hi again Lidia

I quite understand why Russian settings aren't your cup of tea. There's an awful lot of history there. And not just for the Ukraine.

With my Russian-set book, there's a challenge in getting the characters to see Russian society of the time as people from England of the time would have seen it. So serfdom, for example, isn't assumed to be acceptable, since people in England were actively campaigning against slavery then.

But Britain was just beginning to really expand its empire in the early 19th century, so it's a tricky line for a 21st century author to walk.

Mind you, I always did love a challenge :) If I didn't, I'd have stuck to Regencies set in safe London drawing rooms.


Anna Campbell said...

Joanna, congratulations on Bride of the Solway! Actually, I grew up reading Barbara Cartland and she set books EVERYWHERE. I can remember Georgia and India and Singapore and Russia and Vienna and Spain even without trying very hard. She was fantastic for my general knowledge! I love a variety of settings - it's a bit like going to a buffet!

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna

Nice to see you here! Was looking a pix of you on Nicola Cornick's website just the other day.

Yes, Cartland did get about, didn't she? And she may even have been to all those places in her Rolls Royce and pink tulle. I think I might get around a bit more if I had a chauffeur-driven Rolls. Don't do pink tulle, though :)

Must admit I'm loving the idea of doing lots of varied settings in the future. Just like a buffet, as you say, with ALL my favourite goodies just waiting to be tasted.


ilona said...

Books set in France during the revolution or USA during the war of independance always make me wnat to read them.

No I'm not being blood thirsty - just interested in history that brings about a lot of drastic changes in society. I love seeing how the heroinne and hero cope with those changes :D

Anonymous said...

Hi Ilona

Interesting thoughts. Not sure that, as a non-American, I'd dare write about the war of independence, but I do know what you mean about seeing how hero and heroine cope in really testing times.

I have written about heroes who have had to cope with war, like Hugo Stratton in Marrying the Major, left scarred in mind and body.

The French Revolution is an interesting setting, too. Though, I suppose, anything set in France from 1789 onwards could meet the bill, since the turmoil went on for a long time. Not sure I'd like to set a story during the Terror unless my hero was rescuing people from the guillotine, like the Scarlet Pimpernel, maybe?


nathalie said...

I am going to say something really original... I find there are very few historicals in the middle-east (l'orient in french which was very praised by poets, for example Egypt). It would be nice to have a heroine visit or live there for a short while and we could see through her eyes what she thought about her surroundings and the difference with the occidental world.

Cherie J said...

Those locations sound wonderful. I especially love using Russia. One of my favorite regencies involves a Russian Countess. It was A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson. I think it would be great to actually have the setting take place in Russia. What a cool idea.

KimW said...

Scotland is one of my favorite settings. It looks so beautiful there and I would love to see all the castles. I don't know if I will ever get a chance to visit but I can keep wishing and maybe it will come true. lol Another setting that I would enjoy is Venice, Italy. That interest comes after watching the movie Dangerous Beauty.

Virginia said...

Well Scotland would be my first chose, because I love reading about Scotland, but I would settle for London England. Although I heard that London is not the greatest place in the world.

Anonymous said...

Well, I did check the blog at midnight. I forgot about the time differences, I guess. So now I'll have to catch up.

Hi Nathalie! Really interesting idea about the Middle East. I had been thinking, vaguely, about places like Turkey. There were European women who travelled there very successfully. Egypt could certainly be another. Thanks for the thought. I'll add it to my rapidly increasing list. :)

Cherie J, for a Russian setting, you'll have to wait for my next book, the one I'm revising and that Kate is nagging me to finish :) Not surprised that Eva Ibbotson got you hooked. Her books do stick in the mind, don't they?

Scotland and Venice, KimW? Well, I'm with you on both of those. On Scotland, because I come from there and, for me, there's absolutely nothing to compare with the wild beauty of the west coast. If I can put in a shameless plug here, try Bride of the Solway and see what you think. It's set in the lowlands, but it does have castles, I promise, and an abbey as well. Venice is absolutely gorgous, especially if you go there in spring or autumn. I'd have to do a fair bit of research because my Italian history is a bit thin, but then I love the research so there's no problem there. When I can get to it, of course...

Virginia, I've already done the plug for my Scottish book so I won't repeat it. Or is that what I'm doing??? I think I may have been missing something by sticking to English settings until now. I do have another Scottish plot idea on my list, but it's probably at least 3 from the top still. London is a terrific setting, for pretty much any period. Like all huge cities, it has good and bad points, but it's one of the most vibrant and fascinating places in the world. Don't be put off by bad press. It's really a wonderful place to visit.

Thank you all so much for dropping by and leaving your ideas.


Minna said...

England. Not necessarily London, though. There are plenty of other interesting, historical places.

Anonymous said...

Hi Minna

You're quite right. There are lots of interesting places besides London (and Bath).

Maybe a Gothic Regency in a haunted castle on the moors somewhere? Or a heroine hiding out in some ancient forest? Or a less dramatic setting in a village full of thatched cottages? Yes, there are loads I could still do in England. And I probably shall, when I've got to the end of the list I've already done :)


Dena said...

Edinburgh,Paris and London are always great settings I think.I like your settings your going to be writing about too,I've never read one in Lyons though.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for dropping by, Dena.

Now as it happens, I haven't yet set a book in Edinburgh but I do have one in mind, probably about 4 books down the line, though! And I promise to be nice to Edinburgh as well. For those who don't know, I come from Glasgow and there has always been... er... rivalry between the two great cities of Scotland. But Edinburgh is indeed an amazing place. It's time I buried my prejudices :) and set a story there.

I visited Lyons a couple of years back and was much struck by the old town (a world heritage site, I think) and by its history as the centre of the French textile industry. The textile museum is utterly fascinating. So many things I just wanted to stroke. (Sadly not allowed.) Seemed to me there was a story just waiting to be written. It's only a vague plan at the moment, so it may yet change.

Paris, of course, speaks for itself. For most of the first 15 years of the 19th century, British people in France were put in jail, so there weren't a lot of them, unless they were spies. However, the heroes of my next three books (the Aikenhead Honours trilogy) are exactly that.

Now all I have to do is finish the revisions on the first of the trilogy, so I can get on with the second one.


Anonymous said...

scottland i love the stories with the highlands in them.


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