Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Welcome to Pearl Wolf's guest blog
Welcome Ms. Pearl Wolf to Love Romances and More, thank you for joining us.
Did you always want to become a writer?
Absolutely. It stems from a desire to escape the real world into a much better place of my own invention. As the youngest of four, I felt I was the torturee and my siblings were the torturers. My widowed mother loved us all, but she didn’t have time to deal with our petty problems because she was forced to work hard to feed, clothe and shelter us during the Great Depression.
What is the most, and the least interesting fact about writing?
Most interesting? How I choose topics. The idea for my first historical fiction, SONG OF MIRIAM (Hilliard & Harris—2003) grew from a desire to seek out my personal history. My parents emigrated from Eastern Europe and I knew little about their lives back then. Research led me to the Russian Empire in the time of Catherine the Great, a rich tapestry of power, envy, avarice, revenge and lust. My current historical, TOO HOT FOR A RAKE, is set in the colorful Regency period in England (1810-1820). This allows me to explore how women in that era dealt with society’s restrictions.
Least interesting? I would have to admit that readers are least interested in knowing the essentials of an author’s humdrum workaday world. It’s the glamour and fame that interests them. On a scale of one to one hundred, I would have to give glamour and fame a score of one tenth of one percent. Nice to have, but not essential. The rest is hard, hard work.
How did you celebrate your first release? What was it like to see your book in a bookstore? Do you have a special ritual for celebrating a book release?
My first published work was a non-fiction book, written for five and six-year-olds, called GORILLA BABY: The Story of Patty Cake (Scholastic—1974). Unlike today, the publisher did all the publicity way back then. Scholastic arranged a book party for me in the Central Park Zoo, where Patty Cake and her parents lived. They invited reporters from the New York Times, The Daily News and the New York Post to interview me. In addition, ABC, CBS and NBC TV News featured me that same day. It was a thrill to be Queen For A Day in my hometown.
Seeing one’s book in a bookstore is a mind-blower. I never tire of it. When a new book is released, I try to arrange a book launch at a bookstore. On a personal level, my family and I celebrate each release with dinner at a restaurant.
How did your family react to fact that you write romance novels? Have your family read your book?
I certainly hope they’ve all read it! I do recall telling my young grandsons to shut their eyes when they came to the intimate scenes, but they’re older now.
Most authors are also avid readers. Is this the case with you? If so, who are some of your favorites? Have any influenced your writing?
Without a doubt, I am an avid reader and have been ever since I learned how. Regency author Georgette Heyer has been my biggest influence. I have read and reread all of her works so many times, the pages are in tatters. She writes with wit and with wisdom. Her characters leap off the page and into your living room as you read. Jane Austen, the mother of romance, is a delight to read and reread. Charles Dickens is another favorite. He brings to life the history of England in turbulent times. I must point out here that none of these literary giants felt compelled to include the sexual habits of their characters.
Do you feel each of your characters live with you as you write? Do their lives sometimes take over a part of your life? Can you name an example? Do you have living role models for your characters?
I cannot avoid using real-life role models in my work. Life experiences are always a crucial source of inspiration for me. Bits and pieces of people I’ve known, life-changing occurrences I have lived through, such as death of a loved one, divorce, alienation, and the like fuel my creative mind. Emotionally, my heroines tend to mirror my own life experiences. For example, my current heroine, Lady Helena Fairchild, is insecure and unsure of herself at first, but she grows emotionally despite having to face horrendous odds. I felt the indignity of her rejection just as I felt the joy she experiences when she wins her father’s consent to marry the man she loves. In TOO HOT FOR A RAKE, my goal is to create a convincing portrait of a large family, one that readers can relate to no matter the time period. The duke and his family live lives of incredible wealth and privilege in Regency England. No matter. Like the rest of us who grew up in large families, these lords and ladies struggle for the right to achieve their dreams.
Where do you get the inspirations for your books?
I begin with historical context. My characters live in the world of the past, ergo a world not always to their liking. Some questions I think about when I begin a new writing project: Do my characters fit in comfortably or do they struggle with constraints, morals, manners, rules and regulations they cannot abide? My novels must include believable people facing convincing conflicts. They must work to resolve their dilemmas in order to achieve their goals. This is key. The story must be compelling enough to make the reader want to turn the page.
Do you find it difficult at times to write love scenes?
These are rarely a problem for me since they evolve logically from the story. Believable love scenes rely on the chemistry, the desire, the emotion and the intellect between hero and heroine.
Do you have a problem with deadlines and have you ever suffered a writers block?
No to both questions, though the thought of missing deadlines and the terror of writers’ block scare me to death.
Do you prefer stand-alone books or series (As a reader or a writer) ?
I am partial to writing series, given my love of large families, but I have written stand-alone fiction. As a reader, I adore long historical sagas.
If you could change places with one character from your book, who would it be and why?
Lady Jane, the youngest Fairchild daughter who is eight when the series begins. In the current TOO HOT FOR A RAKE, Jane is ten years old. Here is where life experiences sometimes influence a writer, since I too was the youngest child in my family. Jane has to fight to be noticed and not always in ways that please her parents and her siblings. For one, she is over-weight, a fact that certainly gets her family’s attention. And she spies on the entire household. These aren’t likeable traits, yet she manages to be endearing just the same. Near the end of RAKE, for example, Jane is actually urged to spy on a conversation between her father and the hero and report back to her family. Her sense of importance in the family scheme grows as a result. When she is caught, her father chastises her for spying, and she answers indignantly, “I wasn’t spying. I was sent!” The scene wrote itself, I’m happy to report.
What is your favorite book from the books that you have written so far? Who are your favorite hero and heroine, and why?
I can almost hear my mother saying in answer to a similar question, “I love ALL my children.” It’s truly the way I feel about all my books, but if I have to choose, it would be my latest, TOO HOT FOR A RAKE. Helena, the timid second oldest daughter of the duke, makes an uncharacteristically bold, life-changing mistake. She climbs into bed with the man she has loved since she was a child. When he discovers her in bed with a notorious rake, he calls off their wedding, sending her world into a tailspin. Helena is forced to escape to Cornwall to avoid the censure of gossipmongers. Her escort is none other than the same rake she accidentally bedded, Lord Desmond Bannington, who is now the Marquis of Waverley. Both hero and heroine have much to overcome to achieve their goals. She must regain her self-esteem and he must repair his reputation.
Would you like to give another genre a try?
I already have. It is a mystery called DYING TO TEACH about an elementary school teacher in Harlem. Odd. I taught in Harlem for fifteen years! Would I write another mystery? Perhaps, but my heart remains with historical fiction.
Which book was the hardest to write and which the easiest?
SONG OF MIRIAM was the most complicated of my novels because the story takes place in czarist Russia in the time of Catherine The Great. Russia is such a vast and wonderful setting for a romance, I’m contemplating writing another romance using the same time period. The easiest was DYING TO TEACH. I did do some research, but my familiarity with the setting made it easier.
If you could choose of your books for a movie, which one would it be and who would you as the cast?
TOO HOT FOR A RAKE is perfect for a movie. Anne Hathaway would be ideal for the role of Helena, and Adrian Grenier would make a great rake. These two had lots of great chemistry in The Devil Wears Prada.
If you could travel through time to visit a special time period or famous person, what or who would it be and why?
I would visit Lady Caroline Lamb, who lived during the Regency period. She was Lord Byron’s lover and called him, “Mad, bad and dangerous to know.” She was also the author of a novel called, GLENARVON, which set London society on its ear because she satirized many of its most prominent members. She was loved, hated, wild, indiscreet, vilified and adored; my kind of woman. I saw a sign recently that made me think of her. It read, ”Well behaved women rarely make history.”
Do you listen to music while you are writing and if so what music is it?
No music when I’m writing because it’s too distracting but I love to listen to Books On Tape, especially Georgette Heyer, when I’m driving. Since I’ve read most of them as well, I know most of the words by heart. They inspire me.
Big congrats to your latest release, Too hot for a rake, can you please tell us something about the book?
Lady Helena Fairchild must overcome the humiliation of rejection by a man she’s loved all her life. Lord Desmond Bannington has lived a dissolute life as a rake since his father banished him to India. When he becomes the Marquis of Waverley upon his father’s death, Desmond struggles to mend his scandalous international reputation as a rake. He and Helena’s journey together to his ancestral home in Land’s End is fraught with risk, but nothing prepares them for the dangers awaiting them at Waverley Castle.
Are you working on anything right now, and can you tell us a teaser about these projects?
Yes. THE HIGHWAYMAN’S LADY is a tangled romance about Lady Serena Hendricks. She is the only daughter of a duke who wants her to wed his heir. Lord Hugh Reynolds, the Marquess of Manton is a fifth cousin who Serena dismisses as a dead bore. She craves danger and falls in love with a disreputable thief when he robs her. He is a highwayman known to the Regency underworld as Black Billy. When she is arrested for . . . you’ll have to wait for publication for more!
Reviews of Ms. Wolf's books:
Too hot for a rake
Too hot for a spy