Thursday, April 23, 2009

Author Interview: Robin Maderich

Yesterday I posted a review of Faith and Honor by Robin Maderich. Ms. Maderich was lovely enough to answer some questions about the book and her writing for me.

Julie: Is the American Revolution something that has always interested you? What about the time period do you find fascinating?

RM: The American Revolution has, indeed, always interested me. I can’t remember a time when it didn’t, although I think my fascination came about in the second or third grade. The reason for my fascination isn’t so easy to explain. I mentioned this in an interview elsewhere, but I’ll stick my neck out and say again that the affinity I feel for that time period is such that I sometimes think I lived it. I don’t know if such a thing is possible. Certain cultures and religions say it is. My heart says it is, but my head is occasionally skeptical. At any rate, the sense of pride, of awe, of heartache and hope, whenever I immerse myself in research or reading or even thoughts of that time in our history is very real to me.

Julie: What is it about Faith that you found intriguing? Was she based on any particular woman during that time period or just an accumulation of women you researched?

RM: As Faith and Honor was my first romance, I wasn’t certain how to go about writing one, or even what was expected of the lead characters. I’d never really read much in the way of romance at that point in time. She was based on the best and the worst in me, I discovered upon much later review of her character, and on what I determined I might have done at such a time and for such a cause, as well as being a conglomeration of women in history. I was especially intrigued by Lucy Gage---wife of the British General Gage---who, despite her husband, openly sympathized with the rebel cause.

Julie: I’m not a believer in "Love at first sight" but I definitely believe in Lust at First Sight, so do you think Faith said that she was in love with Fletcher because she was lonely and casual sex wasn’t "allowed? I also wonder if part of the attraction came because he was the enemy. What are your thoughts?

RM: I like the way you phrased this question, as if Faith was a character standing on her own, somehow beyond my control. And in ways, that’s true. However, if I could ask her these questions and get a response, she’d say she was lonely, but she also did fall in love, albeit very quickly. She knew a good man when she found him, despite the color of the uniform he wore. It just took her a bit of time to come to terms with that. During the time period in which Faith and Honor is set, casual sex wasn’t all that frowned upon. A woman of loose morals engaged in sex with many men, but a woman having sex with a man she cared about before marriage was commonplace. Many babies were born less than nine months after a couple married. The fact that natural urges were understood resulted in the act of “bundling”, in essence, allowing a couple to get to know each other by ritually sewing the male into cloth to keep the two would-be lovers apart during the course of any night they might spend together. I don’t think it occurred to me during the writing of the novel that Faith might be attracted to Fletcher because he was the enemy. But I can see your point. There’s always the ‘bad boy’ or ‘forbidden love’ fascination.

Julie: Did you decide to write Faith and Honor under your given name because they were so different in content than your Celia Ashley books?

RM: At the time Faith and Honor was released, I was writing under my own name. However, at the suggestion of my agent (for a reason I can’t recall right now, considering I was writing another historical afterward) I chose a different pen name, which I used for my next release, Once and Always, published by Kensington’s Zebra Historical imprint in 2000. The sale was made without an agent, but by that time I already had submitted using the pen name Alyssa Deane and stuck with it. I switched to Celia Ashley for my contemporary paranormal romances (and the futuristic romance, Emerald Twilight, as well) due to the vast difference between the historicals and contemporaries in content and style. Funny thing is, Emerald Twilight was first conceived shortly after I received the contract from Warner for Faith and Honor. I held onto the idea and the first five or six chapters for a good, long time before deciding it was time to complete the book.

Julie: I saw that the original copyright date on Faith and Honor was 1989, what made you decide to do another publicity run 20 years later?

RM: There are several reasons for that. Honestly, the story is near and dear to my heart, and as I have other works available I thought I could get my name back out there by reprinting, as I’d like to publish in the future in general women’s fiction under the name Robin Maderich. If you’ve visited my website, you’ll note that whether you go to www.robinmaderich.com or www.celiaashley.com or www.alyssadeane.com you end up in the same place. I figured this cross-reference would be a good way to get readers to know what they could expect from me under any of these names. Additionally, I had more of the story I wanted to tell and after such a long time, it wasn’t likely a publisher would be looking for a second and third book. The rights had reverted to me and I felt it was worth a shot.

Julie: Faith and Honor is book I, Promises in Honor is book II, is there still a planned third book in the series? If so, what is the title and when can readers expect it?

RM: The third book is still planned, and I am in the process of writing it in between other projects. The title is To Love The Name Of Honor, and should be available around Christmas this year (late, yes, as it was promised sooner). It will be available through my website, as I have closed the doors of Blue Shutter Books.

Julie: Blue Shutter Books is your publishing company; do you find that you need to publish your own books if you wanted others to read them? Do you try to find other authors to publish?

RM: I answered this question already, but I’ll also add that I certainly didn’t feel a need to publish my own books to get someone to read them. Besides the aforementioned desire to get my name out there again and to continue the story, you might say I chose to publish Promises of Honor to give those readers who really wanted to know what happened to the characters an opportunity to find out. I will add that at the time I opened Blue Shutter Books it was my plan to continue in the publishing business, looking for and publishing new authors, but health issues and financial issues squashed that idea.

Julie: How long have you been writing for? What is your writing style; do you write an outline or do you just write as the story comes to you?

RM: I have been published since 1989, although I have been writing since the second grade with the hopes of one day being published. Outlines are a problem for me. Sometimes they are a requirement of certain publishers, and I find myself going through all sorts of gyrations trying to get one done. In school I used to cheat and write the story in its entirety first, then go back and do the outline based on the completed story I’d written. Unfortunately, I don’t have that luxury if I’m preparing a proposal, so I just pull my hair out instead and wing it. Normally, though, I have an idea in my head where the story is going, including a basic beginning, a concept of the middle and a definite end, and write as it comes to me.

Julie: How do you come up with an idea for a novel?

RM: For historical novels, the idea sprouts from the research. For contemporary novels, although research is also involved, the story idea comes first. I usually find ideas in random occurrences throughout the normal course of a day, maybe after hearing a couple of sentences spoken by strangers in the street, seeing something unusual, hearing a news story, getting into a conversation that leads me to an ‘aha’ moment. The paranormal aspect of some of my most recent works is based in part on personal experience (with a great deal of expansion, of course).

Julie: What authors and genres do you enjoy reading?

RM: I love Luanne Rice, Anne Rivers Siddons, Diana Gabaldon, Mary Stewart, Daphne DuMaurier, most recently Stephenie Meyer. I read a novel by someone previously unknown to me named Christine Blevins. The book (perhaps her first novel) is called Midwife of the Blue Ridge. Thoroughly enjoyed it, even if it was a bit graphic in terms of the horrors of the times. She has another coming out this month, I think. The late Kathleen Woodiwiss is a romance author whose work I always enjoyed. There are many others. I like historical romance, urban fantasy-type stories, fantasy of the type written by Ursula K. LeGuin and CJ Cherryh (forgive me if I’ve misspelled her name), as well as time-travel (Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series most notably), Arthurian romance, historical fiction and works of fact. Let’s see, what else? Oh. Recently I finished a book by Bill Bryson called A Walk in the Woods and highly recommend it. He writes about travel and this was about his often hilarious, often moving, adventures in hiking the Appalachian Trail. I think it came out about ten years ago, but I just found it. I am now getting ready to read Beyond Heaving Bosoms by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan. I met Sarah at her book signing in Doylestown, and she’s a hoot!

Well, thank you very much for interviewing me. I hope I’ve answered all your questions to your satisfaction and look forward to hearing from you again!

I'd like to thank Robin for taking the time out of her schedule to answer my questions! You can find any of her books at Robin Maderich.

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