1) How did you get the idea for Bewitching Season?
It was a case of total serendipity--the confluence of a writing prompt exercise at my local writing group and the fact that I was reading a biography of Queen Victoria at the time...and the two just meshed into the basic plot line of Bewitching Season. The exercise was that we all had to write the beginning of a story using the same first sentence, so that we could see just how every one would be unique...and that sentence is still the first line in Bewitching Season.
2) What are you working on right now, and how many books are going to be in the Season series? (By the way, is there an official title for the overall series?)
I'm working on The Waterloo Plot (horrible working title!) a prequel book set in 1814-1815, in which the twins' mother, Lady Parthenope, is the main character's new best friend--and I've got to be careful because she's turning into quite a handful and I'm hard pressed to keep her from stealing the book out from under the nose of my quieter heroine. I've got one more book plotted out that I hope will see the light of day--it's Charles's story, of course (and Lorrie's), but I didn't want to try tackling a teen male POV until I had the experience of writing at least one more book under my belt. That's it for these characters, or I assume it is...but you never know when a new story idea will suddenly appear from nowhere and whack you over the head. I don't know if Holt will want to come up with a series name--I'll have to think about it!
3) You're a part of the Class of 2k8. How did you get to be a part of it, and how has it helped you in debuting your book? What has been the best aspect of being with this group?
I'm in the Class of 2k8 because I was originally a member of the Class of 2k7 until Bewitching Season got moved from being a fall 2007 release to a spring 2008 one. This happened to a couple of us, and we became the core of 2k8. The best part has been the education we've all gotten from each other. Each of us has strengths and weaknesses and experience to bring, so the internet networking folks and the newspaper experience folks and so on all share their knowledge. And having 26 other authors all going through the same experience has been wonderful--a built-in support system for sharing both good and bad news, asking for help or opinions, and sharing information and tips.
4) Courtesy of you, what's your favorite jelly bean flavor? (Turning the tables on ya here, hehe!)
It's a tie--Jelly Belly's Juicy Pear and Margarita
5) Will you continue to write historical fiction, or will you venture into contemporary times for a future novel? What fascinates you about writing historical fiction?
Yes and yes--I've got more historical stories plotted or at least sketched out, both with fantasy elements and without. I also have a few contemporary stories--in fact, my agent has an adult paranormal romance of mine out on submission to a couple of houses--and a YA set in a total fantasy world as well. Writing SF/fantasy and writing historical fiction have a lot in common--the world-building is of paramount importance, and it's your job to make it appealing and believable. The challenge that I love in writing historical fiction is making the past accessible and understandable. It's easy to write a story with contemporary characters wearing 19th century clothes and call it historical fiction. It's not so easy to try to get into the mindset and culture of early 19th century England and its people and make today's readers understand how really different they are from us...and yet still make them sympathetic and understandable. I think part of my goal is (ssssshhh!) at least a touch didactic--I want teen girls to understand how things have changed for them since the 1830s, and how they can't take their freedom for granted in a post-feminist world. Okay, I'll shut up now.