Thanks for willing to be interviewed!
1) When approaching Against the Tide, what made you choose the background of the Navy?
I’ve got to admit, having a heroine of the 1890’s work for the Navy seems a little odd at first glance, but the Navy employed plenty of civilians in various capacities. Lydia is fluent in six foreign languages, and this skill makes her of great use to the Navy.
I was also itching to set a novel in Boston. What a fabulous city for a novel…. full of historic settings and a wonderful cross section of blue-blood, immigrant groups, and rabble-rousers. I wanted this book to be heavily imbued with the atmosphere of Boston….everything from the food, the architecture, even the smell of the ocean…so what better place to set it than at the Navy shipyard?
2) What/Who was your inspiration for Bane?
Bane appeared in my first book, The Lady of Bolton Hill, and I had a huge clamor from readers demanding a sequel for him. I was happy to write one, but my editor asked me to be sure this book was totally independent from the first book. Readers may not even know they are reading a follow up, so there is NO NEED to read the first book before diving into this one.
As for his inspiration? I needed a villain in my first book, but I wanted him to be change of pace from the stereotypical villain. Therefore, Bane is an intensely funny and charming teenager with no moral compass. By the end of the book he finds one, and he turns into an amazing hero, risking his life in order to become a god-fearing Christian.
Bane’s conversion only goes so far…..in Against the Tide he is all grown up and still a good man, but his irreverent sense of humor and daring outlook on life is still in full force.
3) Did this novel require a lot of research?
Research is one of my favorite parts of writing! In my day job I am a university research librarian, so this is something that comes naturally to me. I usually spend around a month reading books written during the era. I find old maps and explore the streets, old cookbooks and try the recipes. I love wallowing in the era and stumbling across interesting locales to have my scenes. For Against the Tide I used a number of historical buildings in Boston, as well as local museums, shops, and actual neighborhoods.
4) When thinking about Lydia, what characteristics did you know she had to have?
My heroines are always very intelligent, although this manifests in different ways. Lydia’s skill is her amazing ability to learn foreign languages. She is also very charming and fast on her feet, which makes her a dynamic match for the hero.
As clever and smart as Lydia is, I wanted her to have a deep gash of vulnerability. She has a couple of huge, howling secrets she will need to conquer in the course of the novel. I believe that if you create an amazingly talented character, you ought to give her an equally profound weakness for her to overcome. I’ll be delving into spoiler territory if I reveal any more than that!
5) Can you tell us about anything you’re working on?
My next novel is called Into the Whirlwind, and is set during the great Chicago fire of 1871. It is mostly a love story, but also traces the monumental changes that happened to the city as a result of the fire. Look for it in August of 2013.
Please check out my review: https://remaininhislove.com/2012/09/27/elizabeth-camdens-against-the-tide/