The following interview is intended to give readers a greater insight
into what motivates certain storytelling decisions, what goes into
constructing a story, and what challenges I've faced along the way.
Lady Risks All Interview
Sale September 25, 2012
write a story about London's gambling king?
was more a case of: Why not? I like to try different flavors occasionally,
as I did with Eliza and Jeremy in In Pursuit of Eliza Cynster, and
I've always intended to come back at some point to Roscoe, but I
had to wait for the right moment. Having just finished the over-the-top
The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae, I needed something to cleanse
my writing palate, as it were, before I leap into the next two Cynster
novels. It was a refreshing break writing about two people who definitely
fall into the "Stephanie Laurens' World" but who have
somewhat different problems and challenges to face.
How did the character of Neville Roscoe come about?
Roscoe first walked onto my stage in The Edge of Desire. The scene
is midway or so through the novel, and then he reappears toward
the end. He also appears several story-years later toward the end
of The Reckless Bride. From his first appearance, Roscoe was a fully-formed
character and there were clearly several intriguing questions arising
simply from that first appearance - he was London's gambling king,
but his appearance suggested a noble background - so who on earth
was he, and how did he come to be, of all things, London's gambling
king? And why? Most importantly, why? Readers have been asking for
Roscoe's story consistently over the years, and as I always knew
the answers to the above questions, it was fun to let them come
rolling out in his story.
You've described Roscoe as an "inverted Batman." Why?
didn't occur to me until I was in my editing and polishing phase,
when I deconstruct the work, examine the nuts and bolts, and then
put it back together again. In that phase, I search for themes and
resonances that have worked their way into the story during the
writing without me actually being aware of it. That was when I noticed
the "inverted Batman" resemblance. Consider -Bruce Wayne
lives his public life as a wealthy socialite and in secret converts
to Batman, a defender of the weak and powerless and a rescuer of
those in distress. Roscoe is the Batman-equivalent, and he's that
openly and most of the time. His normal and publicly visible life
casts him as a de facto defender of the weak and powerless, and
a rescuer of those in distress, but his secret identity is that
of a wealthy socialite. I am sometimes quite surprised by what my
story-brain comes up with!
Roscoe nor the lady in question, Miranda, are the sterotypical Stephanie
Laurens' hero or heroine, yet this book still falls very much within
the Stephanie Laurens' World. How do you create characters that
are different on the one hand, yet the same on the other?
Roscoe and Miranda contain the same critical character elements
that typify my heros and heroines, namely the hero is a warrior,
in a different disguise but still clearly a warrior, and the heroine
is a strong woman - she has intrinsic inner strength. The different
nuance in this book lies in where both hero and heroine start their
journeys. Roscoe, although knowing himself a warrior, believes that
the sacrifices he's willingly made for others puts him beyond the
reach of love. This has resonance with soldiers returning from war
who have seen too much, or are in some other way "damaged"
in their own eyes to the point of believeing they are no longer
eligible candidates for a woman to love and marry. Miranda, on the
other hand, has been in a familial situation that has suppressed
her personal development to the point that she wakes up at 29 and
discovers she doesn't know what she wants from her life, let alone
how to get it. Most importantly, she knows very little about herself
and her own abilities - her story is very much one of self-discovery.
The heroine, Miranda, finds herself searching for a purpose in
life - do you see her journey as resonating with today's readers?
In some ways, being able to create a heroine in 1823, who at 29
is forced by circumstances to go forth from a sheltered and reclusive
home in which very rigid strictures were imposed on her, and face
the challenge of defining what she wants her life to be like, and
then going out and making it so, allows me to focus on the issue
that all modern women have to face sometime in their twenties. In
particular, women who have spent most of their twenties absorbed
with their career will wake up one morning to realize - just like
Miranda - that they are 29 and have no clear idea of what they truly
want of life. This is, to me, one of the primary reasons for writing
romances set in historical times - they allow the author to strip
away all the extraneous interference (internet, cell phones, phones
at all! - in many ways the rest of the world) to focus on the personal,
emotional internal struggle.