Lady of Bolton Hill Giveaway & Interview

CAMDEN_Elizabeth

Today I have the privilege of introducing you to debut author Elizabeth Camden, author of historical romance The Lady of Bolton Hill. I contacted Elizabeth after so many of you, like me, had mentioned her cover as one of your favorites.

Elizabeth, welcome! Now obviously we’re all crazy about the cover. Tell us what you see, story-wise when you look at it.

Thanks for inviting me to your site! At the very beginning of the design process, my editor asked me to write up some notes about what the characters looked like and the setting of the book. So many inspirational romance novels are set on the prairie, but The Lady of Bolton Hill takes place in Baltimore during the Gilded Age, so it was important to communicate the setting so people knew what they were getting. Hence the skyline through the window. In my design notes, I spoke a lot of the heroine, Clara, as a very refined and gentle woman. This quality really comes through on the cover!

I was fascinated at how much work went into creating the cover. The artist, Jenny Parker, actually created five entire mock-ups before settling on the version of the lady in the blue dress. You can see those alternate covers near the bottom of THIS website.

This Jenny Parker is awesome. I am a fan. So how did you get the idea for the book?

One of my favorite romantic plots concerns lovers who are reunited after several years apart. In the book, Daniel and Clara were quite young when they met and shared one of those intense, immediate bonds that can sometimes flare up between teenagers. They are separated by Clara’s disapproving father. The book begins when Clara returns to the US after more than a decade abroad, and the chemistry between Clara and Daniel immediately blazes back to life. The problem is they have followed such wildly divergent paths that they don’t know if they can’t find a way back to each other, even though they both crave it.

Something that was very important for me is that both my characters be very passionate people, but who are still fiercely intelligent and sensible. Have you ever read a book where the conflict between the hero and heroine could be solved by a simple honest conversation? There was no way I was going to let Daniel and Clara off the hook so easily! Although it is clear they are madly in love, they will be put through the wringer before they can get to a happy ending. I love a good turbulent story with love, betrayal, heartbreak, all punctuated with periods of soaring joy and utter delight. That is what I aimed for with The Lady of Bolton Hill. I’ll be curious to hear from folks if they think I got it in the ballpark.

lady-of-bolton-hill-cvrAny advice for aspiring writers?

As for the practical aspects of how to write a book that has the potential to sell, you can’t do better than The Breakout Novelist: Craft and Strategies for Career Fiction Writers, by Donald Maas.

Okay, that is the technical aspect of what you need to do. Now on to the much more difficult angle of weathering the emotional trauma that comes along with trying to get a novel published. Writing a novel is a huge emotional investment that requires years of effort, and the odds of payoff are really low. You have got to ask yourself how much of your time and psychological energy you are willing to risk in the process.

It took me six years of writing before I had a manuscript that was worthy of publication, and those years came along with plenty of self-doubt, heartache, and rejection. But the bottom line was that I loved what I was doing. I came to the conclusion that I might never get published, but I still loved the craft enough to keep plugging away. One of my favorite quotes is from A League of Their Own, when Geena Davis has reached her breaking point and is getting ready to throw in the towel. Tom Hanks scolds her, “Of course this is hard. If it was easy, anyone could do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.”

I think this line is true in almost any endeavor that is really worthwhile. . .starting a business, raising kids, training for a sport, writing a book. It is the hard that makes it great.

Great, great quote. I love that. Many of us here are big fans of North and South and Downton Abbey. I saw a little bit of that in your setting and time period. Are you in the fan club as well?

Downton Abbey! I loved that series! I am thrilled down to my toes that we can expect more episodes in the fall. The writers did such a beautiful job of creating imperfect but sympathetic characters, then plunging them into a dynamic, turbulent setting. I confess that I had never heard of North and South until you mentioned it, but I looked it up on Netflix, and it looks like my cup of tea. Thanks for the heads-up!

Do you have a follow-up release you could give us a peek of? (Pardon my ending with a preposition.)

Thanks for asking! My next book is called The Rose of Winslow Street, and it is set for release in early 2012. The setting is a small New England town in 1879. Into this peaceful, idyllic village comes a brash warrior from Romania, who storms into town with a wealth of mystery, long-buried secrets, and a heart as wide and deep as the Atlantic Ocean. He is a strong, fearsome man, but pretty quickly he develops a soft-spot for the heroine, which is a huge complication for him. It is hard to say more without delving into spoiler territory, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Elizabeth. Tell our blog friends where they can find you.

I am on Facebook, but I also blog regularly HERE. Three times a week, I write about the romance genre, thoughts about the industry, and I post plenty of pictures of gorgeous, mouth-watering libraries. I hope you will stop by and visit!

Okay, guys, to get in the running for a copy of The Lady of Bolton Hill, just leave a comment in answer to today’s question. You have until Sunday eve when the bat flies past the moon to send me your answer. I’ll announce the winner on Monday.

Tell me if you had to live in any time period for a week, what would it be and why? The Gilded Age like The Lady of Bolton Hill? The 60s like The Help? Let me know!

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30 comments

30 Comments so far

  1. Suzanne Schaffer June 14th, 2011 7:23 am

    I’d live in the 40s. Love that era! The clothes, the cars, the movies.

  2. christa June 14th, 2011 7:56 am

    One of the loveliest covers ever…I want that dress. I think it would truly make a statement at the first faculty meeting!

  3. Jenny June 14th, 2011 7:57 am

    While I do love my flip flops, for one week it would be great to be in the 1940s for the clothes – the feminine lines, the hats, the gloves. But, as a bonus, it would also be the decade my parents were born in, and I’d love to spend a week with both sets of my grandparents as young parents.

    I really enjoyed this interview!

  4. Catrina June 14th, 2011 9:03 am

    I would love to live in the mid 1800s.

  5. Mississippi Mama June 14th, 2011 10:54 am

    I’d love to live in Regency England, because Jane Austen has ruined me forever. Well, no, really, I do love the English countryside and the manners and society behavior of that time period. And I’d love to wear those dresses!

  6. Annie June 14th, 2011 11:17 am

    Either the antebellum period or the 1940s – I can’t decide!

  7. Lynnet June 14th, 2011 11:22 am

    That would be tough, but I’d love the chance to get to know my grandparents better, so I’d choose 1940’s. Great interview and story line! I’d love to read this book!

  8. Kim June 14th, 2011 12:29 pm

    That’s a tough question! There are so many things I enjoy about the era we live in know, but I would have to agree with Mississippi Mama and say the era of Jane Austen! Those dresses are gorgeous!! Though probably really heavy with all those layers… LOL

    The cover looks AMAZING! Love the lighting and the colours in it!!

  9. I’d like to live during WWII. I love the music, the clothing, the manners, and conversely, the conflict that brought a nation and allies together against a clear-cut super evil targeting the globe. Kind of sounds like Spec Fiction, doesn’t it?
    The cover for Elizabeth’s book is gorgeous. I wore a dress like that once while working as a docent at a historic park. Hard to be spunky, impetuous—i.e. walk—much less adventuresome in all that get up. Combined with the corset, I just concentrated on breathing. :)
    Please enter me in the drawing for The Lady of Bolton Hill.

  10. Kristin June 14th, 2011 1:17 pm

    I would have to pick either the 1930s, 40s, or 50s. I love all three of those eras. Basically, I want to wear the clothes and dance with a hunky guy to big band music in one of those dinner and dancing clubs that are always featured in old movies. I don’t think that’s asking too much. =)

    ~Kristin

  11. Charlotte June 14th, 2011 1:37 pm

    I would like to spent one week in the time period of Jane Austen or live one week in “Pride and Prejudice”.

  12. Angie June 14th, 2011 1:52 pm

    The cover of Lady of Bolton Hill has to be one of the prettiest I’ve seen in awhile. Love it!

    Okay, I think I’m going to with the crowd and say the 40s because I too love the clothes. But I wouldn’t mind visiting the 50s either…

  13. Clare June 14th, 2011 2:35 pm

    I love love love the cover of Lady of Bolton Hill and Elizabeth Camden sounds really cool.
    I would love to live in the big band and swing era, so like the 30’s or 40’s. Just for a little bit. That music was so alive and the dancing classy. Not like what we have today where computerized music dominates the music scene (although i don’t mind some of the songs). I also would love to see my grandparents meet. They lived right next door from eachother from the time they were 6 and 7. I think it’d be awesome to see them meet one another. :)

  14. Judy June 14th, 2011 4:24 pm

    I think I’d like to live in the 30’s for 40’s for a week.
    I too think the music was so alive and the dancing was elegant, not trashy. Women dressed so fine back then; beautiful gowns and they carried themselves really well.

    I simply love the cover of this book!

  15. bookwyrm14 June 14th, 2011 5:35 pm

    I have already read The Lady of Bolton Hill and it is one of my favorite books EVER!!!!!!!!! (as I have already said).

    I would want to live in medieval England, during King Arthur’s time (even though technically he is not real). It was such a romantic time period, with lords and ladies and kings and knights. The guys back then generally lived by codes of honor, treating a girl with respect and fighting for their country and all that. Besides, the gowns back then were absolutely STUNNING!

  16. Jenny B. Jones June 14th, 2011 6:35 pm

    Great answers, guys. I sometimes think the folks of the Pride and Prejudice days would laugh at our love for their dresses. In a time when folks often only bathed about 1x a week (according to author Christa Allan), this would be bad. Very, very bad.

    The 40s would be so cool to see though, eh? What a spirited time.

  17. Bonnie June 14th, 2011 8:58 pm

    If I could choose any time period to live in, it would definitely be the Victorian period. I have read several books that had this time period and the society lifestyle fascinates me. There were so many rules and restrictions(I would probably try to change a few). I would love to attend a fancy ball and wear a frilly dress. The culture was so different and it amazes me how much lifestyles have changed since then.

  18. Rel Mollet June 15th, 2011 3:33 am

    At the moment, having been immersed in Lisa T Bergren’s River of Time series, I’m gunning for 14th Century Italy and finding a dashing knight like Marcello and Luca ;-D I’m conveniently forgetting the plague, lack of dental hygiene and the whole, I’ll bathe on the weekend thing! The dresses are good though, high waisted and flowing down hiding all manner of lumps and bumps ;-)

    Don’t enter me in the draw ~ I have Elizabeth’s book and have recently read it. Review to come soon on my blog.

  19. Jess June 15th, 2011 10:33 am

    Since everyone else seems to have said the 40s, I’ll change my original answer and say the 70s…I would have loved to hang out with my crazy parents during the heyday!

  20. kiersten June 15th, 2011 11:30 am

    If I could live in anytime period I would have to say the 1920’s… I love the music, the flappers, the REAL gangsters and the idea of speakeasies….I’m gonna have to blame my dad for this one… As an old movie fanatic he had me watch the movie Bugsy Malone when I was younger. If you have seen it ( I demand you check it out), its a movie about the 1920’s with all children actors, its adorable and you’ll be humming the musical numbers for days and in your sleep.

    -Kiersten

    P.S. The Lady of Bolton Hill looks great!

  21. karenk June 15th, 2011 3:33 pm

    i would enjoy living in the 50s w/ lucy and ricky ricardo and the cleavers as my neighbors…great question

  22. Katelyn June 15th, 2011 8:13 pm

    I would go back to the 40’s since it’s the period that interests me the most. (Plus I might get to understand my grandparents finally)

  23. Katelyn June 15th, 2011 8:14 pm

    P.S. Just started watching North and south before I read this blog! Also LOVE downton abbey ;) the book’s sure to be great!

  24. bookwyrm14 June 16th, 2011 8:55 am

    Oh by the way, don’t enter me in the draw, I already have Lady of Bolton Hill.

  25. Joy June 16th, 2011 8:15 pm

    Victorian Age–especially in England! Lori Wick wrote a series set in the Victorian Age called the Kensington Chronicles. When I read that series I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt-That WAS My Era! The clothes, the romance, the adventures! Love it all! Sometimes I think God should have put me in that era, and then I remember the toilet paper and shower issues and I’m content again.

  26. Amy June 16th, 2011 10:45 pm

    I would live in Georgia in the early 1800’s, and Scarlet O’Hara would be my neighbor. How fun would that be? Love, love the book cover, by the way!

  27. Katie P. June 17th, 2011 2:44 pm

    I’d want to live in the Medieval time period. So many people have told me that it was (and I quote): “A horrible, dirty, DARK time period!”
    I’d just want to prove them wrong, and see if it really was a nice, princess-y time period! :)

  28. sarah June 17th, 2011 4:26 pm

    If I could live in any time period I think I’d like to live in Biblical times. I’d want to live then b/c then I could have a chance of actually seeing Jesus w/ my own eyes, plus I’ve read about those times in History class I would be able to live in ancient Rome. I’ve always been interested in Rome.

  29. Katherine June 19th, 2011 11:18 pm

    I think I would like to live in the 40s- for the music!! and the fashion. I would love to win this book!

  30. Megan June 20th, 2011 12:01 pm

    I would like to live in 1800s. I would love to experience wearing a hoop skirt and living with out modern conveniences.

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