June 23, 2016

Of Corsets and Eloisas

If you’ve been reading my blog you’ll know I’m a huge Eloisa James fan girl. In fact, she’s the reason I began writing romance! I read her Potent Pleasures and I was hooked for life. After reading Eloisa, I printed out a list of the top 100 romances and went on a buying binge at Powell’s Books purchasing classics from Loretta Chase, Laura Kinsale, Judith Ivory, Julia Quinn, Mary Balogh, Beverly Jenkins, Judith McNaught, Lorraine Heath, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Teresa Medeiros,  etc. (of course this was pre-Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Courtney Milan, Sherry Thomas, and Meredith Duran ?).

I inhaled the classics and then I very bravely (and very foolishly) decided to write my own historical romance. Let’s just say that first attempt was less than successful. The hero and heroine didn’t even meet until page 100! He was a bad boy opium trader and she was a squeaky clean missionary’s daughter in 1860’s Shanghai. This book was SO BAD. And I mean awful. My critique partner at the time couldn’t understand how I could give excellent critiques of her work, yet still produce such purple splendor.  Of course she didn’t tell me that until years later, bless her tactful heart ?.

It’s taken years of hard work to find my voice and develop the craft of writing and I know I still have so much to learn. Every day as I’m writing I think about my favorite authors and how they’ve touched my heart and lifted my spirits. I still re-read the books that inspired me to become a writer.

Recently, I re-read the Essex Sisters series by Eloisa and tumbled into love all over again. This piece for the awesome Happy Ever After blog at USA Today explores one scene in particular from Pleasure for Pleasure involving a moonlit turret, several glasses of champagne, a handsome rake, and the corset from hell. It’s one of my very favorite scenes of all time and I think it’s a fitting metaphor for the fizzy-champagne-first-kiss-corset-loosening pleasure that reading romance novels gives us.



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