Onirik : You have only recently been published and success is apparently instantaneous. But have you been writing for a long time and what induced you to write ?
Elizabeth Hoyt : I started writing at the age of 35—I just turned 42, so I’ve been writing for seven years. Before that I stayed home to take care of my two children. I decided to try writing when my youngest child entered kindergarten and I realized that I would soon have to get a paying job ! Of course, writing didn’t actually pay for another five years when I signed my first contract.
Onirik : As I have just said, you have written three novels but your books already show the great skill one can expect from authors with a big bibliography. How do you account for such ease ?
Elizabeth Hoyt : Why, thank you ! That is quite a compliment. I’ve always read voraciously, and I think that helps a great deal in writing, but I think that most good writers have a natural storytelling talent—they know instinctively how to shape the story.
Onirik : You have chosen Georgian times for your first series. Is it a special period for you ? Do you intend to go on with this period ?
Elizabeth Hoyt : I do intend to continue writing in the Georgian time period, but I’m open to moving to a different time period in the future—I think the Edwardian era is very interesting, and if I could, I wouldn’t mind writing a medieval or Elizabethian romance some day. But I do love the Georgian time period and I think it’s because of the old Hollywood swashbuckling movies I saw on TV as a child. I’m thinking of Scaramouche and The Scarlet Pimpernel. It always seemed like a very romantic time period to me—the ladies in their big, elegant skirts, the gentlemen in hose and carrying swords. And I still think it very romantic ! ;-)
Onirik : All your novels are linked by a sort of common theme : a fairy tale superposes on the main plot and is told by one of the main characters. Where does this smashing idea come from ? Are you keen on fairy tales ? Have you written any ?
Elizabeth Hoyt : I’ve always loved fairy tales and myths. When I was a child, one of my most treasured books was The Wonder Clock by Howard Pyle. It’s a collection of Victorian fairytales—one for each hour of the clock—accompanied by Pyle’s Pre-Raphaelite engravings. Terribly romantic ! I think it was natural, then, that when I wrote my first book I wove a fairy tale into the main narrative. I do write all the fairytales in my books, although they are obviously based on other well-known fairytales—The Raven Prince, for instance, is a variation of the myth of Psyche and Cupid. And I’ve continued the fairytales in my upcoming books, including May’s To Taste Temptation.
Onirik : All the stories you relate are turbulent and impassioned with often heightened feelings. You do not hesitate to expose your heroes to violent or extreme situations. ( for instance, Simon Iddesleigh plays with death ). Do you regard this as utterly essential to carry the reader
Elizabeth Hoyt : Yes. As a reader, I want to read about the extremes of emotion—heart-wrenching loss, love so powerful the characters are willing to die for it, and even a man so bent on a terrible revenge that his soul is imperilled. If I don’t want to read about ordinary emotion, why would I write it ?
Onirik : Your plots are both very classical : they take up again the usual themes of romance (a baddie wants to harm the hero, a couple who is poles apart at the start…) and very modern. Are you trying to renew this literary genre ?
Elizabeth Hoyt : LOL ! I don’t know about renew. I write the stories that I myself would like to read.
Onirik : Another important element in your novels is the very sensual and even slightly erotic scenes between the heroes and heroines. Besides, they are particularly well-polished and good. Do you think they are absolutely necessary for your novels to be successful ?
Elizabeth Hoyt : I don’t know if the sensuality of the books is necessary for success, but I do think it helps. I’m always curious when I’m reading a book and the author closes the door on the bedroom. How did the lovemaking turn out ? Yes, it’s a romance, so presumably everyone is happy, but how a person makes love reveals so much about their character ! Is the heroine shy—or so eager she surprises the hero ? Does the hero have the control for lots of foreplay (and is he adept at foreplay ?) or is he so worked up that he can’t hold out for long ? These are questions I want answered, and I think my readers do, too.
Onirik : Your novels are excellent pieces of writing and plot buildings but you also unexpectedly add a kind of discreet irony and a touch of humour. Is it a veiled message to the viewer or some lightness in a tense context ?
Elizabeth Hoyt : I think it would be hard for me to write a book entirely without humor. I just find so much in life to be amusing or ironic. Sometimes, in fact, I have to tone down the humor—I have to remember that I’m writing a serious scene and the hero shouldn’t be slipping on a banana peel in the middle of it.
Onirik : Your next series should be released next spring. Could you give us some information about this new story ?
Elizabeth Hoyt : Yes ! I’m starting a new four-book series with my next book about the veterans of the French and Indian War in America (that’s what we call the war here—in Great Britain it’s the Seven Years’ War and I’m sure it has an entirely different name in France !) Anyway the heroes of the books all belonged to a tragic regiment that was ambushed and nearly destroyed. The first book is To Taste Temptation and this is the back blurb :
EVEN THE MOST REFINED LADY
Lady Emeline Gordon is the model of sophistication in London’s elite social circles, always fashionable and flawlessly appropriate. As such, she is the perfect chaperone for Rebecca, the young sister of a successful Boston businessman and former Colonial soldier.
CRAVES AN UNTAMED MAN
Samuel Hartley may be wealthy, but his manners are as uncivilized as the American wilderness he was raised in. Who wears moccasins to a grand ball ? His arrogant disregard for propriety infuriates Emeline, even as his boldness excites her.
TO RELEASE HER PASSION…
But beneath Samuel’s rakish manner, he is haunted by tragedy. He has come to London to settle a score, not to fall in love. And as desperately as Emeline longs to feel this shameless man’s hands upon her, to taste those same lips he uses to tease her, she must restrain herself. She is not free. But some things are beyond a lady’s control…
I have an excerpt up on my website if you’d like to look : www.elizabethhoyt.com
Onirik : None of your books has yet been translated into French and I hope that this interview will be an incentive to do it ! But do you know if it has already been planned ?
Elizabeth Hoyt : I’m happy to report that The Raven Prince will be published in French by Editions J’ai Lu in spring 2009.