Monday, August 7, 2006

The Book Bitches interview with Liz Carlyle

Liz, I have to mention that, at first, I couldn’t find any basic information about you, like where you live: big mansion, huge mansion?—what some of your favorite things are, i.e. shoes, bags?—what you binge on while on a deadline and so on. I swear I’m not a stalker or an ax murderer! LOL I was only doing a research to prepare for the interview. (Besides, there’s no chance I can wield an ax while still looking pretty and, really, all that blood will surely ruin some of my nice shoes. :/) Then Trollop asked why I was looking for info about you in the first place if that’s the exact reason why we’re conducting the interview to begin with! I guess, um, *grumble* in a way, she’s right. (Ugh, I swear I will not hear the end of this!)


We live in a very traditional house—colonial, brick, white trim, very dull—in Cary, North Carolina. We have a weekend house near the Blue Ridge, but we’re too overworked to go there. We share our home with four felines; three feral cats plus one frat boy, and my husband and I live to serve them. I’m very cheap—lots of Scots blood and coupon-clipping in my family—but I admit to an addiction to Brahmin handbags. It’s a leather fetish, I think. I used to love Mark Cross, but they folded. So I fell in love with Coach, but they went all weird and fabric-y on me. All my bags are black. I line them up in their little sleeper bags on my closet shelf and just look at them. I don’t actually carry them. I can’t binge much at my age, but if I’m really depressed, I’ll eat a whole pint of Haagen Dazs peanut butter and chocolate ice cream.


Oh, I lub Haagen Dazs dulce de leche and strawberry cheesecake. And, that thing with lining your handbags and just looking at them, I do that too sometimes. They just look so pretty!

Er, moving on to the important things—*you*—let me please congratulate you on your big success and your well deserved RITA Award. *smile* Over the years, you have become a very popular author in the romance genre. You write such beautiful stories with characters romance lovers like me dream about. (Aleric, oh that devil... he makes my toes curl. *sigh*) One of the few things I did find about you is that you study European history as a hobby. How important of a role did it play on you being a historical author now?


It played quite a large role, actually. I decided on a whim to write a book, but I had only a few weeks of free time, so I had to write what I knew, rather than spend a lot of time on research. 19th Century England seemed like perfect novel-fodder to me. It still does.


How has your writing evolved since you wrote your first novel? Where do you see it going now that romance novels are delving into more erotic grounds or into the “chic lit” genre?


The market has forced me to write shorter, faster-paced books, which means less space for character development and for the darker, slightly suspenseful plots which I tend to favor. I still struggle with that change, but as my editor is fond of pointing out, my longer, more complex novels simply did not sell. End of story, unfortunately. As to trends, I think my historicals are hot enough as it is, and I don’t think I could write chick lit if my life depended on it. I was born, my husband says, in the 19th Century. He may be right. I won’t be following any trends, but I will most likely begin edging into the Victorian era soon—not exactly a crowded field.


So, is there a favorite amongst your stories? Favorite hero and heroine, etc? A story that you had the most fun with, or the most difficult time, or derived the most satisfaction writing?


I do have a particular fondness for Cole Amherst, hero in A Woman Scorned. He was blonde, and a little beta—and he wore glasses! But he struck a cord with me.

I had a terrible time writing
No True Gentleman. Although I’d never had a headache in my life, I began to suffer from severe estrogen-related migraines, and every day I worked on that book, my head pounded. Often I would throw up from the pain. But I was on deadline. I had no choice but to write. I still remember thinking that if I survived it, I would never forget what it felt like, and be grateful for my good health. In the end, however, I was extremely proud of that book. Of all my works, NTG is probably the most representative of me, and of what I like to read and to write. It must be true that that which does not kill us makes us stronger.


I think it’s true. I mean, I think of the same thing everytime Trollop and I almost kill each other. :/


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26 comment(s):

Blogger HOTMAMA said...

Hi Liz!
Cary, NC you say? Oh goody, we just bought a home there and will be moving next spring...time to stalk.lol

I'm sorry your editor said that about what kind of books sell. One thing that drew me to keep reading your books was the depth to your characters, especially the heroes, the wonderful regency dialogue....well, I think these editors are doing a disservice to readers. I've noticed this trend recently with other great authors, and wondered why, shorter, faster-paced, but oftentimes, something seems to be missing. There's just not enough to the stories?

I hope you'll stay true to the way you feel your stories should be written.

Thanks for sharing your talent with us!

8/07/2006 10:29:00 AM  

Anonymous Linka said...

Yay, no chick-lit! And I love historical fiction and european history as well! It's so fascinating!

Great interview, Book Bs!

8/07/2006 11:08:00 AM  

Blogger Lola Lovegood said...

I'm feeling left out!

As soon as Daughter gets back from school, I'm leaving for the mall to get some of your books (though I try to be very controlled around the book bitches, too many great authors and books are recommended here and I can't go crazy buying everything they mention jajaj. Still, it sounds like Mrs. Carlyle is worth the trip ;-) )

8/07/2006 11:12:00 AM  

Blogger Petra said...

Hi Liz! Love your answers.

I agree with Hotmama about the trend editors are trying to set. I for one prefer the book longer especially if it means more character development. Why are they shortening it anyway? Sometimes I read a book and find myself asking "How did that happen?" Like the author rushed the book or something.

8/07/2006 11:14:00 AM  

Blogger Sherry said...

Don't feel bad Lola, I'm out of the loop on this one as well. I'm going to have to run out to B&N or 1/2 Price this afternoon.

Great interview.
*clap*clap*clap*

8/07/2006 11:32:00 AM  

Blogger Jordis said...

Lovely interview, Liz.

Sherry, I recommend The Devil to Pay. It's my favorite LC, not to mention she won a RITA Award for it. ;)

8/07/2006 11:39:00 AM  

Blogger Liz C. said...

Hi, everyone. Thank you for your kind comments. I don't know anything about blogs, not sure I am using this one correctly . . . but will try to answer any questions.

Welcome to NC, hotmama. You will love it here.

8/07/2006 12:02:00 PM  

Blogger Isabella said...

Ms. Carlyle! So glad you can join us! Ohhhhh, so excited. :D

I just want to say I love your books. And congratulations on your RITA Award!

My question is this: (I hope the BBs haven't asked this yet) What are your top 5 books? Or 10? :P

8/07/2006 12:11:00 PM  

Blogger Petra said...

Ms. Carlyle,

You're doing great. :) I'm new at blogging too. Actually now that I'm getting used to it, I find it addictive. LOL

Anyway, are you working on a new book? Could you please tell us what is it about? Thanks!

8/07/2006 12:35:00 PM  

Blogger C Bradshaw said...

Yay! Liz is here :D

Ladies, looking forward to the second part of the interview!

8/07/2006 12:45:00 PM  

Blogger Sherry said...

Thanks for the recommendation Jordis.

Hi Liz C.!

Congratulations on your RITA. I'm sorry to say that I haven't read any of your books yet, but I'm looking forward to getting acquainted and addicted to your books per the recommendations of our lovely hosts The Book Bitches and all of the other fabulous ladies here who are already enjoying your works.

I wish you well and may you have continued success.

8/07/2006 12:50:00 PM  

Blogger Ladybug said...

Hi Liz,

I haven't read any of your books as well. But not for long. I'll be getting The Devil to Pay on my next stop to the bookstore. Everyone seems to love it. :)

Love the interview!

8/07/2006 01:12:00 PM  

Blogger La Karibane said...

Ms Carlyle,

Interesting what you said about being sick writing NTG because that's the book that made me glom your backlist! I actually bought it because I read at AAR that the hero masturbates, LOL!

Yes, I'm a naughty girl...

8/07/2006 01:49:00 PM  

Blogger Lollie Rose said...

La Karibane LOL

Ms. Carlyle, your historicals are indeed hot! I love the Devil series but I think my favorite is A Woman of Virtue. David is so sexy, and I was really convinced that he truly loves Cecilia. I loved it.

Best,
Lollie Rose

8/07/2006 03:02:00 PM  

Anonymous die hure said...

I loved Devil to Pay. Aleric is to die for as you americans say :P

Will order other books when I get home later this evening.

8/07/2006 03:37:00 PM  

Anonymous Anne with an e said...

Mrs. Carlyle I love your books and your witty sense of humor =)

I've always wanted to ask this of writers, especially since the WWW has become such an important part of everyone's life.

Do you feel that having a site where readers access and ask questions, give suggestions etc... has changed/affected your writing in any way? Or maybe the way you conduct your research?

Anne

8/07/2006 03:44:00 PM  

Anonymous lurker fan said...

I, like some of the other ladies, have yet ro read Mrs. Carlyle. I need to remedy that soon, don't I? haha

The Devil to Pay is the one that everyone seems to recommend. Should I start with that one? Will get to the B&N around my bus stop on my way home to buy it.

8/07/2006 03:47:00 PM  

Anonymous seven said...

Hi Liz *G*

I luuurve Aleric -deep sigh-

What are you working on now? Is it top secret or could you tell us a bit about it?

8/07/2006 04:00:00 PM  

Blogger Marg said...

If you haven't read any Liz Carlyly, she is definitely worth rushing out to buy!

It was interesting that you found No True Gentleman the hardest to write. It is my favourite LC book ever, although I do still have a ocuple more of the very early books to read.

8/07/2006 04:26:00 PM  

Blogger Liz C. said...

Hello, ladies. I will try to answer all questions here.

I am currently working on a new triology about a family of orphans who are shipped off to Barbados, and raised by an alcoholic uncle. They have a difficult childhood, but triumph financially in later life. The books begin when they relocate back to England, now wealthy and powerful. The first two characters (Xanthia Neville and her brother Kieran, Lord Rothewell) will be introduced in a short story called "After Midnight" which will be in Sabrina Jeffries' School for Heiresses anthology. You can look for it in bookstores around Christmas. Xanthia's book will be out in July 2007, I believe. No title as yet.

I don't have any site where I interact with readers. I do have a website, and I get lots of reader mail through that channel. I do periodically send out a bit of news on my reader loop, which readers can join at the website. That's about it for me.

My top ten books would be any books by Georgette Heyer! If I had time, I would read them over and over.

Thank you so much for your interest,
Liz

8/07/2006 04:51:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

I've yet to read Georgette Heyer. :/ (Oh, stop with the rotten tomatoes! Geesh.)

Anyway, Liz, i'm glad we're getting another trilogy. I do love series books.

For those who have yet to read LC, i highly recommend THE DEVIL TO PAY. Also another fave of mine A WOMAN OF VIRTUE.

8/07/2006 05:33:00 PM  

Blogger Isabella said...

Oh Yikes. I haven't read Georgette Heyer. I should be ashamed (like Harlot LOL).

8/07/2006 05:39:00 PM  

Blogger Lollie Rose said...

Marg, I loved No True Gentleman. For those of you who are going to get Liz's books, don't forget that one.

8/07/2006 05:53:00 PM  

Blogger C Bradshaw said...

Oh I've read one Georgette Heyer, The Devil's Cub. No sex in the book though. LOL But it's good. I recommend it to those who enjoy romance classics like Austen.

8/07/2006 07:04:00 PM  

Anonymous Tinker Bell said...

Ms. Carlyle, congrats on your most well deserved RITA.

Lovely interview, BBs!

8/07/2006 09:06:00 PM  

Blogger Serendipity said...

I love, LOVE Haagen Daz's pineapple coconut everytime I am pregnant. Or breastfeeding. But since I am not going to be pregnant again (unless it's a real miracle in which I might be carrying a Messiah), I probably won't like this flavor now.

I have to go look for another one...but truly, pineapple coconut is just perfect!

8/11/2006 12:15:00 AM