Sunday, March 21, 2010

author interview: gwyn cready

Gwyn Cready, the author of the hot new book Flirting with Forever, was gracious enough to take the time to answer a few questions.

Did you do much research on the 17th century for Flirting with Forever?

Hi, Nicole. Let me start by saying thank you for having me over to your blog today. I do do quite a bit of research--nothing by academic standards, of course--but probably a decent amount for fiction. I've always been a bit of a Britophile and I'd studied a lot of England's history in high school and college. I was an English lit major and my area was 19th century British fiction like Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen, Wilkie Collins and George Eliot. I've traveled extensively in England and Scotland, and let's not forget the countless hours of movies and TV mini-series I've watched that take place in England in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries (note the winces on the faces of real researchers at this point.) Throw in the hundreds and hundreds of popular novels I've read set in England and Scotland like those of Dorothy L.Sayers, Patrick O'Brian, Ian Rankin, Elizabeth George, John Le Carre and Colin Dexter among others, and you end up with a pretty decent background in all things British.

The book that changed everything for me was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I'd never read a romance before Outlander, and let me tell you, that's a darned fine one to start with. After Outlander, I found myself (unsurprisingly) fascinated with the early 18th century and that's where I decided to set my first manuscript, which was a sweeping historical set in the borderlands of England and Scotland. You haven't seen it. It's never been published, but it scored me my agent Claudia Cross. When that one didn't sell, she encouraged me to write a second. Knowing I wanted to write something faster, I switched to a contemporary setting, but not wanting to lose all that fine research I'd done, I decided my heroine should time travel.

I love the idea of “fictographies” of famous artists. How’d you come up with the idea?

Reading Tracy Chevalier's wonderful Girl with a Pearl Earring. Chevalier made no bones about the fact that very little is known about Vermeer's life and she was essentially making up the story of how that painting came to be. I could just imagine Vermeer up in heaven, sitting in the bathtub with a copy of the book in his hand saying, "What the...?" The idea amused me, so from there, it was an easy jump to Sir Peter Lely storming down from the Great Beyond to stop Cam Stratford from exposing his secrets in her sexy, tell-all "fictography." Watch out, Tracy. Vermeer may be on his way.

Shoes played a big role in your first book (Tumbling Through Time) and all your book covers feature great pairs. Who’s your favorite shoe designer?

On a day-to-day, I'm more of a comfort gal, but I do keep a nice supply of, well, there is an impolite name for them but perhaps I'll just say, "Admire-me" shoes. They are generally reserved for sitting (or lying) down, however. I like suede, ruffles and architectural details, so I'm fond of Nine West, Steve Madden, and Elizabeth and James, and I don't discount the design power of Payless, either. In fact, I just got two pairs of slouch sandals there that are too cool for school. I hope to debut them during the Flirting with Forever Beetle-Mania Tour in April. My absolute favorite pair of dressy shoes, however, are hot pink suede wedge sling-back, peep-toe sandals made by a company called Bronx. They're the ones I wore when I won the RITA Award :)

What book (your own or someone else’s) has had the most impact on your life?

I've loved many, many books, but there have been only two that I could truthfully say changed my life: Outlander made me want to become a writer, and Motherless Daughters helped me understand how the experience of losing my mother at age 11 made me who I am.

What’s up next for you?

Well, I just turned in book #4, Aching for Always, which comes out in the fall, and I'm hard at work on book #5, which is a contemporary but not a time travel. I'll give you a hint. It involves a book snob who thinks romances are the literary equivalent of Word Search puzzles--until she picks up a romance about a time-traveling woman who ends up in the arms of the most honorable and heroic Highland warrior who ever lived and discovers there's a romance addict in all of us. Ha!

Speaking of shoes, I encourage your readers to come to before April 8 to enter the best shoe contest ever. One lucky entrant will win a pair of Michael Kors zebra-striped shoes ($165 value), very close to the ones on the cover of Flirting with Forever.

Thank you, Nicole!

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