Tuesday, August 7, 2012

RWA Librarian's Day, Panel: Focus on Historical Romance

Focus on Historical Romance

Left to Right: RWA's Stefani Fry, Suzanne Enoch, Julia London, Sabrina Jefferies, and Karen Hawkins.

This was the second panel of the day. Four well-known historical authors came to talk about the genre. Again, I did my best to transcribe, but these ladies were having a great time so there was a lot of laughter and Julia London's voice didn't project as well as the others. Please comment with questions.

Stefani from RWA was the moderator and to kick things off, she asked the speakers about their upcoming works.

Suzanne Enoch: Next book in Scandalous Brides series (women who've opened gentleman's club in London). Talking about cover art.

Julia London: Last Debutante comes out in Feb.

Sabrina Jeffries: Next book out in October.

Karen Hawkins: September. More of a romantic comedy.

Why historical in particular, why romance?

Suzanne: Big reader, read Anne McCaffrey as a youngin'. She started writing regency romance. "Even though it's only a ten year period, there's nothing like it." There are a lot of more dukes in romances than in reall life. As long as no one does census, we'll be alright

Julia: Also big reader. Didn't really think about genre right away. Judith McNaught.

Sabrina: When in college, she hated history. Nothing about how people lived. Really interested in social history, rather than dry dates & times. Interested in how women lived. Started out with Barbara Cartland. For her, it was always about the romance.

Karen: Used to visit Grandma every Sunday, in order to pass time, she'd beg her family to let her go to library. Georgette Heyer. Read Anne McCaffrey, always like bks with romantic element the best. Loved the historical trappings (dress, etc).

Sabrina: Compares the regency era to the sixties. Much looser, morally speaking, than the following Victorian era.

What do readers say they love about your books and what do they hate about them?

Karen: People didn't like the humor.

Sabrina: Addresses misconception that all historical readers are alike. You can't hand a historical to any historical reader & expect them to like it. Very compartmentalized. Readers take it personally when authors jump time periods. People who are looking for Georgette Heyer and find the bedroom door is wide open. [She's] writing about the exception, not the rule.

Suzanne: She hears about historical inaccuracies. "After a while, I think readers get their knowledge from the romances they read and take it as fact." Frustrating because they are fiction writers.

Sabrina: Rules for formal writing has always been different from conversational  speech. No way to know exactly how people spoke back them, short of time travel.

How strictly do they adhere to historical accuracy?

Sabrina: Use it as a baseline.  Depends on audience. Some people can't read historical inaccuracies because it throws them out of the story. Thinks her readers want the drama over the factual setting.

Julia: Use it for color.

Karen: Glossy version of heroines to make it an entertaining story. Doesn't put in certain facts to keep it enjoyable (sabrina: like the fact no one shaved their legs)

The last question was "who are your must-read authors?" but I was unable to catch anything except for Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels. Georgette Heyer was referenced frequently throughout the panel, though.

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