AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: BEVERLEY OAKLEY
Beverley, welcome to Joyfully Reviewed. We would love for you to let us into your writing world…
Tell us a little about Lady Lovett’s Little Dilemma, what inspired you to write Lady Lovett’s Little Dilemma?
I was feeling in the mood for a beta hero as my previous book – Rake’s Honour – had the most alpha of any hero I’d written. The idea had been running round in my head about writing a story featuring a perfectly matched, loving, married couple but I’d have difficulty thinking up a source of marital conflict 200 years ago.
Then I thought of juxtaposing a very modern day concern: infertility and what that means for couples desperate to have a child together, today. I decided that, 200 years ago, it must be the inability to limit one’s family – especially for couples who adored jumping between the sheets together.
And so my sweet, faithful heroine Cressida withdraws emotionally as she has not been brought up with the vocabulary or knowledge of sexual matters to have the conversation with her husband. When she sets off on her discovery as to how she can make love to her husband without conceiving seemingly every time, she gets caught up in a 20-year-old puzzle regarding the origins of a young woman about to be unhappily wed. That, and the identity of her mystery benefactress, are sources of pain and triumph.
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
My process has definitely changed. It actually took me 23 years to get published in romance fiction. Drowning my heroine on the last page of my first book wasn’t a good start. (I then became a journalist.) These days I start with a set-up, allow my characters to develop which in turn sends the plot into unexpected and exciting directions. Then, at the half way point, I do some serious brainstorming so I know what the ending is. This makes it easier to get there without the complicated convolutions which used to involve me rewriting the second half of my books three times.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
My first three books were Regency Romantic Intrigues which had loads of mystery, suspense and sexual tension but no sex. However I had an idea for a story which was a real Regency romp – in all senses – with a very randy rake who needed hoisting on his own petard. It was far too wicked for my publisher, Robert Hale, so it became Rake’s Honour published by Total-E-Bound, who has published three of my erotic historicals. Momentum and Ellora’s Cave are publishing my next two in January 2013.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
Fanny Brightwell, the (justifiably) scheming, desperate heroine of Rake’s Honour.I based her on William Makepeace Thackeray’s anti-heroine Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair, one of my favorite books of all time. Fanny is a bold, clever piece of work and I love the way she makes the rakish hero, Fenton, absolutely grovel. I also love the fact that a number of reviewers have said they laughed out loud at the unexpected ending.
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
I think it’s probably my scheming villainess in A Little Deception, my latest book under my Beverley Eikli name. I totally adore writing a villain the reader can really love to hate but who is very human and reminds us of our own failings. When the book was first published I didn’t give her the “reward” she deserved, so when I got the rights back several months ago I was able to rewrite her. It obviously worked because quite a few reviews make mention of the beautiful, greedy Helena who is the nemesis of my clever, determined heroine, Rose. So Helena obviously stands out.
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
My historicals are all complete fiction but my work in progress is an interesting departure as its set in the country of my birth – the African mountain kingdom of Lesotho – during the final years of Colonialism. My father was a district commissioner in the remote highlands and he prosecuted cases of medicine murder and illegal diamond trading, which is what my romantic thriller is all about.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Snatching time to write between being a good mother, wife, daughter and friend. My daughters are 7 and 11 and my husband, a long-haul pilot, is often away. Routine has never featured in my life – I’ve lived in more than 12 countries – so I’m used to grabbing opportunities when I can. I do most of my writing when my husband is away.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
I wasn’t able to walk until I was 7 and developed great upper body strength from dragging myself around for years in a series of waist-to-ankle body plasters and harnesses. Also, I met my husband, a handsome Norwegian bush pilot, around a campfire in Botswana the night before I was due to return home to marry my boyfriend of 8 years.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Too many to name but I find it fun to operate on a rewards-based system. Write 2000 words in a day and I can reward myself with a glass of wine (or two).
What TV Show are you addicted to?
Lillyhammer starring Steven van Zandt. My husband went to university inLillehammer where the 1994 Winter Olympics were held and the series is set. We love recognizing favorite haunts.
What do you need before you start writing? Anything that is just a must have or the creative juices don’t flow?
Time! That’s provided I’ve tossed my MacBook Air into my handbag and there are a few minutes I can utilize. I brainstorm on my feet so that I can blitz the keyboard the moment I sit down.
Does music influence your writing? If so, do any of your stories have a theme song?
I prefer total silence. My most productive time is in the morning before the household is awake.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Keira Knightly would play Lady Lovett and Ryan Gosling would play her husband, Tristan.
Where were you when you got your first contract? Who did you tell first?
I was at home while my husband was away, flying, when I got a rejection with 2 pages of suggestions and an invitation to resubmit. I was so excited I taped it onto the back of the front door so that when he returned at 2am he couldn’t help seeing it – and the note directing him to wake me up!
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
I was 12 when I read Wuthering Heights. After that I devoured all the romantic classics before starting on current authors writing historicals. Karleen Koen’s eighteenth century Though A Glass Darkly had a huge influence on me.
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
If you still have one of those pesky non writing jobs what is it?
I don’t, but I did my romance author apprenticeship operating the computer equipment in the back of low flying aircraft on long contracts in French Guiana and Greenland.
Do you have a favorite movie you have seen in the last few months and/or an all time favorite?
Gone with the Wind and Bridget Jones’s Diary are huge favorites.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I’m working on Book Two in my erotic Regency series for Ellora’s Cave. Her Gilded Prison is the first book and the story follows the lives of Viscount Partington and his lovely, unloved wife and two daughters and his illegitimate son and daughter. It’s really Downton Abbey with sex set during the Regency.
If you could co-write with another author who would it be?
It would totally depend on what type of book I felt like writing. I love romance mixed with either mystery, suspense or intrigue – or all three.
How do you pick your characters’ names?
My hobby as a 12-year-old has stood me in good stead. I used to collate lists of names from gravestones. Now I mix and match these.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
I have just as much fun writing both.
Where can readers find you?
Buy book: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?P_ID=1718&strPageHistory=related
Amazon Profile: http://www.amazon.com/Beverley-Eikli/e/B0034Q44E0/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
And for the silly side – What is your favorite type of chocolate?