Another interview with an awesome author???
I would like to welcome Elizabeth Camden to Cover to Cover and Everything In Between!!!
Along with this awesome interview, I am also hosting a giveaway! A funny thing about this giveaway is that you can choose what book you win! (More details below.)
I hope you all enjoy reading this interview, as much as I did writing it with Elizabeth. She is an awesome author!
Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for doing this with me! I have really enjoyed chatting with you through email and learning more about you and your books. I hope you have had as much of a good time as I did!
If you have any questions or comments, please contact me by messaging me or commenting on this post.
Elizabeth Camden is a research librarian at a small college in central Florida. Her novels have won the coveted RITA and Christy Awards. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband near Orlando, Florida.
- First of all, when did your love for writing begin? What made you write novels in the inspirational, romance genre?
I devour all kinds of novels and nonfiction, but have always loved powerful, emotionally turbulent love stories that leave you smiling at the end. I didn’t want to write graphic love scenes, and I generally have an optimistic outlook on life, so this was a natural fit for the inspirational genre.
- Your characters are very intriguing and have different personalities. Do you have a favorite character (Mine is Bane from Against the Tide!) and are any of your characters based off of someone you know/knew/heard of?
I think the trick to an intriguing character is to combine a fantastic talent (being able to speak six languages, a math genius, charm that propels a man into congress, etc.) with a howling vulnerability. The contrast of strength and vulnerability adds a lot of layers to explore, and tends to make the characters unpredictable. My favorite character to date is Trevor from With Every Breath. The reader learns on the first page that this guy is absolutely brilliant, but he is cold, awkward, and difficult. Over the course of the novel I unveil WHY he is this way and how it all stems from a terrible and tragic history. Given what Trevor has chosen to do with his life, I think Trevor is by far my most complex, admirable, and heroic character….even though the reader wants to strangle him sometimes.
- I know that I personally love hearing about book covers. What do you think of yours? Do you have any say in what the cover looks like? Do you have a favorite?
So many factors go into the cover design, and like most authors, I don’t get much influence. The covers are created by marketing professionals who understand what it takes to convey a huge amount of information in less than a second. Think about the last time you were standing before a rack of books for sale….your eyes usually glide across them with less than a second for each cover unless something snags your attention. So in that second, the artist needs to convey the genre, the setting, and the overall tone (sweet, stormy, funny, scary.) The cover needs to look good on the physical book, but also on a tiny thumbnail image for the folks who are shopping on Amazon with their cell phone. So covers are a challenge, and the marketing department is usually much better at juggling all those factors.
My favorite cover to date is for my upcoming release, To the Farthest Shores. The cover perfectly captures the vibe of the novel, which is a turbulent love story set in dangerous times but with a hint of radiant optimism. I absolutely love it.
- Because you have a masters in history, do you have a favorite time period to research and why?
My books are all set during gilded age America, a time just beginning to see professional women entering the workforce, so this gives me the opportunity to play around with some great storylines. Lydia from Against the Tide is a translator. Mollie from Into the Whirlwind is a watchmaker. The heroine from my upcoming book is a nurse. Other professions I’ve featured are research scientist, journalist, librarian, botanical illustrator, and in late 2017 a woman who is a wizard with Morse code and works as a telegraph operator. These professions might run contrary to what readers expect to see in a historical novel, but we know from historical records that women participated in all of these professions. Typical? Perhaps not, but typical heroines tend to be dull!
- As a research librarian what is the most bizarre thing you have had to research.
I am a business librarian, so I get to do really cool and practical research. A handful of recent questions were how a fruit-packing company can capitalize on peach and cherry pits, how to market Italian gelato to an American audience, how American-style retirement communities can be rolled out in Mexico, and what are the international standards for SPF in suntan lotion. Every time I get one of these questions I am usually stumped for about five minutes, terrified I have finally met my match. Then I roll up my sleeves and get to work. I rarely know the answer to the questions I’m asked, but I know how to break the topic down and start hunting down the leads. It is a fascinating career.
My work in a college library is great because I am surrounded by people who trigger my writer’s imagination. What a conglomeration of crazy dreamers, artists, activists, lost souls, socially awkward professors…… I suppose it is a microcosm of the real world, but I get a front row seat to interact with some amazing people. I get to meet some of the most interesting people in the world, and some of the oddest as well. On any given day it is pretty easy to find inspiration merely by looking outside my office door.
- Lydia, in Against the Tide, is fluent in many different languages. Do you speak or read in any other language?
Just a little French and Spanish, but I’ve always been impressed by people who can master languages. That’s why I created Lydia, who works as a translator. Translators are attractive as lead characters because they have a unique point of access into another culture, and other characters depend on them to open that door. In Against the Tide the hero is in desperate need of someone to quickly learn an ancient Greek dialect in order to gain the upper hand over the villain. This puts the hero at Lydia’s mercy, as she is simply the only person who can help him. Women of the 19th century were rarely in positions of power, but Lydia’s language skills make her a sought-after asset.
- What is your favorite part about being an author and have you traveled to the settings of your books?
I enjoy the initial research. I usually start with a barebones idea, such as how people survived the Chicago fire or what would happen if a mild-mannered translator got trapped in the house of a madman (Into the Whirlwind and Against the Tide.) I’ll take months to read history books and memoirs about the era, and as I read, ideas start percolating up. This initial brainstorming is terrific fun. Then comes the writing, which is a lot harder!
I’ve been to all the cities I write about, but my most useful research usually comes from tourist guides written around the turn of the century. So much as changed in the modern era that I can never assume a certain bridge or museum existed. The tourist guides are great because not only do they have street maps, they include things like the price of a streetcar ticket, places to shop, good hotels, etc.
Thanks for asking me onto your website, Haley…you ask terrific questions!
What book by Elizabeth Camden would you want to win? Lady of Bolton Hill, Against the Tide, The Rose of Winslow Street, Into the Whirlwind With Every Breath, Until the Dawn, or From This Moment? Guess what? The winner of this giveaway can choose any of these books by Elizabeth Camden!!! Is that awesome or what?!