Please help me welcoming the wonderful Isobel Carr. Isobel, I’m so excited to have you here. I’ve read all your books and can’t wait for this one. Your historic detail is wonderful. (applause)
Isobel: Thanks for having me! And I’m so glad you appreciate the historical details. I’m a huge history buff and layering that stuff is part of the joy of writing historical novels.
Ella: You had an interesting upbringing. Tell us about it.
Isobel: I have wonderful, hippie parents who were involved in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) almost from the beginning (Dad started in 1972, mom about a year later after meeting him). So I grew up as a historical re-enactor. There were always history books laying around the house, historical topics under discussion, and historical clothing under construction. As the hobby grew and matured, so did I, and so did my love for history and my drive to study it and get things right.
I also participated in the original Renaissance Faire in Northern California for thirty plus years, spending my early years as an English peasant and then the last fifteen or so in the Guild of St. Michael, which portrays Queen Elizabeth’s Landsknecht (German) guard. They were the only military known to take their wives, daughters, and sisters with them one the march (and they have the best clothes, being immune from the sumptuary laws of the era by the decree of the Emperor Maximilian).
Add into this parents who had no problem with us bringing home a baby raccoon, spending too much money on art supplies, and who let me have a horse, and you a pretty ideal, if offbeat, childhood. I may not always have been able to find MY parents, but there was always a responsible adult around somewhere if I needed one.
Ella: What drew you to write historicals and the Georgian period in particular?
Isobel: The SCA was partially founded by a bunch of science fiction and fantasy authors, so I grew up around writers (my godmother is a novelist, as was her husband and her mother). There just didn’t seem to be anything strange about being a writer. It wasn’t a fantasy career in my world, it was a pretty normal one. I mostly read historical fiction and science fiction/fantasy growing up, and I’ve pretty much always been a writer. I wrote a lot of SFF stories growing up and then transitioned to poetry in high school and college (went on to get an MFA in poetry). But along the way my godmother–bless her–introduced me to Georgette Heyer. After grad school, I decided to try my hand at a novel, and the story that came out of me was essentially Heyer fan-fic, LOL! Once I’d begun reading what was being published though (Amanda Quick, Julia Quinn, Stephanie Laurens), it was obvious that what I was writing was not what the market was buying, so I tore it apart and transformed it into a modern-style romance.
Ella: I love the clothing in your books. Please tell us a little about it.
Isobel: The selection of my books’ setting was very deliberate. I’ve always loved the eighteenth century (the clothes, the hair, the history, the personalities), but I also knew I wanted to be in an era when younger men had mostly ceased wearing wigs and were more likely to be seen with just their own hair. That meant the END of the century. So 1780s it was! As a bonus, there are all kinds of amazing things happening historically, socially, scientifically. It’s an era of innovation and change.
Ella: You’re promoting you latest release Ripe For Seduction. How did you first get the idea for this book?
Isobel: In Ripe for Scandal, I do a very bad thing to one of the secondary characters. I knew if I didn’t go back and fix her life, readers would never forgive me. When I was mulling over just how to do that in the next book, it occurred to me that there were two things in my mental vault of ideas that dovetailed nicely with her story: The insane bet in the non-fiction book Round Ireland with a Fridge [the bet he makes drunk is for less than the cost of buying the mini-fridge he then has to hitchhike around Ireland with] and the story of a very indecent proposal made to a widow in the mid-eighteenth century and her wonderful method of extracting retribution [she used his letter to blackmail him into a false engagement and then tortured him until he’d groveled enough for her break it off]. It all just sort of clicked into place.
Without more to do, let’s get to Isobel’s newest book Ripe for Scandal.
Starred review from PW: “Carr is sure to balance her characters’ roguish antics with genuine heart, making the double love story a delightful and erotic page-turner.”
After the scandalous demise of her marriage, Lady Olivia Carlow knows the rakes of the ton will think her fair game. So when a letter arrives bearing an indecent offer from the incorrigible Roland Devere, she seizes the opportunity. Turning the tables on the notorious rogue, she blackmails him into playing her betrothed for the season. But no matter how broad his shoulders or chiseled his features, she will never fall prey to his suave charm.
When Roland boasted he’d be the first into Lady Olivia’s bed, he couldn’t have imagined that behind those brilliant blue eyes lurked a vixen with a scheme of her own. Still, Roland is not about to abandon his original wager. If anything, learning that the lovely Olivia is as bold as she is beautiful makes him more determined to seduce her into never saying “never” again.
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