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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mayhem and Mischief with Claudia Dain

Happy Thursday!

PhotobucketI happened to stumble upon Claudia Dain in the library and then again on the Internet, read a few excerpts, and I was hooked.  She has a way with her, and I can tell you, her characters can definitely misbehave, that's for sure.  Take the Courtesan's Daughter, for example. &nbssp; In this first book of Claudia's Courtesan Chronicles, Lady Caroline's mother was a courtesan before and married respectably to one of her clients before Caroline was born, so Caroline has all the right qualities for marriage, including a respectable dowry.  Well, Caroline feels like a social pariah and wonders if she just shouldn't follow into her mother's footsteps, so she tries to seduce her mother's lover while her mother is upstairs!  Talk about misbehaving!  If you think I told you a lot, that only takes you up to page 13!  How much more mischief Caroline will create before all is said and done?  You'll have to read the book to find out!

Claudia DainIf you read Claudia's bio on her website, you'll find that she enjoys writing the kissing scenes, needs to write like the fish need water and she loves the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Here I thought I was the odd one out! Wow, look at that. The more authors I interview and the more I learn about, the more I find out that I was destined to be an author. How can I say that? Well, like Claudia, I really enjoy writing the kissing scenes, writing is as essential to breathing for me and I have always loved Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Leave it to a man to completely misinterpret a book! The movie was based off of a spoof of the legend of the Sabine Women, called Them Sobbin' Women. Enough from me.

Now, I give you Claudia Dain!  Take it away Claudia!   

People always ask writers where they get their ideas, and writers always give the same answer: everywhere.
It’s a good answer, a true answer, even if it doesn’t really answer the question. A better question might be, “Why did you write this book?” That’s a question I can answer, though I don’t think my answer is true for every writer.

PhotobucketI write because I have something to say. It’s not that there’s this story that I simply had to tell. It’s that there is something that I want to say, something I feel passionately about, and I create a character and place her in a setting where I can say it.

Yes, that’s right. I start with the theme. Scary, huh? People get scared when they hear the word, all those deer-in-the-headlights moments from high school English, the teacher picking you out of the pack, piercing you with her laser stare, “Sue? What is the THEME of the novel?”

Come on, it’s not that bad. I’m not going to give you a quiz or anything. Perish the thought. The theme is merely what the author is trying to tell you, why this story is being told in the first place (yes, I used to be a high school English teacher…and I have the laser stare to prove it).

PhotobucketI don’t know why I start with theme; it’s certainly not by choice, but that’s how the story comes to me. First the passion, then the perfect setting to bury the seed of passion in, then the perfect hero and heroine to bring that passion to flower. And very last, dead and cold last, is plot. The plot, at least for me, is the last thing I think about. In fact, I never do think about it. I let the characters worry about the plot. It’s their life, after all, and they’re going to make choices that take them places and result in specific actions and consequences. I just keep my fingers on the computer keys and let it all play out under the glowing sun of my theme.

It’s very scary. I don’t like not knowing what’s going on. I’m the author. I should know! But I don’t. I hate admitting that, by the way. It’s embarrassing. Based on a very unscientific and informal survey (done without their knowledge or consent), most authors I know start with the setting and the plot, hand in hand, then create characters who will behave appropriately in that plot. I seem to create characters that behave inappropriately all over the place. It’s exhausting, but also exhilarating. But mostly exhausting.

How to Dazzle a Duke

So tell me, what do you think the theme is for How to Dazzle a Duke? There are no wrong answers, and there will not be a quiz. At least not today.

Thanks Claudia! While this may not be a quiz, there are prizes, so be sure and leave a comment today to enter your name into the drawing today!

16 Moonbeams (comments):

Kenzie Michaels said...

DArn it keep posting authors and soon my TBB list will be OUT of CONTROL again!

I'm trying to keep it under 100...and that number is rapidly approaching!

Claudia, I love your approach to writing! Heading over to your site to check out more...(grumbling good-naturedly about the list-growth...)

Kenzie Michaels said...

OOOOHHHH! You're on the Goddess Blog with Sabrina Jeffries? I've got to start reading that one again. When we switched ISP's last year, I lost several sites b/c I didn't bookmark them (head slap!) LOVE the jealous angle in Dazzle! Always ends up with a 'torn between two lovers'/unrequited love aspect, doesnt' it?

Pick me, pick me:)

Claudia Dain said...

Kenzie, the same thing has happened to me. If I forget to bookmark, the place slips out of my habit pattern. I love the ease of a bookmark!

You love my approach to writing? Ha. Easy to say when you're not living it. *G*

Tierney O'Malley said...

Yey! A new book to read.

I haven't read How to Dazzle a Duke. But since there won't be any quizzes at the end of the day, I will guess the theme. Girl Power. Heroine uses her wit and intelligence to dazzle the hero. If I will make a guess base on the mood, I'll say humor. (hehehe. terrible in quizzes)

When I write, I start with an idea and then I go from there. If someone asked me what my book is about, I always use the blurb or the premise. Now, you got me to thinking. It's really nice to be able to sum up the message of the book in one word or phrase.


Carrie said...

Hi *waving rapidly* to Kenzie and Tierney! It's always nice to see our regulars!

Hi *still waving rapidly* to Claudia! - Thanks for stopping by today and sharing your knowledge with us!

I hope you like the decor. It's a bit of regency mixed with the Roman decor from when Joan visited. The Roman decor belongs to Drake (since he did live through that era) and the Regency stuff comes from Brandon. It cost him a pretty penny to collect that stuff. I ought to know, Drake is always bragging about how much Brandon paid him for the pieces!

Please, find a chair, grab a drink, sit back and relax because the party is just getting started!

Claudia Dain said...

Carrie, it's gorgeous! And thank you for the great intro. I think you made me sound more interesting than I really am. But I'll take it!

Claudia Dain said...

Tierney, the mood is definitely light and funny. It's a bawdy romp, full of witty dialogue and very improper thoughts.

Hmm, Girl Power. That's not bad. But as for Penelope using her wit and intelligence to dazzle the hero...well, not so much. She's a firm believer in the power of cleavage.

Carrie said...

Hey Claudia - the power of cleavage is a big part of "Girl Power"! lol... Breasts are one of the biggest "assets" a girl can have.....

Case in point. Here's a funny story that I remember hearing about a deacon/priest when I was much younger than I am now, so this story is old.

Anyway, the priest was in passing out the communion to the people coming up the line. And, you know how the priest says, "The body of Christ," as he hands you host? Well, there was this one well-endowed woman in his line and well, this is what he said when she got up to him, "The bust of Christ."

Whether that's true or not it's still funny and worth a laugh! lol!!!

Tierney O'Malley said...

LOL! Since I have no cleavage to speak of, the cleavage power skipped my mind. And yes, Carrie, a woman's body could bring a man down on his knees and do naughty things while down there. Okay, I better shut up. PG-13 comments, right? Blame Claudia. She mentioned improper thoughts. LOL

Love that story, Carrie. :D

Sheila Deeth said...

My TBR list is totally out of control, as is my TBR bookshelf. But it's very enjoyably out of control.

I really enjoyed this interview - makes me sure your books belong on the TBR list. So, Dazzling Dukes - not read it so making a very blind guess; what do you give the man who has everything?

Deb Marlowe said...

I've been lucky enough to read the entire Courtesan series--so I have a pretty good idea what the theme is--but I won't spoil it!

I will say Thank You, Claudia, for writing these books, because they are so fun! And Sophia! Ah, one of the greatest characters ever to grace the pages of a novel. Love her. Can't wait for her story to unravel.

I think every writer has a theme, BTW, or perhaps a couple. We just keep finding new ways to express and explore that important message.

Claudia Dain said...

Rule One: A woman must never forget the Power of Cleavage. It's like Spidey forgetting his web-making powers. May it never be!

Claudia Dain said...

Sheila, honey, no man has everything. If he did, he wouldn't need a heroine! ;)

Claudia Dain said...

DebMarlowe, thank you! What a compliment!

I agree with you. No, not about how great these books are (well, I do, but...), but that writers do have themes they circle endlessly... exploring, experimenting. There's a reason why we love romance and why we keep hovering over that particular well.

Kenzie Michaels said...

LOL Claudia...I meant that as a social worker, I also have 'themes' running through my stories! Mostly how bad choices can affect the outcome of your life, but sometimes love is all you need to work your way back to the Right Path.

Claudia Dain said...

Kenzie, my dad was a social worker! Tough work, but so important.