Summer still seems a long way off, but memories of being curled up with a good book under the trees is always a cozy thought, isn’t it?
Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.
We are closing in on Valentine’s Day, so this tends to bring out a lot of grandiose Hallmark gestures and romantic movies. A wildly popular theme is love at first sight, which is easy to depict in a movie….but can it happen in real life?
Instant infatuation happens (been there, done that!) I also know of couples who claimed to have realized they met “The One,” within a few hours of meeting. Some of those marriages are still going strong ten and twenty years down the road, but my hunch is they are the exception rather than the rule.
Fellow romance novelist Jody Hedlund recently wrote a great blog about the perils of believing in love at first sight. Her blog points to a handful of insightful problems stemming from believing in love at first sight. Here’s a summary:
Wow….what a downer for two romance novelist to give a hearty Thumbs-down on love at first sight so close to Valentine’s Day! I’m actually not averse for single people to indulge these feelings….but what’s the rush? Wait a year to go sign the paperwork that makes it legal.
My latest novel, Beyond All Dreams, features a hero who believes he has fallen in love at first sight with the heroine. The ever-practical Anna knows loves at first sight is riddled with problems, and fortunately does not allow herself to get swept up into the whirlwind. I had a ball writing about the exhilaration and the perils of falling in love at first sight…. fun to contemplate, dangerous to indulge!
Photo courtesy of Nathan Rupert
Book Cover Comparisons!
I find it interesting how many publishers release books with a different cover overseas. Usually it is simply a matter of the marketing departments thinking they know their national audience best, and want a custom-made cover to reflect those tastes. Perhaps because I am an American, I tend to like the lush, deeply layered covers typically found on the American versions.
You can see more comparisons of recent covers over at The Millions website.
It’s December, and time for me to re-watch one of my favorite Christmas movies, Love Actually. It is a funny, heart-warming romantic comedy that follows the course of eight different love stories, and is packed with a fantastic cast. How could one not like a movie that has Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, and Colin Firth all in the same movie?
One of the things I particularly like about this movie is that each of the story lines focuses on a different sort of love: brotherly love, platonic love, love from afar, love at first sight, etc.
I love this movie. It’s charming and funny and has great dialog, acting, and unexpected twists. That being said, here I come with both barrels blazing:
Can this movie teach us anything about love? After looking at each of the eight storylines, I think there is only one that amounts to anything more than unrealistic, improbable, and destined for failure in the long run.
Seven of the eight storylines rely on impulsive love based on very little of substance. Colin Firth “falls in love” with a woman even though they don’t speak a common language. Hugh Grant has a fling with his secretary, a sweet girl but one who is laughingly unsuited for his life (I say this because their primary chemistry seems to be at all the gaffes she makes in his staid and proper world… one which he has no intention of altering or leaving on her behalf.) Most of the other stories are equally improbable and impulsive.
The one storyline I found quite moving was Emma Thompson’s middle-age love with her husband as it withstands the trauma of an affair. It doesn’t have a happily-ever-after bow tied on at the end. You know these two are about to walk down a bumpy road together as they try to repair the damage…..but it is a beautiful look at a rarely-told aspect of love.
Warning: Love Actually is not a family-safe movie, but if you are over 18, don’t mind some salty language and a few racy scenes, the movie is still a great way to spend a few hours. Just don’t look to it for romantic advice!
Want a sneak peek at Beyond All Dreams? My next book arrives in stores exactly a week from today, and I’ve created a Pinterest page that has snapshots of some of the settings and characters from the book. You can see it here: http://www.pinterest.com/elizabethcamden/beyond-all-dreams/
A new book is on the way! It only seems like a few months ago that With Every Breath hit the shelves, but my wonderful publishers are ready to unleash my next book the first week of January. So, without further ado…..here is the cover and blurb for Beyond All Dreams!
Anna O’Brien has the perfect job at the Library of Congress until she stumbles across a baffling mystery of a ship that disappeared at sea. When forces conspire to prevent her from learning the truth, she turns to a dashing congressman for help.
Luke Callahan is one of the most powerful men in congress until his career begins collapsing amidst a political scandal of his own making. When he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship, he is stunned to find himself falling in love with the down-to-earth librarian. Opposites in all things, Anna and Luke form an unusually powerful force as they unite in a common cause. Despite the attraction, strict rules forbid Anna from any romantic entanglement with a member of congress, and each meeting puts her career in jeopardy.
From the gilded halls of the Capitol where powerful men shape the future of the nation to the scholarly archives of the nation’s finest library, Anna and Luke will begin unraveling a mystery larger and more dangerous than ever imagined.
Look for it to hit the stores on January 6!
The American Civil War brought a surprising opportunity to American women. As men left to fight in the war, the government hired thousands of women to fill office vacancies in Washington D.C. Even after the war, the floodgates had been opened and it was acceptable for American women to obtain respectable white collar jobs in cities all over the United States. By 1891, there were 70,000 women working in American offices, and by 1920 that number had swelled to half a million.
As a romance novelist, this presents an irresistible temptation for me. Although “dating the boss” is taboo in today’s society, in the late 19th century women who ventured into the workplace were considered fair game. Sometimes they welcomed the attention of their employers and sometimes they didn’t, but there was no law against workplace sexual harassment until a landmark Supreme Court case of 1974 (Barnes v. Train) recognized it is a distinct issue.
I’ve always been fascinated by professional woman of the late 19th century, and most of my novels feature heroines working in professional capacities. In Against the Tide, Lydia was a translator for the Navy when she meets a man who does undercover work for the government. It wasn’t a terribly risqué plot, since Lydia never reported to Bane and could walk away from him whenever she wished.
I got a little more daring in With Every Breath (August 2014). This is a hospital drama, and Kate is a government statistician who is hired by a doctor to help with his research. Kate reports directly to Trevor, and both are well aware of the risks associated with getting romantically involved. “Dating the boss” added a delicious layer of tension and complications to the plot….one which I wouldn’t be free to explore were I writing a contemporary romance. Over the years we have too much instinctive suspicion of relationships that begin with such a disparity of power, but this is a 21st century attitude, and I write 19th century characters. Trevor and Kate are smart enough to be aware of the emotional danger of their relationship, but it hardly stops them from pursuing it.
It took decades to establish commonly accepted expectations for how men and women should interact in the workplace. For the most part, the government and Human Resource departments wanted to avoid the headaches of sexual harassment charges and did everything possible to discourage romantic relationships in the workplace. None of this has been terribly effective. Even today, I think most of us know people who met their spouse at work. When you put men and women in close proximity and give them a shared mission, it’s hard to override the rules of natural attraction.
If you’re curious about professional women in the late 19th century workplace, I hope you’ll take a peek at one of my novels!
It’s going to be tough, but apparently after decades of reluctance, Francine Rivers has given her approval for a movie. She’s always been reluctant because she feared surrendering such a sensitive book into the hands of others, but apparently she has found the right partners with Cantinas Entertainment, who will soon begin developing a script and casting for a movie, which will likely be made for television.
I can understand Ms. Rivers’ reluctance. Redeeming Love is a powerful, gritty, and difficult experience even to read….it will be hard to translate this subject onto the screen. I have to admit a touch of reluctant skepticism. I am not sure there has ever been a novel that tackles the themes of self-loathing, despair, and ultimately a shining, glorious redemption so beautifully. My hunch is that this is easier to do via the pages of a novel than on film, but I’m willing to be convinced.
The fact remains that television and the cinema reach more people than novels. If Redeeming Love finds a new audience through this movie, that is all to the good! I wish this project well, and will keep folks updated as more information is released.
Doctors make great heroes. Hawkeye from M*A*S*H; Richard Chamberlain as Dr. Kildare, and who can forget George Clooney from ER.
I think doctors have a couple of credentials that make them automatic hero material. It is a given that they are intelligent. It is safe to assume they are also calm under pressure, have a certain measure of empathy, and oh yeah, they are probably financially secure. All this adds up to the raw potential to be fabulous hero material.
Dare I say that such sterling qualities can sometimes be a little bland? This is why if you scratch the surface of most fictional doctors you’ll find plenty of neuroses and obsessions. Dr. House is a misanthropic narcissist, Hawkeye was a rampant womanizer, and Dr. Jekyll, well….he had lots of problems. We tend to give physicians a pass because of the heroic, difficult jobs they do….. combine this with a couple of weird fixations, and you’ve got the makings for a great leading man.
So, Trevor McDonough, anyone? The physician hero in With Every Breath is a man of stunning heroism, a brilliant mind, and smoking-hot good looks. His problems? They are legion! He’s shy, prickly, and possibly the most competitive man ever born. Given that the heroine is friendly, outgoing, and also massively competitive; the stage was set for the sparks to fly.
I like the storyline of the troubled physician. Those who are in contact with life-and-death situations are under devastating stress, so is it any wonder that sometimes they succumb to human failings? The duel of conflicting forces: compassion and intelligence vs. moody human failings was too much for me to resist.
Has anyone been watching The Knick on Starz? Clive Owen plays an amazing Victorian-era doctor who battles various addictions and oddities, but nevertheless remains utterly fascinating. Even with the terrible mustache, I can’t take my eyes off of him.
I was a huge fan of the BBC mini-series back in the 1970’s. It was a fantastic, stormy, moody romantic period drama that probably launched my interest in the genre. The production values weren’t terrific and it hasn’t aged terribly well, but a NEW Poldark is in the works.
And what happened to the original Ross Poldark? Robin Ellis has retired to France, where he lives in an old manor house and maintains a lively blog of his rustic cooking and his many cats. I’m glad to see he will have a couple of cameo appearances in the new BBC version, which will air sometime in late 2015.
For your viewing pleasure, I have attached a picture of Aidan Turner, the new actor portraying Ross Poldark.