I’m so pleased to welcome award-winning romance author Heather Snow to the blog. Heather writes sexy and smart Regency-set historical romances, and she’s been getting great reviews and reader love since her first book was published. She has a new book out on the shelves–let’s find out all about it!
You’re a chemist by training – how does that training help or hinder you when it comes to writing romance?
One of my favorite quotes is from Carl Jung, who said, “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” Given how similar the two phenomena are, I think that makes a chemist perfectly suited to write romance, don’t you?
Actually, my background did prepare me for my writing career better than one might think: There are rules to follow, and some you can break when you want to experiment. Historical romance, like science, requires careful research. Most chemical reactions require a catalyst to drive them, just like characters require motivation to drive the story forward. And finally, both chemistry and writing, if done well, involve a precise mixture of elements and careful manipulation to achieve that perfect reaction that makes you want to sigh with satisfaction…
As for how it hinders me, I must admit, sometimes my analytical mind gets in my way! While I enjoy the creative process, it’s a bit of a different animal than I am used to. Where the left side of my brain might demand I outline, plot, dissect and plan out my work, my right side has different ideas. Coaxing out the prose and the characterization that brings life to my stories is a lot more challenging than I’d expected. My left brain can also hold me up. If I notice something not working in a story, I CANNOT move forward until I figure it out—whereas some writers can write through such things and figure it out on the other end. I get stuck, and until I can get my mind around it, I stay stuck!
Your Veiled Seduction series definitely has a scientific bent to it, with three smart heroines with special talents. Was it difficult to write about women like that in a Regency Era historical setting?
Yes and no. I work really hard at making my characters complex and three-dimensional. Giving them careers in history that would have been challenging for them adds a layer to their personality, which made them more real to me, and therefore easier to write. Plus, I find them very relatable, being a woman who struggled making her way in the world (of men and otherwise). I hope other women will relate to them, too.
Where they were a bit more challenging, though, is to be women who would go against Society to do what they loved, their particular science had to be in their blood and really filter through every part of their character. Therefore I had to do a lot of research into what exactly they would have known at the time and what their attitude might have been towards it, and then boil that down and slip it in a little at a time so that they felt genuine without the reader knowing I was putting research into the book!
I did this mainly in how each character looked at the world. For example, Emma, from Sweet Deception, is a brilliant criminologist who uses maps and mathematics in an early form of geographic profiling to find a killer. Her head is constantly filled with equations and patterns, and that affects how she looks at life and love. A reviewer said this of Emma: “Emma attacks everything in life with a mathematical equation, including winning Aveline over as a partner in crime, er, criminal investigation. She even has an equation to keep Aveline interested in his land, Derbyshire, and her as a partner in marriage … for practical reasons. You’ll have to read the book to see how she calculates love and passion into the equation!”
What’s your new book about?
Well, this third book is a little different than the first two. You see, where my chemist and my criminologist heroines were both brilliant women who reveled in pushing the boundaries of society, Penelope, from Sweet Madness, starts out just your average debutante: a Society darling who is content to live the privileged life she was born until her husband’s tragic death drives her to study the maladies of the mind and leads her to a traumatized soldier who needs her help…and her love.
But she also finds that healing is a two way street, and to be able to follow our hero to the dark places she must go to reach him, she has to open up wounds of her own. It’s really a story about the healing power of love, with a little mystery and some racy bits thrown in! I’ve been told it’s the most emotional story of the three, and so far, it’s garnering fabulous reviews.
It was a fun challenge helping Penelope discover her inner brilliance. She had to realize that she was never average at all, and that everything she needed was within her all along, if she only trusted herself.
What can you tell us about Hope For The Warriors®?
I’m glad you asked. Hope For The Warriors® is a fantastic charity that helps our military and their families. The hero from Sweet Madness suffers from a severe case of battle fatigue, or as we know it today, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Gabriel is a fictional war hero but there are many real life heroes and battling PTSD today. Experts suggest that more than 30 percent of U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan experience PTSD and sadly, the families of these soldiers often share in their suffering. Researching the terrible effects of this disorder moved me deeply, and made me wish to help if I could.
Sweet Madness is a story of the healing power of love, and just as important, of hope. Therefore, my husband and I have decided to donate a portion of all royalties earned from the sale of Sweet Madness to Hope For The Warriors®, an organization dedicated to “restoring a sense of self, restoring the family unit, and restoring hope for our service members and our military families.”
You can find out more about this wonderful charity here: http://www.hopeforthewarriors.org/
What’s next in your writing life?
I don’t know about my writing life, but what’s next in my life life is vacation! Sweet Enemy sold when our eldest was still in diapers, and the second was written right after the birth of our youngest—while my husband was finishing up his masters on top of his full time career! He graduated right after I finished Sweet Deception and we’d barely had time to enjoy a breather before I jumped into Sweet Madness. My family and I are looking forward to a couple of weeks on the beach together during the month of May—our first real vacation in three years. Then I’ll get started on my new series…it may or may not be Regency, but it will certainly feature the smart strong heroines readers have come to expect from me.
Thanks so much for the great interview, Heather! And, readers, Heather is graciously giving away a copy today of either her first or second book today. Since she has science-minded heroines, let’s talk about that. Were you a science lover in school, or were other subjects more to your liking? One person who comments will win either a copy of Sweet Enemy or Sweet Deception.
And you can find blurbs and excerpts on Heather’s website, as well as her latest news.