Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Guest - Eilis Flynn

Good morning! We've got the lovely and talented Eilis Flynn visiting us today so join us on the cozy couch and settle in for a visit. We've got a chai latte today with blueberry muffins. Enjoy!

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Building a Heroine from Hints of History

By Eilis Flynn

When my friend Heather Hiestand and I started to talk about writing a project together, we decided to go steampunk (go steampunk! Hurray! Ahem). Now, since she knows her English history (in fact, her upcoming historical romance, Marquess of Cake, from Kensington, is solidly in the Victorian period) (release date July 4, 2013, so preorder now!), and I love research that has little to do with everyday reality, we figured that together, we could come up with something that was both fun to write and fun to read!

This seemed like a good time to use a plot device I had been tossing around for a few years: vampirism as a result of science gone awry. We tossed that into our cauldron o’ cooking up our story. Now, we decided it was going to take place in 1888, that year gouged into the memory of those who remember a little something about British history (hint: Jack the ------).

Now, our characters—the heroine was a challenge. In the course of her research, Heather told me she had found someone she wanted as the heroine. I reminded her there could be problems using real people in fiction. There wouldn’t be a difficulty, she said, because this woman seemed to disappear from the historical record. There was precious little about her before and after what made her famous.

Perfect, I said. So who is it? Nellie Clifton, she said. A prostitute, Heather added, jogging my memory, a woman who was known to have had a dalliance with the son of Prince Albert and inadvertently caused the death of Queen Victoria’s husband. Okay...interesting choice, but Heather persuaded me that the lack of historical record, Nellie would leap from the page as a character built from the ground up basically. For that reason, it’s always fun to use real personages who seem to disappear into history. (We can call her the Victorian Spartacus. Spartaca?)

So we decided to use Nellie Clifton. She ended up being a wonderfully fun character to write, using history, fantasy, and even romance, even though she does attack our hero from time to time:

Only an instinct made him turn back around just then, because Nellie took the opportunity to run at him with a second sword, planning to skewer him like a piece of meat. He leaped up, angling toward her, getting perilously close to the archer.
“Damn you,” Lucas shouted. “Stand up and fight like a man!”
At that Nellie laughed. “But I’m not, Mr. Dudley,” she said, her lips curving into a broad smile. “I’m better.”

You might have heard the old saying, “History is written by the victors.” I’ve always had the uncomfortable feeling that studying any cultural history would be one-sided. At least with anthropology you’re studying a historical record without a written record. With a story like Wear Black, it’s a reimagined history, with a reimagined historical character. AND it was fun to write!



Death did not end his service to the British Empire
Beneath Windsor Castle, a shadow network of immortals keeps the British Empire safe. Army captain Lucas Fitzrobbins becomes one of them when the cure for his mortal wound turns out to be a vampirism potion. He is abruptly inducted into the secret St. George Protector Society…and it’s not long before the Society’s newest recruit discovers it has dark mysteries as well…

Marked as a target
Hampering Lucas’s efforts to adjust to his after-life is An Tighearn operative Nellie Clifton, a beautiful and enigmatic assassin, who has marked Lucas as her latest quarry. But then…

Secrets are threatened to be revealed
A brutal killer stalks the seamy underside of London. Protectors and assassins alike must leave the shadows to find the fiend before their existence is revealed to the world. Tasked with the job of tracking down the murderer, Lucas discovers that the crazed butcher may have connections that go to the heart of the British Empire. One thing is certain:

The Queen must never know!

Some buy links: 

Eilis Flynn worked in Wall Street and Wall Street-related firm for almost 35 years, so why should she write anything any more based in reality? Published in a number of genres, she lives in Seattle with her patient husband and the ghosts of her spoiled rotten cats. Her first collaboration with author Heather Hiestand is the steampunk vampire historical fantasy, Wear Black. Eilis can be reached at eilisflynn.com, eilisflynn@aol.com, at facebook.com/EilisFlynnAuthor, and Twitter at @eilisflynn.

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-- Lynda Again,

    What an interesting post! I'm starting to develop a real love of steam punk. How about you?

     Have a Blessed Day!

PS Readers, remember that I'm giving away books to subscribers of my newsletter, This month the books are Undone by Sara Humphreys and The Magic of 'I Do' by Tammy Falkner. I'll have my alien kitten, Wookie, and her new minion, Skie, my Golden Retriever baby, select the winners at the end of the month. What do you have to do to get in the drawing? Subscribe to my newsletter using the link below.

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2 comments:

Lynda K. Scott said...

Hi Eilis! Thanks for joining us today! These are some great ideas for creating characters and plots. I did something similar with my Altered Destiny but used a historical starting point and navigated away from established history with a bunch of rather wild what ifs ;-) It's great fun to be a writer (sometimes, lol) isn't it?

Lynda

EilisFlynn said...

Altered history is a lot of fun, Lynda! Especially when you start losing track of how you're tweaking it! Heather would come up with items that seemed to fit so well that I would have to go find a history book just to make sure it wasn't real!