" It begins in 1807 and tells the story of two people, Victoria Bramhill and Richard Fanshaw, who meet and fell in love when they are very young and naïve. They think their lives are their own and that a fairy tale romance will be theirs.
However, an unknown enemy and Victoria's father step in and destroy everything they'd planned.
When they meet years later, Richard is cynical and vengeful and Victoria is more determined than she's ever been.
There are many twists and turns in this story, to synopsize it makes it sound so simplistic, which it definitely isn't. It's a story of revenge as well."
Generally, Brita will have a story in mind before she settles into the specifics. She keeps a catalog of all her story ideas (she has hundreds). She'll choose one and decide how much research she'll have to do and then she'll start. Often the research dictates the path the story will take, because Brita will find facts and situations that enrich the basic story.
Creating her characters is the fun part for Brita.
"They are what will tell the story, so I spend considerable time with them. I name them and give them a backstory, which may or may not become part of the story," she said. "I get to know them, what makes them tick, what they like for breakfast. Occasionally, they'll have traits I recognize in someone I know, but most times, they are a compilation of several people, then I add their own unique traits. They guide me into the story and they become as real to me as are my children. We live together for as long as it takes to tell their story and shaking them usually takes as much time as creating them did."
Brita is currently working on two different pieces, which are quite different from each other.
"Several years ago, I wrote a story that has languished on my hard drive. Two years ago, I submitted it for publication but withdrew it because it simply wasn't the story I wanted to tell and thankfully, I realized that before it went too far. I'm rewriting it now, using the basic premise, but making it a much deeper story. In an arranged marriage, a duke marries the typical simpering miss, but loses her two months later in a highway robbery gone bad. He goes on a bender (off-screen) and two years later, comes back to society a new man. By chance, he meets a woman who looks remarkably like his wife and the old guilt and recriminations haunt him, until he realizes she's very different. There's a subplot that will provide some real surprises for the reader, as they surprise me daily as I write them," she said with a smile. "The second piece I'm working on is set in old Hollywood (1915 to 1940.) It will tell of the meteoric rise and fall of a gay actor, set against the backdrop of the biases and prejudices that existed at the time. He bucked the system and lived life on his own terms, causing him to gain and lose. I'm very excited about this story because it will span twenty to twenty-five years, something I've wanted to do with a story since reading Aleksandr Voinov's Special Forces. The research for that piece has been lengthy, yet so much fun. My dining table has stacks of books I'm using and I've watched tons of documentaries and old movies, something that doesn't hurt me, as I've always loved them. I'm 17k into the story and it's still developing as I go. This piece will be a long novel no doubt."
I asked her to describe her writing space.
"An organized mess. I write on a laptop, in the living room. I have the left side and the middle, as well as the back of the sofa, the end table, and the arm of the adjacent love seat. I know where everything is and heaven help anyone who thinks to mess around with my stuff. On the end table, I have a file box that houses my collection of index cards that concern my current project. Dividers and cards for everything from clothing, to home décor to descriptions to timelines goes in that box. I keep detailed information on each character and their personal timeline, so it's very easy to keep things straight. I won't have a blond-hair character turn up with brown hair somewhere down the line, nor will he age strangely. The middle cushion has cards and my pen. The cards also refer to the current project, but might also be several projects, each clipped together. The back of the sofa has a larger, narrow file box that holds general writing cards, as well as log ins and other info. There's another stack of stuff that really needs to disappear, because I haven't the foggiest notion why it's there," she admitted with a smile.
Brita writes historical fiction, not alternative history, so what she writes has to fit. In the book she's rewriting, she has the characters going to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in 1814. She spent considerable time researching what plays were enacted there during that period. In her story, they see Edmund Kean's performance of Shylock in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, which was actually playing at the time her story takes place. She also considers what the weather must have been like, what flowers would be blooming, etc.
She reads books by the authors of the period, to get a flavor of the ways things were said, as well as watching movies set during the time period.
"If I'm reading an historical, I don't want modern language coming from someone in 1814. By the same token, I don't want such archaic English that the reader can't easily understand. There's a balance," she told me. "I recently read a book, an historical, where the character actually said, 'I've got your back.' I rolled my eyes so far into my head I needed to blink several times before I was able to right them, then I filed the book under, 'Couldn't finish.' An historical isn't something where you dress the characters in costume and market it as historical. There's much that goes into creating that world and to cop out on research cheats the reader and ultimately casts the author in an unfavorable light. I've seen too many reviews where the author was called out on their lack of research. I don't want that kind of attention."
"What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?" I wondered.
She laughed. "Ah, maybe that I once kissed Mickey Rooney. And no, I won't kiss and tell, only that he was quite old and I was considerably younger."
Finally, Brita said, "I love visitors so please feel free to stop by, request a Kindlegraph, read excerpts, view videos. Visit my bookshelf page, answer polls I have up, or read the blog archive. There's lots to do. Drop me a line if you feel so inclined. I love hearing from readers."
To celebrate the release of Demand's of the Heart, Noble Romance Publishing is offering Brita's entire backlist at 20% off. This is for sales on the Noble Romance Publishing site only and only her titles. There's no limit. Buy one book, or all seven, you'll get 20% off your purchase. The eligible titles are: Serenity's Dream; Lord Decadent's Obsession; Chocolate, Tea, and the Duchess; The Rogue's Salvation; A Minute After Midnight; An Evening at the Starlight, and the book she wrote under the name Tina Ordone, Her Timeless Obsession.
The price you'll see is the reduced price.
The sale will run from midnight, Pacific time, February 20 to 11:59 pm Pacific time, March 2.
This is a backlist sale, so it doesn't include Demands of the Heart.
She has several contests running during the book tour, ending at midnight, March 2.
Brita will choose a daily winner from the commenters. She will be giving away an ebook from my backlist at each stop. The only exclusion is Demands of the Heart. One book per commenter, please.
If you answer the three questions correctly, you could be one of four winners. The prize will be a T-Shirt with the cover of the book on it. The shirt also says that the cover is model Jimmy Thomas's 1500th cover. There will be four winners, each winning a T-Shirt and other swag. All answers are found on Brita's website.
Please do NOT put the answers in the comments section of this blog or on Brita's site. Email them to Brita, with T-Shirt Answers in the subject line.
1. What book did Brita write under another name?
2. Who is the character, Lucien Damrill, patterned after?
3. Describe the signature brandy snifter at the Sapphire Club.
Brita has put three questions up on her website, all relating to her book, Demands of the Heart. Answer the questions and EMAIL her, with the answers, at firstname.lastname@example.org Be sure to put GRAND PRIZE in the subject line.
You must have all three questions answered correctly to be entered into the drawing.
The Grand Prize is the entire Sapphire Club series in print, signed by the author, who will also include some other signed swag.