On Friday, 23rd November, my friend Susan Parisi, brilliant author of that gripping thriller Blood of Dreams and I turned up at Caloundra library to talk about writing the dark historical novel. Susan, who lives in Sydney was up on holiday with her husband, and had done all the organizing for this while I was tied up finishing Tempt The Devil. Bless her!
It was the first time we’d done a joint session. I wondered how we’d go. We’re good friends but our books are very different. Claiming the Courtesan, as you know, is a passionate romance. Susan’s book is a dark and disturbing and very sexy literary thriller set in 18th century Venice at the time of Carnevale. A fabulous read! And while it’s very sensual, it’s not at all a traditional romance, even though its full of a compelling, doomed romanticism.
We had a really good turnout – the session was booked out. I’d managed to drum up a bit of local press coverage and that helped too. It was great to meet people who read romance and people who didn’t so I had a chance to convert them to the dark side 😀 The library had gone to a lot of trouble, including setting up a wonderful morning tea out in the courtyard. Simone and all the people at Caloundra library were amazingly welcoming and an absolute pleasure to deal with so I’d like to thank them!
I’m delighted to say I think everyone there really enjoyed our talk. And the contrast between our writing added to the interest. When people asked questions – and so many of them did which was great – we had such a variety of approaches to each answer. People were interested in so many aspects of our books – our inspirations (Susan’s book was born in a really vivid nightmare she had), our publishing history (BOD is Susan’s first book, CTC would have to be about my 14th, unless you count the half-finished stumps under the bed), being published first in Australia or published first in America, research, new projects. We had a lively discussion on the lure of the dark side. Susan mentioned Lord Byron. I talked about the way I’ve always loved fairytales and the darker the better. Yet again, such an interesting contrast between us.
I wish you could have been there! It was huge fun. I hope we get to do it again some time. I’ve done presentations with fellow romance writers before but it was a really different experience to speak along with a literary fiction author to a group of people who weren’t dedicated romance readers.