Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Author Feature: Jane Goodger

Current Read: Marry Christmas by Jane Goodger





A Christmas wedding to the Duke of Bellingham. Any other socialite in Newport, Rhode Island, would be overjoyed at the prospect, but Elizabeth Cummings finds her mother’s announcement as appealing as a prison sentence. Elizabeth has not the slightest desire to meet Randall Blackmore, let alone be bartered for an English title. Her heart belongs to another, and the duke’s prestige, arrogance, and rugged charm will make no difference to her plans of elopement.

Against his expectations and desires, Randall Blackmore has inherited a dukedom and a vast estate that only marriage to an heiress can save. Selling his title to the highest bidder is a wretched obligation, but to Randall’s surprise his intended bride is pretty, courageous, delightfully impertinent—and completely uninterested in becoming a Duchess. Yet suddenly, no other woman will do, and a marriage in name only will never be enough for a husband determined to win his wife in body, heart, and soul…


Please give a warm welcome to today's Word Wizard, author Jane Goodger!

Thanks for joining us today Jane. Tell us about your latest project, Marry Christmas. Love that title, by the way. :0)

I’ve had the idea for Marry Christmas brewing for quite a while. I was so fascinated by Consuelo Vanderbilt’s life. At 18, she was forced to marry the Duke of Marlborough even though she was in love with another man. She was an heiress and he was an English peer in desperate need of cash. The Duke was, in modern lingo, a real tool---at least according to Consuelo Vanderbilt’s biography. He once took a valuable item, hid it, then called the servants in to demand to know who stole it. The poor maids were in tears until he, laughing, produced the item. Nice guy. I remember feeling sorry for poor Consuelo and wishing she’d had a happy ending (she did end up divorcing the duke and remarrying later in life). I decided I would create my own heroine, fashioned after Consuelo, but give her a much nicer duke. My heroine still has a difficult time, for she is forced to marry a man she doesn’t know or love, while she is in love with another man. But my heroine, Elizabeth, has a much happier ending with her duke, Randall Blackmore.

Sounds intriguing! I love when real life events inspire fictional ones. This is your first historical novel in seven years. Was it difficult to return to that arena? What did you find most challenging? What was surprisingly easy, if anything?

I was so excited when my editor asked me to write an historical instead of another contemporary. I only had three months to do it, and with three kids and teaching, it was a real challenge. But the book wrote itself. It was one of the most amazing writing experiences I’ve ever had. It was almost as if I were reading Marry Christmas instead of writing it, that’s how wonderful the experience was. I missed writing historicals; it’s really where my heart is. I’m certainly not discounting writing contemporaries again (I have a couple things brewing), but I find historicals easier and more fun to write. I’m a real history junkie and love the research aspect.

Three months, whew! I do love it when things just flow. If a group of people or a book club were discussing Marry Christmas what do you think would be the topic of discussion?

I think they would discuss whether or not they would have acted as Elizabeth did. Elizabeth was put in an incredibly difficult position, something as a writer I was very cognizant of. I think, when reading a book, it is easy to get angry with a character. Why doesn’t she fall in love with Rand the way I am? Well, because Elizabeth doesn’t know Rand as well as the reader does. Of course the reader thinks my hero is wonderful. But from Elizabeth’s perspective, he was a fortune hunter interested only in her money. Also, Elizabeth is one of my youngest heroines, so I have her acting at times like a nineteen year old. She clings to her lost love and to the idea of choosing her own husband. I kept thinking, ‘how would I feel?’ if I were nineteen. Elizabeth is a complicated and realistic character, and in the end, she’s the perfect heroine for Randall..

Interesting! It's easy as a reader to forget that we know more than the characters do. I think it's a testament to your writing savvy that you were able to step back into the mind of a nineteen year old. I struggle with that - which is why I write heroines closer to my age! :0) Is there a particular character that you've written over the years to whom you really related personally?

That would have to be Maggie from When There Is Hope. She is an eternal optimist, and I am definitely a cup-half-full person. Even in the face of horrible odds, she tries to find something, anything to cling to. She believed that, when there is hope, anything is possible. I loved Maggie!

I'm adding When There Is Hope to my to-be-read list! What are you working on now?

I’m working on the sequel to Marry Christmas. It’s Margaret (Maggie) and Lord Hollings’ story. I’ve already gotten many emails wondering when that book will be coming out and if it features Maggie (I obviously love that name!). The book is currently untitled, but it will be released for Christmas next year.

How exciting! I know I'll be waiting anxiously...I've just started Marry Christmas and can't hardly put it down to feed my children! :0) Would you tell us something about yourself, unrelated to writing? Hobbies? Quirks?

It’s a major, major effort for me to clean my house. Don’t get me wrong, I love a clean house, I just wish someone else would do it all for me. I always keep it clean enough so if my mother calls to say she’s coming to visit, I can make it look just fine in the thirty minutes it takes her to get to my house. I simply make sure she doesn’t look inside my closets or my oven (here’s a little hint, ladies, you can stuff an oven full of dirty dishes much faster than you can wash ‘em. Just remember they’re there before you turn the oven on.).

Mmm, there's nothing better than a clean & decluttered house...too bad I don't live in one! And here's your random question - although I'm reluctant to end this interview, it's been so much fun! *Sigh* All good things must come to an end, I guess. Your random question continues our theme this month: Do you celebrate Halloween? If so, what is your favorite thing about it? Costume? Ritual?

I have three little kids, so I LOVE Halloween. When I was a kid, there was a big scare about razor blades in apples and drugs in candy. So Halloween was cancelled. Instead, our community put on Halloween parties. Big snooze. Nothing beats going out in the dark in a cool costume and getting a bag full of candy. I make sure my kids walk until they can’t carry their bags anymore wearing the best costumes we can think of. I definitely am living vicariously through them. I wish I could freeze time so they would stay little and would always go out trick-or-treating.

I remember that scare - our Halloween was cancelled also. And I agree, parties just don't compare to trick-or-treating! Jane, thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to hang out with us!

Jane has graciously agreed to give away one copy of Marry Christmas. Just post a comment about the interview or ask a question, and you'll be entered into the random drawing. Good luck!

Can't wait for the contest to end on Friday? Just click here to purchase your very own copy of Marry Christmas. Also be sure to visit Jane's website: http://www.janegoodger.com/. You can learn more about Jane's historicals and her contemporary writing under the name Jane Blackwell.

Happy Wednesday!

40 comments:

Donnell said...

These sound like my kind of historicals! Love the plot of a marriage of necessity. And Marry Christmas sounds compelling, too. Jane if I may ask, how difficult was it for you to switch from contemporary voice to historical. My CPs write historical and they love my feedback, but I'm a contemp writer all the way. Tiffany, great interview. Thanks for bringing this author to us. She does sound like she has amazing armchair heroines!

Tiffany James said...

Donnell,

Wonderful to see you! Thanks for joining us. So glad to hear you enjoyed Jane's interview - she's definitely a keeper! :0)

Tiffany

Helen Hardt said...

This sounds wonderful! I love historicals, and I love holiday themed books.

Helen

Jane said...

Donnell: My contemporary voice and historical voice are completely different---it's actually strange the way I can turn on and off my contemporary voice. Hopefully, I'm successful at it. The biggest thing for me is dialogue. My contemporary characters are much less formal and, um, contemporary :) I get so wrapped up in writing, I don't really think about it, it just flows. When I get in my "zone" the house can burn down and I wouldn't know about it. If all goes well next year, I may be writing a contemporary and an historical at the same time. Now that will be a challenge!

Viola Estrella said...

Wow, Marry Christmas sounds like a page turner. I love the premise! Great interview!

Tiffany James said...

Helen,

Thanks for stopping by! Marry Christmas is wonderful - I'm only a few pages in and could barely put it down!

Tiffany

Tiffany James said...

Jane,

I'd love to find "the zone". It happens for me occasionally...I could live there!

Tiffany

Tiffany James said...

Viola,

Thanks for visiting with us today! I think you'll really enjoy Marry Christmas!

Tiffany

Elaine Levine said...

Marry Christmas looks like a MUST READ to me! Thanks for letting us know about it!

Elaine

Tiffany James said...

Elaine,

You are most welcome. Thank you for stopping by to say "hello"!

Tiffany

BethRe said...

sounds like a great read

Eva S said...

One historical more for my wishlist, sounds great! And a new duke for my collection...

Tiffany, thanks for the interview! Where do you find all these amazing authors?

ddurance said...

Wow, you're a teacher too. How do you balance family, work and writing?

Deidre

robynl said...

determined to win his wife in body, heart, and soul… WOW, that sounds like a great man and good husband material. Sounds like a good read.

Tiffany James said...

Beth,

Great to see you. I'd say it's a keeper!

Tiffany

Tiffany James said...

Eva,

You have a collection of dukes? I'm intrigued!

Isn't it wonderful that there are so many amazing authors?! I find them all over the place. Jane and I *met* on myspace. There are lots of authors hanging out there and they're looking to make friends with readers like you.

Thanks for joining us!

Tiffany

Tiffany James said...

Deidre,

I asked Jane the same question!

Great to see you!

Tiffany

Tiffany James said...

Robyn,

He does sound like an amazing man...and the fact that he's a duke isn't half bad either!

Thanks for joining us today.

Tiffany

Dina said...

hi Jane,

I love your title and all things Christmas. :)

Tiffany James said...

Dina,

Isn't that a snappy, creative title?! Thanks for joining us.

Tiffany

Jane said...

Dina:

A certain review site said, "Ick, what a terrible title for a book." Gee, I thought it was rather clever (especially, since I thought of it:) ) Yes, it's a bit hokey, but hey, it's Christmas and we're all allowed a bit of hokiness around Christmas, right?

Jane said...

Deidre:

Okay. Before you award me a medal, you should know I'm a substitute teacher, so I don't work every day most weeks. I write during breaks when I teach, at night after the kids go to bed, and the days I'm not working, I write like mad (when the kids are in school). And I write very quickly, so if I can squeeze in a few minutes, I can get some good work done.

Renee Knowles said...

Jane,

I adore the sound of this plot. Historicals are my favorite! Can't wait to read it. I'm excited to have found out about it here on Tiffany's blog!

Renee
www.reneeknowles.com

Tiffany James said...

Jane,

A little bit of hokey and Christmas certainly go hand-in-hand. I'm thinking that reviewer was named Ebenezer Scrooge! :0)

Tiffany

Tiffany James said...

Renee,

This is definitely one I think you'd enjoy...and I know you and I have similar historical tastes!

Thanks for joining us today.

Tiffany

kimmyl said...

I'm a big historical romance buff and I'm sorry to say that I've never read your books. This one sounds wonderful and I can't wait to read it.
Will you be writing anymore historicals?
Also, Are there any absolutely-must-have characteristics for your heroes or heroines?

Dena said...

I liked Jane's interview and her book sounds really great. I always like Historicals that have some fact mixed with fiction, it brings the story more alive and believable to me.

Jane said...

Kimmyl:

I'm hoping to have at least two more historicals published. The next is a spin-off of Marry Christmas and is definitely going to be released next October (no title yet). After that, if my editor agrees, I'd like to complete this series of books by sending an English lady (Lord Hollings' little sister) to Texas. I could have so much fun with that! Finally, I have an idea brewing that I REALLY want to write. I love tortured heroes, and this one would be, by far, my most tortured guy. Everything depends on sales, sales, sales. Ugh. But I love this idea so much, I just my write it anyway.

Tiffany James said...

Kimmy,

Nice question! So glad I was able to contribute to your love of historicals by adding another author. :0)

Thanks for joining us & good luck in the contest.

Tiffany

Tiffany James said...

Dena,

I completely agree, plus I love how Jane took a story with a sad ending and gave it a happy one.

Tiffany

Jane said...

Kimmyl:

I forgot to answer your other question! Of course I require fidelity, that's a given. I also work hard to make my characters true to their time. This can be difficult because as modern women, it is not always easy to accept an 18th Century woman's actions. It's easy to say: I could never be forced to marry someone. Yes you could---if you were born in 1870. My men always have a sense of humor and a strong sense of honor...and they are ALL drop-dead gorgeous.

Tiffany James said...

Jane,

An English lady in Texas...yep, you could have an amazingly fun time with that! :0)

I can imagine the sales focus can get frustrating, but from the excitement you're generating here, I can't believe your sales aren't going to be off the charts!

Tiffany

Jane said...

Dena:

I had an idea to do a series of historicals by taking real-life tragic stories then give them a happy ending. That idea never panned out, but I do hope to write more some day. During my research, I once ran across an article from the 1890s about a German princess who ran away with a footman, sailed to America, was abandoned by said footman (after he stole from her), then wandered New York, alone, until she became gravely ill. She ended up in a wealthy neighborhood, where she was RECOGNIZED, taken in, and died of pneumonia. Now there's a story that deserves a happy ending. I can't write that one because I can't find the original article and do more research. I'm a stickler about this point. The story sounds contrived, so I feel it's important to show readers that this actually happened.

Jane said...

Tiffany:

What's the saying? From your lips to God's ears? How about, from your keyboard to the Amazon.com sales ranking! Heh.

Tiffany James said...

Jane,

I like that! :0)

Tiff

ddurance said...

I wish I could be that productive with what time I have. Kudos to you Jane!

Deidre

Kristi said...

great interview Tiffany ... and Jane it sounds like a great book! :)

Tiffany James said...

Kristi,

Thanks so much for joining us! Glad you enjoyed the interview. So far, I'm really enjoying Marry Christmas. I all ready have several of Jane's other titles on order! :0)

Tiffany

Tena said...

I loved how this story sounds, I love Christmas time Im going to get a copy soon and thanks for talking t us and telling us about you and how you write God Bless

Tiffany James said...

Tena,

Thanks for joining us! I'm so glad to hear that you think Jane and her books will be a good fit with you as a reader.

Good luck in the contest!

Tiffany