June is the beginning of a hot summer, and we have some hot authors chatting with us this month. Today we are happy to have Harlequins Sharon Schulze, chatting with us about her latest book For My Lady's Honor and answering a few questions. On behalf of Coffee Time Romance WELCOME Sharon!
Sharon, I love medieval romances, and For My Lady's Honor was fantastic.
Thanks, Wateena! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Padrig and Alys were fun characters to write about.
What makes medieval romances a favorite of yours to write?
I really enjoy the time period. The history is so interesting, and the possibilities are intriguing. While I know that the concepts of the ideal knight and true chivalry are probably more myth than reality, I believe there likely were men--and women--who met those ideals to some extent, just as there are today. Writing about that type of character--people who find it a challenge to live by a code of honor, but who constantly continue to try their hardest to do so--is one of the best things about setting stories in that time period, in my opinion.
Do you have a specific medieval era you like the best?
My favorite time period within the medieval era is from around 1135 to about 1250. I feel very "comfortable" there <g>.
Do you do a lot of researching?
Over the years I've done quite a bit of researching; at this point, since I've set a number of books in the same general time frame, I usually research whatever political or social aspects, or details of a geographic area, I might need for a particular story. Each book has had something different I needed to learn more about (for example, I studied the art of enameling quite extensively to write THE SHIELDED HEART).
Doing research is not a problem for me, since I really enjoy studying the past. There have been times when research for one story has led me to some historical tidbit that grew into an idea for another book. The biggest problem with research is knowing when to stop--while I might enjoy learning every tiny detail about some aspect of medieval life (or whatever I'm researching), I don't necessarily need to know that much information to write the book. When that happens, I have to set aside the more detailed study for another time, when I can simply study for my own pleasure.
On your website, you talked about bookaholics, do you consider yourself a bookaholic?
Definitely! I love books--pretty much all types, though romances are my favorites. I've always been that way; I truly was one of those children who would read the encyclopedia if I didn't have anything else available (I know lots of random info that isn't good for much, unless I'm playing "Trivial Pursuit" <g>). Both my parents are avid readers, so I was exposed to that for as long as I can remember. I got my husband hooked, as well (we have _lots_ of books), and it looks as though our (now adult) children and their significant others are bookaholics, too. Must be genetic!
I figure that as addictions go, books are a fairly healthy thing to be addicted to.
What made you decide to start writing?
I had just graduated from engineering school and was working for the summer at a wastewater treatment plant before starting grad school. I read a lot, since it took several bus rides to get back and forth to work, and I read a book I thought wasn't very good. For some reason, I thought I could do better--though I quickly learned just how tough writing can be. By then, however, I was hooked, and began writing in my spare time. Since I didn't have much spare time at that point, I dabbled for a few years, then settled into writing more seriously once both my children were in school. It still took a bit of time after that before I made my first sale.
I noticed that For My Lady's Honor is the seventh in a series, will it be the last?
At this point, I don't have any specific books in mind for the "l'Eau Clair Chronicles" series, but I haven't ruled out writing more at some point. I love the characters and the world I've created for them, so I'm sure I'll revisit them before too long.
Where or how do you get an inspiration for a story?
Inspiration comes from all directions. As I mentioned earlier, sometimes I'll run across something when I'm doing research that will spark an idea. I've also had ideas flow from secondary characters I've created; Swen Siwardson, the hero of THE SHIELDED HEART is a perfect example of that. I had so much fun with his character when I was writing HEART OF THE DRAGON that I knew he needed his own book.
Generally a character will begin to form in my mind, and my story will come from what I discover about that character. I've also had the basic idea for a medieval character come from something or someone from the present day--since human nature doesn't seem to have changed much over the centuries, that works surprisingly well.
Do you have any works in progress?
Right now I'm working on a spin-off series from the "Chronicles" involving a secondary character from FOR MY LADY'S HONOR as the hero of the first book. I'm also working on a series set in late-Georgian England.
Out of all the romances you have written, do you have a favorite hero?
That's a tough question! I've loved them all (I couldn't have written about them if I didn't <g>), but if I had to pick a favorite it would be a toss-up between Swen Siwardson (THE SHIELDED HEART) and Connor FitzClifford (LADY OF THE KEEP). Then again, I could add . . . They're all my favorites, each in his own way.
What is one the most memorable moments of being an author?
There have been so many neat and memorable moments, but among the best have been hearing from readers that they've enjoyed my work. Also right up there are getting the call that I'd made my first sale, and the first time I've seen the cover for each of my books.
Is there a genre you would like to write but have not done so yet?
I would like to write something set in the present day, and may do so soon.
Sharon is there an special news or anything exciting happening that you would like to share with your readers?
At the moment the most exciting thing for me is that my imagination is running rampant with ideas--quite diverse ideas--and I'm really enjoying developing them. Hopefully I'll have more information to report about those stories soon.
Would you give us your website address?
Sure! It's www.sharonschulze.com
Okay Sharon, something personal, what do you consider to be a perfect romantic evening?
The perfect romantic evening would be spending time with my hubby when we're both relaxed and don't have the normal day-to-day stresses nagging at us. A quiet dinner near the water, an evening stroll along a tropical beach . . . that sounds perfect to me!
WOW another fabulous insight about one of our favorite authors. On Behalf of Coffee Time Romance; we want to thank Ms. Schulze for chatting with us today.