The April re-issue of one of Cathy Maxwell’s early Regency historical romances, Falling In Love Again—all dressed up with a beautiful new cover—seemed the perfect time to touch base with Cathy by asking her a few questions about writing Falling In Love Again and catch up with her about future books.
Sally: Falling In Love Again is about two people who marry almost overnight and have barely spoken to each other, much less gotten to know each other. Were marriages like this common in 1806? If not, where did you get the idea for this intriguing plot?
Cathy: Arranged marriages were very common among the upper classes and so were marriages where the couple barely knew each other. I took the idea of Falling in Love Again from a story in The Regency Companion: “The oddest love story no doubt concerned a noble lord who married for convenience when he was a boy and never lived with his bride. Several years later on meeting an exquisite beauty at the theater, his somewhat improper advances to her turned out not to be so improper. She was his wife!”
How fun is that story! Fun I tried to transfer to Falling in Love Again.
Sally: Since writing Falling in Love Again, do you feel you write any differently today than you did fifteen years ago?
Cathy: I write with my heart in my throat. I always worry I won’t be able to tell a good story. It never gets easier. In fact, storytelling has grown harder over the years because I keep challenging myself.
Sally: The original cover was yellow with a lovely basket of flowers. Was this unusual artwork for a book cover in 1997? Do you ever make suggestions regarding cover art?
Cathy: I have very little say on my cover art. Fortunately, Tom Egner, Avon Books Art Director, knows what covers sell books. The fashion for covers changes just like everything else. Back when Falling In Love Again first came out, we moved away from the clench . . . then we went to the sole guy or gal . . . then we featured body parts and headless people. Now we are clenching again.
Sally: When you first began to write, was there a reason why you chose to write historical romances rather than any other genre? Have you ever wanted to write in another genre?
Cathy: I adore the fantasy element in historical romance. I like the distance the setting places on the story. Because the Regency was the beginning of the modern age, the historical setting allows me to play with ideas that still challenge us currently. For example, we are still trying to figure out what a woman’s role truly is, and the bottom line is—if something needs to be done, it’s usually a woman who does it. (True of the Regency as well!)
Do I think about writing in another genre? Not yet. My brain is trying to process all the stories bouncing around inside it. Maybe later. Much later.
Sally: Did going on Lady Barrow’s Tour of London in 1996 influence the writing of Falling in Love Again?
Cathy: Lady Barrow’s Tour of London was like following the White Rabbit down the hole. What a wild and glorious time! I met Barbara Cartland, Anne Perry, and Jude Devereaux. But the most fun was tagging along with Kathryn Falk, Lady Barrow, and publisher of Romantic Times Magazine. She lives large! And I believe that trip has influenced every book I’ve written since taking it.
Sally: How did you learn so much about the English countryside and English life?
Cathy: I do my own research. The challenge is to get not only the details right but also the attitudes. And I must also be aware that I am writing for an international audience. But the research is also part of the fun of historicals. Whenever I’m stuck for action, I turn to the research.
Sally: When’s your next book out and what is it about?
Cathy: My next book is the last of the Seduction and Scandals series and it is titled The Seduction of Scandal (Sept ’11). Apt title, huh? In His Christmas Pleasure, readers met Lady Corinne who is betrothed to Lord Freddie Sherwin. But Corinne doesn’t want to marry Freddie and she’ll try anything to avoid him, including running off with a highwayman. Then in 2012 I’ll be bringing out a trilogy based upon a Scottish curse. I love my job!
A measure of Cathy’s storytelling talent is evidenced by Romance Writers of America nominating her most recent book, His Christmas Pleasure, as a finalist for the prestigious RITA Award for Best 2011 RITA Regency Historical Romance. More than 1,100 novels and novellas were judged in 12 categories. Winners of the awards will be announced July 1, 2011 at the RITA and Golden Heart Awards Ceremony to be held at RWA’s 31st Annual National Conference in New York city.