Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Christine Pope - Heart of Gold

We are very happy to have Christine Pope with us today to share her novel Heart of Gold.

What is your name?
Christine Pope

How old are you?

Where do you currently live?
Claremont, California. It's a college town in the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley.

Tell us a little bit about your life.
How much space do I have? I'm married, one stepdaughter, and I'm lucky enough to be writing full-time. My husband is very supportive, and probably part of the reason why I like to write romance novels -- we really did get our "happily ever after."

When did you first start writing?
I think it was in second grade.

What was your very first story about?
It was about a girl who waited up for Santa Claus to come down the chimney, and then found out he was a space alien.

Have you written anything that you were too afraid to let anyone read?
Not so far!

Did you experience anything you’ve written yourself?
Quite a few things, actually. Several of my heroines live in places that sound suspiciously familiar to homes I've lived in, and in my latest book, which is a steampunk romance, I drew on my personal experience as a historical costumer to express how it really feels to be stuck in a corset and heavy bustle dress for 12 hours-plus.

Who are several of your greatest literary inspirations?
I grew up reading Mary Stewart's romantic suspense novels, and I was always inspired by the way her writing could be so smart and yet beautiful and engaging at the same time. I also adore Jane Austen because of her wit and the pithy way she has of describing the human condition.

What kind of education have you received, and how has that affected your writing?
I have the standard liberal arts degree. I started out as an English major, but then I switched to medieval history (so useful, LOL). I think the research skills I developed getting the history degree have stood me in good stead as a writer.

How much research time customarily goes into your projects?
It really depends on the book. A contemporary romance doesn't take nearly as much time as a historical romance, or SF or fantasy romance, where there's a lot of worldbuilding going on. I'd say for my featured book, I probably put more than a hundred hours into the research.

Tell us about your featured book.
My featured book, Heart of Gold, is listed as a steampunk romance, but it would probably be more accurate to say that it's gaslight fantasy romance. The steamy elements are fairly light. It's a Victorian age only slightly different from our own. My elevator pitch is that it's the romance novel H.G. Wells never wrote.

Why did you write that?
Usually I know exactly what inspired me to write a book, but in this case, I think it was a combination of elements. I wanted to write a book with a properly Victorian heroine -- unfortunately, I think a lot of people want to set a book in a particular period but don't spend enough time familiarizing themselves with the mores and mindset of the period. The idea of taking a heroine like that and putting her in a series of increasingly perilous situations appealed to me.

Is there anything special you would like your potential readers to know?
I don't really follow the conventions of any particular genre. I'm here to tell stories; I'm not worried about categories. Just about any of my books will give you a reading experience that's a little off the beaten track.

Where is the one place you’ve traveled where you’ve felt most like you fit in?
Sedona, Arizona, which is weird, because I'm not really a "desert" person. However, it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen, the people are friendly, the dining is divine, and the housing prices are lower than in SoCal. ;-) We're thinking about moving there one day.

What activity or hobby, besides writing, do you find most enjoyable?
I really enjoy participating in historical reenactments and historical dance.

What was your favorite childhood toy?
When I was three I had a little Snow White play set that had the dwarves' cottage, Snow White, and all the seven dwarves. According to my mother, I was absolutely obsessed with it.

If you lost the ability to see every color but one, which one would it be?

Green. It's my favorite color, and it's the color of life and energy.

How do you treat people you’re not fond of?
I try to avoid them, if possible. Otherwise, I'm polite.

What is hiding in your closet as we speak?
A mountain of shoes just waiting to attack.

What do you see as your greatest achievement?
My relationship with my husband.

What, to you, is absolutely wrong?
I try not to deal in absolutes.

What do you classify as an “Adventure?”
Anything fun and exciting that I haven't done before.

If you could learn one new thing instantly, what would it be?
How to dance the paso doble. I'm still obsessed with Strictly Ballroom.

Finish this sentence. “I sometimes find it hard to…”
Step away from my computer!

Who is your most favorite literary character?
Elizabeth Bennet

Who is your favorite character of your own creation?
They're like Lays...I can't pick just one.

To be or not to be?
To be!

 Our very special thanks to Christine for being with us. Give her work a look today, and spend tomorrow collecting rare artifacts in the Amazon rainforest.

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