Monday, September 30, 2013

Guest Post + Spotlight + Giveaway ~ Her Wicked Sin (Sins of Salem #1) by Sarah Ballance

Challenges of Writing Historical Romance

Since I had absolutely no experience with historical romance prior to HER WICKED SIN, I wasn’t sure what to expect from writing one—at least not beyond the fact it sounded hard, LOL. Turns out it was much easier than I expected, but there were some definitely challenges. Here, in no particular order (because they ALL, um, “win”), are three whoppers.

RESEARCH
There’s the obvious task of fact checking every single detail (and inevitably missing a few, but dang it, you TRY), but more than chasing down those details is the side effect of searching. And OMG I found so many things to read! I started out one time looking up Puritan weddings and two hours later I was sitting there with my jaw on the ground reading about sex scandals. I didn’t even know they HAD sex (okay, kidding…but still!) and there were scandals? So, yes. Research equaled major distraction. :)

MISINFORMATION AND STEREOTYPES
What I just said about Puritans not having sex? I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person to get through school and not realize how sexual the Puritans actually were. I was shocked to learn sex is so required of them they can divorce one another on the grounds of not getting it satisfactorily enough. (INORITE?) One of my biggest roadblocks going in was trying to figure out how to convince readers Puritan romance could be sexy, and that challenge goes right along with the prevailing stereotypes. I worried whatever I unearthed—whether about sex, the witch trials, or any other aspect of this time—would be met with outcries of “WRONG…THAT’S ALL WRONG!” To be honest, MUCH of what I thought I knew about the Puritans was wrong, so this particular concern only grew the more I researched. 

LANGUAGE
Grasping the language is one thing. Making it readable? Another altogether. Puritans are known for thee and thou and thy and thyself and all that stuff that makes fiction darn near unreadable. I didn’t want to stray from authenticity, but I didn’t want my book to be, well, annoying. (My editor offered a great solution, the result of which is only a couple characters of great authority use the formal speech.) And beyond the language, there’s the ambiance. Knowing the time and date wasn’t enough—I wanted the reader to feel the setting. This meant adopting a new perspective and really becoming a part of the story. That was a HUGE challenge, but that accomplishment turned into one of THE greatest rewards of writing historical. And honestly, I’m sold. I think I’ll write another. (No, really, there are two more books coming in the Sins of Salem series. Yay!)

Thank y’all so much for hanging out with me today! If you’d like to check out HER WICKED SIN, you’ll find a smexy excerpt at Entangled and buy links @ Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Goodreads. And if you like haunted asylums, my supernatural novella RUBY HILL is now available from Entangled Publishing for just 99 cents. Go scare yourself up a copy!

PS: I'm probably hiking with grizzly bears as you read this, so bear (ha!) with me if I don't respond immediately to your comments. I do look forward to your replies--and I have been promised nightly wifi--so if I'm not mauled, eaten, or otherwise incapacitated, I will SO come back for you! :)
Salem, MA 1692

On a moonless night, he rides into the winter forest on his beast as black as midnight...

Dashing stranger, Henry Dunham, comes to Salem on a mysterious errand, but is thrown from his horse in the dead of night and rescued by the local Puritan midwife, Lydia Colson.

Haunted by her past, Lydia is running from her own dark secrets, avoiding intrusive questions by pretending her dead husband is simply... away. But when she and Henry are caught in a compromising situation, one punishable by Puritan law, he saves her from scandal by claiming to be her errant spouse... and claiming her bed.

Forced to fake a marriage, Lydia and Henry find their passion overwhelming and their vows a little too real. As their lies become truths, a witch hunt closes in on Lydia, threatening not only their burgeoning love, but her life.

About the Author

Sarah and her husband of what he calls “many long, long years” live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep.

She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom, she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren’t much better than the kids).

When not buried under piles of laundry, she may be found adrift in the Atlantic (preferably on a boat) or seeking that ever-elusive perfect writing spot where not even the kids can find her.

She loves creating unforgettable stories while putting her characters through an unkind amount of torture—a hobby that has nothing to do with living with six children. (Really.) Though she adores nail-biting mystery and edge-of-your-seat thrillers, Sarah writes in many genres including contemporary and ghostly paranormal romance.

Her ever-growing roster of releases may be found on Amazon , Barnes & Noble, Kobo, For the Muse Publishing, and coming soon to ENTANGLED PUBLISHING.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

19 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for hosting me today! It's a pleasure to be here. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sometimes the forced marriages, in books anyways, end up with the most chemistry and romance in the end.
    I've hiked among Grizzlies I hope you have a big gun!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They do tend to be yummy! The romance, I mean. Not the grizzlies. ;) We were run out of WY by an early season blizzard, so alas, the grizzlies were safe from my kids. LOL.

      Delete
  3. Thanks for sharing Her Wicked Sin and her giveaway. Sounds like a Wicked good book. evamillien at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great interview, I can't wait to read the book. Thank-you for the giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome, Jewel! I hope you enjoy it. :)

      Delete
  5. I'm not familiar at all with how the Puritans really viewed sex, so thanks for providing some facts in your interview! Thanks for sharing your research process and for the giveaway!
    falses1gns(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a blast with this one, Ari. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

      Delete
  6. Sarah, this was a great Guest Post. I really enjoyed learning about your challenges in writing Her Wicked Sin and you already know how much I enjoyed the book. Be careful of those bears!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Karen! And would you believe we missed the bears? A blizzard ran us out of Wyoming even after the government closed Yellowstone. Clearly we weren't meant to go this time. :)

      Delete
  7. Love the cover and look forward to reading. Thank you for the giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, and you're very welcome. Good luck!

      Delete
  8. Sarah, wishing you much success with your upcoming new release! I hope you have a wonderful release day! Shelbie =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Shelbie, for your kind wishes. I can't wait for book two...this has been amazing! :)

      Delete