Wednesday, September 14, 2011
HAZEL STATHEM, interviewed by Fran McNabb
She had been writing since she was fifteen but had mainly been influenced by authors like Austen, the Bronte sisters and Sabatini, but Georgette Heyer opened up the romance and elegance of the eighteen and nineteenth century and she fell head over heels in love with it.
She devoured Heyer’s books in very quick succession and wanted nothing more than to recreate her own Regency world. History had always been her favorite subject at school and it was just one small step to portray it in her work.
However, despite today’s trend to produce ‘hotter’ novels, she writes ‘traditional’ Regency Romance and closes the door on her characters when they retire. So much emotion can be conveyed by a mere glance or a single word that she doesn’t feel it necessary to leave the metaphorical door open to convey the emotions of the moment. The merest hint is often sufficient to stimulate the reader’s imagination and to go into detail is totally unnecessary.
Hazel has been married to her husband since 1969 and they share their home with a lovely Labrador named Mollie. Apart from reading and writing historical novels, Hazel's other ruling passion is animals and, until recently, she was treasurer for an organization that raised money for animal charities.
Tell us about the books you have with Avalon.
My first Avalon novel, THE PORTRAIT, was released in September 2010. My current publication, CONSEQUENCE, has just been released and my next Avalon book, FOR LOVE OF SARAH, will be available in April, 2012. My current work in progress, THE HONORABLE HEART, is yet another Regency romance and, hopefully, I will pitch it to Avalon when it is completed.
(Hazel has books published with other publishers, but “I must be honest and confess that I feel most at home at Avalon.")
Have you always lived in England? Have you visited the area of England where CONSEQUENCE is set?
Yes, I have always lived in England. CONSEQUENCE, a Georgian set romance, takes place in both London and Paris and I have visited both cities. They abound in history and are an inspiration to any author.
In the wake of a duel, Marcel Blake, the Duke of Lear, an infamous rake and gamester, leaves London to visit his cousin in Paris. Here he meets and falls in love with Julie, the British ambassador’s daughter. Thinking she would be horrified if she learned of his reputation, Marcel fights the attraction; but when he is wounded while saving her from the unwanted advances of a less-than-desirable would-be suitor, Marcel finds that she returns his affections.
Ultimately, vengeance conspires against them. At their wedding reception, Julie is maliciously informed of Marcel’s previous life of misdeeds, and she’s led to believe that he only married her to please the king. With this insurmountable gulf suddenly between them, will Marcel prove his reformation, woo his wife, and find happiness with her, or is the sudden desolation in Julie’s heart impossible to overcome? Have Marcel’s games finally caught up to him?
Have you visited the U.S? Where did you go?
We love visiting the U.S. and spend time there as often as we can. We have travelled there eleven times over the past fifteen years. We have been to Florida, Savannah, Atlanta and New York. We love the atmosphere and the friendliness of the people.
I taught English literature for years and absolutely love the history of your country. Are all your manuscripts English historical?
Like you, I love history, especially the romance and elegance of the Regency and Georgian eras which provide my inspiration. I write about what I know and love and wouldn’t be comfortable writing in any other genre.
What do you find is the most satisfying part of being a writer?
Being able to create my own historical world. I have always had a compulsion to write and even if my work was never published, I would continue.
Thank you, Hazel, for giving us a glimpse into your world.
Hazel’s website is www.hazel-statham.co.uk
She loves to hear from her readers and fellow authors and promises to answer all mail.