Meredith Simmons~ Lost in the Past
Do you love historical romance? So does my guest today. Meredith Simmons is one of the 10 finalists in Kensington Brava’s WRITING WITH THE STARS contest. The last contestant standing in this rout will emerge with a publishing contract in her hand. Which one will it be? YOU can help pick the winner at RT BookReviews.
But right now, I’d like you to get acquainted with Meredith.
Thanks for having me, Mia.
I love historical romance. I enjoy picking up a book and finding myself in a completely different world. Now, don’t get me wrong. If there were a time machine that could take me back in time, but which offered no way back, I won’t go. I’m enamored of all sorts of modern conveniences. I’m a fan of flush toilets and hot showers. I love getting in my car and traveling further in an hour than anyone could go on horseback in a day. I really like that I’m not surrounded by the odors of unwashed bodies and raw sewage. But… Ah, you knew there would be a but.
Isn’t there something incredibly sexy about a man on a horse? Don’t you like the glorious clothing of the past – particularly when you don’t “really” have to wear it and the accompanying constricting undergarments? Isn’t it rather nice to inhabit a world where there isn’t instant communication and you can leisurely consider how you’ll respond? Don’t you like having a more absolute set of standards, rather than the nebulous situational ethics of today, especially when you can still be as nebulous as you want?
Yes, if I get to live in a fictional place – and it is fictional – then I choose the past.
When I was researching the background for Indentured Hearts, which takes place in Georgian England and the American colonies, I found the information fascinating. Since I live fairly close to Colonial Williamsburg, it was easy to submerge myself in the milieu. I could mentally move the wonderful plantations along the James River to the York River, where I wanted them. And then, of course, there were the imaginary men on horseback…
Do you prefer historical or contemporary romantic fiction? And if you like historical, which time period calls to you the most, and why? I’m looking forward to your answers.
Excerpt from Indentured Hearts
York, Virginia – August 1751
The women pushed and shoved as they shuffled along the ship’s passageway. Some laughed and joked, but the majority were silent. The hideous voyage was over. The unknown lay beyond the bright square of light coming through the hatch.
Cassy was one of the silent ones. She held herself upright by force of will. Dear God, could this nightmare finally be over? As she stepped onto the deck of the Agatha Jane, the sun blinded her. She unconsciously put a hand on the woman in front of her, following wherever she led.
“Women to the right,” a crewman yelled at the group emerging from the hold. “Form a single line.” A hand roughly grasped Cassy’s arm and shoved her back a few steps. She retained her balance with difficulty. “Single line, ya stupid jade.”
The deck burned her bare feet, but she resisted the urge to move them around, not wanting to draw the crewman’s attention. The past weeks had taught her the wisdom of remaining as invisible as possible. She wiped her watering eyes and squinted around her.
The refuse from the holds had been assembled on the deck. The men formed a line directly across from the women. Some stood proudly. Some appeared as beaten as Cassy felt. She’d always thought of herself as a daring risk-taker. Now she was defeated.
She took a deep breath of untainted air. It smelled of salt and fish and rotting sea weed. After the stench of the dank hold where eighteen unwashed women had been closely confined for over two months, no perfume had ever been more alluring.
Bereft and abandoned, Cassy could only hope someone would buy her labor. The lady compared to a Dresden figurine in London ballrooms had fallen very low.
Meredith Simmons is a storyteller whose award-winning short stories have appeared in various science fiction and fantasy magazines and anthologies. She loves to read, write, talk, and travel in both the real world and the world of her imagination. She has a “day job” as a real estate broker, which means she’s recently had a lot of time to write.
Meredith’s mentor is Brava author Bronwen Evans, author of dark, gritty Regency romance. (Come on, you didn’t really think Jane Austen’s England was all tea and crumpets, did you?) Bronwyn’s INVITATION TO RUIN hits the shelves Feb. 22, 2011. Check out an excerpt on http://www.bronwenevans.com
Be sure to leave an answer to Merry’s question. What’s your favorite romance subgenre? And I’d like to toss out a related question–why does a man look hotter on horseback? ;-)