I am thrilled to have Heidi Wessman Kneale visiting today to talk about SFF/Romance and her new release, For Richer For Poorer. As a huge SFF fan I had a lot of fun digging into Heidi’s concept. Please help me make Heidi feel welcome!
1. I’m a huge SFF fan, second only to romance. What sparked the idea to combine the family curse with the off-world and romance concepts?
Actually, the idea was given to me by some writing pals. We were all challenged to base a Romance story off a mediaeval curse, and I thought, why not take it into the future? Sometimes Science Fiction has a heavy focus on the technology. In the case of this story, I wanted to bring it back to the human factor.
2. What draws you to the combination of Science Fiction/Fantasy and Romance?
It’s the ultimate in happy escapist fiction!
3. Will this be the beginning of a series of Deveraux books? If not, what are you working on now?
Actually, this was originally planned to be the last of the Deveraux books, with the others in the series being written by the same writing pals who gave me the idea in the first place. I might come back to the Deveraux line some day, but currently, it’s not in my editorial plan.
I am working on a Regency Romance/Fantasy series called “A Woman of Some Talent”. I love me a good Regency Romance, being a big fan of Georgette Heyer and MC Beaton. I’m also intrigued by the works of Mary Robinette Kowal and Gail Carriger, so I had to have a bit of magic as well.
The early Regency was a carefree time for the upperclasses. It was also a time of revolution. Actually, lots of revolution. Both France and the United States had recently emerged from the phoenix fire of revolution. New technology fueled the Industrial Revolution. Social revolution–specifically anti-slavery, feminism and unionism–were on the rise. Fashion, literature, culture and more, all underwent great changes during this time. It was as if the sons and daughters of Europe were growing up and becoming socially mature. This provides a beautiful background for a rippingly good story.
While I wholly love the escapism that Regency Romance embodies, I can’t help but throw in a few subtle feminist scenes.
4. I love how your creative side comes out through several passions—writing, composing. Which was your first passion? How’d you get started in both?
Goodness! I can’t rightly remember. It must have been so ingrained in my very threads, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing or composing.
That said, I’ll have to give the edge to composing, as at age three, I was banging out songs of my own composition on the old upright. I’ve always had an active imagination, so as soon as I figured out how a pencil worked, I was writing stories as well.
5. What genre would you like to write that you haven’t tried yet?
Cosy mysteries. Think Agatha Christie.
6. What are your thoughts on love at first sight? Absolutely real? Or it’s just lust?
Absolutely I believe on love at first sight! However, I do not believe it guarantees permanence. The success of love at first sight as a forever thing wholly depends on the people involved. Strength of character, thoughtfulness and strong communication are the keys to successful love at first sight. Without those, it devolves into, as you say, just lust. Alas.
7. What fictional character would you like to be? And why?
I mentioned Agatha Christie before, because I’m rather fond of the clever and clear-sighted Miss Marple. She has such a romantic soul, especially for one of the Lost Generation. Very little gets past her. I would love to possess her insight.
8. What line or book or piece of music do you wish you wrote?
I wish I wrote Harry Potter. I wish I composed Dvorak’s Symphony #9 (New World). I’ve played it so many times, and I cry every time. I’m especially fond of the derivative hymn “Going Home”.
I wish I wrote these because of how much they have touched human souls all over the world.That’s what I love about creativity–the ability to lift another soul. It satisfies me to know that something I’ve created has made someone else happy.
9. This or That: (pick one)
- Winter or summer? Summer, hands-down.
- Read the book or watch the movie? Aw man, I have a degree in film. Can’t I do both?
- Wine or beer? Teetotaler!
- Chocolate or fruit dessert? Hard call, but I will lean slightly in favour of chocolate.
- Host a party or just show up? Another hard call, as hosting a party is another form of creativity. But for the nonce, I’m happy to just show up.
10. And for the speed round (ala Actor’s Studio) (Answer each with one word):
- What turns you on? Richard Armitage.
- What turns you off? Stupidity
- What is your favorite word? Ethereal
- What is your least favorite word? Brogan
- What sound or noise do you love? Human choirs
- What sound or noise do you hate? Martians invading Earth http://youtu.be/w1hURW6Vxqs
- What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? Composer (natch).
- What profession other than yours would you NOT like to attempt? Social worker.
- What is your favorite swear word? Bugger.
- If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say to you as you enter the Pearly Gates? “Welcome Back.”
FOR RICHER FOR POORER
Heidi Wessman Kneale
The Deveraux line is famous…for a family curse. The rich must marry the poor or lose their prosperity. Peter Baring is the last of the Deveraux and sinking slowly into poverty. But will marriage to his icy business partner save him?
Beatrice Nottham dreams of leaving Earth for a fresh start. But only married couples are allowed to move off-world. Marrying a man she’s unsure she loves will solve that problem…but at what cost?
When Beatrice visits England to research her branch of the Deveraux family tree, she meets Peter and sparks fly. Both question everything they ever believed would fulfill their dreams. If they dare to be together, will the Curse follow them beyond the stars? The answer to breaking its power could lie in the heart of a crumbling tapestry…if they have the courage to try.
What were the exact conditions of the Curse?
That the richest must marry the poorest? Sure. But other than that? Peter wondered, did Gytha love Phillippe?
She must have, to stay for so long. Or was it love? Did she stay simply so her family could be provided for? If she loved him, would she have cursed him thus? Or was she thinking of her sons? Clearly, she loved them more than anything.
“Peter?” Beatrice’s voice broke into his thoughts.
“Whether or not my marriage to Francie will break the Curse is irrelevant, because last night I decided I’m
not going to marry her.” He hung his head. “And forgive me,” he murmured, “I haven’t told her yet.”
He wanted to take Beatrice’s hands, but thought that most improper. He did not know how she was taking
this news. She stood as she had through the story of the Curse, one hand wrapped about her waist, the other hand pressed to her lips.
“I don’t love her,” he confessed. “Not one whit. I never did.”
Beatrice closed her eyes and slowly shook her head. “Yet you were going to marry her.”
He shrugged, at a loss for an answer. “I thought she loved me.”
“But you didn’t love her.” Was that disappointment in her voice?
“I liked her,” he hedged.
There was pain in her voice. “But you love the land more? You’d marry her so not only would the prosperity return, but she’d know how to develop the land properly so it’d turn a profit.” She hugged both arms tightly about her. “Or perhaps you love money? Perhaps you see this as the only way of restoring your fortune.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Heidi Kneale is an Australian author of moderate repute. Like most humans, she has a family. She associates with the World’s Most Boring Cat. She reads to escape and writes so others can escape as well. She has published many SFF/Romance stories, random articles and is a world-renowned composer. Currently she is pursuing a MS in Astronomy. Yesterday, she went to the beach.