Please welcome author Fiona Vance. Fiona has written a historical erotica called The Highwayman. Here’s the cover and blurb!
Can a powerful woman finally take control of her own pleasure?
After finding her husband tupping one of the maids in the pantry, Countess Ariadne sets off to visit her sister to avoid scandal. Wondering if her marriage is over, she’s come upon by a highwayman, whose silver tongue and suave manner soon have her eager to demand what she’s due. Having found the ability to get what she desires, will Ariadne choose to pass his way again? Or will she use her newfound knowledge to bring her husband to heel?
Annie: Thanks for joining us today, Fiona. It’s no secret that you love historicals. What is it about the historical genre that most appeals to you, and do you have a favorite time period?
Fiona: Thanks for having me! I think I love historical because I’m perpetually a little girl who wants to be a princess. As a child, I loved dressing up in all the fancy dresses my mother used to make for me (I had a sleeping beauty dress that was *just* like in the movie). I love Regency for the witty repartee, but I also love medievals. I even got married in a red medieval gown in Vegas. So yeah, I’d say I’m pretty much never going to get over it.
And yes, before you ask, my husband makes an extremely dashing prince…:)
Annie: Do you have a favorite author who introduced you to the genre?
Fiona: Walt Disney. Seriously. I saw Sleeping Beauty when I was about four and it was all over. Maleficent’s creepy stone castle, the gorgeous stylized medieval drawings that made up the scenery, the knights on horseback with pennants flying… that was it for me. I wanted to live in a castle and fight dragons and battle demonic witches…with a handsome prince by my side, of course. Sigh… Where were we?
Annie: The Highwayman is listed as erotica. Can you tell readers who are interested the general difference between erotica and erotic romance?
Some people use them interchangeably, but they’re really not the same thing. Erotica is a genre in and of itself. Romance is a genre of its own, too, and erotic romance still has to be romance, even if sex plays a bigger role in it than in mainstream romances. Some of the genre conventions of romance, such as a romantic story arc between a monogamous couple (or triple or more, if it’s ménage or poly), and a Happily Ever After (affectionately referred to as the HEA), or at least a Happy For Now, aren’t part of the erotica genre. Erotica deals with stories about eroticism. Often, these can be stories of a character’s sexual coming of age, or of a character’s personal journey where sex is a pivotal element. But there’s no expectation that she’s going to have a meaningful relationship, and if she does, there’s no genre requirement that it be monogamous. These stories aren’t “about” the relationship like romances are. They’re about the main character. She can have sex with ten people or cheat on her husband if that’s where her journey takes her over the course of her tale. But those are two really big no-nos in the romance genre, even erotic romance. Some of the major retailers use the “erotica” umbrella for “all stories with graphic sex,” but that’s more a way for them to keep all sexy stuff together than a single genre, per se.
Annie: So tell me a little about the characters and the conflict in The Highwayman?
Fiona: The Highwayman is the story of a woman finding her inner power and learning to take control of her life. During the Regency, a small handful of women virtually ran society. They decided who was to be “in” this season and who was to be “out,” they approved the applications for the most popular club, which would make or break someone’s social standing were they admitted or denied. In The Highwayman, the heroine, Ariadne, is one of these women, extremely rich and extremely powerful, and married to a man who’d been considered the most handsome rogue in his day.
Only he’s got a thing for the chambermaids. And the cooks. And the scullery maids. And anything else that breathes. He loves Ariadne, but she’s just not… sexy. She’s the proper lady, and a proper lady certainly does not make noises during sex.
Finding Edgar with one of the maids—who’s making sounds that Ariadne isn’t even sure a human could make—convinces her that something is very wrong with her very proper marriage. Not only because Edgar is cheating on her—but because there’s something these women at the absolute bottom of the social ladder have that she doesn’t—the power to let it all hang loose and really enjoy themselves. The ton thinks she has all the power, but really, she has none that matters. So Ariadne decides she’s going to try and find that power. She learns to overcome the bonds of propriety to take control of her own desire—and her own marriage—the way she controls everyone else, and finds out how to accept and use her own power for herself.
Oh yeah, and there’s a highwayman involved who kind of lets her practice on him.
Annie: You have a running joke on your blog about zombie cabbages. I must admit, I’m intrigued…
Fiona: LOL! Two summers ago I decided to plant a vegetable garden. Then I found out we didn’t get the right sun, the fence cast a shadow, the house cast a shadow, the shadows cast shadows…and we had gophers! All I grew were a couple of cabbages and some cherry tomatoes, and the earwigs and the gophers got the rest.
Then…the icy hand of winter descended, trailing its cold, bony fingers across the land. The garden died, and frost covered the tombs of the insect-eaten cabbages. Finally, spring came. And up through the earth, rose…the zombie cabbage! It was dead, but still it grew, higher and higher, sprouting hideous yellow flowers and casting its heinous shadow over the ground like the claws of doom…
Yeah. That sucker just wouldn’t die. Had to lop its heads off with the machete. I think we finally killed it. We’ll see.
Annie: Heroes. We all love them. Do you go for the lovable rogue? The protective alpha male? The angst-ridden anti-hero?
Fiona: Yep. 🙂 There are times and places where each type shines, and the beauty of fiction is that we can build a world to suit the type of hero we want to spend time with at the moment.
Annie: Sam or Dean?
Annie: Do you find the amount of research necessary for historical romances daunting or challenging?
Fiona: Oh, I love the history. That’s my favorite part. I’ve always loved history, but I didn’t like taking history in school. The guy teachers always focused on the stupid wars. I was more interested in the culture—what the mores were, how people did practical things like drive a buggy and bring in crops and make tallow candles and shear sheep. I was lucky to grow up in Rhode Island—you’re surrounded by history when you grow up in a town that was incorporated in 1639. If anyone is heading to Massachusetts any time soon, plan to stop at Old Sturbridge Village. It’s a working colonial village where re-enactors work the fields and cook and dye wool and do all kinds of stuff like it was done in the early 1800’s. Try to go when they’re shearing the sheep. Bald sheep are hysterical.
Annie: Okay, I’ve been dying to ask this: Pirates or Highwaymen?
Fiona: Another ménage.
Annie: From your blog, I can also tell you like to cook. Think fast: favorite recipe! Stuffies or calamari?
Fiona: LOL! Both are delicious—when they’re fresh. 🙂
Annie: What do readers have to look forward to in the future from Fiona Vance?
Fiona: I’m working on a bunch of new stories—all romances at the moment—but that pirate/highwayman ménage might have to be the new number one. LOL. Two of the others are contemporary, and one is a Regency paranormal erotic romance. I just couldn’t help it…the highwayman needed his own story, and it just started getting out of hand. 🙂