Writer Envy: Who Do I Wish I Was?
Every now and then I read a book and think “This is so good. I should write a book like this.” Of course I can’t. Every writer has her own style, including me. But certain writers regularly inspire me with jealous torments.
I love the way Liz Carlyle sets a scene, especially a sordid scene. The opening of Tempted All Night, for example. Without going into a lot of description, she makes you see the shady pub – and incidentally tells you’re a whole lot about her hero.
“It’s generally said that a man can be known by the company he keeps, and Tristan Talbot was likely the only fellow in London who went dicing with his manservant. That his servant disdained the Three Shovels as beneath his dignity served only to further illuminate the level to which Tristan sometimes sank. And illumination was direly needed at the Shovels, for the place was dark as a den of thieves.
Actually, it was a den of thieves. And rogues and sharps and bawds—even the occasional gentleman out for a low-class lark. From somewhere deep inside the low-ceilinged alehouse, raucous laughter rang out….”
I’m always telling people Janet Mullany is the funniest historical writer around, though why I bother to qualify the statement I don’t know. Can’t think of any funnier in any genre. Only Janet—in the Rules Of Gentility– would set her marriage proposal in the bathroom.
“What are you doing in there?”
“It’s a water closet. What sort of question is that?”
“Well hurry up. I want to propose to you.’ He thumps on the door again and mutters something about women taking so long in there. It must be all the petticoats.
My papa comments that he’s always thought it so too.
I envy Eloisa James’ ability to effortlessly convey romantic deliciousness, as in this random page from Desperate Duchesses, perhaps my favorite Eloisa.
“Damon was well aware he was consumed by lust. It was a dangerous state. He’d never before experienced it as a sort of waking fever dream, as the past few days when he walked the halls of Beaumont House merely so that he could catch a whiff of Roberta’s perfume, or see the flutter of her dress retreat around a corner.”
Anna Campbell’s dark sensuality leaves me gaping. How does she do that?
“He told himself her body was all he wanted.
The declaration sounded laughably hollow. The feverish encounter had bitten more deeply than the fleeting demands of flesh alone ever could, however much he wished it otherwise.
She took a shuddering breath as he settled at her side. He fought the urge to stroke the damp black hair back from her brow. She wouldn’t welcome his tenderness, he knew with piercing regret. (Claiming the Courtesan)
Among the many things I envy in Susan Elizabeth Phillips is her ability to construct a big multi-character ensemble scene. The most fun may the one where a horde of giant professional sportsmen invade the heroine’s house (“Get your big-ass shoes off my sofa cushions.”) My favorite is the dinner party in Ain’t She Sweet when Sugar Beth turns an event designed to humiliate her into a triumph. We see her emerge with grace and dignity and Colin’s emotions turn from revenge to shame to love. There’s nothing I find more satisfying than seeing the tables turned.
And then there’s Loretta Chase. I’d kill to write like Chase. All I can do after devouring one of her books is to pray that some of her genius rubs off on me.
Among your favorite authors, can you pinpoint exactly what aspects of their work you like the most?
Miranda Neville grew up in England devouring historical novels and romances. She now lives in Vermont where she is hard at work on her seventh full length novel. The Second Seduction of a Lady is a prequel to THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED, coming November 27th. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter and on her website. She also blogs regularly at The Ballroom Blog
Enter the thrilling, sexy world of Georgian England in my new novella—and catch a glimpse of Caro, the heroine of the upcomingThe Importance of Being Wicked, on sale December 2012.
Eleanor Hardwick and Max Quinton shared one night of incredible passion…that was shattered the next day, when Eleanor learned of a bet placed by Max’s friends. Now, five years later, Max still can’t get Eleanor out of his head or his heart. He has a single chance to make a second impression—one that will last forever.
The novella (approximately 26,000 words or 100 pages) will be available in a print edition.