Friday, September 3, 2010

Special Guest: Laura Hogg

Hi Cozies! Today I welcome special guest, Vintage Rose author of The Wild Rose Press, Laura Hogg...

Laura lives in Colorado and has various stories out with different publishers. They range from short stories to full-length novels. Most are romance. Laura likes to write historical, some sci-fi, and paranormal, especially time travel fiction.

Welcome, Laura! What compelled you to write in your chosen sub-genre? What is your favorite aspect of this type of story?

Well, I chose romance for the happy endings and historical because I love history. Also, I’m intrigued with the paranormal. It has a lot to do with my upbringing.

My favorite aspect of historical stories is the insight I gain from losing myself in the past: lessons learned and adventures not read about in today’s newspapers. But some things never change. It’s interesting to see the common thread of humanity throughout the ages, the things that don’t change, against the backdrop of those things that do.

How did you come up with the premises for Copacetic and Baby Vamp? What do you like most about these stories? How are these books connected?

These two stories are set in the year 1924, the year my grandmother was born. The twenties were exciting, and women became so much freer than they were previously. A lot of wild things happened at that time. Both titles are expressions that were popular back then.

Copacetic is the story of a woman named Claire who is repressed by her boyfriend. When she meets her true love, she finds the courage to stand up for herself and becomes a flapper. Baby Vamp (not a vampire story—the term was a popular expression of the era) is the story of Claire’s sister, Margaret, who is an old-fashioned woman. Some women of that era were of course more conservative than others, keeping more with the past, and I wanted to show that. Margaret finds her true love, but there’s a mystery to clear up involving her father, and the answer to her past could destroy her chances for happiness.

I like the setting of these books, the vintage atmosphere. I like how men and women interacted with each other in this era when women could express themselves like never before.

Tell us about the heroine of Copacetic. How do you think readers will identify most with her?

Claire is a woman who’s under the thumb of her pushy boyfriend, but when she meets a dashing, modern-thinking man, new love gives her the courage to dig deep and stand up to a bully. He pushes back, scaring her into doing his bidding, but things take an interesting turn. Her repressed personality comes out.

I think many people are afraid of something, and they can find the strength to overcome things, the inspiration, when they search their hearts. Claire makes some hard decisions, as we all do from time to time.

Tell us about the hero. Is he an alpha or a beta? What will readers like most about him?

Well, this hero is a bit easy-going, not really an alpha, but he does something bold in the name of true love. He’s very charming and adores Claire. His courage is inspiring. His acceptance of her new “modern” ways is heart-warming.

How about the hero and heroine of Baby Vamp? What do you like most about them?

Margaret is an old-fashioned lady, “Edwardian” and her true love is a man who is old-fashioned himself. Margaret is gentle and conservative, while her sister is wild and daring. Margaret has a good heart and cares for others. She also goes through character growth in this story, learning a little bit about the flapper ways, while showing promise of opening the mind of her true love who looks down on “modern” values. The hero of this story is charming, handsome, and falls so in love with her, he stands before a gun, willing to die for her.

What kind of research did you have to do for these storylines?

Lots of historical research on the twenties. Clothes, language, cars, and more, lots more.

How do this book compare with other books you have written?

It’s sweeter. No steamy scenes, and shorter than most of my work. These are short stories. Someone once told me I should extend them and write a novel. There is room for that if I ever want to try that. Writing about the twenties is so much fun. I am working on an unrelated time travel novel set in that time (from my Romeo vs. Juliet series).

Would you like to share reviews for this work?

Copacetic - Here’s a couple of snippets from Snapdragon at LASR: Snappy dialogue charged with historic colloquialisms drives this short 1920s romance. The powerful lead character is balanced nicely by her caring, quite "swell" admirer, but this is no simple love story. Danger lurks; grave, personal danger.

Baby Vamp - This is simply delightfully written. The hopes and dreams create a wonderful sense of tone that is maintained throughout like savoring one perfect bonbon. The history (and the dance halls!) provide a fun and non-intrusive setting – but you don’t have to be a fan of the historical to enjoy this. Simply a pleasure.

And a snippet of a review done at Cocktail Reviews done by Wilga Hill Boomerang for Copacetic: I enjoyed Claire’s liberation from the restraints of the time and the fact that she found love—or rather, love found her.

And Fallen Angel Reviews for Copacetic: The story is interesting and I felt very much involved with Claire and her plight. Nice job! Reviewed by: Marlene

Now for the fun part of the Q&A! What is your zodiac and what is it telling you today?

Virgo, and today (August 31st) is my birthday. It’s telling me I want cake :)

If you could set a story in your real-life setting, what would it be? Heartfelt contemporary, high-flying fantasy, or steamy romantic suspense?

I have set stories in my state, but the late 19th century, Westerns, romance, of course. Colorado has an interesting history. My story Emma the Outlaw is set practically in my own back yard.

If you were a mixed drink, what would you be and why?

I’m not sure exactly :)

What recent read would you recommend?

I’m reading this book called The Jewel of St. Petersburg by Kate Furnivall, and as a student of history, I really like it. It’s well-written and quite engaging.

What is your favorite smell and what makes it significant?

I could say chocolate because I have a terrible sweet tooth, but I’ll try for something more original. Roses, no, more original, hmm. Oh, freshly baking bread or a thick hearty stew? Stuff like that is comforting, warm and cozy and reminds me of happy times. When my husband experiments with recipes in “his” kitchen, my mouth waters. I love the scents his cooking produces. And to think, after twenty-one years of marriage (and having married as teenagers) he still tries to impress me in the kitchen.

Or, I like the scent of the fresh air in our charming mountain towns. Or…the smell of a bookstore when I have money to spend.

And last but not least, if you found the Mirror of Erised from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, what would you see in it? (Note: If you aren't an HP junkie like me, the Mirror of Erised is a magical object that is inscribed “I show not your face, but your heart’s desire.” Orphaned Harry sees his parents, his friend Ron sees himself distinguished as Head Boy and Quidditch Captain, and Albus Dumbledore supposedly sees himself with a pair of socks.)

I see myself back in a rock band but without the terrible stage fright, doing local gigs.

Would you like to share an excerpt from Copacetic with readers today?

He ripped his hand from her wrist. “Then you’ll be trading that white dress for a black one.”

He took a step away.

“Wait!”

“Claire?” With a spin on his heels, his gaze met hers.

“You win.”

“Reject him at the altar.”

“What?” It came out choked.

“You heard me.” He smirked.

Through dizziness and a sick stomach, she considered him, wearing his expensive dark suit, tall, stocky with black hair and keen dark eyes.

I once thought you were the most handsome man I had ever seen. I thought you were brilliant, intelligent, charmingly tough…would protect me from all harm.

“What a sap,” she called herself, muttering under her breath and nodded.

“My man will be watching.” He strode away, out of the courtyard, down a narrow path between buildings, and out of sight.

*****

“Do you, Claire Hamilton, take this man to be your wedded husband?”

His face, oh, lord, his face. He is stunning in his love for me.

She coughed in an attempt to banish that stupid lump in her throat. It didn’t work, but it kept the tears at bay. Her heart reached out to him, swearing her love. Her eyes turned cold, and her trembling lips muttered, “No.”

He frowned. “What?” He leaned closer and took her hand. “Claire?”

Her chin came up in false pride. “No. You’re not rich enough for me. I’m going back to Stanley.”

Many people gasped. Brian squeezed her upper arms.

“You don’t mean that!”

“I do. Besides, you’re a wet blanket, a kill joy. No fun, mister.”

He released her arms as if they burned his hands. Margaret ran to her.

“Claire, are you insane?”

Claire snapped her fingers and adopted a saucy pose. “No, a girl just wants to have a little fun, and this fella here,” she pointed to Brian using her thumb, and tilted her head, “well, he’s not a hoofer. He don’t dance,” she said with a flirty voice, much like the flappers she knew.

“You might have informed me of your madness sooner!” Brian strode angrily down the aisle and shoved open the large wooden doors, exiting them as Claire’s heart crashed in her chest.

Thank you for sharing with us today, Laura! I love the 1920's so I'll definitely be checking out these two books! Readers, here's more on Copacetic and Baby Vamp, both of which can be found at The Wild Rose Press....

Copacetic -
Claire is a woman searching for true love yet at the same time, craves strength and freedom of expression in the year 1924. She is in serious danger from her boyfriend and must in the end, save herself.

Baby Vamp -
Margaret is quite unlike her twin Claire, a flapper. Margaret is more of an old-fashioned woman, living in 1924. She hopes to someday find true love with a real gentleman and to solve the mystery behind her father’s terrible actions in the past. She meets the man of her dreams but then is forced to make a decision that may break her heart. Discovering the truth about her father changes everything.

To learn more about Laura and her books, visit her website, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Amazon! Readers, it's your turn to sound off: what comes to mind when you think of the Roaring Twenties'?

5 comments:

Ilona Fridl said...

Hi, Laura and Amber!
From your fellow 20s Vintage Rose. I loved researching the era Although, I did do an earlier time in the twenties before the flapper craze. I look forward to reading yours.

Lauri said...

Hi Laura,

Congrats on your success. This era must be fun to write about!

Historical Writer/Editor said...

Thanks, Amber, again for having me as your guest, and thank you Ilona and Lauri for stopping by! I'm still reading about the twenties and enjoying it. I hope you all have a great weekend. -laura

P.L. Parker said...

Hi Ladies - Sorry late getting here but busy at work and by the time I got home, hubby wanted to go out for dinner. Love the roaring twenties. My Grandma Parker taught me how to do the Charleston so I could teach the drill team at high school. It was fun learning from her.

Historical Writer/Editor said...

That is very cool, P.L. What a grandma. :) I'll bet the dance was quite a workout.