Why do I write Victorian romance? I doubt there was a single circumstance that caused me to fall in love with that particular era. I tend to think that many threads ran through my life that created a tapestry woven around the mid-nineteenth century.
My mother was the first person to urge me to write romance set in a bygone era. She said I started spinning historical tales when I was about five-years-old. In Idaho, where we lived for a time, the Rocky Mountains were practically in our back yard. Pioneers braved impossible odds to cross over those craggy peaks. My imagination used that backdrop to invent all kinds of sagas by which to entertain my siblings. I had no idea I had the basis for love stories way back then, but I did understand the value of love—love of family, love in the little glances my parents gave one another when they thought we weren’t looking; the first loves of my older teenaged sisters.
I love to wander through old cemeteries and create stories out of the inscriptions on the headstones. Most of the graveyards in the U.S. don’t go back any farther than the eighteen-hundreds, so again, there was another stimulus for writing in the Victorian era.
And how about my mother’s influence? She read books. Lots of books. Romance and more romance. She didn’t care what I read, just so I read. And I did, from age appropriate Black Beauty, to Gone With the Wind (I was ten). I loved my mother’s gothic romances, written by the likes of Mary Stewart and . It wasn’t long before I discovered Kathleen Woodiwiss. Need I say more?
For four years, my husband and I lived in Opatija, Croatia, a romantic seaside town made up of mostly Baroque-style villas. It was built in the mid-1800’s as a spa destination for Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elizabeth (she was said to be the most beautiful woman in the world at the time. 1837-1898).Hans and I lived an idyllic life there—until he fell ill.
We rushed him to Budapest, Hungary, to a renowned cancer center. Five weeks later, he passed away. I remained in the city, thinking I would stay long enough to sort out all the documentation the various governments required of me. Grief-stricken, every day I would walk around the city for hours on end. Soon, I fell in love with this visually stunning and romantic town, and I began making friends. Three months later, I returned from one of my walks with this powerful feeling that I had to write. And write I did! Once I started, there seemed to be no stopping me. Five books later, here I am, still living in Budapest and, in a period of less than six months, four of the five books I wrote will be released (the fifth releases in 2015).
The Seduction of Sarah Marks, my debut novel, is very special to me because I dreamed it in its entirety one night! I woke up filled with the essence of every character, and feeling as though I had just watched a really good movie. Despite the serious nature of not just one, but both the heroine and hero having suffered amnesia, the humor injected by the secondary characters had me giggling half the time. I do hope you enjoy Sarah’s and Eastleigh’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Here’s a description of the story and a little excerpt:
Description: When prim and proper Sarah Marks is stranded with no memory other than her name, she relies on Viscount Eastleigh to rescue her, but little does she know that the man and his wild and mischievous family are about to change her world forever.
Sarah shifted in her chair. “I’m wondering if this is at all proper.
“What? Stealing into my own kitchen in the middle of the night?” Eastleigh speared a thin slice of Stilton on the end of the knife and lifted it to her lips. “Eat.”
For pity’s sake. She was certain she had never done anything so unmannerly as to take food off a carving knife.
At her hesitation, he leaned closer and tugged at her chin until her lips parted. He slid the piece of cheese into her mouth. The rich, creamy texture nearly caused her to moan.
“That’s it. Good girl.” The timbre of his voice deepened, while at the same time, it took on a smoky quality. And his eyes—no mistaking the hunger in them. He speared another slice, popped it into his own mouth, and chewed slowly.
Oh, why was he looking at her like that? She wanted to say something clever to lighten the moment, but her frazzled brain came up with nothing.
Kathleen Bittner Roth creates passionate stories featuring characters faced with difficult choices, and who are forced to draw on their strength of spirit to overcome adversity and find unending love.
Her own fairy tale wedding in a Scottish castle led her to her current residence in Budapest, Hungary, considered one of Europe’s most romantic cities. However, she still keeps one boot firmly in Texas and the other in her home state of Minnesota.
A member of Romance Writers of America, she was a 2012 Golden Heart finalist. You can find Kathleen on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and her website at www.kathleenbittnerroth.com
He may be her savior... or what she needs most
After a blow to her head, Sarah Marks awakens in a strange bed with a strange man and no memory of how she got there. Her handsome bedmate, Lord Eastleigh, tells her she’s suffering from amnesia and the best course of action is to travel home with him until she recovers her memory.
Lord Eastleigh has his own reasons for helping Sarah and keeping her close. Reasons he cannot tell her. As they struggle to restore her memory, their undeniable, inadvisable attraction grows—until Sarah finally remembers the one thing that could keep them apart forever.