Interview with Celia May Hart

Our special guest today started out writing traditional Regencies under one name, but has now made quite a different name for herself — Celia May Hart, to be exact — writing Regency-set erotic romance. Her third novel with Kensington Aphrodisia, One More Time, debuts this month. Romantic Times Magazine named it one of their Top Picks, raving: This scorching roller-coaster of a read is an erotic page-turner. It has romance, intrigue, licentious nobility, a Greek god come to life and an unexpected ending. Feisty Abby and sensual Myles are the perfect couple to surmount the obstacles in their way. This may have been the first book I’ve read by Hart, but it certainly won’t be the last!

Welcome, Celia May! Tell us about One More Time. What inspired this book? And was it an easy or a difficult book to write?

One More Time is about a modern-day heroine, Abby, who is flying herself to her new job as a hotel manager in the English countryside. She ends up landing in Regency-era England instead. She meets our hero, Myles, who is looking for a fabled statue that will get him entrance into the Dilettanti Society. Given that they have no clue how to get back to her own time, she helps him look for the statue, and shares the goodies she brought with her from the future (specifically, sex toys)

As for inspiration, I was pitching ideas for my next contract and nothing was grabbing my editor so I started getting outlandish. I sent off the idea of a time traveling heroine who hooks up with a charming adventurer and oh, by the way, a Greek god comes to life, and sent it off, thinking she’d never go for it.

She went for it. So I had to figure out in a little more detail how it was going to work. I had the beginning sorted out (I usually do) but figuring out what to do with Greek god was the hardest thing about this book to write. It ended up being a hard book to write, despite the easy start!

What advantages did writing a modern heroine in Regency times give you, as an author? And what new things did it let you play with?

I love time travel. I love the whole fish out of water aspect. And for the majority of the book, Abby has to conceal her true self in order to fit in. Although, she’s not particularly good at it. I loved doing the mix of modern and Regency-speak, and I think one of my favorite scenes is early on when Myles is trying to figure out the zipper.

What do you think is the greatest creative risk you’ve taken in this book?

Throwing in so many different elements. I spent most of the time writing the book calling it “The Kitchen Sink” because it seemed to me it had everything but the kitchen sink in there. And it was the first time I’d done more than a simple time travel story. This has some big paranormal elements in it, and working them in and describing them without, you know, data dumping, was a challenge.

One More Time includes an appearance by some characters from one of your earlier books. Did you find it easy to blend them into the new story? Or did you find that some scolding was necessary?

They wanted to come to the party. I checked with my editor if that was okay, and it was, so I let them loose and we had a lot of fun. I gained a better understanding of the Duke too. The Wintertons first appear in Show Me, and this is set after that.

Is there anything you wanted to include in the book that you (or your CPs or editor) felt was too controversial and left out?

Nope. Did I mention it was the Kitchen Sink book? Aphrodisia has some guidelines (similar to those of Ellora’s Cave), but other than that, we can do whatever we want.

Is there anything that any of the above wanted you to cut, that you decided to keep instead?

I don’t have a critique group and I never heard bo-peep from my editor when she got the book. I did restore some things from the copy-editor, but that’s par for the course and is minor stuff. (And actually, I think the copy-editor might’ve been right about something… Too late now!)

What is it about the Regency that makes it such a great setting?

It’s a time of transition — between racy Georgian to repressed Victorians; everybody looked good in their clothing (well, at least until the 1820’s) and there’s just this sense of adventure — a sense I picked up from Georgette Heyer and the characters of Horatio Hornblower and Sharpe.

Did you come across anything new or interesting when you were researching the book?

My editor recommended that I read “The Pleasure of the Imagination: English Culture in the Eighteenth Century” by John Brewer, and it’s a fascinating read. I learned about the Dilettanti Society in there, but I also learned how folks viewed art of all kinds. A mention of the Dilettanti Society got into the book. The rest, well, I love history, so it’s currently living in my subconscious somewhere, I’m sure.

What’s next for you?

That, as they say, is an open book. I’m playing with lots of different ideas: some of them are erotic, some of them are not. The idea I’m playing with now seems “different” to my previous ideas. I think I’m heading into new writerly territory and I sure hope I don’t screw it up. (Word to the aspiring authors out there — we never stop learning!)

Is there anything else you’d like the Risky Regencies readers to know about you?

I am doing a booksigning this Friday (December 7). If anyone’s in the SoCal area,
you’re more than welcome to come visit! (click here for info)

Thanks for having me!

Be sure to comment for a chance to win a copy of Celia’s earlier release, Show Me!

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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