Friday, April 6, 2012

Author Interview - DeAnna Cameron

DeAnna Cameron writes romantic historical fiction featuring feisty heroines destined for passion and fame. Before turning to fiction, DeAnna worked as a journalist, writing and editing for several Southern California newspapers and magazines. She’s a member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America and the Literary Guild of Orange County.

Do you have a favorite character that you've either written or read?
I would say my all-time favorite character is Alice in Alice in Wonderland, because I love the idea of an individual being thrust into a strange, new world and trying to figure it out. A very close second would be Amelia Peabody from Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody mystery series. She’s a frumpy, middle-aged Victorian spinster-turned-Egyptologist with a sharp wit and an endearing habit of tossing convention to the wind as she goes about solving murders. Actually, I think I want to be her when I grow up.

If you could travel back to the past or into the future where would you go?

That’s a tough one. I used to dream of being an anthropologist, so that side of me would want to see the really early civilizations: The Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians, the Celts. I’d want to see how much modern historians have gotten right, and how much they’re getting wrong.
But if I could pick just one time-travel trip, it would be to the Victorian era—either New York, New Orleans or London. That’s where I would feel most comfortable since that’s where my imagination and my stories tend to take me again and again. (But if you offered me a trip to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, I wouldn’t turn it down!)

Do you have anything specific that inspires you, or makes you think something would make a good story?

Inspiration is a funny thing because it can come from anywhere. I’ve been inspired by people, by music, by beautiful scenery, even by food. I do consistently seem to be inspired by moments in history when there is conflict or social tension. In THE BELLY DANCER, it was the mood in Chicago and the idea that so much of the city’s future was riding on the success of the 1893 World’s Fair, and then how the belly-dance scandal threatened that. In DANCING AT THE CHANCE, it is the struggle of the small-time vaudeville theaters to survive in a world where showy, big-time theaters and the burgeoning film industry were prevailing.

What is it about the eras that you've written about, that made you want to write in that genre?

I think I return to the late Victorian / early Edwardian years because of that sense of tension I was talking about earlier. Advances brought about by the Industrial Revolution were ushering in so many changes. In general, people were optimistic about what the future held, but they were also nervous. With change there is always trepidation. A fear of the unknown, and a reluctance to let go of the old ways. People were running toward the future, but they weren’t entirely ready to let go of the past. So there was that conflict that I find compelling.

I also appreciate the civility of the time and the general sense of order – which can feel very cozy and comfortable after, say, watching the evening news and all the mayhem going on in the world today.

Night owl, or early bird?

Night owl, when I can be. Right now my toddler decides when I can sleep—or not sleep, which is more typically the case.

Who are your influences?

Kate Chopin, Flannery O’Connor, Anne Rice and Elizabeth Peters. There are others, too, but these are the authors I come back to again and again, and the ones I think who have shaped the kind of writer I am.

What is one book everyone should read?

I’m going to say Soulless, by Gail Carriger, because it is so clever and so original, and it’s really a great read.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

Really, you’re going to make me admit what a geek I am right here in public? All right, fine. So, I found these old cookbooks from the late 1800s and early 1900s, and I’ve been experimenting with the recipes. It’s kind of fun because a lot of the recipes don’t even have exact measurements and they assume everyone has things like suet and orange flower water in their pantry. (Well, I don’t.) I put a couple of the dishes up on my blog, and I’m planning to do more. But anyway, that’s how I’ve been amusing myself lately. 

DeAnna Cameron's latest novel is in stores now.

A chance for Love.
A chance for Fame.

For vaudeville chorus girl Pepper MacClair, dancing at The Chance Theatre is the chance of a lifetime. But when she must choose between the love of her life and her life on the stage, she’ll learn life’s most important moments never go according to script.

For your chance to win a signed copy  Dancing at The Chance enter the Hoppy Easter Eggstrvaganza Giveaway Hop.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Diana! Thank you for having me here today. I loved your fun questions. :)