It was supposed to be simple. Moxie Hamilton was going to kidnap an unsuspecting driver just long enough to get to an out-of-town train station and buy a ticket to Chicago. She didn't factor in the stolen diamonds, being chased by a gun-wielding thug, or falling in love with her kidnap victim. The last one was probably one of her worst ideas, especially since she had a fiancé waiting for her in Chicago. Getting kidnapped wasn't high on Ben Kincaid's list of things to do, but that didn't stop Moxie from pulling a gun on him and ordering him to take her out of town. From the steamy heat of St. Augustine, Florida to the crime-ridden streets of prohibition Chicago and everywhere in between, Ben and Moxie leave a trail of chaos in a cross-country caper that will change their lives forever.What is the most challenging part about writing 20th century historicals?
Many people don't realize that many things were invented much earlier than they think that were. I've had people question my use of certain types of telephones, features on cars and my use of slang terms they hadn't realized were already in use in the twenties. And then there was, what I call, The Great Betty Boop Discovery. I made the mistake of assuming Betty had been around in the twenties and put her in one of my manuscripts. Fortunately, an issue of Smithsonian magazine set me straight before it became to late to change it. Betty Boop didn't come into being until 1930. Who woulda thunk?
What about this book in particular?
It's hard to write comedy. Sometimes what I think is funny, other people just don't 'get'. I can usually see humor in most situations, the trick is to convey that humor so other people can see it also.
What is it about the 1920's that makes you want to write during that period?
My first manuscript was a western, set in 1865. I soon became frustrated with the fact that everytime my characters wanted to meet up or even talk to each other, someone had to saddle a horse. But, the modern conveniences of a contemporary would fill a lot of my plot ideas full of holes. The twenties are a happy medium. My characters can easily jump in a car, go to the hospital or date without a chaparone without nasty things like cell phones, DNA samples or the internet messing up my plots.
Give us a tidbit of history that surprised you when researching It Takes Moxie?
While doing research for Moxie, I had the privilege of interviewing a collector of old cars. He showed me cars from his collection that had some of the most fascinating features, including a side compartment used solely for storing golf clubs! I'd always thought of old cars as being basic and uncomfortable, boy was I wrong! Some of the amenities of eighty year old cars would put today's vehicles to shame.
What advice would you give to anyone trying to write or sell 20th century historicals?
Early 20th century is slowly starting to be acknowledged as real history and no longer just the time when grandma grew up. I believe that in the next five years, books set in the beginning of the last century are going to be the big sellers. People are looking for something new and different, and early 20th century fits that criteria to a "T".
What is your favorite genre or period to read?
I love romantic comedy. I'm not too picky about the time period, I just like reading a book that can make me laugh.
Favorite book from the past year?
Boy, I can't name just one, there's been so many good ones over the last year. I'm guessing it was probably something written by Katie MacAlister, I'm a real groupie.
Five books from your TBR pile?
I'm working my way through rereading Sarah Strohmeyer's Bubbles books. Morag's Perfidia is also sitting here waiting for me. I'm saving it for the middle of November--I'm heading over to Oahu for Thanksgiving weekend and am hoping to spend some time with her then. I want Perfidia to be fresh in my mind when I see her so we can have a good gab session about it.
Tell us what part of It Takes Moxie is your favorite: the scene or element that, when you read it, leaves you feeling most satisfied?
I love the scene where Moxie gets in the brawl with the moonshiners girlfriend at the fair. Description and action are very difficult for me to write, so you can imagine how hard a fight scene between two women and an orange and purple teddy bear was for me to do. I struggled with that scene for days, and I think it turned out wonderfully. Well, I always laugh when I read it, so that must count for something!
What's up next for you?
Eye of the Beholder, another 1920's era book, is set to come out the beginning of next year. It's about a man who was physically injured during a WWI bomb blast and a woman who marries him with the understanding that he will pay for her little brother's medical treatment. Their chance at happiness is threatened by her old boyfriend, who refuses to accept their marriage. I based Will, the hero, on Gerard Butler's Phantom of the Opera, so I'm totally in love with him. It made my editor cry (in a good way, of course) so I'm hoping others will enjoy reading it also.
Thanks for your thoughtful answers, Delia! Ask your own question or leave a comment for the chance to win a copy of It Takes Moxie. One random commenter will be chosen this time next week. Check back to see if you've won!
UPDATE: You want to know where to buy a copy, right? Here's the link.