05 April 2009

Book Party: Elizabeth Lane

It's Sunday on Unusual Historicals, which means time to talk with another wonderful author and try to win a free book. Weekends, they are good! This week we're featuring contributor Elizabeth Lane as she celebrates the release of her latest book, HIS SUBSTITUTE BRIDE, set during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.


Dashing but cynical Quint Seavers lives for danger. A past betrayal has made him wary of love, and he has no idea that independent, practical Annie Gustavson holds a secret longtime passion for him. Nor does he realize that the only reason Annie has traveled to San Francisco is to win his love--or walk away forever. When disaster strikes the city, Annie's courage and determination match his own--and suddenly Quint knows that she's exactly what has been missing from his life all along...

Tell us about yourself, Elizabeth!

I'm a westerner by birth and upbringing. My grandparents lived like pioneers and my great-grandparents were pioneers. I grew up in a small town, in a family of people who loved the outdoors. Maybe that's why writing Western romance comes so naturally to me. But I can and do write other things. My earliest books were historical sagas. Then the market changed and I found a new home at Harlequin Historicals. Counting a couple of ghost writing projects, I'm coming up on 33 books. Twenty-six of those have been for Harlequin--three contemporaries, but the rest historicals.

What can you tell us about your newest book, HIS SUBSTITUTE BRIDE?

HIS SUBSTITUTE BRIDE is an April 2009 release from Harlequin Historicals. Those of you who met the Seavers brothers, Judd and Quint, in THE BORROWED BRIDE will be happy to know that in this sequel, set six years later, Quint and Annie finally get their chance to fall in love.

The story takes place in 1906 San Francisco in the days prior to the catastrophic earthquake and fire. Quint, a crusading reporter, has invited Annie to bring Clara, the little girl he fathered in the previous book, to San Francisco for a visit. The three of them become enmeshed in a web of intrigue and danger--a danger that will demand the ultimate sacrifice.

What was it like to research this book?

Researching HIS SUBSTITUTE BRIDE was fascinating work. The 1906 earthquake and fire are so well documented that I had no excuse for not getting it right. I found some wonderful books filled with authentic photographs and personal accounts. There are so many stories about the quake, so many tales of tragedy, irony and heroism. In addition to the books I read, I found a couple of excellent documentary films. Even the old movie San Francisco with Clark Gable and Jeanette McDonald gave me some ideas to add to the flavor of the book.

I also paid a visit to present day San Francisco. Since my daughter lives in the Bay area, I was able to combine my research with a family visit. She and I trekked all over the city, looking for historic spots and having a wonderful time.

One of my biggest challenges was finding an accurate map of 1906 San Francisco. The street layout was much the same as it is today, but entire neighborhoods and many important sites were destroyed by the earthquake and fire. When I finally found the map that could help me I kept it in front of me the entire time I was writing the book. Since setting plays such an important role in this story, I hope my research will add to the reader's understanding and enjoyment.

What do you do when you're not writing?

I love adventure. Over the years I've lived in Mexico, Guatemala, Panama and Germany and traveled to such exotic spots as China, Nepal, Tanzania and Peru. I've chased whales in a rubber boat, rafted the grand canyon and taken a flying lesson. When I'm not writing I like to be moving--I belly dance, hike and do yoga. I also volunteer as a zoo docent and enjoy teaching children about animals. After 23 years working as an educational software designer, I finally get to write full time. I like to think my writing career is just getting started!


HIS SUBSTITUTE BRIDE is a beautifully written story about discovering the true gift of love. Annie has loved Quint for so long it was heartbreaking to think that her dream would never come to be, but in the end Quint proved what a true hero he is. Elizabeth Lane first introduced Annie and Quint in the previous story THE BORROWED BRIDE and since that time I have been anxiously waiting for Annie and Quint's story. As impatient as I am I have to say that HIS SUBSTITUTE BRIDE was well worth the wait and truly deserving the five blue ribbon rating that I am giving it.
--Dina Smith, Romance Junkies

"...Author Elizabeth Lane has set a first rate suspense against the background of 1906 San Francisco and the earthquake that defined that city. She's also created a sensual romance where secrets won't stay buried. With a hero who has to learn boundaries and a heroine who needs to spread her wings, Ms. Lane gives readers characters who tug at your heart strings as they face danger around every corner. Especially poignant is the little girl Clara, blissfully unaware of the threats swirling about her. A captivating romance, an intriguing suspense and characters that make you care."
Carol, Love Western Romance

Thanks for being with us, Elizabeth!

If you'd like a shot at winning a copy of HIS SUBSTITUTE BRIDE, leave a comment or question for Elizabeth. I'm particularly interested in what Elizabeth's done by setting a novel in the urban West, which is hardly ever seen. Would you be interested in Westerns set in cities? Or are you a ranch-and-cowboys sort of reader? Open up! Let us know! We'll draw a winner at random next Sunday.