24 March 2013

Guest Blog: Georgie Lee

This week, we're welcoming author Georgie Lee, whose latest title is Studio Relations. The author is offering a free copy of the book to a lucky blog visitor. Here's the blurb:     

Vivien Howard hasn’t forgiven Weston Holmes for almost derailing her career five years ago. Female directors in 1930s Hollywood are few and far between, and a man who coasts by on his good looks and family connections can’t possibly appreciate what it took for her to get to where she is. But when the studio head puts Weston in charge of overseeing Vivien’s ambitious Civil War film, she realizes she has a choice: make nice with her charismatic new boss or watch a replacement director destroy her dream.

Weston Holmes doesn’t know much about making movies, but he knows plenty about money. And thanks to the Depression, ticket sales are dangerously low. The studio can’t afford a flop—or bad press, which is exactly what threatens to unfold when an innocent encounter between Weston and Vivien is misconstrued by the gossip rags. The only solution? A marriage of convenience that will force the bickering duo into an unlikely alliance—and guide them to their own happy Hollywood ending.

**Q&A with Georgie Lee**

When did you start writing?

I grew up writing many different things including poetry, short stories and screenplays. I’m a lifelong history buff, voracious reader, writer and a movie lover. I especially enjoy classic films because they have such witty dialogue. My professional writing career began at a small cable TV station in San Diego where I wrote marketing videos and public service announcements. I dreamed of being a screenwriter so I moved to Los Angeles and earned my MA in screenwriting. I never conquered Hollywood, but I’d always enjoyed reading romance novels, so one day I started writing one. It was a Regency romance and it went on to become Lady’s Wager, my first published novel. It took me about a year to write Lady’s Wager and the first draft wasn’t exactly perfect. I learned a lot by rewriting that story.

What inspired you to write your current release Studio Relations, a love story set in 1935 Hollywood?

My love of classic films and Gone with the Wind helped inspire this book. I knew from my film studies background that there were a few female directors working in Hollywood during the 1930s. While the major studios did employ women behind the scenes, women usually worked in publicity, writing or the costume shop. It was the rare female who stepped behind the camera, and she faced a number of obstacles, from demanding studio bosses to disapproving women’s groups. Also, the 1930s saw a great deal of change in Hollywood from the conversion to talkies to the introduction of the Hays Code, which dictated what could and could not appear on screen. Outside the studio gates, the Great Depression was raging and Europe was heading toward World War II. There was a lot of conflict both on the soundstage and off for me to play with. I touch on all these subjects in Studio Relations, but especially what it was like for a woman to work in a man’s world in 1935 Hollywood.

In Studio Relations, I also pay homage to my favorite film Gone with the Wind, by making the film Vivien directs a Civil War movie. I drew on my knowledge of Gone with the Wind’s production to help me make the scenes dealing with the production of Vivien’s film seem authentic to the time period. It was fun to pull from both my knowledge of classic Hollywood and Gone with the Wind to help make Studio Relations an engaging story.

What is your favorite scene from this story and why?

My favorite scene from Studio Relations is the shotgun wedding scene. After a PR debacle, Vivien and Weston are forced to get married. The studio boss is in charge of making the arrangements and I had a blast helping him put it all together.

Who is your favorite author, and how does this person inspire you?

I admire so many great authors, it’s hard to pick just one. I am going to go with a few classics, Oscar Wilde for sharp witty dialogue, W. Somerset Maugham for great insight into characters and D.H. Lawrence for well developed internal monologue.

If you could time travel back in time, where would you go and why?

I’m a major history buff so choosing just one time period is tough, but I have to pick ancient Egypt during the reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III. She was the most powerful female ruler in Egypt and they were co-rulers for some time. Once she died, Thutmose became one of Egypt’s greatest Pharaohs. It would be wonderful to see the dynamics that made her reign possible, to watch her rise to power and to know why, so many years after her death, Thutmose decided to remove her from the historical record. Also, I’d love to know more about the ancient Egyptian’s daily lives. Although we know a great deal about their funerary practices, very little is known about their daily lives. I would love to see the court of Pharaoh, to see how he and the noble women spent their days.

Tell us about your upcoming releases and what you’re working on now.

I’m currently working on a couple of Regency romances for Harlequin Historical. I also have a Regency-set novella, Hero’s Redemption, coming out from Carina Press in July.

Thank you Lisa for having me here today, and thank you to everyone for stopping by!

A dedicated history and film buff, Georgie Lee loves combining her passion for Hollywood, history and storytelling through romantic fiction. She began writing professionally at a small TV station in San Diego before moving to Los Angeles to work in the interesting but strange world of the entertainment industry.

Her traditional Regency, Lady’s Wager and her contemporary novella Rock ‘n’ Roll Reunion are both available from Ellora’s Cave Blush. Labor Relations, a contemporary romance of Hollywood is currently available from Montlake Romance. Mask of the Gladiator, a novella of ancient Rome is now available from Carina Press.

When not writing, Georgie enjoys reading non-fiction history and watching any movie with a costume and an accent. Please visit www.georgie-lee.com for more information about Georgie and her novels.

Find Georgie on:

Twitter: @GeorgieLeeBooks
Blog: http://georgielee.blogspot.com