She grew up in Dorset, England and edited medical text for the best of the best on London's Harley Street. Today, we all know this extremely talented and lovely lady as award-winning romance author, Stella Cameron. With more than fifty books, historical and contemporary, on her list of published accomplishments, and a plethera of awards to show for it too, Stella still continues to provide her ever-increasing circle of fans with books that quickly become prized treasures. Stories that touch the heart and leave one sated and smiling are a trademark for Stella Cameron.
Interview with Elena Channing
Please tell us a little about your latest release, FINDING IAN.?
FINDING IAN isn't a story pulled from a box of ideas beneath my bed. Byron Frazer, Jade Perron, and Ian Spring have been in my head and heart for a very long time.
This is a love story, a sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, and a sensual love story. Putting down the words involved all of me. I laughed and cried and when I finally allowed myself to deal with issues that mean a great deal
to me, I became a silent member of the Bodinnick, Cornwall community where villagers decide what's what in the local pub.
I went to Cornwall to walk through what I needed to understand about tiny Cornish villages. My husband and I arrived there on a shiny afternoon, I looked from Bodinnick across the mouth of the River Fowey, toward the ancient, cobbled town of Fowey, and got the biggest "wow" feeling I've ever had. This photograph I took at that moment was used by an artist to paint the cover illustration for FINDING IAN.
Byron Frazer thought he had it all, a wife he adored and a newborn son they both wanted. His wife died shortly after the birth and in his grief--and because he was only 21--he decided the child would have a better home with a couple who were desperate to have a baby and who could be there whenever he needed them. Ian was given up in adoption. Thirteen years later, Byron finds out that the boy's adoptive parents are dead and he has been sent from Minnesota to Cornwall to live with his adoptive mother's family. Impulsively Byron followed to make sure Ian is OK.
Reeling from a shattered marriage, Jade Perron, Ian's cousin by adoption, is determined to rebuild her life without a man. She's vowed that nothing can change her mind--certainly not an American whose eyes betray heartache---and desire.
Jade has forgotten how vulnerable she can be.
Byron's plan is to reassure himself that Ian is well, and return to the States. Ian need never know who he is. And as charmingly different and interesting as Jade is, Byron thinks there will never be another woman for his heart.
He thinks wrong.
This is a story about putting love and honor first (Byron stands to lose his career if his secret child becomes news). It's a story of the power of love to overcome big odds. Telling Jade, Byron, and Ian's story brought me joy and I hope it will touch your hearts, too. I also hope you'll fall for spinster Aunt Muriel who knits oversized and old-fashioned sweaters for her new charge, and Shirly of NEW TO YOU, a secondhand store where she readily offers advice on love and life based loosely on the stars.
FINDING IAN is a superb novel which has received rave reviews everywhere. While I was reading through the various reviews, I found one that states "FINDING IAN is a love story in the purest form." In your opinion, how is this book different from your other romance novels?
This book is not romantic suspense and neither, obviously, is it historical romantic suspense. FINDING IAN isn't the first book I've written that delves into the twists and turns of life and relationships--and goes on the leave readers with a sense of hope. It is the first book of it's kind that I've written with a sense that this was the only story I had to tell at that time and nothing else would do. It is a pure love story.
What inspired you to write FINDING IAN?
We have an adopted child and have learned a great deal about the intricacies of instilling self-confidence and the conviction that such a child is unconditionally loved. I believe in childhood, the kind of childhood that--with or without much money--lets a young one know he or she is safe, loved, and always number one in the eyes of the parents. Children, the ones entrusted to us, the ones who are the future, are all too often without security. They wait, and hope, but life changes for them and they don't get to have an opinion. These are the helpless ones and I know how they feel--I've been there.
How did you come up with the premise?
Byron was the first character who came to me. I was tied up with him and his young wife, Lori. Then I moved on to getting involved with what happened to Ian and, eventually, to that Cornish Community and to Jade--whom I love!
I remember earlier in your career, you wrote romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue. What was it that inspired you to switch to historical romances?
I wrote for Intrigue, for American and for Superromance. A dear friend told me I should make use of my background in history, my love of history, and see how my voice felt in an historical format. I said, "nooooo," but sat down to give this a try. The first paragraphs I wrote became the first paragraphs of Historical Romance number one--ONLY BY YOUR TOUCH.
How do you make the mental switch from writing historical romance to writing contemporary novel? Do you find it easy to do this?
The switch is natural and a blessing. I'm not fond of writing the same story over and over--the idea of doing so--and I've always gone with the tale that is the most demanding at the moment. It's great. I pack up all the research material from the finished work, change my music accordingly, pile up the new research material, and away I go!
Which sub-genre of the two do you find yourself enjoying more?
I am completely engrossed in the book I'm currently writing--always--regardless of the type of story involved.
What process do you go through in coming up with your main characters? (i.e., what they look like, their background, mannerisms, etc.)
The process isn't the same twice. Often a character comes to me in a formless way as if this creature just arrived on earth and there's not even a background. My mind does the rest. I always advise others to let their thoughts wander, just float free, and it's amazing what sticks.
Often times the characters authors write about tend to reflect a little bit of their own personality. Is there any character you have created in your novels that you feel you identify with the most, or one that you see a lot of yourself in?
Bits and pieces of myself are probably in every character I write. This could be because she's English, but Olivia FitzDuram from GLASS HOUSES was a little too familiar! And Byron in FINDING IAN has some of my
intensity--I identify closely with him. There have been many characters who reflected big parts of me.
What was the most hallenging aspect of writing for you?
Oh dear, the most challenging aspect of writing for me is anything that is not actually writing but which must be done. Obviously I'm not carried around on a litter with a scribe waiting closeby ready to jot my pearls of wisdom (and there aren't any willing fan wielders or grape peelers, either) so there is a great deal to be done, businesswise, and I don't like that.
Have you ever experienced writers block?
Mmm. Not really but I've certainly experienced writers' ennui! What happened to the days when writers were expected to need lengthy periods during which they might find the energy to have an artistic nervous breakdown, or simply to be isolated and fed through a little window in the door? I need long periods of silence and isolation and that's hard to do when you're a wife and mom, particularly when you believe that being a wife and mom is a greater privilege than being a writer.
Ms. Cameron, could you tell us how you made the journey from editing medical text in Dorset, England to get where you are today? As an award-winning author acknowledged by the New York Times, USA Today, I know everyone will enjoy hearing your success story.
I was born in Dorset, but worked in London, in Harley Street. The story is fairly simple. I met my husband at a party when he invited me to dance--the Mexican Hat Dance--and we've been dancing together ever since. In
America and soon fell in love with the country, then there were children and I was writing to please myself. Finally I knew I had to go for a career doing what I loved best. I took the knocks and disappointments most writers experience, but I never considered giving up, or that I wouldn't succeed--except in a few really dark moments.
How do you feel the romance genre has changed in past ten years? What changes do you foresee for the future?
We are in the middle of an explosion of talent. This happens cyclically and it's wonderful. The genre isn't little (in scope) now, it has become a place for writers who want to dare to test the reader. This is because readers want variety and they want to be surprised and they've shown themselves willing to go along with whatever comes. As to the future, I see more of the same, thank goodness.
The book industry is going through a lot of changes especially the advent of e-published titles. What are your thoughts on e-books?
I'm not in a position to have a solid opinion. When e-books really start to perform, the answer will be handed to us. We need to cheer on any medium that will encourage more people to read. I believe that, particularly
with the computer-fed generation, e-books may be a natural for them.
What lies ahead for Stella Cameron? What can your fans expect from you in the coming months?
In an anthology called MARRIED IN SPRING, out in February, I have a novella: WE DO! which revisits the navy SEALs, Roman, Nasty and of course, Polly, Phoenix, Dusty and the ebullient Venus. In this story, Fabiola,
Polly's twin sister and a super model, has man trouble on her hands in the form of Ethan, who is another ex-SEAL with a way for making himself unforgettable.
March brings 7B, third in the Mayfair Square series of historical romantic suspense stories.
June is the release month for GLASS HOUSES in paperback.
At the end of the summer we expect to see TELL ME WHY, a book set in the NW (contemporary) which I recently finished and which was another heart-tearer for me.
SNOW ANGELS , sequel to UNDERCURRENTS is an October book. I believe that's it but I'll let you know if I've goofed!
How can readers contact you - email address and Web address.
This has been fun.
I'd be delighted to hear feedback on my books at my website, www.stellacameron.com, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.