I invited Anna Campbell to visit with us the moment I realized that folks were chatting all over the romance b'sphere about her extraordinary new Avon release, "Claiming the Courtesan." "Chatting" is my polite way of saying: gnawing at an issue that, while important, disregarded the fact that Campbell's written -- and Lucia Macro at Avon's nurtured -- one of the most exciting romance novels released in ages, one which offers great hope that a new era of creative freedom for romance writers and readers is on the horizon.
To say that Campbell is "bold" or "takes no prisoners" in creating the novel implies that she wrote it to cause controversy. I believe she wrote it because she had to, and that the choices she made in imbuing her characters' actions/responses were authentic and admirable in this atmosphere wherein even Pollyanna, here, wants to scream, "strap on your emotional intelligence, for God's sake, and stop the 'historical psychodynamics revision' madness that brands Campbell anti-woman, anti-feminist, and pro-sexual abuse." Since you know me well, of course, I'd be bellowing "with a cyber-smile," as we all do around here when we offer our opinions. :)
Today, Anna writes with fondness about the Old School novels -- and the women and men who wrote and read them -- which we often give props to here at RBtheBlog and RBtheBook. Please offer Anna your warmest Bella buongiorno as she visits us on Aussie time...
Firstly, Michelle, thank you so much for asking me to be a guest on Romance: By the Blog. I’m delighted to be here!
As many of you know, Avon has just published my debut novel, CLAIMING THE COURTESAN. Since then, there’s been an avalanche of Internet commentary about this book including accusations that it’s a throwback to the “bad old days of romance”.
My personal view is that phrases like this show a want of respect to the women who blazed the trail that romance writers now wander in such numbers. And never accuse me of avoiding a good cliché when it’s available!
Yes, those books were of their time in their attitudes and themes, but that’s an accusation you can level at any piece of art. I still remember how mesmerized I was when as a teenager I picked up my first historical romance, in the current sense of the words. It was THE WOLF AND THE DOVE by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I was transfixed by the energy and vividness of Woodiwiss’s writing and the fact that the heroine’s journey was utterly central to the story.
Those forerunning historicals were a publishing sensation, inspired a whole generation of writers and led directly to the huge variety of modern romance we enjoy now. Whenever I pick up a J.R. Ward or a Loretta Chase or a Nora Roberts, I’m grateful to those early writers who created an environment where I’m so spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a good romance to read.
My favorite answer gets a signed copy of CLAIMING THE COURTESAN and the three runners-up get signed coverflats. Good luck!
Visit Anna at AnnaCampbell.info .
***Encore! Please read this week's new Feature and AuthorView at Romance: B(u)y the Book!