Norway is the new WHAT?
Scotland. Norway is the new Scotland. Here's how that happened:
Back in 2006 when I first decided to try writing an historical romance novel, I didn't know anything about the process. But I did know three things:
1. There are a gazillion "kilted warrior" stories already published. That sub-genre has been going strong for decades - and fills its own bookcase in the stores.
2. There are a bajillion* duke-and-duchess stories already published, most of whose main plot points seem to be: how can the virginal but spunky ingénue marry the rakish Duke and live Happily Ever After?
*For today's purposes only, a bajillion is slightly less than a gazillion. :-)
3. I didn't want to write those.
So. What DID I want to write? Well, they say write what you know. Because I was already going to need to research my time period (I may be old, but "Historical" still precedes my lifetime!) I thought the setting should be familiar.
I chose the Missouri Territory because I spent my childhood in Kansas City. The terrain and the weather are familiar to me - hence the tornado scene! I also decided to place the story before Missouri's statehood so the society was a little rougher around the edges. Now I needed characters.
For years a woman had been nudging around in my head. She had just awakened in an unfamiliar room with no idea how she got there. She was beaten head to toe and didn't know who or what did that to her. And when pressed by the master of the estate, she realizes that she doesn't even know her name!
Go! Who is she? Who is he? And what the heck happened?
One thing I knew - the hero would not be Scots. What else is sexy? Vikings! So my hero became Norwegian: big, blond, buff, blue-eyed and beautiful. Strong. Stoic. Spectacular.
So, imagine my surprise when this creative streak turned out to be a hindrance! Publishers said, “We don’t do American historicals… no one can sell Scandinavia… write Scotland, BUT Scotland is a very crowded market… publishers LIKE their boxes…” And (my fave as a Arizona gal) "We don't do westerns." Are you kidding me?
I was driving past IKEA when I heard a hyped-up commercial on the radio: H&M was coming soon! "Hmm," I thought. "These are both Scandinavian stores… I guess that's the next big thing."
And then it hit me. My hook. My brand. My big, blond, buff, beautiful heroes with oceanic eyes! Norwegian men are the next big thing.
And I'll tell everyone that Norway is the NEW Scotland! I even made a video about it:
My Nicolas and Sydney turned out to be such strong characters, that her "nudging" became a trilogy:
A Woman of Choice (September 2010 / Goodnight Publishing)
A Prince of Norway (November 2010 / Goodnight Publishing)
A Matter of Principle (January 2011) / Goodnight Publishing)
So. Is it time you found a new sort of hero? Please allow me to help.
For every 10 people who comment EACH DAY, I will give away one free e-copy of A Woman of Choice - the beginning of the trilogy. And, yes. Commenter #11 warrants 2 copies! Comment #21? I'll give away three.
A Woman of Choice - Missouri Territory, 1819
A woman is viciously betrayed and abandoned by her unfaithful husband. She is rescued by a widower uninterested in love. In desperation, she becomes engaged to his best friend. One woman, three very different men. Life is about choices.
A Prince of Norway - Christiania, Norway, 1820
American-born Nicolas Hansen has been asked to candidate for his great-grandfather's throne. His new wife Sydney isn't about to let him go to Norway and face that possibility alone. The moment they arrive at Akershus Castle, the political intrigue and maneuvering begin. Can Sydney trust anyone? Will Nicolas resist the seduction of power? Or will he claim the throne for himself? Most importantly: will their young marriage survive the malicious mischief of the ambitious royal family?
A Matter of Principle - St. Louis, State of Missouri, 1821
Nicolas Hansen has returned from Norway determined to change the world. But when he runs for State Legislator in the brand-new state of Missouri, the enemies he made over the past two years aren't about to step quietly aside. Sydney has made enemies of her own, both by marrying Nicolas and by practicing midwifery. When a newspaper reporter makes it his goal to destroy them, Nicolas must rethink his path once again. But this time, it's a matter of principle.
Tomorrow: Meet Nicolas and Sydney.