I am a writer and avid reader of romances particularly historical romances. Please join me on my journey through time
Please welcome Jeanette Watts author of Wealth & Privilege.
Jeanette will be awarding a Victorian cameo to a randomly drawn winner (International) via rafflecopter during the tour.
Wealth and Privilege
by Jeanette Watts
When I was in 5th and 6th grade, I used to make up stories in my head and tell them to my best friend while we were walking to school. I’d have an ongoing serial, and every day I’d give her the new installment. One day, she dragged me over to another friend of ours, and she told me to tell one of my stories to this other person. I tried to reproduce it as best I could, but I kept leaving out details. That’s when my best friend exclaimed, “What do you mean, you aren’t writing these down?!” She changed my life that day. I’ve been a writer ever since.
The ideas can come from all sorts of places. I got the idea for Wealth and Privilege while I was waiting for a friend. She was taking forever to get ready to go out, so I started reading the back covers of her immense stack of romance novels. I couldn’t help but notice that all romance novels seem to be set in the south, or occasionally the west. What’s so unromantic about the north? Or the east? I’m a Yankee girl, I thought I needed to set this right. Atlanta has Gone With the Wind, now Pittsburgh has Wealth and Privilege.
I wrote my waltz textbook after seeing a Broadway show in which the dancers were leaping about the stage like gazelles…until they had to waltz. They lurched around the stage in a clunky box waltz that hurt my soul. So I wrote a dance manual about waltzing that I really ought to be sending to Broadway choreographers. Apparently they need it.
What expertise did you bring to your writing?
Well, for the historic fiction I’m a Vintage dancer, so dances and etiquette of the 1870s shows up a lot. I also worked in the reference library in graduate school, so I know how to ask questions of archivists. The first thing you do when you have a big research project is make friends with the librarian! I’m also a costumer, so when I describe the clothing the characters are wearing, I’ve probably made them before.
As for the waltz textbook, well, I’m a dance instructor. That one was pretty easy.
I’m a belly dancer and a cancan dancer as well as a Vintage dancer. I don’t think my bio covers the fact that dancing is a huge, huge part of my life.
To keep doing it! I am working on the sequel to Wealth and Privilege, which I’m calling Brains and Beauty. I’m also putting the finishing touches on a modern satire called Jane Austen Lied to Me.
I think maybe George Westinghouse or Judge Mellon. I have a lot of historical people putting in cameo appearances, those two are probably the most admirable.
I don’t know who the actors are, but I want James Cameron to be the director!
I joined a writer’s group several months ago, but they keep meeting when I can’t be there. I finally get to go to my first meeting this Sunday! I’m very excited. But it means I can’t answer this question yet.
The characters demanded to be in print. When you’ve got these people inside your head, and they deserve to be seen and heard, well, that’s all the encouragement it takes.
It took me way, way too long to take the best advice I’d gotten, and publish to Kindle.
The worst experience isn’t so much advice as it is the collective experience of looking for an agent. Every agent I sent a query letter read my book, loved it, and asked me to rewrite it. I did what they asked, and then they hated my book. I realized that each agent was asking me to rewrite things to protect their favorite characters. Well, if they’re all so emotionally attached to my characters, that means I did it right in the first place.
I just start writing. The problem with outlines is that characters tend to take on a life of their own, and they aren’t going to be interested in obeying the outline.
Of course dancing shows up in my books. And the costumes, as I’ve already mentioned. I have adored biographies since I discovered their existence in 4th grade, so in a way I’ve been doing historical research all my life.
Gone With the Wind. I think everyone who loves Gone With the Wind will recognize things in my book. My heroine bears a striking resemblance to Rhett Butler. The ending is certainly because I’m guided by Margaret Mitchell’s literary choices.
I did not intend to write a sequel to Wealth and Privilege (after all, Margaret Mitchell never wrote a sequel to Gone With the Wind!), but my readers were pretty insistent. Eventually I realized what I really wanted to do was tell the same story – from a different point of view. Stephanie Meyer had started to do it with her Twilight series, and it was the best writing she’d done. So, why not return to the Pittsburgh of the 1870s that I now know so well, and show another vision of it? It’s going to be called Brains and Beauty, and it should be ready for print very soon.
Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. I’ve got lots of other favorites from the Golden Age of Hollywood, but I adore swashbucklers, and they were fantastic on screen. Together or apart.
There’s a lot of them… my hero’s life is a roller coaster ride of black moments. The biggest one is the last one. He ends up in the Johnstown Flood in 1889.
The one that I’m about to produce! There is precious little on television about dancing in America. Real dancing. Not Dancing with the Stars, but the swing dancing, Irish dancing, belly dancing, Argentine Tango, and other dance forms that are being done in cities and towns all across America. I’m a dancer and a former TV producer, well, what am I waiting for? I’m hoping to get it on PBS. Right now I need time to produce a second pilot, and some funding.
Well, as I said before, I wasn’t really planning on it…
I’m available to speak at book clubs… but I might end up teaching everyone to dance instead of only talking about the book.
Money. Family. Love. Hate. Obsession. Duty. Politics. Religion – or the lack thereof. Sex — or, once again, the lack thereof.
Thomas Baldwin finds himself married to a woman he can’t stand, while head-over heels in love with another woman he can’t have. Talk about bad planning. He feels like a kite, buffeted by circumstances which blow him not only through personal crises, but also through some of the most significant events in Pittsburgh during the late 1800s, including the railroad riots of 1877, the creation of the Homestead Steel Works, the assassination of President Garfield, and the Johnstown Flood. Over time, and with the help of his muse, who dances maddeningly just beyond his reach, he takes control of his life, wresting it from the winds attempting to control him.
A carefully-researched historical novel about life among the privileged class of Pittsburgh during the Industrial Revolution.
Irritating his mother wasn’t specifically Thomas’ favorite hobby. She did, however, seem to excel at providing him with opportunities to do so. He didn’t have to try very hard. His very existence was an obvious irritant to her. It wasn’t because of who he was – Thomas knew perfectly well it was all about what he wasn’t.
He wasn’t everything his older brother Benjamin had been; quick and clever and charming and talkative. The entire Baldwin family – especially his mother, Eugenia Baldwin, aspiring family matriarch and his most verbal critic – admitted that Thomas was the much more handsome of the two. Then everyone shrugged. Pretty is as pretty does.
Thomas had to agree on that point. He gladly would have traded his bright blue eyes and much-admired dark hair for the ability to know what to say to people.
He stood at the entrance to the ballroom in his parents’ house, surrounded by giggling girls all wishing him a happy birthday with their dance cards not-so-subtly dangling from their wrists. Trying to smile, he offered his hand to accept the little pencils and sign the blasted things.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Jeanette Watts has written television commercials, marketing newspapers, stage melodramas, four screenplays, three novels, and a textbook on waltzing.
When she isn’t writing, she teaches social ballroom dances, refinishes various parts of her house, and sews historical costumes and dance costumes for her Cancan troupe.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Jeanette will be awarding a Victorian cameo to a randomly drawn winner (International) via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.
Please use this rafflecopter code:http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f1120