This week I’m interviewing author Lynn Hubbard. So, first off, thanks, Lynn, for agreeing to this email interview. Lynn, although we write in different genres, I’m going to hazard a guess that you’re like me in wanting to write the kind of stories that we like to read. Part of that, for me, means setting them in worlds very different to contemporary life. Most of your novels are historical romances; they might not be fantasy or science fiction, but they are certainly not set in the contemporary world. Chase the Moon and Run into the Wind are both set in 1880s Mississippi, while Return to Love takes place in 1950s Ohio. I’d like to kick off by first asking what motivated you to use a historical setting, and why these ones specifically.
This country is full of history! It is much more exciting to imagine you are on the plains with wind blowing through your hair and the sweet smell of prairie grass under your feet. Most readers I know, read to escape the city, the subway, rush hour. They want to go back to simpler times. And it is my job to take them there.
I agree that there is so much history there; we’re just too busy to notice it. If we wind the clock back, say, 125 years, and swap the city for the prairie, I would agree that life would be simpler. Certainly life’s challenges would be less confusing. But would life then be harder? And if life was simple, but not easy, does that lend itself to more compelling stories?
You are not only challenged by developing realistic characters and settings, but also being realistic. In the 1800’s if you lived to be in your fifties you were very lucky. Not only was there a high infant mortality rate, but disease, war, plagues etc.
Yes, life was more difficult but maybe a bit more rewarding? To work hard and be rewarded by your own accomplishments. There was no one else to depend on back then. If you were able, you worked hard ’til you died. If you weren’t able, then you didn’t make it. But KNOWING that you may not live thru the winter, makes you rethink what is important in your life.
That’s an interesting perspective. You make it sound as if your characters are at war, fighting the brutal challenges that confront them. Major wars seem to prompt a rash of marriages… and babies. Harking back to a simpler yet harder life… is that why you chose to set your romances in a historical period? Is that why the historical romance is such a popular genre?
I love history, and I like to entwine in into my book if possible. Run into the Wind and Chase take place after the civil war. The war has been over for years but it still affects their then as well as our lives now. Not only did it unify the country, but it also propelled the study of medicine forward by leaps and bounds.
Romance books are popular because they are ROMANTIC. And it’s not all about the sex. Again it is all about escapism. I only have males on my covers for a reason. Women want to imagine themselves in the picture or build a picture in the mind of what the character looks like. That is why so many people who see a movie made from a book are disappointed. Because the characters do not match what they had always imagined them to be.
When I write, I try to capture all of the emotions my characters are feeling and portray them to the reader. I recently had a wonderful review where my fan was angry at me because I made her cry. I was touched that my writing could awaken such emotions.
How did you approach researching your history? One of the hardest parts I find of world-building science fiction is knowing what when to leave research out. For every bit of detail I weave in, I’ll leave out four. How did you know which bits of research to include and which to leave out?
For RITW and Chase the Moon I researched everything, flowers, trees, street maps, old pictures, moon sequences, Native American Indians, railroad maps (which are very hard to find!), weather patterns. I even consulted a geologist! I like to try to inform the reader as well as entertain them. It was slow going I would write til I got to a part I needed more information on and would research add it and write some more. Which may not be the most practical way to do it, but it worked for me.
It certainly sounds like your approach is paying dividends. And, finally, where to for your next novel? Is it back to Mississippi in the 1880s?
Nope! Going further back in time. I’m writing a short Christmas story set in 1776. A great year!
Thanks for having me Tim, your readers can get more information on my books at my website www.lynnhubbard.com as of today, all of my books are available in Print and ebook formats.
Thanks for an intruguing interview, Lynn. I still don’t think I will feature male models on the covers of my books, but I certainly came away thinking there are more similarities than is first apparent between crafting compelling historical and fantastic settings.