The Lady of Bolton HillThe Lady of Bolton Hill
Elizabeth Camden
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Female journalists are rare in 1879, but American-born Clara Endicott has finally made a name for herself with her provocative articles championing London's poor. When the backlash from her work forces a return home to Baltimore, Clara finds herself face-to-face with a childhood sweetheart who is no longer the impoverished factory worker she once knew. In her absence, Daniel Tremain has become a powerful industry giant and Clara finds him as enigmatic as ever. However, Daniel's success is fueled by resentment from past wounds and Clara's deeply-held beliefs about God's grace force Daniel to confront his own motives. When Clara's very life is endangered by one of Daniel's adversaries, they must face a reckoning neither of them ever could have foreseen.
     

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Elizabeth CamdenA research librarian and associate professor, Elizabeth Camden has a master's in history from the University of Virginia and a master's in library science from Indiana University. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband in Florida.

 

 Our Interview with Elizabeth Camden


 

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I live with my husband in central Florida, where I work as a librarian at a small college.  The Lady of Bolton Hill is my first novel, and I am thrilled that it was picked up by a faith-based publisher.  I have always been a voracious reader across all types of literature, but I am a big believer in the power of inspirational fiction.  For me, inspirational literature helps me accept my failings, recognize my strengths, and gives me the inspiration to keep seeking.
 
How did you come up with the concept for The Lady of Bolton Hill?

One of my favorite romantic plots involves lovers who are reunited after several years apart, so this was the theme I wanted to start with.  In The Lady of Bolton Hill, Daniel and Clara are quite young when they meet and share one of those intense, immediate bonds that can sometimes flare up between teenagers.  They are separated by Clara’s disapproving father.  The book begins when Clara returns to the United States after more than a decade abroad, and the chemistry between Clara and Daniel blazes back to life.  The problem is they have followed such widely divergent paths that they don’t know if it is possible to find a way back to each other, even though they both crave it. 

Something that was very important for me was that both my characters be very passionate people, while at the same time fiercely intelligent and sensible.  Have you ever read a book where the conflict between the hero and heroine was solved by a simple, honest conversation?  There was no way I was going to let Daniel and Clara off the hook so easily!  Although it is clear they are madly in love, they will be put through the wringer before they can reach a happy ending.  I love a turbulent story of love, betrayal, heartbreak—all punctuated with periods of soaring joy and utter delight.  That is what I aimed for with The Lady of Bolton Hill.  I’ll be curious to hear if readers think I got it in the ballpark.

Do you have a favorite character in The Lady of Bolton Hill? Why?

The hero, Daniel Tremain, is a man of the Victorian era, but is chomping at the bit to push forward into the twentieth century.  He is an inventor who has thrown off the shackles of his impoverished childhood and is on a relentless quest for all things “new.”  He likes modern art, forward-thinking women, and inventions that make the world better.  Daniel is a wildly passionate man.  When he loves someone, he will plow through any obstacle to get to that person, but the flip side is that he can also freeze people out just as quickly.  Daniel is an ardent and hugely imperfect character, but was tremendously fun to write about. 

 

How much research did The Lady of Bolton Hill take?

Ever since I read Edith Wharton in high school, I have been happily marinating in the gilded age, so writing about the era came pretty easily.  One of the research tricks I use is to read old editions of the New York Times from the year I am writing about.  I glean the most interesting insights into the mindsets and current events of the day, which I have great fun weaving into the story.
 
What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
 
My knee-jerk reaction is to say “not enough time to write,” since I work a full-time job in addition to creating fiction, but this sounds too much like whining!  Students on the campus where I work sometimes bemoan how difficult it is to find time to write.  “The demands of college have robbed me of the energy I need to be creative,” they say.  Ahem.  In the history of the world, almost all writers crammed their writing in on top of outside employment, struggling to get crops harvested before an early freeze, or while a thousand miles from home fighting a war.  These are the challenges that enrich our writing, not something to be shunned.  So I have no complaints.
 
What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy everything about it.  The research, dreaming up new plot twists, playing around with language.  I love the chance to find and research interesting settings. Even the business aspects of marketing and promotion have been a fascinating adventure for me.
 
What clubs or organizations are you involved with that help in your writing
?

I have found the American Christian Fiction Writers to be essential.  I am a pretty shy and introverted person in real life, but every day I look forward to spending some time reading through the conversations in the ACFW online groups, which are a constant source of inspiration and practical advice.  

What do you do to get away from it all?

Every summer I like to go running with the bulls in Pamplona.  I also sky-dive, scale tall mountains, and enjoy an occasional marathon through the Serengeti desert.  Just kidding!  I’m afraid I am a hopelessly mild-mannered person, and usually unwind by doing a little yard work while I let my over-active imagination run free.  An occupational hazard.

What message would you like your readers to take from reading The Lady of Bolton Hill?

Although I did my best to weave some pretty weighty themes of forgiveness and redemption into the book, what I really hope is that people simply enjoy reading it.  The characters in this book have huge dreams and are willing to risk everything in order to make them happen.  When they fail, they do so in a spectacular fashion.  When they love, it is with both hands stretched out and no holds barred.  Whenever the drama gets a little heavy, I try to inject some glimpses of wit and joy into the mix.  I want this book to be a delight to read, despite the sometimes weighty themes.
 

 

What new projects are on the horizon?

My next book is slated for publication in January 2012.  At this point it doesn’t have a title, but I can tell you that the setting is a small New England town in 1883.  Into this peaceful, idyllic village comes a brash warrior from Romania, who storms into town with a wealth of mystery, long-buried secrets, and a heart as wide and deep as the Atlantic Ocean.   He is a strong, fearsome man, but pretty quickly he develops a soft spot for the heroine, which is a huge complication for him.  It is hard to say more without delving into spoiler territory, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

Thanks for getting in touch with me!

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