Against the TideAgainst the Tide
Elizabeth Camden
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As a child, Lydia Pallas became all too familiar with uncertainty when it came to the future. Now, she's finally carved out a perfect life for herself, a life of stability and order with no changes, surprises, or chaos of any kind. She adores her apartment overlooking the bustling Boston Harbor, and her skill with languages has landed her a secure position as a translator for the U.S. Navy. However, it is her talent for translation that brings her into contact with Alexander Banebridge, or "Bane," a man who equally attracts and aggravates her. When Bane hires Lydia to translate a seemingly innocuous collection of European documents, she hesitantly agrees, only to discover she is in over her head.

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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 Orlando, Florida.

Favorite Verse: John 1:1 (NIV) In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 


 Our Interview with Elizabeth Camden


Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Although I like to write big, sprawling romantic stories, my personal life is terribly mundane.  By day I am a librarian at a small college….which is a terrific job for someone who loves books and research.  I got married relatively late in life, so I have no children of my own, but I inherited my husband’s two daughters.  They are now grown and out of the house, so I needed a new pastime, and I turned to writing. Novels have always been such a significant part of my life that I got to the point I wanted to try writing one of my own.  I love emotionally charged stories, so romance was a natural genre for me.  I also wanted to weave an element of inspiration into the themes, so Christian romance was the avenue I chose to pursue.  
What is your favorite Bible verse?  (Translation too, please) Why?

In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  John 1:1 (New International Version)

This may be an odd quote for a favorite, but it resonates with me like a mantra.  When I get stressed out over the minutia of daily life, that verse has a timeless quality that soothes me.  God and Jesus have always been there, they always will be.  My worries are a tiny blip in that long, unending relationship that is stronger, deeper, and more profound than I can get my mind around.  The verse helps me keep things in perspective. 

What was your inspiration to write Against the Tide?

I have always admired people who are fluent in multiple languages.  My heroine is a translator for the U.S. Navy, certainly an unusual position for a woman in the 1890’s.  I wanted to write a romantic suspense story that hinges on the heroine’s intelligence to help dig her out of some dicey situations. 
Have you lived in the Boston area?

I’ve never lived in Boston, but I’ve been there countless times for business.  I love 19th century Boston because it was such an amalgamation of contradictory forces.  It was home to the Puritan movement, but also some of the wildly progressive forces that pushed the limits of social propriety.  It is steeped in history, but also a force pushing forward in terms of industrialization, artistic and literary movements, and politics.  It is full of interesting neighborhoods, distinctive cuisine, and great historic venues.  It is a wonderful backdrop for a novel.


How did you choose the naval shipyard as your basis for the story?

I wanted to choose a setting with a lot of flavor and texture.  The Naval Shipyard in Boston was on the Charles River but only a stone’s throw away from the heart of historic Boston.  It was swarming with interesting people who designed and renovated ships.  Plus I wanted a really fascinating secondary character to serve as a potential romantic partner for the heroine, and you can’t go wrong with a naval officer!

How much research did Against the Tide take?
Tons…..but the great thing about Boston is that it is a city that likes to write about itself!  Even in the 19th century there were scads of books describing their city.  I was able to set most of the scenes in buildings that actually existed in 19th century Boston, serve meals that were authentic to the pubs and taverns of the day, and provide the heroine with an amazing job at the Navy Yard.
What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing Against the Tide?

The hero of this book is in the midst of a lifelong quest to outlaw the unrestricted sale of opium.  Many innocuous medicines sold in 19th century pharmacies contained a shocking amount of opium, and with no requirement to list the ingredients on the bottle, it was easy to slip into addiction without even being aware of what was happening.  I needed to research not only the legal aspects of opium, but also the medical effects of opiate addiction and withdrawal.
What was the most difficult aspect of writing this story?

Do you remember the bit I said about people slipping into opium addiction without even realizing it?  That’s the case with my heroine, Lydia.  She was raised in an orphanage where the children were given a nightly spoonful of opium-laced syrup to ease them to sleep (a horrific custom often practiced at overburdened orphanages of the 19th century.)  Lydia has no idea the “headache medicine” she regularly uses is an addictive substance until the hero insists she stop using it.  I don’t make it easy for Lydia to quit, but she is a sweetly tough character who handles everything that gets thrown at her.  One of the major themes of the book is the importance of resilience.  Lydia never gives in to despair.  Learning to adopt a resilient attitude is a choice anyone can adopt.

What other new writing projects do you have on the horizon?

I’m currently working on a book about the aftermath endured by people who survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.   The way Chicago emerged from the ashes was a truly fascinating story.  Although the city was brought to its knees by the devastation, it was the first crisis in American history in which the nation banded together and helped restore a city.  Firefighters arrived from Milwaukee before the flames were even extinguished! I don’t have a title yet, but look for it in the summer of 2013.


What message would you like your readers to take from reading Against the Tide? 
The power of resilience. Both the hero and heroine have survived devastating childhoods, but are still naturally optimistic people who simply refuse to let obstacles stand in their way.  Have you ever met people who wither at the first hint of trouble, while others who are repeatedly clobbered by the tragedies of life can still maintain an optimistic outlook?  This is a choice.  Trusting in the Lord’s plan for us is one element of adopting a resilient spirit and I wove that theme throughout the book.   It is a sense of resilience that allows ordinary people to power through obstacles and accomplish amazing things.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Although I put Bane and Lydia through a lot of heartache and turbulence, I hope people have a marvelous time reading Against the Tide.  I think it is the most romantic book I’ve ever written, and I always want to provide flashes of wit, delight, and joy throughout the story.  I think this book will appeal to people who enjoy romantic suspense, with the emphasis on the romance and inspiration. 



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