You write historical romance novels — what made you want to combine both history and romance?
History is my passion! Ever since I was a little girl I was moved by the stories of what happened long ago. I would visit museums and historic places all the time with my family and just loved it. I used to get this feeling like I wasn’t alone… like I could feel the essence of who was there in that place way before I was. Combine that with my love of fairy tales and other girly things and I grew up a romantic.
One of the first real-life historic love stories that touched me was when I visited Lexington Common. The tour guide told my elementary class of one soldier, John Harrington, who fought in the very first battle of the Revolutionary War and was fatally wounded but still managed to crawl back to his wife at their home not too far from the battle site. He’d called for her, she ran to him and he collapsed in her arms, saying ‘I love you’ and died right in the entryway of his home. With all the things that we learned that day, that stayed with me and while all the other children wrote book reports on the Red Coats and Minute Men, I wrote about the soldier who died in his wife’s arms.
What inspired you to write The Blue Lute?
Back in 1999, I had just recently moved out on my own and into an old building called El Roberto in San Diego, CA. It was once a hotel in 1924 and had been converted into studio apartments. It was gorgeous!
Like me, the apartment manager was a history buff and told me of all the secret Prohibitions features like dumbwaiters that dropped to the basement, crawl spaces in the walls and walk-in closets with doors inside that led to hiding spaces from the law. But, the coolest 1920s relic left behind was a huge black boiler in the cellar. The apartment manager said the boiler wasn’t a hot water heater and was curious as to why. It wasn’t until he found a trap door in the floor full of old liquor bottles and a flimsy notepad with liquor recipes in it that he knew the boilers were for making alcohol.
After learning all about my new residence, my storyteller’s mind went into overdrive while I was unpacking and pretty soon I had to stop hanging up clothes and start up writing. That night the words flowed like honey on a hot summer’s day and I had the first handful of chapters to The Blue Lute.
A good part of the book is set in the Roaring 20's era. Was there something about that period of time that drew you to write about it?
For some reason I’ve always loved the twenties. I can’t really pinpoint what intrigues me about it, but I love the flashy dresses, the rebellious short hair, the dapperly dressed men…all of it just sends a rush through me. And it’s strange because I’m normally quite a reserved person, but I want to be part of that speakeasy world where gangsters ruled the streets and the law was afraid.
Did you ever visit the block in NYC where so many of the key events occurred?
Very good question… I have been to New York City many times. I grew up in Connecticut so it was a quick ride over the border to the city and as soon as my parents trusted me, I would go in with my friends all the time. We would walk all around seeing the sites, going into museums and shops and occasionally bumped into a few celebrities, too. So as a short answer, yes, I’ve been to a lot of the places I mentioned in the book! The odd and even sad part about that statement is while I wrote The Blue Lute, I had not been back to NYC in quite a while.
Luckily, I have a pretty good memory and a lot of contacts still back East, who helped me create the version of New York I wrote in the story.
You’ve described your protagonist, Brandon Crowley as tall, with dark wavy hair, exquisitely blue eyes and a deep, velvety voice. You have said that Matt Bomer inspired this image of your character. Could you see Henry Cavill as the visual for Brandon?
Well, it’s very weird because when I was writing the story I had no one in mind at all. Brandon was a figment of my imagination. But my imaginary man was hot! It wasn’t until I was watching the series finale of Monk that I caught a commercial for a new show called White Collar that I jumped off the couch and shouted to my husband, “That’s Brandon!” Matt Bomer’s face or more specifically his eyes, stared back at me and the person in my head became real. So, yes, I give credit to Mr. Bomer for being my Brandon, but Henry definitely fits the bill…especially now in hindsight. Brandon has his build, luscious curly hair and a voice that makes you melt with its resonance, just like our Henry.
Ooh and another fact, Henry’s character on The Tudors, Charles Brandon, actually helped me out before I even knew who Matt Bomer was. I had been catching some flak from other historic writers telling me Brandon’s name was not old-school enough for a guy from the 1920s. I was adamant to keep it though. So when I watched that first episode of The Tudors, I practically kissed the screen because here was a character from the 1540s named Brandon. I immediately wrote the passage: “A guy from the twenties named Brandon? Shouldn’t he be named Henry or George or something?”
Lilly hadn’t thought about his name. “I suppose. But I think there was a duke in Henry the VIII’s court named Charles Brandon, so it can’t be that strange.”
I was reprieved after that so thank you original Charles Brandon for having an awesome name and saving my character!
What are you working on now?
I’m actually working on two stories at once, right now. One is a sequel to The Blue Lute entitled Separated Souls, which continues the story of Lilly and Brandon five years down the road as a married couple. That should be out next fall.
And the other is more of a pet project that I’m not too sure what I’m going to do with yet, but I can’t stop writing it. My six-year-old son helped me create a brand new superhero — The Shock and he takes center stage in a contemporary romance about an actor who’s playing this hero and happens to come upon a woman being mugged while he’s still in his costume. Does he help her or does he not since he’s really not anything more than an actor in a suit? Sound like anyone we know… Oh yeah did I mention he’s British *wink wink*.
It’s a very light and lovely story and I’m having so much fun writing it, but like I said, I’m not sure if I will release it as a small novella or just keep fleshing out a whole novel. But whatever I do with it ~ Henry Cavill Org will get the exclusive information on where to find it.
After reading The Blue Lute, I am so looking forward to the follow up book. We will share more with you as the release date nears. Eryn loves social media as much as we do. To join the fun, you can catch up with her on her social media accounts: