Hi everyone! I'll be leading a discussion of Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden for this month's ACFW Bookclub. The discussion will take place from May 27 - 31st on a Yahoo groups email list. Everyone is welcome to join, and there's plenty of time to read the book! Elizabeth will be participating in the discussion as well. I've included an interview with Elizabeth to entice you.
Please tell us about Against the Tide.
The book is set in Boston, where Lydia Pallas has become a trusted assistant to an Admiral in the U.S. Navy. Fluent in seven languages, she spends her days translating documents from all over the world. Her remarkable language skills bring her to the attention of Alexander Banebridge, a mysterious man who needs her rare language skills to advance his cause. Bane is a coolly analytical man who never bargained on falling in love with Lydia. As he battles the irresistible attraction growing between them, Bane’s mission will take Lydia away from everything—and everyone—she ever held dear.
What were your goals writing Against the Tide?
I wanted to write a romantic suspense story that hinges on the heroine’s ingenuity to help dig her out of some dicey situations. I also wanted her intelligence to be the basis for the hero’s initial flare of attraction for her.
Although I did my best to weave themes of forgiveness and redemption into the book, what I really hope is that people simply enjoy reading a thrilling love story. The characters in this book have huge dreams and are willing to risk everything in order to make them happen. Whenever the drama gets a little heavy, I try to inject some glimpses of wit and joy into the mix. This is a deeply romantic story, despite the sometimes weighty themes.
When writing in the romance genre, it seems the success of a book hinges on whether readers accept or agree with the love story in the book. Why do you think this is?
What a great question! Romance readers will always judge the success of the book by the love story. Although I love crafting evocative, richly drawn settings, I put most of my effort into creating the chemistry between the hero and heroine. I want it to dazzle, sparkle. They must complement one another’s personality at the same time they challenge each other.
The author of a romance novel has to walk a fine line in seeding the characters with enough flaws to prevent the romance from resolving too early, without alienating the reader by having them delve into silly choices merely to drive the plot forward.
Have you ever read a novel where the conflict between the hero and heroine could be solved by a simple honest conversation? There is no way I am going to let my characters off the hook so easily! I love a good turbulent story with love, betrayal, heartbreak, all punctuated with periods of soaring joy and utter delight. That is what I aimed for with Against the Tide.
What are the lessons of that era that are still relevant to readers today?
A huge theme in the book is the power of resilience. Both the hero and heroine have survived devastating childhoods, but are still naturally optimistic people who 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 sprit 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.
I’m thrilled you folks have picked Against the Tide for the May discussion, and look forward to dropping by to participate!