A Song at Twilight
By Pamela Sherwood
Crystal: Today I am happy to have Pamela Sherwood stop by for a short interview. Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today?
Pamela: I’m a third-generation, thoroughly assimilated Chinese-American and native Southern Californian, who became addicted to reading early and segued naturally into telling my own stories. I was one of those kids who daydreamed during the boring classes, long car trips, and the walk to and from school. (Patricia McKillip, a fantasy author whose work I love, described it as “dreaming with your eyes open.”) Making up adventures for the characters who lived in my head was usually much more interesting than whatever was being taught in third-grade science class that day! I was about eight or nine when I figured out that storytelling was going to be a permanent part of my life. It took me a while to make writing a full-time occupation, but I’m glad that I did.
Crystal: Where did you come up with the idea for A Song at Twilight?
Pamela: Part of the idea for A Song at Twilight was built into my first book, Waltz with a Stranger, in which Sophie Tresilian and Robin Pendarvis were supporting characters. She was a young girl on the threshold of love, and he was some years older, a man with secrets in his past that he didn’t want to touch or damage her. But an attraction develops between them, fed by the way each nurtures the other’s fondest dreams. Robin sees Sophie’s musical talents and encourages her to seek a career as a professional singer, while she inspires him to turn his grand but cost-consuming country estate into a thriving resort hotel. I knew once I started writing A Song at Twilight that Robin’s secrets would emerge at the worst possible moment and shatter his and Sophie’s budding romance. And that they would both be older, sadder, wiser, and stronger when fate grants them a second chance at love, which is one of my favorite themes in romance.
Crystal: What are you currently working on?
Pamela: I’m actually working on several projects right now, and waiting to hear which one will get the “green light” first. Sophie’s older brother Harry is about to fall hard for a mysterious woman who’s renting a summer cottage owned by his family. And there’s a novella set in Newport featuring Thomas Sheridan and Amy Newbold, the secondary couple in Waltz with a Stranger, who also make an appearance in A Song at Twilight. Then there’s another project with all-new characters and a Christmas setting that could kick off a whole new series. And a contemporary I’m co-writing about a British rock band trying to make it to the top, survive as a group, and find true love along the way. That one’s a lot of fun to work on because it’s so different from my historicals!
Crystal: Do you have any special routine that you follow when you are writing?
Pamela: My routine isn’t set in stone, but I tend to be most productive in the early morning and sometimes in the evening. Occasionally I go to extremes, getting up while it’s still dark out or staying up when everyone else has gone to bed, but you can’t predict when inspiration will strike, and it’s better for me to grab it when it does than wait for it to return at a more convenient time! I also try to set a realistic goal for myself: 1000 words a day. Usually I reach or exceed the goal, sometimes I fall short, but having it in place keeps me on track.
Crystal: Did you have to do a lot of research for this book or any other? If so do you have a fascinating fact that you have learned you would like to share with us?
Pamela: While writing Waltz with a Stranger, I did a lot of research on the transatlantic marriage market, a late 19th century phenomenon in which wealthy American heiresses married cash-poor European peers. Some of these marriages were disasters, but others evolved into true love matches. And American money propped up the English aristocracy for at least one more generation, though it’s debatable whether that was a good thing or not. For A Song at Twilight, I researched the careers of famous and successful singers like Jenny Lind and Nellie Melba, so I could plot a believable career arc for Sophie. When the book opens, she’s become a rising star of the Victorian opera and concert stage, and she’s giving her first concert at the Royal Albert Hall. One of the more amusing details about the Albert Hall (besides being able to fit 4000 holes from Blackburn, Lancashire into it, oh boy) was that the early acoustics left much to be desired. There was such a strong echo that listeners joked that the Albert Hall was the only place where a composer could be assured of hearing his work twice! (I had to use this joke, as it was actually still funny.)
Crystal: Who are some of your favorite authors that you like to read?
Pamela: Dangerous question, as I could probably spend all day listing them! But I love to read Dorothy Dunnett, Winston Graham, Mary Stewart, Elizabeth Peters, Lois McMaster Bujold, Georgette Heyer, Mary Jo Putney, Elizabeth Chadwick, J. D. Robb, Margaret Frazer, Deanna Raybourn, Deborah Grabien. Anything that mixes complex characters with a fully realized setting, whether historical or futuristic, and a solid plot, often mystery-infused!
Crystal: Is there a genre you haven't written that you would like to try?
Pamela: Steampunk! In a way, this subgenre could be described as being right up my alley. Because a lot of steampunk is set in a world very similar to Victorian England, only with fantastical elements and inventions. And science fiction and fantasy were the first genres I ever loved, so the prospect of working in a genre that fuses them with a Victorian setting is very attractive. The only thing stopping me from diving in is how many ideas I already have lined up and waiting patiently (or not so patiently) for my attention. So I can’t decide whether to indulge the steampunk plot bunnies or set them gently aside and hope they stop proliferating, at least for a while!
Crystal: Do you have a favorite scene you would like to share with us?
Pamela: My hero and heroine have a rather tough time before they achieve their happy ending, with angst and tears galore. So here’s a rare, more light-hearted scene from early in their relationship, when they’re just beginning to recognize their attraction. I enjoyed writing it, because I firmly believe, amidst the sturm und drang, couples should have fun moments too.
Thank you for hosting me today, Crystal!
Crystal: You are very welcome, Thank you for stopping by. This has been a fun interview! I look forward to reading both A Song at Twilight and Waltz with a Stranger, they both sound really good!
Author's Favorite Scene Excerpt:
They reached the margin of the beach, stony and covered with marram grass, then yielding to softer, finer sand after the first few yards. Catching the salty scent of the wind off the sea, Tregony tossed his head and snorted with pleasure, while Gorlois flicked his ears and stood staring at the great expanse of bounding water in the distance.
Mr. Pendarvis stroked his horse’s neck as they ventured onto the sand. “I’ll wager it’s been a while since he’s been near the sea. I hope it doesn’t make him nervous.”
“Oh, I daresay he’ll remember, by and by,” Sophie assured him. “Especially if you start riding him here more often. Our horses all love the beach.”
She glanced at the wide stretch of pale gold sand now before them, and bit back the temptation to say “Race you,” as she might have to one of her brothers. “Shall we canter?”
Mr. Pendarvis was willing and they urged their horses forward to a brisker pace, speeding up to a canter once they reached the water’s edge. And suddenly, without a word exchanged between them, they were racing, breaking into a full gallop, side by side along the shore. The stiff ocean breeze whistled in Sophie’s ears, stung the blood into her cheeks, as Tregony’s hooves thundered beneath her. Breathless and half laughing in sheer pleasure, she glanced at her companion and was surprised by a grin, wide, brilliant, and utterly unguarded, that transformed that too-serious face into something almost boyish—and devastatingly attractive.
It wasn’t just the race that had her short of breath now. Flushing, she concentrated on pulling ahead, but he kept pace with her, Gorlois matching Tregony stride for stride.
They pulled up at last, panting and laughing. And Mr. Pendarvis’s laughter was every bit as potent as his grin, Sophie discovered.
“I’d say we call that even, wouldn’t you, Miss Tresilian?” he remarked, patting Gorlois’s gleaming neck. The bay gelding snorted, his earlier misgivings about the water gone, clearly keen to go on racing.
“A draw, I confess it,” Sophie gasped, holding up a hand as Tregony sidled and danced beneath her. “Oh, dear—I think I’ve got a stitch in my side!”
“Then we’ll stop at once,” he said with instant solicitude. “Do you need some help down from the saddle?”
Sophie felt her heart give a curious sort of flutter that had nothing to do with the race they’d just run. She took an extra moment to reply, letting her breathlessness mask her confusion. “Thank you. I would be glad of some assistance.”
He swung down from the saddle—very smoothly, a part of her mind noted—and then came around to her side. Sophie slipped her leg from around the pommel, then turned to descend into his waiting arms.
His hands caught her about the waist and lifted her down as if she weighed nothing at all. Strong hands, with a firm grip; she felt their warmth even through his leather gauntlets and her woolen habit, and an answering warmth flooded through her from head to toe. Flushing again, she looked down as he set her lightly on the sand . . .
Late in England’s Victorian age, the world is changing–new freedoms, new ideas, and perhaps a chance for an old love to be new again…
A love too strong to let go …
Aspiring singer Sophie Tresilian had the world at her feet–fame, fortune, and true love–until the man of her dreams broke her heart. Now she’s the toast of Europe, desired by countless men but unwilling to commit to any of them. Then Robin Pendarvis walks back into her life …
Four years ago, Rob had hoped to make Sophie his bride, but secrets from his past forced him to let her go. Seeing her again revives all the old pain–and all the old passion. It might be against every rule, but somehow, some way, he will bring them together again…
AUTHOR BIO AND LINKS:
BOOKS: (I have included the Amazon buy links, you can click on the title to head right on over to amazon to purchase these books)
Waltz with a Stranger
A Song at Twilight