Cheri Champagne is a historical romance novelist who is the author of The Mason Siblings Series; here is a link to her website:
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
A: As funny as this answer might be, I didn’t know that I wanted to be a writer. I spent so many years as a child, youth, and young adult writing stories and poetry, but I’d always considered it something I merely did for my own enjoyment, rather than for sharing with others. It was only after I’d finished writing my first novel that I’d truly begun to consider myself a writer.
Q: Why romance novels?
A: I’m a sucker for a happy ending, and romance novels always deliver. More importantly, however, reading a romance novel can alter your perspective on others, encouraging you to think about the unique things that make them who they are, and why they’re important. For example, the part of a person’s hair, the way their eyes light up when they see something they like, their nervous habits, the way they curl their hair behind their ear… All of those things often go overlooked in our day-to-day lives. Not everyone is perfect, but reading romance novels teaches us to appreciate the smaller nuances of a person’s character, and love them for it. I aim to be a part of that world.
Q: What makes Lane Mason a desirable object of affection?
A: Lane is a hopeless romantic. He’s solicitous, kind, and gentle, but he’s got a secret problem. Additionally, he is well-meaning but foolhardy in his plan to give his best friend (and the lady of his affection) the adventure she’s always wanted.
Q: What characteristics make for an interesting heroine and how are they evidenced in your heroines?
A: I like to create strong-willed, brave, courageous, and independent heroines that flout the rules and expectations of society in Regency England. I believe that having leading ladies that know what they want and go for it makes for interesting and entertaining stories.
Q: What kind of historical research do you do for your books?
A: My reference and research books are rather important in my writing career. They include Georgette Heyer’s Regency World by Jennifer Kloster, and An Elegant Madness – High Society in Regency England by Venetia Murray; both excellent reference guides to what life was like in Regency England. Colonial Fashion of the Georgian Era, edited by SB Jeffrey from high Quality Wikipedia Articles, is a superb, detailed look at clothing both before the Regency period, and during. Georgian Jewellery 1714-1830, by Ginny Redington Dowes with Olivia Collings, pairs nicely with the book on fashion, and has some lovely images that give inspiration.
During my research into the Napoleonic War (1803-1815) and the impact it had on life in England during the years depicted in my works (1814-1815), I referenced The Mammoth Book of Soldiers at War – Firsthand Accounts of Warfare from the Age of Napoleon Edited by Jon E. Lewis, and The First Total War by David A. Bell.
I have created a list of others, and my online resources, on my website.
Q: What does your job as Acquisitions Manager for Pandamoon Publishing entail?
A: When we receive new submissions from authors, I look them over and assign them to the appropriate Acquisitions Team member, though I take most of the submissions on, myself. The A-Team member reads the submission and sends me their recommendation, which I then pass on to our CEO.
In addition to a great deal of reading, my job entails creating reports and corresponding with authors.
I’ve got to say that I absolutely love my job. Reading submissions from so many talented authors is a privilege and an honour!
Q: You are a stay at home mom as well. How do you divide up your time?
A: Dividing my time is a challenge. As any parent knows, whether they stay at home with their kids or they go to a job outside of the house, life with children is a joy…but it also comes with its difficulties. I wish that I could say that I have a set schedule for my time, that I work four hours on my own writing, four hours on Acquisitions, and my afternoon and evening with my kids and my husband, but my life is more like a string of tiny moments.
I’m human, so I get frazzled trying to get my older boys off to school (we all walk together, though the two-year-old twins sit in the stroller), then I come home and try to get some work in with the twins climbing on me. I often get sucked into playing with toys, cuddling, or doing some colouring. It’s usually after I get the twins down for a nap that I can actually get some quality work time in.
Gratefully, I have a good deal of help from my husband and my mom. My husband comes home from work around 4pm and he’ll take over for me so I can sneak away. My mom also takes the kids off my hands at least one day per week, which is amazing. I owe a great deal to both of them!
Q: What is the oddest thing you have ever heard from an editor or beta reader?
A: I’ve had people question my use of Canadian and British spelling before, but nothing terribly odd. I have experienced discomfort from my parents as readers, though. After reading my first novel several years ago, they’d asked me how I knew so much about the male anatomy. Those were awkward and definitely uncomfortable conversations.
Q: You have been picked up by a publisher, how did you go about finding one?
A: I started out as many authors do, doing research and submitting queries to an array of agents and publishers. I’d soon after turned to self-publishing, but as I have no formal training in marketing myself, my work seemed to go unnoticed.
Strangely enough, I first learned of Pandamoon after the CEO, Zara Kramer, followed me on Twitter. I was curious about the company, so I did some research. Loving what they stood for and how they did business, I sent in a query, which was met with positive response.
Q: You get in a time machine and go 100 years into the future where you are asked to write a historical romance about the 2016 elections. Who is your main character and why would you pick him or her?
A: Coming from a Canadian’s perspective, I would likely write about a Canadian hockey player whose American team is affected by the elections. Nothing too direct, as politics often create conflict, but close enough to feel the ripples. Not only are they athletic and entertaining, but there are so many story options to choose from.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.