Friday, December 12, 2008

The Magical and Mighty Pen of Lindsay Townsend

Welcome, once again, to one of my favorite people and one of my favorite romance authors, Lindsay Townsend ~

Many thanks to Savanna and to the Title Magic authors for allowing me this chance to blog about historical romance. Specifically, heat levels in historical romances.
I've written sweet, sensual and sizzling historical romances and have really enjoyed writing them. To me, each kind of heat level has its own charm and challenges. What does not change for me is that whatever heat level I choose, the love and development of a committed relationship between my hero and heroine are what matters.
'Sweet' does not mean sexless. Awareness and chemistry are as present in a sweet novel as in an erotic novel. The whole sublime 'chase' sequence between man and woman: the first locked glances, the significant notice of the other as being different this time and special; the anticipation by each of their every meeting; the glorious 'getting to know you'; the deepening commitment and attraction - all these are fully and subtlety explored in a sweet romance.
I write sweet where I feel it is appropriate to the characters, the time period, the culture and setting and what is appropriate to the rest of the storyline. In my 1930s romantic suspense, A Secret Treasure, I kept in mind that during that period 'courting' was meant to be chaste. Eve and Julio are embroiled in heavy emotional issues - the fact they are falling in love but possible enemies in a tense, pre-war setting; the fact that her brother is missing; the whole significance of the treasure itself. It seemed enough for me, given the length of the story, that their own relationship 'arc' should be that of discovery of mutual love. In a sequel I might write of their joyous discovery of each other in a more sexual way, when they have time to savour the whole journey.
For 'sweet' to be realistic to me, I often put my people through many external threats and interruptions, so there is a good reason why they do not act on their attraction.
I use the same devices in my more sensual novels such as Flavia's Secret and A Knight's Vow: the trick of interrupting, external threats, misunderstandings and delayed gratification. This allows me to show the development of the lovers' relationships on all levels as well as the physical. The deferment hopefully adds to a growing tension, so that when the couples do come together in sexual union, I hope it is a fully integrated emotional and physical experience for my people and for readers. (I aim at satisfaction!)
Often in historical romances there are strong practical reasons why a young woman will not rush into a physical relationship. Pregnancy and being shunned by society were very real fears. I am considering writing a novel about an ancient Roman tumbler who works in the Flavian amphitheatre (the Coliseum). She will be virgin, because for her, it would be too great a risk to have a sexual relationship and become pregnant. She and her baby might starve as she would not be able to work for months.
Working in mainstream romance there is a wide heat range, to suit all comfort levels. My novels tend to be naturally sensual because I am a tactile person myself and I like to show tenderness and first moments - first kiss, first cuddle, first love-making. I also enjoy showing a greater, deepening relationship, as expressed through their love-making and their own growing confidence in each other as revealed by their willingness to sexually experiment. Issues of trust can be shown and explored in these scenes - something I had great fun with in my forthcoming mainstream romance, 'A Knight's Captive.' Often in my mainstreams I have a couple making love by surrendering to their passion in the midst of a dispute, or as a question is left hanging between them. After love they trust each other, but how far? The question may still be there, and the added sensuality now between the couple can both clarify or fog the issues.
This is all wonderful conflict to write and hopefully to read.
With my latest novella, Escape to Love, I have increased my heat level a little more. This is a novella, so the tale is compressed and the feelings are heightened. There is not the space to indulge in a long 'chase and interest' sequence. Instead I write of a powerful, instant attraction: heady stuff to experience and delicious to write about! I accelerated the couple coming together by the device of their being put together by outsiders in order to 'breed'. This could have been a ghastly scenario, but for Lydia and Severus, who recognise each other as lovers, it is a blissful, happy, luxurious wallow in sensuality and sex. Their sexual journey is fierce and sweet and consenting - to me the essence of an erotic novel. The growth of their love is shown through each of their varied sexual unions.
I do not use the delayed gratification device in this erotic novella but explore each love making very fully and frankly, using very frank language. The language is not something I would use in my mainstream romances: not at all in a sweet romance, and in a more sensual romance, I would perhaps only put it into the mouth of a minor character. In all romance, mood is everything, and the mood I wish to create in my mainstream is delicious soft-focus.
In my Escape to Love the focus is sharper and hotter. So the language is 'hotter' and the graphics both more startling and more detailed. I try to make each sex scene a banquet of all the senses.
I thoroughly enjoyed writing, Escape to Love. However, I think the heat level I will most naturally gravitate to is mainstream. I enjoy writing adventure in my novels, and putting my heroine and hero in dangerous situations where they are fighting literally for their lives. I like to hint that later, after the danger has died away and my hero takes his heroine into his arms, they will have their own banquet.

Best wishes, Lindsay
Lindsay Townsend

Holiday greetings, everyone. Looking for sun and warmth about now? How about basking beneath the sun in ancient Rome? From the magical and mighty pen of romance author, Lindsay Townsend, comes a sizzling novella guaranteed to heat up your cold cockles. How do I know this? Because I read it, then wrote my little review.

Escape to Love
by Lindsay Townsend

Categories: EROTIC Romance Historical
Word Count: 15,753
Heat Level: SIZZLING

Blurb ~
Severus is a slave, dragged from the fields to an uncertain future. Warned to expect no mercy from a mysterious young woman who comes to him in the night, he learns that his natural father is his owner, Calvus, and that he has a half-brother, Thallus.

Thallus has no sexual interest in women but he is desperate for an heir. Severus and Thallus' sexy young wife Lydia, whom Severus recognizes as the mystery woman who warned him, are sent to the family palace at Baiae and expected to breed.

Lydia, used to an unconsummated, loveless marriage, is intrigued by the handsome Severus and appalled by her husband's and father-in-law's treatment of him. She finds herself anticipating their lovemaking. She also wants to help Severus to escape because she knows that once he has served his purpose, Thallus and Calvus will never let him live.

They have just a month to escape.

Excerpt ~ ~

Author Discovery: Escape to Love

Author Review by Savanna Kougar

Lindsay Townsend’s ESCAPE TO LOVE is a delicious and exciting escape into another time. I adored all the different historical aspects that was the Roman world during *AD 125 * ~ especially how they were used to create the story and the growing love between Lydia and Severus.
As honorable as the handsome, strong Severus was in his caring treatment of Lydia it was the heroine, Lydia, who truly won my heart with her intelligence and cleverness in bringing about their opportunity to escape the horrors waiting for them both.
However, like the true hero he is, Severus defends his Lydia when it matters most, winning my heart for him as well.
On a personal note, I wouldn’t mind resurrecting some of those erotic practices supposedly designed to bring about a woman’s fertility. My goodness, did Lydia and Severus enjoy themselves during their breeding sessions.


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~ ~

Lindsay Townsend is an English novelist who is currently writing historical romances for the American publishing company, Kensington Books. Her latest novel, A KNIGHT’S VOW, is her first historical romance and is now available, both in the U.S.A. and in the U.K. The book is set in twelfth-century England, against the romantic, but dangerous, backdrop of the Crusades. Lindsay has a first class honours degree in history from Bangor University, part of the University of Wales, where she specialised in the Middle Ages.

Lindsay’s next Kensington book doesn't appear until the spring, but here’s the cover. [note: I stole it because that’s an irresistible knight with a mighty large blade.]
The story is set in 1066 and I'll tell you more later about the Breton warrior Marc de Sens and his young lady Sunniva, their pilgrimage to Durham, a set of juggler's knives and a little matter of the Norman invasion of England.
Right now I'll just say that A KNIGHT’S CAPTIVE is due from Kensington Zebra in April 2009
BookStrand Titles by Lindsay Townsend
~ ~
Romantic Thrillers by Lindsay Townsend
Julia Rochfort visits Florence to sing in opera, but finds World War II secrets catching up with her Italian family.
The death of her lover in the Greek islands sends photographer, Melissa Haye, in pursuit of a wildlife smuggling gang.
When Rachel Falconer's father calls her to run his scientific research institute on Dartmoor, she steps in willingly - but then the fires begin...
Romance and heartbreak in wartime Rhodes.
Val Baker finds her dreams haunted by memories of Hilary, a young friend murdered on Corfu ten years ago. When she returns to Corfu, it becomes clear that Hilary's unknown killer is now on her trail.

Visit Lindsay Townsend at ~ ~
Her blog is at ~ ~


This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Savanna Kougar said...

Hi Lindsay, very impressive blog about the different heat levels of romance novels.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Thank you, Savanna! My goodness! Thank you for such a generous blog entry! You and Title Magic are so very kind!
I'll be fascinated to hear how other writers deal with issues of 'heat'. How about yourself, Savanna, please? Do you find it evolves with each novel? Do you 'plan' it in any way? Do you find you tend to write at a certain level of heat?

I''be very interested to hear!!
Thanks again. Lindsay

Evonne Wareham said...


Welcome to Title Magic. An interesting post as usual. As a reader I think the heat level is a matter of mood and what you want to read at the time. As a writer, it evolves with the story - everything comes from the central relationship and the situation the characters find themselves in.

Savanna Kougar said...

Hi Lindsay, it does depend on the particular novel and I always stay true to my heroines and heroes, however I also know going in that the heat level be a certain way, even if there are surprises along the way, which there generally are!

Sorry for the late posting. I think I over-taxed myself yesterday. Not because of this wonderul post, however.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Hi Evonne and Savanna,
I agree with both of you - I think the heat does evolve naturally from the storyline and comes from the characters. I also know if, say, I'm going to write a sweet romance.
Take it easy, Savanna, eh? I think we're all going a bit crazy on the run-up (what apt words!) to Christmas.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Hi Lindsey,
Thanks for joining us on Title Magic. I enjoy all heat levels in romance for the very reasons you describe. Each has its own charms. Interesting blog!

Francesca Prescott said...

That's an excellent piece of writing, Lindsay. I was fascinated by this analysis. Well done :)

xx Francesca

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Helen and Francesca!

Best wishes, Lindsay