Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tunnel of Love Week Guest Blogger: Monica Burns

UPDATE: Willa is the winner of an autographed copy of DANGEROUS by Monica Burns! Thanks to everyone who participated. Willa, please email your physical address to contests(at)knightagency(dot)net.

I love language. There’s something about it that can span the distance between crude and harsh to something so exquisitely beautiful that it can make your heart weep. In historical romance, language between lovers is part of what evokes strong emotion in the reader. When a hero says something passionate in a historical romance, the language can make a reader feel as though they’ve been swept up off their feet. Take for instance, the following words…
"I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you—especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous Channel, and two hundred miles or so of land come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I've a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly. As for you,—you'd forget me."
When I first read these words, I was a teenager, and the moment Edward Rochester said them to me, I was his. Heart, body and soul. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte’s masterpiece, is a brilliant illustration of evocative writing in historical romance. Bronte’s writing depicts Rochester as strong, bold, dynamic and tortured. The passion and the depth of feeling Edward has for Jane is so beautifully expressed with the words above. It shows his love is potent, real, and strong, and it never fails to capture my heart and soul whenever I read those words. What woman doesn’t fall in love with a man who declares his love for her with such passion, such raw adoration as to assure her that she’s the most exquisitely beautiful creature he’s ever held in his arms?


Ciarán Hinds, Samantha Morton in the 1997 BBC production of Jane Eyre
Several of the core values of any romance are love, empowerment, the offering of hope, a happy ending and the ability for a reader to escape their problems for a few hours. Obviously, this holds true for historical romance, but for me as a writer it offers a lot more. Historical romance allows me to write prose as bold, sweeping and lush as Rochester’s confession of love without writing purple prose.

While the sentiment of love doesn’t change from one era to another, language does. Rochester’s speech, as Bronte wrote it, would definitely sound out of place in one of my Chicago-set paranormal books. It would have to be rewritten to conform to the language we use today. For this reason, historical romance remains my favorite subgenre to write. It gives me the opportunity to explore my love of poetic lines and speeches with greater freedom than I can in my present day paranormals.
Historicals, such as my most recent release DANGEROUS, give me the chance to write a speech or a description that hopefully displays how much I love the written word and its power. As a reader of historicals, I know I love a man in breeches, a man who can sweep me off my feet and carry me off to the bedroom, a man who can use a sword to defend my honor. But the best part of historical romance for me is the language. It’s the hope that when the hero speaks, he’ll say something like Edward said to Jane in a way that sends my heart slamming into my chest and sends tingles of shock across my skin. So share a line or passage from your favorite historical romance that is memorable for you and why. Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered to win an autographed copy of DANGEROUS! The winner will be announced tomorrow morning.
Best,
Monica

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25 Comments:

Blogger Crystal Jordan said...

*sigh* I love that excerpt from Jane Eyre. :-)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 9:50:00 AM EST  
Blogger tetewa said...

Sounds good, I'd like to be included!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 11:11:00 AM EST  
Blogger Rebecca Chastain said...

I haven't read historical romances for at least five years now (having discovered the wonderful world of paranormal romances), but you've reminded me why I loved them. You're right--that kind of romantic speech doesn't often fit into more modern paranormal fantasies, but it'd be fun to see it done. I'd love to win an autographed copy of DANGEROUS!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 11:47:00 AM EST  
Blogger Munk said...

I love historicals! I can't wait to read it!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 12:29:00 PM EST  
Blogger Monica Burns said...

Crystal, Isn't that the yummiest excerpt!! I adore that man. Sooo hot without anything explict!! That's great writing!

Glad you enjoyed the post TeTewa

Rebecca, I think the tide might be taking a swing back toward popularity. We'll see. I've got two more historicals coming out in the next year. Both of them set in exotic locations.

Munk, you sweetie. Nice to see you here OFF the loop. LOL

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 1:29:00 PM EST  
Blogger Monica Burns said...

BTW, if anyone loves Jane Eyre you've GOT to see the one with Tobye Stephens. I always though Cirian Hinds was the best Rochester, but OMG Stephens IS Rochester. Sarcastic, hurtful, passionate, tortured. you name it. Incredible performance

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 1:32:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Kay G. said...

I use to love reading historical romances but lately I've been leading towards paranormal romances as well. Now I have the sudden urge to hit barnes&noble for a nice new book

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 4:35:00 PM EST  
Blogger donnas said...

Im new to historicals. This one sounds good and I have added it to my wishlist.

Thanks for posting.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 4:44:00 PM EST  
Blogger Monica Burns said...

Kay and Donnas,

I'm glad my discussion about romantic language is luring you to the "dark side" of historicals. Clearly I think they're worth a look.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 5:03:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Willa said...

"My mind was more agreeably engaged. I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow."

Love this line from Pride & Prejudice - it's when Darcy acknowledges to himself and someone else his unwilling attraction to Elizabeth Bennett. Love it also when he first proposed to her and she turns him down!

Oh and I was going to mention the latest BBC adaptation with Toby Stephens - I just got it on DVD - excellent!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 5:09:00 PM EST  
Blogger Monica Burns said...

I love the Jane Austen stories turned into movies, but I confess I've yet to be able to get through one of her books. I know heresy from a historical writer, but the Bronte sisters are more my cup of tea. Dark and intense subjects and the voice is different. But I do adore the P&P renditions I've seen Keira Knightly's version was awesome. That one scene where Darcy helps her into the carriage and then walks away and the camera focuses on his hand only which flexes like from an electric shock. OMG that was so romantic!

And yes, Willa!! Wasn't Stephens divine as Rochester I adored his portrayal.

Another historical author I want to try is Elizabeth Gaskell. I saw the North and South BBC production and Richard Armitage is 2Die4 The sexual tension btwn the h/h is incredible. Simply fantastic. If the book is anywhere near as good as the movie, I know I'll love it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 5:23:00 PM EST  
Blogger Erika Lynn said...

nothing is more historical or romantic than Shakespeare and I love As You Like It especially the scenes between Rosalind and Orlando.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 5:39:00 PM EST  
Blogger Monica Burns said...

Erika, I love Shakespeare for other things. My favorite by him is Henry V. The St. Crispens Day speech in that play is sheer inspirational poetry. I would have followed Henry to hell an back because of a speech like that! Of course, I'm partial to swords. *grin*

Thanks for joining in on the fun here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 8:47:00 PM EST  
Blogger B J Keltz said...

I apologize for the length of the quote. The book is Persuasion by Jane Austen. It is the letter Captain Wentworth wrote to Anne:

"I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means
as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony,
half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings
are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart
even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years
and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman,
that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you.
Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been,
but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath.
For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this?
Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even
these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have
penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing
something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can
distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others.
Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed.
You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men.
Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F. W.

"I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither,
or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look,
will be enough to decide whether I enter your father's house
this evening or never."

Sigh...I loved it the first time I read it and I still do.

I'm a historical romance junkie...particularly the Regency period and Julie Garwood.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 9:00:00 PM EST  
Blogger Monica Burns said...

BJ, don't just love it when an author can just grab your heart like that?

Thanks for dropping in, and I love reading passages that holds meaning for other readers

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 9:05:00 PM EST  
Blogger Amy S. said...

Dangerous sounds great!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 10:09:00 PM EST  
Blogger Monica Burns said...

Thanks, Amy. I hope readers enjoy it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 10:42:00 PM EST  
Blogger Monica Burns said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 10:43:00 PM EST  
Blogger Karin said...

That is a fantastic excerpt from Jane Eyre.

As a huge fan of Jane Austen, I definitely agree about how beautiful language can be and how well that is showcased in historical novels. BJ already quoted one of my favorite parts of my favorite novel by Austen, Persuasion. Another of my favorite lines is:
"He enquired after you very particularly; asked even if you were personally altered, little suspecting that to my eye you could never alter."
That line is one of the lines that makes Frederick Wentworth my favorite Austen hero.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 10:45:00 PM EST  
Blogger Monica Burns said...

Glad you enjoyed that outtake from Jane Eyre Karin. I love how the language in a book can impact us on an individual level so profoundly

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 11:12:00 PM EST  
Blogger Kytaira said...

I haven't read Jane Austen. Honestly I'm more inclined to be captured by a scene then by a line. That said, I do remember the opening lines of Passion by Lisa Valdez made an impression on me. Can't qoute it because I lent the book to my best friend. Then I remembered Robin Schone's book Gabriel's Woman. I loved where Victoria tells him the story at the end. Her telling is based on the fairy tale but it fits so well with Gabriel's life. He was treated like a piece of trash as a child, lived in the gutter, and was forced into homosexual prostitution.

edited story-

Whenever a good child dies, an angel comes down from heaven and takes the child in his arms.

The angel spreads out great white wings, and flies the child over all the places he loved during his life.

The angel explains to the child as he flies him about that he gathers up flowers to take to heaven so that they may bloom more brightly in heaven than they do on earth.

The Almighty, he says, presses the flowers to His heart, but He kisses the flower that pleases Him best, and it receives a voice, and is able to join the song of the chorus of bliss....

These words were spoken by the angel, as he carried the child up to heaven...

The angel and the child passed over well-known spots, places where the child had often played, and through gardens full of beautiful flowers.

The angel asked the child, which flowers shall we take with us to heaven to be transplanted there?

There was a slender, beautiful rosebush, but someone had broken the stem so that the half opened rosebuds were faded and withered.

The child wanted to take the hurt rosebush so that it would bloom above in heaven.

The child said, We have enough flowers, but the angel only nodded: he did not fly upward to heaven.

It was dark and still in the big town. The angel hovered over a snall, narrow street. But the child could only see a heap of straw... some broken plates.. pieces of plaster, rags, old hats, and other rubbish.

The angel pointed to a broken flowerpot and to a lump of dirt which had fallen out of it. The flower had been thrown into the rubbish.

The angel said, We will take this with us. but the child couldn't understand why.

The angel said that a sick boy with crutches had lived there in a cellar.. a boy who was poor.. and who could not go out to see the flowers.

In the summer beams of sun would lie on the floor for a half an hour and he would say he had been outside.

One day a neighbor's son brought him some field flowers. One of them had a root. He planted the flower, and it grew.

Every year the flower bloomed. It was the boy's own flower garden. He gave it water and made certain it got allthe sunbeams. He dramed about his flower. He turned to the flower for comfort even when he died. But when the boy died.. no one was ther to take care of his flower. And it was tossed out.

And that is why the angel said, they were taking the flower to heaven because it gave more real joy than the most beautiful flower in a queen's garden.

But how do you know all this? asked the child.

I know it, said the angel, because I myself was the boy who walked upon crutched, and I know my own flower well.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 2:07:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Willa said...

Squeee - many thanks! *Off to email*

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 8:27:00 AM EST  
Blogger Monica Burns said...

Kytaria, What a lovely, lovely story. That last line is a heart wrenching one, but beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Willa, I hope you'll enjoy reading Dangerous.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 10:48:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Willa said...

Thankyou Monica - looking forward to reading it. Squeeee!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 3:08:00 PM EST  
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Friday, June 5, 2009 at 3:51:00 AM EDT  

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