Today is a great day on One Book More! I’m delighted to have my recent interview with Harlequin Historical romance author Melissa Oliver! As many of you know, I adore Melissa’s swoon-worthy stories, so I was beyond thrilled when she agreed to an interview.
Getting to Know You:
Question: What initially attracted you to writing historical romance? Is there a particular time period or setting that fascinates you?
Melissa Oliver: Historical Romance combines two genres I really love to read; romance and history. I love the enduring appeal of romance set in different time periods that challenges, provokes and surprises readers. After all, love and the emotional difficulties and conflict that a couple face do have universal themes that transcend time. And I love all time periods- from Medieval romance, which I have been writing for Harlequin Historicals, so far, to Viking, Regency, Victorian, Highlander and even Tudor romances.
About Melissa Oliver:
Melissa Oliver writes sweeping historical romances filled with emotion, adventure, a dash of humour, and vivid swoon worthy characters.
Melissa lives in south-west London with her husband, three daughters and their naughty cocker spaniel, Mr Darcy. They like nothing better than to visit decrepit old castles, palaces and all things historical!
Melissa is a member of the Romantic Novelist Association (RNA) and WON the coveted Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers in 2020 for her debut- The Rebel Heiress and the Knight
Q: Are there any historical romance authors or specific books that have influenced your writing style or storytelling approach?
MO: There are so many historical authors whom I adore, however I don’t think any particular author influenced my writing style- not knowingly anyway!
Q: I noticed in your bio that you love traveling to old castles, palaces, and other historical places. Which are your favorites, and have you incorporated any into your novels?
MO: I do have two favourites;
Ham House in Richmond, Surrey https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/london/ham-house-and-garden
& Hampton Court Palace- https://www.hrp.org.uk/hampton-court-palace/
I love them both equally, as I used to visit them all the time when I was growing up- I even worked at weekends at the café in Ham House as a teenager. And then years later when I had children of my own, these gorgeous places were places we’d go as a family and so they became part of their childhood as well.
However, it wasn’t possible to use either in my 13th century medieval romances as Ham House was built in the early 17th century and Hampton House in the Tudor period. Even so, I do like to incorporate real historical places, castles etc where I can in my books. For instance, The Tower of London, which is another favourite of ours, was used in A Defiant Maiden’s Knight and I had a lot of fun writing many scenes there.
Q: Where would you go if you could travel back in time to any period and place?
MO: Being a Londoner, it might be fun to travel back in time and see the city in all its various guises as it reinvented itself from the Roman settlement to the medieval and Georgian city to modern metropolis it is now.
Q: Congratulations on the release of the final book in your Protectors of the Crown trilogy! Can you talk about the role of research in creating immersive historical settings and the challenges you face when balancing historical accuracy with fiction in your stories?
MO: Thank you, I really loved writing Her Unforgettable Knight and the series itself. And yes, the research is hugely important as it enables me to build the story around the period I’m writing in which makes the setting far more believable and as you say, immersive an experience. The balance between historical accuracy and making the characters and their story relatable to modern readers is really important. It needs to feel authentic, yet totally accessible and that’s the challenge that I have with every book I write.
She never forgot him…
Can she ever forgive him?
Marguerite never expected to see Savaric again—let alone to have to help him when she finds him outnumbered in a fight. He’s the brooding knight she fell for two years ago…until he left her unexpectedly. Now Marguerite is a hardened spy and wary of trusting him again. But how long can she resist their connection when they must work together to protect the Crown?
Q: How do you approach developing your characters within the historical context? What techniques do you use to make them relatable to modern readers?
MO: One technique I use is that I write detailed biographies for both my heroes and heroines that help me flesh out their characters which provides an insight into who they are, what they are about and even how they might act in a given situation. It really helps me to get to “know” who my characters are before I even sit down and write the book. And this in turn makes the characters feel far more real, believable and relatable- well, that’s the idea anyway.
A tense, dramatic medieval love story.
A knight’s protection…That she doesn’t want…or need?
Joan Lovent may be losing her sight but she refuses to lose her independence too. So when Sir Warin de Talmont tells her it’s too perilous to be out alone in the city, she doesn’t pay him any heed. But with threats surrounding them, she begins to value his protection and helps with his dangerous work in return. If only the powerful connection between them wasn’t so impossible to ignore!
Q: What is the strangest or most interesting piece of historical information you learned while researching?
MO: All three Protectors of the Crown books are set in London at some point in their respective stories, so I did a lot of research into the medieval city as it was. One of the many fascinating pieces of research I found was in relation to the names of London’s roads and streets. And just as the city evolved and changed through time, so did the names of some of London’s famous streets such as Fleet street, which started life as Flote street. There were other quite literal names of roads and alleys for example; Milk, and Honey Lane both of which still exist and other names such as the areas where prostitutes worked, which were so obscene, I honestly can’t repeat them! And yes, all of those names have subsequently changed.
Captured by a knight…
Rescued by his kiss!
When orphan Eva loses the father figure who’d protected her on the streets of London, she suspects the Knights Fortitude. But when she steals information from them, she’s caught by brooding knight Nicholas. Learning he might not be the villain after all, she puts her distrust aside to work with him, yet Eva must stay focused—and not get distracted when they share a stolen kiss!
Q: If you could spend the day with any character from the Protectors of the Crown series, who would you choose? What would you do?
MO: I LOVED all the characters from each book and can’t pick any favourites but to answer your question, I think it would be fun to hang out with the three lovely yet feisty heroines. We could all hang out, drink too much ale and have a good gossip about their gorgeous men.
Q: Can you tell us anything about your upcoming books?
MO: Yes! I have written a duet with a fellow Harlequin Historical author, Ella Matthews and I can’t wait to share it with you. It’s two full length medieval romances set in Ireland about twin brothers who unexpectedly discover the existence of the other. Needless to say, that this sets off a whole lot of drama, intrigue, family secrets and passion!
My book, The Knight’s Substitute Bride is the final instalment of the Brother’s and Rivals duet. Checkout both books when they’re released in October and November of this year.
Q: Where can readers learn more about you and your writings (i.e., website, Twitter, Facebook page, Goodreads, etc.)?
MO: Readers can connect with me on;
- My website; https://www.melissaoliverauthor.com
- Instagram- @melissaoliverauthor https://www.instagram.com/melissaoliverauthor/
- Twitter- @melissaoauthor https://twitter.com/melissaoauthor
- Facebook- @melissaoliverauthor https://www.facebook.com/melissaoliverauthor
- Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20417354.Melissa_Oliver
Thanks so much to Melissa for answering my questions. This was a lot of fun!