Please welcome author Killian McRae; here today to share with us about her new historical romance release, A LOVE BY ANY MEASURE.
A whole bunch of pleasure needs a bit of pain, the Victorian way.
Over the past year or so, I’ve had many chances to gage reader reactions to “A Love by Any Measure.” While many have found the historically-observant tale of Maeve O’Connor and August Grayson endearing, both raves and rants have asked why I choose to make my hero and heroine go through so much heart ache to arrive at their Happily Ever After.
A LOVE BY ANY MEASURE is not a light-hearted, skipping-through-the-meadows type of read (or as is the case now with the audiobook release, listen.) There are books like that, and I enjoy reading them myself, but that’s not the book I wrote. While not a professional historian, I am a history fanatic. There’s nothing wrong with escaping into a fluffy romance where the Duke and Lady engage and a flirt and some hot-and-heavy behind closed doors. But when I approached writing history, I made the choice to make my characters behave in a way that some find debasing, manipulative, self-centered, or mutually destructive. And the question from readers is, why would I make these characters act in such a morally reprehensible way and then try to justify their love which, at one time or another, was self-serving?
I am a firm believer that the most engaging romances are those which reflect on our personal struggles. Hence, ALBAM is not a “rompmance.” It isn’t about two people falling in love despite a few inconvenient roadblocks (i.e. his dislike for her parasol) and then easily bridging those differences to have lots and lots of sex. [I wish to state here that I have nothing against this formula, and have enjoyed a few books myself which used it.] ALBAM is a historical romance, emphasis is on the historical.
My hero is an English lord, my heroine, an Irish peasant. In 1860s Ireland, these two people come from worlds not only of conflicting values, but in direct conflict with each other. This is the era of “Irish need not apply” in the U.S., of the discussion of the “Irish question” in the English parliament where lords debated whether or not the Irish could even be considered human. Joining lovers in this climate is no easy task. Further, I made my characters complex, such that they both defend and scrutinize the cultures from which they come. If they could not question themselves, there would be no way for them realistically to accept each other.
ALBAM is not a happy-go-lusty read specifically because it pays great respect to the era in which it is set. Without all that suffering, their love lacks depth, meaning, and reward. It is a realistic portrayal of the realities with which Maeve and August would have dealt. The most appealing love stories are those where the consequences are highest, where the challenges the most epic. If I am going to deliver heaven to my characters in the end first, I demand that they pay a passage through hell to earn it. I want the reader to deal with all the longing, frustration, betrayal, resolution, and surrender demanded of my characters. It’s not a journey for all, but it is a journey that, in the end, is well rewarded.
Killian McRae would tell you that she is a rather boring lass, an authoress whose characters’ lives are so much more exciting than her own. She would be right. Sadly, this sarcastic lexophile leads a rather mundane existence in the San Francisco Bay Area. She once dreamed of being the female Indiana Jones, and to that end she earned a degree in Middle Eastern History from the University of Michigan. However, when she learned that real archaeologist spend more time lovingly removing dust with toothbrushes from shards of pottery than outrunning intriguing villains with exotic accents, she decided to become a writer instead. She writes across many genres, including science fiction, fantasy, romance, and historical fiction.
Killian is a member of Stanford University’s Writer’s Certificate program and a PRO member of the Romance Writers of America.
Back Cover Blurb:
An Irish lass. An English lord.
A love that overcomes all boundaries, but at what cost?
Lord August Grayson, English landlord, has secretly, and much to the dismay of his father, held in reverence the object of his first fancy: poor Irish tenant Maeve O’Connor. Returning to Ireland for the first time since his youth, August discovers that Maeve has grown into a woman of beauty and tenacity. He understands, however, that he could offer Maeve nothing but shame if her pursued her. But when circumstances allow him an opportunity to indulge his fancy, even if only in a limited scope, August finds himself unable to resist the temptation.
Maeve,for her part, knows the danger falling for August holds, but finds her heart and her good senses becoming confused the longer she spends in his company. As two hearts become hopelessly entangled, both Maeve and August are forced to question the costs of their love. As consequences of their romance manifest, both struggle with the pain and difficulties their love causes, both for themselves and those who care for them.
Killian McRae’s delve into historical romance will challenge reader’s presumptions of the genre. A title garnering controversy due to McRae’s preference towards historical truth versus genre-standard “love despite the realities of the day” perspectives, it asks at what cost winning love is justified. “A Love by Any Measure” is an exploration of a romance that strives to overcome divisions of cultural, socio-economic, and religious differences in an era where options for lovers in such situations were limited.
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