Monday, January 5, 2015
Thanks for asking me aboard! I’m thrilled to be talking about Beyond All Dreams, as this book has a very special place in my heart because the heroine is a librarian, which is my job when I’m not a writer.
I have been blessed with two careers, both of which I deeply love. As a lifelong reader and bibliophile, perhaps librarianship was a natural career choice for me. I could think of no other job where I could spend an entire day cocooned within a library, buying books with other people’s money, and getting paid to perform fascinating research. I earned my master’s degree in Library Science from Indiana University and have been gainfully employed as a college librarian ever since.
But the temptation to write my own novel was always there as well. I love a terrific romance story, especially if set in an interesting historical period. The road to publication was a little longer and a lot bumpier than I expected, but after around five years of trying, my first novel was published in 2011. They say that you tend to be proudest of things that are hard to earn, and this is certainly true for me. I’ve heard stories of people whose first manuscript is accepted for publication, but I wouldn’t trade my five years of struggle and slogging through the wilderness for anything in the world. For a start, it made me a much better writer. It made me humble, grateful, and also a little paranoid…which is a GOOD thing if you are a writer. I know rejection will always loom just around the next corner if I don’t keep my quality up.
People have often asked me if I have any plans to quit my work as a librarian and become a full-time writer. Frankly, I don’t! I love being a librarian, and every day I am enriched by the variety of people I encounter and the interesting questions I’m called on to research. All of this helps nourish my writer’s soul with fresh angles and originality.
I wrote five novels before I decided to give in to temptation and feature a librarian as the heroine. Beyond All Dreams is about a librarian who stumbles across a baffling mystery of a ship that disappeared at sea. The ship and the entire crew has never been heard from again, but Anna begins to suspect the government knows what actually happened to the ship. The setting is at the Library of Congress in 1898, and when the government stonewalls her attempt to learn more about the missing ship, Anna turns to a charismatic congressman for help. As the two of them begin piecing the mystery together, they become embroiled in secrets much bigger than they ever imagined.
Washington D.C. is a terrific place to set a historical romance, simply because there were so many women who worked for the government in the late 19th century. I prefer to have my heroines working in professional positions, so Washington is rich with possibilities for me. Of course, there were plenty of restrictions against female workers dating fellow-government employees, so that adds another wonderful layer of tension for my characters.
Most of all I wanted to write a thrilling, deeply romantic and heart-pounding love story. The nature of the plot force Anna and Luke to resolve their own wounds from a difficult past before they can forge a lasting relationship. It is a deeply emotional story, but I tried to inject notes of subtle humor, hope, and inspiration throughout the novel.
Elizabeth Camden is a research librarian at a small college in central Florida. Her novels have won the coveted RITA and Christy Awards. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband near Orlando, Florida.
Pinterest Page for Beyond All Dreams: