In my continuing series of transcriptions of old articles and interviews, I found two articles written by the great Loretta Chase, one from the time of the publication of The Devil’s Delilah (my favorite Chase) and one from the time of the epochal Lord of Scoundrels. Both articles were accompanied with different pictures of Chase from back then but I was without my usual camera so only have a crappy pic of Chase with a perm from the earlier article. (I will replace the picture with a better one when I come back.)
From Romantic Times #76 (June/July 1990)
Something Completely Different . . .
by Loretta Chase
I’m slow. It takes a long time to sort through all the bric-a-brac in my brain and find a moderately intelligent story idea. This brain is not a neatly organized museum of Regency artifacts and documents. Its a dark, cluttered attic, crammed to the rafters with images from movies, books, opera, magazines, rock music, TV, and –though rarely — real life. If my brain were a TV show, it would be “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” In short, ideas for my Regency comedies develop from assorted oddities in this mental collection.
One oddity has been in the brain-attic a long time: Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa. [
Regular readers of Word Wenches Blog know that Chase talks about Clarissa a LOT! ~~ seton] I had to read it in college. Few sane people nowadays ever read the book unless forced to by a sadistic professor. Clarissa is a very long, excruciating, tear-your-hair-out and wish-you-could-strange- the-author tale of . . . . seduction. While most of the details escape me, its fascinating seducer, Lovelace, has haunted me for years.
When I was trying to develop a concept for my fifth Regency, Clarissa elbowed all the rubbish aside and rudely thrust itself forward. Hastily I shoved it back, but too late, evidently, because something stuck: the idea of a chapter-by-chapter seduction. Also, through some twisted process of illogic, I concluded that this seduction must be triggered by a wager.
An idea for the wager’s stake came from the memoirs of Harriette Wilson, the famous courtesan. Lord Worcester wrote her a lot of love letters, which Harriette found out could be worth 25,000 pounds in a breach of promise suit. Many What Ifs, Whos, Whys and Hows later, my basic premise was born: X can retrieve some indiscreet letters from Y only if X seduces Z. What sort of person (Y) would propose such a reprehensible bargain? What sort of person (X) would agree to it? Who was Z? (more…)
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