Q: You write primarily historical romance in both gay and het. Your latest series, the Sapphire Club, is a historical erotica which includes LUCIEN & SERENITY and PRENTICE & DESIREE. Tell us about this series. While erotica isn’t my primary focus when I write, the Sapphire Club series is indeed erotica, set in the Regency era in England, at a sex club in London, where members of English aristocracy let their hair down and give in to their baser instincts. Each generation likes to believe it invented sex and all the various kinks, but research tells us something quite different. Within the walls of the Sapphire Club, we see a side to history that might have truly existed. In Lucien & Serenity, Lucien Damrill owns the club. Ten years before, Lucien’s wife left him, afraid of the sexual aspects of marriage. Between her fear and Lucien’s youthful ineptness, their marriage was doomed. When she returns, she brings with her a new attitude and a secret that could destroy them both. In Prentice & Desiree, which comes out September 12th at Musa Publishing, a grieving Prentice, the Marquess of Wycroft, must come to terms with his past and the one woman that might see him past the loss of his family and his wayward past. The third book in the series, Thornhill’s Dilemma, is under contract at Musa Publishing, though it doesn’t have a release date yet. In this book, Phillip Allard, Duke of Thornhill, finds like-minded partners for his sexual pleasures. There he meets Alexander Chilton and together they embark on a quiet relationship of several years, until a young woman inadvertently steps into the middle of things. Complications put their lives in turmoil and Phillip confronts the toughest decision of his life. This is a story of love, deep and enduring, the kind we all want in our lives. There is also tragedy, redemption, and the lingering hope that we are all meant for someone and when the combination is right, anything is possible.
Q: What is the difference between a costume drama and a historical novel? In my opinion, the characters in a costume drama or period piece, dress in period clothes, but the story could take place in any time period. There isn’t anything to anchor the reader in a particular period—no historical events or historical figures. Instead, it is more a general idea. Usually, in costume dramas, there isn’t a lot of attention to specific detail, and there is no flavor of historical language. A historical is set in a definite period and has defining factors to anchor it to that timeframe, such as actual historical events Historical author Brita Addams
Q: You have another book that takes place in the 1920’s and is a Rainbow Award Winner for Best Historical, TARNISHED GOLD. What led you to dive into this time period? When I was a teenager, I read movie magazines and in them, there were ads for signed photos of stars. Signed, probably not so much, autopenned, but I wrote to movie stars and asked for signed 8 x 10 glossies. When I received them, I papered by bedroom walls with the photos. I’ve had an intense interest in Old Hollywood, the years from the early 19teens through the 1940s since I was a young girl. I love old movies, silent and early talkies, and have watched them throughout my life. That period was very different from Hollywood today, the glitz and glamor, a mystery that simply doesn’t exist anymore. Stars were stars back then, and sadly, they had to keep many secrets from their public. Tarnished Gold is actually the first book in the now two book Tarnished series at Dreamspinner Press. I do intend to write several more, from different aspects of life in Old Hollywood. Tarnished Gold is a gay romance that spans many years. The book starts in the early 19teens, when Hollywood revered gay and lesbian members of their community and goes through the mid-1930s, after which the Hays office stepped in and implemented morals codes into every Hollywood contract. Those codes demanded that Hollywood clean up its act. Consequently, studios set down ultimatums to gay actors, instructing them to marry (lavender or beard marriage – a shallow way to give the impression that those under contract had “changed their ways,”) and gave up their gay life or lose their employment in the burgeoning movie industry. Overnight, gay actors, costume people, directors, etc., were persona non grata, relegated to the closet for many years to come. In Tarnished Gold, Jack Abadie’s integrity is threatened. One real actor, William Haines, told Louis B. Mayer told him to ditch his lover, Jimmie Shields, and marry to a woman. Haines’s reply – “I’m already married.” Jack Abadie is patterned after Billy and Tarnished Gold is dedicated to Billy Haines and all those who lived through the transition in Hollywood. The second book in the series is Tarnished Souls – Frankie and Gent. Gangsters “ran” Hollywood from its inception. Frankie is the Hollywood “Don,” but he’s failing the New York faction that set him up there. Gent, a hitman and Frankie’s former lover, goes to Hollywood to bring Frankie back to New York to answer for his neglect, and from the first page, the tension builds between them. This was a fun book to write, filled with slang and it has the film noir feeling I wanted. Film noir is something I can’t get enough of.
Q: How much research goes into writing a period piece like this? The onus is on the author when they embark on writing a historical. Research is vital to producing a successful book, to put the reader into the period and give them the true experience of historical fiction. I have a vast library of books from many historical periods. I read extensively. I absorb myself in the time. That could mean I watch many movies, read many books, search online for specific facts. From the time I conceive a story, I research everything involved – clothing, food, historical events, names, language, manners, customs, forms of address, music and everything in between. The research doesn’t stop. I’m forever checking facts, throughout the writing. I believe in the old adage that if you’re going to do it, do it right. For Tarnished Gold, I researched for six months before I ever set one word of the story down.
Q: Do you read the same genre you write? I read a lot of historical romance and historical fiction – in many different sub-genres. I also read a ton of research books on many topics. For me, that is recreational reading. All history interests me. I never know when I might find the germ of an idea from the reading.
Q: You’ve done a lot of research on the Civil War and the American Revolutionary War. Can we expect books from those eras as well? I have a Civil War novel started and truth be told, I have a burning desire to finish it, if other things would stop insinuating themselves in my plans. ☺ I also have a work in progress that takes place in 1754, during the French and Indian War, with plans to do a series, involving the lives of several generations of one family, using various wars as the backdrops—Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War (a different story from the Civil War I mentioned before.)
Q: Have you had an interesting experience in the research of one of your books? Actually, the most interesting experience came after I wrote the books. In 2013, my husband and I went to England and visited the estate I used as inspiration for the Sapphire Club. I can’t tell you the thrill it was to spend an entire Sunday touring the estate and the grounds. Little did I know when I first found that estate online that I would actually visit it.
Q: What is the one question you wish an interviewer would ask you? What keeps you writing? The answer: the encouragement of my husband, who is the reason I started to write. After years of discouragement from a person who shouldn’t have had dominion over my writing, my husband pulled me out of the worst place for a writer—in doubt. For that, I owe him everything. Without him, there wouldn’t be a Brita Addams.
Q: Which fictional character would you like to be friends with in RL? I’d have to pick one of my own characters, Phillip Allard, the Duke of Thornhill, from the third Sapphire Club book, Thornhill’s Dilemma. Phillip’s personality and character revealed themselves in layers. He is a complicated, yet endearing character, one that proved a pleasure to write. Phillip could teach me about the aristocracy as well as his difficulties as a gay man in the Regency era, when homosexuality was against the law and a death sentence for those unfortunate enough to be discovered. For more information on my work, please visit britaaddams.net. I’m also on Facebook and Twitter.