Interview: C.S Harris

CS Harris2 10-07.photo credit Samantha Lufti-ProctorJen: Today we welcome C.S. Harris to Romancing the Book. When your reviewer Julie heard about C.S.’s visit, she asked to to the interview. So, ladies, take it away.

Julie: Can you share a short bio with us?
C.S.: C.S. Harris is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than a dozen novels including the Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery Series, the new C.S. Graham thriller series co-written with Steven Harris, and seven historical romances. She is also the author of a nonfiction historical study of the French revolution. Her books are available worldwide and have been translated into over twenty different languages. She will be on tour in March to promote WHO BURIES THE DEAD in New Orleans, Phoenix, Houston, Portland, and Seattle.

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Julie: Sebastian is a complex character. But, I kind of have a book boyfriend crush on him. Do you hear that a lot from your female readers?
C.S.: You know, I started out writing historical romances. So when I moved to mysteries I made the conscious decision to put a character that is basically a romance hero into a mystery series. I wanted him young, sexy, intelligent, dangerous, intensely honorable and brave, dark and wounded but capable of a deep, powerful love, loyal, and respectful of women’s intelligence and abilities. If I was going to be spending 10-20 years of my life with this man, I wanted him to be someone I could fall in love with! And I gave him two strong, brave, smart women—Kat and Hero.

I must say, though, that I have a lot of male readers, too.

Julie: You have probably been asked this before, but how did you decide on the name “Hero” for Sebastian’s wife?
C.S.: Shakespeare gave the name to the daughter of Leonato in Much Ado about Nothing. Of course, my Hero has little resemblance to his Hero, but I do love the name for a strong woman.

In a lot of ways, Hero is everything I’d love to be but am not—she’s tall, and untroubled by nuances and what other people think, and very, very unflappable.

Julie: Who plays Sebastian in a movie?
C.S.: Ha! Readers are always giving me the names of actors they think should play Sebastian, and I’ll go look at the guy and think, “Really? That’s the way you imagine Sebastian? No!” The truth is, I’ve never seen anyone that quite captures my vision of Sebastian. My Sebastian is tall and dark haired, with great, deep-set, brooding eyes and high cheekbones. And of course he’s sexy and edgy as hell. Who fits that? There must be someone.

Julie: What jobs did you hold prior to becoming a writer?
C.S.: I originally wanted to be an archaeologist. I worked on digs all over the world, from Tennessee and San Juan Island to Victoria, Australia, and Winchester, England. Then I decided to get a PhD in history and taught for several years at the University of Idaho and Midwestern in Texas. My area of specialty is eighteenth and nineteenth century Europe, which is one of the reasons I decided to set my mystery series in England during the Napoleonic Wars. But then I got married to an international businessman, and moving around the world made an academic career impossible. That’s when I first started writing fiction.

Julie: Do you have a favorite quote you would like to share?
C.S.: I’ve always been partial to “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” George Eliot didn’t actually say it, of course, but I don’t care. Particularly as women, we often wander away from what we first wanted in life, following side paths of love and motherhood. I’m not saying those paths are necessarily wrong, mind you (although with some men they certainly can be!). But we often wake up at some point in our 40s and think, “What happened? How did I get here? This isn’t where I wanted to be.” So I like the idea that it’s never too late to do something about that.

Julie: What are you working on now?
C.S.: I’ve just finished the 11th book in the Sebastian St. Cyr series, WHEN FALCONS FALL. It’s the summer of 1813, and Hero and Sebastian travel to Shropshire in search of answers to the mystery surrounding Sebastian’s father. It’s the first book in the series I’ve set entirely outside London, and it was a lot of fun to write. I’m now starting the 12th book, WHERE THE DEAD LIE, which sees Sebastian back in London in September 1813. In all, I’m envisioning 18-20 Sebastian books, which kinda takes my breath away when I think about it.