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An Interview with Richard Caldwell, author of The Empress

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Scots-born and raised, I became a US citizen in 1984. I am retired now after an exciting career that took me around the world, interacting with so many wonderful people and their cultures, and experiencing enough adventures to fill a lifetime.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

I love Napoleonic history. I wargame in the period with hundreds of miniatures that I’ve hand-painted over the years. I know it’s an unusual hobby but it brings a delight I share with friends who enjoy the hobby.

They say you should write something you know. The book, The Empress, was to be a historical action/adventure set in 1814. The protagonist is an Austrian Cavalry officer sent to rescue the Empress Marie Louise of France and bring her to Vienna. Then everything changes in a heartbeat when the Empress meets Blaine at a deserted chateau far from Paris. She is so taken by him, that she kisses him on impulse. He returns the kiss with the same passion. In that heartbeat, I realized that the story would become a historical romance. There was still plenty of action and a dangerous villain but I added political intrigue to the story orchestrated by the British and Austrian Courts. Now Blaine has to traverse Europe in a life-or-death bid to get the Empress to Vienna.

Tell us the story of your book’s current title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The title was easy. The Empress was the perfect one to use. The story revolves around the two central characters: the Empress and Blaine. She is a strong-willed and self-assured woman. He is a by-the-book cavalry officer who is way out of his depth leading a rescue mission. Sparks fly from the time they first meet until they reach Vienna.

Describe your dream book cover.

The cover is of simple design with a classic regency silhouette of the Empress in the upper left corner, white on a black background for the top third of the page.

Below that is the title The Empress.

The middle third shows a cavalry battle scene from the period across the cover.

The bottom third has the author’s name in white on a black background.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

Classical music including Beethoven and Mozart.

What books are you reading (for research or comfort) as you continue the writing process?

Too many to list here, but the writing thesaurus series of books has been invaluable.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I have worked in TV Broadcasting with the BBC, as well as in Canada and the United States.

I moved into Satellite Communications which will be the background of a mystery novel in progress. I took a buyout and then tried my hand at real estate for several years. I enjoyed teaching new agents. I am a published non-fiction writer. Many years ago I authored a chapter of the Television Engineering Handbook.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I have always enjoyed writing, including short stories, memoir vignettes, poetry, and full-length novels.

Where is your favorite place to write?

The dining room.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Nothing in particular except my most productive time is from 4 to 7 PM most days.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

The Empress will appeal to anyone who enjoys a historical romance blended with heroes and villains in a rollicking good adventure.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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