A Little Background
I'm a writer, a professor, a mother - and a wife. My husband Alessandro is Italian, born in Florence. We spend the lazy summer months with his mother and sister in Italy. It always strikes me as a huge irony that as a romance writer I find myself married to a knight, a cavaliere, as you say in Italian.
Eloisa... on her double life:
I write novels as Eloisa James and Mary Bly, but when I’m not writing, I'm Professor Bly, who teaches Shakespeare at Fordham. It's rather like having two lives. The other day I bought a delicious pink suit to tape a television segment on romance; I'll never wear that suit to teach in, nor even to give a paper at the Shakespeare Association of America conference. It's like being Superman, with power suits for both lives. Yet the literature professor in me certainly plays into my romances. The Taming of the Duke (April 2006) has obvious Shakespearean resonances, as do many of my novels. I often weave early modern poetry into my work; the same novel might contain bits of Catullus, Shakespeare and anonymous bawdy ballads from the 16th century.
When I rip off my power suit, whether it's academic or romantic, underneath is the rather tired, chocolate-stained sweatshirt of a mom. Just as I use Shakespeare in my romances, I almost always employ my experiences as a mother. When I wrote about a miscarriage in Midnight Pleasures, I used my own fears of premature birth; when the little girl in Fool For Love threw up and threw up, I described my own daughter, who had that unsavory habit for well over her first year of life. I've collected many such connections between my life and books on this site, with the Inside Take for each story.
I am very active on social networks, participate in The Eloisa James book club (where hundreds of readers come together online to discuss my books), give interviews several times a year, and love creating special content for readers so as to extend the reading experience for all of my books.
Eloisa... on her childhood:
I grew up on a steady diet of fairy tales, since my father was fascinated by them. When I was a child, he was just breaking into fairy tale analysis, as it were. I have a distinct memory of being challenged to give a psychological explanation of the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. I haven’t the faintest idea what I said; what I do remember is my father saying with real surprise in his voice: “That was brilliant. You’re a natural!”
I rejoiced in having caught his attention, I don’t suppose it will surprise anyone to find that I’m now a professor of English literature, with a penchant for rewriting fairy stories. It's as if I were Gilbert and Sullivan -- born into the family of Bach! My father is Robert Bly, winner of the American Book Award for poetry. When I was in graduate school, he wrote a long analysis of a fairy tale of my childhood, called Iron John. While I am not interested in the kind of cultural analysis my father did in Iron John, I inherited his fascination with the complexity of literary texts. He has always been deeply loving father—but at times he was so caught in a web of words that he didn’t notice the children milling about him. Desperate Duchesses is dedicated to my father, and features the tale of a young woman growing up with an eccentric, dramatic poet for a father!