About Eloisa Archives - Eloisa James

"A reigning queen of romance" - CBS Monday Morning

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Org Header: About Eloisa

Who is Mary Bly? Eloisa on Her Double Life

Mary Bly is Eloisa James (historical romance writer) and Eloisa James is Mary Bly (Shakespeare professor & novelist). But… their books are not the same.

You can count on a Happily Ever After from a book with an Eloisa James byline, along with a lush historical setting and a healthy dash of Shakespeare.

Mary Bly’s Lizzie & Dante, however has a contemporary/modern setting, and while it is a love story, it’s not in the romance genre. The heroine is a Shakespeare professor and the hero an Italian (echoing Mary’s own life!); Eloisa’s heroes are mostly dukes, and Mary regretfully admits that she’s never met one. Nor has she frequented a Regency ballroom.

Just to complicate things, Mary did write a memoir called Paris in Love under Eloisa’s byline, although it details the year that Mary went on sabbatical to France, family in tow.

Learn more about Mary/Eloisa on these eloisajames.com pages: a bio page Meet Eloisa, aimed at readers; a media kit for journalists and other press, and for everyone, lots of answered FAQ about Eloisa.

And also, this:

Are you really married to a knight?

I am! Alessandro and I met on a blind date when we were both graduate students at Yale University. He’s from Florence, Italy, and he’s a cavaliere, which means knight in Italian. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a white horse or a suit of armor. Here’s a video in which we tell the story of that blind date—plus there are pictures of our wedding from Redbook magazine!

How do you manage being a mother, bestselling author, and a professor?

Sometimes I wonder about that myself! The truth is that my husband is incredibly supportive. I can’t say that writing books is pure joy — against all logical explanation, each book seems harder to write — but writing them is enormously pleasurable.

Teaching Shakespeare gives me the same joy. And motherhood, when it doesn’t involve sullen teen-agers, is just as marvelous. So though I get tired sometimes, I feel that I am tremendously lucky.

How did you get started writing romance?

Like many things in life, my start as a romance writer sprang from a combination of love and money. I had a love of romance—and I needed money. When I started writing, my husband and I were both badly paid assistant professors. And to make it worse, I had huge student loans! I wanted a second child, but my husband disagreed. “We can’t afford a second child,” he told me over and over.

I wrote Potent Pleasures in a desperate bid to grow my family. When I finished the manuscript, I sent a letter describing my book (including its hero, who had annulled his first marriage on the grounds of impotence) to five literary agents. Four of them winged back to me with notes like “This will never sell” scrawled on the front. The fifth asked for the whole manuscript. A few months later, a bidding war among publishers erupted. The final offer was just over my student loans; our daughter was born around nine months later.

After that, of course, the story becomes more complicated. I actually had to write three romances to earn that advance. By the end of three romances, I was so in love with writing that I just kept going… to my husband’s great relief, I didn’t have a child per book!

Eloisa was featured in the Wall Street Journal with “The Hidden Life of a Romance Writer.” Watch Eloisa’s lovely video about her “double” life below. Read the full Wall Street Journal article here.