Labor Day has just passed us by, so I hope that you got to wearing all of your summer-white beforehand! And speaking of wearing white, today we’ll be talking about All Dressed in White, the second book in the Brides of Belgravia series. Please join me in welcoming Charis Michaels!
Lexi: Congratulations on the release of All Dressed in White! But maybe we should be congratulating you on surviving the writing of such an emotionally packed book! There is a lot of feeling tucked in these pages. Were there any moments you teared up while typing the words?
Oh wow what a great question. I’m glad the emotion came through. I suppose I might have gotten a little choked up when I was writing the very last chapter, when Tessa finally has a confrontation that brings her full circle. I dare not say more to prevent spoilers, but if I did cry, these were tears of pride and also healing. I love a winner in the end.
Lexi: The last time you stopped by the blog you talked about writing a virgin heroine and in All Dressed in White, you tackle a serious subject matter, rape. Did writing All Dressed in White stretch your writing skills?
I’d say it more stretched my own understanding of how a young woman can become confused about who’s to blame in the situation of an attack. Even now, we know “never blame the victim,” although I believe many young women do consider attacks of this nature to be their fault—certainly society often does. I spent a lot of time considering how and why this happens, then and now, and how our heroine could overcome it.
Lexi: In All Dressed in White the heroine recounts the rape, so different for books that show it on the page, but what are your thoughts on content warnings? Both as a reader and an author?
The scene where the heroine reveals to the hero that she was attacked is one of my favorites in the book, and I hope readers find it compelling, too. The emotional driver of the story is the heroine’s response to the attack, so any discussion of it was meant to show how she felt about it afterwards and how she recovered from it, rather than how it went down. I’m not sure I’ve ever read an in-the-moment account of an attack, but any time I come to a passage that is too much for me in any book, I’m a skipper-over-er. (And in movies I cover my eyes and plug my ears!)
Lexi: We’ve been talking about the heavy stuff but let’s not discount the sweet moments between Tessa and her hero, Joseph. Were there any cute moments that ended up on the cutting room floor that you really loved?
You know, many times I am forced to cut for length, but nearly every scene I wrote made it all the way into the book, for which I am grateful. (It’s painful for me to cut!) I love the piano scene at Berymede, I love the picnic scene in Hyde Park, I love the carriage ride to Abbottsford Cottage. When I look back on the book, I don’t think of it as heavy or dark, but light and hopeful. This interview is making me feel like I’ve written something that might be kind of…I don’t know…substantial and meaningful to some, and I’m happy to take that, too! I hope I do the emotions justice.
Lexi: Thank you so much, Charis, for stopping by the blog! We are very excited for All Dressed in White! Congrats again and cheers!
Well thank you so much for featuring me! It’s been a pleasure!