Elizabeth Camden is best known for her historical novels set in Gilded Age America, featuring clever heroines and richly layered story lines. Before she was a writer, she was an academic librarian at some of the largest and smallest libraries in America, but her favorite is the continually growing library in her own home. Her novels have won the RITA and Christy Award and have appeared on the CBA bestsellers list.
In this interview, Elizabeth talks with us about the second book in her The Blackstone Legacy Series, Written on the Wind.
FF: Can you please provide a brief summary of your new novel, Written on the Wind?
Written on the Wind is a daring adventure story with a mix of romance, politics, and danger. The characters are engaged in a quest to complete construction of the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway through the Russian wilderness, but a shocking moral dilemma makes it impossible for Count Sokolov to carry out his orders. He joins forces with Natalia Blackstone, a woman he has never met but long admired, and they walk a perilous tightrope to save both the railroad and their honor. Dimitri and Natalia soon take on powerful forces in Washington, D.C., where they hope to pull off a political coup that will change the future of Russia forever.
FF: Written on the Wind is the second book in The Blackstone Legacy Series. What is the common component that ties these books together?
At the center of the trilogy is the powerful Blackstone banking family, and each novel delves into a fascinating, real-life business crisis from the dawn of the 20th century. Written on the Wind charts the creation of the Trans-Siberian Railway. The other novels in the series focus on the burgeoning steel industry and a devastating crisis in the ice industry. Although the novels are linked, each one can easily be read on its own.
FF: Your male protagonist, Count Dimitri Sokolov, is overseeing the construction of the Tran-Siberian Railway. What type of research was required to accurately portray this effort?
The Trans-Siberian was the world’s largest civil engineering project in the early 20th century. It was a dazzling feat, and its progress was tracked in newspapers and memoirs written by Americans traveling in Russia. I read a number of these memoirs to get a sense for the vast Russian landscape and ecological challenges faced by the engineers as they laid track across thousands of miles of permafrost and through seemingly endless forests. Despite the natural beauty of the land, it was a dangerous place, pockmarked with penal colonies and ethnic tensions. These dangers were well covered by American writers, and I knew I had a spectacularly gorgeous setting into which my protagonist would be confronted with the physical dangers of the Russian wilderness and potential catastrophe as the railway pushes ever deeper into the heart of Russia.
FF: Tell us about your heroine, Natalia Blackstone.
Natalia is a rarity in early 20th-century America in that she is a woman working in the banking industry. Because her father owns one of the largest banks in New York, she was brought up in the world of high finance and underwriting major industrial projects. Natalia is also half-Russian. Raised by her Russian mother to speak the language and understand Russian culture, Natalia has been entrusted with managing the Trans-Siberian Railway account.
The most fun I had with this novel was developing the culture clash between Dimitri and Natalia. Although Natalia understands Dimitri’s instinctive Russian fatalism and overblown romanticism, Dimitri is somewhat befuddled by Natalia’s sunny optimism. They spar, bicker, and flirt…but always in a respectful manner as their long-distance friendship blossoms after they finally meet in person. Their profoundly different strengths and weaknesses will combine as they tackle the monumental quest ahead of them.
FF: You masterfully blend history, romance, and suspense into your new work. What would you say is the key to making all of these elements work together?
It is the chemistry between Dimitri and Natalia that makes this romantic adventure story a breathless whirlwind of a ride. Dimitri and Natalia have known each other for years because of their lively business correspondence, and when they meet in person, their attraction immediately flares. They draw on their combined wit and intelligence to seek out allies in the political halls of Washington, the financial markets in New York, and at the corrupt splendor of the Russian court. It is a briskly paced novel filled with intelligent characters and real-life history.
FF: What do you hope readers will gain from reading your novel?
As with all my novels, I hope the reader feels like they’ve enjoyed a thrilling love story while learning something new about a little-known aspect of history. I strive to subtly weave in spiritual and ethical dilemmas to enrich the story. All my novels feature admirable characters who struggle to discern God’s will in challenging times. Written on the Wind touches on our obligation to seek out ethical solutions when it would be easier to concede to the status quo. It also deals with faith, forgiveness, and trusting God.
Written on the Wind
The Blackstone Legacy Series #2
Genres: Historical Romance
Release Date: May 3, 2022
He carries a dangerous secret, but can he survive long enough to expose it?
Count Dimitri Sokolov has been charged with overseeing construction of the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway, but during this work, he witnesses an appalling crime, the truth of which threatens the Russian monarchy. In an effort to silence him, the czar has stripped Dimitri of his title, his lands, and his freedom . . . but Dimitri has one asset the czar knows nothing about: his deep and abiding friendship with Natalia Blackstone.
Natalia is the lead analyst for her father’s New York banking empire and manages their investment in the Trans-Siberian Railway. Her bond with Dimitri has flourished despite the miles between them, but when Dimitri goes unexpectedly missing, she sets the wheels in motion to find him. Once they join forces, they embark on a dangerous quest in which one wrong move could destroy them both.
From the steppes of Russia to the corridors of power in Washington, Dimitri and Natalia will fight against all odds to save the railroad while exposing the truth. Can their newfound love survive the ordeal?
Buy Written on the Wind from the FF Store HERE!
Buy Written on the Wind from Amazon HERE!