author of The Knave of Hearts
Nine Naughty Questions
1. Headless washboard abs, a torrid embrace, the sprawling homestead, an elegantly dressed décolletage, or the vaguely kinky object against a dark background – what’s your favourite type of romance cover and why?
All of the above. It totally depends on the story. And while I have nothing against a great set of abs, (nor do I mind the idea of having them flaunted about my office) I also love a playful heroine dashing across the cover to her next madcap adventure. I adore the castle in the background and wondering what sort of shenanigans are happening inside those staid walls. A great cover invites you to come explore the story—so as long as the cover conveys what is exciting and unique about the story, then it really doesn’t matter what is on it—but I won’t turn down abs.
2. What is the secret life of a romance writer? What goes on between you and your keyboard (or quill) behind closed doors?
Or fountain pen. I actually write most of my first draft into a journal with a fountain pen, at my local coffee shop. Yes, I am that crazy looking lady sitting in the corner, muttering to herself and busily scribbling into a blank book.
But here it is, I love the flow of ink onto those crisp white pages, I live for making big blotting lines through portions where I’ve changed my mind. It makes the entire process more real to me then just mindlessly tapping away at my computer. Besides, if I write at home, then my husband expects me to get laundry done.
3. At the heart of a romantic story is the way in which the main characters reveal their true natures to each other. How much of yourself do you put into your characters, and have their stories been affected by your personal experiences?
I don’t think an author can help but put bits of themselves in all their characters—the heroes, the heroines, the villains, Molly the chambermaid. But I also like to collect people I meet and sort of catalogue them for later use in a story. The annoying helicopter mom at Boy Scouts becomes the pushy, annoying mother at Almack’s. My Aunt Sissy appears in just about every book I’ve written.
As for my own experiences, I find adventures wherever I go, or rather they find me, or so it seems, and then they end up in my books. I was once working on a counterfeiting case with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canada and while we waited for a judge to issue a search warrant, we played a game with $100 US bills—Real or Fake—and got into a long discussion about the history of counterfeiting cash. I used that experience in one of my historical romances, because interestingly enough, counterfeiting was a problem that plagued the French Revolutionaries.
4. I’m interested in how you differentiate between romance fiction, erotica and porn. Are romance readers getting naughtier?
I think it is entirely up to the reader to draw those lines. Each of us individually has our own level of comfort or adventure or naughtiness, as it were, so it is absolutely a personal choice. And I don’t think of romance readers as getting naughtier, but as more open about sexuality. When my straight-laced sister-in-law starts discussing at a family dinner her favourite bits from 50 Shades of Gray, certainly times have changed.
The Knave of Hearts is one of those fun stories where it opens with everyone up to their neck in disasters—Lavinia Tempest has caused a pile up on the dance floor at Almack’s, a true social reckoning, while the hero, Tuck Rowland has recklessly wagered that he can make a lady out of the socially inept miss. The real adventure is digging them out, getting them to see past the labels Society has pasted on each of them, and for them to fall in love. This is NOT love at first sight, but learning to the true heart behind the facades. I love that sort of unveiling.
As for titles, I don’t like writing a story until I have the right title for it. For me it is the springboard for writing it. But that doesn’t mean a story won’t end up with a nickname about halfway through, like “Will I Ever Finish This?!”
6. What’s the most memorable reaction you’ve received after a friend or family member read one of your books?
A friend of ours, who is a 92 year old WWII vet decided to read my last book, The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane, because it dealt with a wounded soldier returning home and was dedicated to the VFW, Veterans of Foreign Wars. He thought it was the “best damn book he’d ever read because it was all about—“ and this is where he paused and I thought I was going to get a recital on the love scenes, but no, it was “that darn cat that kept getting into trouble.” Sigh of relief. No one wants a 90 year old telling you how you got the naughty parts wrong. Or right. Or any part of them.
I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I’ve realised that just because someone throws a hook in the water it doesn’t mean you have to bite. I’m not going to change their mind with anything I am going to say, and arguing the point only gives it a level of validity that it doesn’t deserve. I smile and ask them what they would write.
8. Romance readers love discovering new authors. Please tell us about five books you recently read and loved to bits.
Only five? Okay, here goes.
When I want to laugh out loud, I turn to Katharine Ashe, and I recently got to read her hilarious Regency romp, Again, My Lord. The scene with the belltower left me rolling. Seriously, the family came and checked on me I was laughing so hard.
I’ve been re-reading my favourite mystery series by C.J. Sansom, starting with Dissolution. Set in Tudor England (one of my favourite periods) the stories feature the most unlikely of sleuths. I love how Samson gets to the heart of his characters.
On a recent dark and stormy night, I curled up and devoured the latest Lara Adrian book, Bound to Darkness. It is one of those, gives you shivers sort of sexy, dangerous reads. She’s such an
Then for a truly romantic read with a touch of Downton Abbey, I adored, Catch a Falling Heiress by Laura Lee Guhrke. Just the right amount of romance and angst and falling in love. Perfect for Valentine’s Day.
As you can tell, I read all over the genres. I’m a sucker for a great story.
9. Please tell us your favourite scene from your latest book, and why it’s particularly delicious!
I love the scene in the garden, where Tuck is trying to convince Lavinia to come down out of her room and meet him in the shadows, and she is having none of his charm. She even threatens to dash his head in with a vase. But he wears her down and tempts her outside, which is very much the heart of the story, Tuck teaching her to live beyond her self-imposed boundaries. And of course, being that it is night and shadowy and a garden, there might be some kissing. Because he is a knave, after all.
Elizabeth, thank you for playing.
Rhymes with Love Series : Book 5
by Elizabeth Boyle
In the fifth novel of the captivating Rhymes With Love series from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Boyle, a young woman’s hopes of a match encounter a wickedly handsome complication . . .
Lavinia Tempest has been eagerly anticipating a spectacular season. But one disastrous pile-up on the Almack’s dance floor derails all her plans. Add to that, the very stunning revelations about her mother’s scandalous past have become the ton’s latest on dits. Lavinia’s future has gone from shining bright to blackest night in one misstep.
Alaster “Tuck” Rowland admits he’s more…