Posts Tagged ‘historical romance’

Eloisa James & Julia Quinn Chat Ideas, Research, Books & More

Interview

 

Good heavens! It’s been quite a week for Piatkus Fiction and ladies, we’re positively faint! *fans self elegantly, reaches for the smelling salts but –oops – finds the gin . . .* We admit it has at times been tiresome typing in gloves, insisting that email is not a thing and sitting on our office chairs in corsets (particularly for poor Dominic), but needs must.

All joking aside* we’ve had a wonderful time sharing such great content with you all! It’s been very exciting to see your enthusiasm for our brilliant authors and I’m delighted to present the final piece – a fantastic interview between two Regency romance greats: Eloisa James and Julia Quinn. This made us laugh out loud in the middle of the office – we hope very much that you enjoy it too.

*but not the gin. The gin stays where it is.

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Julia: Okay, Eloisa, I’ll go first since my deadline is sooner which means I am more eager to procrastinate. I want to know what the first thing is that comes into your mind when someone asks, “Where do you get your ideas?” Because we get asked that ALL the time, and we never have a good answer.

Eloisa: “At the sale counter, going cheap — two heroines for the price of a pirate!” More seriously, I think I get them from reading. And watching movies and TV. I saw a couple episodes of House, M.D. on a plane once and ended up turning a version of the good doctor into the hero of When Beauty Tamed the Beast. How about you, Julia? Let’s talk blatant theft. What’s the last movie that inspired you to write?

Julia: When I steal things, I’m never quite so blatant. (Well, except for An Offer from a Gentleman, but who doesn’t love a good Cinderella story?) It’s more that I’ll watch a movie or read a book and it’ll inspire a feeling in me that gets me writing. That said, sometimes there are little concrete nuggets that inspire a book, even if no one would see the connection but me. For example, The Lost Duke of Wyndham and Mr. Cavendish, I Presume were inspired by a Dire Straits Song! (“Industrial Disease,” in case you’re interested.)

Eloisa: Hey, I love Dire Straits! I just taught his “Romeo and Juliet” (in Shakespeare class, natch). So that makes me think: you’ve rewritten Cinderella. Have you ever thought of doing a Beauty and the Beast? Because I have the title: The Beautiful, Beastly Bridgerton!

Julia: This is why I don’t turn to you when trying to come up with titles for my books.

Eloisa: Yeah, our publisher rejects them too. I would love to put Bodacious in a title. Bodacious Bridgerton? No? Seriously, do you come up with your own titles? Because all my best titles have come from my editor, who has a positive gift for it. What’s your favorite title?

Julia: I’d say I’ve come up with about three-quarters of them. My favorite is probably How to Marry a Marquis. It was my first really clever title. I actually sort-of kind-of stole it from Candice Hern. She’d written a traditional regency in the vein of Georgette Heyer that she wanted to call How to Marry a Duke. Her editor hated it and they changed to something totally nondescript. When Candice told me about this, I immediately said, “Can I have it?” A little alliteration later and it was How to Marry a Marquis.

I think this might have been the only time I had a title before I had a book idea, and it actually took me several years to come up with a plot to go with it. I was completely at a loss until this book called The Rules came out, purporting to be a modern-day guide to catching a husband. I immediately thought, “A-ha! Jane Austen meets The Rules!”

In retrospect, this was probably my only true high-concept novel.

Eloisa: I’m trying to think if I’ve ever written a high concept novel . . .  I don’t think so. My plots usually spring from a funny detail that I somehow turn into a whole book. The idea for My American Duchess sprang from a visit to a British historical house where the dining room table featured a pineapple on a silver platter. The docent told us that pineapples were so expensive and fashionable that people used to rent them for a dinner party! I instantly thought up an American heroine who would horrify high society by asking for a slice of pineapple. From there, I had a wonderful time coming up with more mistakes that Merry could inadvertently make. Did any of your novels spring from one funny idea?

Julia: No, but I did have one novel spring up from an opening line. The first line of To Catch an Heiress just popped into my head fully-formed: “Caroline Trent hadn’t meant to shoot Percival Prewitt, but she had, and now he was dead.”

I have to say, I’m fascinated about that pineapple thing. I’d never heard of that! Food is one of those things I find I’m always researching. That and flora in general. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve wasted spent trying to figure out which flowers are in bloom and when in specific regions of England. My latest research time-sink has been the American Revolutionary War. Because of Miss Bridgerton is set in England, but the hero’s brother is a captain in the 54th Regiment of Foot, stationed in New England and New York. I spent hours and hours figuring out which regiment he needed to be in in order to put him where I want him crazy — since he doesn’t even appear in the book! What about you? What’s your latest research black hole?

Eloisa: After my dissertation-level research into the status of pineapples in the western world (ask me anything!), my most recent foray has been into the world of Registry Offices, from which people would hire servants. The heroine of the book I’m writing at the moment, Seven Minutes in Heaven, owns a registry office for governesses. Even talking about my manuscript makes me nervous, though . . .  I should be writing it. Why don’t I ask one last question. What book are you writing right now, and what’s the heroine like?

Julia: I’m putting the finishing touches on Because of Miss Bridgerton. The heroine is the eponymous Miss Bridgerton — Billie Bridgerton, to be more specific. She’s a total tomboy, utterly devoted to her home and village, and about to fall in love with the guy who has been the bane of her existence for years. She doesn’t own a registry office, but she’s really into managing her father’s estate, which means I got to research barley and mulch. I’m thinking pineapples sound like more fun.

Eloisa: OK, I’m off to google wax flowers (every governess needs to know how to make them), leaving Julia to research pineapple stoves (seriously, all the best estates had one!).
Enjoyed #RegencyWeek? To make sure you don’t miss out on similar future events, sign up to our newsletter, like us on Facebook  or follow us on Twitter @PiatkusBooks.

Farewell for now, dear readers – may your future involve many dukes, cads of only the most entertaining kind and a multitude of gilded invitations!

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To pre-order your copy of Because of Miss Bridgerton go here:

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Erin Knightley Brings Twitter to Regency England

The Duke Can Go to the DevilFor our last day of #RegencyWeek we wished to LOL, so naturally we went to Erin Knightley, who kindly brought Twitter to Regency England and the hero and heroine of  The Duke Can Go to the Devil.

Mei-li Bradford @WorldTravelerMay

Daughter of a sea captain, possessor of own mind.

The Far East will always be home, even when temporarily

stuck in not-so-jolly old England.

 

The Duke of Radcliffe @DukeOfRad

   You may call me Your Grace.

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Mei-li Bradford @WorldTravelerMay

Met a pompous duke last night. But then again, is there any other kind? #beaumondesnobs

The Duke of Radcliffe @DukeOfRad

@WorldTravelerMay Might you be referring to our disastrous meeting last night? Funny. All I remember is your legendary impertinence. #rude

Mei-li Bradford @WorldTravelerMay

Surprise! The @DukeofRad is sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong again. I bet butting into conversations is a special talent of yours.

The Duke of Radcliffe @DukeOfRad

@WorldTravelerMay Merely a talent for knowing when I’m being discredited. Is your aunt speaking to you yet? Surprised you’re on here at all…

Mei-li Bradford @WorldTravelerMay

@DukeofRad My aunt would never be here — she’s still stuck in the last century. Of course, I would have thought the same of you… #oldfashioned

The Duke of Radcliffe @DukeOfRad

@WorldTravelerMay Propriety never goes out of fashion. Neither do apologies. *waits patiently*

Mei-li Bradford @WorldTravelerMay

@DukeofRad LMAO! Get comfortable, because you’re going to be waiting a looong time. Oh! Unless you meant you’re waiting to apologize to *me*

Mei-li Bradford @WorldTravelerMay

@DukeofRad *waits patiently*

The Duke of Radcliffe @DukeOfRad

I’m pleased to be attending the ball this week. Thank you to the committee for their excellent organisation of this event.

Mei-li Bradford @WorldTravelerMay

@DukeofRad Decided to ignore me, I see. If only you’d done so last night, I wouldn’t be stuck groveling for my aunt’s mercy. >:-{

The Duke of Radcliffe @DukeOfRad

@WorldTravelerMay You’ve only yourself to blame, Miss Bradford. *Such* a pity you won’t be attending the ball. #sorrynotsorry

Mei-li Bradford @WorldTravelerMay

@DukeofRad Aw, was that your first “I’m sorry?” I’m honored! *frames tweet*

The Duke of Radcliffe @DukeOfRad

@WorldTravelerMay You know very well that was no apology.

Mei-li Bradford @WorldTravelerMay

@DukeofRad Well, we both know it couldn’t have been sarcasm since, as you so condescendingly pointed out, “Sarcasm is the lowest from of wit.”

Mei-li Bradford @WorldTravelerMay

@DukeofRad Therefore…apology accepted. #May1Duke0

The Duke of Radcliffe @DukeOfRad

@WorldTravelerMay *scowls* I am not amused.

Mei-li Bradford @WorldTravelerMay

@DukeofRad Ah, but I am, which means I win. #quittingwhileimahead #MayOut

We absolutely adore May and The Duke of Rad, as he will be henceforth known in the office. If you’d like more of them, get Erin’s latest book here:

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Anna Bradley’s Advice on Escaping the Dangers of the Ballroom

A Wicked Way to Win an EarlIt’s the fifth day of Regency week and do we have a treat for you . . .

(well, yes, we do. Obvs)

Determined to avoid that pesky ‘diamond of the first water’ title at all costs? Bored to tears by devastatingly handsome Dukes demanding your dance card? Girls, this is your lucky day! Anna Bradley, debutante author (see what we did there?) has the perfect advice for all you wannabe wallflowers out there . . .

 

BALLROOM DO’S AND DON’TS

That invitation you’re holding in your hand, dear — the fine heavy paper one with the lovely engraving? I’m sure you think it’s an invitation to the ball of the season, but it isn’t. It’s an invitation to disaster. A single misstep in the ballroom tonight may easily become tomorrow’s scandal on the lips of the London gossips!

Now don’t fret. There’s no need to make yourself blotchy. You’ll escape the ballroom with your reputation intact. How? Why, it’s the easiest thing in the world! We’ll simply transform you entirely, from your coiffure to the toes of your slippers. When we’re finished you’ll be indistinguishable from the rest of the herd — ah, that is, from the other young ladies.

Let’s begin with dress, or, as it shall be known from this point on, your disguise.

You may not wear white. You’ll be mistaken for a debutante and assessed by every tedious marriage-minded gentleman in attendance as if you were horseflesh on the auction block.

Bright colors won’t do, either. Alas, no jonquil, coquelicot, Pomona green, or any other color that doesn’t blend with the ballroom décor.

No intriguing displays of décolletage. Under every gentleman’s genteel surface lurks a shameless debaucher just waiting for an excuse to leer and paw at you. A bare bosom gives him one! Immodest necklines are spectacles in the making.

Be ruthless with your lacing. Tug on your stays until your breath is strangled in your lungs. When you begin to feel faint, you’re only one tug away from perfection! A swoon is a lady’s dearest friend, and your best chance at an early departure.

As to the gentlemen . . .

Your first task upon entering the ballroom is to find the handsomest gentleman there, then take care to avoid him for the rest of the evening. Don’t smile at him, speak to him, flirt with him or dance with him. Don’t even tilt your fan in his direction.

If you do catch an inappropriate gentleman’s attention, hide behind a marble column until he settles on a less cautious young lady. It won’t take long. Gentlemen are easily distracted!

To be safe, you should treat all handsome, wealthy or impressively-titled gentlemen as if they carry the pox (forgive me, dear, but there’s a fair chance at least one of them does).

Finally, strive to be forgettable!

No cleverness, no sparkling conversation, no encouraging smiles, and above all, no wit. If you can’t speak without spirit, don’t speak at all. Smile vacantly instead.

If you find yourself longing for a handsome partner, or worse, persuade yourself you’re only one dance with the Duke of ____ away from becoming his Duchess, tear your gown, retire to the lady’s retiring room at once, and stay there until your carriage is called.

As I said, it’s the easiest thing in the world to avoid notice at a ball! For our next lesson we’ll learn about house parties. Prepare yourself for something wicked . . .

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Anna Bradley’s debut novel is out this November in ebook and in December in print! Pre-order a copy here:

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An Exclusive, Early Excerpt from Eloisa James’ MY AMERICAN DUCHESS

My American DuchessI don’t know about everyone else, but ever since we read the cover copy of My American Duchess, we’ve been dying to get our hands on it. To help tide us over Eloisa has kindly supplied us with an exclusive, early excerpt for #RegencyWeek.

Enjoy!

He had promised himself he would be gentle when he kissed her. He was wrong.

It was a greedy kiss. He had never realised that a lady’s lips could be as voluptuous as a courtesan’s — but that the addition of surprise and innocence would make it a far headier experience than he had ever experienced.

To this point, Trent hadn’t particularly enjoyed kissing. It was too intimate. He’d never been selfish about giving pleasure, as he enjoyed bodily intimacy. All the same, he didn’t care for kissing.

Not until now.

When Merry started kissing him back, the shock of it sent a hum down his limbs that brought with it a strange feeling, as if the world were shaking around them.

One of her hands came around his neck and buried itself in his hair. Her mouth had been sweet, but now it was silk and fire. Her innocence was still there, but alongside it, a searing urgency.

Trent lost himself. Their tongues danced together and he felt a shudder go through Merry’s body. She made a whimpering sound in the back of her throat, and desire exploded down his spine.

It wasn’t until he became aware that one of his hands had settled on her thigh, and that certain parts of his body had taken on an ungentlemanly life of their own, that he regained a measure of sanity.

He drew his mouth away from hers, just far enough that he could still feel the erotic heat of her breath. He watched her face, his heart pounding unsteadily, as she opened her eyes.

A man could get lost in those eyes. Desire shimmered between them like a haze on a hot day in August.

Would she be outraged? Surprised?

She was dismayed.

“I loathe myself,” she mumbled, closing her eyes in anguish.

“It wasn’t a bad kiss.” Trent’s voice had a rasp that he’d never heard in it before.

Her eyes opened again. “You have the oddest sense of humor,” she said, frowning.

“Did you enjoy the kiss?”

“It was a very nice kiss. In fact —”

She caught back whatever she was about to say.

“I am a despicable person,” she said, her voice ragged.

He suppressed a smile. “I strongly disagree.”

Descriptions and details began tumbling out of her — about Bertie, who used to kiss her on a sofa (if Trent ever met him, he’d have to kill him for that), about Dermot, about Cedric . . . In short, the whole sorry saga of Merry’s romantic life thus far.

Trent didn’t want to discuss the three men she’d fancied herself in love with. He didn’t want to imagine that they had touched her. Or kissed her.

As Merry recounted her supposed sins, Trent cupped her face in his hands and lowered his lips to hers, so close that their noses brushed. She went silent. “You never kissed Cedric the way you just kissed me,” he stated.

Her eyes didn’t fail him. He could see the truth in them. “No,” she said with a little gasp. “No — that is to say, I won’t discuss it. This mustn’t ever happen again, Your Grace. I’m —”

He took her mouth in a thirsty, deep kiss.

Before now, first, second and third kisses had been merely signposts on the road to bed. His mistresses had all been courtesans, refined women who chose their lovers and enjoyed his company as much as he did theirs.

Kissing Merry was no signpost. It was like making love, something he could do all night. She was everything he’d ever wanted in a woman, and nothing he’d ever thought to find in a lady.

 

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An extract from Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

9780349407616Readers have long waited for the return of New York Times bestseller Lisa Kleypas to historical romance, and boy was it worth the wait. Cold-Hearted Rake is one of Lisa’s most breathtaking novels to date, a seductive romp set in rural Devon with scoundrels and rakes aplenty.

To celebrate Regency Week, we’ve got a sneak preview from Chapter One of Cold-Hearted Rake, which is available in print and ebook from 27th October.   

Hampshire, England

August 1875

“The devil knows why my life should be ruined,” Devon Ravenel said grimly, “all because a cousin I never
liked fell from a horse.”
“Theo didn’t fall, precisely,” his younger brother, Weston, replied. “He was thrown.”
“Obviously the horse found him as insufferable as I did.” Devon paced around the receiving room in restless, abbreviated strides. “If Theo hadn’t already broken his damned neck, I’d like to go and break it for him.” West sent him a glance of exasperated amusement.
“How can you complain when you’ve just inherited an earldom that confers an estate in Hampshire, lands in Norfolk, a house in London—”
“All entailed. Forgive my lack of enthusiasm for land and properties that I’ll never own and can’t sell.”
“You may be able to break the entailment, depending on how it was settled. If so, you could sell everything and be done with it.”
“God willing.” Devon glanced at a bloom of mold in the corner with disgust. “No one could reasonably expect me to live here. The place is a shambles.”
This was the first time either of them had ever set foot in Eversby Priory, the ancestral family domain built over the remains of a monastic residence and church. Although Devon had become ennobled shortly after his cousin’s death three months ago, he had waited as long as possible before facing the mountain of problems he now confronted. So far he had seen only this room and the entrance hall, the two areas that were supposed to impress visitors the most. The rugs were worn, the furniture threadbare, the plaster wall moldings dingy and cracked. None of this boded well for the condition of the rest of the house.
“It needs refurbishing,” West admitted.
“It needs to be razed to the ground.”
“It’s not so bad—” West broke off with a yelp as his foot began to sink into a depression in the rug. He hopped away and stared at the bowl-shaped indentation.
“What the deuce . . . ?”
Devon bent and lifted the corner of the rug to reveal a rotting hole in the flooring beneath. Shaking his head, he dropped the rug back into place and went to a window fitted with diamond-shaped panes. The lead came that joined the window glass was corroded, the hinges and fittings rusted.
“Why hasn’t that been repaired?” West asked.
“For want of money, obviously.”
“But how could that be? The estate comes with twenty thousand acres. All those tenants, the annual yields—”
“Estate farming is no longer profitable.”
“In Hampshire?”
Devon sent him a dark glance before returning his attention to the view. “Anywhere.”
The Hampshire scenery was green and bucolic, neatly divided by bottle-green hedgerows in bloom. However, somewhere beyond the cheerful huddles of thatched-roof cottages and the fertile tracts of chalk down and ancient woodland, thousands of miles of steel track were being laid out for an onslaught of locomotive engines and railcars.
All across England, new factories and mill towns had begun to appear faster than hazel catkins in the spring. It had been Devon’s bad luck to inherit a title just as a tide of industry was sweeping away aristocratic traditions and entitled modes of living.
“How do you know?” his brother asked.
“Everyone knows, West. Grain prices have collapsed. When did you last read an issue of the Times? Have you paid no attention to the discussions at the club or the taverns?”
“Not when the subject was farming,” came West’s dour reply. He sat heavily, rubbing his temples. “I don’t like this. I thought we had agreed never to be serious about anything.”
“I’m trying. But death and poverty have a way of making everything seem rather less amusing.” Leaning his forehead against the windowpane, Devon said morosely, “I’ve always enjoyed a comfortable life without having to perform a single day of honest labor. Now I have responsibilities.”
He said the word as if it were a profanity.
“I’ll help you think of ways to avoid them.” Rummaging in his coat, West pulled a silver flask from an inside pocket. He uncapped it and took a long swallow. Devon’s brows lifted.
“Isn’t it a bit early for that? You’ll be stewed by noon.”
“Yes, but it won’t happen unless I start now.” West tilted the flask again. The habits of self-indulgence,
Devon reflected with concern, were catching up with his younger brother. West was a tall and handsome man of four-and-twenty, with a wily intelligence that he preferred to use as seldom as possible. In the past year, an excess of strong drink had lent a ruddy cast to West’s cheeks, and softened his neck and
waistline. Although Devon had made a point of never interfering in his brother’s affairs, he wondered if he should mention something about his swilling. No, West would only resent the unwanted advice.
After replacing the flask in his coat, West steepled his hands and regarded Devon over the tips of his fingers.
“You need to acquire capital, and sire an heir. A rich wife would solve both problems.”
Devon blanched. “You know I’ll never marry.” He understood his limitations: He wasn’t meant to be a husband or father. The idea of repeating the travesty of his childhood, with himself in the role of the cruel and indifferent parent, made his skin crawl. “When I die,” he continued, “you’re next in line.”
“Do you actually believe I’ll outlive you?” West asked.
“With all my vices?”
“I have just as many.”
“Yes, but I’m far more enthusiastic about mine.” Devon couldn’t hold back a wry laugh. No one could have foreseen that the two of them, from a far-flung branch of the Ravenels, would be the last in
a lineage that could be traced back to the Norman Conquest. Unfortunately, Ravenels had always been too hot-blooded and impulsive. They yielded to every temptation, indulged in every sin, and scorned every virtue, with the result that they tended to die faster than they could reproduce. Now there were only two left.
Although Devon and West were wellborn, they had never been part of the peerage, a world so rarefied that the highest levels were impermeable even for minor gentry. Devon knew little of the complex rules and rituals that distinguished aristocrats from the common masses. What he did know was that the Eversby estate was no windfall, but a trap. It could no longer generate enough income to sustain itself. It would devour the modest annual income from his trust, crush him, and then it would finish off his
brother.
“Let the Ravenels come to an end,” Devon said. “We’re a bad lot and always have been. Who will care if the earldom goes extinct?”
“The servants and tenants might object to losing their incomes and homes,” West said dryly.
“They can all go hang. I’ll tell you how what’s to be done: First I’ll send Theo’s widow and sisters packing; they’re of no use to me.”
“Devon—” he heard his brother say uneasily.
“Then I’ll find a way to break the entailment, split the estate apart, and sell it piecemeal. If that’s not possible, I’ll strip the house of everything valuable, tear it down, and sell the stone—”
“Devon.” West gestured to the doorway, where a small, slim woman veiled in black stood at the threshold. Theo’s widow. She was the daughter of Lord Carbery, an Irish peer who owned a stud farm in Glengarrif. She had been married to Theo only three days before he had died. Such tragedy coming on the heels of a customarily joyful event must have been a cruel shock. As one of the last few members of a dwindling family, Devon supposed he should have sent her a letter of sympathy when Theo’s accident
had occurred. But somehow the thought had never translated into action, only stayed in his mind like a bit of lint caught on a coat lapel. Perhaps Devon might have forced himself to send condolences if he hadn’t despised his cousin so much. Life had favored Theo in many ways, gifting him with wealth, privilege, and handsomeness. But instead of being grateful for his good fortune, Theo had always been smug and superior. A bully. Since Devon had never been able to overlook an insult or provocation, he had ended up brawling with Theo whenever they were together. It would have been a lie to say he was sorry that he would never see his cousin again. As for Theo’s widow, she had no need of sympathy. She was young and childless, and she had a jointure, which would make it easy for her to marry again. Although she was reputed to be a beauty, it was impossible to judge; a heavy black veil obscured her in a mist of gloom. One thing was certain: After what she had just overheard, she must think Devon despicable.
He didn’t give a damn.

 

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Must Love Austen: Julia Quinn talks about inspiration, Austen & Sir Richard Kenworthy

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy is, in many ways, my salute to Jane Austen. The very first line reads:

To quote that book his sister had read two dozen times, it was a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

But of course, I’m not Jane Austen, and my hero most definitely is not Mr. Darcy. Hence the next two lines of the book:

Sir Richard Kenworthy was not in possession of a fortune, but he was single. As for the wife… Well, that was complicated.

Thus the tone was set, and before I knew it, my heroine was having a lively discussion about Pride and Prejudice with her sister. (Much to the confusion of their mother, who did not realise that Lizzy, Darcy and Mr. Collins were fictional characters.)

Jane Austen’s books endure in a way that few would have predicted at the time of their publication. I believe it’s because she was writing about smart women in a time that did not celebrate smart women. She was writing about love and happy endings in a time that viewed marriage – in her social class, at least – as more of a business contract than a bond of love. I’d like to think that my books honour Austen by adhering to these ideals. I don’t write stupid heroines (nor stupid heroes), and everyone gets a happily-ever-after.

In 2007 I was asked to write the Afterword for the new Signet Classics edition of Mansfield Park. It is still one of the highlights of my career, and I’d love to share a bit of it with you.

I am an author of historical romances, which means that I spend an inordinate amount of time in front of my computer, dreaming of witty men, wittier women, and ways to torture them both before allowing a happily-ever-after. I know the difference between a duke and an earl (and the proper way to address each, both in person and in writing), and I regularly find myself researching such strange and random bits of knowledge as the journey length from Liverpool to Dublin in 1819, the location of Boucher’s Portrait of Marie-Louise O’Murphy during the same year, and the earliest known usage of the phrase “Little Bo Peep.” (At least twelve hours, Germany, and Shakespeare, as far as I can tell.)

Like most authors writing in my time period, I worship at the altar of Jane Austen, and while I do not credit her with the birth of the modern romance novel (what she did and what I do are far too dissimilar for that), she must be acknowledged as the genre’s most vital and influential ancestor.

Three cheers for Miss Austen!

 

Julia Quinn started writing her first book one month after finishing college and has been tapping away at her keyboard ever since. She is a graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe colleges and lives with her family in Colorado.

 

Happy Publication Day to Penelope Douglas and Erin Knightley

The sky may be grey, the wind cold and people may be struggling to shift out of holiday mode, but the January blues don’t stand a chance with us today as we release Penelope Douglas Falling Away and Erin Knightley’s The Earl I Adore.

The Earl I Adore

Sophie Wembley is about to discover two hard truths: When planning a rushed betrothal, one must not be picky; and when the perfect earl happens by, one must not be shy . . .

After receiving word that her sister has eloped, even ever-optimistic Sophie has trouble staying positive. She needs to secure her future before the scandal destroys her prospects, although she doesn’t relish the idea of a hasty marriage. But her longtime crush has just shown up for the summer festival in Bath. He may be the key to avoiding disgrace and getting a happily ever after . . . if she can bring herself to pursue him.

John ‘Evan’ Fairfax, Earl of Evansleigh, is one of the most popular bachelors in the ton. However, his easygoing ways hide a dark past he’s determined to keep secret. Evan has always kept acquaintances at arm’s length for self-preservation, but there’s something irresistible about Sophie . . . and her seductive charms may well sway the confirmed bachelor to seize a chance at love.

The Earl I Adore publishes in print and in ebook today, and is available from all good retailers. We hope you love it as much as we do!

Falling Away

Jaxon is the guy she’s supposed to avoid . . .  

K. C. Carter has always followed the rules – until this year,  when a mistake leaves her the talk of her college campus and her carefully  arranged life comes crashing to a halt. Now she’s stuck in her small hometown  for the summer to complete her court-ordered community service, and to make  matters worse, trouble is living right next door.

K.C. is the girl he won’t let get away . . .

Jaxon Trent is the  worst kind of temptation and exactly what K.C. was supposed to stay away from in  high school. But he never forgot her. She was the one girl who wouldn’t give him  the time of day and the only one to ever say no. Fate has brought K.C. back into  his life – except what he thought was a great twist of luck turns out to be too  close for comfort. As they grow closer, he discovers that convincing K.C. to get  out from her mother’s shadow is hard, but revealing the darkest parts of his  soul is nearly impossible.

Falling Away publishes in ebook for the first time today. Are ready for Jax and K. C.? We feel they were well worth the wait!

Erin Knightley’s English Adventure – Part 3

In this last installment of Erin Knightley‘s adventures in England, we come back to the beginning, to that fated day when she would finally try . . . black pudding . . .

Which brings us back to the hockey puck . . .

We were staying at a delightful little bed and breakfast that was probably a good 200 years old, tucked away deep in the country. The floorboards were squeaky, the stairs precipitously steep, and the bathroom roughly the size of my broom closet. In other words, it was terribly rustic and charming. But when the kind innkeeper got it in his head that we should try his famous black pudding, well, what was a girl to do?

So I ate it. The pudding, with the oh-so-appetizing ingredient of pig’s blood, somehow passed my lips, and it was . . . not awful. Meatier than I expected, a little bready like stuffing, and not at all gelatinous like us Americans expect when encountering something called pudding. Thank God – things would have gone very differently if it had been wiggly! Still, I can now say that I have experienced it, and when my characters refer to it, you can rest assured this author knows what she’s talking about.

And no, I won’t be eating it again 😉

So wrong-side driving, a bit of rain, and one slightly embarrassing mishap involving a radiator, a sleepy, robe-wearing innkeeper, and a nearly melted television aside, this trip was truly everything I hoped it would be. I certainly hope that my writing will be that much richer in the future because of it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to treat myself to a cream tea. I’ll leave the pudding to you, dear reader.

 

Come back soon, Erin! We promise we won’t make you eat pig’s blood again! WE PROMISE!!!!!

 

The Baron Next Door is out now in both paperback and ebook. The Earl I Adore releases on the 6th of January 2015  in both paperback and ebook!

Erin Knightley’s English Adventure – Part 2!

Read on for Part 2 of what happened once Erin Knightley alighted on English soil . . .

With my mother as my traveling companion and nine glorious days set aside for the experience, I anxiously awaited the trip for what it was: a dream come true. And was it ever! First things first: shortly after arriving, I met my editor, Anna, and publicist, Clara, at Fortnum and Mason for my very first tea. Oh, the decadence! Smartly attired waiters, gentle piano music in the background, personal pots of fragrant teas, and a delectable selection of finger foods. This was where I encountered that oft-mentioned treat of the Regency novels: clotted cream. My characters had eaten it, yes, but I had no idea what it actually looked like, let alone what it tasted like!

Astonished that I had never tried it, Anna and Clara watched with interest as I topped a scone. I was thinking it might be closer to whip cream, but quickly discovered it was more of a pot of buttery clouds than sweetened fluff. So rich, so creamy, so perfectly delicious – I could easily see why the lords and ladies of the ton would indulge!

Emboldened by the success, I eagerly went about experiencing even more. A tour of the Tower of London? Check! Hyde Park? Check! A spot of tea and a bun at The Pump Room in Bath? Check! We explored Sydney gardens, which was such a big part of The Earl I Adore, and we toured the Assembly Rooms, which was prominent in all three of the Prelude to a Kiss Series. We stayed in a Georgian townhome with its original 1790 kitchen (and kindly ignored the slightly burnt toast). We ogled Chatsworth and ooo’d and ahh’d our way through Blenheim Palace and Stourhead. I soaked in every detail of the fabrics, furniture, and furnishings of those glorious old homes, and paid more attention than was probably proper to the detailed and often naughty ceiling murals and statues.

It was all so very magical and wonderful (minus that one time I almost got us hit by a bus five minutes after picking up the rental car, which we’ll just pretend never happened).

 

Check back tomorrow for the final part of Erin’s trip! Does she eat the black pudding? Have we scarred her for life?!