Today I have the huge pleasure to welcome Harlequin and Mills and Boon author, the lovely Lara Temple to Chicks Rogues and Scandals. So sit back and let’s get to know a little bit about Lara…
When I was fifteen I found a very grubby copy of Georgette Heyer’s Faro’s Daughter in an equally grubby book store. Several blissful hours later I emerged, blinking, into the light of day completely in love with Max Ravenscar and with Regency Romance. But the love remained one-sided as I progressed through various fascinating but completely unrelated careers in finance and high tech until my mother gave me a firm shove by entering one my many drawer-directed novels into Harlequin’s annual writing contest. To my shocked surprise I not only made it to the top ten but Harlequin commissioned me to write five Regency romances.
I writes strong, sexy, and suspenseful regency romances about complex individuals who give no quarter but deliver plenty of passion.
I live with my husband and two children who are very good about my taking over the kitchen table for my writing (so I can look out over the garden and dream). I love to travel (especially to places steeped in history) and hike and read as many books as possible (which just about sums up my dream vacation).
I recently went back to look for that grubby crowded little bookstore but couldn’t quite remember around what corner it was…hopefully it is still there and another girl is in the corner by the window, reading and dreaming…
Reading Chick: Hi Lara, Welcome to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today, Firstly what five word’s would you use to describe yourself?
Lara: A Busload of characters, driver unknown. (Do articles count?)
Reading Chick: Hahaha! Love it, If you could live in any era and place, When and where would it be? And Why?
Lara: Can I come back to our time if I change my mind? I’ve been steeped in early 19th century UK history for so long I’d have to be crazy not to at least give it a go. When I see how amazing women like Mary Somerville or Catherine Herschel or Angelica Kaufman (not that I’m comparing myself with such geniuses) managed to make the very restrictive, very male world they lived in stand up and take notice of them, I think there was more leeway for at least some women to shape their own fates than we might fear outside the pages of Regency romance.
Lara: Dare I admit? One of the earliest was Batman – from the comics, not television, and not the cartoony one with the bog ‘POW!’ and ‘THWACK!’ graphics but the dark brooding batman battling his demons in the loneliness of the caves or rooftops. For me that was the beginning of my fascination with tortured brooding heroes who had to rely on their wits and determination rather than super powers. That attraction still lingers – I see the same introverted struggle in Darcy and his ilk and I admit my heroes all have some degree of that inner struggle and the gap between what the world sees and what is going on inside.
Reading Chick: Batman, brilliant! What is your favourite time of the year?
Lara: Despite my love of brooding heroes, I love sunshine. I love travelling, and swimming, and being outdoors in nature and I need sunshine for that. I was lucky enough to work for many years in a job that took me around the world and wherever I went I would find some time to walk the cities or countryside I visited, sometimes for hours at a stretch, letting the locale sink in through all my senses. Rain is fun for reading, but sun is fun for absorbing the world.
Lara: I have to say I love Sophie, the heroine in my latest book, the Duke’s Unexpected Bride. I tend to love writing men (because they are the objects of my love so long as I am writing the book) and so I actually have to spend more time discovering what precisely it is I am trying to say in the heroine. In Sophie’s case she just flowed naturally, she figuratively bubbled out under my fingers. I loved how she knows her imperfections but won’t give up what is important to her. How she lets her compassion lead her, even though she knows it might get her into trouble. She’s funny and warm but very vulnerable and used to being misunderstood and so when she realizes the hero, Max, actually sees her as she is she is both scared and drawn because being revealed is both something she wants and fears. Needless to say I adore my stony Duke, Max, as well because he is that perfect blend (for me) of high battlements and sensitive core.
Reading Chick: Perfect! Where does your inspiration for your books come from?
Lara: Although I studied history in university and I’m a voracious reader of history books, if you’re asking about early inspiration then the answer is very simple – Georgette Heyer. I started reading her books quite by chance but the moment I put down her first book I knew I was entering a lifelong relationship. It wasn’t just the romance, it was her impeccable writing and the way she created a whole world so effortlessly. She’s not only the reason I started writing historical romances but probably part of the reason why I read modern history in university. Now my inspiration comes from books I read on history (my First book ‘Lord Crayle’s Secret World’ spun out of a more historic book I wrote on an assassination attempt against Castlereagh), from places I visit (after visiting bath I invented my own spa town in my second book ‘The Reluctant Viscount’), and from historic people I read about (I started writing my third book ‘The Duke’s Unexpected Bride’ after seeing a wonderful movie about Turner, the artist, and reading about two amazing female artists during the Regency period – Anjelica Kaufman and Mary Moser).
Reading Chick: What three tip’s would you pass on to an aspiring author?
Lara: First – Write as if it’s a real job even if you aren’t published yet. That means sit down at a (fairly) regular time and write, write, write. This is a case where quantity shouldn’t wait on quality – you can edit later, once the ducts are flowing.
Second, and related – inspiration is overrated, so don’t wait for it! I often have wonderful ideas pop into my head at 4am (truly) but I don’t wait for them. Inspiration is not a driver of writing, but a wagon that tags along once you are going at full speed. If you have something interesting to say, it will come out in your writing or not at all.
Third – writing is a business and a product. I used to be a financial and business analyst but I never understood this aspect of being an author until I was in the middle. Your books are your products and you have to market and sell them. It may be something you hate to do but in this new world of social media, you would do best to embrace this reality early on. I didn’t and that would be the one thing I would do differently if I could go back a few years.
Lara: Only three? That’s almost impossible – like trying to choose only three books. Well, here goes – I would invite Sherlock Holmes (despite his anti-social tendencies and because I probably read his stories more than any other throughout my childhood), Albert Einstein (an amazing, amusing, and compassionate man, not merely a genius, and he would give Sherlock a run for his money), and Douglas Adams (because he was a comic genius, because he made so many of my dark hours lighter, because he died too young, and because he would have thoroughly enjoyed the other two men). I would just sit there and watch them have at it…
Reading Chick: Ooh! What an interesting gathering. Thank you Lara for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today, I have just one more cheeky question, just for fun . . . What is your all-time favourite naughty but nice food?
Lara: The naughtiness and niceness of my choice is completely in the setting – it’s an Italian dessert called Tartufo which has many variations but in this case it was a sinful amaretto ice cream wrapped in a chocolate cake shell drenched in melted chocolate and the setting was a seaside café on the Amalfi coast the sinfulness came not merely from the divine taste and the hellish calories but from eating it while flirting shamelessly with an equally divine/hellish Italian who I had just met. One day I shall have to write that scene in full…
Oh yummy! Thank you again for chatting with me.