I have the greatest pleasure of welcoming Historical Romance author; Lara Temple back to Chicks Rogues and Scandal’s for a very special release day post. I have a very insightful chat with lovely Lara, plus an exclusive giveaway.
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 write strong, sexy, and suspenseful regency romances about complex individuals who give no quarter but deliver plenty of passion.
Like every (or most) writers, I would love to hear from you about books (not only mine) and history and whatever you find that makes you love this period and genre.
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…
About the Book
Now he can’t resist her!
A Wild Lords and Innocent Ladies story: Lord Stanton’s stay on the island of Illiakos is shrouded in memories of fever and his mysterious nurse. Years later, an Illiakan royal visit to Stanton Hall reveals the princess’s chaperon Christina James is the woman who saved his life! Alexander is a master of control, but Christina makes him long to unleash the sinful side he’s buried…and unlock her passionate nature too!
Lord Stanton’s Last Mistress can be found at Amazon
Frankie Hi Lara, Welcome back to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! It’s so good to have you visit again.
Lara Hi Frankie, it is lovely to be here again, thanks so much for inviting me!
Frankie For those that don’t know you, can you tell us a little about yourself and your work?
Lara I’m Lara Temple and I write strong and sexy Regency romances for Harlequin/Mills & Boon. I’ve written stories for as long as I can remember but I never thought I’d actually become a published author and I’m still pretty new to the romance writing world. I was so lucky – I entered the Harlequin SYTYCW contest and was shocked to discover I not only reached the finals but I was offered a contract! It was an amazing experience and the beginning of a real romance with writing…
Frankie When you first sit-down to start a new book, do you work from a well drafted plan, or do you just go with the flow and hope for the best?
Lara I’m a definite panster with a hint of plotter. Part of what I love about writing is not quite knowing what my characters will to do next – some of my best scenes (I think) were a complete surprise to me, and sometimes I wonder where they came from! It’s like I sometimes look at my kids and am a little dumbfounded at how amazing they are (when they aren’t driving me up a wall, of course) and I wonder – could they possibly have come from me? But now that I write professionally there is always a point in my writing when I stop and take stock – when the story and characters are strong enough already to stand up to criticism and then I sit down and write an outline and begin to see what is working and what isn’t and then I go back to some more (now informed) pantsing.
Lara I always cringe when I have to choose just one story – I feel I’m cheating on all my other loves! But at the moment I have to say John Thornton and Margaret Hale from North and South. I’m writing about a dark and serious Highland Duke and John Thornton keeps buzzing around in my brain. I loved the book and the series almost equally – they both brought together romance, history, and social commentary in a beautiful and vivid way. Both the hero and heroine went through a full emotional journey and they truly earned their HEAs. I adore them.
Frankie Totally agree, I love their story. *Swoon* How do you decide which characters will take centre stage and which will be more background extras?
Lara That’s an interesting question! I love writing secondary characters even through there is not much room for them in 75,000 words. Often they shove their way onto the stage as I’m writing and I have to rein them in so they don’t take up too much space. But they are so important to give depth not just to the story, but also to the hero and heroine. For example, in my latest book, Lord Stanton’s Last Mistress, Alex’s aunt and Christina’s adoptive family help me show just how loyal and warm my damaged hero and heroine are. They are part of who Alex and Christina. I can’t imagine telling the story without them? The same goes for the animals that often find their way into the stories and even some inanimate objects or scenery. For example, Alex finds calm and expresses himself through wood carvings – they can be found throughout the house and Christina unknowingly connects to Alex through them. So they’re in the background, but also an integral part of the my hero and heroine…
Lara I have a few but probably I am most faithful to my collection of Georgette Heyers – I’ve had them since I was a teenager and somehow they have managed to survive all my moves and travels. I particularly adore Sylvester and The Grand Sophy – two utterly different heroines but like all Heyer heroines they are unique and powerful characters and so worthy of being loved. Sometimes I think I might not have become a romance writer if I hadn’t come across Heyer’s books.
Frankie Which do you enjoy writing most, a series or a one off/standalone?
Lara I love series because they allow me to develop different nuances in characters. They are like a kaleidoscope – in each consecutive book I get to see a different aspect of the other characters and so when I reach their turn, they are more complex (which means more challenging but also much more rewarding for me). Right now I’m working on two series – one is my one and is called the Sinful Sinclairs (if you’ve read Lord Stanton you know his scandalous mother’s family is called Sinclair and this is about siblings, love letters, and uncovering the value of family).
The other series I am writing with three other Harlequin Mills&Boon authors (Janice Preston, Elizabeth Hobbes, and Nicole Locke) and it is a Highland romance series that goes back through time following two families. I’m writing the Regency book and absolutely loving it – I adore the setting (my first Highlander) but mostly I love collaborating with these amazing, talented ladies!
Frankie Oh, wow! Loving the sound of all this, I can’t wait to meet the Sinclairs and your Highland collaboration sounds so good. I have a last question, that’s just for fun.
If you won the lottery what is the first thing you would do with your winnings?
Lara Oh, I’m boring. I’d probably first help my mother and brothers and put money way for my kids. But THEN I would take my kids and husband on a long leisurely trip around Italy and probably eat far too much pasta and ice cream but come up with marvellous ideas for more books. I’d also forget about my other job and spend more time writing – that would be marvellous!
Frankie That sounds marvellous! Before, I let you go, I have something a little different. If you could ask your readers one question what would it be? And I will try and answer it.
Lara This is hard. Although I read romance, I would really like to get into the mind of more readers’ heads and ask what are the three key things they find make a perfect historical romance (so I can see if I’m heading in the right direction).
Frankie I will do my best to answer, the three key things that I find make a perfect historical romance are:
- Atmosphere! – I love it when reading historical romances where the story is charged with feeling and you become so absorbed into the mood and tone of the era that it feels very real. Which includes the environment, and surroundings it all adds to the overall feel of the story.
- Realism! – The best thing about reading historical romance has got to be getting to know the characters as people, understanding their actions and getting to know their history. By knowing them, you can connect with them and I love that.
- Dialogue! – The key to a great romance is the to-ing and fro-ing between the hero and heroine, whether they start out as enemies and do nothing but argue or have been friends for life and are always teasing. For me there needs to be great bantering between them, everything from witty, fun and playful to snippy, naughty and gruff.
Frankie Thank you so much, Lara for chatting with me again, its always pleasure.
Lara It’s always a pleasure chatting with you, Frankie. Thanks so much for having me on your blog and I’m looking forward to reading more about your own amazing writing project based on your family’s history!
Frankie Thank you, so kind of you to say.
I have the most amazing giveaway, Lara has very generously donated signed copies of the brilliant Wild Lords and Innocent Ladies series to be given away to one very lucky winner. That is THREE SIGNED BOOKS!!!
!!!This series is amazing, by the way!!!
All you have to do is answer the very simple question, as Lara and myself have been chatting about heroes and heroines, the question is;
Who is your favourite Hero and Heroine?
This can be TV or Books or both, Lara has shared hers, mine is Heathcliffe and Cathy, so what yours?
Comment below, or on Twitter and Facebook
*Giveaway if open Internationally, closing date is 6th June 9pm GMT. Giveaway is open on here, Facebook and Twitter. Winner will be contacted by myself.