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.
This entry was posted in Exclusives, Give Aways, Historical Romance, Interviews, Mills and Boon/Harlequin, Spotlight and tagged A Chat With. . ., Author Interview, Book Giveaway, Interview Exclusive, Lara Temple, Lord Hunters Cinderella Heiress, Lord Ravenscar;s Inconvenient Betrothal, Lord Stanton's Last Mistress, Spotlight, Wild Lords and Innocent Ladies.
Today I have the great pleasure of having award-winning, bestselling author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romances; Regan Walker visit Chicks, Rogue’s and Scandals. As well as chatting about her work Regan is very generously giving away two copies of her book; The Holly and the Thistle.
But, firstly lets get to know Regan.
A former lawyer turned writer, Regan Walker is an award-winning, bestselling author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romances. Her novels weave history and historical figures into fictional stories with political intrigue, a bit of mystery and love. She lives in San Diego and loves to take long walks looking out at the ocean.
I write novels with real history and real historic figures and a wonderful happy ever after ending. I want my readers to experience real historical events as well as adventure and love. For each of my novels, I do hundreds of hours of research to “get it right”.
“Through my prior work, I have come to love international travel and meeting new people. I also have a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence, when I turned to writing historical novels, it seemed only natural that my novels and stories would feature a demanding sovereign who thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool—and so was born the Agents of the Crown series, and then came the Medieval Warriors.” ~ Regan Walker
Frankie Hi Regan, 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?
Regan Oooo, hard question. The words my friends have told me describe my character would be “independent, courageous, loyal, honest (to a fault) and compassionate.” But in fairness, I am also sensitive to criticism, demanding (of myself and others) and a perfectionist.
Frankie If you could live in any era and place, when and where would it be? And Why?
Regan Well, I’ve travelled to 40 countries and while there are some I love and want to return to (Scotland comes to mind), I wouldn’t want to call any place home but America. I am very proud to be an American and I love my country.
I think if I were to live in another era, it would be America after the Revolutionary War in Williamsburg, Virginia when the country was in its youth and excited about what lay ahead. Exploring the West in the late 19th century also appeals. But if I were to live in modern times, my preference would be for the Pacific Coast, as I love the ocean and the sea breeze.
Frankie Who was your childhood hero?
Regan I grew up without a father and it wasn’t until I was in high school that I discovered my other hero, Winston Churchill. For most of my life, and to this day, my hero has always been God.
Frankie What is your favourite time of the year?
Regan It depends on where I am, but generally it’s autumn. October is nice the world over. Spring is a close second. And if we’re talking the Rockies or the Pacific Northwest, it has to be summer.
Regan Not until I wrote Echo in the Wind could I answer that question. Now I know it’s Jean Donet, comte de Saintonge, former pirate, privateer, smuggler and spy. A widower who never thought to love again. He is introduced in To Tame the Wind, but he doesn’t find his soul mate until Echo in the Wind.
Frankie Where does your inspiration for your books come from?
Regan The characters (mostly). A character pops into my mind and then I go looking for history in which to set him/her. Sometimes the history leads me, but generally I begin with a character. In my new novel, A Secret Scottish Christmas, it was Aileen Stephen, the only daughter of an Aberdeen shipbuilding family who, as a child, developed a passion to design ships. If you were to ask her if she would ever fall for an Englishman she would have showed you the door.
Frankie What three tips would you pass on to an aspiring author?
Regan Read what you love, write what you love and finish the book.
Frankie If you were hosting a dinner party what three people would you invite?
Regan J.R.R. Tolkien, Abraham Lincoln and Margaret, Queen of Scots (11th century). I admire them all. My tastes in people are pretty eclectic. Now, if you’d given me 20 names, I could really have a party.
Frankie Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today, Regan. I have just one more cheeky question, just for fun . . . What is your all-time favourite naughty but nice food?
Regan Flourless chocolate cake with whipped cream and a glass of Rosa Regale (the wine made for chocolate). It’s my Valentine’s Day default dessert.
That sound’s delicious, thank you so much.
About the Book
Twin brothers Nash and Robbie Powell of Powell & Sons Shipping, London, sail with their fellow Agents of the Crown to Scotland for a secret celebration of Christmastide, a holiday long frowned upon by the Scottish Kirk. But more than Christmas is being kept secret. The two brothers have accepted an assignment from the Home Secretary Lord Sidmouth to ferret out a fugitive fomenting rebellion among the Scots.
Aileen Stephen, the only daughter of an Aberdeen shipbuilder, had to be clever, devious and determined to gain her place in the family business. She succeeded to become a designer of highly coveted ships. One night, a man’s handsome face appears to her in a dream. When two men having that same face arrive on a ship full of Londoners, Ailie wonders what her second sight is telling her. Is the face she saw a portender of the future, a harbinger of danger, or both? And which of the two Englishmen is the one in her dream?
Older than Nash by a mere five minutes, Robbie has always been protective of his twin. When he realizes Nash is attracted to the sister of their Scottish host, he thinks to help matters along. But Nash wants no help from his brother, not where Ailie Stephen is concerned because Robbie is attracted to the girl himself!
Two brothers vie for the affection of the Scottish lass but only one stirs her passion. Which one will it be? And what will she do when she learns they are spies?
If you like a bit of a love triangle, handsome spies and artistic heroines, secrets, traditions and romance all wrapped up with a big Christmas bow, then this is the book you need to read. Seasonally enchanting and romantically perfect! ~ Chick’s Rogues and Scandals
Regan is so very generously giving away two copies of her Seasonal story; The Holly and the Thistle.
London, December 1818
A chance meeting at Berry’s wine shop, a misunderstanding and Christmastide all come together to allow the most handsome Scot in London to give Lady Emily Picton the best Christmas gift ever: a marriage not of convenience, but of love.
To be in for a chance of winning a copy of this great book then just leave a comment on this post or on the Giveaway Post on my Facebook page HERE.
That’s it simple!
*Open internationally, all comments from this post and Facebook will be combined and two winners will be drawn at random. Giveaway closes on 20th November at Midnight GMT. Winners will be announced shortly after.
This entry was posted in Exclusives, Give Aways, Historical Romance, Interviews, Spotlight and tagged A Secret Scottish Christmas, Agents of the Crown, Author Interview, Book Giveaway, Interview Exclusive, Regan Walker, Spotlight, The Holly and the Thistle.
The winner of Vanessa Kelly’s; My Fair Princess is…
Congratulations Katrina, you will be contacted very soon so we can get your prize to you.
I have the great pleasure of chatting with the USA Best Selling Author and all round lovely lady; Vanessa Kelly today. So take a seat and let’s get to know a little a bit about Vanessa…
Vanessa Kelly is a USA Today Bestselling, award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance.
Vanessa’s previous series, The Renegade Royals, was a national bestseller. She is currently writing a new spin-off series called The Improper Princesses. My Fair Princess, book 1, was named a Goodreads Romance of the Month and is a BookScan bestseller.
Vanessa spends most of the year in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband.
Reading Chick : Hi Vanessa, Welcome to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today, Firstly what five words would you use to describe yourself?
Vanessa : Hi, Frankie! Thanks for having me on your blog. Okay, this is a surprisingly tough question, but here goes: wife, stepmother, reader, writer, Anglophile.
Reading Chick : If you could live in any era and place, When and where would it be? And Why?
Vanessa : I would choose our current era, because I’m a huge fan of antibiotics and modern hygiene. LOL! But if I could travel back in time without any health or safety consequences (I probably should have included wimp in my five words), I would, of course, love to visit Regency England. I’m also fascinated by imperial Rome and ancient Egypt, so I would probably fire up my good, old-time machine to visit those places, too. The history of those cultures is vibrant and amazing, and I’d really like to get a peek.
Vanessa : I loved Peter Pan and also Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Both adventurers who longed to return home.
Reading Chick : Awww! How sweet. What is your favourite time of the year?
Vanessa : I love autumn. The return of crisp, cool weather, and the beautiful colors of the changing season. Plus, that’s when my birthday is. LOL!
Reading Chick : Out of all your work, who is your favourite character and why?
Vanessa : I think I have to pick both male and female. My favorite female character is Gillian Dryden, the kickass heroine of MY FAIR PRINCESS. She’s a total sweetheart but she’s also pretty tough—and very funny. My favorite male character is Griffin Steele from CONFESSIONS OF A ROYAL BRIDEGROOM. He’s a classic, sexy bad boy with a heart of gold. By an odd coincidence, Griffin and Gillian are siblings!
Reading Chick : Where doe’s your inspiration for your books come from?
Vanessa : Lots of places—books, movies, TV shows, and also from history books. I get a lot of ideas from reading the history and literature of the Regency period.
Reading Chick : What three tip’s would you pass on to an aspiring author?
Vanessa : If you’re really serious about writing: read a lot (including craft books), write a lot, and learn to persevere against all odds.
Reading Chick : Fabulous! If you were hosting a dinner party what three people would you invite? (They can be real/fictional, from any era)
Vanessa : I would invite Jane Austen, Elizabeth Bennett, and Mary Stewart, to start. I bet they would all get along exceedingly well, too! Three bright, witty women who knew a lot about life and love.
Reading Chick : That sounds like a great dinner party. Thank you, Vanessa 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?
Vanessa: Chocolate cake. Or chocolate chip pancakes with lots of maple syrup!
Reading Chick : Yummy! Thank you, Vanessa.
If you want to learn more about Vanessa and her work then check out the links below.
We have a printed copy of My Fair Princess, book 1 in The Improper Princesses Series, up for grabs in our giveaway. To be in for a chance to win this amazing prize just leave a comment. That’s it, simple as pie!
Despite being the illegitimate daughter of a prince, Gillian Dryden is happily ignorant of all social graces. After growing up wild in Italy, Gillian has been ordered home to England to find a suitable husband. And Charles Valentine Penley, the excessively proper, distractingly handsome Duke of Leverton, has agreed to help transform her from a willful tomboy to a blushing debutante.
Powerful and sophisticated, Charles can make or break reputations with a well-placed word. But his new protégée, with her habit of hunting bandits and punching earls, is a walking scandal. The ton is aghast . . . but Charles is thoroughly intrigued. Tasked with taking the hoyden in hand, he longs to take her in his arms instead. Can such an outrageous attraction possibly lead to a fairytale ending?
The giveaway closes on 5th April a Midnight; GMT and the winner will be announced soon after. Giveaway is open internationally, so everyone is welcome. The winner’s name will be published in a congratulatory winners post.