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Interviews

int  Welcome to New Faces, where you’ll meet brand-new romance authors! These are the debut authors we’ve interviewed in the past two years.

 


Ella Quinn

Ella, welcome to TRR! Tell us about yourself.

I’m from everywhere. I was born in Grosse Point, MI, but I lived in four countries and attended thirteen schools before I was in eighth grade, and we weren’t military. I played in a rock band, was in the Army twice and have two post graduate degrees.

Are you coming to romance writing from another job? Do you still have a day job?

Yes, I practiced law for twenty years, and continued to practice for the first year I was writing.

What led you to write romance?

I’d been reading historical romance, particularly Regencies, for over forty years before I began writing it. I wasn’t widely read though. I’d lived overseas for so long, I’d never heard of other authors like Julia Quinn or Eloisa James.

Tell us about your road to publication.

My road was actually pretty short. I began writing in April of 2011 and eight months later got my agent, eight months after that a three book contract. That said, I wrote the first book in a vacuum. I found one on-line group, but it was hard to get critiqued, and the whole process was going too slowly for me. The good thing was I discovered how to query. Naturally, I was promptly rejected, so when I discovered RWA (Romance Writers of America) I was able to join the PRO group right away. I’d already started my second book, and that was the one I queried to my agent. I firmly believe in taking the shotgun approach to querying. I sent The Temptation of Lady Serena to 40 agents. I received 2 requests for fulls, several requests for partials, several rejections, and many I just didn’t hear from at all.

What kind of research was involved for your first book?

I researched everything from hair and clothes, to politics and philosophies of the time. The culture was extremely interesting. Women were being encouraged to demand more. Love matches rather than arranged marriages were becoming more common, and there was a growing middle-class. It was also a time of great excess. I can go on forever, but I’ll stop here.

Tell us about your debut book.

The Seduction of Lady Phoebe is about a couple who met when they were both very young. Phoebe was a sheltered fifteen-year-old and Marcus was a licentious twenty. Phoebe had started to fall in love with him, but when he drunkenly accosted her, she felt betrayed, and then doubted her own ability to fall in love with someone who would treat her well. Marcus was sent to the West Indies and straightened his life out. He comes back to England when his older brother is dying, and is determined to marry Phoebe.

Who are some of your influences as a writer?

The two authors who have influenced me the most are Georgette Heyer and Dorothy Dunnett.

What does your family think of having a published romance author in their midst?

They are thrilled. It took my husband a while to get onboard, but he is now. My mother-in-law is one of my beta readers. My son buys my books, but won’t read them because he can’t cope with the idea of Mom writing love scenes.

Tell us about plans for future books.

The third book in my Marriage Game series is The Temptation of Lady Serena. It releases on January 2, 2014. It’s been a whirlwind having the first three book release back to back to back. After Serena, the schedule slows down a bit. Desiring Lady Caro doesn’t release until April, and the fifth book next summer. Right now I’m writing a novella for Christmas of 2014.

How can readers get in touch with you?

I love hearing from readers and I’m everywhere.

Website: www.ellaquinnauthor.com
Blog: http://ellaquinnauthor.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/EllaQuinnAuthor
Twitter: www.twitter.com/EllaQuinnAuthor
Pinterest, where I post pictures having to do with my books as well as other things: www.pinterest.com/EllaQuinn


Anne Barton

Anne, welcome to TRR! Tell us about yourself.

I’ve lived in Maryland my whole life. The nice thing about our quasi-rural suburb is that it has cows, cornfields and a Starbucks. If we hop in the car and drive for an hour, we can see a ballgame in Baltimore, go to the theatre in D.C., or go fishing on the Chesapeake Bay.

I studied broadcasting at James Madison University and worked on a live, weekly cable TV show. I also interned at a local ABC station, writing scripts for commercials. I was always behind the cameras-never in front! I think I knew even way back then that I wanted to write. I just didn’t know what.

During my junior year I spent a semester studying in London. I got to do all sorts of amazing things that I still can’t believe, like riding a pony over the hills of the Lake District and seeing the Rocky Horror Picture Show in Bath. That semester abroad was four months of museum-hopping, castle-touring, pub-crawling bliss-and it definitely nudged me toward writing romance.

My husband and I have known each other since grade school and started dating in college. He’s always believed in me, always encouraged me to go after my dreams. Our three teenagers are pretty amazing too. They make me laugh and don’t seem to mind when I spend a whole day in front of my computer in my pajama pants.
Are you coming to romance writing from another job? Do you still have a day job?

I’ve had a few different careers, and I do still work at a day job that I love. I think it’s good for me to work outside of the house-otherwise I’d be tempted to sit in front of my computer all day and never talk to real people. It’s nice to have a balance.

What led you to write romance?

When I was young, my favorite books were volumes of Grimm’s fairytales and Greek mythology. For the most part though, my grade school library was a big disappointment. It had one copy of Judy Blume’s Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, but no other books that really excited me.

Then, in my freshman year of high school, my Lit class read Pride and Prejudice. It was everything I’d craved in a book-wit, romance, and a happy ending. Not to mention Mr. Darcy. I wanted more books like that-books full of emotion, relationships, and hope-and I found them in the romance genre.
Tell us about your road to publication.

I began my first manuscript in 2006 and wrote four more before selling in 2011. I learned something from every manuscript that I finished, but more importantly, I was having fun. Going to workshops, meeting other writers, and attending conferences-I loved all of it. Still do! And I was most definitely a contest diva. Writing contests taught me so much and gave me boosts of confidence along the sometimes difficult journey to publication.

A highlight on that journey was winning the Regency Historical Golden Heart award at RWA’s 2011 conference along with my talented cousin, Cara Connelly, who won in the Contemporary category. I’d received an offer on my book just a few days before, and that whole conference is one happy blur!
What kind of research was involved for your first book?

The heroine of WHEN SHE WAS WICKED is a gifted seamstress, so a lot of my research involved dressmaking and, of course, ladies’ Regency fashions. I love looking at the sketches and reading the detailed descriptions from fashion magazines of the time. And it’s so exciting to stumble across a gem like a video demonstrating the making of a gorgeous pink silk Colonial gown.

Tell us about your debut book.

It’s a bit of a Cinderella story, about a desperate seamstress who tries to blackmail the wrong duke. Here’s the official blurb:

A dressmaker in London’s busiest shop, Miss Anabelle Honeycote overhears the ton’s steamiest secrets-and (occasionally) uses them to her advantage. It isn’t something she’s proud of, but the reluctant blackmailer needs the money to care for her gravely ill mother. To make up for her misdeeds, Anabelle keeps to a firm set of rules:

· Never request payment from someone who cannot afford it.
· Never reveal the secrets of a paying client.
· Never enter into any form of social interaction with a client.
Her list keeps her (somewhat) honest-until she encounters Owen Sherbourne, the Duke of Huntford. Not only does Owen nip Anabelle’s extortion plans in the bud, the devilishly handsome Duke soon has the sexy seamstress dreaming of more than silks and satins. With Owen, Anabelle enjoys pleasures she never imagined. . . until a scandal from the past resurfaces. Now her rules could mean his family’s ruin. Owen’s searing kisses carry the promise of passion, but how will he react when Anabelle’s most devastating secret is finally revealed?

Who are some of your influences as a writer?

There are so many. Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas write books with the perfect blend of playfulness, deep emotion, and passion-books I want to read again and again. Elizabeth Hoyt writes heroes who feel larger than life but who are also still heartbreakingly human. I’m a big fan of Suzanne Collins and her writing style which, to me, feels very intimate-like there are no boundaries between the story and the reader.

What does your family think of having a published romance author in their midst?

Like I said, they’re super-supportive. They cheer me up after every setback and help me celebrate each little success. They’re proud of me, but I think the sweetest thing is that they were just as proud before I was published.

Tell us about plans for future books.

My second novel, ONCE SHE WAS TEMPTED, features Miss Daphne Honeycote. Everyone thought she was the sweet, innocent sister, but it turns out she has a couple of scandalous secrets of her own! That book releases October 29th, and I’m happy to say there will be two more books in the Honeycote series after that.

How can readers get in touch with you?

They can visit my website, or find me on Facebook and Twitter.


Donna Thorland

Donna, welcome to TRR! Tell us about yourself.

I grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey, and was the first person in my family to attend college. At Yale I studied classics and art history and as the old joke goes, got my MRS. I met my husband, who was a law student, during my sophomore year.

Are you coming to romance writing from another job? Do you still have a day job?

My first career was in public history. I managed architecture and interpretation for the Peabody Essex Museum, in Salem Massachusetts. While there I wrote and directed a Halloween theater program which was so oversubscribed that one of my mentors suggested I try to reach a wider audience. So I applied to film school.

At USC I produced about a half dozen short films, and shortly after finishing my MFA, I won the Disney Fellowship. Since then I’ve been a filmmaker and screenwriter.

What led you to write romance?

When I was a teenager my brother and his wife moved their family to South Jersey. I used to spend several weeks with them each summer. They were grown-ups with disposable incomes and insatiable reading habits. I slept on the pull out couch in their book-filled den and late at night I’d binge on their paperbacks.

My brother read sci-fi and my sister-in-law read romance, and I read everything. But it was discovering Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles in high school that made me want to write a really epic love story.

Tell us about your road to publication.

The Turncoat won The Catherine from the Toronto RWA in 2011. I got insightful feedback from the judges and amazing support from the organizers.

What kind of research was involved for your first book?

I already had a grasp of daily life in 18th century America from working at the Peabody Essex Museum, but I didn’t know the Philadelphia Campaign well, so I dove in and read everything I could about that glittering winter of 1777. When I discovered that General Howe’s officers had thrown him a lavish going away party, the Mischianza, complete with a costumed joust and river flotilla, I knew I’d found the set piece for The Turncoat.

Tell us about your debut book.

Major Lord Peter Tremayne is the last man rebel bluestocking Kate Grey should fall in love with, but when the handsome British viscount commandeers her home, Kate throws caution to the wind and responds to his seduction. She is on the verge of surrender when a spy in her own household seizes the opportunity to steal the military dispatches Tremayne carries, ensuring his disgrace-and implicating Kate in high treason. Painfully awakened to the risks of war, Kate determines to put duty ahead of desire, and offers General Washington her services as an undercover agent in the City of Brotherly Love.

Months later, having narrowly escaped court martial and hanging, Tremayne returns to decadent, British-occupied Philadelphia with no stomach for his current assignment-to capture the woman he believes betrayed him. Nor does he relish the glittering entertainments being held for General Howe’s idle officers. Worse, the glamorous woman in the midst of this social whirl, the fiancée of his own dissolute cousin, is none other than Kate Grey herself.

Who are some of your influences as a writer?

Dorothy Dunnett, George MacDonald Fraser, Lauren Willig, Diana Gabaldon, William Martin, Bernard Cornwell, C.L. Moore, Dorothy Sayers and Margery Allingham.

What does your family think of having a published romance author in their midst?

My husband reads everything I write and I’d be lost without him. He’s often my harshest critic and always my biggest fan.

Tell us about plans for future books.

Next up is the second book in Renegades of the Revolution, a pirate story set during the siege of Boston in 1775, when American privateers took on the British Navy. Penguin will be publishing that as well, so look for a teaser chapter at the back of The Turncoat!

How can readers get in touch with you?

Readers can check out my website www.donnathorland.com and connect with me on Facebook.