MBA&M AND AVON BOOKS PRESENTS…..
THE TALENTED REGENCY HISTORICAL ROMANCE AUTHOR….
MBA&M: Please give our readers who are new to you a few tidbits about Lecia Cornwall
LC: Other than the diverse cast of characters living in my head clamoring for their stories to be told, I’m quite ordinary. I live near Calgary Alberta, in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. I love to garden (and that’s a challenge in the dry, hot Calgary climate), cook, and read. I have five cats and a chocolate lab named Kipper. This spring we’re celebrating my son’s university graduation, and the end of my daughter’s first year of university.
MBA&M: What made you decide to write historical romance, and why Regency era?
LC: I have always loved history. I was probably the only kid in my fourth grade class who avidly looked forward to Masterpiece Theater on Sunday nights for The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Elizabeth R. I grew up reading everything historical I could get my hands on.
The Regency is an amazing time period. The rules of etiquette and polite behavior were at their height. The wealthy were at their wealthiest. Even the fashions were to-die-for. There was war, and scientific revolution, and great social change. It’s an age of towering heroes, and it makes a writer itch to create a heroine who exists within the rules, and yet breaks them successfully. I can’t resist the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, which add a lovely sense of danger, adventure and real history to my stories.
LC: Well, to start with, I had Julia, ruined lady and minor character in How To Deceive A Duke. In that story her family—as families of that era were wont to do in such cases—disowned her for her sins. It made me wonder what Julia would do to survive, and find love. Her parents tell friends that Julia is dead, and since it would be very awkward to have to explain why her ghost was still walking the London streets, they insist the poor girl must leave England altogether. So I gave her a reason to go, a job as a companion to the sister of a handsome diplomat on his way to Vienna.
One of the most exciting places to be in 1814 was Vienna. Twenty years of war with Napoleon had finally ended, and the Emperor of Austria invited all the crowned heads and diplomats of Europe to a combination peace conference, victory celebration, and all-out party in his lovely capital city. After long days of debating peace, there were balls, state dinners, intimate suppers, and the most wonderful scandal, gossip, intrigue and sin, which proved far more interesting than the conference itself. The most beautiful courtesans came to Vienna, mostly to spy for their countries. The craftiest thieves and con artists were there too. It was a setting that offered all the social rules and Regency pleasures, and a chance for romance, intrigue, and sin. I couldn’t resist! Julia finds herself involved in all the dark deeds occurring in the city in The Secret Life of Lady Julia.
MBA&M: Who was your favorite character to write about other than the hero and heroine?
LC: There were some incredible real life characters at the Congress of Vienna! I included several of my favorites in supporting roles, but I love the story of Anna Protassoff. She was Catherine the Great’s ‘tester’, a most shocking and fascinating career. The famous Queen of Russia adored men, and Anna’s job was to screen —try out—the potential lovers that caught Catherine’s eye. Based on Anna’s recommendations on their skills in bed, Catherine selected her bedmates. Long after her retirement, Anna traveled to Vienna as a minor celebrity, dining out on her salacious tales. I included Anna at a dinner party where she expertly assesses the hero’s potential as a lover just by watching him eat. It was such a fun scene to write!
MBA&M: What challenges do you face when writing authentic Regency romance?
LC: As I mentioned, the Regency was a period of exacting standards and rules. Just sticking to the laws of the time regarding inheritance and female rights is a huge challenge. There’s also the challenge of keeping the story accessible for modern readers who’ve come for a love story, not a history lesson. The details are as accurate as I can make them, but they form the setting and the background to the emotions and actions of the characters, the spice to the dish, if you will, rather than an overpowering flavor on their own.
MBA&M: Do you feel historical romance will eventually die down for readers?
LC: I think it will most definitely change, but not die. There are so many time periods to explore! For example, the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI is coming up next year, and there are so many story possibilities there. And World War II offers even more potential plots for romantic fiction. Perhaps the new interest in the twentieth century comes from the fact that for younger readers those eras of history are now old enough to be intriguing. For my generation, these were my father’s and grandfather’s stories— heroic, yes, but not romantic. Now a new generation sees the people who fought those wars in a different light, much the way we see Regency soldiers like Wellington and Richard Sharpe.
MBA&M: Who do you feel gives you the most encouragement? Who is your real-life hero?
LC: My children, now 18 and 21. Not only are they my inspiration, they are the first readers of anything I write, my sharpest critics, the ones who vet my wilder story ideas, and the ones I try hardest to impress. I want them to be as proud of me as I am of them. My daughter (18) has overcome a host of learning disabilities and health problems to become an honor student and a gifted musician. She has a wonderful ability to read people, which comes in handy when I’m creating book characters. She can always spot plot problems, and she loves history.
My son sees the joy and adventure in everything from international cuisine to post-communist politics. He speaks three languages, and helps me translate the odd line in my stories into perfect French or Russian. He makes me laugh, and in the past year or so I’ve been watching him discover (on his own) some of the great loves I had when I was young—photography, journalism, and Russian literature.
MBA&M: If you could step into a book, any book, which one would it be and why?
LC: This is a tough question—I actually had to run down and check my keeper shelf! I chose The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I love stories of King Arthur and Camelot, and especially the magic, romance and feminine power in the Mists of Avalon. It’s a place and time where the veils between the worlds are thin, and all things are possible if one believes in magic and destiny.
MBA&M: What kind of music do you enjoy listening to?
LC: Now I’m running for my iPod! I have very diverse taste in music. I love everything from Beethoven to Big Band jazz. I love quirky country music lyrics. I have tracks by Bonnie Raitt, Ella Fitzgerald, The Tragically Hip, and The Eagles. Gaga and Adele, too. I will even admit that I would have a few songs from The Best of Bread on my iPod, if my technical assistants/music critics/children would help me put them there! But if I were on a desert island with only one artist to listen to forever, it would be Loreena McKennitt. I see pictures in my head when she sings—whole worlds, wonderful stories, books—The Mists of Avalon and the Tales of the Arabian Knights all come to life for me in her music.
MBA&M: What’s next on your agenda?
LC: Oh, so many stories, so little time! I’ve discovered that if a writer doesn’t write, fiction starts downloading itself into your real life. You start making up stories about the poor woman in front of you in the line-up at the grocery store (good or bad depending on how fast the line is moving), or waking up in the middle of the night with wacky book plots pouring through your brain (some good, some not). I edit signs on the street. I re-write movie dialogue, and edit my family’s dinner conversation. That said, I’m currently working on several projects I’m very excited about, including a story set in Paris in World War II.
LC: Julia Leighton appeared as a minor character in How To Deceive A Duke. So was Stephen Ives, who is now another, much more important character in Julia’s story. My books are loosely connected, which means if you haven’t read How To Deceive a Duke (though of course I hope you will), you can still enjoy The Secret Life of Lady Julia.
MBA&M: Please tell our readers where to connect with you and where they may find The Secret Life of Lady Julia.
LC: I love hearing from readers! My email address is [email protected]. For excerpts and news, my website is www.leciacornwall.com. and from there, you can connect with me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. The Secret Life of Lady Julia is available in all the finest bookstores (as of May 28), and in your favorite e-format as well.
Thank you so much Lecia for taking a moment of your busy schedule to spend with us and our readers. What an enjoyable interview,very informative!
Let me introduce you to Lady Julia Leighton: international woman of mystery and the subject of historical romance star Lecia Cornwall’s newest novel. Intelligent, charming, and stunningly beautiful, Julia Leighton is a woman cloaked in feminine mystique—and scandal! She’s been engaged to a Duke, loved by jewel thief, tutored by an infamous diplomat (her very own grandmother, no less!). Most notably, our Miss Leighton has turned her delicate hand to spy craft. But in the art of love, Julia is untutored—save for by one man, the redoubtable Thomas Merritt.
Lecia Cornwall’s latest love story takes readers on a fascinating voyage through Regency-era Europe, from merry old England, by way of war-torn Paris, and into Austria. In this vividly depicted political minefield, Lady Julia—scandalized, disowned by her family—finds her calling dabbling in espionage trying to steer the multi-national Austrian peace conference to a favorable resolution.
Beyond painting an engrossing picture, the narrative is richly detailed, and her heroine is unique. The Secret Life of Lady Julia is another testimonial to Cornwall’s flare for creating what Publisher’s Weekly calls a “…luscious Regency romance [that] has just the right blend of mystery, manners, and passion.”
Julia is fiery yet well-mannered and charming (as a proper English miss should be), and a perfect foil for the idealistic and dashing Thomas Merritt, a nobleman (“noble” in the truest sense of the word!) turned reluctant jewel thief. These two star-crossed lovers have individually riveting tales of action and adventure that Cornwall weaves together seamlessly into a poignant tale of love and second chances at happily-ever-after.
Lady Julia Leighton:
International Woman of Mystery
About the Book:
Lady Julia Leighton—an unrivaled beauty of the ton—spends almost the entirety of her betrothal ball being politely ignored by her erstwhile fiancé (dubbed “Dull Duke David”). The evening is saved by the appearance of a handsome stranger with eyes only for her, and the heady mixture of champagne and experimental kisses leads to a seduction born of a desire to feel something extraordinary.
This stranger is not what he seems, however, and he comes away from the Leighton ball having stolen the bride-to-be’s virtue—and her love—where he meant only to take her diamond encrusted tiara. Disowned by his brother for rakish behavior, Thomas makes his way in the world by seducing rich women and stealing their jewels, but for the first time, he’s the victim of theft as it becomes evident that Julia has stolen his heart. He leaves for Paris the day the Napoleonic wars officially end, both to find richer pastures and to try and forget Julia.
When their paths cross again at a peace conference, they are both in very different circumstances. Julia, now an unofficial spy in the British delegation, is unintentionally collecting the hearts of her countrymen—all the while keeping the object of her affections a well-guarded secret. But when a twist of fate brings these two former lovers together, will the past threaten to overtake their rekindled affection?
The Secret Life of Lady Julia
By Lecia Cornwall
(Avon | On Sale: 5/28/2013| ISBN: 9780062202451 | $7.99 | e-ISBN: 9780062202468 | $7.99)
About the Author:
Lecia Cornwall is a PRO member of the Romance Writers of America’s Seattle and Calgary Chapters. Her background includes all facets of writing, including running a successful freelance writing business specializing in direct marketing and advertising. Both history and writing have been lifelong passions. Lecia currently lives and writes in Calgary, Alberta, the heart of the Canadian West.
(Sponsored by the publisher)
Thanks to Caroline, at HarperCollins Publishing, we are offering 1 lucky commenter a Digital copy of HOW TO DECEIVE A DUKE.
Giveaway will be open from June 9 until June 16,2013.
*Please leave a valid email address for notification purposes only*
Good luck everyone! HAPPY SUNDAY!
“My Thoughts” on both of these titles coming soon at http://www.mybookaddictionreviews.com
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