Posted by Anna Campbell Nov 27 2012, 12:01 am in An Ideal Scoundrel, Anna Campbell, art, Avon, Bandita Booty, historical romance, Interview, Miranda Neville, The Burgundy Club, The Importance of Being Wicked, The Second Seduction of a Lady, The Wild Quartet
I’m always delighted to host the sparkling Miranda Neville in the lair – not only because she’s darn good company and a wonderful guest, but also because it means she’s got another one of her wonderful books for me to read. Even better, today’s book THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED launches a new series based around some art-loving and very scandalous aristocrats.
This story is already creating great buzz around Romancelandia – for example, RT Book Reviews called it “deliciously wicked” and Publishers Weekly chose this book as one of their top 10 romances of the Fall.
Here’s the blurb:
The rules of society don’t apply to Caro and her coterie of bold men and daring women. But when passions flare, even the strongest will surrender to the law of love….
Thomas, Duke of Castleton, has every intention of wedding a prim and proper heiress. That is, until he sets eyes on the heiress’s cousin, easily the least proper woman he’s ever met. His devotion to family duty is no defense against the red-headed vixen whose greatest asset seems to be a talent for trouble…
Caroline Townsend has no patience for the oh-so-suitable (and boring) men of the ton. So when the handsome but stuffy duke arrives at her doorstep, she decides to put him to the test. But her scandalous exploits awaken a desire in Thomas he never knew he had. Suddenly Caro finds herself falling for this most proper duke…while Thomas discovers there’s a great deal of fun in a little bit of wickedness.
You can read an except of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED on Miranda’s website.
Miranda, absolutely lovely to have you back again! You’re a favorite in the lair.
Thanks, Anna. A day with the Bandits is always a highlight of any blog tour.
Congratulations on THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED which is out TODAY! Can you tell us about this story?
This is the tale of two people who instantly fancy each other like mad but appear to be totally unsuited. Thomas, Duke of Castleton is an aggressively conventional man. He wants to marry an heiress, both because that’s what dukes do (amazingly they aren’t that anxious to wed courtesans and governesses) and because he’s suffering a temporary cash flow problem. His designated heiress is staying in London with her Cousin Caro, a wild widow on the edge of financial ruin. Neither is at all pleased by their mutual attraction. Gradually Thomas learns to loosen up and Caro leans to appreciate a reliable guy. I have to let myself gush a little about Thomas. Against his better judgment he lets Caro lead him into doing all sorts of naughty things–and thoroughly enjoys himself. But he never loses his inner compass and in my humble opinion is just adorable: the kind of guy we should all have as a husband (as well as being incredibly hawt).
What were the inspirations behind this book?
My previous books were set in the late Regency. I wanted to go back to the aftermath of the French Revolution, which had huge repercussions on English life and politics. The transitional period between Georgian and Regency is also a bit socially looser and the ground hasn’t been covered so extensively in historical romance. Also, I love the clothes. The 1790s are about big hair and big hats, giving way to the high-waisted look that came over from France. Caro favors particularly skimpy examples of the new styles. THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED is set in 1800, a date I picked because of a specific historical event that’s coming up in book two of the series.
I notice your latest series, The Wild Quartet, is built around art collectors. I love that theme. Can you tell us a little bit about the forthcoming books?
It’s a bit complicated to explain (evidently I have no understanding of High Concept). Four young men met at Oxford and were thrown out of the university. They went on a tear around England the Continent, gaining bad reputations and worse habits. Caro’s first husband, Robert, was one of the four and the others are the heroes of the next three books. But The Wild Quartet isn’t a happy group-of-friends series. Their relationships are complex and not always cordial and the resolution of their issues is part of the story arc as they grow up and find their heroines.
One of the things that drew the quartet together was an interest in art. The eighteenth century nobility had an unquenchable lust for art and antiquities which spread to the middle classes. All sort of aesthetic theories were bandied about and London was full of artists. Caro keeps a kind of salon for young artists and you can imagine what her stuffy duke thinks of that! Robert gave her a Titian for a wedding present and she has it stashed away to hide it from her creditors. Thomas is more of a horse and dog man when it comes to paintings.
Horse and dog man? Love it! What’s next for The Wild Quartet?
Art will play a part in subsequent books, not so much in the second book of the series, AN IDEAL SCOUNDREL. I won’t say much about it because it’s not quite finished–it’s due in about ten minutes. It features Caro’s heiress cousin Anne and Marcus Lithgow, who shows himself to be a very bad boy in THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED.
Any chance of your art collectors and the bibliophiles from your marvellous Burgundy Club series crossing paths?
Not unless we meet them as children! If I can find a role for him, I may introduce Lord Hugo Hartley, an elderly connoisseur who has appeared in several of my books.
A treat for readers, a delicious novella appeared in October to launch this series. Can you tell us about THE SECOND SEDUCTION OF A LADY?
Set seven years earlier, the novella introduces Caro when she’s falling in love with Robert (who later dies). But the story is about Robert’s guardian Max Quinton and the woman he loved and lost. Eleanor dumped him when she learned he’d taken part in a bet over her with friends, but when they meet again by chance, Max is determined not to let her get away again. This is my first shot at the reunited lovers trope, but it won’t be my last.
I’m intrigued to know whether you see any particular trends in historical romance at the moment (apart from luscious, romantic covers!).
I think it’s a very exciting time to be writing historical romance. Scandalous, sinful, seductive Regency dukes aren’t going away (neither would I wish them to!) but we’re seeing more variety. Although nineteenth-century England and Scotland are still the most popular settings, we’re seeing more characters from different classes and greater scope for quirky stories and characters. While the self-publishing movement hasn’t yet affected historicals as much as it has some other subgenres, I feel a kind of buoyancy and sense of possibility among authors, a willingness to experiment. I’d be very curious to know if other writers agree–and if readers are finding and enjoying new kinds of stories.
I had so much fun researching the art background to this book. Surfing the internet for paintings is my idea of a good time. (Visiting museums with Anna Campbell is even more fun, but darn it she lives too far away!) What kind of art do you enjoy? Do you have favorite artists or art galleries?
Ah, Miranda, I still have fond memories of the guards at the National Gallery of Art wanting to throw us out because we were being too naughty. Too long since we’ve done that!
OK, everyone, Miranda has very kindly offered TWO prizes today (international). Print editions of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED and THE SECOND SEDUCTION OF A LADY. Yum! Get commenting!