Posted by Anna Campbell Apr 2 2012, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Avon Authors, Bandita Booty, Confessions from an Arranged Marriage, historical romance, interviews, Miranda Neville, new releases, Paris, The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton, The Burgundy Club, The Dangerous Viscount, The Importance of Being Wicked, The Wild Marquis
by Anna Campbell
We love all our guests in the lair, doncha know? But a few people who visit us on a regular basis hold a very special place in our heart. One of those teacher’s pets is MIRANDA NEVILLE!
Miranda’s here today to tell her about her wonderful new historical romance CONFESSIONS FROM AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE which hit the shelves on 27th March. I’ve been waiting on tenterhooks for Minerva’s story! My pre-ordered copy is already winging its way to me (yay!), but if you haven’t yet bought this book, all you need to do is click on the cover and it takes you right to Amazon. We make it easy for you here in the lair.
Here’s the Book Depository link: http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Confessions-from-Arranged-Marriage-Miranda-Neville/9780062023056
This book is already grabbing huge critical praise. Publishers Weekly, no less, says: “The developing romance is a pleasure to witness, with witty banter and racy love scenes. The gradual discovery of Blakeney’s secret shame is genuine and endearing, making him far more than the standard scurrilous scoundrel.”
Here’s the blurb for CONFESSIONS OF AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE:
They couldn’t be more different, but there’s one thing they agree on.
In London after a two-year exile, Lord Blakeney plans to cut a swathe through the bedchambers of the demimonde. Marriage is not on his agenda, especially to an annoying chit like Minerva Montrose, with her superior attitude and a tendency to get into trouble. And certainly the last man Minerva wants is Blake, a careless wastrel without a thought in his handsome head.
The heat and noise of her debutante ball give Minerva a migraine. Surely a moment’s rest could do no harm … until Blake mistakes her for another lady, leaving Minerva’s guests to catch them in a very compromising position. To her horror, the scandal will force them to do the unthinkable: marry. Their mutual loathing blazes into unexpected passion but Blake remains distant, desperate to hide a shameful secret. Minerva’s never been a woman to take things lying down, and she’ll let nothing stop her from winning his trust … and his heart.
You can find out more about Miranda and her fabulous books on her website: www.mirandaneville.com
Miranda, I’m delighted to have you back in the lair as my guest. It’s always a party when you visit. Congratulations on the release of your latest historical romance CONFESSIONS FROM AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE. Can you tell us about this story?
This is the fourth book in my Regency Burgundy Club series, but let me summarize in non-period, totally non-historical language. The Marquis of Blakeney, the heir to a dukedom, is a good-looking jock. Minerva despises sports and thinks Blake’s a complete idiot. Since she thinks she’s the right person to rule the world, she has her eye on an up-and-coming politician whom she’ll marry and push up the greasy pole to be Prime Minister. (In nineteenth century England the British Prime Minster is like the President of the United States.) So we have the captain of the football team and the smartest girl in the class who hate each other. They end up forced to marry.
What inspired this story?
Blake and Minerva first appeared in THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT. As soon as I started to write Minerva, who was the heroine’s younger sister, I knew I had a winner. She was such a smart, entertaining character. Blake was the villain – or at least the antagonist – in that book, the guy who lost the girl. When Beverley Kendall read the book she immediately asked me “are you getting Blake and Minerva together?” “How did you guess?” I asked. It’s because we are romance writers and therefore sick. We take a man and a woman who appear totally incompatible and think “perfect couple.”
Mind you, it wasn’t easy. Blake was such a jerk in THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT and had a childhood feud with Sebastian, the hero of that book. I had to discover his dark secret that made him behave so badly. Once I found that, the story came together. I’m partial, I know, but I have to say I ended up adoring Blake and so does Minerva. Eventually.
What about Sebastian? Not thrilled to have Blake as a brother-in-law, I imagine.
That’s putting it mildly. For readers of the previous books in the series, I do resolve the Blake-Sebastian feud. But it’s a very minor part of the story. I wanted the book to stand alone
By the way, if anyone hasn’t yet read THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT, grab it, grab it, grab it. It was one of my top reads from 2010 What’s next for you? More wonderful Burgundy Club books?
I have a few leftover characters, but for now I’m moving on, or rather back. I’m working on a series set in 1800, featuring some extremely wild and badly behaved art collectors. I can now reveal the title of the first, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED. It’s out in December 2012.
Ooh, can’t wait! Sounds fascinating! I always ask you about interesting tidbits of research you’ve discovered when you write each book. Did anything unusual take your fancy when you were researching CONFESSIONS OF AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE?
Blake and Minerva go to Paris on their honeymoon. By 1822 the English had resumed their trips to the Continent after the long Napoleonic Wars and I found plenty of contemporary guidebooks. I discovered it was perfectly proper in Paris for ladies to dine out in restaurants and cafés. So I sent my warring couple out on a date, to the slightly disreputable Café de la Paix, located in a converted theater in the Palais Royal. I had to augment the descriptions I found from my imagination but the setting gave me an idea for a very fun and sexy scene.
You’re always jetting around the globe – and I have the postcards to prove it, thank you! I’d love to hear about your recent travels. Are you going to use any of your journeys as inspirations for future books?
Not sure I could fit it into a Regency, but I just spent a wonderful long weekend in Miami soaking up gorgeous March sun. It was a lot less humid than that day we spent together in Saint Augustine, Florida, after RWA in Orlando! Among the places I visited was Vizcaya, an incredible mock-Venetian Palazzo built by an industrialist in 1916.
Miranda, that looks spectacular. I often think back on our day at St. Augustine and what fun we had bowling along in our convertible. Do you have a question for the Banditas and Bandita Buddies to get conversation rolling like said convertible?
Paris is one of the most gloriously romantic cities in the world, but for some reason it’s not popular as a setting for romance novels. But there are some great books and movies set there. What’s your favorite Paris story, in any medium?
Miranda has very generously offered two signed copies of CONFESSIONS FROM AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE today to people who leave comments. So good luck and get commenting!
Posted by Anna Campbell Jul 27 2011, 4:02 am in Bandita Booty, historical romance, Miranda Neville, The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton, The Burgundy Club, The Dangerous Viscount, The Wild Marquis
by Anna Campbell
Miranda Neville is such a favorite in the lair, she hardly needs any introduction – but she’ll punch me if I don’t say something and while she punches like a girl, it’s still not the best look for authors at their professional best (snork!).
Miranda is an international explorer and conservationist who has been known to give Bear Grylls tips. She can whip up a three-course cordon bleu meal from two cans of baked beans, a bottle of Coke and an onion. When she’s not advising the CIA on their undercover missions or showing the Queen how to wave, she can be found rescuing puppies from fast-flowing streams and wrapping Christmas presents for local orphans.
If you want to discover more about the wonder that is Miranda, please visit her website: http://www.mirandaneville.com/
Miranda, as you know, I’ve been chomping at the bit to get my hands on THE AMOROUS EDUCATION OF CELIA SEATON. THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT was one of my top handful of reads last year and I feel like it’s been a long while between drinks (impatience is my middle name). Can you tell us about this story?
May I mention how much I love you, Anna? (And thanks for inviting me to schmooze with the Banditas: it’s always a blast).
If you’ve been following the Burgundy Club series, you will have met Tarquin Compton, the snooty dandy. Among the victims of his biting tongue is Celia Seaton, whose suitor was scared off when Tarquin compared her to a cauliflower. After the unfortunate vegetable incident, Celia went through hard times, culminating in the loss of her job as a governess. Then she’s kidnapped, robbed and left in a cottage attic, stripped to her shift. Being an enterprising girl, like any good heroine, she manages to escape.
The door to the humble structure was blocked, by a body. The body of a man lying unconscious, wearing nothing but breeches and a pair of riding boots. It had been some years since Celia had seen the bare torso of a grown man, and never a white man. He was pale, as befit a man who was always dressed up to his neck, but the smattering of dark hair, covering the chest and descending in a vee over his flat stomach, didn’t disguise the fact that the skin covered well-formed muscles. This interesting masculine form distracted her only a few seconds from the astonishing fact that she knew him.
And although he was one of several men who had bedeviled her life, she did not actually wish him dead.
Kneeling on the ground she set her fingers to his temple and found a pulse. “Mr. Compton,” she said. “Mr. Compton, wake up. Are you well?”
Nothing. She rested her head on his chest. Judging by the strength of his heartbeat, Mr. Tarquin Compton would live to cause further distress to awkward arrivals on the London marriage mart. She supposed she’d better try to revive him. And much as she detested the creature, she was curious to discover why the ton’s most fashionable gentleman lay half-naked next to a deserted Yorkshire cottage.
So what is Tarquin doing half-naked in the middle of nowhere? He certainly doesn’t know, because he’s suffering from amnesia. So Celia decides to go for a little payback by claiming that he is her fiancé, glorying in the name of Terence Fish. Together they set off across the moors, pursued by desperate villains.
Terence Fish!!!! I laughed out loud when I read that. You specialize in delicious different heroes. Sebastian in THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT was, shock, horror, a male virgin. And now we have an even rarer bird in Romancelandia, a dandy in the acid-tongued Tarquin Compton. Did you have any difficulties turning a dandy into a hero? What lessons has Tarquin learned by the end of the book? Seriously, he’s so due for his comeuppance! What makes an unusual hero appeal to you?
Since a dandy is all about external appearances, I decided to strip Tarquin of his clothes and his memory so we could see the man underneath the façade. Turns out he’s brave, honorable, affectionate, sexy, and good at catching fish. And then he gets back his memory and reverts to his snooty ways. He has to reconcile his social exterior with the man he was as Terence Fish. And Celia, who hates Tarquin and adores Terence, has to fall in love with him all over again. By the end of the book he has examined what made him a dandy and is no longer wants to be the disdainful leader of the ton.
I’d really love to write an uber-alpha rakish nobleman with an angsty past – I love to read about them – but somehow my heroes don’t turn out that way. Perhaps it’s because when I write I’m always looking for the unusual twist and it takes my characters into unexpected places. I also like to write about very strong, very smart heroines, who don’t take any crap from their men.
What’s next for you? More wonderful Burgundy Club books?
Minerva Montrose, Diana’s little sister from THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT, was a reader favorite. Her book, CONFESSIONS FROM AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE, will be out in April 2012. Minerva is very smart, very ambitious, and wants to marry an up-and-coming politician whom she can push up the greasy pole to be Prime Minister. Suffice to say, the best laid plans always go wrong.
Ooh, yum! Can’t wait. Minerva was one of my favorite characters in THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT. I always ask you about interesting tidbits of research that turned up when you’re working on your books. Did anything unusual take your fancy when you were researching THE AMOROUS EDUCATION OF CELIA SEATON? Did I see a mention of an erotic manuscript on your website?
Celia’s “amorous education” comes from a bawdy novel (and from Tarquin, of course). I used a real 1796 book that I read in the British Library. Here’s a snippet from where Minerva (remember Minerva? She reappears in THE AMOROUS EDUCATION) has discovered Celia reading the book.
Minerva slid down from the bed, carried The Genuine Amours off in triumph to the far side of the room and settled on the stool next to her dressing table. Celia waited in dread as the girl opened the book to the bookmark and began to read aloud.
“A man who seeks pleasure in casual f… Oh my goodness. I can’t say that word!”
“Then don’t. Stop now.”
“Never! This is fascinating. He can never find it but in the senses, while he who has love on his side, is stretched on the rack of delight, by those able ministers of pleasure, passion and imagination.” She looked up. “That seems a proper sentiment. The author advocates the act of you-know-what only when love is present.”
“Believe me,” Celia said. “He does not practice what he preaches.”
Miranda, a little birdy tells me you’ve set up in competition to the Bandits by joining a group blog! The cheek, I say! Would you like to tell us about this new endeavor? Wanna rooster?
We couldn’t ever hope to emulate the Bandits. A group of Regency authors (Tessa Dare, Katharine Ashe, Gaelen Foley, Sarah MacLean, Sabrina Darby and moi) have started The Ballroom Blog. (www.TheBallroomBlog.com). We don’t need a rooster (and c’mon, you guys would miss him!) because we have a very rude parrot called Albert who belongs to our hostess, Lady Beaufetheringstone (pronounced Batman). We’re posting Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays and hope everyone will stop by to join the dance.
I’ll be giving away a copy of THE AMOROUS EDUCATION OF CELIA SEATON to a commenter on the blog. You can say something about my post, ask me a question (I promise to answer anything that won’t totally compromise me) or give me a recipe for a really great summer salad dish. It’s hot times in northern New England and I need cool inspiration!
Sounds great, Miranda! Get commenting, people. Good luck!
Posted by Anna Campbell Sep 29 2010, 3:00 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Miranda Neville, The Dangerous Viscount, The Wild Marquis
Thanks, everyone, for a fabulous day in the lair yesterday. Didn’t we all have fun? I’m still snickering about poor St. Sebastian! And that Nigel No Friends is really NIGEL NO FRIENDS!!!
Miranda Neville very generously offered us TWO prizes. So without more ado, here are our winners!
Congratulations, SHEREE! You won a signed copy of Miranda’s latest release THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT!
Congratulations, PINK PEONY (JEN)! You won a signed copy of the first book in the Burgundy Club series, THE WILD MARQUIS!
Please email Miranda at miranda @ mirandaneville.com (no spaces) with your snail mail details and she’ll get your books out to you! Happy reading!
Posted by Anna Campbell Sep 27 2010, 4:02 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, guest blogger, historical romance, Jo Beverley, Miranda Neville, The Burgundy Club, The Dangerous Viscount
by Anna Campbell
It is with immense pleasure that I bring back a lair favorite, the fabulous Miranda Neville, who is here today to talk to us about her wonderful new historical romance just out from Avon THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT.
I adored THE WILD MARQUIS, the first book in her Burgundy Club series about a series of aristocratic book collectors in Regency London. And Miranda had me at hello when she told me that this book featured a nerd as the hero. I love it when nerds discover their inner Tarzan!
Here’s the blurb for THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT:
She is determined to find a husband … now!
Diana Fanshawe’s impeccable bloodline doesn’t stop society from laughing at the antics of her eccentric family. She knows the right marriage is her one chance to make her way in the world–which is precisely why she will Marry Lord Blakeney. But then she’s kissed by the brilliant ansd unconventional Sebastian Iverley, and her well-laid plans tumble into disarray.
Sebastian wants absolutely nothing to do with love or marriage. He likes his books, his male friends in the Burgundy Club, and he avoids women. But when he arrives at his hated cousin Blakeney’s house party, he’s smitten by the tantalizing Diana.
Should the lady follow her heart and try to win Iverley’s, though it seems hardened against her–or should she sacrifice love for respectability?
Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? You can read an excerpt here.
By the way, I take no responsibility for the very disrespectful attitude taken to some great works of Western art in this blog. Although I must say I snorted a cup of tea all over my keyboard when Miranda sent me the illustrations for her visit!
Anyway, without more ado, HEEEEEERRRREEEEE’SSSS MIRANDA!!!!
MIRANDA: Hello, my dear Ms. Campbell and all you wonderful Banditas. I love partying with you guys because you are, quite simply the best. (Yes, I say that to all the blogs but I really really mean it this time). Thank you for letting me ramble.
HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTESS (UM, THAT WOULD BE ME!): Ramble away, my dear, especially if compliments are involved. Here, have a cabana boy. Make sure that when you lift him by the love handles, you raise your pinky. We’re very refined here!
MIRANDA: The first time I read a blurb for Anna’s MY RECKLESS SURRENDER (damn good book – read it if you haven’t, or read it again) (HWTM: Why thank you, my dear!) I nearly fell off my chair. Now Anna and I do from time to time exchange emails, but on such important topics as the weather, classical music and what we are cooking for dinner. If we should mention our Works In Progress the conversation tends to include vocabulary unsuitable for a family audience on the subject of Work, Progress and lack thereof. We don’t get into details like our characters’ names. So imagine my shock when I read about Diana and Tarquin. I was just winding up a book with a heroine named Diana and about to start one with a Tarquin hero.
Coincidence or some sinister Aussie plot? I’ll let you be the judge. (Sinister Aussie going BWAHAHAHA here!)
Diana at least is a normal kind of name, but I don’t recall another Tarquin. My Tarquin has been with me a long time. He was the hero’s best friend in my first manuscript. When that book didn’t sell, I transferred Tarquin, whom I loved, over to a new series.
HWTM: Actually I’ve worked out I got Tarquin from Laurence Olivier’s son – my mum had a lifelong crush on Sir Larry. I had thought he was an Etruscan King, Tarquinius Superbus, but it turns out TS was the last king of Rome. Oh, well, still like the name although in Australia, he’d be beaten up in the playground.
M: Have you noticed how sometimes there seems to be a trend for a certain name? Suddenly it will crop up in half a dozen books and you can bet the farm the writers didn’t get together and say “I know, let’s all name our heroine Joanna this year.” That first MS of mine had a hero named Marcus and I swear I couldn’t find a book that year without a Marcus. It must have been something in the air.
The hero of THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT is Sebastian. Now there have been many, many great Sebastians. Off the top of my head I’m thinking of LORD OF SCOUNDRELS by Loretta Chase, Verlaine in Patricia Gaffney’s TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, St. Vincent in Lisa Kleypas’s THE DEVIL IN WINTER, the sinister Bastien in Anne Stuart’s BLACK ICE and Julia Quinn’s adorable Sebastian Gray in TEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT YOU.
HWTM: Not to mention the wonderful Sebastian, the hero of Christine Wells’s Golden Heart winning debut SCANDAL’S DAUGHTER.
M: My Sebastian is absolutely nothing like any of these. Frankly, he’s a nerd. He collects books, dresses badly and has no social graces. He wears glasses and he hates women –will have nothing to do with them. And I mean nothing.
HWTM: Yup, had me at hello!
M: But Sebastian takes one look at Diana (actually her leg, revealed as she adjusts her stirrup) and falls hard. In love for the first time, he gets a rude awakening when he learns she’s using him to attract his detestable cousin. To get revenge and make her fall for him, he gets an extreme makeover with the help of his friends Cain (from The WILD MARQUIS) and Tarquin (remember him?).
I must say my Sebastian cleaned up beautifully and though he has a few lessons to learn along the way (don’t they all?) he ends up an all round adorable hottie. Diana, who as a widow is the experienced one in this relationship, is charming, chic, light-hearted and determined to marry a duke. However she’s not as sophisticated as she thinks she is and she and Sebastian manage to get themselves into quite a muddle.
The naming of Diana is a story in itself. Originally she was named Marianne, after my eldest sister. Trouble is, she is nothing like my sister and as I wrote it started to bother me. I scribbled a list names on a yellow pad and Diana stuck. Her younger sister had been named Arabella but I decided to go with the goddess theme and changed her to Minerva. After I finished the book, I reread Jenny Crusie’s Bet Me, one of my favorite books. Good Lord. Min and Di. I’d never once thought of it. Had I been channeling Crusie? I shrugged and decided there are far worse people to channel.
HWTM: My Diana was originally Antonia but the hero was Ashcroft so we started to look like an ad for AAA Insurance. My next heroine is Antonia – another name I’ve always liked. Naming characters is one of the fun bits of writing.
M: I must admit there are names I’m not so fond off. Personally I have a hard time with heroes named Jeremy or Nigel. I think they are wimp names. Not that I haven’t enjoyed books with those names but I’d never choose them myself.
HWTM: I rather like Jeremy – I like J names! Julian, Justin, etc. Nigel, nah. Ian’s the one I can’t cope with! So Miranda, do you have a question for our Bandits and Buddies?
M: Can you think of any hero and/or heroine names that seem to come up a lot? Do you have any favorites or least favorites? And why?
Fascinating topic, Miranda! Get commenting, people. Miranda is offering not one, but TWO PRIZES, one each to a commenter! A signed copy of THE WILD MARQUIS (great read – I told you that already!) and THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT. Good luck!