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!
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!