Monday, September 27, 2010

Coffee Shop Conversations: Q&A with author Miranda Neville

              Hello all you fabulous Dames, and welcome to Coffee Shop Conversations! On this segment of the blog I will be conducting interviews with Authors, Bloggers and anyone else relative to the literary world and willing to answer my questions. Coffee Shops are great places to just relax, let the hair down and talk about life, love and good books! So without further adieu, let's get to chatting with my special guest:

Author Miranda Neville

"I grew up in beautiful Wiltshire in southwest England. During my misspent youth I devoured the works of Georgette Heyer, Jean Plaidy and any other historical novels I could lay hands on. As a result I attended the University of Oxford to study history, ignoring all hints that economics might be a more practical subject. I spent several years writing catalogues of rare books and original letters and manuscripts for Sotheby's auction house in London and New York. Much of my time in this job was spent reading the personal correspondence of the famous. This confirmed my suspicion that the most interesting thing about history is people. I'm also a sucker for a happy ending: I howled in the back of geography class when I was supposed to be learning about German coalfields because I hated --HATED -- the end of Gone With The Wind. I still haven't forgiven Margaret Mitchell.
A few years ago I decided to write an historical romance. How hard could it be? Wrong. Several manuscripts under-the-bed (or deep in the hard drive) later, HarperCollins bought NEVER RESIST TEMPTATION, published in 2009 by Avon Books.
I now live in beautiful rural Vermont with my daugher Becca, a college student and confirmed drama queen, and two cats who are never on the right side of any door."Source

 Miranda Neville on the web: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Miranda's Latest Release:
'The Dangerous Viscount'
Released 09.28.2010 (TODAY!)
"This book proves that the only reason to be disappointed by a Miranda Neville novel is because the book will eventually come to an end!" quote from my review

"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?"Source

-Read an excerpt from 'The Dangerous Viscount': here
-Read My Review of 'The Dangerous Viscount': here

RJ: Hey Miranda! Thanks so much for stopping by for a little chat. Firstly, congratulations on your new book, 'The Dangerous Viscount', available for purchase as of 09.28.2010 (TODAY)!  What have the past few months been like; with finishing the book and anticipating it's release? What have you experienced emotionally as well as professionally with the completion of this new book?
MN: Because of the long publishing lead time, I finished the book at the end of last year. Since then I've seen one book published and finished writing another. But The Dangerous Viscount is a book that means a lot to me and hasn't been out of my thoughts. I really look forward to seeing readers' reactions to it, at the same time as being a little nervous - kind of like a mother sending her kid off to kindergarten.

RJ: Why don't you tell me and the readers a little bit about 'The Dangerous Viscount' from the author's point of view?

Google's idea of a 'Book Nerd'
MN: The hero is not your average romance novel hot hunk. When the book opens Sebastian is a bit of a nerd, a book collector who wears glasses, dresses like a scarecrow and hates women. Then he sets eyes on Diana Fanshawe and falls like a ton of bricks. When he learns Diana kissed him only to win a bet, he wants revenge. He gets an extreme makeover and sets out to seduce her. 

RJ:Where did the inspirations for your plot, characters and setting come from?
MN: I've always been fond of the romance plot where the guy bets he can win or seduce the heroine. I had the idea of doing it the opposite way, with the heroine doing the betting. Sebastian first appeared in my previous book, The Wild Marquis, and it occurred to me I could make the plot work with him. Then I needed to find a heroine for him and decided he'd go for someone very worldly and sophisticated, totally unlike him. Most of the book takes place in three different country houses. They are all based on real locations in England.
RJ:What challenges or difficulties did you face with the writing of this particular novel?

MN: (laughs). Just finishing a novel is always a challenge. That said, The Dangerous Viscount came relatively easily. But I don't think there's any question my biggest challenge was to make Sebastian, a nerd and a (ahem) virgin into attractive hero material.
RJ:  'The Dangerous Viscount' is not your debut novel. How does it differ from your previous books? What were you trying to achieve with this book, and also, do you feel like it's "mission accomplished"?
MN: My first two books had very strong mystery subplots. This books is all about the romance between the hero and heroine, without any subplot at all.  I was able to linger over the growth of their relationship, which evolves in stages. One major development (which I can't mention without a spoiler) came as a surprise to me as I wrote. Secondary characters, Diana's eccentric family and Sebastian's friends, got a little more page time too. I enjoyed portraying a whole community while keeping the novel centered on my couple.  I hope I've been successful. 
RJ: Lets talk about your Hero and Heroine (Sebastian & Diana). What are their flaws and what are their redeeming qualities? Also, why are they attracted to each other (aside from physical attraction)?
MN: Diana, the young widow of a much older and wealthy husband, is socially ambitious. She tells herself that she is in love with Lord Blakeney, the handsome heir to a dukedom. But while her aspirations may seem shallow, she is rebelling against her own family who are well born but eccentric and not well accepted in society. She needs to learn that appearances aren't everything. But she is also warm and kind and intelligent and those are the qualities Sebastian falls for. Physical attraction he both feels and resists. He begins to get serious about her when he meets her family: she finds them embarrassing but he thinks they are delightful. Sebastian is prejudiced against all women (for reasons we learn during the book), set in his ways, and stubborn. He is also smart, loyal, reliable, and protective. Diana finds him likable and interesting as a person long before she is awoken to his physical attractiveness.
RJ: Your September release is the latest novel in The Burgundy Club series. What is the premise for this series/where did the idea for it come from? And also, how does 'The Dangerous Viscount' tie into/contribute to the series?
Book 1 in Series
MN: The series is about a group of aristocratic young English book collectors. At the end of The Wild Marquis, the boys form the Burgundy Club, to commemorate the rare book auction that forms the central plot feature of the story. I worked in rare books at Sotheby's auction house so I drew on my knowledge of book collecting. Sebastian is one of the collectors who became friends with the hero of The Wild Marquis. His fellow book collectors help him transform himself to win Diana. 

RJ: How did your writing journey begin and how did you get here?  What pit-stops, wrong turns, and perfect lane changes did you make on your road to publication?
Neville's debut novel
MN: About six or seven years ago I decided to try my hand at writing fiction and chose historical romance, something I'd always loved. My first book was very traditional in feel. After getting a bunch of rejections, I realized it wasn't going to sell. I had also learned a lot about writing a better book. I had an idea about a girl disguised as a boy who works as a pastry cook for the Prince Regent. That became Never Resist Temptation, published in 2009.

RJ: The writing process differs from author to author. Some are planners, and others just jump right in. Some consider themselves night writers, while others need daylight and a park bench or a coffee shop (wink) to set the mood for creativity; whats your writing process and atmosphere like?
MN: I wish I knew. Seriously, I'm amazed my books get written. The process is different every time and I have no routine and no established method. It's a miracle.
RJ: Romances has transcended many different sectors of pop culture. I think the Beatles said it best, "All you need is love". This being a Romance Blog, I've got to ask: what are your favorite picks from the following:  Favorite Love Song? Favorite Scent on a man? Favorite Romantic Comedy? and of course, Favorite Romance Novel
Love song: The Way You Look Tonight. 
Scent on a man: Shaving soap from Floris, a London perfumer whose history goes back to the eighteenth century.  
Romantic comedy: When Harry Met Sally. 
Romance Novel: Pride and Prejudice
RJ: What's coming up next for you (book-wise or otherwise)?
MN: I've just finished the third Burgundy Club book (no title yet) featuring Tarquin Compton, the haughty arbiter of London society. He's going to get naked and lost in the wilderness with a governess who holds a grudge against him. Next up: Minerva, the younger sister of Diana in The Dangerous Viscount.
RJ: Do you have anything that you would like to address to your fans and the readers?
MN: I love hearing from readers, so feel free to contact me - through my website or on Facebook or Twitter (@Miranda_Neville). My website has information about the historical background of my books. Plus I'm running a fabulous contest and there's still time to enter before it closes on September 30th. 
RJ: Final Question: Name something shocking or interesting about yourself that the readers may not know.
MN: There are many, many shocking things about me your readers don't NEED to know. [but] OK, here are two: I  love fruit cake. [Second,] when I helped my Dad move out of my childhood home, I found a bunch of hand-written, long forgotten romances I'd started writing in my teens. They were really bad.

-MN: Thanks so much to Rita for inviting me here. I've had a blast.
-RJ: My pleasure, Miranda. It was GREAT having you on! Had a blast myself!!

~Thanks once again to my special guest, Miranda Neville, for stopping by and telling me a little bit about her life and her new book! I immensely enjoyed reading 'The Dangerous Viscount' and I know everyone else will too! I also can't WAIT to read Tarquin's and Minerva's stories!!! ~
To all the readers, be sure to make use of those 'on the web' links above to better acquaint yourself and get connected with this fabulous author! This has been great!  I hope all of you have enjoyed this edition of: 

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