Thursday, June 30, 2011

Author Interview and Giveaway with Loretta Chase

"OH MY AUSTEN! Breath, Rita! Just Breath..."
Okay, so now that you've gotten a peek inside my brain right now, hows about I share with you all WHY I am having one of my 'moments'! Today's special guest is none other than the astounding, incredible, wunderkind herself: Loretta Chase! I've tried to keep it professional long enough, and now that the interview is ready to be shared, I can gush till the cows come home! I'll stop my yammering right now and get to all the EPICNESS now.
Please welcome my amazing special guest:

Loretta Chase

About the Author:
Loretta Chase holds a B.A. from Clark University, where she majored in English and minored unofficially in visual art. Her past lives include clerical, administrative, and part-time teaching at Clark and a Dickensian six-month experience as a meter maid. In the course of moonlighting as a corporate video scriptwriter, she fell under the spell of a producer who lured her into writing novels... and marrying him. The union has resulted in more than a dozen books and a number of awards, including the Romance Writers of America's RITA® Award.
Find Loretta Online: Website | Blog | Two Nerdy History Girls  Facebook

Loretta's Latest Release:

"Brilliant and ambitious dressmaker Marcelline Noirot is London's rising star. And who better to benefit from her talent than the worst-dressed lady in London; the Duke of Clevedon's intended bride? Winning the future duchess's patronage means prestige and fortune for Marcelline and her family. To get to the lady, though, Marcelline must win over Clevedon, whose standards are as high as his morals are...not. The prize seems well worth the risk. This time, though, Marcelline's met her match. Clevedon can design a seduction as irresistible as her dresses; and what begins as a flicker of desire between two of the most passionately stubborn charmers in London soon ignites into a delicious inferno . . .and a blazing scandal. And now both their futures hang by a thread of silk…"source 

Read an excerpt: here | Read a review at Smexy Books : here

Get Your Copy Today:
Barnes&Noble | Amazon | Borders 

The Interview

Welcome to Not Another Romance Blog, Loretta! Congratulations are definitely in order; I am so excited to have you on and ask you all about your latest release, ‘Silk Is For Seduction’ (The Dressmaker Series-Book 1, Avon Books, June 28, 2011) How does it feel to be publishing another book? Have the feelings changed much since the release of your earlier novels?
LC: Thank you, Rita. I’m glad to be here. I loved embarking on this series and working on this book. As to publishing—there’s only ever one first book, and the incredible thrill of seeing it in print. But each book gives me a jolt, maybe along the lines of, “Ye gods! I wrote another one!”

RJ: Let’s jump right in and discover more about your latest. ‘Silk Is For Seduction’ is the first book in The Dressmaker Series. The title is an obvious clue, but can you tell us a little more about this new series; what’s it about, what makes it unique, and where the inspiration for it came from?
LC: In a nutshell: Three talented, and ambitious sisters will do whatever it takes to make theirs London’s foremost dressmaking shop. The series evolved from my fascination with 19th century ladies’ magazines, discussions with the dressmaker-historians at Colonial Williamsburg, 
and my own ongoing, shallow attachment to fashion in all its forms. One thing that’s different is the setting—the 1830s and the Romantic Era. The fashions are nothing like the Regency-Jane Austen look. As to unique elements—my heroines are descendents of Dreadful DeLuceys: the disreputable aristocrats hovering in the background ofLord Perfect and Last Night’s Scandal.

RJ: Historical fashion is an intriguing topic for many. I always get a sense while reading your books that they’re well-researched and that you are very knowledgeable about the topics used in your stories. You also happen to run the fabulous Two Nerdy History Girls blog where you and fellow author Susan Holloway Scott expound on various historical topics from popular dress to glorious settings. I am a history lover, too! Can you tell us more about your blog and are there any cool tid-bit you’d like to share with us history lovers?
So many people think history is boring because in school they’re made to read about politics and wars. But there’s history that deals with everyday life: from art and architecture to food, clothes, and manners—much more interesting, because we can relate personally. Basically, Susan & I are history magpies, and the blog allows us to share our finds with other sympathetic souls. Currently my blogs are offering an Illustrated Guide to Silk is for Seduction—lots of history tidbits related to the story, and lots of pictures—and even movie clips.

RJ: Your historicals are among some of the freshest and most original that I’ve ever read! With every genre, I am sure, there are tropes and plot devices that are constantly used and predictability is often the #1 gripe from most readers and reviewers. Naturally, we are all invested in the Happily Ever After, but can you give us a little insight as to how you keep your plots so fresh on that road to H.E.A?
That’s a tremendous compliment, and I wish I knew how to explain. But the truth is, my mind just goes that way. It’s absolutely not deliberate—or even conscious.

RJ: Let’s go straight for the jugular. What is ‘Silk Is For Seduction’ all about?
It’s about two people from different worlds—the cutthroat world of high fashion and the even more treacherous world of high society—who can’t help seducing each other, even though it’s a ridiculously dangerous game for them both. Their love story deals with surviving catastrophes, and learning to trust enough to take tremendous risks. OK, that sounds dead serious, but readers who know me know there will be laughs along the way. Yes, and it’s definitely about clothes, too, complete with Project Runway and What Not to Wear moments.

RJ: I am pretty sure that for any reader of romance (and all genres, for that matter) the characters make or break the story. A book can have the most breathtaking settings and original plot, but if the characters have no character, it leaves much to be desired. Tell us more about the Hero and Heroine from ‘Silk Is For Seduction’. Who are they, what are their flaws and redeeming qualities, and what attracts them to each other besides their physical charms?
Marcelline Noirot lost everything in the 1832 cholera epidemic except her daughter and sisters. Age 21, she came to London with a few coins, her dressmaking genius, and her DeLucey card skills, and started rebuilding a life for her family. She’s clever and charming; she’s a card sharp & a liar—but she’s passionate about her family and her work. The Duke of Clevedon is used to getting whatever he wants, and he’s devoted the last three years of his life to pleasure, mainly in Paris. But he’s lost loved ones, too. This and his strict upbringing save him from being completely selfish and shallow. Along with the inborn ducal arrogance and self-centeredness, there’s a core of generosity, loyalty, and protectiveness. Too, he’s as sharp and witty as Marcelline, and they keep each other on their toes.

RJ: Now, I can’t have the lovely Loretta Chase on my blog without bringing up what is considered by most to be one of the greatest historical romances ever written. ‘Lord of Scoundrels’ is revered all over the romance community and has won several awards, including the RITA. Can you just speak on that book a little; where the idea for it came from, how you feel about that story and its characters more than a decade later, and what do you think makes it so adored to this day?
LC: It started with an image in my head of an ugly little unloved boy. Then I’m not sure what happened. The Disney Beauty & the Beast movie definitely got my neurons firing, and I remember wanting to make sure my beast was truly beastly, absolutely awful. Then for some reason it was easy to imagine the sort of woman who’d see right through him to the troubled boy inside. What happened after that—how the story came to together—let’s just call it a gift from the writing gods. I’m still proud of that book—and it’s a constant source of wonder and joy to know it continues to resonate with readers.

RJ: Moving on into preferences- What types of books do you like to read? What sort of plots do you enjoy, what traits do you like to find in the protagonists, and what settings and genres entice you like no other?
LC: Make me laugh and you’ve got me: romantic comedy, for example, and wit in whatever genre. No special preferences in characters—except for wanting them to be fully developed. Much of my reading tends to be outside my genre: many detective novels, some paranormal, 19th century fiction, and a lot of history (mainly social history & biography). While I read about as much contemporary as historical romance, my preference in most genres tends toward historical settings.

RJ: Your books have been in publication since the late 80’s. I always love to read a debuting author, but nothing beats reading a classic by a veteran like you (veteran in the career sense). I am just curious to know: Over the years, what sort of changes have you witnessed in the historical romance genre in terms of publishing and the writing in general? Do you read books by new authors frequently, or have you stuck to certain authors? Also, are you a Kindle/Nook e-book convert, or will you be a paperback diva till the end?
LC: I saw the change in historical romance from what I think of as Gone With the Wind romances—with their casts of thousands, endless trials & tribulations, extended separation of h/h, and so on—to more intimate books, focused much more on h/h. Other than that—and the drastic decrease in publishers and publishing lines—I’m clueless about trends. You’ll always see new authors on my TBR pile. Since it’s a couple of miles high, though, they’re not new anymore by the time I get to them. But I have steady favorites, too. Likewise, it’s not either-or regarding Kindle and print books. Each has its wonderful qualities, and I think it’s great that we have two ways to read.

RJ: Have you ever written a book outside of the historical romance genre and do you have any plans or would you like to try publishing in another genre?
I tried a paranormal at one point, but that, apparently, was just a way of working out some personal demons. Literally. It was not good.

RJ: What projects are you currently working on and what can we expect on the shelves by you next?
The Dressmaker Series is planned as a trilogy, so the next book will feature Noirot Sister #2, Sophia, the saleswoman nonpareil.

RJ: You are so respected in the romance community by so many readers and author; can you pass along a little pearl of wisdom to some of the aspiring authors out there?
Considering how slowly I write, my advice may not be so pearly. I had a lot of practice writing—in academe and for business as well as for myself and the friends I inflicted it on—before I undertook a novel. Practice, and working on one’s craft is really important, I think. The big secret to my writing is rewriting—and researching the daylights out of everything—and having people around me who are extremely supportive but also help me not take myself too seriously.
RJ: Thank you so very much for stopping by and indulging my curiosity, Loretta! You are a fan favorite and I am sure the readers can’t wait to devour ‘Silk Is For Seduction’ (as I plan to)! All the best!
LC:Thank you for having me! And—don’t want to be greedy or anything— but I do hope everyone completely loves the book!
Loretta has generously offered to giveaway a copy of 'Silk is for Seduction' to (1) one lucky commenter! All you have to do to be eligible to win is comment on this interview post! Leave a comment, gush nonsensically, ask Loretta a question (she'll check back through out the day to answer!) The giveaway will end on July 14th and the winner will be announced and contacted shortly thereafter.

*Please leave your email address in your comment so you can be contacted if you win
*Restricted to US

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