Annabelle, The American by Lavinia Kent – Interview + Giveaway

Reading Romances: When did you first start reading romance?

Lavinia Kent: Probably when I first started reading.  My favorite childhood books were fairytales and I loved the happily-ever-after.  One of my earliest reading memories was my parents reading the entire Lord of the Rings to me.  I liked the story well enough, but I my favorite part was the romance between Arwen Evenstar and Aragorn.

In high school I started reading more traditional romances, mostly Harlequin Presents and Kathleen Woodiwiss.  I did have a special soft spot for Barbara Cartland at the time, but was always disappointed I didn’t have a heart-shaped face and large, widespread eyes.

What made you choose historical romance out of all other romance sub-genres?  

I love women in peril and marriage of convenience stories, and they work better in a historical situation.  A woman in the Regency had many fewer choices than a woman today.  In a modern day setting the reader would think the heroine was a wimp for not just going out and taking care of herself.  In a historical situation it’s a whole different game.

What are five fun facts about ANNABELLE, THE AMERICAN that a reader would want to know?

♦ Annabelle looks like Betty Draper on Mad Men.  I rarely have actresses in mind when I imagine my characters, but right from the start Annabelle was firmly locked in my mind.

♦ I was really upset that I couldn’t figure out how to put a catfight into this novella as I did the previous one and the following one.  I had so much fun writing those scenes.

♦ Writing a story about a husband and wife who mostly trust each other was hard – REALLY HARD.

Annabelle starts the book by making a list of reasons she does not love her husband.  I had to be careful every step of the way to keep true to that list – until I was able to break each reason deliberately.

♦ I had no idea what scandal would rock Annabelle’s world until I put pen to paper – and then it just all poured out.

If someone were writing a story about Lavinia Kent, what would your blurb say?

Find out what happens after the Happily-Ever-After, the true life story of love, children, laundry, computers, coffee, travel, summer, pets, cooking, writing, consulting, TV, and of course – chocolate.

Tell us a lesson you learned after having several books published.

Each book is different.  I’ve learned lessons writing each of my books and have grown as a writer, but every time I think I’ve learned something a new difficulty or joy arises.  

I’ve learned to start each day fresh and hopeful, trusting that the story will progress the way I want it to – and if it doesn’t I am no longer afraid of the delete button.

What can you tell us about the releases of your four THE REAL DUCHESSES OF LONDON novellas?

Writing these stories has been incredibly fun and incredibly terrifying.  I loved having the chance write about a group of friends and to show how they stick together even when things are going well and they aren’t getting along.

Writing four novellas in quick succession and the things that let me do were wonderful – but I am not sure I ever want to be working on that tight a deadline again.  When I am writing I tend to write fast, but I like to have the freedom to let things settle in my mind when I am done.  It was hard for me to let go of each story being terrified that I’d want to change it later.

I am very pleased with how each of the stories turned out and with how each one let me explore a different aspect of love and trust.  The REAL DUCHESSES shows how every relationship is different and has different issues to resolve.  In the REAL DUCHESSES I used a series of scandals caused by the publication of mean-spirited cartoons to force my couples apart and then to bring them back together.

The first of the stories, KATHRYN, THE KITTEN, is about how even an outwardly happy marriage can be made better and more passionate.  The second story, LINNETTE, THE LIONESS, is a reunion story and deals with how long-ago hurts don’t just fade away.  ANNABELLE, THE AMERICAN shows what happens when everything you think you know about your spouse is thrown into doubt.  And ELIZABETH, THE ENCHANTRESS will revolve around how a couple that hasn’t seen each other for years can learn to overcome a misunderstanding that has lasted through their whole separation.

One of my favorite things about these stories has been seeing how readers react differently to each one, and how everybody has a different favorite.

Last Question, how would you define “romance”?

I always think of romance as finding a relationship that is so important that you learn to live with each other’s day-to-day faults.  It’s not the most “romantic” of explanations, but I do find it very real both in books and in life.

Thank you so much for having me.  I had a great time answering your questions.

Annabelle, The American

August by HarperCollins

Regency England just got real(ity)
Episode 3: Annabelle and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad rumor
Annabelle, Marchioness of Tattingstong, always thought she was a good wife. She’s put up with all the titters and stares in the ballroom that go along with being a rich American married only for her wealth and looks. But, when it’s rumored that her husband has a secret family, one he is using her money to keep, Annabelle may have finally had enough. A proper English wife would grin and bear it, but playing by society’s rules hasn’t worked for her so far. Will revenge be as sweet as American pie?

Goddess Fish PartnerPrevious/Next TOUR STOPS:

Lavinia and Harper Collins will be giving away a $25 gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour! Go check the other stops and the more you comment, the better your chances of winning!

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28 thoughts on “Annabelle, The American by Lavinia Kent – Interview + Giveaway

  1. I am so excited to read Annabelle, it’s on pre-order an I just may be up at 3am when it downloads to my kindle! I love all of Lavinia’s Novellas and of course her books. Thanks for a chance to win a gift card! 🙂

    I will be catching up with you on the tour…


  2. I love marriage of convenience stories, too! And it’s true that in a historical I’m always willing to believe that it could have happened that way but in a contemporary I don’t like these stories very much because they seem unbelievable somehow.
    Can’t wait to read the Duchesses of London series!


  3. I love this series! I devoured both Kathryn the Kitten and Linette the Lioness and I’m so glad to get the nudge that Annabelle the American is out. I, too, love marriage of convenience stories and have written a bunch of them. No one can write sensuality like Lavinia, so I can’t wait to devour Annabelle, too.


  4. I am so glad my daughter turned me on to you and the kindle..I had stopped reading because I lost sight in one eye and it was hard to read, but the kindle made it easier and I love how your books keep me waiting for the next one! Love ya!…Phyllis


  5. I have some catching up to do with these stories, they all sound like delightful stories. I am off to check them out and immerse myself in these stories.


  6. I’m so very happy to read about Lavinia’s new release. Annabelle, the American sounds like a divine read. And I chuckled a lot about not being afraid of the delete key. Wishing you all the best! Maggie Toussaint


  7. This series of novellas sounds really interesting! I like the idea of Annabel standing up for herself. For some reason I didn’t know about this series but I’m putting them on my llist now:)


  8. “Annabelle, The American” looks wonderful. I love the idea of an American in the mix. My kind of book.



  9. Hi Lavinia,
    Great interview! I especially liked what you said about your stories involving the true life story of love. I am new to this series and I was wondering if I can start off reading about Annabelle? Just reading the little bit about this story sounds right up my alley!


  10. “I love women in peril and marriage of convenience stories, and they work better in a historical situation.” – I agree, Lavinia. I think possibly I’d add that they can work in Paranormal stories too, although perhaps then they might be called marriages of inconvenience, where there is a “magic force” reason the hero and heroine must stay together and work through their issues. I think that’s part of the appeal – creating a situation in which two people really *have* to work things out because there is no easy alternative.


  11. Lavinia,
    I love the premiss of The Real Duchesses of London! You truly are a genius to come up with such a great idea for a series of novellas.

    I thought that how you characterizied your marriage as the true life story of love if someone were to write a book about you. I’ve been married for 41 wonderful years and it’s the love and understanding that get’s you thru the bad times like what so many are facing in today’s world. Now more than ever we all need a little love and romance in our lives. I also must admit there are times that there is nothing “convient” about any marriage in fact after many years of marriage I actually heard my husband tell a friend that I “conveniently” cooked him great meals. He was in the Navy at the time during Vietnam and I guess my “homecooking” was better than he got in the mess hall!

    Thanks for all the wonderful hours of reading you’ve shared with me and all your readers. I can’t wait to read all the duchesses stories!


  12. Congrats on your books. I must admit that I haven’t read any of your work, but I am certainly interested now! Also – a GC would be nice!
    marajbrandon AT earthlink DOT net


  13. Congratulations on your new book. I admire anyone who can capture the human spirit in words and describe feelings and thoughts in way that gets the readers attention. Human relationships are the most difficult to describe as there are so many nuances. Great job!


  14. Carlene, The love story will work well if you start with Annabelle, but there are some other parts of the story that really do start with Kathryn, the Kitten.

    AND thanks to all for the great comments!



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