Reading Romances: What are your favorite romance novels and romance couples?
Lecia Cornwall: I love classic romantic couples…like Darcy and Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice. I find Robin Hood and Maid Marion incredibly romantic, and Tristan and Iseult is one of my favorite stories. On my keeper shelf I have a copy of Jude Deveraux’s “A Knight In Shining Armor” which makes me cry every time I read it.
How do you like your heroes and heroines to be? What do you think will make readers fall in love with Miranda’s fiancé?
I like heroes and heroines with flaws or problems to overcome. They might be internal, like a self-doubt or fear, or they might be external, such a scandal, or a mistake. We can all identify with having issues, and I think flaws add more dimension to character, makes them more realistic. Who wouldn’t want to help a handsome hero overcome his problems, or see a heroine triumph over adversity and find true love?
Gilbert Fielding is different than other heroes I’ve written. For a start, he was originally created as a secondary character in Secrets of A Proper Countess. He’s young, penniless, quiet, and as a second son, he’s intended for the army. When he stepped on stage in Secrets, he was only there to throw a wrench into Miranda Archer’s neat plans to make her debut, choose a husband from a pre-set list of noble bachelors arranged by title and income, and live happily ever after. But when Miranda’s brother tells her, “You don’t marry a title, Miranda. You marry a man. What if you fall in love with a mere second son?” it simply had to happen. And what better time for a love story than Christmas?
Gilbert knows if he offers for Miranda, his suit will be rejected. The granddaughters of dukes simply do not marry penniless soldiers. It’s only when he realizes just how badly Miranda stands to be hurt by her fiancé’s secrets that he decides to declare his love. Gilbert isn’t brave or heroic until fate—and love—insists that he has to be. Then, he is everything a romantic hero should be.
What’s your favorite scene from All The Pleasures of the Season and why?
There’s a scene where Gilbert goes to propose to Miranda, only to find she’s already left for Carrington Castle. He has to face her sister, Marianne, and then Miranda’s fiancé, Kelton.
I love it because it is the scene where Gilbert must take the actions that make him a hero. Even Marianne gets fluttery when he neatly deals with Kelton and rides off into the snow.
What are five fun facts about you or this book that readers would love to know?
1. I still watch the Grinch every Christmas, and Love Actually, and White Christmas.
2. Carrington Castle was based on magnificent Holker Hall in the Lake District. Who wouldn’t want to spend a romantic Christmas here?
3. Miranda has plans for her husband’s estates, and intends to bring displaced weavers to live and work there. I added this after learning that French silk weavers escaped the French Revolution and came to London to ply their trade, and combined that with the fact that some wealthy landowners evicted tenants to make room for factories during the Industrial Revolution.
4. One of my favorite Christmas traditions is baking with my children (17 and 20). We get tipsy making rum balls, and take turns kneading the dough for Kulach, Ukrainian Christmas bread.
5. Frank Sinatra’s ‘J-i-n-g-l-e Bells’ is my favorite Christmas song. ‘Oh Holy Night’ is my favorite carol.
What do you think is your best line of dialogue for this title?
I love writing dialogue! I love romantic lines, and witty lines that make readers laugh out loud.
Here’s a romantic one:
“What were you thinking to come out in the cold without a cloak?”
He kissed her. “You. I was thinking of you, and I was more than warm enough.”
What fictional characters from another book would your characters choose as a best friend and why?
Gilbert might choose a soldier like Richard Sharpe from Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe novels, or even Flashman, from the books by George M. Fraser. Both Phineas Archer and Adam Westlake from Secrets consider him a friend, though he’s not of their class, admiring his integrity, kindness, and intelligence.
Miranda would choose someone intelligent and brave as a friend, someone who values honesty. Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice comes to mind.
I love what I do! I think the hardest part is taking an idea and turning it into a satisfying, unique, exciting story that will keep readers turning the pages. There are days when I have no idea what the next chapter will reveal, or how the book will end. That gives me nightmares.
The easy part for me is coming up with ideas. So many ideas, so little time to turn them all into books. Not that some of them necessarily should ever become books…
What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must haves for writers?
A good story, told well. I think a satisfying story has to have excellent writing, great dialogue, an intriguing plot, and characters that a reader can identify with, root for, and fall in love with.
I was once told, while I was a copywriter, “Don’t fall in love with your own words, because someone’s going to change them.” I think that suggests writers need to be open to advice, learning new things, and constantly improving.
If you could travel in a time machine, where would you go back to? Anyone you’d like to visit?
Oh, how often have I made that wish! There are so many places I would go…the famous Christmas courts of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine come to mind at this time of year. I would love to meet Anne Boleyn, or The Duke of Wellington, or Marie Antoinette, and so many other fascinating people. My children (history lovers like me) and I used to play a game at dinner, where we listed the famous people, living or dead, that we would like to invite to dinner, and what they might eat or talk about. Napoleon would probably hog the salt, and we couldn’t serve barbecue to Joan of Arc. Einstein would probably use his peas to solve an equation, but Lawrence Olivier and Byron would amuse us all with witty dialogue…
What makes a romance novel a great love story and how would you define romance.
True love, as the song says, and I forget exactly which song it is, is “not a love I can live with, but a love I can’t live without.”
I think the perfect love completes the unfinished parts of our souls. True love sees us for what we are, the flaws, the sins, the beauty, and loves us not in spite of them, but because of them. That’s what I hope my stories express. The more you uncover, the deeper you fall in love.
Romance is the expression of love, the little (and big) things we do to show how we feel, even when it’s difficult. It can be a kind word, a look, or the most passionate sex.
Thank you for joining me today. I’m especially excited because today is the official release day for ALL THE PLEASURES OF THE SEASON! I’d love to read your comments and I’m here to answer any questions you might have. And—since Christmas is the perfect time of year for gifts and surprises—I’m giving away a copy of ALL THE PLEASURES OF THE SEASON. So tell me, if you were playing the game above, who would you invite to dinner, and what would you serve?
Lady Miranda Archer accepts a marriage proposal
On the first day of Christmas and 15 minutes:
Miranda realizes she’s made a huge mistake.
For the next 12 days:
Miranda must find a way out of her engagement, which is harder than it looks, especially when her fiancé is pompous, mean, and desperate for her family’s jewels… and convince her true love that all she wants for Christmas is him…
I loved reading All the pleasures of the season. It’s a fantastic read and perfect for the holiday season, when we need a quick – and strong- romance book ’cause we simply don’t have enough time to read a full novel!
The romance was very emotional, beautiful and delicious to follow its development. Miranda at first appears as the stubborn lady who wants to please her father and ignore her feelings, a typical heroine, but she reveals her real feelings when Gilbert shows up and she’s conflicted about how her future will turn out. Gilbert is nothing less than a gentleman, although he is presented as a coward and needs a wake up call to decide what it is he truly wants. They both think about the others before themselves, altruistics till the end!
The secondary characters only made me desperatly want to read the other books of this series. I’m giving it The Page Turner Award because, obviously, I couldn’t put it down! I recommend it especially to historical romance fans looking for a christmas title this year.
Lecia and Harper Collins will be giving away a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and a copy of the book for this stop! Follow the tour here!