Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Romance is great especially if the author is Leigh Michaels


Today we have with us the talented author of nearly 100 books, including 80 contemporary novels and more than a dozen non-fiction books. More than 35 million copies of her romance novels have been published by Harlequin. A 6 time RITA finalist, she has also received two Reviewer’s Choice awards from RT Book Reviews, and was the 2003 recipient of the Johnson Brigham Award. She is the author of On Writing Romance, published in January 2007 by Writers Digest Books. Leigh also teaches romance writing on the Internet at Gotham Writers’ Workshop. She lives in Ottumwa, Iowa, where she is working on her third book from Sourcebooks, The Wedding Affair, which will be in stores in September. Her first book with Sourcebooks Inc. Publishing House sold to rave reviews, The Mistress’ House and is followed by Just One Season in London.
Let’s get right in to the questions about your newest book. Just One Season in London was just released. Can you tell us what scene in the book is your favorite?
LM: One of my favorites is near the end of the story when Sophie hijacks her brother’s horse, tears her dress so she can ride astride, and takes off across the park in pursuit of the man who she simply can’t let get away. I loved writing that scene, largely because it parallels an earlier scene where they even say some of the same things to each other. And because Sophie is something of a renegade – she’s young enough not to think about the consequences.
I have to say, the novel was wonderfully written to add some suspense to the final pairing up of the characters. I wasn’t sure who was getting a HEA or who they were getting it with. How did you come up with the plot for Just One Season in London?
LM: I started writing with the basic idea of a mother, son, and daughter who are all trying to marry money – not to make life easier for themselves, but to take care of the other two. It’s the element of sacrifice which made this story so satisfying for me. I knew pretty much how Miranda’s story would end – though some of the details surprised me – and I was fairly certain of Rye’s happy ending. But I didn’t know who Sophie would end up with until I was about halfway through writing the book.
How much research did you have to undertake to make this historical romance novel?
LM: I think I’ve been researching the Regency period forever, first by reading novels set in the Regency period and then by absorbing all the non-fiction resources I could find. I usually have a reference book nearby and in odd moments I open it at random just to refresh my memory, because a writer never knows what detail she’ll want to use. Among the specific materials I obtained for this book was an illustrated guide to London at that time, so I could see what Grosvenor Square actually looked like. Also period maps, to visualize how different sites related to each other geographically and what the characters would see as they looked out windows or rode in carriages.
Tell us about your process of writing Just One Season in London, any outlines or plans?
LM: This book includes 66 separate scenes and four distinct points of view – so to keep each of the individual stories flowing, I kept a list of the scenes. For each scene I had a short tag line which included the POV character’s name, so I could glance at the list and know exactly how long it had been since I had used a particular point of view or advanced that specific romance.
If Just One Season in London gained a movie deal, which actors would you cast in the character roles?
LM: I’m absolutely terrible at the game of choosing actors – would any of your readers like to make suggestions? – but I would like to see Maggie Smith as Lady Stone. She could play both the cynical and romantic sides of that character with panache.
Your next book The Wedding Affair is coming out in September of this year, can you tell us about it?
LM: The Duke of Somervale’s sister is getting married at his country estate, and half of England is invited. But most of the guests have other things – not the wedding – on their minds. Wife-of-convenience Penelope Townsend is hoping to use the trip to the duke’s estate to seduce her husband into a real marriage… Vicar’s daughter Kate Blakely is desperate for a job that will let her escape the village… and poverty-stricken widow Olivia Reyne will stop at nothing to secure her daughter’s future, even if that means pretending to adore the duke – while the duke himself is dodging the covey of bridesmaids who are stalking him.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
LM: I’ve been a writer since I was very small – there is some perfectly dreadful poetry in my baby book. My degree is in journalism, because I wanted to make my living as a writer. Fortunately for me, I was able to do that by writing fiction instead.
What do you think makes a good story?
LM: To draw me in, a good read has to have interesting characters – people I would like to be friends with – facing intriguing problems with style and grace and humor.
Do you draw inspiration from reading other books, from family, or other sources?
LM: I’ve built entire books on a random comment someone made to me over lunch. I’ve used incidents that have happened to my friends (though, luckily for my friends, the incidents are usually much worse in the book than in real life). The most useful single source for me is newspapers, where there are stories about people facing odd or unusual problems. That serves as a takeoff point to ask, “What if this happened next?” or “What if he did this instead of that?”
What have you discovered is the most challenging part of writing?
LM: Actually putting the rear in the chair day after day and producing pages, when I sometimes don’t feel like it, or when the story feels as if it’s not going anywhere. Writing a book is a BIG project, and at the beginning it feels as if it will never be done no matter how many hours I sit there, so taking a walk is a much more inviting alternative.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
LM: Other than a wastebasket (or the electronic equivalent), not much. I often use Dr. Wicked’s Write or Die website ( when I’m writing a first draft, because facing consequences keeps me writing instead of second-guessing and editing and picking at flaws. That gets a lot of words on paper in a hurry, and then I can edit and polish and make them good.
Finish this sentence, Writing is like…
LM: Writing a book is like moving a train. Starting up from a dead stop and pulling out of the station takes a huge amount of energy, but it’s exciting to begin a new journey (or a new book). Then once the train is rolling and up to speed, the momentum carries it along and it’s actually hard to stop until you reach your destination – and write The End.
And last but not least, is there anything else you would like readers to know about you or the books you write?
LM: I love writing triple stories – three heroes, three heroines, three romances melded into one book. And I’d love to hear what readers think of that approach!
A family that courts together…
Viscount Ryecroft has a beautiful sister he needs to marry off… if only he had the money for her Season in London.
His family is in financial ruins, and his mother is willing to do anything to help her children, including sell herself to the highest bidder…
Finds passion on their own…
Sophie Ryecroft will sacrifice love to marry for the good of her family… but instead finds passion and solace in an attractive alternative.
With so much riding on their one and only Season in London, Rye, Sophie, and Miranda can’t help but get hopelessly entangled with all the wrong people…
Celebrated author Leigh Michaels effortlessly weaves three tales of unexpected romance with surprising twists you won’t soon forget.
Enter for your chance to win a free copy of Just One Season in London by Leigh Michaels
The always wonderful Danielle at Sourcebooks Inc. is giving away one copy of Just One Season in London to two lucky winners. USA/Canada only. To enter all you have to do is fill out this form and comment on this post with your answer to the following question…Who is your favorite historical man? Contest ends August 5.

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