Thursday, 23 February 2012

Interview with Loretta Chase + Giveaway

Button made by the very talented Susi! Thank you!!

I recently discovered Loretta Chase's writing and I was so amazed she immediately became one of my favourite historical romance authors. So today I am honoured and extremely happy to be able to welcome her to the blog and introduce you to her novels in case you are not a fan yet. Trust me, you don't want to spend another minute not reading her books, they are that good!! So please give Loretta the warmest welcome!

Stella: Hi Loretta, welcome to Ex Libris! For this 2nd Blogoversary I decided to introduce my readers to some of my favourite authors and novels, and you are one of my new favourite discoveries! :-) Though being a historical romance aficionado, I have heard fellow HR lovers praise your name and novels, I just recently got to discover your writing through Silk is for Seduction, and I was irrevocably seduced! So now I would like to get to know you, the author behind the story better and if there are any readers of Ex Libris who haven’t yet heard of you to open their eyes to your books.

Can you tell us why historical romance? What’s the appeal? Why do you write stories in this genre?

Loretta: First, thank you for discovering me! And I’m glad you did so via the first book of my new Dressmakers series. It’s the launch of a writing project I’m really enjoying for a number of reasons—but I especially like dealing with the cutthroat world of fashion, 1830s style. A sort of Project Runway visits the Romantic Era.

Why historical romance? As a devotee of 19th century British novels, I was drawn to a historical genre. I chose historical romance—as opposed to historical fiction or historical mystery—because I wanted to explore the way love works. Unlike so many 19th century novels, historical romance always features a love story and a happy ending. One of its many appeals is setting stories in a time period when rules of behavior are so different from our own. It’s challenging to devise ways for my heroines to succeed in a time when women had virtually no rights at all. The 19th century environment and culture gives me a lot of built-in conflict that wouldn’t be available in a contemporary romance. And, finally, I really like history—enough to devote a blog to it. At Two Nerdy History Girls, my author friend Susan Holloway Scott (aka Isabella Bradford) and I post about historical clothing, manners, gossip, jobs, men behaving badly—all sorts of things.

Stella: And what is the thing (if there is any) that exasperates you about (historical) romance?

Loretta: I can’t think of anything I don’t like about working in this genre. Historical romance tends to focus on the aristocracy (or the romance version thereof), and I find the British class structure so intriguing. Dressing my characters in the clothes of the time is fun. The research is fascinating. And there’s the ongoing challenge of creating a balance between the romance fantasy and the historical realities—or what we believe to be the realities. And, of course, the war between the sexes is so much fun to write about. In short, other things might exasperate me, but not my genre.

Stella: Do you remember how you discovered the historical romance genre? Maybe even that first novel which introduced you to rogues and gown wearing heroines?

Loretta: My sister gave me some of her favorites. The Regencies were the ones that struck a chord.
Stella: I know novels are usually to an author like children are to a mother, but do you perhaps have a favourite novel of yours? Or a hero/heroine or couple that is closer to your heart than the others?

Loretta: Well, I’m not sure they’re quite like children to me—but this matter of picking a favorite has always struck me as more relevant to readers than to authors. That said, I’ll admit that my favorite of my books is always the one most recently completed—because It’s Done! (And yes, I will have another glass of champagne.) And the other favorite is always one I’m starting because it’s all potential. In the early stages of a story, I imagine that it’s going to be so fabulous that I won’t believe I wrote it. The triumph of hope over experience, you see.

Stella: What was your hardest book or scene to write and why?

Loretta: I think the hardest book to write was my second historical, Captives of the Night, because I was trying to write a mystery and a romance and give both elements equal attention. It about killed me.

Stella: What is the hardest/worst thing about being an author? And the best part?

Loretta: Hardest part is facing the blank screen or page: that first awful moment when I’ve not a single idea in my head and am not sure I ever again will have one. Best part is making a living doing what I love, which is a great privilege.

Stella: Silk is for Seduction the 1st book in your new series was released in July 2011. Can you tell us when we can expect to see the next book(s)? Just so we know until when to wait patiently (or at least try to…:-)

Loretta: The second book in the Dressmakers series is Scandal Wears Satin, which deals with Sophy Noirot (the second sister) and that gorgeous lummox, the Earl of Longmore (introduced in Silk is for Seduction). This will be another July release, available as of 26 June 2012. Excerpts and other details will appear on my website any day now.

Stella: On your website you write: „a fateful meeting with a video producer who lured me into writing novels and eventually became Mr. Chase.” How did Mr. Chase get the idea you should write novels? And was he suggesting you write romance novels or did you start penning different kind of books at first?

Loretta: For a good while early in my writing career, I wrote scripts for corporate video. The man I eventually married was my favorite video producer. He has always been my most enthusiastic cheerleader. He wasn’t so much pushing me into a particular niche as he was pushing me to do something he believed I was capable of doing, and something that he sensed I truly wanted to do. He’s a great believer in setting goals and making plans. He didn’t influence my choice of genre. (Fact is, he prefers reading nonfiction.) That was entirely my decision, based on what I liked reading and what I believed would sustain my interest and challenge my mind over the long term.

Stella: If you were to try out your hand at writing in a different genre, which one would it be?

Loretta: My not-so-secret fantasy is to be Charles Dickens, and write something at the level of Bleak House. But he was a genius, and I’m not—so maybe it’s more intelligent for me to continue trying to excel in a genre that I’ve enjoyed and that’s always suited me.

Stella: If you could travel back in time in what period would you like to spend a few days and where? Do you have a favourite time period you like to read/write about?

Loretta: The past is a place I’m not sure I want to literally visit. It’s doubtful I could survive, even for a few days. I’d need immunity to the various things waiting there to kill me. And probably a special translation device imbedded in my brain, enabling me to understand the language as it was spoken in a given time period in a given place. Oh, and something to subdue my sense of smell. But if I could be immunized and such, and completely invisible—a sort of astral projection—I’d be happy get in my time machine and visit any of scores of eras and places. If we narrow to the setting for my stories, the early 19th C, I’d like to see for myself what was happening at Almack’s and eavesdrop on the Prince Regent & Beau Brummell when they were still friends. I’d like to snoop on Jane Austen for a while. And hover near Charles Dickens at the start of his career. And it would be fantastic to be in Egypt with Giovanni Belzoni when he first entered the Pyramid of Khafre and the Tomb of Seti I. The list goes on and on, but these are the highlights.

You can read more about Loretta and her books at her website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Book #1 in the Dressmakers series

From the Design Book of Marcelline Noirot:

The allure of the perfect gown should be twofold:
ladies would die to wear it ... and gentlemen would kill to remove it!

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 the ton, the Duke of Clevedon's intended bride? Winning the future duchess's patronage means prestige and fortune for Marcelline and her sisters. 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—but this time 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 an exquisite thread of silk...


HarperCollins has generously offered a paperback copy of  Silk is for Seduction (US only) or an eARC of Scandal Wears Satin (open to international readers as well) to a lucky commentator! 

To be entered all you have to do is:

1. fill out the main form so I have your contact info (just once, if you have already filled it out for a previous giveaway that's enough)

2. leave a comment and answer Loretta's question, tell us why do you read historical romances? What do you like best and least about historical romances? 

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 15 March 2012.

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