Thursday, August 25, 2016

Meet Lara Temple - with a chance to win one of her books!

One of the best things abut going to  the Romantic Novelists' Association conference - which, as  you'll remember , I did in July this year -  is that   as well as getting the opportunity to meet up again with many friends I've known for some time,  there is also a wonderful opportunity to meet  new writers, published and unpublished (yet)  who may start out being strangers but by the end of the conference have become friends and people I look forward to seeing again.

This time, one of these new friends was someone I met by the happy accident of the fact that she was allocated a room in the same flat as I - and some of my other friends  - was sleeping in.

So I first met Lara Temple on that Thursday night when the early arrivers all get together.  We started that night only knowing each other's names - and ended it firm friends. Several of my other friends/past student/fellow writers were also in the same flat, but by the end of the first evening you would have been hard put to separate the 'old ' from the new - and by the end of the conference it was as if we had all known each other for ever.

Lara had just had her very first Harlequin Historical novel  (Lord Crayle's Secret World) published and she was kind enough to give me a copy.   I loved the 'shout line' -  A Desperate Highwaywoman - and from reading the opening I was hooked, just wanting to read on - and on.   (Thanks, Lara! Just what I needed  - not! - with my own deadline bearing down on me!)

I also learned that Lara's new  book -  The Reluctant Viscount  - would be published later in the year - it's actually out today so Happy Publication Day, for The Reluctant Viscount, Lara -  As you know I love introducing readers to new authors, I asked Lara if she would come and visit my blog and tell you a little about herself.   She has  also kindly agreed to do a giveaway for both her books - all you have to do is to answer her question in  the comments either today or  on the second part of the Meet Lara Temple blog -   we'll leave this open over the weekend to give you time to read and comment.

So meet Lara Temple - and maybe you'll discover a brand-new favourite Historical Romance author.

Welcome to the blog, Lara and thank you for agreeing to answer my questions:

1.       Can you tell us a little about yourself ?

Hi Kate, thanks so much for inviting me on your blog! I write strong and sexy regency romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon – my first book “Lord Crayle’s Secret World” came out in March, my second “The ReluctantViscount” is out on the 25th of August, and I am hard at work on three more books in the same line. In my previous and very different life I was a financial analyst on Wall Street and a high tech executive and I also moved around the world a lot. But throughout all this change, the one constant was my love of reading and writing. I’m VERY lucky Harlequin gave me a chance to realize it. I’m also lucky my husband and children are very happy and supportive about my change of career I think they like the author more than the banker. Surprising!

2.       Have you always wanted to write? 

Yes. Yes. Yes! When I was three I forced my mom to write down my stories (they were rather mad adventures and I often wonder what they were feeding me back then…) and as soon as I could hold pen to paper, I took over. I had a little setback when my older brother discovered my secret notebooks where I had a story about teaming up with Batman, but I kept at it, just found a better hiding place. Still, it was always ‘for the drawer’ until I struck lucky when my mom pushed me into entering Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest competition and my submission earned me a contract and a new direction in life.

3.       You write for Harlequin Historical can you tell us why you chose this particular line? Are you a great fan of historical fiction? Any special favourite authors?

I’m one of the many Jane Austen addicts and Georgette Heyer. I found my first Georgette Heyer book in a dusty bookstore in New York as a teenager and from that point on all my (many) daydreams migrated to the regency period. Whenever I needed to escape life and work I slipped into this
world, daydreaming or writing, and it is still “home.” I also adore contemporary and historical murder mysteries, and aside from rereading my Austen and Heyer books until they disintegrate to dog-eared dust, I do the same to my Sherlock Holmes’ collection. I especially love those with psychological depth, like those by P.D. James and Minette Walters. And too many others…I need more time!

4.       Your first novel, Lord Crayle’s Secret World has the ‘shout line’ A desperate highwaywoman . . .   Now that would immediately make me want to pick up  the book when I saw that.  Can you tell us a little about this novel.

My highwaywoman, Sari, is my favorite kind of heroine – unconventional. Very little about her life has gone ‘by the book’, and when she is at her wits end how to provide for her brother and friends, her choice of action is pretty unconventional, too – she tries her hand at highway robbery. Unfortunately, or for my purposes, fortunately, she has unwittingly chosen to hold up the carriage of Michael, the Earl of Crayle, ex-soldier, current spy, and luckily in need of a female operative for The Institute, an offshoot of the War Office. Michael is emotionally scarred by war and by the damaged relations between his parents and as a result he particularly values order and discipline. But although Sari has the best of intentions, her ambition to succeed in her new role often clashes with Michael’s need to keep everyone safe and naturally they clash. But when the hunt is on to stop a political assassination, the last thing either Michael or Sari count on is that the heat of their conflicting characters is eclipsed by an attraction they can’t control.

5.       What gave you the original idea for this book? What inspired you to write about such an unconventional Regency heroine?

I worked in several very male-dominated worlds – I was in the military, on Wall Street, and then in high tech, and in each case there is a sense of being on the outside trying to get in (and trying to stay in). One very late night at work in London I wondered – if it is this frustrating for someone in the 21st century when all the doors are relatively open, what must it have felt
for someone two hundred years ago when the thought of being equal never even crossed a woman’s mind? And the idea of a woman finding herself drawn into the world of early espionage just appeared and started writing itself. 

Lara's  Question for giveaways   - Please post your answer in the comments to be in with a chance for a giveaway of one of Lara's books.

Both Sari and Alyssa are not your run of the mill regency misses. History is full of unconventional heroines and I am always on the lookout for real life examples – do you have a favorite unconventional historical heroine?


Moosehog83 said...

unconventional heroine... from books or real life? for me it would be from a book called Devils Bride by Stephanie Laurens and her name was Honoria Wetherby who later became Honoria Cynster! I fell in love with her and kept falling in love with her in each and ever subsequent book she was a secondary cast member

LaraTemple said...

Hi Diana, She can definitely be a fictional heroine. What was it about Honoria that made her so memorable and appealing for you? xx Lara

Anonymous said...

I'm a big fan of Jane Austen. Having just come back from Bath and been to The Jane Austen centre it really surprised me about her life and how her writing came together. I have to say Elizabeth Bennett. Simply because she spoke her mind and would get straight to the point. And I loved her wit! For this period in time she was bold in her manner and wasn't worried what people thought.


LaraTemple said...

Hi Lorraine, I completely agree about Elizabeth! She was one of the reasons I fell so utterly in love with this period (and Mr. Darcy just isn't Mr. Darcy without his reluctant and finally full appreciation of someone of her strength and wit). It is amazing that Jane Austen wrote her 200 years ago and yet she is someone I would love to meet and befriend today. That's staying power! xx Lara

Mary Preston said...

I do love to read about the women who broke the mould during WWI. There was a need for women to step up, to take over jobs held by men now fighting overseas. Such a break through time for women. Very exciting.

LaraTemple said...

Hi Mary, You're right that times of national strain have always been opportunities for women to stretch their boundaries and WW1 was a transition point for both men and women - I'm also fascinated by the before and after effect of the Great War on women and on society in general. xx Lara


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