Friday, August 26, 2016

Meet Lara Temple - Part 2

1  I hope you enjoyed the first part of the interview with  Harlequin Historical author Lara King.

Today she's back to  answer the  second set of my questions - and talk about her experience with the So You Think You Can Write Contest  

        Don't forget to answer Lara's question in the comments to be in with a chance of winning a copy of one of her great books.

         Once again - thanks for joining me on my blog, Lara!

          You submitted  Lord Crayle’s Secret World for the So You Think You Can Write contest 2014.  What was that experience like?

That was truly an amazing experience! It was my mother’s idea in the first place to finally dust off one of the stories I had written and do something about the unspoken dream. It was one of those what-the-hell-let’s-just-do-it moments and quite frankly I never thought anything would come of it. When I received the email saying I made it to the top 25, I was so shocked I can still remember my cheeks tingling. For a moment I just didn’t believe it. I had read many of the other submissions and I thought there were so many wonderful ideas I didn’t allow myself to hope too much. Then they called to say I had made it to the top 10 and the real shocker came when they actually said they were interested in the book. That was pure joy!

2.         Did you have to do a lot of revising on the original submission?

I did actually. The original story was way too long (almost twice the length of Harlequin Historicals) and had a lot of historic and political detail in it that just didn’t fit the genre. I also had to intensify the emotional conflict, which was much more fun than the brutal chopping I had to do on the length. So it was quite an education but luckily I have an amazing editor who often sees the trees through my forest and she really helped shine light on what worked and what didn’t. It was a difficult but an invaluable process. I wrote the second book with much of what I had learned in mind so it needed less revisions, and the third was even smoother. Like everything else, writing is both an art and a craft and I spend a lot of time honing the craft part. In that sense I’m glad I had to really slog through revisions the first time round.

3.       What was it like to receive ‘the call’?

It was already exciting to have Harlequin interested in a manuscript in the first place, but I knew at any point during the revisions they could say ‘thank you, but no thank you’ so when my editor actually called me directly I was still so ready for rejection my brain was in such serious delay that the words ‘two book contract’ sort of floated around for a few blank seconds before making a very thumping and joyous landing. I don’t quite recall what I said (other than ‘Yes!’) but I don’t think
 it showed any sign of intelligence…I remember clutching my tea mug very hard!

4.       Your second book, The Reluctant Viscount, is published this month– can you tell us something about this new novel?

The Reluctant Viscount is about the impact of betrayal, the scarring it causes, and the possibility of redemption that comes from learning to trust (and love) again. Adam is betrayed first by a spoiled beauty who uses him to capture a wealthy husband and then by his family and community. Ten years later he returns, wealthy, titled, cynical, and determined to have nothing to do with the people who rejected him. Alyssa was barely eighteen but secretly in love with Adam when the drama unfolded. In the decade that passed she has managed to shake her wild and eccentric upbringing to become a very proper young woman. But when Adam is framed for murder she has to risk everything by entering a sham engagement. Luckily they find that trusting each other has unforeseen and, in the end, quite happy consequences.

5.       Is Alyssa another unconventional heroine?

Alyssa is an unconventional heroine trying very hard to be conventional. I liked the way Adam and Alyssa start out on opposite ends of the respectability spectrum and then swing radically to the other end of it before both each finding a happier middle through their relationship. The idea that love and acceptance can help each other find emotional fulfilment and equilibrium is an important theme for me.


6.       Finally, what are you working on now? Can we hope to see another new Lara Temple on sale soon?

I just finished my third book and am doing revisions (though I don’t have a publication d
ate yet), and am almost done with number four (she says hopefully). They are both strong and sexy but one is set in London and is about emotional scars caused by loss and guilt (and about a Duke and a pug named Marmaduke) and the fourth is set in the peninsular wars and is about conflicting loyalties and choosing to love (soldier vs. spy). And in each case I am so happy with my hero and heroine – I always have a hard moment handing them over to be loved or (possibly) hated by others.  And in between I am still reveling in the fact that this is now my job – I still can’t quite believe it.

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?

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?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

At last!

At last I've managed to find a copy of the cover of the UK edition of Indebted to Moreno so I can  show it to you here.

I love the sexy Spaniard's  dark and dangerous stare - and the heroine's hair is just the right colour  - important when the hero's nickname for her is Red!!

What do you think?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Preparing for the weekend

My shopping list for today:

Cat food  for Charlie and Ruby

Cat Treats  ( not the same as food – cat treats are to be had as a. an aperitif to the main course a dessert following the main course meat  above a
nd c. As a treat!)

Dog food and a chew bone to keep dog occupied ( granddog Lola is coming to visit

Fat balls  for the hanging bird-feeder  for the small birds

Suet cakes for the bird table for the  birds who like to feed higher up

Seed for the seed trays for the robins etc who are ground feeding bi

Crunchies and mealworms for the hedgehogs – at least two of them

Peanuts for the squirrel  who comes right up to the french windows if we don’t leave him something.

Human food? 

Oh, well the Offspring and his lovely fiancĂ©e are coming  with Lola  so I think  we’ll treat ourselves to takeaway pizza -  do you think I’ll have time to cook  after I’ve dealt with all of the above? 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Black Cat Appreciation Day

Today is ‪#‎blackcatappreciationday‬ but Ruby says you can appreciate the white bits of her as well as the black And yes, she knows she's beautiful

She's also very good at providing post  pics to keep the blog going while I focus hard on Imogen  and Raoul. She doesn't mind that they have so much of my attention right now, so long as her dinner bowl is regularly filled and she can snuggle up at night.

For now, the sun is shining and she wants to be outside all day long anyway.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Tote Bags N Blogs Day

Still trying to catch up on everything since I got back home from wonderful Writers' Holiday.   And then the weekend celebrating the Babe Magnet's birthday in Harrogate  - was that really a week ago?!

I've also been trying to catch up with my latest hero and heroine (Raoul and Imogen) and their problems so that I can finish this book and send it to my editor.   I need to get that done asap so that I can work on the second book in this duet - the story of Imogen's sister Ciara  and her unexpected hero . . .

But today is the 12th of August  (if you're a grouse, please keep your head down  on this so called 'glorious' date.)
The 12th is a more pleasant date for me because it's the date I blog over on Tote Bags N Blogs  - so that'where you'll find me, blogging about one of my obsessions -  one that many friends know only too well because they help feed my addiction to lovely notebooks.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Book News

I have book news to catch up on.
After working my way through the piles of emails and letters that were waiting for me after  we got back  from Wales, there were also several boxes of books  to open.    Some were foreign editions -  Indian, German, Dutch . . .

But the best moment is always when I open a new box of a brand-new title and get to see the books in  reality for the very first time.  Unfortunately I still haven't seen the UK's edition of my new (September)  Presents title - Indebted to Moreno.

There is also a new reprint edition of an older book that's out right now - and that's  the 2013 title  A Throne For The Taking  which is now reprinted in a 3 in 1 By Request collection in the UK. The title of the collection is Claiming His Princess.

Coming up is some extra news for Australian readers  who will get Indebted to Moreno in October - and a best seller collection of 3 of my older title - A Question of Honour (2014) , The Konstantos Marriage Demand (2010)   and Saturday's Bride (1999).   These will all be in a collection that (I think ) will be called Resisting All Temptation!   

No covers for those yet, but as soon as I see them I'll share them with you.

As you'll see,  Saturday's Bride is a long ago title - so if you're looking to add a missing title to your collection, this might be the one. There might be more older titles coming up soon - certainly there'll be some news about older titles in the UK  in ebook form as well.  I'll let you know about that as soon as it's all finalised

This weekend I'm off to Harrogate to have a short break  to treat the Babe Magnet for his birthday.  Afternoon tea at Bettys and a trip to the theatre - I'm  so happy  I get to share it with him.

Hopefully there won't be so many emails/letters/packages waiting for me when we get back!

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Catching up - trying to!

I've been missing for ages! I couldn't believe it when I looked at my blog and found that I hadn't posted since the beginning of July - my apologies for my absence but there are reasons for it.

It's July - the busiest month in the year for me most years and this year was no different. There was The RNA Conference in Lancaster,  a visit to dear friend and great writer Michelle Reid  - then home, unpacking, repacking and heading to Wales for the wonderful Writers' Holiday.

I've been meaning to write about my travels and the fabulous month I've had  but never found a moment for it -until now. Today is August 3rd which means that it's the day for my regular monthly post over on the Pink Heart Society Blog  so that's where I'm blogging today - and where you'll find my post about the highlights of the past month  as I've travelled up and down the country  and over to Wales.

Hopefully I'll now stay in the same place long enough to finish my latest book - and to find a way to lose  the extra pounds I've put on after the amazing food at Writers' Holiday last week. I keep saying I'll avoid the desserts  but . .  . they're  just too tempting.

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