Monday, April 26, 2010

Interview with Sarah MacLean

We are thrilled to have with us today Avon author Sarah MacLean. I'm sure you have heard of her as the chatter surround her latest release, NINE RULES TO BREAK WHEN ROMANCING A RAKE, has been astounding. Being the daughter of a British spy and a jet-setting Italian, you can be sure Sarah has plenty of stories to tell. Please give a very warm Romance Dish welcome to the next author to find herself on your keeper shelf . . . Sarah MacLean!

Thanks for having me over at The Romance Dish!

Sarah, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a 31-year-old romance novel addict who has wanted to be a romance novelist for as long as I can remember. After bouncing through several jobs and a stint at graduate school, I finally set pen to paper and wrote my first book, a YA romance called THE SEASON. After that, I decided to try my hand at the naughty stuff . . . and my first adult romance, NINE RULES TO BREAK WHEN ROMANCING A RAKE is in stores now!

As someone who enjoys reading the naughty stuff, I'm so glad you did! Here at The Romance Dish, we love to hear author call stories. Would you mind sharing your call story with us?

I’ll tell you my NINE RULES call story with pleasure! My fabulous agent, Alyssa Eisner Henkin, sent out the manuscript two Thursdays before Thanksgiving, and we were pretty certain that we wouldn’t hear a thing until after Turkey day . . . possibly in the new year. Well, she had a call on the following Monday from an editor who had read it over the weekend, and another on Tuesday from a different editor. That sent the book to auction. On Friday, I met with the editorial team at Avon Books to chat about romance in general and the manuscript in particular. My fabulous editor, Carrie Feron, offered on the Nine Rules series a few hours after that, and I was thrilled to sell the book to Avon—the house I’d been dreaming of writing with since I was a kid, reading Jude Deveraux.

I am sure you were beyond thrilled, especially to have the book go to auction. That is just wonderful! For those who have not had the pleasure of reading NINE RULES TO BREAK WHEN ROMANCING A RAKE, please tell us about the novel.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell is a 28-year-old spinster who, on the evening of her baby sisters betrothal in a love match, decides that she’s tired of sitting on her dusty shelf and makes a list of nine things she would do if she had no restrictions and no worry about her reputation. After too much sherry, she decides to do the first—and most nerve wracking—thing on the list. That leads her into the bedchamber and the arms of notorious rake Gabriel, the Marquess of Ralston . . . and trouble ensues.

As you know from my 5-star review (which you can read here), I absolutely LOVED this book. Ever since reading it I have wondered how you were inspired to write this particular story. Can you share that with us?

I love wallflower/rake stories. Particularly when the wallflower in question is a spinster as well. I wanted to write a story about a heroine who decides to take action by herself. On her own. And I wanted her decision to change to open her to the possibility of love. So, I asked myself . . . what would it take for a 28-year-old wallflower to make this kind of commitment? And who is the man who could handle her newfound willingness to take risks? NINE RULES was born.

How did come up with the particular nine rules? I can imagine sitting around with a girlfriend or two and having the list come from our conversation.

LOL! You’re not too far off! I knew Callie was going to make a list, but I didn’t have all nine items to begin with. That’s where my sister (who also loves romance) came in very handy. We came up with the full list in about 15 minutes on the phone one night while I was walking the dog. From there, the story tells itself!

It is wonderful to have a sister to help you when you need it! I think one of my favorite scenes in the book is when Callie shows up at Gabriel’s home late at night requesting a kiss from him. I turned to mush when he delivered that kiss and told her kisses should leave you wanting. *sigh* Did you find it easy or difficult to write such emotional and passionate scenes?

Love scenes are a challenge for me. I never want them to feel tired or wrote, and so it’s difficult because the vocabulary, the actions, the events that occur as the scenes progress require much more thought than other scenes in the book that can sometimes pour onto the page. That said, I prefer my love scenes to move the plot forward—so it’s nice to have a touchstone in them that allows the story to progress.

With the current success of NINE RULES, have you been surprised by the outpouring of support you have received from the romance community?

So surprised . . . and so thrilled! It’s pretty amazing to get email from authors who have been personal heroes and inspirations . . . and I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support I’ve received from readers and booksellers and bloggers--the romance community is a wonderful place. I’m honored to be a part of it!

I totally agree with you -- there is nothing quite like the romance community. Everyone is just so supportive!

The hero of NINE RULES has a twin brother and a half sister. Please (puleeeeeze!) tell us each of these fabulous secondary characters will have their own HEA.

Yes! Nicholas St. John, Ralston’s twin, is the hero of my next book, TEN WAYS TO BE ADORED WHEN LANDING A LORD (out October 26th), and Juliana’s story, which I’m writing now, is out in Summer of 2011!

Wooohooooo!!! I'm so glad to hear each of them will get their happily ever after. I do believe there just might be a teeny, weeny fight here at The Romance Dish to see who gets to review them :0

Can you share with us what you are currently working on?

Aside from Juliana’s story, I’m also working on a YA project that I can’t say too much about, but will hopefully have news on in the coming months! Suffice to say . . . I’m keeping busy!

Yes, I would say that you do keep busy!! When you are not creating fabulous novels for us to enjoy, how do you like to spend your time?

My husband and I live with our dog in New York City, so we spend lots of time wandering around the city and exploring—we’re big foodies, so we’re always on the lookout for great restaurants! Other than that, reading, cooking and watching The West Wing over and over and over!

LOL! We are big foodies at my house too. We are always watching Man vs. Food or Diners, Drive-in and Dives.

What is one fact about yourself that we would find intriguing?

I took two years of Icelandic in college. I’ve never had to use it . . . but I can read it pretty well!

WOW, really? Icelandic? That *is* very interesting.

Will you be attending the RWA National Conference in Nashville?

Absolutely! I’ll be signing at the Literacy Signing . . . come over and say hi!

Oh, don't you worry, I'm pretty sure we will all be stopping by to exchange greetings!

Time for the Quick Six Segment:

Historical or contemporary? While I’m writing, contemporary. While I’m on a break, historical.

Roses or daisies? Roses.

Sweet or unsweetened tea? Unsweetened.

Heels or sneakers? Sneakers.

Cat or dog? Dog. But only because my husband is allergic to cats. If he weren’t, the answer would be both.

Yankees or Mets? Yankees!

Sarah, thank you so much for joining us today. I have truly enjoyed interviewing you and I am looking forward to meeting you in Nashville.

So which rule would you break if there were no repercussions? One lucky commenter will win a copy of NINE RULES TO BREAK WHEN ROMANCING A RAKE.

And be sure to check out Sarah's
website. It is full of wonderful tidbits and fun blog posts.

~ Buffie


  1. Loved the interview Ladies I have
    9 Rules on the TBR pile and can't wait to read it. I have heard so much about it and it was lovely meeting you Sarah thank you Buffie for introducing Sarah today.

    Have Fun

  2. I'm still trying so very hard to get my hands on this book ! Most wanted book for me Now :) Coz i heard so many great reviews about it !

  3. Hey Helen! Oh, you are really going to love this book.

  4. Hi Mariska! Keep looking for the book because it is SO worth the effort.

  5. Great interview! Sarah has quickly landed on my favorite authors list. I thoroughly enjoyed Nine Rules and cannot wait for her other books to come out.

  6. Welcome to The Romance Dish, Sarah! What a terrific interview! I have Nine Rules in my TBR pile and when I can carve out a teeny bit of free time (hopefully soon!), I cannot wait to read it. Buffie and I have the same tastes in books and if she loved it, then I know I will, too. :)

  7. Oh, and huge congrats on it hitting the New York Times bestseller list!!!

  8. Welcome to The Romance Dish, Sara and big congrats on Nine Rules hitting the NYT Bestseller List!!

    I'm really looking forward to reading it. Buffie has raved about it--as have many others--so I'm certain I'll love it!

  9. Congrats on NYT bestsellerdom and the other accolades Nine Rules has received, Sarah. I loved it. I expect to see it on lots of best-of-the-year lists in December. And I already have Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord on my book calendar for October 26.

  10. Woot! I am currently on page 340 and heading for the laundry room so I can finish it! Looovvvvee this book and I am already taken with the twin as well.
    I am not going to give any spoilers but I have to tell you Sarah there is one line in particular that almost had me rolling in the floor. What I read I see so I had a visual that just about done me in, thankfully I wasn't in a public place when I read it. As it was my son thought ole mom had gone off the deep end. I am truly loving your voice and I can see you are going to become one of my comfort reads.

  11. Wonderful interview! Sarah, congratulations on the success of Nine Rules...! I have the book and am looking forward to some free time so I can read it. People are raving about it all over the internet.

  12. Loved, loved, loved this book! Don't enter, me...I just wanted to thank Sarah for writing such wonderful characters.

  13. Thanks to all the fab Romance Dish ladies for having me, and thanks to everyone for your good wishes!

    For those of you who have the book on your TBR piles, I can't wait to hear what you think of it...and thank you to everyone who has read it already and said such lovely warm things!

    @VanessaD - I'm honored to have made your favorites list! That's huge! I hope I can keep myself there!

    @Janga - Don't jinx me! :) Thanks...I'm so happy you enjoyed!

    @Dianna - now you're making me wonder what line you're referring to! can you give me a hint that won't spoil it for everyone else?

    and @LSUReader - thanks for coming over to say hi!

    I look forward to meeting lots of you at Nationals...and seeing you all over on my blog! xox

  14. Hi Sarah! Any news on a sequel to The Season? Can't wait to read 9 Rules!

  15. Hello,

    I've heard such good things about your book. I tend to read more romantic suspense these days, then historicals, but I'm very intrigued. I'm a fan of wallflower stories (especially Lisa Klepyas' series), so this should be right up my alley. Congrats on the success of the book.

  16. I hear great things about this book and it sure looks like a story I would enjoy! As for breaking rules don't think I can come up with one I'm dying to break. How boring of me...

  17. Read it. Loved it. Can't wait for the next one!

  18. Vanessa, Sarah landed on my favorit authors list too. I'm so looking forward to reading the next book.

  19. Oh, Andrea, you are REALLY going to like this one!

  20. Yes, Gannon, you will truly enjoy this novel, and you will see why there IS so much raving going on :-)

  21. Wasn't it just fabulous, Janga?! October just can't get here fast enough! I'm so looking forward to Nick's story.

  22. Dianna, didn't Nick just grab you? From the his first scene I just knew I wanted him to have his own story. I'm so glad Sarah wrote it :-)

  23. PJ, I hope you get some free time soon so you can devour this book :-)

  24. Thanks for stopping by LSUReader. Sarah does write some fabulous characters!

  25. Sarah, I'm so glad you are joining us today!

    I have to tell you, I almost added a comment to one of your answers in the Quick Six Segment. When you answered "unsweetened" for your tea preference, I almost added "northern". LOL! See, down here in Atlanta we like a little tea with our sugar - :P

  26. Sarah, I cannot wait to read NINE RULES. It sounds delicious! My sister provides key idea support, too. We are fortunate ladies, indeed. :)

  27. @Buffie Totally true! Born and bred in Rhode Island, where sun tea is unsweetened!

  28. Laura, Thanks for stopping by. I have heard so many great things about THE SEASON that I am going to have to get the book!

    Hey Jennifer! I think if you enjoy LK's Wallflower series, you will like this book. Callie is definitely a wallflower, but with the determination to change that.

    Kirsten, there's nothing wrong with following the rules!! But it is so much fun to read about someone breaking them :-)

    Patti, I couldn't agree more with your comment!

  29. Great to see you visiting again, Katharine!!!

  30. LOL @ Sarah! I was born in the north (Indiana), but have lived almost all of my life in the south. Nothing like a cold glass of ice tea for me.

  31. Great interview! After reading Buffie's review and having read The Season, this book is on my list!! Can't wait! :)

  32. Great interview, ladies! I have been wanting to read this book since I first heard of it.

    And Sarah, the cure for the cat allergies - a Siberian purebred cat. Tons of fur and you will think I'm nuts but they don't cause the allergic reaction. It's amazing. My dh is allergic too and we've had our cat for almost 2 years now.

  33. Sarah MacLean said...@Dianna - now you're making me wonder what line you're referring to! can you give me a hint that won't spoil it for everyone else?

    Sure, the word would be yellow, it struck me just the right way

  34. Sarah, I've heard so many good things about your books (hilarious things, too) for many varied sources that I had to stop by here to say, "Hi!" I'm looking forward to reading NINE. Congratulations on hitting The List!

  35. Oh Trisha, I do think you would really enjoy this book!!

    Great to see you here, Christie!!

    Hey Keira!!! It's good to see you! This is a wonderful book and one that will be on many "best of 2010" lists.

  36. Congratulations Sarah on your success with the book. I don't know what rule I would break, probably all of them.

  37. Great interview. I've been hearing good things about this book, so it's on my TBR list. I'm not usually not a rule breaker, but if I were a historical heroine, I'd try to enter White's.

  38. I read 9 Rules as soon as it arrived at my door and hated to put it down to go to bed or work – finished it in 2 evenings and thought it was great. I loved Callie. While I had already seen that Nick was getting his own story, I’m glad to hear one is planned for Juliana as well. How about Callie’s brother Benny? I think he deserves/needs a little love too.

    Congrats Sarah on all the success so far. I’m looking forward to the upcoming books and having them join 9 Rules on my keeper shelf.

  39. I have heard a lot of great things about this book! All the best for continued success!

  40. I can't wait to read this book!!! Congratulations Sarah!!!

    What rule would I want to break if I lived in this situation?....Hmmmm, not sure I could choose just one?....but I know I'd go crazy if I could never go anywhere or do anything without a I think escaping (alone) would be at the top of my list.
    mitzihinkey at sbcglobal dot net

  41. Thank you to Sarah MacLean for writing such a wonderful keeper novel! Looking forward to more!

  42. Which rule would I break? Probably the one about fencing. I took a half semester course in college and loved it. I wasn't very good, but would have liked the opportunity to pursue it further.