Thursday, April 4, 2013

Today's Special - - Heather Snow



I'm thrilled to welcome one of my favorite new historical romance authors back to The Romance Dish today!  Heather Snow is an award winning historical romance author with a degree in Chemistry who discovered she preferred creating chemistry on the page ratIher than in the lab. The final book in her Veiled Seduction series, SWEET MADNESS, hit shelves April 2, 2013. RT Book Reviews Magazine gives it 4 ½ stars, saying “In this emotional, compassionate romance...the powerful love story will sweep readers away." (It sure swept me away!)


Find out more at www.HeatherSnowBooks.com or connect with Heather on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorHeatherSnow , at Twitter www.twitter.com/HeatherSnowRW or at her blog, Heather’s Historical Reader Salon at www.heathersnowbooksreadersalon.blogspot.com





Welcome, Heather!  Congratulations on the release of Sweet Madness.  I finished reading Gabriel and Penelope’s book last night and it was wonderful!   Please tell our readers what they can expect from this book.

Thanks, PJ! I’m so thrilled to be back at the Romance Dish today. I’m even more thrilled that you enjoyed Penelope and Gabriel’s story. When I sat down to write it, I was convinced it would be the book that ruined my very short career. I’m pleased to discover that I seemed to have been wrong about that!

As for what readers can expect from Sweet Madness, I would say a bit darker and more emotional story than my previous two. Both characters are tortured, and have to go through some dark places to come back to the light. But Sweet Madness is a story of the healing power of love, and hope, and I’m hoping readers find the happily ever after even sweeter given what Penelope and Gabriel have to go through to get there.

Gabriel and Penelope are both compelling characters.  What one thing do you want readers to understand about each of them?

I think readers who loved my last two novels might be wondering what kind of
heroine Penelope will make. After all, Liliana—the lady chemist from Sweet Enemy—and Emma—the lady criminologist and mathematician from Sweet Deception—were both brilliant women who reveled in pushing the boundaries of society. Readers might remember Penelope as a kind but average debutante who was content to live the privileged life she was born to, as we first see her in Sweet Enemy. And that may have remained true, if her husband’s tragic death hadn’t shook her to her core and driven her to study mental maladies. It was a fun challenge taking Penelope and helping her discover her inner brilliance. Penelope had to realize that she was never average at all, and that everything she needed was within her all along, if she only trusted herself.

Gabriel, on the other hand, is a born leader, a man who fixes things, who is responsible and strong and who thrives on being useful. And yet his mysterious madness has rendered him useless, at least in his own mind. He, too, had to learn to trust himself again…one of the many things that made he and Penelope perfect for each other.

I’ve had first-hand experience with PTSD or “battle fatigue.”  Your portrayal of Gabriel’s struggles was spot on.  What kind of research did you do or did you write “from the gut?”

I’m so glad I was able to get Gabriel across accurately. I hope I also was able to convey his strength and dignity in spite of his struggles. As for whether I researched or wrote from the gut, I’m going to say both. I did a lot of research on PTSD, on the causes, effects, symptoms and treatments, searching for ways Penelope could instinctively help Gabriel, even though they knew so little about it at the time. I read articles, medical journals and first-hand accounts. But when it came down to the writing, even with all of the research, I had to try to put myself there—both for Gabriel and Penelope—to be able to pull the emotions off. Some of those scenes were wrenching to write.

The experience of writing this story touched me deeply. While Gabriel is a fictional war hero, there are many real life heroes and their families suffering from the effects of war today. Therefore, my husband and I have decided to donate a portion of all royalties earned from the sale of SWEET MADNESS to Hope For the Warriors®, an organization dedicated to “restoring a sense of self, restoring the family unit, and restoring hope for our service members and our military families.” You can find out more about this wonderful charity here: http://www.hopeforthewarriors.org/

Without giving away spoilers, what one scene would you never cut from this book?

The art therapy scene. There wouldn’t have been any formal art therapy at the time, of course, but Penelope was an artist and she’d stumbled across the benefits of art accidentally and intuitively.

“I know that I said I was willing to do anything you suggested, but how exactly is this supposed to help?” Gabriel asked, eyeing Penelope skeptically.
It was mid-afternoon the following day and the two of them were alone in Somerton Park’s long gallery. The massive high-ceilinged room was dotted with comfortable-looking tufted benches, chaise lounges, a walnut pianoforte and the occasional overstuffed chair. A fire crackled in the massive hearth, centered along the interior wall. The other side of the room boasted tall windows separated by scarcely a yard between them, and every available patch of wall space was covered with colorful portraits and landscapes in gilt frames of varying shapes and sizes.
But the only canvas that interested him at the moment was the blank one on the easel in front of him.
Penelope grinned at him as she removed the lid from a cylindrical earthenware container about the size of a large pumpkin.
“When I first started visiting the soldiers at the hospital, I really had no idea how to reach them.” Dipping her hand into the pot, she withdrew a walnut-sized pouch and shook droplets of water from it until it stopped dripping. “Oftentimes we would just talk about our lives and interests. When they discovered I was an artist,” she said, taking a pin and piercing the pouch, “they asked to see some of my work.”
Red paint oozed out of the tiny hole she’d made, and the crisp tang of linseed oil reached his nose. Pen squeezed a dollop onto a wooden palette and then plugged the hole with a tack before placing the bladder of paint back into her container.
“After some great discussions of art, the men wanted a demonstration, so I did some painting for them.” She withdrew another bladder and pricked it, this time eliciting a bright green. “Then I encouraged them to try, and over a period of weeks, I discovered some interesting things.”
Green was replaced by yellow. “I already knew, you see, that the very act of painting made me feel better. I’d been pouring out my emotions onto the canvas since I’d picked up my first paintbrush. Thankfully”—she flashed him an eye-rolling grin—“the melodramatic canvases of my youth have long since been destroyed.”
Blue paint now joined the others on the wood. “Anyway, as the men created their own works, I started noticing symbolism in some. Others were able to externalize their emotions through their art, and once they were on the canvas, separate themselves from the feelings enough to talk about them.” Purple joined the mix. “And for some, painting simply improved their moods enough to make it through their day.”
He crossed his arms and lowered his chin. “You expect me to . . . paint my feelings?”
She smiled and added another color to the palette. “I have a theory that the mere act of creating puts us in a place of positive emotion. Sometimes we can gain insight simply by observing what we’ve created. And I believe that sometimes the artistic process can bring feelings to the forefront for us to see, even when it is not our intention. Once we can view those feelings objectively, we are free to abolish them as we see fit.” One last dollop, white this time, and she placed the lid back on her pot.
Setting the palette on the table near the easel, she reached for brushes, fanning the sable hairs with her fingers. “Liliana wants me to prepare a paper on my findings, though if I did, I expect it would be laughed out of the Royal Society before they even read the title. Imagine me, trying to pretend that I’m brilliant.”
He looked at her, gathering art supplies and speaking passionately about the ways she’d discovered to relieve others’ suffering—men like him. Didn’t she see that she was brilliant? But even more, she was compassionate and kind. All of the intelligence in the world would be fruitless without those higher qualities that Penelope had in abundance.
But that seemed too deep for the moment, so he just repeated dryly, “You expect me to paint my feelings.”
She pursed her lips, but the corners of her mouth tipped up in a smile despite her efforts to look stern. “It might do you good to try, you know.”
He snorted, uncrossing his arms and stepping closer to the easel. “I haven’t an artistic bone in my body.”
Pen slipped a smock over her dress. “Everyone has a spark of creativity within them,” she protested.
“Not me. I am utterly unimaginative, I assure you.”
She raised a blond brow as she tied her strings. “I’m certain we could find something to inspire you.”
Gabriel’s breath caught in his throat. Pen had already turned her attention to readying her brushes and wasn’t looking at him at all. He knew she hadn’t meant her words to imply anything, but as he watched her graceful movements, he thought, You, Pen. You could inspire me to do whatever you wanted. He’d paint if she desired it. He’d burst into song. Hell, he’d build her a bloody temple with his bare hands if she wished it, chiseling every stone himself. With a spoon.

This is just a small excerpt from the actual scene, of course. What made it so fun to write, aside from how I get to use painting and symbolism, is that is a turning point scene. It is near the middle of the book and Penelope and Gabriel have been working through some dark things and are making progress in their goal to discover what has been causing his struggles. But something happens during this session that makes Penelope turn a hard eye on herself and you start seeing the vulnerabilities and hurts that she is hiding…and how Gabriel is going to be able to help her just as much as she can him.

We love our comfort reads around here.  To what book or author do you turn when you’re in need of some fictional comfort?

Anything by Lisa Kleypas. I’m just so in awe of her writing. It’s smooth, it draws me in subtly and completely and it never fails to dazzle me at some point or another. Lisa’s writing is also so lush and her characters so perfectly crafted, I can’t help but fall in love even if I practically know the story by heart by now. I’ll re-read Devil In Winter, Dreaming of You or Worth Any Price any time.

How do you celebrate the release of a new book?  Do you have any special traditions?

My first book, I celebrated with a cake made like the cover and a lovely dinner out with friends. It was fabulous. Since then, I’ve been on deadline! So now release day is like another deadline, rushing to write blog posts and newsletters and Facebook posts, etc., all while trying to keep the Heir and Spare from tearing up my office an deleting everything on my computer.  Not much time for celebrating!

If you were interviewing yourself, what one question would you ask?  And how would you answer?

Hmm…how did you become a historical romance fan? I’ve been reading romance as long as I can remember.  I’ve been hooked since I found my Nana’s secret stash, hidden on the lowest bookshelf, tucked behind her recliner.  She was a historical romance fan, so that’s what I started with and it is my first love.  I don’t remember the specific books anymore, though there were many by Kathleen Woodiwiss, Judith McNaught, Johanna Lindsay, Julie Garwood, Jude Devereaux and Janelle Taylor.

Time for Quick Six!

Vanilla or Chocolate? 
Ice cream? Chocolate. In fact, the only way to eat vanilla ice cream is slathered in chocolate syrup. Cake, however? Vanilla or White. Preferably with some chocolate ice cream.

Early Bird or Night Owl? 
Night Owl. Over the years, I’ve whipped myself with the whole “Early to bed, early to rise makes you healthy, wealthy and wise” stuff, but I just can’t seem to change. Plus, with the Heir and the Spare being 4 and 1, the only time I can get anything done is when everyone else is asleep, and I can’t sleep if I have a lot on my mind, so I can’t go to bed until it’s done!

TV or Movies? 
Movies. I like that I can spend a couple of hours and have a story resolved. I’m not good at waiting through a whole season to see how something turns out!

Beach or Mountains? 
Oooh, I’m torn. I’m going to say mountains. I love fresh water rivers/creeks, shade trees and greenery. And as beautiful as I find the beach, the sand in my shorts gets annoying after a while…

Jeans or Evening Gown? 
Evening gown—but with flats. I’m not a heels kind of girl.
Dogs or Cats? Cats. I love their independent spirit and the fact that they can be aloof and self-sufficient. Sadly for me, Mr. Snow just promised the Heir and Spare a dog this summer…

What’s next?

Vacation! My first book sold shortly after the Heir was born, and the second was written right after the birth of the Spare—while my husband was finishing up his masters on top of his full time career! He graduated right after I finished SWEET DECEPTION and we’d barely had time to enjoy a breather before I jumped into SWEET MADNESS. My family and I are looking forward to a couple of weeks on the beach together during the month of May. I know, I know…sand in my shorts (and everywhere else!) Then I’ll get started on my new series…

Thanks, Heather!  Would you like to ask our readers a question? 

Yes, I’d like to ask them the same question I asked myself: How did you become a historical romance fan?

I’ll be happy to give away the winner’s choice of either of my first two novels, Sweet Enemy or Sweet Deception, open internationally.

Ever since her husband’s sudden and tragic death, Lady Penelope Bridgeman has dedicated herself to
studying maladies of the mind, particularly those of soldiers returning from the Napoleonic Wars, but Gabriel Devereaux’s unpredictable episodes are like none she’s ever seen. Even though she knows the folly of loving a broken man, she can’t help herself from trying to save him, no matter the cost…

Read the Prologue and First Chapter HERE...

Purchase Here (a portion of all royalties from SWEET MADNESS will be donated to Hope for the Warriors®)




41 comments:

  1. Congrats on the new release, Heather. I love Lisa Kleypas' books, too. Nick is one of my favorite heroes. I was introduced to historical romance by my older cousin's best friend. She lent us books by Julie Garwood and Jude Deveraux.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jane! Those are all great authors to get hooked on!

      Delete
  2. I've always loved History, so I suppose Historical Romance was just a natural progression of that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, exactly! I can't tell you how many times I've learned something interesting in a romance novel and used that as a jumping point to look further and research something fascinating!

      Delete
  3. I first discovered romances via Good Housekeeping magazine. Then I went on vacation and read LaVyrle Spencer. I came home and visited the local library. I became hooked on Catherine Coulture, Nicole Jordan, Mary Balogh, Madeline Hunter, Karen Robards, Elizabeth Lowell, Sandra Brown, Nora Roberts, Diana Palmer, Cathy Maxwell, Kat Martin, Laurie McBain and Joanna Lindsay. I fell in love with the richness of the historical romances. I loved learning about different time periods, countries, cultures, mores etc. I still reach for historicals first and contemporaries second.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How fabulous that you picked up that magazine :) I love the library for finding new to me authors. When I discover one, I have to run out and buy the rest of their work!

      Delete
  4. I used to read suspense and thriller. Then, one day, I just picked up a romance book at the bookstore and decided to give it a try! Well, I switch from thriller to romance, I am hooked to historical romance that the stories is about England and Scotland. I read all three books of Heather and found them breathtaking, specially Sweet Madness". Congrats Heather!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nicole...I stepped away from romance in college, switching to suspense, thriller and horror (oh the horror!). Then I discovered Lisa Kleypas and I came running back to historical romance with open arms...lol. Thank you for your kind words. So glad you enjoyed my stories!

      Delete
  5. I discovered it first when I was a teenager with Sweet Valley High... Then I was REALLY bored one day on a cruise and I found Rachel Gibson's book... And that's how I got hooked!

    Congrats on your new book! :)

    maybe31 at yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah...see, the best things come from finding something to do when you're bored! Glad you found a romance book!

      Delete
  6. Congratulations on the release of Sweet Madness, Heather. I have a copy on my TBR and look forward to reading it soon. I have loved the earlier books in the series.

    My favorite "girl books" were those by Louisa May Alcott, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Maud Hart Lovelace, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. All were set in the 19th or early 20th century, and so when I moved to adult books, historical romance was a natural progression.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Janga! Hope you enjoy it :) I've not heard that before, though it makes perfect sense...if you're already in love with historical fiction, historical romance is the next step! So glad you came by to say hello and do let me know what you think of Sweet Madness when in makes its way to the top of the TBR

      Delete
  7. Hi, Heather, and welcome! Congrats on the new release! It sounds like another winner. :)

    I sort of stumbled upon historical romance. When I was a teen, I was an avid mystery reader and one day just after I turned 16, I wanted something different. So, while at a flea market, I picked up a historical romance--Midnight Magic by Betina Krahn--and bought it. I read it and immediately wanted more books like it! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Andrea. How awesome that you remember your first romance novel! Sadly, I can't remember, though I'm pretty sure it was a Kathleen Woodiwiss...or maybe a Johanna Lindsey. Oh well, all I know is that it was great!

      Delete
  8. I started out loving historical films. I just love the world and clothes and everything. One day I picked up a historical romance just because I liked the cover and have been hooked ever since. Jude Deveraux and Kathleen E. Woodiwiss are also some one of authors who gave me a love of the genre. To this day, historical romance novels are still the prettiest. Love those fashionable dressed :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Na, I love that film brought you to historical romance! That's awesome! And I agree about the covers...so beautiful. I'm in love with the cover from SWEET MADNESS

      Delete
  9. Congratulations, Heather, on your release! Ooh, sounds delish!

    I have an indie bookstore I go to and, after being stuck reading Harlequins all the time, I told the owner that I needed something new. She asked me, "Have you ever read a book by Julia Quinn?" Well, the first one I read of hers was THE DUKE AND I and I fell in love with JQ's writing and historical/Regency romances. Bobbie, the owner of the store, knows what kind of stories I like, so she's always holding new ones for me to try.

    I do remember my very first romance book.....my mom read Harlequins and they were gentle romances. At age 12 1/2, I read Katrina Britt's THE GENTLE FLAME. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh wow...to be introduced to historical romance by Julia Quinn. Tough act to follow! How wonderful that you have such a great bookseller in your area. That's fabulous.

      Thanks for stopping by and saying hello!

      Delete
  10. I have to admit I haven't read you as yet but your books sound like something I would really enjoy. I started out reading all the gothics and then I read The Flame and the Flower and The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss and I was totally hooked. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone there and she got many a reader hooked on romance lol. Have to say I love your covers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi catslady :) I see you around all the time...I'm thinking SWEET MADNESS is going to be the one where I tempt you into giving me a shot ;)

      I remember the Flame and the Flower and Shana best from Woodiwiss, devouring Julie Garwood and Jude Devereaux, then Johanna Lindsey, Judith McNaught and Janelle Taylor. Anyone remember that series she did in space? I can't remember the titles exactly right now...One had Stardust in it and one had Moonbeams... That's one of the great things about the internet is that I was able to find those later and buy them again!

      Delete
  11. Congrats on the new book. I started out by reading Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss and than tried some other authors. I soon discovered Marsha Canham, Judith McNaught and Nora Roberts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kim! I've never read Marsha Canham. Should I try to find some?

      Delete
  12. Even as a little girl, I loved reading and history. Historical romance combines those early loves!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly, cheryl! The perfect combination :)

      Delete
  13. Hi Heather! Thanks so much for being our special guest today. It's great to have you here!

    I'll be back online later tonight to read and respond to comments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fantastic to be here, PJ! It's one of my favorite places to visit :)

      Delete
  14. Hi Heather! I'm halfway through SWEET MADNESS and I'm trying to read slow to savor it. I'm loving Pen and Gabriel.

    I also started my love of Historical fiction by raiding my Grandmother's stash. LOL I used to tease her because she would skip over the intimate scenes. She once asked me, "How can they kiss like that? It's like they're eating each other." *gg* Being the good girl I was, I asked her if she'd ever tried it. LMBO! She just blushed and rolled her eyes. She was a hoot!

    Marcy Shuler
    bmndshuler(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm SO glad you're enjoying Pen and Gabriel :) I wish, now, that I would have talked books with Nana...we both read them, but never really discussed them much, though we talked about everything else. I dedicated my first book to her...she's the one person I really wish could have read it!

      Delete
  15. I kind of fell into reading romance, head first. I wanted to read anything with the 'romance' label that I could. So I was bound to come across a historical-- which, now that I think of it, it weird. I don't even remember my first historical! It's all kind of a blur of amazingness ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hello again, Heather! Every interview I've read of yours is different...so I find out a little bit more about you each time. :-) I loved that you found your Nana's secret stash of romance novels and then were "hooked for life." I found my mother's stash when I was a high school freshman and have been addicted to the genre ever since. I started with Kathleen Winsor's Forever Amber and went on from there. I still don't know if my mother knew I was reading her books, but I practically lived in the local library...and then haunted yard sales and used book stores to get what I needed for my "fix" after that. I love historical romance, but have also grown to love the inclusion of western romance and contemporary romance. As long as there is romance, all is well! jdh2690@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love to follow people around on their blog tours, because you do get to learn so much over the course of lots of posts and interviews!

    I, too, am branching out...in the years I've been writing, I've met incredibly talented authors who have expanded my borders, so to speak! But I always return to historical romance. It is my love

    ReplyDelete
  18. Well the first romance book I ever read was Gone With the Wind and that got me hook of historical romance and have been reading it ever since.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't smack me, but I don't think I ever read Gone With the Wind... Saw the movie, of course. I might just have to remedy that!

      Delete
  19. I picked up a Georgette Heyer romance at the library as a teenager and I was hooked. The thing I like about romance the most is the fact that every story has a happy ending, which is how I prefer all stories to end. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was talking to a friend of mine, and her sister has just started reading Heyer. The sister called her and told her she'd just discovered a great new author (because they've all been reissued and look new again!) My friend, after chuckling, explained the truth :)

      Delete
  20. When I saw the movie Pride & Prejudice and then read the book! It was love at first sight! And then I discovered more and more romance books! I have always loved love! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, such a great book! And movie! And mini-series! And spin offs! Okay...it's great :)

      Delete
  21. Congrats for the book!

    My first historical? A lisa kleypas if i'm not mistaken.. The wallflowers series

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a way to start! I loved that series, but Devil in Winter is my very favorite of them. I've read it at least 3 times and listened to it once :)

      Delete
  22. I love historical romance. I first became interested with Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas. Now I am addicted to historical.

    ReplyDelete