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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Today's Special - - Leigh LaValle







I'm delighted to welcome Leigh LaValle back to the Romance Dish today.  Leigh lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family where she balances her historical romance writing with taking care of two children and getting ready for a new baby due this spring.  One wonders where she finds time to write her terrific stories.  Leigh holds an honors degree in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing and is a poet with pieces published in small literary magazines.  The first book in her Nottinghamshire series, The Runaway Countess was a 2011 Golden Heart finalist and went on to become her debut book.  

Please give Leigh a warm welcome!





Welcome, Leigh!  Congratulations on the release of The Rogue Returns, third in your Nottinghamshire series.  Please tell our readers what they can expect from this book and the series.  


Hi PJ! Thanks for having me back on The Romance Dish. The first time I was here was the day my debut (The Runaway Countess) released. I’ll never forget that!

The Rogue Returns, a Regency-set historical, is the final book in the Nottinghamshire Series. It’s a road romance and features an adventure by horseback through the peaks and Pennines of England. Our intrepid heroine, Lady Helen, is not an outdoorsy kind of girl, which makes for lots of amusing entanglements. The hero, who was featured in the first two books of the series, is in a bit of a hurry and reluctant to have this London-bred lady tag along. In the end, she proves her mettle, and he is dutifully impressed.
The series, in general, focuses on two families brought together by a renegade highwayman, the Midnight Rider.

I enjoy road romances as well as fish out of water stories and you offer readers both in this book.  What do you want people who pick up The Rogue Returns to understand about Roane and Lady Helen?

That’s a great question. I want readers to understand that both Roane and Helen are more complex than they seem on the surface. At first, Roane appears to be an unreliable, carefree rogue who refuses to take anything seriously. And Helen is a bit, shall we say, pampered. Throughout the course of the book, life challenges them, as life does, and we see their deeper layers—their needs, their fears, and their dreams.
While this is a common theme in books, I don’t think it can be overused. In ‘real life’, the impulse to form opinions, judge other people, and evaluate ourselves is a natural process, but it is fraught with obstacles. We can never have too many reminders that, no matter how things appear, there is often a deeper cause for compassion.

Very true.  I  enjoyed the gradual reveal of Roane and Helen's deeper layers.

Lady Helen is reluctant to part with her reticule during their cross-country trek while Roane considers it a nuisance.  What ‘must have’ items do you take with you on trips that most husbands wouldn’t understand?

It used to be my books! I’d easily pack five books on a quick trip, just in case I wanted to read them. I’d bring two romance novels, a book of poetry, a book on meditation or yoga, and a journal. The thought of wanting a book and not having it was too painful to consider. Now, I just take my iPad. J

I remember a week at the beach when I packed 15 books...and read them all!  So much easier with an e-reader. :)  Is this the final story in the series or will we be returning to Nottinghamshire?

As of right now, this is the last story in the series. But one never knows what paths the future will bring…

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions but I do map out goals and wishes at the beginning of each year.  What are your wishes for 2014?

I am due to have a baby girl, my third child, in April. My wishes are to get through 2014 with my sanity intact. J If I can find some time to write, exercise, and get away for dinner with my husband then I am really doing well.

Congratulations on the upcoming addition to your family!  



What author or book was your introduction to romance?  What do you enjoy reading these days?

It was definitely Judith McNaught—I pilfered her books from my mother’s bookshelf and read them through the late hours of the night. (By my teens, my mom had decided it was better to just let me stay up and read with the light on than have me ruin my eyes reading by flashlight J). The story that stands out most in my memory is Almost Heaven. Oh, Elizabeth and Ian…

These days I am particularly enjoying contemporary romances. Samantha Young, Brenna Aubrey, Ruthie Knox, and Tracy Brogan have all kept me highly entertained. Once I get some breathing room from The Rogue Returns, I’ll dive back into the world of historical romance.






What are you working on now?

I have a partial completed for a regency historical titled Beauty and the Thief. I also have a very ambitious idea for a contemporary series that I am excited to explore. I’m not entirely sure which one I will work on between now and April. Honestly, I’m feeling a little sad that Roane and Helen’s story is finished. I’m not ready to move on!

I know what you mean, Leigh.  I wasn't ready to say good-bye to them either!  

Would you like to ask our readers a question today?

I’d love to know: What are some of your favorite tropes in romance? Road romance, friends-to-lovers, older-brother’s-best-friend, secret baby, fake marriage… 

Thanks for having me today, PJ!

It was our pleasure, Leigh!

Readers, Leigh is giving away an advance copy of  The Rogue Returns to one randomly chosen person who leaves a comment on today's post.   

PJ here.  I just noticed that Leigh's three books are currently available at fantastic prices for Kindle.  The Rogue Returns is $2.99, The Runaway Countess is $5.00 and The Misbehaving Marquess is FREE! They are also available for Nook at $5.99, $2.99 and $0.99, respectively.  

41 comments:

  1. I always love to read marriage of convenience stories. Fun to watch the sparks fly & then the realisation.

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    1. Aren't they fun, Mary? I like them too!

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    2. Hi Mary! I love marriage of convenience stories as well. Once the hero and heroine are wed in historical romance, they have so much more freedom and it allows the plot to go in any direction. They are physically thrown together-living in the same house, sleeping in adjoining bedrooms... ;-)

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  2. Congrats on the new release and the new baby :) I haven't read this series but will have to do so. I like the brother's best friend and the second time around romances. Thanks for the interview and I am looking forward to reading about Roane and Lady Helen.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Carol, I hope you enjoy the series. The brother's best friend is one of my favorite tropes too. I love the moment when the best friend suddenly realizes that his friend's annoying little sister is all grown up.

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    2. Thanks, Carol! I currently have two boys and this little pea is... a girl! She'll have lots of opportunities to crush on her brother's friends. I'll have to keep my eye out on her.

      The second book (novella) in the series is a reconciliation/ second chances romance. It's currently free, and you could start there. The Misbehaving Marquess. The only spoilers in that story are that the characters live HEA ;-)

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  3. Congratulations on your new book and your upcoming new baby! One of my favorite plots is the marriage of convenience. I like to see two characters fall in love when they least expect it to happen.

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    1. Another vote for marriage of convenience!

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    2. I'm taking notes for my next book ;-)

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  4. THE ROGUE RETURNS with its highwaymen and the mysterious Midnight Rider sounds exciting! I like how Lady Helen surprises herself and Roane as she handles every adversity adeptly!

    My favorite themes:

    Beauty & the Beast- wounded hero finds love
    Ugly Duckling-Swan - plain Jane to beauty with a makeover
    Cinderella -poor girl to married to a title
    Marriage of Convenience
    Mail Order Bride
    On the Run/ Hiding

    Best of luck as you balance family life and career!

    Hope all goes smoothly with your pregnancy!

    Congrats on your new daughter to be in April!

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    1. Laurie, it was fun to watch not only Lady Helen but Roane as well begin to realize they are more than they thought.

      Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorites too. Next Monday's guest author uses that theme very effectively.

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    2. Thanks so much, Laurie. The balancing act is kind of crazy, and definitely a theme for moms today.

      Have you read 'Any Duchess Will Do' by Tessa Dare? Such a fun Cinderella story!

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  5. Welcome back, Leigh! It's exciting for me to host you today as I've waited a long time to read Roane's book. I've been fascinated by him since first "meeting" him in The Runaway Countess. I'm very happy to say he did not disappoint me in The Rogue Returns!

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    1. Thanks, PJ! I wrote a few different versions of this book, trying to find the best heroine for Roane. In some versions, she first meets him in Australia and comes to England around the same time. At one point it was a novella... I'm glad you enjoyed the final version. Thanks for having me, today!

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  6. Congratulations on the upcoming birth of your baby, Leigh! God's blessings to you and your family. Congrats on your books and the new release. They sound so good!

    My fave tropes in romance are the girl next door or friend's little sister or sister's friend....where the H just thinks she's the pesky little neighbor kid, then, HELLO! ;) My fave one is JQ's ROMANCING MR. BRIDGERTON. Penelope has always just been there and around when, suddenly, Colin realizes, HELLO! ;)

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    1. I love Colin! He's a great hero. The historical I'm working on now is a friends-to-lovers, girl next door story. The great thing about this theme is they already have a long history together. It allows for a deeper relationship from the start. AND the moment when the hero finally SEES her- I LOVE those moments in romance.

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  7. Congralations on the new addition!

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  8. I just noticed that Leigh's three books are currently available at fantastic prices for Kindle. The Rogue Returns is $2.99, The Runaway Countess is $5.00 and The Misbehaving Marquess is FREE! They are also available for Nook at $5.99, $2.99 and $0.99 respectively.

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  9. wow what awesome covers. Covers today are so much better than those of the past. Can't wait to read her books

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    1. The cover designer did a great job with these! One of these days I'll get around to printing them out in 8x10 and framing them in my 'office'. Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. I too like marriage of convenience or the bad boy (rogue). I love your covers and since I'm a print enthusiast, I just love being surrounded by books like yours (after I read them of course).

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    1. catslady- When we moved a few years ago, I had boxes and boxes of romance novels. A veritable tower! I love the covers, too. Have you seen any of the European covers? They are gorgeous. I want one ;-)

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  11. Congratulations, Leigh! I loved this book! It's hard to say my favorite trope but if pressed I'd have to say it's friends to lovers. I adore that!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Carey! And your very first book was a friends to lovers romance...imagine that ;-)

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    2. Hi Carey! Thanks for popping in. I'm looking forward to your next book and your visit with us in March.

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  12. Congrats Leigh on both the book and the new baby!!! I love the sound of this series :) I just picked up the MM and I can't wait to get started! LOL... Glad that I'm not the only one who packed multiple books on trips! This new age of the kindle and ipad make it soooo much easier. But I'm kinda nostalgic for the extra suitcase/backpack full of books!

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    1. Thanks, Erin. What I don't miss is the heavy carry-ons and suitcases full of books ;-) My dad will still bring huge hardcovers with him when he comes to visit me. Two, if it's a long trip. He's old school like that.

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  13. Hi Leigh, congratulations, I love the covers or your books their beautiful. Do you have a say as to what cover they use on your books? Your books sound fabulous and I will have to check them out.

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    1. The first cover I had some input in- I think I said I liked gold and wanted a lot of fabric. The second two I was able to create with the designer together. Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. You are a new-to me author, Leigh, so I'm excited about this post today...I'm always interested in new historical romance to feed my reading habit! Now I want to go shopping on Amazon to get the first book in this series. I'm so glad I"met"you today. jdh2690@Gmail.com

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    1. Hi Janice- nice to meet you as well! Are you on goodreads? I find that to be a useful place to find new authors. I hope you get a chance to try one of my books!

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  15. Congratulations, Leigh, on the upcoming new book and baby! :)

    I've always loved beauty and the beast stories and wounded warrior stories.

    Marcy Shuler

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    1. I love beauty and the beast too, Marcy. It's such a classic. :)

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    2. Ooh, wounded warrior stories. That's a great one!

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  16. Leigh, thanks so much for visiting with us today. Wishing you all the best with The Rogue Returns!

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  17. Thank you for the interview, Leigh and PJ. You have been busy and are about to be much busier in a few months, Leigh. Enjoy your little one when she gets here.

    I like Beauty & the Beast and Cinderella stories. I also like road trips, reunions, misunderstandings, and wounded hero or heroine story lines. THE ROGUE RETURNS is a story I will enjoy reading. I haven't read a road trip story in quite a while. I hope the release goes well.

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  18. Leigh, As a labor and delivery nurse for the last twenty-two years, I send my best wishes for a quick and tolerable labor. As far as a favorite read, anything that includes a pregnancy or baby - I'm in. Congrats on your new release, I look forward to reading it.

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  19. My favorites are friends-to-lovers, fake marriages, second chance, and secret baby.

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