Happy Birthday, Janga! Wishing you sunshine, smiles, and happily ever afters today and always.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Today's Special - - Rose Lerner




It's my pleasure to once again host historical romance author Rose Lerner. As regulars will recall, Rose's Sweet Disorder was on Janga's recently posted Top Ten Books of 2014 here at TRD (and is currently on sale in e-book for $0.99). Having read her new book, True Pretenses, I won't be one bit surprised if it also ends up on "best of" lists for 2015! For more information about Rose and her books, please visit her website.



Welcome back, Rose! On January 13th, Samhain released True Pretenses, the second book in your Lively St. Lemeston series.  Please tell our readers what they can expect from this book. 

It's good to be back! True Pretenses is a historical romance about a philanthropist heiress who needs to get her hands on her dowry, and a Jewish con artist trying to arrange a marriage of convenience between her and his brother. Needless to say, things don't go to plan.

One of the many things I enjoy about your books is your willingness to write outside the norm. In True Pretenses, you not only explore a cross-class romance but take it a step further with a scandalous, cross-religion obstacle as well as placing the hero and heroine on opposite sides of the law. What compelled you to create this couple whose pairing would have flown in the face of everything society held dear? What do you want readers to understand about them?

Huh, I never actually thought about it like that! That's a lot of conflict, isn't it? I think that was what made them so fun to write--there were all of these huge differences between them, really fundamental differences in life experience--and yet somehow they have this instinctive kinship at the core of themselves. And it starts with this little thing, that they're both sort of stand-in parents for a younger sibling.

I'm not sure I meant it to be as Romeo and Juliet as all that when I started, though. I created the characters first and then thought about how their romance would go and what the obstacles would be.
I never ever wanted to make light of the differences between them, or the difficulties of loving someone who has had privilege you can't really imagine. And yet, that happens all the time, doesn't it? For example, we live in a pretty sexist society and yet many women manage to love and marry men.

I was fascinated by the level of detail in this story, from the politics of the era to Ash’s childhood activities in London’s East End. Were the details a product of your imagination or derived from what must have been extensive research?

Thank you! Ash and Lydia are both completely fictional people, and Lively St. Lemeston is a completely fictional town. But I do as much research as I can and I hope that most of the details are at least historically plausible. In some cases they're borrowed more or less directly from research.
For example, at one point Ash says, "At five, I had already been employed for a year picking the embroidery out of stolen handkerchiefs." This is based on a description in an 1816 law enforcement notebook of "Mrs. Diner, of Field Lane, Holborn" who "Keeps a Shop where numbers of Silk Handkerchiefs hang at the Window which she deals in & nothing else & has lived there 8 or 9 years in the same way buying them from Pick-pockets of every description, Men, Women, Boys & Girls, but chiefly Boys, whose practice it is....The Officers sometimes come here, but of no avail, as she takes out the Initials or Marks, so that the Property cannot be identified." (Quoted in The Regency Underworld by Donald Low, Chapter 3, "Nurseries of Crime," from which I adapted many of the details of Ash and Rafe's criminal boyhood.)

Readers, if there's anything in particular you wonder about while reading and you want to know, "Did stuff like this really happen?", feel free to email me! I am happy to draw aside the curtain and reveal the movie magic.

While reading your books, I often find myself wondering which character’s shoes I’d like to step into – temporarily, of course. If you could step into the life of one of your characters (male or female) with an escape hatch back to the present, who would you choose and why?

Hmm. I'm glad you gave me the escape hatch because the truth is I don't think I'd want to visit the Regency for anything other than research purposes! I'd love to borrow some of the characters' skills--be an expert confectioner for a few days like Mr. Moon, or a brilliant seamstress like Helen Knight. I'd also love to borrow Nick's life for a bit and see what early Byron fandom was like. But in the end, I'm not envious of any of my characters.

What authors or types of books do you enjoy reading when you’re not busy writing your own?

I mostly read romance, with occasional forays into other genres like mystery and fantasy. Usually I stick to historical, with some paranormal thrown in, but recently I've been on a contemporary binge: Victoria Dahl, Molly O'Keefe, and Sonali Dev are three of my faves at the moment. I also watch a lot of television with my BFF--at the moment we're loving Forever (about an immortal forensic medical examiner played by dreamboat Ioan Gruffudd), Selfie (a My Fair Lady retelling which I can't BELIEVE has already been canceled because it's PERFECT), Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Leverage among others.

I love Forever! I've been a huge Ioan Gruffudd fan since Horatio Hornblower. 

In True Pretenses, you write about a tradition of receiving 12 mince pies from different bakers to bring luck in the next year. Do you have a traditional New Year’s meal for luck?

Not on December 31st, but on the Jewish New Year in the fall I always eat apples and honey for a sweet new year, and round challah for a whole new year (i.e. living through the whole thing).

Speaking of New Year’s, I’m not one to make resolutions but I do have a tradition of listing my hopes at the beginning of each year. What are your hopes for 2015?

I hope to sell a lot of books, I hope to enjoy a lot of fiction, I hope Selfie gets picked up by Netflix or Amazon or something, I hope to be happy and healthy, and I hope to go on at least one vacation getaway.

Do you have more books planned for the citizens of Lively St. Lemeston? (she asked, hopefully)

Absolutely! Book 3, called Listen to the Moon, is out in January 2016. For anyone who's read Sweet Disorder (LStL #1), the hero and heroine are Nick's impassive valet Toogood and Phoebe's snarky maid Sukey. I'm also working on an erotic novella about Mr. Moon and Betsy, the town confectioner and his cashier, although I'm not sure when that will be out yet.
Beyond that, it's not a series with a planned end. Since the books are so loosely linked, I'm not feeling at all burned out yet. In fact, I have stories I'm really excited to write for at least five or six more books. I'll probably write them as long as people buy them!

Thank you for visiting with us today, Rose. Would you like to ask our readers a question?

Thanks for having me! I would love recommendations for contemporary romance. Or, tell me about a book, movie, or TV show that you're excited for in 2015! I'll send one commenter chosen at random a copy of True Pretenses in the e-format of their choice.

41 comments:

  1. My daughter has me hooked on the MARVEL universe. Both TV & movies (although I read a lot of the comics as a child.) Agent Carter is loads of fun to watch on TV.

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    1. I missed the first couple Agent Carter shows. Need to catch up online.

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    2. Yes! I love the MCU. Loki is my fave, and I'm LOVING Agent Carter! Watching her just whale on bad guys with whatever comes to hand is incredibly satisfying, and I love her friendship with...Angie I think her name is? I loved Lyndsy Fonseca on Nikita and it's so exciting to see her again.

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  2. Congratulations to Rose on her new book. It looks like it has some unique characters, something I enjoy reading. I have been enjoying Lauren Dane's contemporary romances lately.

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    1. Maureen, I don't think I've ever read a romance hero quite like this one. I devoured this book!

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    2. Ooh, thanks for the rec! I've actually been meaning to read Tart, because I love romances where food plays a role and I'd like to read more menages. Do you think that's a good place to start?

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  3. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter are great. I really like Once Upon a Time. Three evil villianesses are showing up this spring! If you like a good old-fashioned cop show with a lot of family drama, Blue Bloods is good. I'm eager to see how Castle goes with him as a private investigator now.

    I already won a copy of the book, so I'm looking forward to reading it. Thanks!

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    1. Love Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D! Hope you enjoy reading True Pretenses as much as I did, Mary!

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    2. Hi Mary! I have vowed never to watch another Joss Whedon show after he broke my heart for like the eighth time, but I've heard great things about Agents of SHIELD. I am really enjoying Agent Carter! She is such a badass and Hayley Atwell just seems like a delight.

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  4. How wonderful that the next book in the series will feature Toogood and Sukey! I now have the first official entry on my must-buy list for 2016.

    As for contemporary romance recommendations, Karina Bliss's Rise releases January 28, and I highly recommend it and What the Librarian Did, the book in which the hero of Rise is introduced. I'm also eager to see what Sherry Thomas produces with her first contemporary, and I always enjoy the books of Julie James. If you like small-town romance, I have a long list of recs--from Robyn Carr, who has been credited with starting the small-town trend to Terri Osburn, whose first book in her sophomore Ardent Springs book releases April 21.

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    1. Yes, I've been meaning to read more Julie James! I read one of the lawyer ones and loved it, and also the one where the heroine owns...a wine store, I think? I will add Karina Bliss to the TBR, thanks. Actually, while I do enjoy small-town romance, it's not my favorite flavor for contemporaries. I'm a city girl, I guess...I'd love more recs for high-powered career women heroines who are awesome and competent! I'd also love recs for beta heroes, or more generally heroes who aren't constantly ignoring the heroine's boundaries (I totally understand why that's a turn-on for some readers but it makes me uncomfortable).

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    2. I too am a fan of beta heroes. These are all oldies, but they feature some of my favorite contemporary betas: Till the Stars Fall by Kathleen Gilles Seidel, In the Midnight Rain by Ruth Wind (aka Barbara Samuel), and Red's Hot Honky-Tonk Bar by Pamela Morsi (which also has an older heroine). The last two are available in digital format. The hero of A Single Kiss, the first novel in the first contemporary series from Grace Burrowes, is also a beta. I adored him. And I should have included Kristan Higgins in my original list. Have you read Jennifer Crusie? She has some great beta heroes too.

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    3. Ooh, I'm partway through Again by Seidel and really enjoying it. Thank you!! And yes, I've read all of Crusie. I love her!

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  5. Congratulations on your new release. For contemporary books, my go-to authors are Julie James, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson. On TV, I like to watch Once Upon a Time, Castle, Bones & The Mentalist.

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    1. Thank you! Which SEPs are your favorite? I loved Ain't She Sweet, where do you think I should go from there? Where is a good place to start with Rachel Gibson? (lol, I can see this guest post is going to cost me a lot of $$$$$!)

      I really loved the first season of the Mentalist but somehow I drifted away after that. I really loved everyone on that team, though, especially Lisbon. I'm glad she and Jayne are finally together! (They are, right?) Based on your list, I really think you should give Forever a shot! It's a lovely not-too-dark procedural with buddy cop elements. The first couple of episodes are kind of terrible but it really finds its feet after that.

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    2. If you haven't read SEP's Chicago Stars series, then start with It Had To Be You. I'm not sure how you feel about sports books, but even if you're not a fan, the books are funny.

      Rachel Gibson also has a sports series that's terrific. In Any Man of Mine, a star hockey player has a wonderful son who isn't athletic. It makes for some cute scenes. If you want to read one of her stand-alone books that isn't set in the sports world, then try Not Another Bad Date. After a series of disastrous dates, the heroine reunites with her first love. Two other good contemporary books are Money Honey by Susan Sey and Hip Check by Deidre Martin. The Susan Sey book is about a con artist that gets involved with an FBI agent.

      Finally, The Mentalist is ending its run in February. It's sweet how Lisbon and Jane's romance is slowly developing. If you want to watch the final episodes, it's now on Wednesdays at 8 pm.

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    3. Thank you!! All of those sound incredible, wow. I do love sports books, actually, and sports movies, which is funny because I don't love sports. I think I just need sports to have an emotional narrative?

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  6. I look forward to reading True Pretenses because I read mostly historical romances. As far as contemporaries, I suggest Terri Osburn's Anchor Island books, even though they all take place on an island and not the big city. Her characters are memorable to me, especially Sid, the romance-novel reading mechanic.

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    1. Ooh, islands are good too! Honestly, you had me at "romance-reading mechanic." YES PLZ.

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    2. FYI: Sid, the foul-mouthed, romance reading mechanic is the heroine. The hero is a Brooks Brothers type big city lawyer. It's an awesome combo!

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    3. OMG. I admit I was imagining the mechanic as a man (rookie mistake!) but this sounds EVEN BETTER. I love mechanic heroines (cf. Mercy Thompson...)

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    4. I should have mentioned Sid was the heroine. :)

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  7. Lots of great recommendations! Other authors you may want to check out: Catherine Bybee (love her Weekday Brides series), Kate Meader and Juliana Stone.

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  8. Congrats top Rose on the new release!!! Ummm... The last contemporary that I read and loved, was technically a "new adult" but I got sucked in and I wasn't put off by the young age of the couple. The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen had all of the feels and romance that I was looking for, even though the couple is in their first year or so of college. I highly recommend it, but don't start if you have anything you must do, cuz you will lose a lot of time :) Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Ooh, thanks! I've been meaning to try more new adult since I love YA...will put this on the list!

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  9. Good luck to you with the selling lots of books in the new year, Rose!
    I love Katie Reus' Red Stone Security Series and her Deadly Ops Series as well. Not so much contemporary but Suspense and special ops kind of genre but I love how the action keeps me on the edge of my seat the whole time!
    JoannaM

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    1. Intriguing. :) How scary are they, though? I'm easily frightened!

      And thanks!

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  10. Congrats on your new book. I really enjoy Jill Shalvis and Christie Craig's books.

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  11. I read contemporaries sparingly, and usually where there is a lot of humor (Janet Evanovich and Jennifer Crusie) or when it is romantic suspense. The combo of suspense and romance gets the adrenalin going in more than one way. :-) But I'm truly an historical romance fanatic...including medieval, Regency, Georgian, Victorian...and early American and Western. So glad to "meet" you Rose, on this blog. I haven't read anything by you to date, but I expect that is gonna change since having "met" you. Thanks for the post! jdh2690@gmail.com

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    1. Thanks, Janice! It's lovely to meet you, too. :) I definitely prefer romcoms to suspense, I am SO easily frightened!

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  12. We're currently streaming Broadchurch with David Tennant on NetFlix. I honestly don't watch a ton of TV usually. :-)

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    1. I haven't heard of that! What's it about? I do love David Tennant.

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  13. Have you read any Emma Barry? My catnip is highly specific realistic world building, whether contemporary or historical. I want to know ALL THE THINGS even though it's impossible for me to do so.

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    1. Uhhh, I really should've said that I recommend Emma Barry. :)

      As for TV shows, I'm curious about Fresh Off the Boat -- its execution, whether it finds an audience, etc.

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    2. I agree, worldbuilding is so important! I haven't read any Emma Barry yet. Where would you recommend I start?

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  14. Rose, I'm really enjoying Forever as well and recommend it, good character chemistry makes it work, along with the charming Henry. Also like Agents of Shield and Agent Carter. Have you tried Arrow (Oliver Queen) on the CW, or Sleepy Hollow is another I like a lot with good character chemistry on Fox.

    I don't get to many contemporaries but do love Julies James FBI series.

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    1. OMG I love Arrow A RIDICULOUS AMOUNT. Oliver is my precious angel!

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  15. I am looking forward to the second half of Outlander. At least the first book. I appreciate how the seem to have attempted to be as historically accurate with the details. The actors have done an excellent job portraying the written characters. Things are a bit different from the book, but for the most part those differences have added to the story.

    I appreciate the research you authors do to make your books and characters as accurate as possible. Best wishes for a successful release of TRUE PRETENSES.

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    1. Thanks! Yes, all my Outlander fan friends seem really happy with the show. And that actress is STUNNING!

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