Please welcome to the blog Miranda Neville, an old favourite, and a new favourite, Jenny Brown! LORD LIGHTNING is Jenny’s debut novel and you know how much we love debuts at The Season. Oh yeah, we love ‘em tons. And Miranda’s THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT received a Top Pick so please check out our review.
The Nerd and the Rock Star
It’s always a pleasure to be back on The Season. Thanks for having me, Bev. I had this brilliant idea to share my guest spot with my friend and fellow-Avonite Jenny Brown. Jenny’s LORD LIGHTNING shared a release day with THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT. And because she’s new, I can take advantage of her innocence by getting her to do most of the work. So without more ado …. Here’s Jenny! Welcome, and get to work. I’m off to take a nap …
I’ll start off by thanking Bev for letting me tag along and you for being so generous in sharing the stage with me. But before you slink off, I have a question for you. I’ve had the pleasure of reading THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT as well as the two other excellent romances you wrote before it, so what I want to know is this: Of the three delicious men you’ve created, which is your favorite and why?
Drat. This one isn’t as naïve as she looks.
She managed to get in the first question. I’m always in love with the hero I’m writing at the time – I suspect that’s true of most writers. But I believe I’ll always have a soft spot for Sebastian, the hero of THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT. He started out so very unpromising: scruffy, uncommunicative, nerdy. When he first drifted across the page of THE WILD MARQUIS, his function was merely to piss off the heroine of that book, in which he succeeded admirably. I started wondering what had made this intelligent and well born man so socially inept. Underneath his prejudice and bluster he turned out to be the loveliest man: caring, thoughtful, and protective. Also attractive and sexy.
No one would mistake Edward, the hero of LORD LIGHTNING, as anything but HAWT, right from the beginning. I loved the premise of the book, that your astrologer heroine reads his chart and can tell that this deliciously wicked rake is capable of deep and abiding love. I also found the astrology quite fascinating. Did you begin with the character and construct his chart to fit, or was it the other way around?
I started writing LORD LIGHTNING knowing the hero would be a rake who had become trapped in playing an outrageous role in public, on the model of Lord Byron, and I chose to make the heroine an astrologer because her ability to read charts would give her a believable way to see past his outrageous behavior even as the hero intensified his attempts to live up to his profligate reputation. Only after I’d written a few chapters did I go looking for real charts. But once I found them, they gave me a lot more insight into the reason my characters were the way they were and much of the plot developed out of what I saw on their charts—especially the role their parents had played in shaping their ideas about who they were supposed to be.
I love the transformation you put your hero through. Can you tell us more about your heroine, Diana, and how she and Sebastian are drawn together before that transformation occurs?
Initially Sebastian’s attraction to Diana is entirely physical. He catches sight of her exposed leg (shocking!) and is stricken with lust. As he gets to know her, he admits she’s really quite intelligent for a woman. Diana, in rebellion against her brainy eccentric family, wants nothing more than to be well-dressed and fashionable. Now a rich widow, she’s achieved the first goal. For a second husband, she’s set her sights on Lord Blakeney, the handsome heir to a dukedom who happens to be Sebastian’s cousin and childhood enemy. To impress Blake, she bets she can make the woman-hating Sebastian kiss her. Despite herself, she finds Sebastian interesting, likeable and surprisingly attractive. Trouble is, by the time she falls for him, he’s found out about the bet and he feels utterly betrayed.
Your heroine, Eliza, has every reason to dislike Edward, despite what she’s seen in his chart. What is it that makes her fall in love with him?
Besides his devastatingly good looks, wit, and the kind heart he works so hard to hide? I’d have to say, it’s his intensity and his courage. Edward has that Rock Star charisma that Leos can have, and from the moment he bursts into her life he awakens the repressed Eliza’s long-buried need to live life to the hilt whatever the consequences. But Eliza is wise enough to fear that the intoxicating emotion she feels for Edward is mostly infatuation. She and Edward both must go through some wrenching experiences before she can trust that he is someone with whom she can build a fulfilling life.
That’s a great way of putting it, Jenny. Don’t we all want a super hot rock star with a kind heart?
Who is the hero in the next Burgundy Club novel? Any hints as to what will make us fall in love with him?
Readers of the previous books have already met Tarquin Compton, the best dressed man in London. I decided the only thing to do with a dandy is undress him. Lost on the moors with a very grumpy heroine and hardly any clothes, Tarquin had to rediscover his inner caveman. I loved the struggle between his exquisite exterior and more primitive instincts. What’s next for you?
Oh goody! I am so looking forward to Tarquin Undressed. After writing Edward, the in-your-face, theatrical Leo, I challenged myself to write a very different kind of hero—a secretive Scorpio who like so many of his sign conceals intolerably intense emotions behind a calm exterior that gives nothing away. Trev is a captain of dragoons just arrived home from the war in India who passes the time by dabbling in political intrigue. Seeking a bit of pleasure with a woman he considers safe and expendable, he lets a seductive pickpocket’s sexual skill draw him into an intriguing game of cat and mouse. But his passion turns into torment when he learns she has been sent out by his enemies to steal more than just his heart.
That sounds too fabulous. I can’t wait!
Jenny and I have written a pair of heroes who seem so dissimilar on the surface: Jenny’s Regency Rock Star, my Regency Nerd. But what they have in common is that what you see is not really what you get. Uncovering the hidden depths is what makes a story fun.
Tell us about a character, in real life or fiction, who turned out to be different than he/she appeared. Two commenters will win a signed book – Jenny’s LORD LIGHTNING or your choice from my three books.