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Tag Team Post: Miranda Neville & Jenny Brown


October 18, 2010

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.

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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.

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38 Comments

  1. What a fun interview. Both of your books sound really fun to read. I love both covers too.

  2. Anna Campbell’s Lord Erith in Tempt the Devil got me! One minute he’s the dominant alpha hero who gets everything he so arrogantly sets out for and by nearly the end (don’t read if you don’t want a spoiler) he’s on his knees begging her to marry him. He even cried :( Then I cried. Then we were all crying! I loved this book so much and both of the characters!

    Miranda, I love the idea of your hero finding his inner caveman! That one line alone would make me rush out and buy your book!

    Jenny, good luck with your debut!

    Bron.

  3. Hi ladies, thanks for the fun chat. Can’t wait for Tarquin (I thought his story was going to be your first M/M Regency!) and look forward to meeting Edward. Good bit of real knowledge gained here: I have several close friends who are scorpios and now I realize all I wanted was the cool exterior and instead I have ended up with a veritable U.N. of deeply emotional mates! My husband in particular would be the exterior-does-not-match-interior scorpion poster boy. Glad I popped in. Tx.

  4. Oh My! Both sound great! Can’t wait to read them! Have a hugh TBR Pile… would love to add to the pile!

  5. Ohmygosh! Here’s a good one. DEXTER. (Showtime)

  6. Truly awesome! Love the interview. It’s nice when the authors get personal with people and share. Looking forward to hearing more!

  7. Lord of lighting sounds like a great book.

  8. Oh, I have to agree with Mel K. and say DEXTER! I love that show and Dexter is the ultimate not what he seems character!

    Great interview ladies…both books sound terrific! Off I go to add them to my ever growing BTB list, which is ALMOST as big as my TBR mountain….no not quite.

  9. Great interview. Both of these books have been on my TBR pile for awhile now. I think Sebastian Ballister from Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase.

  10. I’m popping. Sorry I’m late but I have to wait for lunch.

    Miranda and Jenny, it’s wonderful having you on the blog. Sorry for the screw up with the dates but it means one more day for visitors to chat with you. I’ve read both books and they’re both great.

    Love the whole tag team interview. It so works.

  11. I recently read Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March and I thought I was really going to hate the hero(Philip) and not respect the heroin(Charlotte) for taking him back but honestly I fell in love with both of them and the book is a keeper for me.

  12. Great to be here, Bev. Even if we are a day early!

    @Sue. Jenny and I both hit the jackpot with our covers. Since we have no say in the matter, we are burning lots of incense to the cover Gods.

    @Bronwyn. I loved Tempt the Devil! Erith was such a great groveler. It’s maybe my favorite Anna C. Unfortunately, Tarquin, the Caveman-Dandy, won’t hit the shelves till August. The book doesn’t even have a title yet!

    @Megan. Great to see you as always. Tarquin is full of surprises but he is 100% heterosexual. I wouldn’t have a clue how to write a M/M (unless it was “sweet”).

    @Vanetta. I hear you on the tottering TBR but there’s always room for another book, even if you are getting close to the ceiling!

  13. @Mel K and Karen H in NC. I don’t know DEXTER. Should I? I don;’t get Showtime but maybe it’s available on Netflix.

    @Molly. Jenny is as fun in real life as she is in her books.

    @Rebekah. LL *is* a great book. I was lucky to read it early and I knew at once people would love it.

    @Danielle. Be still my heart. Sebastian – Dain – is one of the great heroes. He is such an amazing over-the-top jerk on the surface and so mushy and insecure underneath. LOVE!

    @Marjana. I’ve heard great things about Ashley March’s debut and it’s on my TBB list.

  14. The Duke of Villiers in Eloisa James’ Desperate Duchesses series turned out much different than I thought he would. At first he was not a very sympathetic character, but by the end of the series, I was so happy to see him get his happily ever after.
    I’m looking forward to reading both books. I love the covers, the deep blue in both of them is beautiful and love the background in Lord Lightning.

  15. The first hero that comes to mind is Sir Alistair Munroe in Elizabeth Hoyt’s To Beguile a Beast. Reclusive and fearsomeat first but strong and heroic in the end!

  16. Bramwell Shepard from Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s What I Did for Love starts out absolutely hateful–selfish, out for himself, with self destructive tendencies. He sees the heroine being literally mobbed by paparazzi until she stumbles to the ground. She catches his eye and appeals to him–and he ignores her!!! How obnoxious is that? Yet by the end of the book we adore this man! How can that be?! It’s all about being in the hands of a great author…

    Thanks, Miranda and Jenny, for a fun interview–looking forward to reading both your latest!

  17. Oh I just got Lord Lightning and it’s on the top of my tbr pile :) I’ve enjoyed Never Resist Temptation and The Wild Marquis and can’t wait to read The Dangerous Viscount. As to the question, you meet people from all walks of life that are nothing like you think they are. Usually the more prim and proper they act, the more they’re hiding lol.

  18. Have to mention my favorite, Rupert from Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase. Everyone thinks he’s an idiot — he himself thinks he’s an idiot! But he’s incredibly capable and inventive and just the person you need in an emergency. Makes me think of the theories of different kinds of intelligence.

  19. Oh wow both books sound fabulous and I would love to read them!

  20. When I read SCOUNDREL’S KISS by Carrie Lofty, I didn’t much care for the heroine Ada of Keyworth. At the start of the book, she is ruthless in her quest for opium, and as a result quite selfish and mean. Once she faces her demons, Ada truly shines as a strong, intelligent heroine. In the end, I liked the character a lot.

    Great books! I’d love to read them.

  21. @Barbara. Loved Villiers! I think he really was as bad as he seemed at first – he had some major changing to do. I also love another of Eloisa’s bad boys – Mayne. She said he needed to suffer as lot before she could allow him an HEA.

    @mrsshukra. I’m afraid I’m lagging with my Hoyts – haven’t got to that one yet. But I loves me some Beauty and the Beast.

    @Miranda. Hi!!! Good example. Bram was so bad at first. I always get a big thrill in the beginning of a book when the hero seems really dreadful. I settle down all agog to see how the writer is going to turn me around.

    @catslady Thank you! i agree – think of all those serial killers whose neighbors never suspected – not that I’m suggesting we turn one of those into a hero, There are limits :)

    @willaful. Yes! Rupert is one of my all time favorites (sigh).

    @Quilt Lady – thanks for stopping by

  22. Sorry to be checking in late, I was expecting the blog would go live tomorrow and today was One of Those Days.

    Perhaps the hardest thing for us writers when we are trying to describe a hero who isn’t the way he appears on the surface is that we already know what a lovable man he is, but when you pick up our books, you don’t. If we don’t show you enough to make you suspect there is a wonderful man hidden beneath the surface, you’ll hate the book and throw it across the room before we reveal the hidden jewel. If we make it too obvious what a catch the guy is, then everyone will think the heroine is an idiot not to respond to him from page 3. Not an easy problem to solve!

    My favorite hero who isn’t what he seems is Jervaulx in Laura Kinsale’s Flowers from the Storm. But the transformation there is from Beauty INTO Beast. Jervaulx starts out with everything and she reduces him to what looks like a gibbering idiot and that’s the guy we fall in love with. That Kinsale pulls it off is a measure of what a brilliant writer she is.

  23. I do like Sebastian’s transformation in “The Dangerous Viscount”. He improves over time, not just nerd to sophisticate in a few pages. I also like Villiers from the Desperate Duchesses series. For such a jaded rake, he sure was a cupid, bringing together most of the couples in the series.

  24. There are always characters that turn out to be more than they appear. I like the ones who are spies acting like they are dandies.

  25. Lovely interview, ladies ! I’ve read Lord Lightning and thoroughly enjoyed it! Edward is an absolutely delicious hero!

    And Miranda you know I love your books – your heroes are such naughty devils!

    I too love Jervaulx’s transformation in Flowers from the Storm.

    And Dain in Lord of Scoundrels starts off as such a rotter, but he really is such a passionate, loving man.

  26. Both these books look great! I can’t wait to add them to my never ending, always growing list!

    Right now, I’m obsessed with the show House, and he is turning out to be a total softie!! There is definitely more to him than meets the eye! :)

  27. I really enjoyed reading this blog post! Miranda, I just bought a copy of your book THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT and I’m really looking forward to reading it! The hero sounds very interesting! And Jenny, I really like the fact that the heroine is an astrologer in LORD LIGHTNING. That sounds like fun! Both these book have totally gorgeous covers!

  28. A character who turned out different…. hmm can’t think of one I read about recently. I like Tatcher from Elizabeth’s Boyle’s Loveletters From A Duke. The heroine thinks he’s a servant but he’s actually a Duke. Not sure if he counts though for as a reader you are aware of him being more then he appears.

  29. Louisa, I’m so glad you loved Edward.

    What Cories5 says about Sebastian is exactly what makes a true transformation fun to read.

    MinnChica, The biggest problem I had with House was having seen Hugh Laurie in the role of the Regent in Blackadder first. Now THERE’s a transformation.

    Sandra, We did luck out on those covers, didn’t we?

    Kirsten, Noblemen in humble disguise has been pleasing audiences since the days of the Ancient Greeks. It never loses its appeal!

  30. Can I be complete unoriginal and name Mr. Darcy as the one who isn’t what he seems? As we all know, he hides his standoffish persona to being shy and a big awkward in social situations. I love him for that!

    Loved the interview!

  31. Well, Mr. Darcy would be one for me since at the beginning of the story he was pretty obnoxious.

  32. @Jennifer L. Haven’t read Scoundrel’s Kiss – thanks for the rec.

    @cories5 Thank you! And yay for Villiers – and he’s a dandy too, another interesting type I tackle in my next book.

    @Debra G. The Scarlet Pimpernel is one of my all-time favorite stories. LOVE the brilliant man pretending to be an idiot

    @Hello Louisa, my darling. So glad you enjoyed Jenny’s book. Must confess I’m not a Flowers from the Storm fan – I must be too shallow. But I adore Dain, of course.

    @MinnChica – I love House too. He really is a unique character.

    @Sandra – Hope your enjoy TDV. Please let me know – I love to hear readers’ opinion.

    @Kirsten – I loved that Eliz Boyle because of the Duke mistaken for a servant. Also, I love befuddled heroes and, boy, was he confused.

    @Susan and Maureen. Darcy (sigh) has to be the original model for “what you see is not what you get.”

  33. Darcy works for me. And I suppose we could also say Mr. Rochester is not what he seems, though mostly that applies to “Single.”

  34. I added Lord Lightning to my TBB after Jenny’s blog with the Pirates. I’ve already raved about The Dangerous Viscount elsewhere, so I’ll just say I loved it.

    A recent addition to my favorite characters who are different than they appear to be is the Marquess of Vere, hero of Sherry Thomas’s His at Night. He was one of the most unusual heroes I’ve encountered.

  35. i can’t think any characters now, but i would really like to win one of your books :) so please count me in.

  36. Both great books! I am going to go with Wicked Intentions By Elizabeth Hoyt, the hero was nothing like I expected!

  37. I definitely agree about Mr. Darcy. His whole attitude was stuck up even when he proposed to Elizabeth and said it was something that he could not fight. Nothing romantic about him until the end of the book.

    Both of these books look great and I would love to win. Thanks for the giveaway.

  38. Enjoyed reading the coments. The 2 characters that appeared different than they really were – Superman and Mr Darcy. Of course, Elizabeth saw him for what he really was.

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