Please join me in welcoming Grace Burrowes, author of The Heir to Debbie's Book Bag today!
Sourcebooks has generously offered two copies of The Heir for giveaway... Details at the end of the post!
DEB: Grace, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
GB: I am the sixth out of seven children, which position probably made me more verbal than if I'd been higher up in the pack, and my parents used to read us "Uncle Wiggly" stories to help make the bedtime routine more enjoyable. I've had a love of story ever since.
DEB: Tell us a little about your book, The Heir?
GB: I'm still trying to figure out what the book's theme is, besides love conquering all, of course. To me, the hero, Gayle Windham, the Earl of Westhaven is a weary, lonely man using the last of his moral backbone to resist his father's attempts to dragoon him into a loveless marriage. I don't think Westhaven himself quite understands why he's so resistant - he's a dutiful son, after all - until the heroine, Anna spells it out for him: Westhaven wants what his parents have, a devoted, loving marriage of their mutual choosing.
DEB: What was your inspiration for this book? Have you always been interested in historical romances?
GB: Somebody handed me a copy of The Wolf and the Dove when I was in seventh grade - it was a very recent release - and I've been nose down in a romance novel ever since. For a while, when single parenting and managing my own law practice were running me ragged, I'd limit myself to one book a day. I am endlessly grateful to all those authors whose work sustained me and still give me a great deal of enjoyment, too.
As for inspiration for this book... Well. I'd written a prequel, wherein His Grace, the Duke of Moreland, had decided to match Westhaven up with Guinevere Hollister, though she had already developed a decided preference for Douglas, Viscount Amery. I couldn't just leave a dashing, deserving fellow like Westhaven without a happily ever after, but he was snake-bit when it came to women of his own station, so I had to do some maneuvering of my own to pair him up with Anna.
DEB: What type of research did you do for your book?
GB: I find it most helpful to read material authentic to the period - I'm carrying Pride and Prejudice around with me now. Harriette Wilson's memoirs are on my night table, and I enjoy Christopher Hibbett's books because he includes so many original sources. For a quick check, I'll cruise Wiki, but as wonderful a resource as that is, I've found inaccuracies in the materiel, though most readers will take it as gospel. Many Regency author's websites are full of good reference materiel too.
DEB: What is your normal writing day like? Do you have things that have to be in place to write comfortably?
GB: I normally get up quite early, tend to my many animals, then sit down with a cup of jasmine green tea and get cracking on my WIP (work in progress). About 8 am I take a break to do the barn chores for my backyard horses, then go back to writing - unless I have to be in the office. The evening is for revisions and touch-ups and weekends are for nice long writing sessions. At some point in the day I also check in with my blog groups. There are days when I write nothing, days when I do nothing but write (almost). I have no word goals, I have no page counts, I have no critique partners and I don't make use of beta readers.
DEB: What was it like when you got the word that your first novel would be published?
GB: It was like getting the thing you've been wishing Santa Claus would bring you ever since you were a little girl, that thing that took you years to realize that you really, truly still wanted... it was beyond lovely and sweet and had more than a little bit of happily ever after in it, too.
DEB: Do you have advice for new writers?
GB: I'm using Monday's to blog about this on my website, but a couple of themes are emerging: First and foremost, write. Nora Roberts put if more succinctly. The idea is not to be distracted by all those fellow-aspirants who are quoting craft books, thundering in all directions to sign up for THE workshop, or dropping names of editors and agents whom they someday intend to pitch.
If you want to be a published writer, you'd better - you guessed it - write.
The other thing to bear in mind is that writing is fun. Writing is how grown ups play "Let's pretend," but beyond that, it's a chance to indulge in creative self-expression. Nature makes the things that are survival necessities - eating, falling asleep, conceiving children (one hopes!) - enjoyable, and we all need to express ourselves to one degree or another. It's not just OK to enjoy writing, it's wonderful, it's divine, it's the point of the exercise. Say me - I hope I'm still saying something similar thirty books from now.
DEB: When your not writing, what kind of books do you like to read? Do you have a favorite author?
GB: My best, most fav, all time desert island keeper author is Judith Ivory, but she is closely followed by Mary Balogh, Loretta Chase, Laura Kinsale, Sophie Nash, Meredith Duran, Carolyn Jewel, J.R. Ward and others. I also like biographies - I just finished one of the Duke of Wellington and I'll look for one of Queen Victoria next.
DEB: What are you working on right now?
GB: Lots of stuff! I just sent off to my editor the final draft of Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish (in stores next fall), which is my first story featuring a Windham sister (and there are five of them, much to my delight). I have a couple weeks to put the finishing tweaks on Lord Valentine's story, The Virtuoso (in stores next fall as well) before I turn to the next Windham sister. If I need a break, I'll write a Scottish Victorian for variety. In stores in June of 2011 will be, The Soldier, Devlin St. Just's story.
DEB: Tell us one thing people may not know about you?
GB: This year, I retired from managing recognized dressage shows. I miss the horses and many of the competitors, but I'm really enjoying having more time to write.
Sourcebooks has generously offered two copies of The Heir by Grace Burrowes for giveaway. The rules are very simple:
~You must be a Google Friend Connect follower to participate.
~This giveaway is for U.S. and Canadian addresses only, as these books will be sent out directly from the publisher.
~The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST January 5th.
1. Answer the following question in the comments section. This just lets me know you read the post and are paying attention.
Who is your favorite historical romance author?
2. Fill out this FORM to be entered.
Extra entries: You will be asked about these on the form.
+5 for following me on Twitter (sidebar)
+5 for being an old follower
+3 for being a new follower
+5 for putting the giveaway on your sidebar
+10 for putting my button on your sidebar
+10 for subscribing via e-mail
+25 for getting the word out via, blog post, facebook, twitter etc.
+50 if you have signed up for the 2011 Cozy Mystery Challenge