Please join me welcoming Leigh Michaels back to Debbie's Book Bag today. Leigh is here to talk about her latest release, The Wedding Affair. The publisher is sponsoring a great giveaway, see details at the end of the post.
LM: On my last visit, my first Regency-period historical, The Mistress’ House, had just been released. The Wedding Affair is my third Regency, and I’m excited to have all three books out now.
DEB: Tell us a little about your latest book, The Wedding Affair? Is this book a single title or part of a series?
LM: In The Wedding Affair, guests have gathered at a country estate for a wedding, but they pay more attention to their private affairs (and I do mean affairs!) than they do to the bride and groom.
Each of my historicals stands alone. The only things they have in common are the time period and one continuing character (she’s a secondary character, but it’s fun to have her walk on stage in each of the books). However, each one of my historicals includes three heroes, three heroines, and three romances.
DEB: One of the things I have enjoyed about your latest books,is the fact that you choose to tell three inter-woven stories. What made you decide to take on so many characters and stories at one time?
LM: After 83 published novels and another 15 or 20 non-fiction titles, I need a new challenge with each book in order to keep me excited. Stories about a group of friends or sisters or co-workers are done fairly often in women’s fiction, but not in romance. I’ve found that it’s a great way to subtly carry out a theme, by showing the different ways that characters react to desperation, for instance, as in The Wedding Affair.
DEB: When you are researching for a particular book, what kinds of resources do you use and what is most helpful to you in finding out what you need to know for your novel?
LM: I have a good-sized library of Regency resources, including books about the period (biographies, sociological studies) and from the period (novels, diaries, reprints of guidebooks and maps). I was also fortunate enough to live in London for a short while, so I was able to walk the city and see many things that a Regency-era heroine would have seen. That experience also helped me to understand distances and geography, and I got to see the countryside as well. The internet helps too – especially with things like tracking down pictures of costumes. It’s still hard to find specific details, though, because many of them were such common knowledge that they weren’t written down.
DEB: A lot of my readers are writers and they are interested in how you first got started writing. What gave you the confidence to try to sell your manuscript?
LM: Pure dumb determination. Actually, I sent my first submission in the hope that I’d get a rejection letter which started off, “No, but here’s why” – and then I could make the next book better. As it happens, that submission landed in the hands of my first editor, who saw promise in my work. She made suggestions and asked for revisions, and a few months later she bought that book. I worked with her for several years, through about 25 books.
DEB: Do you have advice for new writers?
LM: Persistence is every bit as important as raw talent in succeeding. Don’t just write one book—when your first is ready to send out, write another book and send it out, too. If the answer is a Yes, editors always ask what else you have. If it’s a No, having something else out there, something that might be the first sale, helps to take the pain away.
DEB: My readers are also interested in you as a person. Name one pet peeve that you have?
LM: People who freely share their opinions that romance novels are trashy or pornographic—without ever having read one.
DEB: Tell us one thing that readers may not know about you?
LM: I love tiny things, and I have a miniature house: a Georgian-style manor house that would have been a possible home for my Regency characters. You can see pictures of it at http://www.leighmichaels.home.mchsi.com/leigh's%20house.htm
DEB: If you could travel to any time period when and where would it be?
LM: Only ONE? Oh, dear. I’d have to put work first and go to the Regency era, to solve those research problems which continue to nag at me. But if I had another choice, I’d like to know what really happened in Dealey Plaza in November 1963.
DEB: What books are you most interested in that are coming out in 2011? Your own and other writers.
LM: I read cozy mystery as well as romance to relax, so I’m trying to find time to read Tempest in the Tea Leaves by Kari Townsend, and I’m waiting for the release of Liver Let Die by Liz Lipperman and Who Do, VooDoo? by Rochelle Staab. And I recently finished Awaken the Highland Warrior by Anita Clenney, who’s a former student of mine.
Sourcebooks is sponsoring an awesome giveaway here at Debbie's Book Bag today. Two winners will each win a copy of all three of Leigh Michaels books, The Mistress House, Just One Season in London and The Wedding Affair.
~ US and Canadian Addresses only (Publisher Request)
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST October 12th.
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