Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Blog Tour Interview: Mistress of My Fate by Hallie Rubenhold + Giveaway (US)

Sex, lies and the secret lives of courtesans. Hallie Rubenhold's MISTRESS OF MY FATE takes one young woman into the world of fallen women and this is her memoir. Today Hallie is answering questions about herself and her books.


Meet Hallie:
Hallie Rubenhold is a historian and broadcaster and an authority on eighteenth-century British social history. She has written two works of non-fiction to critical acclaim: The Covent Garden Ladies and Lady Worsley's Whim: An Eighteenth-Century Tale of Sex, Scandal and Divorce. In addition to writing books, articles, and reviews, Hallie regularly appears on TV in the UK as an expert contributor to documentaries. She lives in London with her husband.

Connect with Hallie: Author site | Facebook | Twitter

Jamie and Kati: Hi Hallie! Welcome to Romancing Rakes For The Love of Romance.

J&K: Who is Hallie Rubenhold? 
Hallie Rubenhold: A perfectionist with a laid back streak. (Is that possible?) I’m as rational and methodical with my work as I am creative. I love being around upbeat energetic people, as it helps to get my ideas flowing, but that’s often in conflict with the actuality of being a writer, which means locking yourself away for days on end.

I’m quite sociable, so getting that balance between work and pleasure is a hard one to achieve.

J&K: Share with us a little bit about MISTRESS OF MY FATE [no copying blurb :)]
HR: Imagine what would have happened if Pride and Prejudice’s Lydia Bennet had run away with Mr Wickham, but her parents hadn’t interceded to make things alright and Lydia was left to her own devices? Mistress of My Fate follows the story of Henrietta Lightfoot, a young woman with a genteel upbringing, who in 1789 falls in love with the wrong man. I don’t want to give too much away, but suffice to say, she loses her innocence among the glittering London demimonde and learns a lot about herself and what it means to be a woman on her own. Mistress of My Fate is probably as historically accurate you can get in terms of story, characters and detail, as it’s come out of the research I’ve done for my previous works of non fiction about London courtesans and what it would have been like to have lived in that shadowy world.

J&K: If your book were to have a theme song, what would it be?
HR: The Dealer by Fleetwood Mac. The song is also called ‘Mistress of My Fate’ – the lyrics are great. In fact the title of my book didn’t come from Stevie Nicks but rather from a poem by Shakespeare, The Rape of Lucrece.

J&K: For those not familiar with your work, which of your books would you recommend they start with?
HR: It depends if you like fiction or non fiction. The two I wrote prior to Mistress of My Fate, were the Covent Garden Ladies, about a notorious eighteenth century guidebook to London’s prostitutes, and Lady Worsley’s Whim (called The Lady in Red in the US), about one of the eighteenth century’s first ‘celebrity divorces’. They are both true stories and I’ve researched them carefully, but written them in an entertaining way. However, if you like straight fiction, then start with

Mistress of My Fate. It’s the first novel in the Confessions of Henrietta Lightfoot series, so there will be more to come!

J&K: If you could trade places with any fallen woman (real or fictional) who would it be and why?
HR: I’m afraid you’re going to find my answer really boring! After learning what I have about the lives of disgraced women in earlier centuries, I would never want to be one. Women were downtrodden and subject to all sorts of abuse, regardless of how romantic their lives seemed.

The cards were completely stacked against them. To be honest, I’d much rather be a dashingly handsome rakish man with a vast amount of family money to squander!

J&K: What book is at the top of your TBR pile?
HR: My TBR pile never gets any smaller no matter what I do! I try not to read historical fiction while I’m writing historical fiction, as I worry I’ll be influenced by another writer’s voice. At the moment I can’t wait to read Hillary Mantel’s Bring Up The Bodies, and Rose Tremain’s Merivel, which is a sequel to her earlier novel, Restoration. Merivel takes place at the court of Louis XVI at Versailles, which sounds absolutely luscious!

J&K: What are you writing at the moment? Can you give us a sneak peek into your current WIP?
HR: At the moment I’m up to my neck in the sequel to Mistress of My FateThe French Lesson, which finds Henrietta in Paris during the height of the French Revolution. I’m going to resist the temptation to drop in spoilers, but if you can imagine a cross between Dangerous Liaisons and A Tale of Two Cities, you can get a sense for what is to come…

Lightning Round:
Alpha or Beta? Alpha
Wallflower or Belle of the Ball? Belle of the Ball (and wearing expensive perfume!)
Debutante or Spinster? Debutante
Virgin widow or Secret baby? Secret baby all the way.
Titled peer or Working man? Titled peer.
Love at first sight or Second chances? Love at first sight.
Naval officer or Swashbuckling pirate? Naval officer in tight breeches.
Vampires or Shifters? Bill Compton and Eric Northman, please.
Past, Present or Future? Past
Writing or Reading? Writing
Paperbacks or e-books? Paperbacks and the exciting smell of a bookshop.
Plotter or Pantser? Plotter
Author’s choice: Which periods of history do you like to read about the most?

The 22nd October 1789: I shall never forget that day. I shall never forget the decision I made.

I was seventeen and so ill prepared for life that I hardly knew how to dress myself, let alone how to board a mail coach or even how to purchase a loaf of bread. When I fled my home at Melmouth Park, I left those who both loved and hated me behind. I threw myself upon the world, dear reader – and see what trouble has come of that.

Do read my tale closely, for the warnings of your mamma and your governess were correct; there is much to be learned from a woman of my sort. I fell for every snare and trick of fate, so that you might not. My tale is not for the faint of heart - the prude, the high-minded and moral are likely to take offence. You have heard the lies and slander from others. Prepare now to hear the truth.

Set during a period of revolution and turmoil, Mistress of My Fate is the first book in the series, The Confessions of Henrietta Lightfoot. In her candid and eye-brow raising memoirs, Henrietta seeks to set the record straight about the events that shaped her into the woman she became.
Get Your Own Copy: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Nook | Book Depository

Hallie's publisher is giving away one(1) copy of MISTRESS OF MY FATE to one(1) lucky reader. Open to US only. No P.O. boxes. Here's how to enter:
  • Leave a comment for Hallie answering her question: Which periods of history do you like to read about the most?
  • Fill out the rafflecopter from below. You must leave a comment. All other entries are optional.
A huge thank you Hallie for stopping by and to J.Bromberg at Grand Central for making this happen.

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