Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Interview with Jillian Leigh + #Giveaway (ebook)

Meet Jillian:
Jillian Leigh is a writer of historical romance who has a particular fondness for the wit and elegance of the Regency period. She lives in Australia with her long-suffering husband, almost perfect son, and two cats with a terrible sense of entitlement. She enjoys Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, chocolate, old musicals, classic screwball comedies and TV shows that feature models or designers vying for domination. Please drop by and say hello to her online.

Connect with Jillian: Author Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

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

J&K: Share 5 fun facts about yourself
Jillian Leigh: Thanks for having me! OK, here goes:
  1. I live by the bay in Brisbane, Australia. I can barely swim and we don’t own a boat, but the view from our patio is of water sparkling in the sun, tiny sailboats bobbing in the distance, and dune-capped islands. Can’t complain about that!
  2. I read this quote by British comedian Bob Monkhouse to my husband not long ago: “I'm not saying my wife's a bad cook, but she uses a smoke alarm as a timer.” I expected hubby to laugh and reassure me that I’m not quite that bad. Hubby did not do this. He just nodded sagely. Mind you, he can’t gloat too much. He forgets how to turn on the oven.
  3. According to those personality type questionnaires I am not predominantly right- or left-brained, but can draw on both sides almost equally. The downside of that is that I can write what I think is a wonderfully vivid scene then edit it to death.
  4. It’s true what they say about cats having staff instead of owners. One of my two ‘bosses’ is a Norwegian Forest Cat. No, I’d never heard of them before, either. But if you ever get the chance to own one, you’ll find they are the sweetest, friendliest and most disarming creatures in the world. I know I’m gushing, but even our visitors who dislike cats in general are quietly sucked into the vortex of cuteness that is a Wegie. It’s like being assimilated by the Borg. But pleasanter, I’d imagine.*
  5. I have numerous and ever-changing celebrity crushes, including all the incarnations of Mr. Darcy, Johnny Depp, Hugh Jackman, Alexander Skarsgard, Alex Pettyfer and George Clooney. If anyone ever sees a male cover model with the soulful eyes of Depp and the body of Skarsgard , you have to let me know so I can buy that book. Please.
* I realized after I wrote this that this fact isn’t actually about me at all. Sorry.

J&K: What is THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT about? [no copying blurb :)]
JL: RULES is the story of regency rake Hugh Trevalyn, who decided a decade ago that it was much easier for a randy young man about town if he had a reason he couldn’t marry any of the women he dallied with. So he invented one—a fictitious fiancée. But now, when he decides he actually wants to marry, the lady he chooses won’t even contemplate the proposal until she ensures that his (now ex-) fiancée is happier without him. So he inveigles his good friend Amelia Grant into pretending to be her—just temporarily, of course. What could go wrong? Naturally, everything...

J&K: What makes the hero and heroine perfect for each other?
JL: Hugh and Amelia are perfect for each other because, having been good friends for years, they know each other so well. They recognize and accept each other’s strengths and flaws. They aren’t afraid to point them out to each other, either! I think it’s also important that a hero and heroine share a sense of humor, and Hugh and Amelia certainly do.

But having a solid foundation for a wonderful relationship doesn’t necessarily lead straight to a happily ever after. While Amelia knows all along that, despite his peccadilloes, Hugh is the man for her, it takes him a while to work out that his friend is actually the perfect woman for him.

J&K: What drew you to writing historical romance?
JL: I’ve always been drawn to the past, and when I discovered Jane Austen, the Brontes, Georgette Heyer and Victoria Holt as a teenager, it ignited an interest in all things nineteenth century. In particular, I was enthralled by the elegant world of the regency . Plus, let’s face it, there is something very appealing about a man in thigh-hugging pantaloons, hessian boots and a cravat.

J&K: If Hollywood optioned your book into a movie, who would play the lead characters?
JL: As I was writing RULES, I kept seeing Matthew Goode as the hero. Now, while I think Goode is quite attractive (he was smolderingly good looking in Leap Year with Amy Adams) and he’s the right age (mid 30s), his eyes aren’t quite dark enough—Hugh’s are velvety brown. But he would certainly do .
Matthew Goode
But then, if we’re not being too precise about things, so would Michael Fassbender, Tom Hiddleston or Henry Cavill. Thank you, Britain, for providing so many possibilities.
Michael Fassbender Tom Hiddleston (Avengers Red Carpet) Henry Cavill 2013
As for the heroine, Catherine Zeta Jones or Rachel Weisz fit the bill as far as physical appearance goes, though they’re not quite young enough for the role (and perhaps too classically beautiful as well). Forgetting physical details, Emily Blunt would play the role with humor and grace. I could also see Michelle Dockery or Gemma Arterton as possibilities.
Catherine Zeta-Jones Feb05 Rachelweisz Emily Blunt (8116086140)
Michelle Dockery 2013 2 Gemma Arterton 2010-2

J&K: Do you have any writing rituals?
JL: Not really. If I’m in a rut, I get out the notebook and pen and write longhand, as it seems to ‘clear the pipes’ in some way, but I don’t know that that counts as a ritual. I prefer quiet. I like to write scenes in order. Sometimes I listen to specific music to get me in a particular frame of mind. Eating chocolate always helps the creative process. That’s about it.

J&K: What’s next for readers? Can you give us a sneak peek into your current WIP?
JL: I’m writing another historical romance, again set in the regency (but a bit spicier this time) and tentatively titled The Demise of Miss Dennison. It’s the story of a woman who, thinking she’s about to die, enters into a marriage of convenience with a rake who thinks this marriage is going to be very, very temporary. Needless to say, both are terribly wrong!

In this bite-sized, unedited excerpt, Jack, the earl of Hargreave, has just discovered that his mother’s dowdy companion is dying. Her tongue loosened after a few brandies, she lets slip that she’s compiled a list of men who might possibly provide her with a long-overdue romantic interlude before it’s too late:
“By any chance,” Jack said, ignoring her eyes which were now regarding him far too sharply, “am I on your list?”
She answered too quickly. “No,” she said again.
She was lying.
“I am, aren’t I?”
“No,” she insisted. “That is to say, you were, but …” She tossed back the glass, draining its contents.
“Well, I…I scratched you off.”
The woman had the audacity to scratch him off her list? He was the only one in the damned selection who could do the job creditably. And she struck him off? “Why, may I ask?”
She answered the wall just left of his ear. “If you must know, I do not consider you a man of proper character. Though you’ve been very helpful,” she added with an apologetic smile.
“I should have thought,” Jack said, hoping the frosty note in his voice would have the desired effect, “that I am precisely the sort of man you would want for this quest. One with, let us say, flexible moral standards.”
Miss Dennison appeared unmoved by his appeal to reason, as well as his hauteur. “I may be dying, my lord, but that is no excuse for me to sink so low.”
Jack bridled at that one. He’d been called a multitude of names in his time, but never low. He was an earl, for pity’s sake. Women threw themselves in his path. The most chaste virgins society could offer, some of them. No female who had breath in her body had ever considered his attentions lowering. And now, this insignificant stick of a spinster sat there in all her glorious self-righteousness, dismissing him like some lecherous schoolboy who wanted to grope her skinny body. “You consider me low, do you, Miss Dennison?”

Excerpt from The Demise of Miss Dennison ©2013 by Jillian Leigh. All rights reserved.

Lighting Round:
Alpha or Beta? Must I choose? Both, please. Preferably combined in the one man .
Wallflower or Belle of the Ball? I think it’s fun to read about the quiet wallflower who finally gets her chance for a ‘belle’ moment.
Debutante or Spinster? I love a story about a spinster—a woman who, for whatever reason, has been overlooked or dismissed or who refuses to ‘settle.’ And then she meets the hero, the one who truly sees and appreciates how special she is. Or in the case of my spinster heroine Amelia, she meets the hero then gets on with her life until he finally wakes up and sees what’s been in front of him this whole time.
Virgin widow or Secret baby? Not a big fan of either, but if I have to choose...virgin widow.
Titled peer or Working man? I think you know the answer to that: peer! (interestingly enough, my hero doesn’t have a title—but he’s not going to starve any time soon)
Love at first sight or Second chances? Nothing beats the first moment(s) of falling in love.
Naval officer or Swashbuckling pirate? Pirate à la Jack Sparrow.
Vampires or Shifters? Vampires (Eric Northman, anyone?)
Past, Present or Future? I write historicals, so…past.
Writing or Reading? Both! Reading brings an immediate satisfaction. Writing has a more delayed gratification. It’s hard work when you’re doing it, but sometimes, later on you think … oh, that scene wasn’t too bad after all.
Paperbacks or e-books? I love the smell and the feel of a real book, but paperbacks are relatively expensive in Australia. E-books tend to be cheaper. And they’re so convenient.
Plotter or Pantser? I used to think I was a plotter. I try to be a plotter. But I suspect I’m really a pantser who remains in denial.
Author’s choice: My question is about the state of historical romance at the moment. Some prominent bloggers have been calling for the sub-genre to die off, so it can be reinvented. They say they’re sick of the same old settings/characters/themes. So my question to readers is this: are you sick and tired of regency historicals? Would you like to see them go away? What, if anything, can authors do to reignite your interest in reading them? What would you like to see more of in historical romance, regardless of setting?

J&K: Thanks Jillian for stopping by!
JL: Thanks, Kati and Jamie.


Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 123 pages (novella)
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group (May 21, 2013)

Long ago, Hugh Trevalyn invented a fiancée to fend off marriage-minded females. Now he must pr ocure the perfect girl to play the part.

Who better than Amelia Grant, his oldest and dearest friend? She alone might understand—and forgive—his moment of madness upon beholding the beautiful Lucy Meriwether, a moment that resulted in Hugh’s first real proposal of marriage and Lucy’s vow to meet his ex-fiancée in the flesh. However, as the proposed conversation snowballs into an elaborate charade involving Hugh’s rakish cousin, scandal, and inappropriate kisses, as Hugh risks Amelia’s friendship to win Lucy’s hand, a wise reader has to wonder: What exactly are the rules of engagement? And, after the battle, whose heart will be won?

Get A Copy: Kindle | Nook | ARe | Smashwords

Jillian is giving away 3 copies of THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. Here’s how to enter:

  • Leave a comment for Jillian answering her question: So my question to readers is this: are you sick and tired of regency historicals? Would you like to see them go away? What, if anything, can authors do to reignite your interest in reading them? What would you like to see more of in historical romance, regardless of setting?
  • Fill out the rafflecopter form below. Jillian will contact the winner when the giveaway is over.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

** Please note that I have made leaving a blog comment one of the options, but it isn’t mandatory. If you would like me to change it so that people have to leave a comment in order to enter, let me know and I’ll make it mandatory.
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