I'm thrilled Rose Lerner has come to blog with us today at the Chatelaines and celebrate her new release, In for a Penny, which hit bookstore shelves February 23rd.
GR: Tell us a little bit about your debut title, In for a Penny.
RL: It's a marriage of convenience story. After his father's death, a young lord marries a pretty, practical merchant's daughter so he can support his family, but money turns out to be the least of their problems. Faced with scandal, rioting tenants, and a menacing neighbor, they have nowhere to turn but to each other--and to their surprise, that just might be enough.
Inspiration for this book came from a lot of sources--Prince Hal in Shakespeare's Henry plays, my frustration with Georgette Heyer's A Civil Contract, and my research into England's agricultural depression, to name three.
GR: Can you share your “call moment” with us?
RL: I was at work. I checked my voicemail at the very end of my lunch break and realized I had a message from Leah Hultenschmidt (my now-editor)--and then had to wait four agonizing hours until the end of my shift to call her back! When she made me the offer, I was sitting in the front seat of my car with my coat on. After I hung up the phone, I went back into work and told my friends and jumped up and down and squealed a lot.
GR: What influenced you to write about Regency England?
RL: I've always been a fan of romance in the comedy of manners tradition. Which mostly translates to "I love banter," and Regency romance usually has plenty of that. I imprinted on the era early: my mother read me the complete works of Jane Austen in fifth grade, and a friend loaned me my first Georgette Heyer when I was thirteen. We made dozens of trips to the bookstore to buy Regency romances together over the next four years and even exchanged in-character letters between Regency debutante friends like the ones in Sorcery and Cecelia. (I'm sure they were mostly awful, but we thought they were brilliant and hilarious. I remember in one of our favorite scenes, her character's hero opened his snuffbox with a delicate flick of his wrist--very common in old-skool Regencies--and accidentally spilled snuff all over her dress.) So it's probably not surprising that it's what I started writing. Plus, I think the clothes are sexy.
GR: How long was your road to publication?
RL: Well, I wrote my first full romance manuscript at seventeen, but I only seriously started submitting to agents and editors five years ago. In for a Penny is the third book I've written.
GR: What’s one thing that you know now that you wished you knew when you started your journey as a writer?
RL: Writing sex scenes is fun once you get over the initial embarrassment! I was intimidated by them for a long time.
GR: Is there anything special to your writing process? Pictures? Music? Any tricks of the trade?
RL: To be honest, no. I've tried all kinds of things--index cards, charts--but nothing stuck. I'm a pantser and I get a lot of my ideas from research, so my usual process is: research, write the first six chapters or so, pause for more research while I figure out where the story is going, and then write the rest of the book. The only thing I do that might qualify as a trick is that I back up my manuscript every few days by e-mailing it to myself, and I sometimes keep notes for future scenes as draft e-mails in Gmail.
GR: When you’re not Rose Lerner the author, who are you? What do you do in your down time?
RL: I work full-time as a cook in a local natural foods store, and I cook and bake at home. I hang out with my friends and roommates. I'm a big geek and spend a fair amount of time on the internet, mostly following blogs and journals and keeping in touch with the friends I've made that way. I love TV and movies, too--recently a friend and I watched all three seasons of Kyle XY. That show is adorable, and all the romances are so well done! And of course I love to read, but there's not as much time left over for that as I wish there were.
GR: What do Rose Lerner fans have to look forward to in the future?
RL: My next book, Lily Among Thorns, will be out from Dorchester in January 2011. It's about a young woman innkeeper who has worked hard to bury her past, but finds herself facing the man who long ago helped her escape her life as a prostitute. He's now turning to her for her help; she believes the biggest threat to her independence are the sparks that fly between them until disaster threatens and she finds they must work together to fight for their freedom and their lives...
GR: And anything else you’d like to add.
RL: Just that I'm running a contest on my website and giving away five signed copies of In for a Penny and a package of ten of my favorite Regency-set novels (by Georgette Heyer, Naomi Novik, and Loretta Chase, among others)! You can see the list of books and enter the contest here.
Rose, thanks for stopping by today! We've so enjoyed having you. Wishing you all the best with your new release, In for a Penny! To celebrate her new release, Rose will be giving away a signed copy of her book to one randomly drawn commenter. Good luck to all!