Thanks to everyone for stopping by the blog. My guest author tomorrow will be the fabulous Laurie London. Be sure to stop by!
I love having debut authors on my blog, and today I have someone special–she’s Ashlyn Macnamara and she writes gorgeous Regency-set historical romance. Her brand new book is out, and it’s already getting fantastic reviews. Let’s ask Ashlyn to to tell us all about it.
You’re a debut author – what did you do before you picked up your quill and started penning fabulous historical romance?
Oh dear, lots of things. I started out wanting to be a high school French teacher, until I realized I had to start out by being a substitute. I’ve worked retail. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom and a volunteer in the school library. Note how all these things kind of revolve around reading. Yes, even the retail. They sold paperbacks in the drugstore where I worked. I think I’ve always been surrounded by books in one form or another.
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to publication?
While I’ve always read and made up stories in my head, I never tried writing any of them down until 2001–and then it was in the form of fanfiction. I didn’t finish anything original until 2008, but I had to write five manuscripts (and start a few others) before I produced anything publishable. But I had help along that road, too. One of the best investments I ever made in my writing career was bidding on a certain author’s critique in the Brenda Novak auction a couple of years ago. She was tough on me, but she said it was because I had potential. And she was completely right to give me a good kick in the pants.
I can’t thank you enough for that, Vanessa. *rubs backside* With your help, I finaled in the Regency category of the 2011 Golden Heart® contest, got the attention of an agent, and sold my finaling manuscript in fairly short order.
And I was thrilled to be part of that process, Ashlyn. When I read your manuscript, I just knew you would go on to really wonderful things!
So, what can you tell us about A Most Scandalous Proposal? Where did you get the idea?
I didn’t start out with the intention of retelling Sense and Sensibility (only with love scenes). It just kind of happened that way. I wasn’t conscious of it until about chapter seven or so, and then I just went with it. I got the original idea because I’d read another romance where the heroine suffered from an unrequited crush on the hero at the beginning of the story, and she confided a lot of her angst to her sister. That got me thinking about how the sister’s views on love might be colored from listening to that.
And then around the same time I read another historical that featured a secondary romance which was nearly as prominent as the primary romance in the book. So that gave me the idea to tell both sisters’ stories in the same novel. And clearly the sisters had to have different personalities, so on turned out being ruled by her head while the other went more with her heart and emotions.
I’ll also say it’s not a completely faithful retelling of S&S. There are differences in the story line, and not just because I included some racier scenes–although I like to think that if Jane Austen were writing today, she’d totally go there.
What’s up next for Ashlyn Macnamara?
My second book, A MOST DEVILISH ROGUE, is coming August 27th. It’s more of a traditional historical in that I haven’t attempted another double romance story line. My titular rogue is George Upperton, the best friend of one of my hero’s from the first book. George is a bit of a smart-ass with a penchant for landing himself in trouble. And he’s landed himself in a lot of trouble at the outset of his story. Plus he’s about to fall really hard at the worst possible time. Oh, and according to my cover art, he has some really, REALLY nice assets. I may have written in a little extra description based on that cover.
Thanks so much for being with us today, Ashlyn! Readers, trust me–you are going to want to read this book! And one lucky person will win a copy today of Ashlyn’s book. Since A Most Scandalous Proposal is partly a retelling of Sense and Sensibility, let’s talk about Jane Austen. Who’s your favorite Jane Austen hero, in either the books, TV adaptations, or movies?
A Most Scandalous Proposal
After watching her beloved sister Sophia pine over the ton’s Golden Boy for years, Miss Julia St. Claire has foresworn love and put herself firmly on the shelf. Unfortunately, her social-climbing mother and debt-ridden father have other ideas, and jump at the chance to marry Julia off to the newly-named Earl of Clivesden…the man of Sophia’s dreams.
Since resigning his Cavalry commission, Benedict Revelstoke has spent his time in London avoiding the marriage mart. But when he discovers that the Earl of Clivesden has set Julia in his sights, Benedict tries to protect his childhood best friend from the man’s advances—only to discover more than friendship driving his desire to defend her. He surprises them both with the force of his feelings, but when she refuses him and her father announces her betrothal, he fears he’s lost her forever—until Julia approaches him with a shocking scheme that will ruin her for all respectable society…
…and lead them into an exquisite world of forbidden pleasures.
Some of you may know that romantic suspense author Brenda Novak sponsors a yearly on-line auction to raise awareness and funds for diabetes research. It’s an awesome event and a great cause, with hundreds if not thousands of fantastic items to bid on – from books to hand-crafted items to e-readers loaded with books, and to lunches or dinners with your favorite authors.
I’ve donated two items to the auction. The first is something for writers.
I’m offering a critique of a three chapter romance novel proposal, which includes a followup phone call to discuss the manuscript. Now I don’t want to brag, but I’ve done a number of these in the past few years, including one for Brenda’s auction. Several of the authors have gone on to get published including Ashlyn Macnamara, who won a critique from me from the on-line auction a few years ago. A Most Scandalous Proposal went on to final in RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart Contest, and it was subsequently sold to Bantam Dell. It was a wonderful book to begin with, but Ashlyn swears she couldn’t have whipped the manuscript into its final shape without me!
That’s all to say that I give good crit, so if any of you aspiring writers are looking for some thoughtful feedback on your manuscripts AND you’d like to donate to a good cause, hop on over to the auction website and take a look at my auction proposal.
The other item I’ve got up for auction is a joint one – a NOOK Color that I’ve donated with my fellow authors from Rock*It Reads. We’re a group of published authors who are also self-publishing, and we’ve donated this NOOK, loaded up with copies of our books. And great books too, by authors like Elisabeth Naughton, Pamela Clare, and Kris Kennedy. Good, eh? Romance readers will definitely want to check it out!
Again, there’s tons of good stuff up for bid, so spend a while checking out the auction website. You might find something you just have to have, and you’ll also be supporting a great cause!