by Anna Campbell
It is with great pleasure that I introduce to the lair the fabulous new Avon author Olivia Parker. Her debut book AT THE BRIDE HUNT BALL is out this month and is garnering some great reviews.
Olivia, welcome to the lair! Pull up a chair. We’ll get you a margarita and a cabana boy, not necessarily in that order. Congratulations on the release of AT THE BRIDE HUNT BALL. This Regency take on The Bachelor sounds like such a hoot. Can you tell us about the story?
Ah . . . I'll have one rasberry margarita, jumbo please, and one cabana boy (man) with a jumbo . . . umbrella--I freckle. Seriously though, let me tell you what a thrill it is to be here. Thank you for inviting me to visit the super-talented Romance Bandits!
My story is a light-hearted romp about an arrogant duke who shocks society by claiming he will not marry. He decides instead to find a bride for his fickle younger brother by hand-picking seven suitable ladies and ensconcing them in his castle where one will be picked for the esteemed position at the end of a fortnight. My heroine, Madelyn, is the only young woman in England who doesn't wish to attend. Alas, in trying to avoid the younger brother, she ends up putting herself directly in the path of the duke.
Can you tell us about your writing journey? This question is also known as “How did a nice girl like you end up in a joint like this?”
My writing journey was a surprise. In 2005 I entered the Beau Monde's Royal Ascot contest with the first chapter of my debut book. As I was just looking for feedback, you can imagine my utter shock when I finaled. About a month later, I got a call from the coordinator of the contest telling me that the final judge placed my chapter first and asked to see the full. You could have knocked me over with a feather.
Congratulations! In the lair, we love, love, love call stories. Can you please tell us yours?
I love call stories, too! It was a brisk October afternoon and I was just on my way out the door to pick up my daughter from school when the phone rang. The caller ID said, 'New York Call', and of course, I thought it was a solicitor and contemplated not answering for a half second. I'm super glad I did. Although, I must point out that my brain stopped functioning properly after I realized who was on the other end of the line. Once I made it to the kitchen, I mouthed, "It's Avon," to my mother, then promptly slumped to the floor.
What’s coming up next from Olivia Parker?
Right now, I'm working on another light-hearted tale involving two secondary characters from my debut book.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? Where do you find your inspiration?
Definitely, a panster through and through. I like to feel my way through a story and I read through it over and over as I'm writing, tweaking as I go along. However, being a panster, it isn't so practical when one's on deadline.
As for inspiration . . . anywhere and everywhere. I got the name for a secondary character while staring off into space at the grocery store. In fact, I believe he's named after a brand of croutons.
LOL on the croutons. Can you give us a peek into your working day?
I write the fastest in the morning and evenings, though it's not always possible with three children. And, I should add, one of those children is a VERY active three-year old boy. Future scoundrel, I fear. Blond hair, dark-blue eyes, possessive, bossy, and calls any pretty girl in sight his "honey-honey". Where in the world did he learn that?
He definitely sounds like a romance hero in the making! The public’s fascination with the Regency shows no sign of waning, especially in Romancelandia. Why do you think this short period in English history exercises such a hold on the public imagination?
Because Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy is HOTTT! All right, while he certainly is, he shouldn't be given all the credit. I feel it's a number of factors, really. Some readers love the fashion, poetry, style, and architecture of the period and want to immerse themselves further. And without question, Jane Austen's works churn out Regency enthusiasts with each new generation who discover her either through books or movie adaptations.
Yes, I think Colin in the wet shirt was a boon to all Regency writers! Do you have any favorite Regency romances?
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is the ultimate for me. I've read it over and over, savoring every perfect word and enjoying falling in love with the Bennets (and Mr. Darcy, of course) all over again.
Tell us five quirky/unusual facts about Olivia Parker!
1. I can recite the entire dialogue and narration of the movies The Princess Bride, and Willow, though I'm a bit rusty now.
2. I'm terribly claustrophobic.
3. I simply MUST sleep with some sort of light on. A lamp, a nightlight, the TV, a candle, a man standing in the corner holding a torch . . . anything!
4. Spiders make me gag. Literally.
5. I'm incredibly shy and when pressed to talk in any social situation, I'm quite adept at uttering the most unintelligent, bizarre string of words in existence.
Olivia, do you have a question for our visitors to get the conversation going?
Madelyn Haywood, my heroine, suffers from a string of events that some might call downright embarrassing, but for her it's rather commonplace. Unfortunately, I share this aspect of her character. Funny thing about embarassing moments is that after the intitial mortification wears off, retelling the events to friends often makes for some hilarious stories. Would anyone like to share?
Olivia has very kindly offered one lucky commenter to today's blog a signed copy of her debut release AT THE BRIDE HUNT BALL! Good luck, everyone!