by Anna Campbell
I discovered USA Today and New York Times bestseller Laura Lee Guhrke's writing when I was stuck in a Melbourne hotel with a sprained ankle. Her AND THEN HE KISSED HER was great company in unfortunate circumstances and was one of my favorite books of last year.
Since then, I've read the next two instalments in LLG's Girl-Bachelor series and they're as sparkling and romantic as the first volume in the set.
It's with great pleasure now that I welcome Laura Lee to the lair to tell us all about gentlemen and their secret desires!
Laura Lee, I really enjoyed your latest Girl-Bachelor book, SECRET DESIRES OF A GENTLEMAN. Can you tell us something about the story?
SECRET DESIRES OF A GENTLEMAN is all about unrequited love. Phillip, our hero, the Marquess of Kayne, is smoldering with love for Maria Martingale, our heroine, but can’t have her because she’s beneath him socially, and he has to fight his desire. It seemed a logical story arc, since the heroine is feisty and independent. I’d established her character in the previous books in the series, and when a heroine is that type, it’s fun to make the hero stuffy and snooty and all concerned with position. It was a fun story to write because with two characters like that, there’s bound to be some pretty hot conflict.
Oh, there's certainly that! One of the things I love about the Girl-Bachelor series is that it’s set in the unusual (for historical romance) period of the 1890s. Can you tell us what drew you to this time and also how that affects the kind of romance you write?
I’d like to say I planned it that way. But I didn’t set out to write a late Victorian, almost Edwardian, setting. But in the first Girl-Bachelor book, AND THEN HE KISSED HER, I knew the hero had to be divorced for the story to work, so that dictated the 1890s. By then, divorce was easier to obtain for British peers, mainly because of all the disastrous marriages of peers to American heiresses.
What’s next for the Girl-Bachelors?
I’m just finishing the fourth Girl-Bachelor book, WITH SEDUCTION IN MIND. It’s the story of Daisy Merrick, who decides to become a writer, mainly because she’s unemployable at anything else. She keeps losing her jobs because she opens her mouth when she shouldn’t. She lands a writing assignment as a theatre critic. Enter our hero, Sebastian Grant, who is a successful author and playwright, and who is suffering severe writer’s block. Daisy trashes his new play in a review, and later, she becomes his editor. He’s very unhappy about this.
Ooh, can't wait for that! Sparks are gonna fly! Sounds great. Getting away from the GBs for a moment, can you tell us about your writing journey?
Hmm...whenever I’m asked that question, I never know what to say. My writing journey has been kind of a rocky road! I sold my first book to Harper in 1992 and wrote four books under three different editors, then went to Pocket, wrote three books under two editors, then came back to Harper after they bought Avon. I’m happy to say that at Avon I’ve had only one editor and she’s terrific. I haven’t scared her off yet! I’ve written a total of fifteen historical romances, and when I’m done with this one, I plan to turn right around and write another.
I love historicals, and I don’t plan to change genres, but you never know. Sometimes, I yearn to write a historical novel set just before, during or after WWI. I so want to write a hero who flies an airplane and a heroine who drives a roadster. I must’ve read too much Jeeves and Wooster as a kid. And don’t even get me started on why Out Of Africa is one of the greatest movies ever. I love that time period. I am dying to get my current book finished so I can go see Australia. Can’t wait. Hugh Jackman, you are mine.
I think there's a bit of competition for the Hugh, but you sound pretty determined! Good luck with the hunting expedition! What is a day in the life of Laura Lee Guhrke like?
Oh, my average day is pretty run of the mill. I get up in the morning, hobnob with dukes, design beautiful ball gowns, play matchmaker to hopelessly clueless lovers, fight a few duels, slay a few dragons...ya know, just like every other writer I know.
I know you recently visited New Zealand, although sadly not Oz (sob!). What were the highlights of your trip?
Alas, I didn’t get to do as much sightseeing as I’d hoped. I hadn’t finished my book , so I had to take my laptop with me and work every day. But we did some fishing and caught some snapper, saw the famous Hole In The Rock, saw dolphins three to four times (always amazing!) and went to this fabulous island that’s a bird sanctuary and reserve. I can’t remember the name now, but it was beautiful. We had some great Thai food in Devonport, saw a bit of the Coromandel. It was a fun trip. It would have been more fun, obviously, if I hadn’t been working, but that’s life.
So, Laura Lee, it sounds like we may coax you back down our way again to see all the things you missed this time round! Yay!
I've got a few questions for our Bandita Buddies. What do you think is the appeal of the uptight hero? I mean, he's obviously a popular guy, look at Mr. Darcy, the uptight hero of all uptight heroes! Do you have any favorite uptight heroes or stories featuring uptight heroes?
Get commenting, people. One lucky person will win a signed copy of one of my top reads of last year AND THEN HE KISSED HER. This is a fabulous story and you'll just love it! Good luck!