by Anna Campbell
It is my huge pleasure to introduce one of my favorite people in Romancelandia, the RITA-winning, endlessly witty, stunningly intelligent, gorgeously attractive Sophia Nash!
Sophia, I hope you're soaking all this up - I certainly don't say it to your face. To your face, I call you a Tim Tam hound, which is also true!
Sophia writes sparkling, emotional historical romance for Avon. The latest instalment in Sophia's THE WIDOWS' CLUB has just been released. You can find out more about Sophia and her books at her website: www.sophianash.com
Sophia, welcome to the lair. I think you're going to fit right in. Yeah, I saw you steal that margarita from that cabana boy. And all with a smile on your face! Grand larceny, yikes! The latest in your wonderful Widows Club series hit the stands at the end of February. Could you tell us about LOVE WITH A PERFECT SCOUNDREL?
This is the third book in the series I've had so much fun creating for Avon. The book’s back cover blurb follows:
Twice jilted in the last two years, the achingly beautiful yet stoic Grace, Countess of Sheffield has given up on love. Now she's no longer capable of maintaining the elegant, serene facade with the members of the Duchess of Helston's secret circle of friends. And so she flees… only to encounter wretched disaster during the carriage ride north. But little does Grace know that once she faces all fate has tossed her way, she will find a new life…with a tall, rugged stranger who not only saves her life but forces her to dig deep into her hidden reserves of desire and fortitude to blossom into the woman she was destined to become—a lady willing to sacrifice all for a mysterious, yet powerful man who insists he is nothing more than a perfect scoundrel.
Sounds delicious! Where next for your wonderful widows?
There will be an anthology: FOUR DUKES AND A DEVIL which arrives in book stores June 30th. In this stand alone novella, the most eligible gentleman in London’s marriage mart reluctantly rescues a stranded school mistress. When the duke is forced to go heart-to-heart with the spirited siren, (Victoria Givan introduced briefly in LOVE WITH THE PERFECT SCOUNDREL, the well-documented Catch of the Century finds out she’s the only one he can’t have.
And after the novella, the final book in the Widows Club quartet, which I'm currently writing, will be on shelves. Although...there might be another widow or other liar lurking about in mourning if the powers that be have a say... You just never know!
Can you tell us about your writing journey?
Journey? I was NOT one of those writers who started scribbling stories in the 1st grade. But I did love to read as did my father. We would sit like two zombies on the couch until my mother dragged us to the dinner table each night. But I did figure out that I liked to “create” when I worked at PM Magazine in WTVJ-Miami after college. I loved writing and producing stories. I spent many years in television, then as a congressional speech writer, and head of a non-profit. But when my father was very ill, he made me promise I would do what he and I had always talked about: write a book. He edited parts of A SECRET PASSION before he died, but I’m sorry to say he didn’t see it published.
You won a RITA award for your Regency A PASSIONATE ENDEAVOR. Congratulations! Can you tell us about that experience? Just in case, you know, a Bandita has to appear with panache and style on that stage one day. Also what is your feeling about awards? Do you think they help a writer’s career?
I recently wrote about this subject, but it’s one I always like to tackle, because my take on awards surprises many people. While the initial glow of winning any award is lovely, I've also learned the hard way not to take any of it seriously. Author Anne Lamott wrote something like, "whenever the world throws rose petals at you, beware the cosmic banana peel right behind." This could not be more true in my case. Right after the RITA and having a book named "Top Ten Romance of the Year" by Booklist, the Signet Regency line closed, I struggled with a proposal that flopped, changed agents, wrote a new proposal, etc. ad nauseum before FINALLY, my stories found a new home. And of course the opposite is true re my Banana Peel View on winning awards: All the writers who don’t win awards are the ones with the last laugh since they're being offered "significant" deals and selling television rights to HBO, right?
You write luscious heroes. Do you want to give us the lowdown on the men in the Widows’ Club?
Luc, Quinn, Michael . . . and coming soon: John and Rowland. They are a big, bad bunch except Quinn, the only Beta male of the group. He was the toughest to write because he is so calm, serious, and has a heart of gold, not a hot-headed, brute like Luc, who knows his power and uses it, or Michael who is capable of seducing half the female population at first glance.
I will admit that I love writing in the hero’s point of view and writing about male posturing between them. I was an only child surrounded by a huge number of French and American male cousins. All of them are very good looking, funny alpha males. I watched them blaze a trail littered with broken hearts on two coasts. I also watched what sort of women brought them to their knees (as in “Will you marry me?”). It was a wonderful education especially for writing romance!
It looks like when the series is finished there will be: 2 dukes, 1 earl, 1 marquis, 1 viscount, and a “gentleman” (or not). How is that for leaving a loophole?
Ooh, la la! You’re half French and I really feel there is a strong European influence in your writing. Do you draw on your French heritage in your work?
I think writers draw on everything they’ve got, don’t you? But, yes, I have so many paintings and beautiful crumbling photographs of my French ancestors surrounding me in my house, and I swear that while I’m writing, I have the ghosts of the lot of them looking over my shoulder (kind of like those dead ancestors hanging over Mulan’s shoulder in that Disney movie ). But you see, I also have an American father, with British roots. And those Brit ghosts are always keeping a stiff upper lip and trying not to tell the frogs where to go. So when I’m writing scenes in the ballroom, the Brit/American voice inserts itself, and beyond the bedroom door? Well, there’s a reason it’s called French kissing;-}
Where do you find your inspiration?
In the strangest places, like most writers. Sometimes it’s as simple as a movie, or a newspaper article, or a conversation with a friend. The entire concept of the widows club came from a ladies lunch when I asked the group what they would do if they lost their husbands (one absent friend had just lost her husband.) Each lady had a different answer . . . and a series was born. The plot for Love With the Perfect Scoundrel came to me after driving 1,200 miles through a gazillion hair-raising roundabouts in England. I arrived in Derbyshire--right into the teeth of a freak snowstorm. And I wondered....what if Grace Sheffey got caught in a blizzard in Derbyshire?
Thanks, Sophia! What great answers! I can't wait to read LOVE WITH THE PERFECT SCOUNDREL. It sounds fantastic.
We're giving one lucky commenter a chance to win Sophia's latest. So good luck, Bandita buddies. Sophia, do you have a question to get the conversational ball rolling?
When reading a romance, do you have a favorite point of view? Do you prefer to be in the heroine’s head or the hero’s head, and why? What about during a love scene?