Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Miranda Neville Tempts the Banditas!

by Anna Campbell

I'm delighted to introduce debut Avon historical romance author Miranda Neville. English-born Miranda has a delightful sense of humor and a wonderful take on history and life. She should fit in with the rowdy Banditas like a gladiator fits into JT's suitcase.

Miranda's first book, NEVER RESIST TEMPTATION, which sounds like a delightfully luscious read, has just been released. You can find out more about Miranda and her books at her website.

Miranda, welcome to the lair. Pull up a cabana boy! Let's start at the very beginning - can you tell us about your writing journey?

My jobs always involved writing and deadlines, first catalogue descriptions of books and manuscripts, later reporting and editing for a small Vermont newspaper. I always had a hankering for fiction, especially historical romance. My first effort, started about six years ago, had major problems that I only discovered after I joined the New Hampshire RWA chapter and a critique group. Back story dump anyone? And where was the conflict? Applying what I learned, I wrote NEVER RESIST TEMPTATION. It took less than a year to find an agent and sell it to Avon. Last year my father moved out of my childhood home and I found a box of my papers, including several unfinished Regency romances I’d completely forgotten. Interesting to discover many of the same issues back then. I cannot overestimate the importance to an aspiring writer of getting knowledgeable help.

Congratulations on the release of your debut historical romance NEVER RESIST TEMPTATION which is out at the end of February. Can you tell us something about this story?

Jacobin, my heroine, runs away from her uncle when he loses her in a game of cards. She’s learned to be an expert pastry chef and she gets a job in the Prince Regent’s kitchen, disguised as a young man. That’s all fine until her uncle – one of the Prince’s friends -- is poisoned by a dessert she made. Someone’s setting her up to take the fall so she escapes again and ends up working for – the man who won her in the card game! Anthony, the Earl of Storrington wants to use her as an instrument of revenge but he’s soon torn between his attraction to her and his other goal.

Sounds great! Did you have to do any special research for this story? Did any odd facts turn up?

Because my heroine worked for Antonin Carême, history’s first “celebrity chef”, I spent a lot of time reading his cook books and learning about banquets of the period. A dinner in honor of the Tsar of Russia featured 127 different dishes. Of course everyone wasn’t supposed to taste every dish, but there’s little wonder the Prince Regent grew to be so fat.

What draws you to the Regency period?

The early 19th century was the time England became the richest and most powerful country in the world. At the same time there was a transition between the freer morals of the Georgian period and the more uptight Victorians. So there’s lots of scope for romantic shenanigans among the wealthy leaders of the ton in fabulously luxurious settings.

I know you once worked at Sotheby’s auction house in both London and New York. What a great job! Can you tell us about that?

I had the amazing task of reading and cataloging original letters and manuscripts written by famous people: monarchs, writers, composers, artists. You name it, we sold it. In the past people wrote letters like we make phone calls and send emails so the volume of correspondence they produced is incredible – and all handwritten. You wonder how they had time for anything else.

I got to visit some great houses too. One time I went to Welbeck Abbey, the home of the Dukes of Portland. No, I didn’t meet the gorgeous duke and get swept off my feet. If that had happened I wouldn’t be here. In fact the dukedom is now extinct and everything had been left to a daughter. The huge mansion was empty and the heiress had built herself a cozy little house in the grounds --couldn’t have had more than ten bedrooms, poor dear. A 19th century Duke of Portland was an obsessive recluse. In addition to the main mansion there is a huge underground system of rooms, built so that he’d never have to see anyone. It turned out this duke had led a double life and was actually married to a woman who had no idea who he really was. Might be a romance plot there. The Portland archive had all been given to a museum but they turned up a volume of letters that needed to be appraised. A daughter of the house had decided to collect “autographs.” We’re not talking signatures of movie and sports stars here, folks. She’d combed the family archives and put together a nice collection of letters addressed to various ancestors. Letters from kings, queens and prime ministers. The prize was a long letter from the Duke of Wellington to the Duke of Portland, written a couple of days after Waterloo, describing the battle.

What's next for you?

Returning to my roots, I’m working on a two book series (hopefully to become a trilogy) featuring book collectors in Regency London. And if this sounds a bit dry let me mention that I just spent a few days in the British Library reading rare early pornography.

Tell us five quirky things about yourself.

I love fruit cake. So send me your unwanted fruit cake and I will eat it. Or don’t, because I will eat it.

Although I know I’m an excellent driver, no one else agrees with me.

I cry at the movies. I’ve even been known to cry at commercials. Does anyone recall the Folger’s ad where the couple wake up and smell the coffee and find their son downstairs, unexpectedly home from the military? Floods of tears. (Of course I am addicted to coffee so maybe that was it)

When I read LITTLE WOMEN, I always wanted to be Amy. I’m the fourth of four girls so I identified. Also she got to marry the cute rich guy.

The older I get, the blonder I get.

Love those quirky things, Miranda. And I HATE fruitcake so you should move next door! Is there anything you'd like to ask the Banditas and buddies?

It's often said that novelists always write about themselves. Life in 21st century Vermont is quite different from life in Regency England so I can't say I've drawn much directly from my life in my writing. But I don't think I could have written about the chef heroine in NEVER RESIST TEMPTATION without being interested in food and cooking. My next book is about Regency book collectors so my years in the rare book auction world have definitely been relevant. How much do you use your own experiences to color your characters? Have you examples of things you've written that are straight from life? And can you think of examples of romance writers who are obviously using their own lives for inspiration?

Miranda has very kindly offered one lucky commenter today a signed copy of her debut Avon release NEVER RESIST TEMPTATION. Good luck!


limecello said...


limecello said...

Thanks for visiting with us today, Miranda! What a great post - and goodness does your book have a lot of twists! I really like the premise of it. And I think your idea for another book with the reclusive duke is an excellent idea :)
Very cool that you worked at Sotheby's -I have to admit that I'm a little jealous!

Anna Campbell said...

Again, Limecello??!!! What's your secret? Wasn't this an interesting post?

Renee said...

OMG! I cry at commercials too.

I love the idea of the rare book collectors. Your research sounds fascinating.

I think I do put a bit of myself into my characters, even if it is a bit of 'wannabe'.


limecello said...

Anna - no sleep :P

Also - I forgot to mention this and Renee reminded me; I've been a giant watering pot recently. Miranda - I want to go find that commercial now! (Only not because I'll probably become a mess.)

Renee said...

Glad I could be of service, Limecello. There are two that get me almost every time. The one put out by WWF, with the polar bears. And then the one where Sara McLaughlin sings Through the Eyes of An Angel. Of course, there are some Hamburger Helper ones that get me, or Michelin tires. ;)


Keira Soleore said...

Congratulations on your debut release, Miranda. Very fun interview, you two. And Miranda, Sotheby's? Wow!!

Limecello, you might as well keep him, because he sure doesn't want to leave EVAR!

Renee, you cry over Michelin Tire commercials? :) Welcome to The Lair.

Fo, I love fruitcake, particularly the kind that has had its fruit and nuts soaked in brandies for days and then served with hard sauce. (hick) Whatsht to not like?! (hick)

Kirralee Schmidt said...

Hi Miranda and Banditas!

I'm a blubbering mess most of the time when I watch movies and some commercials have been known to make me tight throated - songs too for that matter!

The only author off the top of my head who must have written from personal experience would have to be Lisa Kleypas who's heroine in 'Dreaming of You' is a writer! Personally, I don't tend to put bits of myself into my characters, but rather bits that I would like to be myself! You know, being selfless, strong, intelligent and sometimes gorgeous, as well!

Rounding back to the crying, most of my heroines are attractive cryers. I'd love to be that, too!

Keira Soleore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Keira Soleore said...

Heyyyy, lookee, Fo. I see that your picture's changed in the right sidebar. How about a 11"x14" image so I can fully appreciate it in all its fabulosity?

Treethyme said...

Loved this post, so many intriguing responses. I'll have to add this to my TBR pile, but I'll try to get to it soon.

I have to say, though, that I'm even more interested in the book mysteries -- I'll definitely be reading those!

My brother and his wife are in Vermont, up near Woodstock. What part of that state do you live in?

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, do any of the Aussies remember the Telstra (except I think it was Telecom back then) commercials about the people calling home to Greece and Italy from Oz? I think they were around late 70s or early 80s. I always cried floods of tears at those.

Renee, I think it's inevitable that something of us goes into our characters and stories, even if it's just at the level of we're writing about what interests US. Hmm, I WISH there was an autobiographical element to my stories. Actually now I'm thinking of how I torture my characters - no, actually I don't!

Anna Campbell said...

Limecello, isn't watering pot a wonderful Regency expression? I've just called someone a clodpole in my mip - love the language of that time, it's so rich and evocative!

Keira, that fruitcake recipe sounds like a waste of good brandy to me!

Kirralee, I've always thought you'd be an ideal romance heroine ;-) Honestly, don't be shy - that's only the start of your marvellous qualities!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Keira, I'm really happy with that photo. I look almost fit to be allowed into the drawing room! Glad you like it!

Becke, from the moment I heard about this book, I must say it sounded like something that would appeal to you. And I knew you'd enjoy meeting Miranda with her eclectic background!

Keira Soleore said...

Yes, Kirralee, let's get a photo of you up here for inspiration for our future heroines.

BTW Banditas, Kirralee is also an aspiring author and a newly minted aunt. Congrats!

Treethyme, I agree with you there. After reading Kate Carlisle's "Homicide in Hardcover." I want to read more antique book mysteries. So Miranda, bring them on. When it that book scheduled to be released?

Christine Wells said...

Miranda, a hearty welcome to the lair! Congratulations on your debut, it sounds fabulous! Thanks for the great interview, Anna. As Anna knows, I'm an Antiques Roadshow junkie, so I was thrilled to hear you'd worked at Sotheby's. How amazing it must have been to find the letter from Wellington. That kind of thing really brings history to life, doesn't it?

I suppose we all put a bit of ourselves into our books, don't we? I write Regency historicals and am a former solicitor live in Brisbane, Australia--not really things you can use in an historical romance! So the things I draw on are more universal, like emotion and character.

Limecello, you've done it again! I hope you're being kind to our little rooster over there.

Christine Wells said...

Oh, and I meant to say, you can have MY fruit cake any time, Miranda. Blech!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Kirralee, congratulations on your auntdom!

Christine, I knew you'd enjoy meeting Miranda. I'm really looking forward to getting to know her in person at RWA. Are you coming???!!! We can puke at fruitcake together!

Keira Soleore said...

Well, that will be one joyful tour day with two out of three folks casting up their accounts with no provocation and the lone person ME managing to get these sodden masses, in and out of buses, into museums, so atleast they absorbing 1 percent of what they can to see.

Hey, I see that your new cover is up, Christine. I'm off to your webstite hoping to see a coverflat there.

Christine Wells said...

Yes, I am coming to DC and looking forward to puking with you. Woohoo! And meeting Miranda, of course:)

Remember last year, when Suz extolled the virtues of the American wedding cake and I was SO scared it would be fruit cake, as is the English/Aus tradition and I've have to force down every mouthful? (Where were you then, Mirand?) I nearly danced a jig when it turned out to be a rather sumptuous cream-filled sponge. Mmm, cake.

Anna Campbell said...

Keira, it's a tough job but someone has to do it! ;-)

Christine, I was sooooo relieved when I saw the wedding cake too. It's a million miles better than the horrible heavy fruitcake they serve here.

For some reason, whenever I see Miranda, I want to say, "Do you remember an inn, Miranda, do you remember an inn?" Did anyone else do that poem at school? With the tedding and the shredding of the something-edding for the bedding?

Christine Wells said...

Snork! No, I don't know the poem, Anna, but I love the name Miranda. In fact, I named the first heroine I ever wrote Miranda.

PinkPeony said...

Hi Anna! Welcome Miranda!
I love the "process" of making fruitcake. The cake batter is yummy and all of the candied fruit remind me of little jewels..but when you have to stir it all up together...bleck! It becomes a shotputter's dream. I love the premise of your book Miranda because all of my heroines cook and bake. :) Thanks to you Banditas, my TBR pile is getting bigger...books arrive on my doorstep almost daily and the housework gets put off for another day.

I remember that Folgers commercial with the soldier and I got vaklepmt too. And when I hear Sarah McLauglin's voice on the t.v. I know to flip the channel because those dogs and cats make me cry everytime.

Christine Wells said...

LOL, Keira!! I promise I won't cast my accounts over you. I'll take the window seat!

And um, sorry to disappoint but the cover flat is not up on my website, mainly because my webmistress went AWOL for a month! Not her fault, but unfortunately there will be no site updates until April. Sigh.

Anna Campbell said...

I love the name Miranda too. There was a wonderful old Glynis Johns movie called Miranda where she was a mermaid! Oh, dear, I seem to be on a nostalgia kick. Somebody kill me now!

Jen, I must say the Bandita blog has been awful for my bank balance too. Although my reading selection is always good!

Anna Campbell said...

Christine, I love your new cover. It really jumps out at the viewer - that blue! I can't wait until people read Wicked Little Game! They're going to love it. Yeah, I'm gloating!

Christine Wells said...

Aww, you're a sweetheart, Anna, thank you for saying such nice things about WLG.

I think I first heard the name Miranda when I saw/read Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Bronwyn said...

Hi Anna and Miranda,

I'm getting married sometime soon and I've opted for a chocolate mud cake instead. I don't know if it's a generational thing, but none of my friends like fruitcake at all!
I'm coming down from a Tempt The Devil high but I'll keep an eye out for your book, Miranda. I love it when women dressed as men in those days and the hero either sees through the disguise in an instant or is thoroughly disgusted when he finds a man's bum attractive. Always makes me have a giggle and a *I know something you don't know* singsong.
Anna, keep up the excellent, but I'm guessing tiring, neverending interviews and PR related stuff that comes with being a hit. And good luck Miranda, although I'm sure luck has nothing to do with it;-)

Lara Lee said...

What a wonderful interview, Anna and Miranda! Miranda, you have some great experiences - Sotheby's! all those incredible documents! Okay, I'll stop with the exclamations.;)

Sometimes I give a character one of my *MANY* past jobs in a story. It's nice to see that they are good for something. :D

Let's see, what else? Oh, I cry at movies, commercials, songs, you name it. I hate fruitcake (sorry!), and I love Regency speak. Such fun words - coxcomb, dudgeon, faradiddles, inexpressibles,...

NEVER RESIST TEMPTATION looks like a wonderful read! I'll be sure to watch for it.

Helen said...

Limcello again you two have got something going

Great interview Ladies I have ordered this book and am waiting for it to arrive can't wait to read it.

You have had some awesome jobs Miranda I would have love to have read all those letters and yes I cry too at movies and sad stories they get me all the time and Miranda I love fruit cake and cooking when I have time.

Have Fun

Christina Phillips said...

Great interview, Anna and Miranda! I love the sound of NEVER RESIST TEMPTATION!

And I also like fruitcake, but only if it's very moist from excessive use of spirits, has lots of cherries but no peel and definitely no nuts!

(I also remember watching the mermaid movie Miranda as a child!!)

B.H. Dark said...

What an interesting interview, Miranda. I like the idea of a pastry chef in disguise. And I want to see the underground network of rooms for the 19th century aristocratic Howard Hughes!

I've used bits of my real life in books—my jobs as a teacher and a writer, and my husband's job as a guitar tech for rock bands, and I've written about the town I live in. I've written about a couple of celebrity chefs too, and obviously had to dine out as research!

B.H. aka Julie Cohen

Tawny said...

Miranda, welcome!!! What a wonderful post. You've had such an amazing adventure and your story sounds fabulous. I love the idea of a female chef in a historical novel.

Add me to the crier group - I teared up reading my birthday cards. I'm a sappy mess.

Hmm, as for how much of my own life I incorporate into my books, I'm not sure I should answer that *g* Naughtiness aside, I'd have to say tons. Emotions, fears, odd quirks like a list-making and orgnization. Most of my heroeines have, or develop, shoe obsessions and somehow, Johnny Depp has worked his way into most, if not all, of my books.

Your next story sounds just as fascinating as this one - I'm going to have to watch for it (and get this on my next bookstore trip).

Annie West said...


What a lovely interview! Mega congratulations on the debut novel. I love the title and the plot sounds like fun. Romance, a touch of suspense and FOOD! A definite winner. Yum.

Anna, you don't like fruit cake? How can we be such friends when you show such philistine tendences? Have to admit I come from a family of terrific fruit cake cooks.

Miranda, like you I've never based a character or story on me, but it's rather fun after the story's written to go back and look for what might have influenced small aspects of the story.

If you're interested in books and food I know I'll enjoy your stories!


Dianna Love said...

Good morning Anna and Miranda...and rowdy RBs. On any other blog, this would be early, but you are truly the keepers of the Golden rooster. And no other blog is like this one.

I will definitely pass my fruitcake to Miranda. Yeck, but I do enjoy coffee, too. Congratulations on your debut book - I love to read historicals and yours sounds very interesting. I love to read everything, but those are particular faves so I'll be looking for yours.

Eric said...

What a wonderful interview. Your novel sounds divine, Annie said it all, romance, suspense and food. A must read. ---- Though I have to say here and now I passionately dislike fruitcake. I tell everyone it’s the red and green things but the truth is its peel, anything to do with oranges actually. ----- I’ll spell it out here and now. When I purchase my ‘Never Resist Temptation’ to read, I don’t care how attractive the story, if I find lumps of fruitcake in my purchase there’ll be trouble. Gravy smudges, from meat pies, I can live with but not tracks left by fruitcake. ---- Congratulations on your new arrival Miranda. I’m hoping she makes a successful of, and for, her mother. (Hi Anna) -------- Eric

Laurie said...

Hi Miranda,

Authors who I think use their own lives to influence their writings:
Debbbie Macomber with her Port Orchard, Washington series,loosly based on her home town, also her knitting books since she loves to knit.

Susan Wiggs and her Lakeshore Chronicles-loosly based on her lifestyle living on a lake in Washington and her vacations in upstate New York? (NE somewhere).

Miranda said...

Wow, you guys get up early (or are you all in Oz? It is Ok to say that? My English niece always calls the land down under Oz but I'd hate to make a faux pas).
I never knew there were so many commercial weepers out there. I always thought it was my secret shame.
Eric: there is absolutely no fruit cake in NRT. The recipes are French and it's a little known fact that the cause of the Hundred Years War was the disagreement between the French and the English over tastes in patisserie. The French don't even drink tea FGS.
I have to go and make coffee before I insult another entire nation.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hello, Miranda! Welcome to the Bandit Lair.

Your story sounds very unique. A female baker in Regency England...not a usual profession for a woman then, was it?

I too cry at commercials. And I love the Folger commercial, too.

As for using real life characters or experiences in my writing. Yes.

Rebecca said...

Dear mother,

This is your daughter. I AM in Oz (yes, that's alright.)

You are a terrible driver (though excellent parallel parker), and please stop mentioning that you've been reading pornography. It makes my soul cry.


Suzanne Welsh said...

Some of our early morning people are from down under, but some are on the west coast, and others, like moi are just plain vampires.

Gillian Layne said...

Miranda, I've heard nothing but good things about this release, congratulations! And I adore fruitcake, too. The best I've ever had comes from Beatrice, Nebraska. I think it was called Grandma's fruitcake. Yum!

Caren Crane said...

Miranda, welcome to the Lair! Interestingly, I bought a book about Antonin Careme and gave it to my friend Sabrina Jeffries at Christmas. He must have been in the air lately! *g* I found the whole "Regency celebrity chef" thing fascinating.

I'm not sure how we keep things from our lives OUT of books. What else would I ever have to write about? Of course, they get tossed in a blender and whirled about - a fact here, a vignette there - but it's all in there. My family members love to read my books and pick out things they think are about them. They often miss the bits about them, though, and attribute other people's stuff to themselves. I just smile and let them imagine it's them.

I have always lived in the Southeastern USA, so the South colors all my writing. Er...even when I used to try to write books set elsewhere. So I suppose it's good I just embraced it and can use it. Plus, I have seen and heard some truly odder-than-fiction things happen down here. Stuff you couldn't put in a book because it would stretch credibility to the limit. I have to water down the real life drama. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Oh, and I adore my mother's fruitcake. She makes it with no nasty citrus peel. *g*

Anastasia St. James said...

Hi Anna and Miranda! **Waves** from cold and rainy Luxembourg. I hope I'm not too late for the party. :)

Miranda, congratulations on your debut release. It sounds great. I've just downloaded the ebook. I'm looking forward to it.

Great post ladies!

Miranda said...

Hi Becca. (yes, folks, that is my daughter who is spending a semester at UNSW). Enough with the cracks about my driving. Have you been to the post office yet? Anna wants her package. Did I mention that she is very scary and has all sorts of contacts among the Sydney underworld (back me up, Anna). Love Mum

Sorry, Banditas. A little mother/daughter moment there.

Treethyme: I live in the Connecticut River valley on the NH border about half way up – not too far from Woodstock.

I’m bringing fruitcake to RWA! Oddly enough the best I’ve found comes from Texas and I shall place an order. And to discourage the puking I’ll bring booze too.

Miranda said...

Keira. I don’t have a release date for the next book (actually, I haven’t finished it). I have June 1 and Dec. 1 deadlines for the rare book duo but having an infinite capacity for procrastination I’m much rather be chatting in the Lair.

The second of the two books will feature a heroine with a large (and sometimes annoying) family. Having grown up with four siblings I will be drawing on my experiences there. Family dynamics are so much at the heart of character that I think every writer uses them.

Bronwyn: congrats on your coming marriage. Did you know the English often keep the top layer of the wedding fruitcake to eat at the Christening of the first child? That stuff is indestructible. And royal icing, though wonderfully sculptural, is murder on the teeth. Give me delectable American butter cream frosting any day.

Virginia said...

Congrats limecello on nabbing that rooster, he must love it at your house!

Hi Miranda, a big welcome for you here at the lair. Congrats on your new release of you debut book. We have us another historical author that we will have to watch. I love trying new authors and I will be watching for your book.

You can have all of the fruit cake because I don't care for it at all. If I ever receive any I will send it your way.

Kat Sheridan said...

Miranda, what a terrific interview! And what a great background and wealth of material and inspiration! Sounds like a really wonderful book. I'll have to add it to my towering TBR stack (OK, so it might sneak in near the TOP of the stack!) And Anna, great questions! Thanks for posting this.

PJ said...

Great interview, Fo and Miranda!

Miranda, congrats on your debut release. I adore Regency historicals and this one sounds fascinating, especially since I love to bake. I'm very intrigued by the heroine being a pastry chef in that time and place.

Add me to the list of criers. I can boo-hoo at the drop of a hat and that Folgers commercial is one that would get me going every darn time it aired.

Somebody else can have my fruitcake. Blech! Can't stand the stuff.

Barbara Monajem said...

Mostly my characters are the wannabe me. They're all expert at Things I Can't Do, like drawing or painting or exquisite needlework or marquetry. Or pottery or landscaping or... etc. And they're intrepid, of course (So Not Me). And dangerous. (Some days I can feel those fangs just aching to pop out of my gums!

Miranda, I'm looking forward to your book. When I lived in Montreal, I developed quite a penchant for French pastries... Oh, and I'll fight over fruitcake with you any day.

M. said...

I read and enjoyed the excerpt. Loved the heroine's unusual name, loved her chutzpah, loved that we can't be sure if the hero is one or not. Very nice.

ref: 'if writing about booksellers sounds dry....'

I think no such thing, ever since making the mistake of hearing that the person giving the speech (having received an honorary doctorate) at my graduation ceremony was a librarian and anticipating being bored, anticipating endless Deweys and decimals. In fact she turned out to be one of the most fascinating, charismatic speakers I've ever heard.

Karen H in NC said...

Congrats to Limecello...checking the for the latest blog posting at this site must be the last thing she does before going to bed...lol!

Hi Miranda,

Great interview. I jumped over to your website to read more about your debut book and have added it to my BTB list. The Regency era is my favorite historical timeperiod. I've also added your website to my list of favorites so I can keep track of your upcoming works.

Buffie said...

I was fortunate to read and review this book for RNTV. It is a wonderful read, and a great debut novel! I loved the recipes that Miranda added to the beginning of some chapters. I can't believe all the work they put into those things!!!!

I wish you much success, Miranda!

Lori Brighton said...

Great post! I was a natural science curator. Even though I went to school for anthropology, I find my heroines always have some sort of interest in natural science. I dont mean to do it, but it slips in there!

Kirsten said...

Hi Miranda! What a delightful story -- and it sounds like a wonderful book with lots of real history (as well as romance) stuffed inside. I can't wait to add it to my TBR pile! :-)

Oh, and I cry at EVERYTHING. You ask anyone. I especially bawl when I'm writing. I was in a coffee shop the other day crying away at a scene I was working on. Very embarrassing.

For characters, when I saw your question I had to drag out a quote I've been pondering lately that I heard on The Writer's Almanac:

E.M. Forster said, "I have only got down on to paper, really, three types of people: the person I think I am, the people who irritate me, and the people I'd like to be."

What do you think? I'm not sure what that means for our villians (are they the ones we are, perhaps? yikes!) but otherwise I find this fascinating. I think it would be very difficult -- perhaps impossible? -- to write an emotion or character if you could not channel and experience that character in some way. Which is why I find serial killer books really scary!!

Kirsten said...

Oh, I forgot to tell you how entirely jealous I am that you get BLONDER as you age. I'm still clinging to my natural blonde, but it's a struggle...dark honey blonde, perhaps? I'm definitely not getting any lighter. LOL.

My sister dyes her hair blonde and says she's just "returning it to its natural color" -- i.e., the one she had when she was 8 and a natural towhead.

I'm a bit skeptical of that one! ;-)

RachieG said...

I think trilogies are my favorite kind of book to read. The first one is kind of the intro to the characters, the second kind of the meat and potatoes of the story, and the third is the finale. AND it gives you something to look forward to when your reading the first or the second. :)

P.S. I HATE fruitcake too! But my grandma loves it...soooo, every year she's in heaven cause that's what she gets from EVERYONE! :)

Miranda said...

Good point Barbara about making your characters live out your own fantasies. I believe Dorothy L. Sayers did that with Lord Peter Wimsey, having him do all the things she would have if she'd had money, like collecting incunabula.

Re. getting blonder. If anyone believes this is a natural process I have a very handsome bridge in Brooklyn I'd be happy to sell you...

Sabrina said...

Sounds like a great book, Miranda! And may I say that Bandita Caren gave me the biography of Careme for Christmas, and I can't wait to dig into it.

How exciting it must have been for you to have found a letter of Wellington's. Did you come across it yourself in the collection? Or did you know it was there? What was it like to know you were holding a piece of history in your hands?

Karin Shah said...

You wrote an exciting sounding book, worked at Sotheby's AND you own a bridge? LOL.

I'm a crier too, I think it should be illegal for radio stations to play "In My Daughter's Eyes." Very dangerous when driving!

I write SFR, Paranormal and Fantasy, so I can't say there's much of me in my books except my H/H usually have some sort of self-image issue.

I started a regency-set historical but paranormal elements crept in and certain people have received signs from the universe that straight historicals sell better, so its shelved for now. :-)

Karin Shah
Available now!
Samhain Publishing

Di R said...

Hi, Miranda!!

I LOVED NRT! I am eagerly waiting for your next book.

Count me among those who cry at movies, tv, and songs.


terrio said...

Off to a running start, as alway!

What's up with limecello and the feathered one? Has the bird decided to settle down and start a coop?

Good morning, Miranda! Fun to follow you on tour around the world wide web. I'm loving these fun facts and I'm sure you're a wonderful driver. LOL!

I think I put many of my insecurities and fears into my heroine, but the rest is pretty much fiction all the way. In fact, the hero of my WIP is a chef and I can barely boil water. No idea what he was thinking when he decided I was the person to write his story.

CrystalGB said...

Hi Miranda. Great interview. Congratulations on your debut release. Never Resist Temptation sounds wonderful.

HistoricalGoddess said...

Hi Miranda...I cant wait to read your book...It sounds really good.

Treethyme said...

Miranda - My brother and his wife live in Norwich, and I think they can see NH from their house! That is such beautiful country, except in what my brother calls "mud season."

Anna C. - I think you can predict what books I'm going to like pretty well at this point. Between you and the other Banditas, my TBR pile has doubled in the past year. If Miranda and the rest of you keep writing more books, that TBR pile is going to take over the house!

Louisa Cornell said...

Limecello, PEOPLE ARE TALKING !!! You and the GR have become quite the item!

Miranda, I can't wait to read your book. It sounds like a lot of fun. And I can READ about all that great food without gaining weight. I run a bakery and don't have much luck counting calories there.

And working at Sotheby's WOW!!!

Actually, I've done a bit of research about the eccentric Duke of Portland. Fascinating stuff. He was reported to be quite handsome.

What a hoot to get to read early rare pornography. Can't wait to see what you do with that in a story line!

I'm a retired opera singer and I do have a book outlined in which the heroine is an opera singer. The lives and loves of opera singers during the Regency is another area of research I have enjoyed. My late husband said opera singers are addicted to music, sex and food - but not necessarily in that order!

jcp said...

What an interesating job to read old letters. Congralations on your book.

Miranda said...

Sabrina - that must be the Ian Kelley biography Caren gave you. It inspired me to write this book. Fascinating stuff.

When I went to Welbeck I had no idea what to expect but in the auction biz if anyone ducal calls you get right in the car. The Wellington letter didn't have any new information in it - he wrote a lot of letters after Waterloo. But it was all in his handwriting, not copied by a secretary.

One of the most thrilling finds in my career was a group of letter written by Walt Whitman when he was a very young man, teaching school on Long Island. Very little was known about that period of his life so it was a real find. The Lib. of Congress bought them.

I think my favorite ever item was a letter written to Mozart by his father Leopold, giving him a lot of very bossy advice on writing The Abduction from the Seraglio. As an opera buff (waving madly to Louisa) I found that a tremendous thrill.

Vanessa Kelly said...

Hi Miranda - great blog! You know, it's really weird, but my hair keeps getting blonder the older I get too. Huh!

I also use "stuff" from my own life in my writing, especially all the weird things I learned about Regency England while studying in grad school. I think I need to get all those bits and pieces of knowledge out of my head.

I can't wait for your next book - it sounds totally cool.

Vanessa Kelly said...

Oh, and I cried buckets at that coffee commercial. Even Hallmark commercials will do it to me, which is truly mortifying.

Miranda said...

Hey Treethyme
I know Norwich very well and have many friends there. In fact NRT sold out at the Norwich bookstore (much to their shock because they aren't what I'd call romance friendly). If you are visiting shoot me an email.

Susan Sey said...

Hello, Miranda, & welcome to the lair! Thanks also to Anna for bringing her by!

Never Resist Temptation sounds wonderful, & as I'm a huge fan of Top Chef (with an equally huge number of cookbooks) I can't wait to see your plucky chef in action!

As for how much I do or don't use my real life in my writing, boy wouldn't my family love to know. :-) My characters are purely out of my own head, but sometimes things come out of their mouths that my family might find familiar.

For example, I have a sister who believes strenuously that olives have been erroneously classified as a foodstuff & that people who don't recognize this as a grievious error are simply...wrong. Very, very wrong. As my sister is generally an extremely compassionate & nonjudgmental soul, this tickled me to the point that one of my heroines eventually said it. I don't know if my sister will ever read that book or recognize herself but it's so much fun to have a good reason to store away funny things people say.

Genella deGrey said...

Miranda - I want to be you when I grow up! :D

A good many scenes in my book, "Remember Me" were inspired by events from my real life. I find the spirit world fascinating.


Courtney Milan said...


Just dropping by to say that this is a great interview! You must be so excited to have your book on the shelves--and it's such a great one, that I really hope readers of historical romance are finding it and loving it!

Good luck!

Lady Panthea said...

Ms. Neville, congrats on your debut! I loved reading your interview with Ms. Campbell and I can't wait to read your book! I hope your debut is a great success!

Miranda said...

Susan – I love Top Chef too. Don’t get me started on the recent finale. And what’s wrong with olives? I LOVE olives. One of my sisters suffers from a pathological fear of Marmite. Pity I can’t get that into a Regency.

Buffie, Di R and Courtney. Having people say nice things about my book makes me want to cry.

Cassondra said...

Hi Miranda, and welcome to the lair!

You've done so many interesting things, it just seems right that you end up an author. Lots of cool experiences to draw upon. And see...I DO think we draw on our experience. Not only for voice--I think our experiences affect it--who we are--but for what we write as well.

I don't have a background that's very suspenseful really, but I've done lots of things, a lot involving Fire, Police and Rescue services, so when I started writing romantic suspense it just seemed to fit.

A good example, I think, is Susan Crandall. Everybody in the lair hears me go on about her books all the time, but she writes these small-town settings with gritty suspense, and the setting is SUCH a part of the work. And she'll tell you she's a small-town girl at heart. I don't think anyone could write what she does if they weren't that at heart.

I'm interested to read your debut! It sounds wonderful, and so seldom do historical heroines have any type of expertise. I love it that you've given us a heroine who can go out and get a job--even if she has to disguise herself to do it.

And I'm about to read the comments now, so you may have already been asked this, but....now you've got me wondering about that very early pornography. Can't help it. How different is it from the modern? I haven't seen enough modern to know tha tmuch, but now that you've brought it up, I'm starting to imagine all sorts of things and the differences and similarities between the two.

Cassondra said...

Sheesh. All this talk of fruitcake is making me hungry. I don't like fruitcake really, EXCEPT...there's this one company in Texas that makes GREAT fruitcake. I don't know what their secret is, but they ship them all over the world. I've had one of theirs--only one--and I actually liked it. Unless it's theirs, you can have it. But I haven't eaten today. Time to get some lunch, obviously.

Cassondra said...

Oh, I cry at commercials.

Remember the Budweiser commercial after 9-11? It showed only on the Super Bowl I think. You could see Manhattan skyline with the missing towers reflected in the eye of one of the Clydesdales, and they zoomed back and there was a big tear there. The horse was crying.

I. Bawled. Like. A. Baby.

I'm a sucker for those horses.

I cry at other ones too, but those horses get me every time.

Have y'all seen the one where the young Clydesdale gets in front of the wagon and dreams about being one of the team, when suddenly the wagon starts to move with him? Two or three older Clydesdales are behind, pushing.


Okay...gotta go blow my nose.

Anna Campbell said...

Goodness, you girls have been busy while I've been snoring! OK, just off to read the comments. Thanks, everyone, for giving Miranda such a great welcome!

Miranda said...

Cassondra - I can tell you one thing 18th century porn has in common with modern: it's written by men for men. I blogged with the Romance Vagabonds about historical sex a couple of weeks ago and included some of my porno discoveries.

Anna Campbell said...

Bronwyn, aren't you love? A Tempt the Devil high? I LIKE it!!! Thank you. Actually I've been a bit of a hermit so far in March, trying to get the new book written. Because it all comes down to the work in the end, doesn't it? Yeah, I always get a giggle from the boy dressed as girl stuff too! Ooh, and you can never go wrong with chocolate cake in my opinion. Christine, do you like chocolate cake?

Helen said...

We have a few things in common I am the eldest of four girls and my eldest daughters name is Rebecca and she went to Sydney Uni.
I have a great Christmas cake receipe that is so easy to make and is really nice and moist I make about 7 of them at Chritmas to give to friends.
Hopefully my order from Rendezvous will be here one day this week and I can start to read our book.

Have Fun

p226 said...

Yeah. Everything comes from my own experience. From my WIP:

A soft rain would have really helped things. But no, it hadn't rained for over a week. The forest floor was dry like bone dust, and as loud as a box of Rice Crispies plugged up to Metallica's stage set. Though his movements were probably inaudible as near as ten feet away, every gentle rustle he made sounded to his own ears like it was being pushed through a couple of hundred Marshall stacks at a stadium concert.
Why can't we have pines like down south. Walking on pine needles makes no sound.

And here I talk about the Teuller drill. The Tueller drill is where you simulate an attack, running at a full sprint towards you from 21 feet away. Most people cannot successfully defend themselves from an attacker that's 21 feet away, and armed with a knife. More personal experience. You'll see this drill in a lot in defensive training. This is nearly an exact reproduction of the first time I saw it. The "victim" was actually allowed to try to use her real can of pepper spray before the guy with the rubber knife got to her.

Ellis looked back at Ron. “Ready?”
“Any time.”
Ron exploded from his stance towards Kristen so quickly that she uttered a little “eep!” sound as she dug in her pocket for the pepper spray. By the time she got her hands around the can in her pocket, Ron had already closed three fourths of the distance. She started to step backwards as she was struggling to pull the spray out of her pocket, but it was too late. Ron was on her. She threw her left arm up defensively as Ron came in with the first slash. It sliced directly across the meat of her inner forearm. Had it been real, she'd be lucky to ever have full use of her left hand again. Kristen squealed as the knife reversed direction and sliced across her rib cage. By now she had the pepper spray out of her pocket. But had it been real, she never would've had a chance to use it, because when the knife reversed direction again it sliced completely across her throat, as Ron yelled, “Stop!”

Everything I've written so far has been heavily based on my own personal experiences. Very little, if any research has been required. It's all some morphology on what I've personally done or seen.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Laurie, nice to meet another Regency language junkie! So glad you enjoyed the interview - exclamation points are always welcome in the lair!!!!!!!!!!!

Helen, not another fruitcake lover! I'm looking forward to Miranda's book arriving too.

Hey, Christina, wasn't Miranda the Mermaid a cute film? And from memory, quite saucy for the period. I think she actually slept with a couple of the men (in a very discreet British 50s way) so she could get a baby merman. She was a bit of a wench! Thanks for coming by!

Cassondra said...

P226 said:
Most people cannot successfully defend themselves from an attacker that's 21 feet away, and armed with a knife.

Yeah, and she even knew the attack was coming in this exercise. Even less chance if it's a surprise.

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Julie! Glad you enjoyed the interview. The minute Miranda turned up on the Avon loop as a new author, I knew I wanted to snaffle her for the lair. Actually thinking about my autobiographical elements, I certainly use places I've been in my books.

Actually, Tawny, my crushes definitely get a place in my books!

Anna Campbell said...

Annie, knowing you as well as I do, I can definitely say parts of you work their way into the story. I think that's inevitable. I think for a start we write about what obsesses us so that's part of us right up. Didn't you know I hated fruitcake? Mum used to make a beauty - well, at least everyone else thought so. She used to get so cranky when I wouldn't eat it!

Hi Dianna! Come over here where we're eating delicious chocolate cake. And we'll get the cabana boys to make you a nice coffee!

p226 said...

Even less chance if it's a surprise.

Yep. The Teuller drill's a real eye opener.

Anna Campbell said...

Eric, great to see more joining the anti-fruitcake league! We'll be running for a seat in parliament soon!

Laurie, interesting examples. I didn't realise that about Susan and Debbie! I know Susan Grant, who's just visited Australia for ARRC, uses her flying background (she's a jet pilot) in her sci fi stories. Always thought that was way cool.

Miranda, if you insult the French, you'll have our British Bandita buying your book by the dozens! She's always ready to take a poke at a frog. Hmm, that didn't come out quite right.

Yes, of course you can call it Oz. ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Suz, I'm loving the sound of the Folger commercial. Must see if it's on Youtube! The only other book I can think of where the heroine is a baker is Laura Lee Guhrke's Secret Desires of a Gentleman but it's set during the late Victorian period when times had changed quite a bit. Nice book - lovely Mr. Darcy-ish hero.

Hi Rebecca! Hope you're having a great time in Australia. Um, I know this is all about MEEEEEEE, but have you been to the post office yet? ;-) I'd hate to send the boys around to have a serious talk to you... And the boxing kangaroo! He's a scary dude!

Anna Campbell said...

Yes, Miranda, the lair is one of those 24-hour joints! Never a quiet moment here.

Oh, Gillian, NOOOOO! I was sure you'd be a sensible woman and ready to join our anti-fruitcake brigade! We're thinking of holding a fundraising A-PEEL! Groan!

Caren, interesting about the South influencing all your writing. Actually something that influences all my writing is that I've always been a Brit-o-phile. Right from when I was an Enid Blyton junkie as a kid.

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Anastasia! Sorry the weather's a bit crook out your way. We're still suffering the leftovers of Cyclone Hamish so it's not too good in Oz this morning either.

Booze, Miranda? For booze, I'll even put up with fruitcake!

Hey, how hilarious! I've just threatened Rebecca with sleeping wid da fishes if she doesn't post my book too - and that was before I saw your comment. She really WILL think I've got contacts with the Sopranos rather than the sopranos, where I do have contacts. Louisa Cornell for one!

Anna Campbell said...

Miranda, we do the top layer thing too with wedding cakes. And we send slices through the post to people who can't be at the wedding. Or we used to. There used to be a suspicion that if you put it under your pillow, you'd dream of the man you'd marry. I think that's probably why people use fruitcake rather than these other (much tastier) types. As you say, utterly indestructible. Two things would survive nuclear war - cockroaches and my mum's fruitcake!

Miranda, just a question about your big family book, is it hard to keep the secondary characters in line and stop them from taking over the story?

Anna Campbell said...

Virginia, another anti-fruitcaker! The movement is growing!

Kat, thanks for checking it out. I loved doing this interview - such fun!

PJ, ANOTHER ANTI-FRUITCAKER???!!! I knew you were a woman of taste and discrimination. So glad you enjoyed the interview.

Anna Campbell said...

Barbara, I love the idea of our characters being wannabe us. I think there's a real element of truth in that - my people are always much braver and smarter and better than I am. And I love living life through a different set of eyes which is what writing a book gives us the opportunity to do.

M, I find books utterly fascinating too and we're not alone. I mean, Homicide in Hardcover hit the NYT for heaven's sake!

Karen, thanks for checking out the interview. So glad you enjoyed it - doesn't Miranda's book sound delicious. REBECCA!!!!! GET TO THAT DARNED POST OFFICE PRONTO!!! Or I'll sic the rabid wombat on you. He's even scarier than the kangaroo.

p226 said...

Oh... fruitcake. Yeah, I have one of those. It's been in my fridge since 1999. I expected it to morph into skynet at the turn of the century, but instead it just sat there.

I was so depressed. My plans for world domination thwarted by a gold-bricking fruitcake.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Buffie, happy birthday! So glad you enjoyed Miranda's book!

Lori, how interesting about the natural science connection. Actually now I think about it, I often give my heroes and heroines interests that interest me.

Kirsten, love the E.M. Forster quote. I'll have to think about it but I think he might be onto something! Laughed at the idea of you being a real watering pot in the middle of a public place. I got a really touching email from someone who had enjoyed my books while I was in Melbourne. There I was crying like a loon in a horrible grotty little internet cafe, surrounded by a whole stack of Asian men playing horrible war games. An odd moment.

Anna Campbell said...

Kirsten, I'm with your sister. I am a natural Scandinavian blonde and I managed to stay a natural blonde up until my late 30s and then everything went to Hades. So now I say I'm just restoring the natural shade ;-)

Rachie, huzzah for the anti-fruitcakers! My grandmother loved ginger so that's what she got every Christmas from everyone. She had a whole stack of really pretty Chinese jars that the ginger in syrup came in lined up in her kitchen.

Anna Campbell said...

Miranda, I ADORE Lord Peter Wimsey. I remember reading a bio of Dorothy L. Sayers - in many ways she had a sad life.

Sabrina, I got goosebumps when I read the Wellington bit of Miranda's interview. How amazing is that? As you say, history in your hands. The Careme book sounds great!

Hi Karin! Oh, don't start me on songs that make me cry. I always get teary when I hear that Living Years song by Mike and the Mechanics. Breaks me up every single time.

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Di! Glad you enjoyed Miranda's book! Thanks for coming by.

Hey, Terrio, cool your hero is a chef. Although I worked in a hotel and my experience of the breed is that they're temperamental prima donnas and not romance heroes at all ;-)

Hi Crystal! Thanks for coming by!

Louisa Cornell said...

Hey p226 I can defend myself against a knife wielding assassin if I am armed with a fruitcake! My father said if I am attacked to grab something and beat the person until they stop breathing. Fruitcake should do the trick!

I have to find the list of 100 things you can do with a fruitcake that a friend of mine sent me.

Sorry, Miranda but I would not eat fruitcake, even at gunpoint.

However, the most popular fruitcake we sell in my bakery is the Claxton Brand out of Georgia. It must be good because when I get my supply little old ladies will fight to get them.

flchen1 said...

Hi, Miranda! Congrats on your debut! I'm totally intrigued--I love food (not much of a cook though!) and books--this sounds like a lovely story! I think that drawing from your own experiences lets you make the story and characters that much richer and more true!

Miranda said...

Anna, It's a little frightening the way our minds run along the same lines. I'd like to think Rebecca is terrorized but I'm betting she is still asleep.

The large family is still in my brain at the moment, poking its nose in when I'm supposed to be finishing the previous book. I do have a secondary character problem. Life is so full of interesting people and I have to remember that fiction should be a little more focused.
What about anyone else? Do you have these types who keep butting in and saying delightful things without advancing the plot? It has to be slash and burn during the editing process. I think I just wrote an entire scene that'll have to go under the knife.

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Michele! Actually when I heard about Miranda's book, you were someone I thought of who would enjoy it.

But Becke, don't you LOVE all your new books? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Ha, it's my soprano!!! Hello, Louisa. Love what your husband said! Actually another thing the opera singers of my acquaintance have been addicted to is drama. They're a tempestuous lot! ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks for coming by, jcp.

Wow, Miranda, more amazing letter stories. Give us some more!!!! We want more!!! If you give us more, we'll stop dissing fruitcake!

Vanessa, great to see you here. Did you see Keira gave your book a wrap on her blog this week? http://keirasoleore.blogspot.com/

Sabrina said...

Wow, Miranda, what cool letters! I love Mozart and Walt Whitman--as a former academic, I would have found it very cool to discover original material like that.

Anna Campbell said...

Susan, what fun about the olives. Actually my experience of things I've taken from real life is that the models NEVER recognize themselves!

Genella, how interesting about your real life inspiring the spirit parts of your books!

Hi Courtney! Thanks for dropping by! You must be getting excited about your debut book being where Miranda's is right now!

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Lady Panthea! Thanks for dropping by. So glad you enjoyed the interview!

Miranda, I'm with Cassondra - I want to know more about the pornography. You didn't think you'd get away without telling us about that, did you?

Miranda said...

I just hope I never meet P226 armed with a fruitcake in a dark alley. If I had to stick with my own experience nothing violent would ever happen in my books but yours sounds thrillingly authentic.

And I am delighted about the high percentage of fruitcake haters. All the more for me.

Cassondra: that Texas fruitcake is the BEST

Anna Campbell said...

Cassondra, I wonder if you and Miranda are talking about the SAME fruitcake company in Texas!

P226, what interesting examples! Actually it will sound wimpy in comparison but my books always include my experience of UK weather - i.e. LOTS and LOTS of rain!!!!

Fedora, great to see you! Hey, are you going to go head to head with Limecello for possession of the rooster? He used to be your guy!

Anna Campbell said...

Miranda, my stories very much focus on my principal couple so my secondaries taking over isn't usually such a problem. But I had a real difficulty when I brought Kylemore and Verity back at the end of Tempt the Devil. My crit partner Annie West read those scenes and said, "You really love Kylemore and Verity, don't you?" And I realised I'd let them take the focus right off Olivia and Erith just at the moment when the emotions should have been coming to a head.

Louisa Cornell said...

Ah yes, La Campbell! With an opera troupe there is ALWAYS high drama! i once refused to sing with a tenor because "I refuse to sing with a man who is a bigger b@#%h than I am."

Anna Campbell said...

But, Louisa, honey, you're not a b*&%$$$h! You're a darling! Although if you really are a b%$#@#^*h, perhaps you could visit Miranda's daughter in Sydney and make her post up my copy of NEVER RESIST TEMPTATION. I've already threatened her with a Soprano!

Karin Shah said...

I probably shouldn't admit this, but...I went over to Romance Vagabonds and read Miranda's blog there (The one about SEX). Very interesting. :-)

Karin Shah
Available now!
Samhain Publishing

Anna Campbell said...

Karin, I loved Miranda's blog on Vagabonds. Full of interesting, uh, facts!

Miranda said...

You want Sotheby’s stories? You got it, and will have to forgive the name dropping.

A collection of letters and musical manuscripts by Prokofiev showed up in a Parisian closet, left there by the composer in the 1920s. The cellist Rostropovich came in to look at them. He was an adorable, cuddly little man and while we chatted I asked him if he was interested in buying any of them. “Why would I buy one when I own the manuscript of the cello concerto he wrote for me?” Great put down! Later Prokofiev’s first wife showed up, claiming the MSS were hers, though the statute of limitations had passed.

Madame P. was the most terrifying woman I ever met, except for Mrs. Vladimir Horowitz, daughter of Arturo Toscanini. I was summoned to look at some books for her and rang the bell of her New York townhouse. The maid opened the door and told me to go to the servants’ entrance! The only time that ever happened to me. (At Welbeck I went in the front door.)

My interest in historical cooking arose from cataloguing a collection of rare cookbooks. I also enjoyed a couple of collections of scientific books. I am a total science idiot (I’m convinced the TV and telephone are paranormal devices) but I love the historical side. Any science nerds out there?

Cassondra said...

Miranda said:

Cassondra: that Texas fruitcake is the BEST

But I can't remember the name of the company! WAH!

Miranda said...

Cassondra: Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas (I have a tin). I want to live in a town called Corsicana. Do you suppose the founder was a Napoleon fan?

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Miranda, great stories! Actually I sometimes think these artistic men marry terrifying women because they keep the world at bay and let them get on with their creating.

Cassondra said...

Miranda said:

Cassondra: Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas (I have a tin). I want to live in a town called Corsicana. Do you suppose the founder was a Napoleon fan?

YES! THAT'S IT! I dunno about the Napoleon connection, but my husband has been to Corsicana a few times on business. He says it's a a cool little town, with lots of antiques shops and great deals on cool old stuff. (I'm a fiend for old things.)

Which, I should probably ask you a question I bet you're asked a gazillion times per day. I have a stash of old books--early 1800s to early 1900s. I've given some of them away, but feel so guilty doing so. I love them, but have no real use for them. In your appraisal and sales travels have you run across anything good to do with such a stash?

Some of them are gorgeous, but I haven't the time nor the expertise to figure out if they're worth anything or even remotely rare.

Sorry to ask such a mundane question but since you're our captive....

Cassondra said...

Karin said:

I probably shouldn't admit this, but...I went over to Romance Vagabonds and read Miranda's blog there (The one about SEX). Very interesting. :-)

Karin, don't apologize. We love the Vagabonds, and this was a great blog. Informative and fun! In the interest of promoting Miranda and getting more people to read her blogs and pick up a copy of her debut, I'm going to post the address.

If anybody's looking for it, it's http://www.romancevagabonds.com/?p=2902

Sophia Nash, our guest from a few days ago, is on down the page with a great blog as well.

Keira Soleore said...

Christine, I'm so relieved you won't be hurling on me. Phew!

Fo, thanks for pimping, er, touting my blog.

Miranda, everywhere I go I'm reading rave reviews of your book. How does it feel to have the current "IT"? And...three books out this year? Golly, what a feat!

Miranda said...

Cassondra. Thanks so much for the promo. Re. the books, I've been out of the biz for a long time so my knowledge isn't very current, but if you'd like to email me (miranda @ mirandaneville.com -without spaces) giving me a bit more info - what kinds of books, how many, where you live, etc. - I'll try and steer you in a good direction.

Miranda said...

Keira - I wish it was three this year but actually I have two to *finish* this year. I don't have pub. dates yet.

Cassondra said...

Thanks Miranda! I may pull out the tubs and get a sense of what's in there. It's going to be problematic though, as every time I pick them up I look at them and think, "I can't get rid of this, I might NEED it."

I don't know why and it's silly. I don't need those old books. They have a hold on me though.

Christine Wells said...

Miranda, given that your book is about cooking--if your hero in NEVER RESIST TEMPTATION was a dish (in the literal sense as well as the figurative!), what would he be?

I'm loving these Sotheby's stories! More, please!

Genella deGrey said...

I, too, love old things. (With the exception of fruit cake! LOL)
In fact, I probably would have wept over the letters you saw.

Now don't roll your eyes too much - you being from England and all, but I've never seen a real castle before - it's a life-long dream of mine. The day I see my first castle up close and personal is the day they will haul me away to Belleview. I'll cry like a baby, I just know it.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Miranda! Welcome to the Lair! I haven't waded through all the comments yet but did want to pop on and say hello.

Anna, great interview. I was howling with laughter over the comment about Miranda fitting in like "...a gladiator into JT's suitcase"

SNORK!!! Love it. And so true...

BTW, I too am jealous that you worked at Sothebys, what a great experience.

Anna Campbell said...

Genella, I hadn't seen a real castle until I went to Europe either. And it was SOOOOO exciting when I did. I hope you get to see one soon. I remember that same visit, I saw squirrels for the first time and go so excited - all the locals thought I was off my head!

Jeanne, thanks for popping in. Gladiators live! (in JT's suitcase)

Miranda said...

Genella – you will make it to a real castle one of these days. With the reference to Belleview I’m guessing you are from NYC or thereabouts. The Cloisters actually gives a very good idea of the feeling of those old places – drafty and probably not fun to live in!

Christine: great question. I don’t see my hero as a dessert. Something classic and meaty. Beef Wellington perhaps? See picture above – Anna and I have already agreed we think the duke was hot.

Anna Campbell said...

Actually, Miranda I think the consensus was that the duke was hot and we were tragic! ;-)

Miranda said...

Back to letters, literary variety.
Much to my regret I never handled a Jane Austen letter - they very rarely appear for sale. And letters of Shakespeare, my other top guy, just don't exist. I did catalogue a big group of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and can boast that I've only ever read Sonnets from the Portuguese in the original manuscript.
Quite a lot of Charlotte Brontë (Emily and Anne are rare having died young) including one of her fascinating juvenile manuscripts written in microscopic print.
I once found a drawing by Charlotte in a rival auction drawing sale. It wasn't a very good drawing but a friend and I spotted it and bought it for a song. Sold it to a Brontë collector at a nice mark up.
In case you are wondering, that was the one and only time I made any money at the job. The pay was absolutely pathetic. OTOH my first day on the job, spent sorting out a collection of 1790s military documents, I called my parents and told them I was so happy I couldn't believe I was being paid at all!

Miranda said...

Could someone explain to me about JT's suitcase? I'm feeling tragic now not knowing where my gladiatorial self is fitting.

Anna Campbell said...

Our Joan (JT) writes wonderful Roman romances so she's always smuggling Demetrius and co into the lair for the Banditas' amusement. They're even more fun than the cabana boys and that's saying something!

Love your Sotheby's stories, Miranda. I remember seeing the Bronte juvenilia when I went to Haworth. Those tiny teeny little books. Amazing!

Miranda said...

Romans, Russell Crowe, yum. On an almost related note, Brad Pitt in a leather mini skirt in Troy. Double yum.

Pat Cochran said...

I am not an author such as you, Anna,
and the Banditas, but I have written
a couple of blog postings at the invitation of an author "friend."
For those postings, I used my Hispanic family stories and family experiences to form the basis of
my writings.

Pat Cochran

Kirralee Schmidt said...

Wow! Look at all these posts! I knew I'd regret taking the night off from the computer!

Thanks for the congrats on the Auntdom. And thanks Anna for the lovely compliment. Um, how do you post a photo, Keira?

In my family we generally have fruit cake as our Christmas pudding which is then smeared with brandy cream and custard. One year is was my sister's turn to make the dessert. Mum always says double the amount of brandy that's in the recipe, but she didn't tell my sister that she had already allowed for the double helping when she handed the recipe over. Evidently, we had a VERY merry Christmas that year. Couldn't stop the giggling! And the nap in the afternoon was well earned.

Miranda, I loved reading your interview and am so jealous that you worked at Sotheby's. Imagine all that history! I can't wait to find your novel on the shelves here!

Genella deGrey said...

I'm from Los Angeles. :(
Nothing very old here . . . but the traffic can get old real fast . . . LOL

Miranda said...

Kirrlee - anything is more fun when brandy is liberally applied. And Genella there is at least one castle in California. I've always wanted to visit Hearst's San Simeon.

Genella deGrey said...

That's not old, merely pretentious. LOL

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Pat, blogging is fun, isn't it? Thanks for popping by!

Kirralee, laughed at the extra brandy story. BET Christmas was more fun than usual!

Genella, LOL!

Kirralee Schmidt said...

Anna, Christmas is always fun (my favourite day of the year) and that day we still did all the same things we usually do - but the nap was a much deeper sleep and we couldn't keep a straight face. As soon as we made eye contact with each other we'd dissolve into another round of giggles!

Australia isn't a very old country either. The oldest building in my town is dated 1855 but at least the facades haven't changed much. We have a faux castle which usually holds medieval festivals and the occasional concert but we have Sovereign Hill which is a 1850's theme park.

Pat Cochran said...

Thanks, Anna! You know my day is not complete without a visit to the

Somebody has to be buying lots of Corsicana fruitcake because they
have been in business since I was
quite young! (And I haven't been a
spring chicken in half-a-century!)

Down here in Texas, the top layer
of a wedding cake (which is not a
fruitcake!)is frozen and saved for
the first anniversary celebration!

Pat Cochran

Anna Campbell said...

Kirralee, Sovereign Hill is huge fun. Whenever you get a historically accurate description of a carriage ride in my books, thank SH. I used my ride in the Gold Rush Cobb & Co wagon there as the basis for all my research.

Pat, don't mention spring chicken in the rooster's hearing! He gets all excited!

Anna Campbell said...

Thank you to Miranda and everyone on the blog for making it such a great day in the lair! And lovely to see so many new faces. Y'all come back again! ;-)

Don't forget to check back in the next day or so to see who won the signed copy of NEVER RESIST TEMPTATION - which sounds irresistible!

flchen1 said...

LOL! I do think the GR can be a bit fickle, but he does seem to be roosting often with Limecello these days! *sniff* I might need some chocolate to cheer myself up ;)

BTW, those Collins Street fruitcakes are total yum!

Miranda said...

Thanks Anna and the Bandits for a great day. I loved meeting you all and having so many great conversations. I shall stop by the lair again soon.

Nancy said...

Limecello, you really are on a rooster roll! Congratulations.

Miranda and Anna, thanks for a fun interview. Miranda, welcome to the Lair!

Reading your description of the book reminds me of the eating scene in Tom Jones. Food can be extremely sexy, and this book sounds yummy in more ways than one.

We like fruitcake. We have an old recipe from the dh's family that's spicecake with candied fruit in it, as opposed to the logs of compressed, candied fruit we had when I was growing up.

But hey, it has sugar in it, so what's not to like?

I have a heroine named Miranda, but I think you're the first actual Miranda I've "met." I do like that name, and it's so perfect for an author.

Diane Gaston said...

OMIGOD, Miranda. You TOUCHED a letter written by Wellington????

I'm such a Wellington groupie...

I did have friend who owned items that were each signed by all the King Georges...And Princess Charlotte.

Anna Campbell said...

Fedora, the GR can indeed be fickle. I remember when he abandoned you for Helen a few months ago!

Nancy, great to see you. How cool you've got a heroine called Miranda!

Diane, the Wellington thing is WAY cool, huh?

Catherine said...

Hiya Miranda. Your first book was so well researched. I gather that Yale Library has an excellent library of 18th century pornographic tomes. You probably know this but I thought I might as well pass on the info. from a good inside source (source not sauce!)if you are still mulling over your research on the next one. Justine

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