by Anna Campbell
It's my great pleasure to welcome back a Bandita favorite, historical romance writer Nicola Cornick, who has more releases coming up than I can poke a stick at. I'm a great fan of Nicola's writing so I'm happy that she's working her fingers to the bone!
By the way, for a treat, check out the wonderful trailers Nicola has created for her new series! http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=57035166
As always, you can find out more about Nicola and her books at her website: http://www.nicolacornick.co.uk/
Nicola, my head started to spin when I looked at your website, you’ve got so many new releases coming up. Which is nirvana for head-spinning fans of your work like myself. But first things first – you’re officially here to talk about a new Regency historical series called THE BRIDES OF FORTUNE. The first book in the trilogy, THE CONFESSIONS OF A DUCHESS, is out in June. Can you tell us about this story?
THE CONFESSIONS OF A DUCHESS is Laura Cole’s story. I first introduced Laura in my 2008 book UNMASKED when she was one of the leaders of the Glory Girls highwaywomen. In that book Laura developed a bit of a passion for Dexter Anstruther, one of the men who was sent to hunt down the Glory Girls. In THE CONFESSIONS OF A DUCHESS it’s four years later and Dexter is back in Laura’s life and the two of them are still passionately attracted to one another but Laura is penniless and Dexter has to marry a rich heiress for the sake of his family. There’s also the small matter that Laura is keeping some enormous secrets from him, not least that she was a highwaywoman…
Fantastic! UNMASKED was one of my favorite books from 2008. Can't wait to catch up with those characters again.
This month, you’ve got a prequel to the trilogy, THE SECRETS OF A COURTESAN, out as a Harlequin ebook. Can you tell us about that?
THE SECRETS OF A COURTESAN is a short story that sets the scene for the trilogy and also introduces some of the characters but it’s also a very romantic, sensual and emotional love story in its own right.
The next two books in THE BRIDES OF FORTUNE series are THE SCANDALS OF AN INNOCENT and THE UNDOING OF A LADY. Each, I’m delighted to say, available as back to back releases in July and August, 2009. By the way, those are some seriously gorgeous covers! I love the colors. Can you give us any hints about these forthcoming instalments?
I think THE SCANDALS OF AN INNOCENT is a fun story because it has as its heroine Alice Lister who is a housemaid-turned-heiress. I like writing heroines who are unusual and Alice has a very different background from some of the other spoiled and privileged heiresses in Fortune’s Folly. It’s Alice’s apparent naivety that makes Miles Vickery, an unscrupulous and rakish fortune-hunter think that she will be easy prey to blackmail into marriage. The fierce attraction and the power struggle between them shocks Miles because he quickly realises that he has completely underestimated. And speaking of unusual heroines, Lizzie Scarlet in THE UNDOING OF A LADY is something different again. I’m not sure everyone will like Lizzie - but I adore her! She’s a force of nature, so wild and so close to the edge. Every time she behaves badly it seems impossible that she can do anything more outrageous and then she excels herself! For anyone who has read my book WAYWARD WIDOW, Lizzie is like a junior version of Juliana. And it takes a very strong man to match that sort of passion and determination!
WAYWARD WIDOW was the first book of yours I read and I've been hooked ever since. I love the sound of the whole series!
I notice that Mills & Boon in the U.K. are releasing your complete backlist, a book a month, starting with TRUE COLOURS in November 2009. Congratulations! Looking back on your body of work, do you have any particular favorites that you’re glad are seeing the light of day again? Will these books be available in the United States and Australia?
Thank you! Yes, I’m thrilled that Mills & Boon are going to be reprinting my backlist. Just as exciting for me is the news that Harlequin are also re-releasing all my Harlequin Historicals in e-book format so readers in the U.S. and elsewhere can download any of the ones they might have missed. It’s hard to choose favourites, isn’t it! I have a really soft spot for TRUE COLORS because it was my first book and although it’s a bit overwritten I still think it’s a good story and a meaty book too at over a hundred thousand words! I love MISS VEREY’S PROPOSAL too. Like THE PENNILESS BRIDE, it’s a bit of a fairy story and I love fairy stories. One of my favourite heroes is Cory Newlyn in THE NOTORIOUS LORD. He’s an Indiana Jones type explorer and archaeologist and I totally fell in love with him.
I had a huge crush on Cory too. He's SOOO charming and I loved the swimming scene (yum, yum!). One of my favorite books of yours is your March U.S. release, KIDNAPPED: HIS INNOCENT MISTRESS. It’s narrated by one of the most appealing heroines I’ve read in ages, Miss Catriona Balfour, who never lets drama and adventure affect her appetite (a woman after my own heart). Can you tell us more about this story and also about the challenges and rewards of writing in the first person? I must say, you sounded as if you were having enormous fun with this ironic, courageous, passionate heroine!
I’m so pleased you liked KIDNAPPED! I’ve always wanted to write a book set in Scotland and I don’t know what took me so long. It was fabulous writing about all the places I love to visit. I modelled the book on one of my all time favourite adventure yarns, KIDNAPPED by Robert Louis Stevenson. If I have tiny criticism of the original, it is that there isn’t enough romance in it to please me so I thought I would re-write the story from a female perspective and include a love story at the heart of it.
I originally started writing it in the third person but it didn’t work. Then I tried first person and it was spooky how quickly I got into the head of an eighteen-year-old Scots girl in the early nineteenth century! I loved Catriona Balfour and I’m so pleased that so many readers loved her too! The bit about never losing her appetite was modelled on me but her rather impetuous nature was imaginary. So it wasn’t in any way a self-portrait despite the fact that I felt very, very close to her. I enjoyed writing in the first person; at first I wasn’t sure how it would feel to write quite sensual love scenes like that but actually that didn’t prove to be a problem! More of a challenge was trying to convey as much depth to the hero’s character as you would do with a third person narrative.
A little bird told me (all right, YOU did!) that you’ve just recently been on an amazing cruise in the Pacific where you saw whales and assorted other wildlife. Can you share some of your favorite memories from the trip?
Oh, it was a fabulous trip! I love to travel despite being a nervous flyer (as you know!) and I love the sort of holidays where you can see amazing wildlife so a whale-watching cruise out of San Diego and around the Baja Peninsula was my idea of heaven. We had amazing views of Humpback Whales, we touched baby Grey Whales, which was an awesome experience and we also visited some beautiful offshore islands that were like paradise. The other benefit of being on a cruise was people watching! I got quite a few good character ideas and the captain of the ship features in my current manuscript heavily disguised as… um… a gorgeous American sea captain!
Oh, how cunning! Snort. What’s next for Nicola Cornick?
I have a short story reprinted in a HQN Christmas anthology, THE HEART OF CHRISTMAS, with the ever-fabulous Mary Balogh and incredibly talented new author Courtney Milan. I’m really looking forward to that. That’s coming out in October. Then next year I have a Regency Historical set in London and the Arctic, so that’s a bit different!
The Arctic story sounds brill. Nicola, is there anything you'd like to ask the Banditas and Buddies to get the conversation going?
Laura, Alice and Lizzie, the Brides of Fortune, are all unconventional heroines. Who is your favourite unconventional heroine, fictional or real? Is it Scarlett O’Hara or Anne Boleyn? When is a heroine different and unusual and when is she just plain annoying?
Nicola has very generously offered one lucky commenter a double dose of her latest series. Someone will win a free copy of her ebook prequel to THE BRIDES OF FORTUNE, THE SECRETS OF A COURTESAN, and a signed copy of her latest print release THE CONFESSIONS OF A DUCHESS.