by Anna Campbell
It is with great pleasure I bring back another familiar face to the lair, Aussie historical romance star Sara Bennett. Sara's going to tell us about her latest series and also about what else has been happening in her world.
For more information about Sara and her books, check out her website: http://www.sara-bennett.com/index.html
Sara, welcome back to the lair. Your June release, LED ASTRAY BY A RAKE, kicks off a new five-book series called THE HUSBAND HUNTERS CLUB, set in the Victorian era. Can you tell us about this story?
Nice to be back, Anna. LED ASTRAY BY A RAKE is the first book in THE HUSBAND HUNTERS CLUB series, which is a fun series about five respectable young ladies from Miss Debenham’s Finishing School who form a club and make a pact to marry the men of their dreams rather than the men chosen for them by their families and the stuffy society they live in. These men may not be entirely suitable, and the girls swear to hunt them with all the feminine wiles in their possession. Love, they declare, will conquer all! Unfortunately that isn’t always the case, and there are lots of problems along the way. LED ASTRAY is about Miss Olivia Monteith and her chosen husband, Lord Dominic Lacey or, as he’s known in society, Wicked Nic. He seems to revel in his bad reputation, but Olivia knows he has a good heart and that they could be very happy together, if only she could persuade him to see past her respectable facade. When this fails, she decides to meet him on his own territory, at the Demimondaine Ball, and take the serious step of seducing him. I won’t give away the rest of the story, except to say that Nic has a dark secret in his past that Olivia may find it hard to forgive, even loving him as she does. (By the way, gorgeous Haddon Hall on the right was Sara's inspiration for Lacey Castle, the setting for this story).
Ooh, sounds delicious! What's coming up next from THE HUSBAND HUNTERS CLUB?
Marissa Rotherhild’s story is coming up next. She has her sights set on the Honorable George Kent, but when she arrives at his manor house for a weekend party, George isn’t there. Instead she meets his brother, Valentine, and falls in love. But Valentine is on a quest to find a lost rose and if Marissa wants his attention then she must help him, no matter how dangerous it may become.
Like Bandita Donna MacMeans, you set your books in the Victorian era. What's the appeal of this time for you?
The Victorian era is a long period, from 1837 to 1901, and you have lots of changes during that time. My new series is set in 1837, at the very beginning of the Victorian era, so everything seems new and exciting. A new queen on the throne, a new age of science and reason, the industrial revolution replacing the old ways. In this time of dramatic change, the girls of Miss Debenham’s Finishing School feel that they are making their own new beginnings and that they should be allowed to make their own decisions for the future.
You also write paranormal romance as Sara Mackenzie. What's coming up for your alter-ego?
I recently had a short story called THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER AND HIS WIFE published in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF PARANORMAL ROMANCE. I am about to start work on a second story, this time for THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF PARANORMAL TIME TRAVEL. I also have a trilogy outstanding—and yes, my fans are always asking when I’m going to finish it. And I promise I will!
Do you ever get the urge to kick over the traces and write something outside the historical romance genre?
Funny you should ask that! I used to write mainstream historical, back in the dark ages, and recently one of those books has been bought by a German publisher.
This has encouraged me to think there may still be a place for these longer, character-filled books, set in the Australian past, and I’d like to write another one. It is just finding the time that’s difficult.
Congratulations on the German sale. What writers have been your biggest influences?
I read widely, and lately I’ve been reading lots of nonfiction. I suppose when I first started writing romance I read Johanna Lindsey and Katherine Woodiwiss, and I also loved the Angelique series by husband and wife team Sergeanne Golon. I wish I could get hold of some of the old French movies they made of the first few ANGELIQUE books, but they’ve never released them with English subtitles. I also read a lot of crime fiction and I like a spooky ghost story. I’ve just finished Sarah Waters' THE LITTLE STRANGER, which was brilliant. And I'm catching up with the Cynsters, with Stephanie Laurens' latest, yum.
Do you see any trends emerging in romance and in historical romance in particular?
Well, I’ve heard the historical is popular again! Seriously I don’t think it ever really went out of fashion, and there are so many periods of history and so many different kinds of historicals. I don’t know what the next big thing is. I just write what I write and hope everyone will enjoy it. I think that’s all a writer can do.
Sara, is there anything you'd like to ask the Bandits and Buddies?
What kind of historical would you really like to read? Medieval, Regency, Tudor, Viking—what?
Sara has very generously offered one lucky commenter their choice of a signed book from her backlist of historical romances. What a great opportunity to catch up a wonderful story you might have missed out on. You can see her bookshelf here: http://www.sara-bennett.com/titles.html Good luck!