Thursday, June 4, 2009

Eloisa James Returns to the Lair!

by Anna Sugden

It's always a pleasure to welcome back Lair favourite, Eloisa James. And not just because we know it means another book is available in her awesome Desperate Duchesses series!

Having said that, I know many of us have been waiting eagerly for the release of her latest book - This Duchess of Mine - where we will find out how the rocky romance between Jemma and Elijah plays out. (Thank goodness, we only have to wait until July to see which lucky woman wins the heart of the divinely delicious Villers in A Duke of Her Own!)

Don't forget, you can keep up with all the latest releases and so much more at Eloisa's website - http://www.eloisajames.com/

So, without further ado, I'll hand over the reins to Eloisa.

Your Cheatin' Heart

There are a few rules that every romance writer learns early on. Don’t make your hero an artist. Better not to make him a stripper, either (though it’s a fine profession for heroines). Some of these rules are almost impossible – for example, if your heroine was captured and sold into a) prostitution or b) a harem, try to arrange that she’s still a virgin years later. Tough, yes. Impossible? No! Loretta Chase has a fabulous novel, Don’t Tempt Me, coming out with just that premise in July.

I knew readers don’t like infidelity – and yet I started a series of six books with just that premise: a broken marriage. A really broken marriage. Neither Elijah nor Jemma, the Duke and Duchess of Beaumont, had been true to their wedding vows.

But you know what? I think the best books come out of turning that sort of rule on its head. In my experience readers are not lemmings, throwing books over the cliff the moment the hero picks up a pencil. For me, the key to a romance is making the reader feel, if only for a moment, that perhaps this marriage won’t end happily. The publisher has contrived every possible signal to emphasize the genre; look at the flowers, foil and pink on the cover of This Duchess of Mine. So she expects that the relationship will end happily. But I want her to doubt it – because I think that doubt is what makes a happy reading experience.

Another rule? A romance should be realistic. The truth is that people do cheat on each other. The key to making that work in a romance has to be their motivation. If a hero rattles off his vows and then edges up to a bar trying to find a cheerful blonde, it’s may be realistic, but it’s no fun. The key to writing about infidelity in a romance is remembering that reasons for unfaithfulness are as diverse as men and women themselves.

I gave Elijah and Jemma reasons for the mishaps in their early marriage. There’s one thing we sometimes forget as romance writers, perhaps because we often stop at the vows. Marriage is hard. Elijah and Jemma forge their love for each other by truly coming to know each other. They win back what they lost by honesty, love and forgiveness (and OK, the great sex doesn’t hurt either).


When I read a romance, I want to feel worried that the relationship won’t work – and then delighted when it does. What about you? There are other authors out there who have bravely marched into the thorny fields of adultery – which novels do you think worked and which didn’t? And why?

We've got some fabulous prizes today - three (yes, three!) lucky commenters will win signed, hard-back, UK editions of Desperate Duchesses!!

96 comments:

Virginia said...

Mine all mine!

Virginia said...

Welcome to the lair Eloisa. First off let me say I love your books. What ever you are doing it works for you. I am like you I like the feeling of worring that a relationship isn't working but it does in the end. Its a great feeling. I also want my heros and heroines to have flaws. The perfect ones don't work in my world. Thanks for sharing your books with us.

flchen1 said...

Woohoo, Virginia! Nicely done!

Hi, Eloisa! I love your reasoning for approaching such an oft-avoided topic in romances--the journey to the HEA is so much a part of why people read romances, and what different and interesting journeys different couples take! I admit that I do tend to shy away from stories that involve cheating, but I also admit that redemption is a very moving and real part of life and the romance journey. I'll look forward to reading Jemma and Elijah's story.

Barbara said...

Hi Eloisa! I agree, when I read a romance, I need that moment where I think the relationship just isn't going to work.

As a reader, it makes me want to keep reading because I "need" to find out what is going to happen. How are the hero and heroine going to find their HEA? Does the hero really deserve her? Does she him? In what way do they have to fight to earn each other's love?

It's all about the angst. Love it!! Not to mention the grovel at the end. Ugh, who doesn't love that?!

Okay, I'm rambling, lol. Great Post!

Christine Wells said...

Eloisa, welcome to the lair and huge thanks to Anna for luring you here once again!

Eloisa, I've read all your books and I love the sophistication of your Desperate Duchesses series. I like all kinds of romances but I find ones about making a marriage work particularly satisfying. I can't wait to see the happy ending for Jemma and Elijah. You're right, that doubt you create in the reader's mind makes the finale even more triumphant. You've been creating doubt about this marriage from the start, to the point where I wondered if Jemma really would end up with Villiers, so you've done a great job with that.

As for going against the rules, in my next book my heroine commits adultery--with the hero:) I'd like to think so many of those rules have been blown out of the water by great authors that readers might be more willing to go along with a premise like that these days. I hope so!

Congrats on the Golden Rooster, Virginia!

Maija P. said...

I'm currently reading Richelle Mead's Georgina Kincaid-series and it includes infidelity. I'm having no problems with it because I seem to find plausible reasons for it... I really can't blame them...

I love your books! I've read 3 or 4 already and every one of them was awesome!

Anna Sugden said...

Good morning all! Congratulations, Virginia on nabbing that pesky rooster.

You're absolutely right - Eloisa is a master of heroes and heroines that appeal. And she manages to make her characters flaws credible, even when she breaks the rules *g*.

Anna Sugden said...

Fedora, normally I would agree with you about cheating. Yet the way Jemma and Elijah's story has been handled across the series is so clever, you don't feel put off by it all. In fact, you want to see how they resolve their issues.

Interestingly, I feel the same about the films Brief Encounter and Falling in Love.

Anna Sugden said...

LOL - excellent description of it all, Barbara. Yes, it is all about the angst and the grovel!

The best books really do make you feel as if all is lost and cannot possibly be recovered. And then, when the author cleverly makes it all come good, in a satisfying and believable way, you feel relieved and happy.

Anna Sugden said...

Christine, I'm so looking forward to Wicked Little Game. I have it on pre-order! I do like rule-breakers *g*.

Isn't it interesting -much as I drool over the delicious Villiers, I really didn't want him to end up with Jemma. Eloisa has kept us on tenterhooks through this series about that!

Anna Sugden said...

Welcome Maija P - I think most anything can work in a book if you make the reasons plausible. The trick is actually achieving that - especially in today's cynical world.

I think that is also why some writers give us incredible villains too - ones that terrify you because you can understand why they do what they do. Writers like Tess Gerritsen, Lisa Gardner, Allison Brennan, Debra Webb and Mariah Stewart have an awesome skill with their villains. They can almost make you feel sorry for them!

Anna Sugden said...

Eloisa, your post speaks volumes to me - and I know a number of others in the Lair. My hockey hunks break the rules, though thanks to authors like Deirdre Martin, Rachal Gibson, Kate Angell, Carly Phillips and, of course, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, sports heroes are not quite as frowned upon as they once were.

And as for artists - Donna's The Education of Mrs Brimley makes an artist a very appealing hero (mmm the paintbrush scene!)

I wonder if other rules will ever be broken eg short heroes, bald heroes, heroes without the obligatory six-pack and amazing body. Or heroines who aren't thin as rails with alabaster skin and perfect breasts *g*. I've seen more physically imperfect heroines in books than heroes.

Helen said...

Congrats Virginia

Eloisa what a great post and I too agree that I love the journey to the HEA just as much as the HEA and the thinking maybe they might not make it.

I have loved everyone of your books and am always eager to read the next one, they have given me hours of pleasure. I can't think of another book that I have read that has used adultery if I think of any I will be back, I'll be back anyway love this place.

Have Fun
Helen

Kim said...

Hey Banditas!! Where is Sven? I've got a kink in my neck that needs worked out *G*

Oh, and Anna, you can drool all you want but Villier's is mine. All mine.

Margay said...

I also like to wonder if the relationships are going to work out because it makes me feel as if I'm right there with the character, sweating it out. I like to be kept guessing.
Margay

Emmanuelle said...

This Duchess of mine is a wonderful book. It's the first time I was able to accept adultery (really a first). You gave them a great story of second chance at love and made me really happy they found their happy ending.

michellewillingham said...

I love reunion stories and broken marriages that heal. And you have some fabulous covers!

Laurie said...

I don't like to read stories with viscious physical and verbal abuse.

housemouse88 said...

The more conflict there is the better for me. I want the author to push my feelings to the breaking point with the most amazing characters. As long as it ends with a happy ending, all is well. Have a great day.

Eloisa James said...

Thanks, Virginia! I love books that make me worried too, so we're on the same page length.

And Christina, I honestly think that the "rules" about infidelity are being broken right and left. That said, it's really hard to get around some sort of infidelity. Who cheats in your next book? Inquiring minds want to know!

Anna, did you ever read laVyrle Spencer's male Cinderella book? When the book opens, he has a big beer belly and a drinking problem. Course, he does slim down, but it's such a fun book...and I can't remember the title. Anybody?
Eloisa

Anna Sugden said...

Aww - Helen, we love having you here too!

The thing that bugs me about a disappointing book is usually a rushed HEA - almost like the author thought that she'd better resolve the story because she only had three pages left to do it! I've read a cfew of those lately and they've really irritatedme!

Eloisa James said...

Emmanuelle, that's a HUGE honor -- thank you for telling me! Not that I want to be known for luring readers over into the dark backwaters of infidelity, but I'm glad the book worked for you.

I just wanted to thank all of the commenters so far for such a cheerful welcome. It's always so fun to come here!

And I have to check out for a bit. USA Today is doing a feature on me (yikes!); the reporter was here for 5 hours yesterday and the photographer comes this morning. Must go slosh on make-up!

Eloisa

Anna Sugden said...

But Kim - you'll be far too busy with Sven and his massage to worry about what Villiers gets up to.

He's helping me brush up my ... chess skills ;)

Anna Sugden said...

Kind of like 'no pain, no gain', Margay?! Wellsaid, my dear!

Anna Sugden said...

No fair, Emmanuelle - my Amazon pigeon hasn't appeared with my copy of This Duchess of Mine yet. I swear he deliberately holes up with the best books and has a quick read before bringing them on to Cambridge.

Anna Sugden said...

*waving* Hi Michelle!! Hope to catch up with you in DC!

I love reunion stories and marriages that heal stories too. I think they are often the most emotionally satisfying because there is that streak of reality to them that we can recognise from our own lives.

Anna Sugden said...

Hmm, I don't remember reading that LaVyrle Spencer, Eloisa - and I thought I'd read them all (though a long time ago!). I'd be interested to see if anyone has the title.

I do remember reading a book where the hero was in an accident and had plastic surgery. He had been ugly before the accident and was stunningly handsome afterwards. He was always searching for a heroine who would look below the surface - and naturally finds one. I remember the ending being a line about pitying their poor kids!

Anna Sugden said...

Actually, that led me to think about the whole Beauty and the Beast thing - the beast does tend to be scarred rather than Quasimodo-like! Or armchair- football-watcher-like LOL.

Anna Sugden said...

OOOhhhhh how cool, Eloisa - USA Today! You must let us know when it appears so we can get copies.

luveurope1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
luveurope1 said...

Hi Eloisa! :)

This was a great blog. I only have a few chapters to go in TDOM, and I'll be finished before the end of the day. As usual, I absolutely love the book, and Jemma and Elijah. I can't wait for Villiers' book! :)

At the moment, the only other book I can think of that deals with infidelity on the part of the hero and heroine is Sherry Thomas's Private Arrangements. Like Jemma and Elijah, Camden and Gigi were separated for a number of years and weren't faithful to each other. They also had to make peace with the past and get to know each other all over again before they could go about the business of creating an heir and enjoying the happily ever after, lol. What I thought was interesting was that it wasn't some misunderstanding that tore them apart, or that the hero or heroine hadn't truly done what the other suspected. Gigi had truly done something egregious, and the two of them really hurt each other.

As for rule breaking, I was thinking about Lisa Kleypas's Suddenly You. Normally in romance, it's the hero who mistakenly believes that the heroine was a woman for hire (so to speak). In Suddenly You, it's the heroine Amanda who mistakenly believes that of the hero after she went and hired herself a man for her thirtieth birthday. I like and appreciate authors who aren't afraid to try something new and defy conventions, as long as it makes sense and serves the story.

And oh, can Sven come over and give me a neck and shoulder rub? Pretty please? :)

Mari said...

I don't mind reading about characters committing adultery if it is in a historical. In the 'olden days love was often not the basis for marriage. Property aquisition, family obligations, financial security was. Also, people got married younger, which is when people are more likely to act impulsively and make mistakes. In a historical infidelity, if handled well by a good writer (like Eloisa) can add a dimension to the novel and contributes to the tension between the H/h. Plus, I like when the H really tries hard to make it up to the h and redeem himself.
I don't know if I would like reading about infidelity in a contemp, though, since love is "supposed" to be the basis of modern marriages in the western world at least. I might have a more difficult time accepting infidelity in a contemp simply because it would be hard for me to wrap my head around 2 people having a courtship, marrying for love, then cheating. That said, I haven't read a contemp that tackled this subject matter, maybe I might change my mind once I actually come across one.

Louisa Cornell said...

Congrats, Virginia! Make him behave. Speaking of infidelity, our GR is the KING of cheaters. He just goes from girl to girl. He's the consummate rake!

Hello, Eloisa!

I've really enjoyed the Desperate Duchesses series and the Georgian setting especially. I'm a Regency gal, but I love to read about what made the Regency the period it was.

Was it difficult to write a series with so many characters interwoven in the plots? Any tricks to keep track of what you've written about each one to avoid errors?

I have a strong negative reaction to infidelity in any form. However, in historicals IF it is well written and has plausible explanations and a really great story I can accept it and enjoy the HEA. While I realize that rule is being broken lately I would hope that those authors that choose to use it are really good at handling it. All it would take is one poorly written adultery story to throw that premise back in the closet with the other skeletons.

I think it is something that lends itself strictly to a historical setting because so many marriages were arranged and love and commitment were seldom involved. If the setup is one where essentially the marriage wasn't really a marriage at all then I can accept infidelity. However, what I might find a bit unbelievable is a story where the emotional damage of infidelity is glossed over. Trust is something that is easily damaged and the repair of trust can be a lifelong job.

Can't wait to read Jemma and Elijah's story and Christine your story sounds fascinating as well!

I have written a hero who commits emotional adultery and sends the woman he is attracted to away the very night he almost commits actual adultery. It wasn't my way of avoiding the adultery. It was strictly an outgrowth of his character.

Blodeuedd said...

Welcome :D
I just actually read my first book by you and sure wants more.

Not to happy about adultery, I got really angry recently in a book, but then i calmed down as things unfolded. Then I wanted it to happen. As long as no one gets hurt I am fine with it

Susan Sey said...

Good morning, Eloisa! And thanks, Anna, for bringing Eloisa by! We're always so excited when authors we love come by to give us a behind-the-scenes peek at their work!

I normally love books that push the boundaries & take risks, but there was one recently that I nearly threw across the room--Jodi Piccoult's My Sister's Keeper. I read it for a book club & I HATED it.

I shouldn't say that. I hated the ending. The rest of it was amazing. She set up this beautiful conflict--a mom had two daughters who needed different things & she could only satisfy one of them. I was hanging on the dilemma to the very last pages & then?

She totally copped out on the ending. I was FURIOUS. The whole book was about the family having to make this terrible choice, & the long term consequences of it, & then...

No choice. The choice was taken away & nobody had to make the difficult decision or understand the consequences of making it. I hated that. It was literary fiction's equivilant of "...and then I woke up." I felt so betrayed.

But I'm never disappointed in the Duchesses. :-) I'm totally looking forward to the next installment! Thanks for coming by today, Eloisa! I still miss Squawk Radio....

terrio said...

Good morning, Eloisa! You are such a busy blog hopper lately. You're everywhere! LOL! You should really relax with a Cabana boy for a while.

I'm *this* close to finishing TDOM and loving it. One thing that has struck me is how you never fail to get your distinct voice into these stories, but every one is still distinctly different from all the others. I love that about your books.

The books that spring to mind as ones that had me on the edge of my seat thinking, "this will never work!" are the Mallorens from Jo Beverly. Anna Campbell (y'all might have heard of her *g*) always keeps me nervous until the end too.

Now that I think about it, the books that disappoint me are the ones where I don't have that anxiety.

Anna Sugden said...

You'll have to fight Kim for Sven, luveurope1 - and she can be tenacious! How about we send Lars over instead?

Sherry Thomas' book sounds just like what we are discussing with This Duchess of Mine. One that doesn't skim over the adultery - rather explains the reasons and deals with the pain caused, on both sides. All credit to Sherry - I haven't read it, but I'm assuming she did a great job of taking the reader through the growth of Gigi and Camden and their ultimate resolution.

Anna Sugden said...

You raise an interesting point about historicals versus contemps, Mari. Perhaps it's because historicals are well-removed from our everyday lives.

I think historicals provide different reasons for adultery or infidelity to contemps. In contemps, issues like abuse and emotional trauma in the marriage tend to be the kinds of causes - the escape from evil. The heroine tends to end up with the lover/rescuer rather than the husband, for those reasons.

There is still scope for arranged marriages, marriages of convenience etc in contemps and thus, for infidelity. I've yet to see one, but with the immensely talented contemp authors around, I bet a number of them could handle the challenge of making it work satisfactorily.

Janga said...

The thing that amazes me most is that Eloisa’s Desperate Duchess series keeps getting better and better. She was so successful in keeping me in doubt about Jemma and Elijah’s HEA that I read the ending of This Duchess of Mine first. Now I am beyond eager for A Duke of Her Own. Only 53 more days!

I agree that adultery is a tougher sell in contemporaries, but I recently reread a 1995 contemporary, Reason to Believe, by the wonderful Kathleen Eagle in which a careless affair that the hero confesses while he’s in rehab for alcoholism leads to the breakup of his marriage. Most of the story is about the H/H’s journey to self-knowledge and forgiveness of themselves and one another as they literally journey 200+ miles in December as participants in the Big Foot Memorial Ride, following the path of the hero’s ancestors to the site of the Wounded Knee massacre. It is a powerful story in many, different ways.

Barbara Monajem said...

Thank you, thank you for blogging on this particular topic. I love it when writers successfully break the so-called rules. A few years ago, I got slammed by contest judges on the adultery rule (not all the judges, though) even when my heroine had an abusive husband and one little lapse in a moment of despair. Sigh. I spoke to an editor about it, and she said the problem might be in the execution...

Anyway, I have my copy of This Duchess of Mine and I'm already VERY worried. Nicely done.

Eloisa James said...

Hi luveurope1 -- yes, that's a brilliant example of rule-breaking! Gigi in Sherry Thomas's book had messed up so horribly that I couldn't imagine how that book was going to work out. A bit like that SEP in which the heroine basically rapes the sleeping hero--again, my terrible title memory strikes! But I was yelling, "no, no, don't do it!" What a great reading experience!

Eloisa

penney said...

Welcome to the blog today Eloisa, I've enjoyed reading it today.
Your new book sounds great, I love the cover so romantic.
Penney

Treethyme said...

I feel like I'm stalking Eloisa, since I run into her everywhere.

I read THIS DUCHESS OF MINE a couple of days ago and loved it! Elijah and Jemma are great, believable characters and that story had a twist that surprised and intrigued me.

Eloisa's book got me going on a historical binge. As soon as I finished hers, I read Loretta Chase's LORD OF SCOUNDRELS, which was also wonderful, so I picked up another romance after that.

Yesterday's book was Jennifer Haymore's A HINT OF WICKED and -- wow -- that was a tricky one to pull off. I was holding my breath to see how the author would deal with the nearly impossible conflict. She took it in an unusual direction for a romance, but still managed to hook me. I'll be back for the next one in that series, too.

I blame Eloisa, Anna C. and Melanie over at BN.com's Romantic Reads board for my current obsession with historicals AND the incredible and frightening growth of my TBR pile. I had it under control until I discovered historicals!

Treethyme said...

Virginia, congrats on grabbing the GR!

Treethyme said...

I should mention, I've been pushing all the books by Bandita authors to the top of my TBR pile. I HAD read all of them, but you all are writing them faster than I can read!

luveurope1 said...

Hi Eloisa,
Were you thinking This Heart of Mine with Molly Sommerville and Kevin Tucker? I'm pretty sure that's the book you're talking about!

Actually, I know you're a big SEP fan (I read one of your pillow talks) which is what convinced me to start reading her books. I love the Chicago Stars books! So far, my favorites are Heaven Texas, Natural Born Charmer and Nobody's Baby But Mine. I also really liked Dream a Little Dream, the book about Cal's brothers. :)

Eloisa James said...

HI Louisa!
It isn't easy. In fact, my next novel is going to be a one-off, simply because it's exhausting keeping it together, as much as I can! That said, I have a lot of tricks. I create a bible of all the characters, divided up by main characters, servants, people around London, etc. The bible includes a strict time-line that gets more and more complicated as each book is written.

My advice? Accept the fact that you're going to make mistakes! There's a topic on my Bulletin Board for this very book (only out a week!) in which readers are cataloguing all my mistakes. Ah well... I learn to do better each book, but I've figured out that I still make mistakes. c'est la vie!

Eloisa

Was it difficult to write a series with so many characters interwoven in the plots? Any tricks to keep track of what you've written about each one to avoid errors?

MsHellion said...

I think it's brave and awesome what you did with that premise, Eloisa, because I do get tired of the HEA ending at marriage vows, as if nothing rocky will happen from there on out. Marriage is hard. Mistakes are made--and forgiveness is necessary if you want to be in it for the long haul. We're flawed people and we do crazy stupid things for all sorts of reasons that were right at the time, at least to us.

I'm totally in the middle of this book and I'm loving every page. I think this will be my favorite book of the series. Absolutely wonderful!

As for other books that deal with thorny issues like adultery--I can't think of any off the top of my head. (I think it's hard to find those books. I think you have to be an established author to even be allowed to play with that idea--and most people hate the thought of it so much, they don't think they could make anyone heroic out of it. Which is sad, because I think heroes/heroines are supposed to transform and change--and that's the real goal of novels, to give us the hope that not only love conquers all, but that we are capable of changing and truly becoming better people, or even possibly the people our loved ones think we are.)

Anna Sugden said...

LOL Louisa - yes, the GR is the ultimate rake! I think fame has gone to his head!

I think the point you make about rule-breaking is valid for all the rules, be it sports heroes, artists or adulterers. Badly handled characters, implausible reasoning and flippant resolutions would do so much harm!

Anna Sugden said...

Susan, that is exactly what I was talking about. Cop-out endings infuriate me to the point of being loathe to trust an author again.

Interestingly, with a very well-known author, I'm even more disappointed. I wonder then whether it is laziness, boredom, the rush of a deadline, poor editing or arrogance which means that ending is deemed worthy.

Anna Sugden said...

Blodeuedd - I think the reason Eloisa has done such a wonderful job with the Desperate Duchesses series, is that Jemma and Elijah's story over-arches all the books and we're given time to really understand the whys and the pain caused.

Had she resolved their story in the first book, I don't think we'd have found their story nearly as compelling.

Eloisa James said...

H Blodeudee:

I'm glad you enjoyed the book enough to jump into another one -- hope you like it just as much!

And Susan -- you're not alone re that book. I actually heard about the ending from a furious friend, and so avoided reading it altogether.

Terrio: ah, a cabana boy! The photographer is just leaving. He photographs all kinds of celebrities -- Brad Pitt! Tom Cruise (he said Cruise really is very short)...

Eloisa

Anna Sugden said...

Not you too, Terrio. *sigh* Why don't Barnes & Noble move to England so I'm not always behind?!

We do have some wonderful authors here in the Lair, who keep you hanging on the edge of your seat!

Anna Sugden said...

Janga - it is a phenomenal series! I may just have to pick up Villiers bookk while I'm in DC and save that poor Amazon pigeon a journey.

Kathleen Eagle has always been a bit of a rule-breaker - or a boundary-pusher - and she does it so well.

Eloisa James said...

HI Barbara M,

Sorry you got slammed! The rules are tough to get around, but I think they always can be. I can think of a bunch of ways by which the situation you describe would work.

Hi there Treetyme! I"m so glad you loved Duchess (I think I told you that in some other venue -- Twittering, maybe?). Anyway, thanks! And I haven't read the Haymore, so I'll keep an eye out for that.

Ms. Hellion, I"m so glad you're loving the book! And you're right about the stricter rules for beginning writers. It takes a really creative editor to be able to imagine a newbie author gaining an audience with something truly creative -- but look at Anna Campbell. TAke heart, all of you beginning writers -- no need to be cookie-cutter!

Luveurope1 -- you're absolutely right! I was howling, "No, Molly, No!" and she did it anyway. *g* What a great book.

hugs, Eloisa

Anna Sugden said...

Isn't that always the answer? Leslie Wainger always used to say - it's all in the execution.

It's intersting as well that I think street cred in your writing helps to make it acceptable - I've had an editor say that she would consider a storyline because she though I could pull it off.

Anna Sugden said...

Oooh Penney - love the flowers in your avatar! My faves!

It is a gorgeous cover. I think the covers for the whole series have been fab!

Treethyme said...

Eloisa - sorry, I forgot that you might not know Treethyme is my alter ego. You know me as Becke Davis on BN.com and Becke Martin on Facebook, etc. Sometimes I even confuse myself!

Anna Sugden said...

I'm like you, Becke - I wasn't a big historicals reader (though I do love western historicals). The Lair authors convinced me to add more historicals to my TBR pile, along with our fabulous guests.

Funnily enough, I'm reading Lord of Scoundrels at the moment, also at La Campbell's recommendation.

terrio said...

I think that Spencer book is The Hellion. (I had to look it up as I read those all YEARS ago and can barely remember last month. LOL!)

Anna Sugden said...

LOL - I like it, Eloisa - a bulletin board for your mistakes!

Anna Sugden said...

You're right, MsHellion - we are all flawed! I do think stories are beginning to reflect that more and more. And you can get away with much more serious character flaws than you used to.

I can't tell you how many times a contest judge has said - that couldn't ever happen about something that was based on reality! LOL

Eloisa James said...

Becke, I knew who you were! I jumped right on your smiling face because of Twitter. But then you didn't sign your name, so I didn't know if you were incognito, so to speak...

And Terrio -- you're right! It's The Hellion. My absolute favorite LaVyrle Spencer, and if anyone hasn't read it, they ought to.

Eloisa

Treethyme said...

Not incognito, it's just my sign in for Google groups. By the way, I'm on Twitter under both names.

As to the adultery aspects, I don't really have a problem with it if it's done well. I'm thinking of the Sam and Alyssa stoy arc in Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooters series. I think that story (which lasts through multiple books) is a reader favorite.

Janga said...

EJ, since you are spending a year in Paris, what are the chances we will see more Paris settings in upcoming books?

Anna Sugden said...

Well done, Becke! I knew there was another story-line that had done adultery well. Sam and Alyssa! Of course!

And speaking of Suz Brockmann, the way she's managed the Jules storyline has been awesome too.

Anna Sugden said...

You're going to be in Paris for a year, Eloisa? (No comments about the French and the Parisians *g*)

Hope you'll pop across to Cambridge while you're there.

catslady said...

No subject is off limits if it's well written - as long as I like/love the characters, anything else is a bonus.

Eloisa James said...

Yup, we sold our house and we're off to Italy for the summer with my husband's family and then Paris for the year. And then coming back to NYCity. Very exciting!

Anna, hopefully we'll get over to London, if not Cambridge. At the moment I can't see much further than actually making it out of this house... Movers come next THursday!

Eloisa

Anna Sugden said...

Nicely put, Catslady.

Anna Sugden said...

Good luck, Eloisa - you have my heartfelt sympathy, having just moved across the ocean not long ago! I hope it goes well for you.

London works! Don't forget to look me up - I'll treat you to a cream tea.

Helen said...

I really love a book that keeps me on the edge of my seat thoughout the journey and has me wondering what is going to happen next, these books I don't want to put down but of course there are times that I have to but I am thinking about the story line even when I am not reading the book LOL makes it hard when I am supposed to be concentrating on something else like work !

Eloisa
I have Loved Jemma and Elijah's story line thoughout the other books and you have built the story line up so well I am really looking forward to reading it. And of course there is Villiers to come yummy.

Have Fun
Helen

Christine Wells said...

Anna, I totally agree, I didn't want Villiers for Jemma, either, and I should know better than to follow a false trail like that;)

Oh, great that you've pre-ordered Wicked Little Game. I hope you enjoy it!

Eloisa, in Wicked Little Game my heroine's horrible husband offers the hero one night with her for 10,000 pounds. So it's adultery with a twist:)

Christine Wells said...

Mari, that's a very good point, actually. I think I'm more willing to forgive adultery in an historical for the reason you mentioned, that marriage was forever. In the hands of a skilled author, I think I could probably still forgive someone in modern times who strayed, but there's have to be a lot of grovelling first!

jo robertson said...

A giant welcome back to the Lair, Eloisa! Your covers are simply gorgeous.

I like the premise of THIS DUCHESS OF MINE. And I like the idea of not being certain if the h/h will work out their thorny problems. I mean, deep in my heart I know they will, but I think the slightest doubt of that gives the story an edge.

The idea of a couple marrying when they're young and basically stupid LOL and throwing away what they have, then coming back to it in maturity is a good one.

chey said...

Hi,
I think well written books work regardless of the subject. Something that makes a book not work is when we don't know why the characters are acting the way they are acting. It's easier to sympathize with the character if we know the underlying cause of the action.

Christine Wells said...

Oh, wow, USA Today! Italy! Paris! New York!

What a fabulous life. Sigh.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Virginia, cock-a-doodle-dooooo to yoooooooo!

Oh, I'm so late to this party. Will I ever catch up? Welcome back, Eloisa! It's always wonderful to have you visiting the lair and tormenting...uh, CHARMING the cabana boys. They're a bit shellshocked from a couple of launch parties we've had recently so treat them gently.

Congratulations on your latest release. And can I say I think that latest cover of yours is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen? You always have lovely covers but that pink one just makes me go weak at the knees.

Anna Campbell said...

Eloisa, I so agree with you on wanting to worry about whether the couple will work out their problems. And then when they do, there's this wonderful sigh of satisfaction at the end. I think that's the emotional pay-off people talk about when they say romance novels are like crack cocaine (someone said that to me at a conference once and it made me smile). You know, you read a good one and then reach for the next one to keep the feeling going.

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, USA Today? I think under those circumstances, we just might release you from the clinging embrace of all those cabana boys. What's that? You're taking them with you? Who's going to serve drinks to us? There will be a margarita riot in the lair and the last time we had one of those, we had to hire the LOL Cats to come and clean up.

Anna Campbell said...

Susan, I still miss Squawk too! I notice there was an anthology of favorite columns out lately, wasn't there?

Anna, thanks for inviting Eloisa. We always love her visits!

Hey, Terrio! Aren't you a honey? I hope to torment you again some time ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Becke, I'm always so happy when you say I helped to lure you over to the dark side of historicals! There's too many great books in the genre which really seems to be flowering at the moment for anyone to miss out on them!

By the way, I love artist heroes! Clearly I'm odd!

Thanks, Eloisa, for the mention about debut authors taking chances. I think sometimes it's EASIER when you're a newbie to take chances - there's not so much at stake. Jennifer Haymore also springs to mind with her triangle and people have mentioned Sherry Thomas. You just need that one editor who's willing to take a chance on something different.

Anna Campbell said...

Yanno, VA, I should get commission on that darn book! I've sold so many copies of it. I can't wait to read the next Loretta Chase. It's about a girl who's been locked up in a harem and emerges a virgin and then has to cope with English society afterwards. Interestingly enough one of my favorite romances has that very premise - it's Jean Ross Ewing's Illusion. And interestingly enough, the heroine basically rapes the hero in that one too. Must re-read it. Loved it way back when.

Anna Campbell said...

A year in Paris, Eloisa? Wow, how lucky are you?

And you'll love Wicked Little Game. I was absolutely on the edge of my seat the whole time I read it - and the hero is yummier than a Tim Tam!

Eloisa James said...

OK, Wicked Little Game -- after all these tidbits, I'm absolutely looking forward to that!

And Anna, the Loretta Chase harem-girl is a just a great book. You'll love it.

You know, my life does sound exotic when you all characterize it. But all I can say is that it's just...not. I really liked the photographer: he was just lovely. But I felt every inch on my hips while he was chattering about the celebrities he normally photographs. And I kept wondering if my boobs were showing. And after he left, I was wiped and didn't even pack boxes. Boxes! The problem with selling a house and moving is that -- you have to move. Arrrrrghhhhh....
Eloisa

Treethyme said...

Eloisa - luckily, when my husband and I moved to England we were young and had very few possessions. Coming back, we had managed to accumulate a staggering number of books, which has multiplied like kudzu in the years since then.

I loved living in another country, although there were plenty of adjustments to make. For one thing, I assumed we spoke the same language; I was mistaken.

I've been to Paris a few times -- it is an amazing place. I hope you have a wonderful year. With the wonders of the internet, we talk to our friends here and abroad as if we were all in the same room. Will you still be writing your columns for Barnes and Noble from Paris? If not, we'll miss you terribly!

luveurope1 said...

I sympathize about moving Eloisa. I remember during my four years of undergrad, my dad and I would have to load up the mini-van every August and May and he'd dutifully shlep me and my stuff either to school, or home. It was about three hours each way, so it became an all day thing. And somehow, I kept accumulating more and more stuff as the years went by. I have to say my dad was a trooper because invariably, he'd always have to help me pack up my dorm room because I could never manage to get it all done by the time he came to pick me up!

But I hope you and your family have a wonderful time in Paris, Eloisa! :) I went there with my family four years ago, and I really enjoyed the Louvre and Notre Dame. Unfortunately, while I was there, Paris was bidding for the 2012 Olympics, and they stuck the Olympic logo right on the Eiffle Tower. UGH!

Caffey said...

Hi Eloisa!! So excited to chat with you! I remember reading your Quartet books with a historical group and love them!! Your humor too in your writing is contagious! I always smile through them.

I've not read much with Adultery in romance books, but I do remember one (sorry I can't remember title!) but alot of growing he had to do in that book. It happened early on and the journey of healing and all took alot of time. I do love re-reunion stories and they have so much of that with both the hero and heroine growing yet!

M. said...

But - that's not a picture of the UK edition. Nor any of the other titles, methinks. How about some pictures of those? They are very beautiful...

(no need to enter my name!)

Anna Sugden said...

LOL Anna - my hubby is like that with Alan Lightman's Einstein's Dreams. I'm sure AL hit the NYT because of all the copies hubby bought and gave away to people!

Anna Sugden said...

Jo - I agree - and I think for a contemp, that would be such a strong story. Especially in these times when some marriages - particularly of the rich & famous - seem to last 2.5 minutes.

Anna Sugden said...

Chey - that's so true. It annoys me when there is a deliberate witholding of info that is important to us empathising with the characters.

In some recent revisions the editor told me to do just that - tell us up-front!

Anna Sugden said...

Okay - looks like I'll be getting the harem girl book by Loretta Chase too!

Umm Eloisa - the packing is one thing. We still haven't UNpacked all our boxes!

Anna Sugden said...

Hey Caffey - this is such a wonderful series (I know I've said that before *g*). YOu're lucky if you're coming to it just now as you can read them all one after the other - and by the time you've finished, Villier's book will be out!

Anna Sugden said...

Mea Culpa M - you're right. It isn't the UK edition and I should have included a pic of it.

As you know, we include Amazon click-throughs on the books we show, so that anyone visiting can go straight to Amazon and buy books they like. That doesn't work for UK editions - so I forgot to include it!

Unfortunately, I can't show pics in the comments or I'd show the whole series!

penney said...

Eloisa have fun in Italy and Paris, I been to Paris and enjoyed it I always wanted to go to Italy maybe some time I'll get to.

Have the winners been picked yet?
Penney