by Anna Campbell
It is with huge pleasure (and perhaps just a little trepidation, last time she was here, the cabana boys needed a holiday to recover!) that I welcome back Avon historical author Miranda Neville to the lair.
Miranda's sparkling debut last year NEVER RESIST TEMPTATION garnered her a huge number of fans. Now we can all run out to a bookstore (or even better just click the covers on the blog and they'll take you right to Amazon) and grab her second Regency romance THE WILD MARQUIS. Even better, it's the first in a series called THE BURGUNDY CLUB.
Yum! Or perhaps I should say hic! You can find out more about Miranda and her books at her website: www.mirandaneville.com
Miranda, welcome back to the lair. We had a fabulous time when you last visited to talk about your debut historical romance for Avon, NEVER RESIST TEMPTATION. Now here we are celebrating the release of your second book THE WILD MARQUIS (hmm, love that title – works for me!). Can you tell us about this story?
A lovely reviewer called my hero “a naughty, naughty boy.” I couldn’t have put it better. Cain, as he is known, is on the young side for a hero, only 24. He has been on his own since the age of sixteen, tossed out of the house by a crazy puritanical (and thankfully deceased) father.
Living up to expectations, he's persona non grata in the eyes of society.
Things change when he discovers a family heirloom up for auction at Sotheby’s. If he can discover why his father sold the rare manuscript, he may be able to reconcile with his mother and sister and regain his reputation. He hires Juliana Merton, a widowed rare bookseller, to advise him. The marquis seems unpromising book collector material to Juliana, but she’s desperate for a rich client. At first the unlikely pair flirt and spar over books. When danger threatens Juliana, Cain appoints himself her protector and the couple set out to discover the mystery of her past.
I notice THE WILD MARQUIS is the first in a series called THE BURGUNDY CLUB. Can you tell us about this series? The inspirations behind it? What we can expect in future books?
The background to the book is a huge rare book auction, modelled after the 1812 sale of the Duke of Roxburghe’s library. After this famous sale, a group of collectors formed the Roxburghe Club, still England’s premier bibliophile society. At the end of THE WILD MARQUIS, a group of young men form the Burgundy Club.
In particular, my hero makes friends with two collectors, the heroes of my next books. Coming in October is THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT, featuring a misogynistic book lover. I had a complete blast with his story, which can roughly be described as Regency Revenge of the Nerds. Following that, the exquisite dandy Tarquin Compton, the second coming of Beau Brummell, is going to get very, very naked. Two secondary characters from the VISCOUNT begged to be matched up so there’s going to be a fourth book too.
Among the many things I loved about NEVER RESIST TEMPTATION were the luscious and heart-attack inducing Regency recipes you included (the heroine is a pastry chef). Are you going to offer us some wonderful extra tidbits of information like this in the new series?
Rare books and the book trade are central to the story. Cain’s missing heirloom was inspired by the famous medieval manuscript Les Très Riches Heures of the Duc de Berri. An early edition of Romeo and Juliet plays a vital role in the plot. And I touched on some of my researches into the history of dirty books. It isn’t as easy to make the topic of rare books sexy as it was with pastries, but I hope I succeeded. Think leather bindings. (Not in THAT way. We’re talking about BOOKS) [By the way I just read the first of Kate Carlisle’s Bibliophile mysteries and totally adored it. Not until I went to her website did I remember that she is a Bandita!]
Can you take us through your working day?
I don’t want to send everyone to sleep.
Snort! Or perhaps I mean snore... Last time you visited, you told us a wonderful story about when you worked for Sotheby’s in London and you discovered an unknown letter by the Duke of Wellington. Any more fascinating glimpses into your past life you care to share?
Which past life are you talking about? The one when I ruled Egypt? Or when I was a small rodent? After I was born into my current (much younger) body, I grew up in an eighteenth-century bath house in England. It was one of the follies (along with a gothick temple and a classical ice house) on an aristocratic estate. A mile across the park is the Georgian mansion. The bath house is next to the “lake” (or the ”pond” as my husband insisted on calling it, since it’s tiny by American lake standards) and has a nice view of a fourteenth century castle, ruined in the English Civil War.
The bath house was converted to a farmhouse in the nineteenth century and is pretty ordinary, apart from a rusticated portico. Recently, the new owners took up the tiling in the kitchen and found the outline of the old plunge bath in the stone floor.
Wow, that's exotic! No wonder you grew up to write historical romance! It’s almost exactly a year since your first book came out. Can you take us through the highlights of your first year as a published author? Are there any things you know now that you wish you’d known before?
I wish I’d known that having a book published doesn’t change your life. Getting that book sold and then out is the culmination of such an intense process. The Big Day comes and you’re blogging, and your friends call and tell you they’ve see the book in stores, and you get reviews. Then after a couple of weeks … nothing.
I wasn’t rich and famous, people didn’t applaud when I entered a room, and life was pretty much the same as before the big day. I was actually pretty depressed for a while there. I wonder if other debut authors have suffered the same affect. Kind of post partum blues.
What finally made me snap out of it was the need to write two more books by the end of the year. When it sank in that my contract gave me exactly six months between the deadlines of books 2 and 3, I suspected I’d been drunk when I signed it. But it was all good because it concentrated the mind and I’ve got two books coming out this year.
On a more cheerful note, I went to the RWA conference for the first time and met lots of great women, including a couple of insane but curiously charming Australians. (Hmm. Wonder if you can guess who). I learned about Facebook and Twitter. My book sold to Thailand. I discovered the nasty phrase “reserve against returns.”
I promise to applaud whenever I see you entering a room, my friend! Although I'm clearly insane, so I wouldn't trust me, LOL! Is there anything you'd like to ask our Bandita Buddies?
Thanks for asking me back, Anna. I’m thrilled to be kicking off my WILD MARQUIS blog tour with the Banditas, the Golden Rooster, Sven, et al. The book hits the stores tomorrow, but you can enter to win a copy by answering this question. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a beautiful and historic place. Yet it always seemed unremarkable to me. What are the places or experiences that you take for granted, yet will seem exotic to others? Or, you can just ask me another question. Or failing that pay an outrageous compliment to me and/or Ms. Anna Campbell and we’ll still enter you for the prize.
Ooh, outrageous compliments, huh? I'm always in the market for those! Have at it, Banditas and Bandita Buddies! And good luck in the draw for Miranda's new book! It sounds absolutely fab!