Monday, March 8, 2010

The Wild Miranda!

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!

145 comments:

mariska said...

me ?

mariska said...

Hi Miranda,

Another new Romance Author for Me !

you have gorgeous covers, who did choose them ? do you have involved in choosing covers ? they are very tempting :D

Virginia said...

Hi Miranda, great post! Congrats on your new release, love the cover and your book sound fabulous, can't wait to read it.

I grew up in a small community called High Bridge, which had the highest railroad bridge! Living there I didn't think much about the beauty of the place but as I got older I realized that it is a beautiful place to visit, in the fall its lovely with the trees along the river. Here is a little history.

A bridge was begun in the 1850s for the Lexington and Danville Railroad. It was to be a suspension bridge, designed by John A. Roebling, but was never completed. (The towers for the suspension cables were built and remained until 1929.) A bridge of cantilever design was finally opened in 1877 on the Cincinnati Southern Railway, 275 feet tall and 1,125 feet long, and dedicated by president Rutherford B. Hayes in 1879. A new bridge was built around the existing structure in 1911 and expanded to two tracks in 1929. It was once the highest bridge in North America and the highest railroad bridge in the world.
http://www.jessamineco.com/tourism/highbridge.htm

Anna Campbell said...

Congrats, Mariska! Miranda has got lovely covers, hasn't she? They're really lush and sensual.

Becke Davis said...

Miranda! I'm so excited to see you here! I've missed my favorite blogs; I was so busy last month I'm just getting caught up now.

Anna Campbell said...

Virginia, your home town sounds absolutely lovely. I've got a thing about bridges (is that odd? But I really love a nice bridge!). Actually I find America really exotic. I thought it would seem really familiar after seeing all the movies and TV shows but when I actually hit the ground there, it really was like a different country!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Becke, huge congratulations on getting your short story selected for NPR! http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124418000 It's a great piece of writing!

Great to see you back here. I know you've been busy!

Christine Wells said...

Insane?? Ah, Miranda, Miranda, the stories I could tell about that night in D.C.... Don't make me drunk dial you! It is the middle of the night over there, is it not?

Anna, thanks so much for asking Miranda along. She always has me in fits...of laughter, of course! That rumour of insanity was *grossly* exaggerated.

Anyhoo, can totally identify with the letdown after the big release day arrives. There are great highs and also some troughs in this business! Love the sound of the Burgundy Club! That other insane Aussie will tell you I'm a big fan of the Antiques Roadshow, so a series on collectors will be right up my alley. And hawt, sexy collectors are even better.

Hmm, I suppose living in Australia might seem exotic to some, even the insanity part has its own particular charm. I would prefer to have grown up in a Georgian bath house, myself:)

If you want the star treatment, Ms. Neville, you've come to the right place! Sit back with one of Sven's rudely named cocktails and let him massage your feet while the cabana boys fan you with ostrich feathers and Joanie's Romans feed you grapes. Enjoy!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Miranda, I'm fortunate to be friends with the Aussie Banditas and Anna and Christine have to promise to introduce you to me at Nashville as you sound like lots of fun!
Your book sounds amazing and I can't wait to read it. Love the idea it is first of a series, I love connected books.
I also enjoyed reading about your debut author experience as my first book debuted July 2009.
I'm fortunate to live on a little farm in a valley surrounded by magnificent, ancient sandstone cliffs which I have become quite blase about until I see them extolled somewhere. Though, as a city slicker who wasn't born in Australia, I still get a thrill when kangaroos come to visit!

Jane said...

Congrats on the new release, Miranda. I grew up in NYC and I didn't always take the time to experience all the city had to offer whether it's the arts or food. I make an effort to visit the Met every year and try a new restaurant.

Annie West said...

Miranda, I love the sound of your stories. I'm definitely going to track some down. As for regency revenge of the nerds - how could anyone resist? I think readers will love stories built around books - what's not to like? Especially if the heroes are as interesting as you hint.

Exotic, eh? People think Australia is exotic and exciting but really...well, yes I suppose I take it for granted. For instance we have the most gorgeously coloured rainbow lorikeets on the bird feeder (a small sort of parrot in vivid red, bright orange, electric blue and emerald green - I kid you not) and in the past week we've had not one but 2 baby red belly black snakes in our yard (poisonous). I got woken by kookaburras laughing this morning too. Does that sound exotic?

I can relate to your slump after the book came out. Writing is such a lonely profession and the highs, while marvellous, aren't around as often as the need to sit down and just write with no fanfare or applause. But it is worth it, don't you think?

Minna said...

Hmm. Well, we have over 200 years old wood church and an old granary (built after the famine), which is now a local museum.

Kuorosota 2010// Joensuu - Pohjois-Karjala
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcUC9J1DYGA&feature=related

Anna Campbell said...

Ah, Miss Christine, thank you for standing up for the honour and sanity of Aussies everywhere! Although I'm not so sure about you, hon... Wasn't it a fun interview? I love it when Miranda comes to visit!

Anna Campbell said...

Kandy, I've always loved the sound of your farm. Although I must say my favorite bit, just from photo terms, is the wonderful old-fashioned roses you grow up there. I love the idea of kangaroos turning up for breakfast.

Anna Campbell said...

Jane, how lucky you are to have grown up in New York. I've visited twice and just loved it - imagine it would take a lifetime to see everything the city has to offer.

Anna Campbell said...

Annie, I remember Jenny Haddon who writes marvellous Mills and Boons as Sophie Weston describing lorikeets as flying pieces of stained glass. And that's such a great description. The colors really are psychedelic, aren't they?

Anna Campbell said...

Minna, of course Finland is exotic to us! I've got to say even the fact that you have such bitterly cold winters is exotic to me, not to mention the midnight sun. I was in Helsinki late spring one year and it really doesn't get dark, does it? Quite eerie for a girl from Queensland in Oz!

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Regency Revenge of the Nerds! Oh, I have to read that one, and all your books, Miranda!

I sometimes take for granted the amount of hot sunshine we get here in Australia. It's hardly worth buying a winter coat. Most of my family lives in the Northern Hemisphere and would become human popsicles if they walked around in T-shirts during winter.

Helen said...

Congrats Mariska have fun with him

Miranda and Anna what a post Ladies. Miranda I loved your first book and I am soo looking forward to reading this one and the start of a series YAY I love books that are part of a series.

I have lived in the suburbs of Sydney all of my life and it is a lovely place to grow up in our harbour is beautiful with the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge not that I have travelled a lot I have been on a cruise but they say it is one of the most beautiful harbours in the world.

And Annie has said we have lots of beautiful and noisy birds and the snakes (glad I wasn't there Annie).

Miranda huge congrats on the new release can't wait to read it.

Have Fun
Helen

Sharon Archer said...

Fab post, Anna and Miranda, and I love the pictures!

The rare book auction background for your books sounds fantastic, Miranda. I love reading about the research which Anna does for her stories and yours sounds just as interesting - I've just Googled The Roxburghe Club and will be off to read when I've posted here!

As for living somewhere that I take for granted... we live out of town on 5 acres near bush land. It's gloriously quiet and we have lots of native animals that visit, echidnas, koalas, kangaroos and birds. I love it always but I confess that it sometimes takes a visitor to make me appreciate anew how lucky I am to be here.

I will look forward to "meeting" your heroes from The Burgundy Club!

:)
Sharon

Elizabeth Lhuede said...

I've just discovered the Romance Bandits. What a tantalising blog - so interesting to hear about up and coming books. Thanks, Anna!

Miranda, congratulations on your second book. I look forward to reading it. And thanks for the story about what happened after the publication of the first. It reminds me of that story about the roman caesar (not sure which one) who paid a man to follow: whenever anyone complimented him, this fellow had to whisper in his ear, "You're only a man."

As for what we take for granted, I grew up on Pittwater, a beautiful stretch of water north of Sydney, the outlet of McCarr's creek which empties into Broken Bay. My brothers and I used to row a boat over to the national park across the water, hike and camp. We never really bothered to wonder about the rock carvings we found there, although on school excursions we were told of the Aborigines who used to live on that land prior to white settlement.

It was only years later, as an adult, that I learned that one of those carvings was among the first known pictures of the contact between white people and the local indigenous Australians: it was a rough-hewn sketch of a masted sailboat, thought to be Captain Phillip's boat when he first navigated those waters (in 1788?). The carving is still there, etched into a flat sandstone rock on the shores of the national park, lapped by the waves of passing motorboats, ignored by everyone but the odd bream or fairy penguin and, once in a while, a nostalgic visitor reliving her childhood, wondering where the time goes, realising a couple of hundred years wasn't that long ago.

Donna MacMeans said...

Miranda - Welcome back! The new release sounds fabulous and the cover is gorgeous! Can't wait to read about Regency bibliophiles.

Remarkable life -hmmm.. I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland which is richly imbued with American history. Washington DC was a common school field trip, as was Philadelphia and Williamsburg. I thought all schools took yearly trips to the sort of places we'd read about in the history books - then I moved to Ohio. I'm afraid most of Ohio's history was formed by Indians, so the few rare school trips my kids got to make were to Indian mounds. So sad. I've tried to make sure they got to see more significant places whenever we traveled back east to visit the relatives.

Sorry - I'm fairly unremarkable, unlike yourself and the fabulous Anna Campbell (grin).

denise said...

Congrats on the new release!! I grew up in the country. It seemed very boring back then, but know I appreciate the serenity. This book looks great.

Deb said...

Hi, Miranda and Anna. I enjoyed your post today.

There is a historic mansion in Cedar Rapids, Iowa called Brucemore. I'd always seen it sitting way back from the avenue when I was a kid and thought it was cool. BUT, not unitl my then-6-year-old daughter went there on a tour with my sister and she raved about the place did I realize how fabulous Brucemore really is. It took me to "see" it through the eyes and mouths of babes....At 10, my daughter still loves the mansion and we go every summer to tour the estate. Our goal is to go at Christmastime.

Iowa is very pretty, but I didn't come to appreciate it until I was older.

Your books sounds great, Miranda. I can't wait to read it.

Becke Davis said...

Thanks for the plug, Anna! I'm really excited that they published my short-short story at NPR's site. It's not a final yet, but it's a good sign!

I had the pleasure of meeting Miranda at National last year (along with all of you!!) and I'm very excited to read her new book!

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

Monday morning typos, sorry....
(until and book sounds....)

Miranda Neville said...

Mariska. Congrats on winning the GR. Choose my cover? [Cackles madly]. As my fellow author here will confirm, you’re lucky if you even *see* the cover before it’s finalized. The best you can hope is that the characters' hair color will be correct.

But seriously, Avon does a lovely job and I've been very lucky so far. For The Wild Marquis I heard the color scheme for the cover before I'd finished the book so I was able to get Juliana, my heroine, into a red dress for the last scene. The activity portrayed in fairly accurate but it should have been in a library!

Miranda Neville said...

Virginia: High Bridge sounds great and what a fascinating story. I'm going to google it later. Bridges can be so beautiful. I was living in NYC when they celebrated the centennial of the Brooklyn Bridge (one of my faves) so I am familiar with Roebling.

As a child we used to taken to see the Clifton Suspension Bridge, over the Avon gorge near Bristol. I always thought it was kind of boring (my siblings and I would be whining for ice cream) but now I've learned a little about how brilliant those engineers were I became less jaded.

Miranda Neville said...

Great to see you here, Becke, and congratulations on the story. Loved your Mary Stewart blog this week - one of my all time favorite authors.

Gannon Carr said...

Hi, Miranda! *applauding madly* LOL

Congrats on the release of your second book, which I'm so looking forward to reading! A naughty, naughty boy, huh? Sounds perfect! I enjoyed meeting you at the Bella's breakfast in DC and hope to see you this year in Nashville.

I grew up in Florida, about an hour away from Disney World. Not exactly exotic, but our relatives certainly thought we were lucky.

My husband was in the Navy for 21 years and we were lucky to have lived in some lovely places. Some of my favorites: Monterey, CA; Bahrain, and Naples, Italy. Now we live in the beautiful mountains of NC. Think about the scenery of Last of The Mohicans and you'll get the idea. :-)

Miranda Neville said...

Great to see you Christine and you may dial me, drunk or sober, anytime.

I love Antiques Roadshow too. The reactions always interest me. Not sure if I prefer the ones who are genuinely surprised and thrilled or (and I must have a sadistic streak) those who smile politely when clearly they thought their treasure was worth millions, and it isn't.

Australia is definitely high on the exotic meter for me. One of these days I'm going to come and bother you all down there.

Miranda Neville said...

Kandy: I'd love to see kangaroos. In Vermont where I now live we have huge flocks of wild turkeys that will come right up to the house as long as you don't open a door and scare them off. Because I didn't grow up with them I never find them boring.

Kudos on your debut and I look forward to meeting in Nashville

Lois said...

Hi -- and I sure can't wait for the book to come out, I so loved the first one! :) Hmm, hope that's not too much of a run on sentence. ;)

Well, have no real experience with anything that is mundane to me, but exotic sounding to others. . . I can never think of any real and legitmate questions other than what's your favorite season or chocolate or something. . . so will just say in a not very run on way, can't wait to read it! :)

Lois

Miranda Neville said...

Lucky you, Jane, growing up in NY - one of my favorite cities. I had a lovely visit there last month and took in both Mets, museum and opera. Are you nearby? Anyone else? I'm going to be reading at Lady Jane's Salon in Manhattan on April 5th and would love to see you there.

NY is like London, just full of amazing stuff. When I go home to visit my Dad will say "I'm so sorry there's nothing on." Nothing? Are you kidding? There may not be anything new but the old stuff is so great. And I never took a tourist trip on an open double decker bus until I went with my American daughter.

Kirsten said...

Hi Miranda! I'm thrilled Anna brought you back to the Lair -- we do like to keep an eye on you lovely Aussies. Never know what you'll do next! :-)

I'm pretty sure where I grew up (Buffalo NY) isn't remarkable or fascinating to anyone, but I did do some fun things as an outdoor adventure guide after college. Paddling around Yellowstone Lake, horsepacking in the Rockies, rock climbing in Baja. And a lot of it was pretty remarkable, I must say. But there was a lot of it that was just cold, or hungry, or boring, or lonely. That's part of the fun -- you have to be alert for magic. It isn't going to announce itself in advance. It's going to sneak up on you in the middle of something mundane. You'll be plodding along a trail, tired and wishing like hell you could be sitting in some air-conditioned restaurant eating an ice cream sundae, and then an elk will trumpet from a few feet away, or you look up and see some big-horned sheep on the cliff beside you.

Ah, some good memories for a monday morning! :-)

Can't wait to pick up your book -- thanks for coming to celebrate your launch with the Banditas!

Miranda Neville said...

Annie: Lorikeets (great word) and kookaburras (another great word) sound wonderful. I remember learning a song about kookaburras in elementary school. Poisonous snakes not so much, even with red bellies.

Yes writing is worth it. And I've met some wonderful people. I understand you are Ms. Campbell's CP and I bet she's a great one. And since her books are so terrific, you may as well take responsibility for part of her achievement.

Miranda Neville said...

Minna: I'd love to visit Finland. Unfortunately your link didn't work. I'm always interested in old buildings.

Sori said...

it is nice to discover a new to me author. Looks like good reading.

Miranda Neville said...

You are all whetting my appetite to visit Australia.

Vanessa - no winter coat is something I can relate to since I live in the frozen north (though we are having a very early spring at the moment)

Helen - I am so happy you enjoyed Never Resist Temptation. Look forward to hearing what you think of the new one. Sydney Harbour looks so beautiful and the opera house is spectacular. I'd like to visit inside too, since I'm a huge opera fan.

Miranda Neville said...

Sharon - isn't it fun when a snippet of information sets you off on a path to a whole new area of knowledge you'd never thought of before?

Echidnas! I have no idea what they are. Thank God for google

Miranda Neville said...

Elizabeth: Wonderful story about the carvings and how typical of kids not to think much of them.

On the whole, I'd rather I didn't have someone following me around and whispering "you're only a man." LOL. (Especially since I recently had a quarrel with my health insurance company. They refused to pay for my GYN exam on the grounds that I was male. This came as quite a surprise.)

Miranda Neville said...

Thank you, Donna. I love Baltimore. The Peabody Library is absolutely spectacular. http://www.peabodyevents.library.jhu.edu/photogallery.html

Indian mounds sound pretty interesting to me, though I'm not sure I would have enjoyed them as a child.

Miranda Neville said...

Denise: Thanks for stopping by. I also appreciate serenity (as long as I can break out occasionally)

Miranda Neville said...

I've never been to Iowa, Deb. Must add Brucemore to the list. I'm learning about some fabulous places today.

Miranda Neville said...

Always a pleasure to see you, Gannon, virtually or in person. That was a fun breakfast.

You join the Navy to see the world! Haven't been to Bahrain but Monterey and Naples are both spectacular. Does DDL come with the scenery in NC? If so, I'm visiting?

Miranda Neville said...

Thank you Lois! My favorite season is spring and my favorite chocolates are Leonidas white truffles. (Not sure that was really a question but thought I might as well answer )

MsHellion said...

Miranda!! You're hitting all the COOL hotspots this week!! Great to see you! :)

What are the places or experiences that you take for granted, yet will seem exotic to others?

Apparently Branson.

I was on a cruise some years ago; and we were seated at dinner with a pair of guys from England (a cute couple) and my friend and I apparently hit every stereotype of Midwest American. I think we slightly disappointed them by not wearing a coonskin cap or walking around with a shotgun, but the fact that we ate beef every single night on that ship totally played into the stereotype for them.

We are from Columbia, MO, which is 2 hours from KC, and 2 hours from St. Louis, and at least 4 hours to Branson, assuming you even want to go there. So the Brits asked us where we lived, and we said, Missouri--and the one who looked a bit like Russell Brand lit up and said, "Have you been to Branson? How was it? Did you see Andy Williams?"

So we had to explain: 1) we lived far enough away from Branson that it wasn't just a jot, like going out for milk; 2) we didn't much care for Andy Williams (they couldn't understand this); and 3) Branson is where families and older folks go. (And we didn't qualify for either category, thanks.)

We take Branson for granted...and Andy Williams, but clearly our friends from the other side of the pond were thrilled by the exoticness of it all and were disappointed we were missing out on some of our best culture. As it were.

Gannon Carr said...

Miranda, alas, I've never seen Daniel Day Lewis running around here in buckskins. :-(

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Hello Miranda, can't wait for the Regency version of Revenge of the Nerds, I have a soft spot for the nerdy types :-D 00.
Where I live now there is a historical place called "The Mound" there isn't really a lot to see, it is a just as it says an Indian Burial Mound, right on the main drag in South Charleston, we have a grade school and all kinds of businesses named the same.

Dianna Love said...

Miranda -
I grew up in Florida, which was extremely boring to me but others found all that sun and sand entertaining. Of course, I didn't have to survive snow drifts in the winter or I might have had a better appreciation for it. ;)

I've never read your books so I'm thrilled Anna brought you to the lair. I love to read historicals and it sounds like yours has a nice mystery mixed in - all the better. Looking forward to reading your new wild adventure.

tazampi said...

Welcome back, Miranda! Congrats on the new release. It sounds fantastic.

I currently live about 15 minutes from historic Annapolis, Maryland. It is a beautiful old town on the Chesapeake Bay. It was founded in 1649 so for this country, it's pretty old, but rarely do I even think about now. So it's good to people watch and actually listen to the conversations that tourists have with each other. It reminds of what a great town Annapolis really is.

Nikki said...

What a great interview! I've been looking for a new author to get hooked on and Miranda you sound right up my alley! Looking forward to reading this series!

Though I'm in south Texas now, where things are generally dirt colored and cactus covered, I grew up in a small town nestled into a picturesque valley in West Virginia. With the Potomac River running right along the town, filled year round with noisy ducks the locals always take their little ones to feed, and gorgeous views of endless pines and oaks that cover the hillsides (the changing leaves in Autumn look like something right out of a painting,)there is a reason why they call West Virginia "Almost Heaven." And don't even get me started on the sunsets! :)

When I was in London a few years ago, I was doing some people watching on the tube and realized that this was their everyday while I could hardly keep from grinning and looking around like a crazy person. So I went home and looked at my hometown through the eyes of an outsider and have never taken it's simple, natural beauty for granted since!

Good luck with your series, Miranda! The lovely and talented Ms Campbell is a great person to have on your side! Cheers!

Miranda Neville said...

Kirsten: That is beautifully said. We should always look for the unexpected great moment. As for Buffalo? Isn't it the snow capital of the world? Snow can drive you mad when it gets in the way (driving!) but there's nothing lovelier, especially for those who live without it.

Miranda Neville said...

Sori: thanks for stopping by.

Ms Hellion: I believe Andy Williams was very popular in the UK (I remember thinking he was weird because he always sang with his eyes shut, not to mention being the antithesis of cool. I preferred Mick Jagger).

I think the reaction of those English guys to your beef guzzling was envy. The Brits love beef (roast beef and Yorkshire pudding was the national dish until officially replaced with Chicken Tikka Masala in the name of multiculturalism). But beef is really expensive there. When mad cow disease hit my parents (the world's least paranoid couple) were thrilled that the price of beef plummeted.

I'm so looking forward to visiting the pirates at Romance Writers Revenge on Wednesday. I have my parrot and my bottle of rum.

Miranda Neville said...

Dianna: I had so much fun writing my nerd book. It'll be out in October, but you can meet Sebastian in The Wild Marquis. I think you'll agree he needs work but he turned out fabulous! My favorite hero yet (but they always are).

Have you ever had the urge to dig into that Mound? Probably isn't encouraged but I bet there are some kids who have tried.

Miranda Neville said...

Dianna (Love): Sun and sand? Yawn. You poor baby. I don't know how you stand it.

Miranda Neville said...

Tazampi
Annapolis is definitely a place I'd like to visit. Got to admit that most of what I know about that area came from James Michener. I loved his book Chesapeake. Is the history accurate?

Minna said...

Unfortunately your link didn't work. I'm always interested in old buildings.

Just go to YouTube and put this text on the search engine and you should see this song:
Kuorosota 2010// Joensuu - Pohjois-Karjala

Kuorosota 2010 [2]// Kuopio - Paradise City
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DVsF6JFIJ0

But here's the picture of the church:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7197258@N04/2350182552

Nancy said...

Miranda, welcome back! Anna, thanks for having her and for this great interview. I love the bit about the castle and the photo with it. It's really a shame about the Civil War. There'd be so many more lovely castles around if not for that.

You've disillusioned me, though. I was really hoping for the fame, the people applauding when you walk into a room. All that. *sigh*

Seriously, though, I do think that when something earth-shaking happens in our lives, good or bad, other people going on about their business seems, well, odd. How can they not notice something that's so seismic for us?

This book sounds wonderful. I just dive right into stories about book people. You and our own Kate Carlisle are both doing book people but from very, very different angles! The imagination truly is a vast realm. :-)

Mariska, congrats on the rooster!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Miranda. Welcome back to the Lair. It's so good to have you visit us again.

I love the sound of your "naughty, naughty boy," Cain. And doesn't that name just underscore all his wickedness?

Thanks, Anna, for bringing Miranda back.

And yay! Mariska for capturing the chook. Aren't Miranda's covers absolutely lovely?

jo robertson said...

Hi, Becke, so good to have you back.

Virginia, High Bridge sounds gorgeous. It's hard to appreciate such beauty when you're young, isn't it.

I grew up in a little Virginia town called Hopewell. Although it's a little shabby now, it still has that oldfashioned Southern loveliness to it.

jo robertson said...

Jane, how great to have grown up in NYC. We visited there New Years 2009 and loved the hustle and bustle of the crowds, the restaurants, the hurried energy of the city.

Miranda Neville said...

Hi Nikki. Your West Virginia home sounds gorgeous. And I assure you South Texas seems very exotic to me.

Don't you love people watching in new places? I always check out what they are reading! My other favorite travel thing is visiting grocery stores. Even in different parts of the US you see different products. It's a real insight into how people live. Anyone up for a supermarket field trip in Nashville?

Miranda Neville said...

And Nikki, absolutely. Anna C. rules!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Good morning, ladies and welcome back to the Lair, Miranda! Great interview, Anna!

After reading about The Wild Marquis, I'll be making another trip to the bookstore, oh darn, since I just bought Kate's book this weekend!!

I'm not sure I've ever lived anywhere someone would think exotic, but when I visit my parent's homes in the Blue Ridge portion of Tennessee, it always feels beautiful and rare to me. All those hills, greenery, the mist rising over the mountains every morning, the rain hitting the copper roof late at night... sigh.

Miranda Neville said...

The church is amazing, Minna. I've never seen anything like it. Is the roof thatched? I love the pink bell tower.

Miranda Neville said...

Nancy: It is sad how much was destroyed in the Civil War (isn't that so of all wars?). On the other hand the ruin is still beautiful and a splendid 18th century mansion was built instead. If things weren't demolished and replaced we might never have got beyond mud huts. Thank of it as a real estate upgrade.

And don't give up. I'm still hoping for the applause and you should too.

Miranda Neville said...

Jo: It's such a treat to be back in the Lair. You are the most welcoming and entertaining group.

Emma Leigh said...

Miranda -- Looking for to reading The Wild Marquis. Great to see you moving around on different blogs.

Miranda Neville said...

You writers are too good at the lyrical descriptions. Now Suzanne has made me want to go to the Blue Ridge. Is is near Nashville? Have I just betrayed an embarrassing ignorance of geography?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Miranda, the Blue Ridge is probably closer to D.C. in driving time. My parents lived in a small town less than 20 miles from the North Carolina border, (that's by ground...according to Dad, "10 minutes as the crow flies".) I'd say it would be a good 5-6 hour drive from Nashville, but Trish could probably give a better estimate.

catslady said...

Oh I'm going with the compliments. Two books that I greatly enjoyed were Untouched by Anna and Never Resist Temptation by Miranda!!!!! I look forward to any books by both of you :)

Nancy said...

Miranda, a "real estate upgrade," huh? Nice phrase. *g* And as much as I like to visit castles, I really do prefer living in places with actual indoor plumbing and central heat/air.

And I'm not giving up except on the instant fame and applause thing. I'm too stubborn. :-)

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Minda and welcome back!

How lovely that you grew up in a folly. My Dad's house in the Dales had a couple of follies - one of which was the facade of a church, with nothing else behind it!

Having lived in both the US and the UK, I always get the pleasure of having a home on two continents. I have the awe of all that we saw and experienced in our time in the US (and in our trips back there) and the pride and awe that comes from living in Cambridge. I love the modern culture references of the US and the history of the UK.

But, in reality I think I take for granted the wonderful country of my birth. Being English, and under-stated *g*, it's easy to take England for granted. I was reminded of this recently as I walked through the grounds of King's College in Cambridge during the 800 year anniversary. 800 years! Unbelievable.

I also went to the National Portrait Gallery with my BFF and really appreicated the amazing history through the portraits there. I'm not an art gallery person normally, but to see the Tudors, for example, in their glory was awe-inspiring.

Anna Sugden said...

Sorry - that should have read Miranda - don't know why my keyboard did that to me!

Kirsten said...

Hmm... Something I have taken for granted for many years (but no more) is my family. The love and support of my parents and sister & my grandmother. We are real close and when Grandma died & as years went by I got to see or hear from others that the closeness was special and not everybody had that. That's not an exotic place but it was a unique "enviorment" to grow up on/in.

Your book sounds wonderful btw! And I would LOVE to read it.

Anna Campbell said...

Vanessa, English friends of mine came to visit in mid-winter in Sydney and wandered around in T-shirts. They loved it!

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, I used to live in Sydney and it was a wonderful town to have visitors in. There's so much to do and a lot of it doesn't cost that much money. The walk along the cliffs between Bondi and Cogee for example which always blows foreign visitors away (mind you, the wind tries to do that literally!) or a ferry ride on the harbour.

Anna Campbell said...

Sharon, I think we all get blase about where we live. You're right - fresh eyes really make us see it anew. So when ya coming to visit again, kiddo? I love your place - it's so quintessentially Aussie.

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Elizabeth, what an evocative post! You'll have to come back and see us again after that! I remember visiting you and just adoring where you live. All that wonderful water everywhere. And how amazing about the rock carvings.

Miranda Neville said...

Thanks for stopping, Emma (one of my NH chapter buddies and one to watch!)

Miranda Neville said...

Catslady: I can tell that you are a truly wonderful person with exquisite taste in literature.

Miranda Neville said...

Nancy: I am one hundred percent with you on the importance of plumbing. No chamber pots for me.

Blodeuedd said...

No way blogger just stole my post *tears off hair*
Sigh, ok where was I.
Finland...I guess all the snow, woods and lakes could be exotic to others.
We have a stone left of a castle where I love, the 500 year old ruin of the church survived better.

Btw that cover is wonderful

Miranda Neville said...

Anna S, my fellow Brit. It's great being cross cultural. If one country is great, two are better.

Cambridge is so lovely though I am better acquainted with the other place. King's College chapel, stunning, and since we're supposed to be talking about books, the library (designed by Wren IIRC) is brilliant.

I love the National Portrait Gallery. You are right about those marvelous Tudor portraits. The Washington portrait gallery is fascinating too. I visited when I was in DC last year and enjoyed the presidential portraits immensely. But I have to admit the clothes aren't as much fun. Don't you think Obama would look cool in doublet and hose?

Miranda Neville said...

Kirsten: I felt the same way when my mother died. Having been in a lingering state of adolescent rebellion as far as she was concerned for far too long, I realized how much I missed that unconditional support. A real lesson not to take anything for granted, even ones family.

Anna Campbell said...

Ooh, Donna, is that an extravagant compliment I noticed? Great! Laughed at the Ohio school trips. Where I grew up, our school trips were places like the abattoir. Bleuch!

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Denise! Thanks for swinging by. I'm sure your country would be very exotic to me!

Minna said...

No, the roof is not thatched. It's a shingle roof and they have to put some tar on it every once in a while. There are no thatched roofs around here.

Anna Campbell said...

Deb, Brucemore sounds great. I love old mansions and castles. You can imagine how green with envy I turned when Miranda described where she grew up. Having a real live castle in the backyard? That's amazingly cool!

Anna Campbell said...

Great story, Becke! You've got a real touch with these shorts. Hmm, somehow that sounds kinda lascivious. It's not meant to be!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Deb, we'll send Sven over to massage those typos out of you. Hmm, not much of a deterrent, methinks!

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Miranda and Anna,

First of all, shame on me for not having read your first book, Miranda! Although I do have it on my to-be-purchased list! I will be using the links to Amazon today to order them. They both sound great and the covers! They are so very astounding! And may I add, any friend of Ms. Anna is a friend of us all! (Did I gush enough!)

Pat Cochran

Anna Campbell said...

Miranda, I adore the Clifton Suspension bridge. It's so graceful, like a steel dancer across that spectacular gorge. There's a wonderful photo of Concorde coming home for the last time (it was built in Bristol as I'm sure you know) over the bridge. Fantastic shot! If anyone doesn't know the Clifton Bridge, it's one of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's works: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clifton_Suspension_Bridge

Hey, how cool to meet another bridge nut!

Anna Campbell said...

Gannon, you HAVE lived in some exotic places. I'd love to hear more about Bahrain. I've been to Naples - it IS spectacular, isn't it? The bay is just gorgeous.

Anna Campbell said...

Miranda, some of the most entertaining bits are when the owner argues with the expert. I remember a Chinese chest that was basically made yesterday. The owner had paid thousands of pounds for it because he thought it was ancient and he wouldn't be convinced that the chest was basically worthless. And you're welcome here any time!

Anna Campbell said...

Lois, so glad you enjoyed the interview. Isn't Miranda a fun guest? And the new book sounds absolutely fab!

Anna Campbell said...

Kirsten, you're such an outdoors girl! I'm so impressed. And Buffalo, NY, always sounds exotic to me, even just because you get so much snow. Snow is endlessly fascinating to a girl from subtropical Queensland!

Anna Campbell said...

Miranda, poor Annie suffers through a very rough version of my stories and struggles to help turn a sow's ear into a silk purse! Sometimes I'm surprised she talks to me afterwards, I've put her through such misery ;-) Thank you for the compliment, my dear!

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Sori! My TBR pile has climbed to the sky since I started hanging around with the Banditas!

Anna Campbell said...

Actually, Miranda, the inside of the opera house is really disappointing. They sacked Utzon (major scandal) before he could complete it so it's standard ugly brutalist 1970s concrete. Luckily you can always just look out the glass at the harbour but it's always struck me as a major opportunity missed. The acoustic is pretty foul too, unfortunately.

Anna Campbell said...

Miranda, how bizarre about your health insurance! Hope you sorted them out quick smart!

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Miranda! I just looked up those photos of the Peabody Library - which I'd never heard of before. It's absolutely spectacular. One of my favorite places in Washington was the Library of Congress that I visited for the first time last year. How beautiful is that?

Miranda Neville said...

Blodeuedd: Finland is exotic. Period. No question!

Anna Campbell said...

Hellion, nobody sings Moon River like Andy Williams! Snort! I had no idea about the Branson connection. Oh, let's be honest, I had no idea Branson even existed until you posted your comment ;-) And a girl who eats steak every day will never be anaemic ;-) Good for you! Anyway, you're a red blooded pirate. What else should a RBP eat but BEEF???!!!

Miranda Neville said...

Oh Pat! You gushed plenty. I LOVE your comment.

Nancy said...

Anna and Miranda, my favorite Tudor portraits are, not surprisingly the ones of Elizabeth I. I'm struck by the contrast between the glowing young woman in the coronation portrait and the world-weary one in the portrait done just before her death. The biggest difference, I think, is in her eyes, the expressoin in them, not just the obvious differences from age.

I love the NPG.

Anna Campbell said...

Gannon, maybe he's swimming to Australia ;-)

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Miranda Neville said...

Have you ever had the urge to dig into that Mound? Probably isn't encouraged but I bet there are some kids who have tried.

I have had the urge but haven't heard any tales of younguns actually taking a shot at it. I was an adult when I moved here though so it was safe from me. As a child I was constantly digging in the dirt trying to find fossils and arrow heads.

Anna Campbell said...

Dianna, I think to me an Indian burial mound would be utterly fascinating! I agree about the revenge of the nerds book sounding great. I love a nerdy hero. Susan Elizabeth Phillips occasionally does a secondary romance with a nerd hero and they're always great.

Anna Campbell said...

Dianna, I think you'll love Miranda's book. Lovely to see you - it's always a pleasure! Actually where I live always looks very much like Florida. You know, lovely beaches and lots of ocean and lots of old people who have retired here. ;-) No alligators here though although they have extremely predatory crocodiles further north.

Anna Campbell said...

Tazampi, I grew up loving the Marguerite Henry books so I've always wanted to see Chesapeake Bay. Not to mention Nora Roberts's wonderful Chesepeake quartet. It always surprises me when I hear about towns established so long ago in the US - I tend to think you're a new country in terms of white settlement, the way Australia is.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Nikki, I think that counts as an extravagant compliment! Thank you! Actually when I visited Washington last year for RWA, I was lucky enough, courtesy of Jeanne Bandita, to drive down through the Shenandoah Valley to Monticello. Absolutely stunning scenery - the sort of America you imagine from books and movies, even down to the red barns. And it was summer and everything was breathtakingly green. I just loved it! Took me back to all the John Denver songs of my childhood!

Anna Campbell said...

Nancy, I knew you'd get a buzz out of the castle story. Oh, man, I'd love to walk out my back door and see a real, live castle! That to me is exotic!

Anna Campbell said...

Jo, I suspect the 'naughty, naughty boy' is going to make lots of friends! Readers really have a soft spot for the bad boy!

Anna Campbell said...

Jo, I think my image of little Southern towns is permanently affected by reading To Kill a Mockingbird!

Anna Campbell said...

Miranda, I find the television ads fascinating in each new country I visit. Love some of the US ones - and the English ones use that wonderful dry humour so well.

Anna Campbell said...

Suz, I'm really looking forward to visiting Nashville and hopefully seeing some of the surrounding countryside. It looks so beautiful! And completely exotic to a gal from Australia. Actually, this will make you laugh, a lot of California didn't look exotic at all. It's dry and big and covered in gum trees. I could have been driving down a million highways in Oz!

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Emma! Nice to meet you. Here, have a cabana boy...uh, I mean a margarita carried by a cabana boy. What's that? Oh, all right, have the cabana boy too!

Anna Campbell said...

Catslady, good choice about the compliments ;-) Thanks so much! And so glad you loved Miranda's debut! My only problem with it was that I was perpetually hungry when I read it!

Anna Campbell said...

Anna, I haven't been to the NPG for years. I remember thinking it was a really painless way to swallow 1,000 years of British history. I remember getting such a thrill when I saw that beautiful Augustus John sketch of Lawrence of Arabia. Such a glamorous picture! Because Australia is so new, I never forget the history when I'm in the UK. That's one of the reasons I adore visiting so much - I love that richness of layer after layer of the past.

Anna Campbell said...

Kirsten, what a lovely post! I think kids don't know enough about the world to really appreciate their family but I certainly learned to appreciate mine as I got older. Good luck in the draw!

Anna Campbell said...

Blodeuedd, wow, that sounds exotic to me! I loved Finland when I visited. It's very beautiful with all those wonderful forests and lakes. I particularly remember visiting Sibelius's house and having extreme house envy!

Anna Campbell said...

Pat, I think you deserve a gold star for all that gushing! In fact, we're going to start to call you Victoria Falls! Hmm, that actually sounds like quite a good pen name, makes note for later... Happy reading with Miranda's books!

Anna Campbell said...

Nancy, I love the portraits of Elizabeth too. There are some beauties in Hatfield House where she grew up. I love the detail on the clothes too. I actually have a couple of fridge magnets of those portraits - wonder what she'd make of that?

Miranda Neville said...

Victoria Falls, Anna? Is that going to be your porn name?

Anna Campbell said...

Snort, Miranda. No, that's Niagara!

Karyn Gerrard AKA~Drew said...

Hi Miranda and Anna!

First, can I say I love that book cover? Nothing like broad, muscular male back on full display! And he's a naughty boy to boot, perfect!

Yikes Exotic places. I grew up on the East Coast of Canada, I took it for granted, being surrounded by ocean, beaches everywhere, now that I am living in 'moose town', how I long for those beaches, the fresh salt air! WAH!

Miranda, I WILL be getting a book or two of yours, and Anna, you already know what I think of your books *bowing...not worthy!*
Cheers~

flchen1 said...

Wow, Miranda! Great to "see" you and to see your gorgeous new books!! I grew up in San Francisco, so the Golden Gate Bridge seems pretty mundane to me, but it was incredible to learn about how it was built and how they maintain it. And there's nothing like seeing it up close, in the light of the setting sun :)

Congrats on Wild Marquis and your blog tour!

Anna Campbell said...

Ooh, we've had a run on outrageous compliments! I love it. Thank you, Drew! Not worthy? Snort! It IS a gorgeous cover, isn't it? That red is so voluptuous!

Anna Campbell said...

Fedora, as I said earlier, I'm a bit of a bridge lover. And the Golden Gate is absolutely spectacular. And as you said, the story of how it was built is just amazing. It's scary when it wobbles in a high wind though. Eeek!

Miranda Neville said...

Karyn: I was so thrilled with the cover. I'm hitting Borders tomorrow to see how it looks on the shelf.

I've spent time in Nova Scotia. Wonderful ocean and not too crowded like most beaches.

Miranda Neville said...

We do have a bridge theme going here and you can't get more iconic than the Golden Gate. I love San Francisco.

Gannon Carr said...

Gannon, maybe he's swimming to Australia ;-)

Anna, all I can think about is the scene where he's telling Cora, "You stay alive. I will find you." He's coming to find YOU, Anna! *vbg*

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Gannon, be still my beating heart! I ADORE that scene. And the kiss - really like the kiss! ;-)

Miranda Neville said...

OK, Anna and Gannon. Break it up.

Actually it's been too long since I saw LOTM. I've just added it to my Netflix queue.

Kim in Hawaii said...

Thank you, Anna, for hosting Miranda!

Miranda, great photo! It reminds me of Cathy Maxwell’s book singing two years ago at Andrews AFB (outside DC). Cathy’s large banner with a bosomy heroine and a big bed did turn heads. But a few retirees picked up the book and read Cathy’s bio. The retirees commented on her smile and replied, “You must enjoy what you do, so I’ll buy the book.” Cathy hasn’t stopped smiling since then.

No doubt you are smiling over the advance buzz for the Burgundy Club and The Wild Marquis.

To answer your question, “What are the places or experiences that you take for granted, yet will seem exotic to others?” I am prepared to dodge the snowballs that I expect to be lobbed across the Pacific when I answer this question with “Hawaii.” We moved from Baltimore last August and I am thankful for the warm weather, beautiful beaches, and majestic mountains. I grew up in Miami, so moving to a remote island was not my first choice. But I am enjoying Hawaii’s bounty and sharing it with other readers.

Looking forward to meeting you and Anna at RWA/Nashville.

Anna Campbell said...

Kim, I've always wanted to visit Hawaii. I'm hoping one day they have an RWA there. A friend of mine from here goes every year. It definitely sounds exotic to me - mind you, I live near ocean and beaches so it mightn't be THAT exotic when I actually get there. Yeah, there's something naughty about Miranda's smile in that photo, isn't there?

Miranda Neville said...

hi Kim!!!
I so want to be in Hawaii. Whine whine.
That picture was taken by my daughter in Borders the day my first book appeared. I was pretty darn happy. That's a great story about Cathy Maxwell and I will happily emulate her anytime.

Miranda Neville said...

Good night, dear banditas, and thank you for a wonderful day. It's always a pleasure. Anna will publish the winner later!

Lady_Graeye said...

Hi Miranda!
You are a new author I haven't read yet!. Congrats on our new release. If you could be born in a different time and place, when and where would it be?

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Lady Graeye! Thanks for swinging by. Glad you enjoyed the interview!

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, everyone, for a great day in the lair. Thanks, Miranda, for being a great guest. Don't forget to check back to see who won the signed copy of THE WILD MARQUIS!

Miranda Neville said...

Lady Graeye - you caught me still up and I'm glad you did. That is a great question. The real answer is none: I'm far too fond of good plumbing, modern medicine and labor saving appliances. I'm not nearly fond enough of horses to want to live in the pre-motor age.

That said, I'm really very fond of my Regency England. Certainly I wouldn't want to go back further than the 18th century. I like post-Enlightenment attitudes (no religious wars) and I wouldn't mind if it were England or France.