by Anna Campbell
It is with immense pleasure that I bring back a lair favorite, the fabulous Miranda Neville, who is here today to talk to us about her wonderful new historical romance just out from Avon THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT.
I adored THE WILD MARQUIS, the first book in her Burgundy Club series about a series of aristocratic book collectors in Regency London. And Miranda had me at hello when she told me that this book featured a nerd as the hero. I love it when nerds discover their inner Tarzan!
Here's the blurb for THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT:
She is determined to find a husband ... now!
Diana Fanshawe's impeccable bloodline doesn't stop society from laughing at the antics of her eccentric family. She knows the right marriage is her one chance to make her way in the world--which is precisely why she will Marry Lord Blakeney. But then she's kissed by the brilliant ansd unconventional Sebastian Iverley, and her well-laid plans tumble into disarray.
Sebastian wants absolutely nothing to do with love or marriage. He likes his books, his male friends in the Burgundy Club, and he avoids women. But when he arrives at his hated cousin Blakeney's house party, he's smitten by the tantalizing Diana.
Should the lady follow her heart and try to win Iverley's, though it seems hardened against her–or should she sacrifice love for respectability?
Sounds delicious, doesn't it? You can read an excerpt here.
By the way, I take no responsibility for the very disrespectful attitude taken to some great works of Western art in this blog. Although I must say I snorted a cup of tea all over my keyboard when Miranda sent me the illustrations for her visit!
Anyway, without more ado, HEEEEEERRRREEEEE'SSSS MIRANDA!!!!
MIRANDA: Hello, my dear Ms. Campbell and all you wonderful Banditas. I love partying with you guys because you are, quite simply the best. (Yes, I say that to all the blogs but I really really mean it this time). Thank you for letting me ramble.
HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTESS (UM, THAT WOULD BE ME!): Ramble away, my dear, especially if compliments are involved. Here, have a cabana boy. Make sure that when you lift him by the love handles, you raise your pinky. We're very refined here!
MIRANDA: The first time I read a blurb for Anna’s MY RECKLESS SURRENDER (damn good book – read it if you haven’t, or read it again) (HWTM: Why thank you, my dear!) I nearly fell off my chair. Now Anna and I do from time to time exchange emails, but on such important topics as the weather, classical music and what we are cooking for dinner. If we should mention our Works In Progress the conversation tends to include vocabulary unsuitable for a family audience on the subject of Work, Progress and lack thereof. We don’t get into details like our characters’ names. So imagine my shock when I read about Diana and Tarquin. I was just winding up a book with a heroine named Diana and about to start one with a Tarquin hero.
Coincidence or some sinister Aussie plot? I’ll let you be the judge. (Sinister Aussie going BWAHAHAHA here!)
Diana at least is a normal kind of name, but I don’t recall another Tarquin. My Tarquin has been with me a long time. He was the hero’s best friend in my first manuscript. When that book didn’t sell, I transferred Tarquin, whom I loved, over to a new series.
HWTM: Actually I've worked out I got Tarquin from Laurence Olivier's son - my mum had a lifelong crush on Sir Larry. I had thought he was an Etruscan King, Tarquinius Superbus, but it turns out TS was the last king of Rome. Oh, well, still like the name although in Australia, he'd be beaten up in the playground.
M: Have you noticed how sometimes there seems to be a trend for a certain name? Suddenly it will crop up in half a dozen books and you can bet the farm the writers didn’t get together and say “I know, let’s all name our heroine Joanna this year.” That first MS of mine had a hero named Marcus and I swear I couldn’t find a book that year without a Marcus. It must have been something in the air.
The hero of THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT is Sebastian. Now there have been many, many great Sebastians. Off the top of my head I’m thinking of LORD OF SCOUNDRELS by Loretta Chase, Verlaine in Patricia Gaffney’s TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, St. Vincent in Lisa Kleypas’s THE DEVIL IN WINTER, the sinister Bastien in Anne Stuart’s BLACK ICE and Julia Quinn’s adorable Sebastian Gray in TEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT YOU.
HWTM: Not to mention the wonderful Sebastian, the hero of Christine Wells's Golden Heart winning debut SCANDAL'S DAUGHTER.
M: My Sebastian is absolutely nothing like any of these. Frankly, he’s a nerd. He collects books, dresses badly and has no social graces. He wears glasses and he hates women --will have nothing to do with them. And I mean nothing.
HWTM: Yup, had me at hello!
M: But Sebastian takes one look at Diana (actually her leg, revealed as she adjusts her stirrup) and falls hard. In love for the first time, he gets a rude awakening when he learns she’s using him to attract his detestable cousin. To get revenge and make her fall for him, he gets an extreme makeover with the help of his friends Cain (from The WILD MARQUIS) and Tarquin (remember him?).
I must say my Sebastian cleaned up beautifully and though he has a few lessons to learn along the way (don’t they all?) he ends up an all round adorable hottie. Diana, who as a widow is the experienced one in this relationship, is charming, chic, light-hearted and determined to marry a duke. However she’s not as sophisticated as she thinks she is and she and Sebastian manage to get themselves into quite a muddle.
The naming of Diana is a story in itself. Originally she was named Marianne, after my eldest sister. Trouble is, she is nothing like my sister and as I wrote it started to bother me. I scribbled a list names on a yellow pad and Diana stuck. Her younger sister had been named Arabella but I decided to go with the goddess theme and changed her to Minerva. After I finished the book, I reread Jenny Crusie’s Bet Me, one of my favorite books. Good Lord. Min and Di. I’d never once thought of it. Had I been channeling Crusie? I shrugged and decided there are far worse people to channel.
HWTM: My Diana was originally Antonia but the hero was Ashcroft so we started to look like an ad for AAA Insurance. My next heroine is Antonia - another name I've always liked. Naming characters is one of the fun bits of writing.
M: I must admit there are names I’m not so fond off. Personally I have a hard time with heroes named Jeremy or Nigel. I think they are wimp names. Not that I haven’t enjoyed books with those names but I’d never choose them myself.
HWTM: I rather like Jeremy - I like J names! Julian, Justin, etc. Nigel, nah. Ian's the one I can't cope with! So Miranda, do you have a question for our Bandits and Buddies?
M: Can you think of any hero and/or heroine names that seem to come up a lot? Do you have any favorites or least favorites? And why?
Fascinating topic, Miranda! Get commenting, people. Miranda is offering not one, but TWO PRIZES, one each to a commenter! A signed copy of THE WILD MARQUIS (great read - I told you that already!) and THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT. Good luck!