Monday, March 22, 2010
The Wild Marquis by Miranda Neville
*Prize alert!* Miranda has chosen Glynis to receive a copy of THE WILD MARQUIS. Please contact Miranda through her website with your mailing info. Thanks to all of you who left a comment or question.
Meet Miranda Neville. She and I became acquainted sitting near each other at the NEC Writers Conference book signing last year. She was friendly and funny and after I read her Never Resist Temptation (her debut title from Avon) I became an instant fan.
Miranda Neville has lived in the US for more years than she cares to reveal, but when writing she reverts to the accents of her native England. Her favorite activities are chatting, complaining, and procrastinating. Nevertheless she has managed to complete three books. The Wild Marquis was released this month, so I wanted to share it with you.
Emily: So tell us, Miranda, what inspired you to write this story?
Miranda: Inspiration comes from so many places. My hero, the Marquis of Chase, started as a minor character in an unpublished manuscript. He was one of those characters who quickly developed a life of his own so I knew he had to have a book of his own one day.
The background setting of the rare brook trade was inspired by my own career (now long over) as a rare book expert at Sotheby’s. The Regency was an important era in the history of book collecting but it was an aspect of Regency life I hadn’t seen covered in romance. (And believe me, they are hard to find!)
Putting my rakish hero and an apparently dry and respectable background together seemed a natural.
Emily: I love that sort of odd juxtaposition. What else will we love about your hero?
Miranda: Cain, as he is called, is charming, witty and sexy (in appearance I envision a younger Daniel Craig). What I love most about him is that he loves women. Not just to sleep with (though that too) but as people. His best friends are women and he really understands them. He is totally lacking in the male chauvinism that was normal for the time.
This sensitivity comes from his past: he was basically disowned by his father at the age of 16 and ended up robbed and beaten in a London gutter until rescued by some friendly prostitutes. Living for several years among “working” women he has genuine affection and respect for them.
Juliana, my heroine, is trying hard to maintain her late husband’s book shop but she’s not getting much respect from male collectors. When Cain needs a rare book expert she is delighted to find he has no problem working with a women.
Emily: Cain. The perfect name for an outcast and yum for resembling a young Daniel Craig! What was the most enjoyable scene to write?
Miranda: I think my favorite scene in the book takes place after Cain and Juliana make love for the first time. They are chatting in bed (a new concept for her: her late husband was a roll-off-and-snore man) and she tells him about a childhood game in which she learned how to identify the different kinds of leather used in bookbinding. In my first draft the conversation took place between Juliana and a woman friend. The friend was cut when her subplot disappeared, but I liked the exchange so I moved it. It worked much better with the hero, as you can tell from this excerpt:
“Let me try one,” he said. A pile of books tottered on the small table that filled the space between the bed and the wall. “What about that big one?”
He had to reach across her to get to the volume but stopped half way. He tugged the blankets down to expose one of her breasts.
“Smooth,” he murmured, stroking it with the tips of his fingers. The breast tingled happily. “Soft as silk.” He closed his eyes with a look of deep concentration. “Some kind of skin is my guess.”
“Idiot,” she said. “All leather is some kind of skin.”
To her regret he removed his hand and pulled up the cover again. “Thanks, Juliana, for spoiling that moment. Before I start associating breasts with old boots, hand over that book.”
Emily: LOL! I'm hooked! What was the hardest scene to write?
Miranda: The scene when Cain confronts his mother. Cain’s mother always supported his horrible father against her son. She was abused by her husband and clung to her believe in his goodness even after his death. Cain has to force her to do something, but he truly wishes for a reconciliation.
Emily: One of the things I really love about your characters is their complexity. So tell us what's coming next for you?
Miranda: The Wild Marquis is the first in the Burgundy series, featuring a group of book collectors. Next up is Sebastian Iverley. If Cain loves women, Sebastian hates them. Then he meets Diana Fanshawe and falls hard for her. When he learns she is trifling with him he swears revenge and gets an “extreme makeover.” The mild-mannered bookworm becomes The Dangerous Viscount. I think the book is a hoot, kind of Regency Revenge of the Nerds. And you only have to wait until October to read it.
Emily: Lovely! I'll watch for it. Maybe we can have you back then to give us a reminder.
Miranda: Thanks so much for inviting me, Emily. I have fond memories of chatting during the NEC conference book signing.
Emily: Me, too. Booksignings always make me feel a little like a zoo animal in a cage. (Maybe it's the people pointing and laughing.) Anyway, it was fun to spend the time with you.
Miranda is giving away a copy of The Wild Marquis to one lucky commenter, so please let us know you were here. You can leave a question for her or answer mine for you. Miranda mentioned Daniel Craig as her hero's look alike. If you could cast your favorite romance novel as a movie, who would be the hero?
Buy The Wild Marquis!