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 My hero, the Marquis of Chase, started as a minor character in an unpublished manuscript.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!


Barbara Monajem said...

What an entertaining excerpt. (I love little tidbits like this one.) I thoroughly enjoyed Never Resist Temptation (although it made me hungry!) and look forward to reading The Wild Marquis, too.

Gillian Layne said...

I enjoyed Never Resist Temptation as well, and The Wild Marquis sounds like a wonderful read.

Miranda, were you ever interested in writing anything other than Regency romance? What do you enjoy reading?

Sarah Tormey said...

My copy is on order! I hope to read it before your appearance at Lady Jane's on April 5th:)

Wishing you stellar sales,
Sarah Tormey

Miranda Neville said...

Hi Barbara. Nice to see you here. Usually it's on the Beau Monde loop. Glad the food in Never resist made you hungry (that was my evil plan...)

Miranda Neville said...

Good morning, Gillian. Thank you!

I've written a lot of non-fiction - mostly journalism - and I can truthfully say fiction is more fun. I like making stuff up. Gives me a sense of power

Apart from romance (mostly historical but also funny contemporaries and a few paranormals) I read the newspapers (when I can stand it), classic novels, history, cookbooks, some other popular genres and even the occasional new literary novel if it isn't too depressing.

Miranda Neville said...

I'm so glad you are coming to Lady Jane's, Sarah. I look forward to meeting you in person.

Nynke said...

Hi Miranda,

Regency Revenge of the Nerds sounds like a great idea! :) I'm looking forward to reading your work.

I wonder about the bookskin game scene. Waht was it like when it was still about a female friend and the heroine? Must have been very different!

Glynis Peters said...

Miranda and Emily, thank you. I enjoyed the interview and snippets of the book. A man who understands women, lovely. ;)

Colin Firth image is in my mind for one of the males in my wip. I do get distracted by him though. I keep going back to the swim in the lake scene in Pride and Prejudice. *sigh*

Jane L said...

Good Morning Ladies. Miranda, I loved, Never Resist Temptation!

Will you be attending the Rt convention in Columbus?

EmilyBryan said...

I like Colin too. Some actors just have a historical look about them. Got a fresh appreciation for Clive Owen after watching him in KING ARTHUR last night.

Anonymous said...

The excerpt from your book was a hoot.

Your interview was great, Emily.

Miranda Neville said...

Nynke: When I wrote the conversation with a female friend, Juliana merely described the game she played with her guardian. There was definitely no breast touching in that scene!

Miranda Neville said...

Put me down in the Colin Firth fan column! Loved him in P&P of course. I also thought his romance with the Portuguese maid was the best part of Love Actually. It's hard to make me believe two people can fall in love when thy can't understand a word the other speaks, but Colin convinced me.

Emily: I haven't seen King Arthur. One for my Netflix queue

Miranda Neville said...

Jane: I'm going to RWA in Nashville but not RT this year. I've never been though I'd like to: next year perhaps. I''m really behind on my next book so I need to stay home and buckle down.

Glynis Peters said...

Clive Owen...good taste Emily! I liked him in Elizabeth The Golden Age, when he played Sir Walter Raleigh.

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks for letting me know you are the "anonymous" poster, Sandy.

Miranda, I'm sure she'll want to be included in the drawing for your book!

Question: Where did you turn for research into a young man being raised, for lack of a better word, by working girls?

Lady Lauren said...

The books sounds like so much fun! I really love men who love women :D lol... we are very wonderful creatures, after all! :D

To answer Emily's question, I'm working on a story right now... sort of futuristic, set in Edinburgh... I've cast one of the main male characters as James McAvoy... he is so absolutely dreamy!

Regencyresearcher said...

The concept of a series on the rare book trade is intriguing. The short synopsis of the Wild marquis is also interesting.
I wish you all success.

Miranda Neville said...

That's a good question, Emily. I have done some research into the seamier side of Regency life but for the most part I used my imagination for my hero's back story.

I had his "friends" provide him with information about pregnancy prevention and avoiding disease, for example. Both were a lot harder in the early nineteenth century than they are today, and all indications are that men didn't worry about them as much as they should, but for modern sensibilities (including my own!) I like to tackle these issues. Actually, there was a great deal of contraception back then, it just didn't work very well.

You are probably familiar with Harris's List of ladies of the night. Although it is basically advertising, reading between the lines you can pick up quite a lot about their lives.

Miranda Neville said...

Hi Lauren and Nancy.
Lauren: I like the sound of your futuristic Edinburgh book. I'm currently reading a time travel sci-fi book about rebuilding Coventry cathedral (weird but fascinating)

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a great read! I just read Pieces of Sky by Kaki Warner, was an awesome read! This book would make a great movie and it kept you on the edge of your seat. I think I would cast Sam Elliot as the hero is this book. I love his acting and he plays one good cowboy!


Nynke said...

Ooh, I love all these actors being cast as heroes. Colin Firth (lake scene, classic, sigh...), Clive Owen (yes! absolutely magnetic), Sam Elliot (most beautiful mustache ever, I don't care if he's twice my age), and James MacAvoy (soulful...). I once visualized a hero as Daniel Craig, too - works very well for soft-on-the-inside tough-guy heroes :).

EmilyBryan said...

As a musician, I'm very attuned to voices and Sam Eliott's is wonderful. Don't worry about him being too old, Nynke. Plenty of women are still willing bear Sean Connery's children!

Back to Miranda's hero and his working girl friends. Did you know that the composer Johannes Brahms was raised in a brothel? As a child, he played the piano when the gentlemen came each evening. I think about what a rough upbringing he must have had and then listen to his "How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings Fair." Here's a Youtube of the choir at Westminster Abbey singing it. The human spirit is so resilient.

Miranda Neville said...

I keep hearing about Kaki Warner. Must look into it!

I'm loving all the casting suggestions. These guys can star in any of my movies.

Emily, I so agree about it not mattering that they are getting on a bit. Some of the best voices ever, apart from Sean C., are Richard Burton and James Mason. They may be dead but I could still listen to them read the phone book.

How fascinating about Brahms. The link is beautiful, thank you. What amazes me about musicians is how their innate talent rises above the most horrible upbringing.

Deb said...

Hi, Miranda and Emily! I am looking forward to reading TWM.

I think I would cast a young (30ish-40ish) Tom Selleck as my hero's lead. Mainly because I always though he was nice looking with those dimples, eyes, and that smile and his fun laugh. Well....also because my DH looked like Tom S. when he was about that age, too!

Miranda Neville said...

Hi Deb
I think Tom Selleck is still cute. Who doesn't like dimples?

Mary Anne Landers said...

Thank you for the interview, Miranda and Emily.

A question for Miranda: In "The Burgundy Series", are you referring to the province in France or its most famous product?

Looking forward to reading your works and more of your posts!

Miranda Neville said...

Mary Anne: the answer is both and neither. The guys form The Burgundy Club to celebrate the sale of the Burgundy manuscript, named for the Duke of Burgundy. Who of course drew his title from the province. I think we may safely surmise that Burgundy wine is the Offical Beverage of the Burgundy Club.

Barb H said...

Great Interview, Emily and Miranda.

I definitely look forward to The Wild Marquis--and the October release, as well.

Yay on the list of luscious heros. Clive Owen, Colin Firth, yes. And another of my favorites: Richard Armitage, who played Sir Guy in the BBC (now cancelled) series, "Robin Hood." He also was the lead in the older "North and South" (the English one, not the American one.)


Jenny Brown said...


I'm another fan of the Marquis of Cain, but Jan Swafford's brilliant biography of Brahms thoroughly debunks the idea that Brahms was raised in poverty and forced to as a child to play in the brothel.

While Brahms probably did play the piano in such places in his teens, Swafford documents that his family wasn't poverty stricken and his situation was more like that of today's underage rock guitarist who plays in bars.

My fave YouTube Brahms video is
Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras

Now back to Miranda's charming hero!

Michelle Santiago said...

lol that was a cute excerpt! cain sounds like an awesome hero--i've never read a hero where he's best friends with women. juliana sounds interesting as well. thanks for the fun interview miranda and emily!

Miranda Neville said...

Hi Jenny: cute Avatar. How very disappointing to hear Brahms was respectable after all. It's so often true of our heroes.

Chelley: Thank you. I find a straight man who really *likes* women pretty irresistible

Chelsea B. said...

Great interview! I've heard great things about your book! Hmm. And I'm not sure *which* book exactly, but I would definitely cast Matthew Macfadyen in a Historical Romance! He did such a great job in Pride and Prejudice!

EmilyBryan said...

Well, dang, Jenny! Guess it's been a while since I studied music history at UNI. They've probably updated the curriculum to reflect current thought. For my money though, 13 is still a child.

But in defense of my alma mater, can they play basketball or what? Go Panthers!

librarypat said...

I love books written with a sense of humor. They don't have to be funny, wry wit is much better.
My copy of THE WILD MARQUIS arrived this past Saturday. It has moved to the top of my TBR pile. I collect old books, so I'm already liking it.
Best of luck with the release.

Beverly Sadler said...

Miranda I look forward to reading your novel. Now if I were to cast a movie I would likely cast Gerard Butler in the lead. He definetly has that manly grrrr quality!

Glynis Peters said...

Oh, how exciting thank you. I look forward to receiving it. How lucky am I? *smiling*

Glynis Peters said...

PS: Blogged about my prize :) I just had to share. LOL