When did you first start reading romance?
I was an avid Jill’s Pony Club reader until I was probably 13 years old and then one day my mother said that I should broaden my mind and thrust a Mills and Boons into my hands. I can remember the dark Greek hero was really mean – until the end of course when he melted at the heroine’s feet. And I thought it was the most wonderful book I had ever read. My sister who is four years older, said if you think that’s awesome try this, and she handed my ‘These Old Shades’ by Georgette Heyer, and I never really looked back from there.
Who are your favorite romance writers and their book that stands out the most for you?
That’s is a really tough question because I have so may favourites and I think your tastes change over the years, but if you were to look at the favourites section on my book shelf first off would be
I love Julia Quinn and the Bridgerton Series, especially ‘Romancing Mr Bridgerton’, she has the ability to make me laugh from the first page.
Eloisa James and ‘This Duchess of Mine’ from the Desperate Duchesses series, her characters are so colourful.
Lisa Kleypas brings the page to life in every book and my favourite is ‘The Devil in Winter’ from the Wallflower series.
Amanda Quick has wonderful quirky characters and ‘Perfect Poison’ from the Arcane Society books was a great read.
Catherine Coulter and the ‘Wyndham Legacy’ is a book I’ve re-read many times.
I love contemporary as well and I’ve only just joined the ranks of Nora Roberts devoted fans in the past few years and now I can’t seem to get enough of her books. I thought ‘Angels Fall’ was outstanding, the dialogue was brilliant.
There are so many authors I’ve left out because I’d take at least five pages to put them all down however I’ll add Stephanie Laurens and ‘Devil’s Bride’ and Anne Gracie ‘The Perfect Rake’, to the list because they’re both a great read too!
What’s unique about historical romance and why did you decide to write under this sub-genre?
[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]Just imagine walking into one of those ballrooms in Regency London, the feast of color and noise, the dancing! I’ve imagined myself there many times.[/pullquote]I’ve always felt there’s something a bit special about writing about a time that I or my parents were never part of – you’re really only limited by your imagination. Yes we have plenty of research tools at our fingertips but writing historicals gives me more licence to create than if I was writing contemporary. I love imagining life back then, describing what they wore or saw.
When it comes to research and the setting of your books, do you weave your story from history about something particular that interests you, or think of a story and then insert it into history?
Probably more the latter, I usually just get the urge to write something and then slot it in somewhere. I’m what they call a pantser, I get an idea and write, no plotting involved. As to the actual events, if they happen to crop up in my story I make sure that I have everything factually correct. If I do need research I usually put all that in on the second draft however.
How do you like your heroes and heroines to be?
I like them to have a backbone, especially the heroine; and they need a few flaws, nothing to severe that you can see from the start, but they’re there tucked deep inside and it takes the hero or heroine to discover them. It’s important for both that the other steps up in a time of crisis also, being able to rely on each other is big in my book and that strengthens the bonds between them. Humor is also something I like in my hero and heroine, if they can have a laugh at themselves and give me a chuckle at the same time I’m happy.
What’s your favorite scene or moment from The Reluctant Countess, and why? Can you describe it (or provide a short excerpt) for us without giving too much away?
Actually the opening scene is one of my favourites; Patrick the hero is watching Sophie the heroine enter the ballroom, his friend Lord Sumner is with him, doing his best to annoy and tease Patrick until he gets a reaction. To me, the realization that the aloof and austere Patrick has such a funny charming friend makes you wonder if he’s really such an arrogant bastard after all. Here’s a short excerpt for you to enjoy:
“If only she had a small imperfection.”
“What?” Patrick, Earl of Coulter, tore his eyes from the top of the stairs to glare at his friend.
“The countess.” Lord Sumner swept his hand in an arc that encompassed most of the assembled guests. “I was saying that some sort of imperfection would detract from her goddesslike beauty. Perhaps a lisp? Alas, no,” he added seconds later. “A lisp would merely make her sweet and beautiful.”
“Idiot,” the earl muttered, propping one shoulder against the silk-covered wall. His gaze returned to where the countess now stood. Poised on the top step of the Duke of Rookvale’s ballroom, she appeared motionless; only her eyes moved as they passed over the guests milling below.
“Perhaps a mole with several long dark hairs,” Lord Sumner mused, “on the end of her little nose?”
Patrick watched the countess descend. Tonight her raven locks were piled high and clasped with a single diamond pin; several long curls had been artfully teased to lie on one slender shoulder. Created to torment, her dress was cut low in the bodice, allowing a glimpse of the lush curves that lay beneath, and with every step she took the skirts caressed her legs in a swirl of emerald satin. Patrick dreamt about those legs—naked and wrapped around his body. Even from a distance, his muscles clenched at the thought of her lying beneath him, skin gleaming, lips red from his kisses. Bloody woman. From the first glance, she had taken up residence in his head, and he wanted her out. Patrick didn’t obsess over women—he took what he wanted when he wanted it. Usually his affairs were brief yet satisfactory for both parties and he was always the one in control. The countess, however, was another matter. Something about her reached out to him and he wanted her with a desperation no other had made him feel. Yet he would never act on that desperation because the countess was a fraud, and there was nothing Patrick hated more than people who set out to deliberately deceive others.
“Did you just growl, Coulter?”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” Patrick snapped, following the countess’s progress until she reached the bottom step. Once again she became motionless. It was as if she held her breath, yet those eyes moved in every direction, seeking, searching, but for what?
“To be her lady’s maid for just one day,” Lord Sumner sighed.
Please share with us five fun facts about The Reluctant Countess that readers would love to know!
1. Sophie has a secret passion for dolls that she tries desperately to hide from Patrick and anyone else who comes to close.
2. I couldn’t find a woman’s name that suited my heroine Sophie so I used my daughters (much to her horror).
3. Patrick sees Sophie’s knickers one day in the park when she is doing a handstand to impress her young brother and of course he never lets her forget it.
4. As an only child Patrick spent a lot of time with his servants, all of which he had nicknames for. Pitt the Pillar of Plentiful was his housekeeper and Grouchy Gumbrill is his cook.
5. Bidders is Lord Sumner’s little hairy dog who has a fondness for chewing Patrick’s shoes and neckties.
What makes a romance novel a great love story and how would you define “romance”?
The dialogue has to catch me from the start, the interaction between the characters is paramount, they need to have that connection and it must build through the story until they can’t fight their attraction for each other any longer. Nothing better than seeing a strong person humbled by love!
Wow defining romance that’s a tough question. For me romance is that moment when you see two people and your toes start to tingle with awareness, that moment when you know utterly and totally they were meant for each other. It’s the look the groom gives his bride as she walks towards him, and usually I’m crying at this stage. I’m truly a hopeless romantic, I re-watch endless scenes in movies over and over again to try and work out what makes that moment special, alas it’s still a mystery to me.
Wendy Vella is a lover of all things romantic. She started reading her first Georgette Heyer book at a young age and instantly fell in love with the Regency era. Writing is something she has always found time for; she penned her first novel at eighteen though she says it will never make an appearance further than the closet in which it currently resides.
After having her two children Wendy then joined RWNZ and started honing her chosen craft by entering competitions with some success and attending conferences. Her Clendon and Readers Choice award-winning historical romance The Reluctant Countess will debut in Jan 14th 2013 with Random House in their Loveswept line.
She has an addiction to reading and loves a wide range of genres while her first love will always be historical. She relishes novels steeped in Romance and excitement with feisty heroines and delicious heroes, especially when they are set amongst the treacherous waters of London society.
Wendy is a sucker for a happy ending having secured her own. She has been married to her own dark brooding hero for 28 years and shares her home with two wonderful children, two dogs and anyone else who happens to be visiting at the time. Born and raised in a rural area in the North Island of New Zealand, Wendy loves the beaches and lush green rolling hills of her homeland and is proud to call herself a very patriotic Kiwi!
I’d love you to visit my website: http://www.wendyvella.com/
January 14th 2013 by Loveswept
From rising romance star Wendy Vella comes a Cinderella story of whirlwind passion between a dashing earl and a beautiful countess—and the secret that threatens to tear them apart.
Regal, poised, and elegant, Sophie, Countess of Monmouth, is everything that a highborn lady should be. But Sophie is hiding a past that is far from royal. When Patrick, Earl of Coulter, realizes that her story doesn’t add up, he resolves to find out the truth of what Sophie and her sister-in-law are concealing. Although Sophie has every reason to avoid him, the handsome and charismatic Patrick awakens something wicked deep within her soul . . . a powerful need that Sophie must stifle in order to protect her place in society.
Despite Sophie’s humble background, the raven-haired beauty has won Patrick’s heart. But what Sophie needs now is an ally. Viscount Myles Dumbly, the disgruntled former heir of Monmouth, is determined to expose Sophie as a fraud to recapture his lost inheritance. Soon Patrick is drawn into a fight for both their lives. Somehow he must find a way not only to rescue Sophie from poverty once and for all, but to keep her in his arms forever.
Read an excerpt
Ends Jan 20th
Random house is sponsoring this giveaway with a print book (US) & 3 Net Galley Preview copies (INT) of THE RELUCTANT COUNTESS! Leave a comment bellow to enter!