GB: Hello, Anna, and I’m pleased to join you. About me: I am a lifelong, voracious romance reader who somewhere along the way picked up a law degree. I practice family law, but only after I spend a few hours every morning with my work in progress… and a few hours every night, and lots of hours over the weekends. I love to write, love to get wrapped up in my characters and their challenges.
The Virtuoso & Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish are your latest releases, can you tells us a little about them?
GB: I am the sixth out of seven children, and know that birth order counts for something. The hero of The Virtuoso is the Duke of Morelands’ youngest son, Lord Valentine. In a family of ten, Valentine has distinguished himself by becoming virtuosically competent at the piano. He doesn’t try to compete with his more academic, social, or military siblings, he instead spends his life making gorgeous music.
Alas for him, one prescription for a terrific romance is to torture the hero. As the book opens, Valentine is warned that he has to stop playing the piano, or a medical condition in his hand may worsen to the point where he can’t play ever again. He is mightily put out with life when this misery befalls him, and slinks off to the shires to lose himself in restoring a tumbledown estate. Fortunately for Lord Val, the estate comes complete with a pretty widow on the adjoining property….
And as for Lady Sophie, in Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish, (October 2011) all she wants is a few days of peace, quiet and solitude before she must join her boisterous family for the holidays, except she ends up caring for an orphaned baby, without having the first clue what infant care entails. Along comes the handsome and knowledgeable Vim Charpentier, who is only too happy to help Sophie look after the baby, provided he can demonstrate the necessary skills while lingering with Sophie under the mistletoe. Sophie’s brothers show up to complicate things, but of course, Sophie and Vim do get a happily ever after for Christmas.
What is your writing day like?
GB: An ideal writing day means getting up around 4:30 am and writing for a few hours, then shipping out to wrangle the day job. When I get home in the evening, I read over what I wrote that morning, or otherwise work on revisions. Bedtime is when I curl up with a keeper… A keeper book.
Another ideal writing day is sleeping in, then getting up and writing until my imaginative buffer is empty. Thereafter, I wander around on the web and call it research, work on revisions, or start another project because it is intergalactic law that the best time to start the next book is when the current one is balking and bucking and refusing to wrap itself up. I have no writing goals, no word counts, no schedules, no calendars. The time I’d take setting up all that is time I’d rather be writing, though everybody’s process is different.
When you’re not writing, what kind of books do you like to read?
GB: (With a decided predictability, she says….) Romance! There are so many, many talented authors writing these days: Jennifer Ashley, Mary Balogh, Carolyn Jewel, Meredith Duran, Julie Ann Long, JR Ward, Sophia Nash, Joanna Bourne, Loretta Chase and many others, all of whom I wish would write even faster. My all time best ever, no-lend, keeper author is Judith Ivory.
What are 3 things that are "must haves" for you when you sit down to write a book?
GB: A cup of hot jasmine green tea with cream and agave nectar (that’s three things), served in my favorite mug from the Victoria and Albert museum, and kept warm on my Balmoral Castle coaster.
I was absolutely charmed by The Heir and what really impressed me was how long Anna Seaton kept her "secret". Was that intentional or did it just play out that way?
GB: Thanks so much! The focus of a romance novel ought to be the romance. Because the start of the book must be devoted in significant part to introducing the characters, orchestrating the meet, getting chemistry going and so forth, the external conflict sometimes makes a later entry. It’s the pea under the romantic mattress, and as the book progress, it becomes a watermelon. That plot structure—a romance-heavy first half, and a complications-heavy second half—seems to work well for most of my characters.
Did you always plan to tell Windham Sisters stories or is that something that came about after being published?
GB: This is a fun question to answer. There I was about a year ago, quaking in my figurative boots because The Heir was about the hit the shelves when my editor, Deb Werksman at Sourcebooks, called and asked if I’d be interested in writing a Christmas book. I’d started a manuscript for Lady Maggie, the oldest sister, but having to really focus on Sophie’s story was what pulled me into the sororal aspect of the Windham family. I thought the brothers’ books were books of my heart—Westhaven being a lawyer, St. Just a horseman, and Valentine a musician—but I found the sisters’ books are even more authentic to me.
What inspired you/or inspires you most when writing these books?
GB: The Trite Police are going to come around and issue me a citation, but honestly, it’s all about the love. As Eloisa James said at the RWA National conference one year: Love heals the shame. It heals everything, in fact, and makes us new, and dear and brave and the best we can be.
Since becoming published what has been the most surprising thing?
GB: Interesting—fraught—question. I’ve been equally surprised by two things: How generous and kind the romance community is generally. Writing books is very different from lawyering, in a wonderful way. The other surprise though is the extent to which romance fiction also attracts an underbelly of petty, vicious, destructive behavior on the part of a puzzling minority. Even if a book is terribly flawed, criticizing the book is not—should never be—an excuse to attack the writer personally.
What type of research did you do for the book/series?
GB: I’ve read historical romance for forty years, and some authors—Georgette Heyer, for example—are so meticulous with their historical detail their books ought to qualify as reference material. I read as widely as I can in the period I’m writing in, and I pop over to the UK when time and tide permit.
If you can tell us, what is next up for you?
GB: I am endlessly grateful that Percival and Esther Windham raised such a large family, because there are many more Windham sibling books to come as well as spin offs and prequels. I’m also excited that Sourcebooks will be publishing a trilogy of Scottish Victorians for me starting in the summer of 2012.
by Grace Burrowes
In Stores November 2011
A genius with a terrible loss…
Gifted pianist Valentine Windham, youngest son of the Duke of Moreland, has little interest in his father’s obsession to see his sons married, and instead pours passion into his music. But when Val loses his music, he flees to the country, alone and tormented by what has been robbed from him.
A widow with a heartbreaking secret…
Grieving Ellen Markham has hidden herself away, looking for safety in solitude. Her curious new neighbor offers a kindred lonely soul whose desperation is matched only by his desire, but Ellen’s devastating secret could be the one thing that destroys them both.
Together they’ll find there’s no rescue from the past, but sometimes losing everything can help you find what you need most.
Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish
by Grace Burrowes
In Stores NOW!
A luminous holiday tale of romance, passion, and dreams come true from rising star Grace Burrowes, whose award-winning Regency romances are capturing hearts worldwide.
All she wants is peace and anonymity…
Lady Sophie Windham has maneuvered a few days to herself at the ducal mansion in London before she must join her family for Christmas in Kent. Suddenly trapped by a London snowstorm, she finds herself with an abandoned baby and only the assistance of a kind, handsome stranger standing between her and complete disaster.
But Sophie’s holiday is about to heat up…
With his estate in ruins, Vim Charpentier sees little to feel festive about this Christmas. His growing attraction for Sophie Windham is the only thing that warms his spirits—but when Sophie’s brothers whisk her away, Vim’s most painful holiday memories are reawakened.
It seems Sophie’s been keeping secrets, and now it will take much more than a mistletoe kiss to make her deepest wishes come true…
Where to Buy
Amazon: The Virtuoso | Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish
Barnes & Noble: The Virtuoso | Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish
The Book Depository: The Virtuoso | Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish
About the Author
Grace Burrowes is the pen name for a prolific and award-winning author of historical romances. The Heir, received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist, and was selected as a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year for 2010. Both The Heir and its follow-up, The Solider, are New York Times and USA Today bestsellers. She is a practicing attorney specializing in family law and lives in a restored log cabin in western Maryland without a TV, DVD or radio because she's too busy working on her next books. For more information, please visit http://www.graceburrowes.com/.
GIVEAWAY:Thanks to Sourcebooks I have (2) copies of The Virtuoso to giveaway. To enter leave a comment along with your email address. Open to U.S. & Canada. The winners will be announced on November 19th. Good Luck!