Current Read: Your Roots Are Showing by Elise Chidley
I'm so excited to welcome todays' featured author, Julianne MacLean! I recently read The Mistress Diaries and loved it. Now I have almost all of Julianne's other titles waiting at the top of my To-Be-Read pile.
Hi, Julianne, and welcome! Your most recent book, When A Stranger Loves Me, was released in February. Tell us about it.
Hi Tiffany - When a Stranger Loves Me is about a scandal-ridden aristocratic lady who's been living in exile on an English Channel Island, when a man washes up onto the beach, naked and gravely wounded. He has no memory of his life or how he got there, so he must be cared for until the family can decide what to do with him. In the meantime, Chelsea decides to use him for her own secret purposes, but I won't tell you what they are because I wouldn't want to spoil the story :).
I can't wait to read this one! When A Stranger Loves Me is the third installment in your Pembroke Palace series, tell us more about it.
The series takes place at Pembroke Palace, where the Duke of Pembroke is going a little mad, and has insisted that all four of his sons marry before Christmas, or be disinherited. The first book, In My Wildest Fantasies, is about Devon Sinclair, the eldest son, who marries a woman who had been fantasizing about him since she was a girl and wants true love with her fantasy hero. But their reality is a far cry from her fantasy life, and she discovers she has married a man who is very different from the one she imagined.
The second book is The Mistress Diaries, and it's about Lord Vincent, the second son who is a true rake, scoundrel, and libertine. He idly takes a fiancee for the mere purpose of securing his inheritance, but within a week, a former lover delivers a baby to the doorstep, demanding that he take responsibility. He agrees to set her up in a house and provide for her and the child, with absolutely no intention of becoming emotionally involved. None whatsoever. Because he is a heartless, dissolute rake with no conscience. But sometimes, even a hardened man can be wooed and seduced when his soulmate comes along - which is not an easy thing to manage when he's engaged to another woman and his inheritance is at stake.
There is a fourth and final book which needs to be written, but I've just changed publishers, so there might be a little bit of a wait for that one. I'm determined to write it, however!
As I've said, I loved The Mistress Diaries. I can't wait to read In My Wildest Fantasies and When A Stranger Loves Me, and you know I'll be waiting with bated breath for the fourth! :0) You've written twelve books. Do you have a personal favorite? (I know, this is a horribly unfair question!)
Such a difficult question! I can't pin it down to just one, but I do have a soft spot for Love According to Lily. I also enjoyed writing and researching Surrender to a Scoundrel, because it takes place on the Isle of Wight during the sailing regattas in the Victorian period. It was nice to get out of the London drawing rooms for a while and explore a fresh setting.
I mentioned the RITAs the other day during another post...Surrender to a Scoundrel was a RITA Finalist. ;0)
You started out writing western romance then switched to 19th century historicals. Why?
I had always wanted to write about American heiresses searching for titled husbands in England, even before I sold my first western. At the time, however, I was told that Victorian set romances were a tough sell, so I set that aside and wrote something more marketable. (Not that I didn't love the Western settings as well. I grew up on the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and even named my daughter after her, so those early prairie set books I wrote are near and dear to my heart.) But when the Victorian period opened up for British set books, I knew right away that I had to write about the American heiresses.
I know you're on a bit of a hiatus for the next few weeks, but what's next from Julianne MacLean?
I just turned in my first Scottish Historical called Captured by the Highlander, which has been a tremendous writing experience. Again, it was nice to get out of the London ballrooms, and this time write about a rugged and dangerous hero, who is not quite as polite as my usual English gentlemen who follow the rules of high society. This hero carries an axe instead of a fashionable walking stick. And he's much dirtier :). I'm starting the sequel now. I don't have release dates yet, but I'll post them on my website as soon as I know.
Oooh, I love Scottish heroes! What do you know now that you wish you'd have known when you first started writing?
That's such an interesting question. To be honest, I'm glad I didn't know everything - especially how long it was going to take or how tough it would be to sell. In some situations, ignorance is bliss, and if someone had told me it would take me six years to sell my first book, it might have taken some of the wind out of my sails. It's important to always be hopeful every time you send out a project, because that's what keeps you from giving up. I'm so glad I didn't give up after the first few rejections. And I'm glad I didn't know how many there were going to be. You just have to believe, despite the seemingly insurmountable odds, and keep at it, because that's how you learn.
What are some of the things you've found most surprising about your characters?
My characters surprise me every day, sometimes in just a single line of dialogue. I think as a writer of romance, it's important to take risks and to not always play it safe. In that way, I let my characters say or do things that a reader might find shocking, because it might not be very nice. Bring on the flawed characters! That's my mantra. They are so much more interesting and unpredictable.
I agree completely! Who are your favorite authors/books?
In romance, I love Lisa Kleypas, Jo Beverley, Liz Carlysle, Laura Lee Guhrke, Mary Balogh, Lorraine Heath. Outside of romance, I enjoy Jodi Picoult, and I'm reading the Josephine B. Trilogy now, by Sandra Gulland, which I'm really enjoying.
What do you like to do when you aren't writing?
Watch movies, read books, and spend time with family. My daughter plays basketball, so we're into the sport. We go to all kinds of games. I also like to run.
If you could have tea with someone from the past, real or fiction, who would it be and why?
Jane Austen, so we could talk about the writer's soul, and I could tell her how incredibly famous and beloved she would be in the future - beyond her wildest imaginings, I'm sure. And maybe King Charles II, so I could tell him that one day, a descendent of his would sit on the throne again - because he died without a legitimate heir and believed that was the end of his bloodline. (Prince William will be the first monarch directly descended from him, through one of his mistresses.)
Thank you so much for being here today, Julianne!
Julianne will be checking in periodically to answer questions and comments so let the chit-chat begin!