ago, Lord Sorin Latham fled England’s shores to avoid heartbreak and scandal in
the form of one Lady Eleanor Cramley. On returning home, he finds the young
miss he used to scold for lack of decorum is now a stunning woman who fires his
blood. But he must resist temptation or risk losing his honor as a gentleman
and the friendship of those he holds dear, including Eleanor.
Eleanor is determined to be the paragon of propriety Sorin urged her to become.
But now that he’s back, the man she once thought of as an older brother makes
her long to be anything but proper. She must make Sorin see her as worthy of
his heart and his desire without losing his good opinion, or her Season will
end in disgrace.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I live in Central Texas with my hero/husband of 20+ years and our beautiful daughter. I’m also privileged to serve one spoiled-rotten feline overlord. I adore chocolate and just about anything involving the words “salted caramel.”
What do you do when you are not writing?
I read, watch movies or television series, garden, make jewelry, and knit scarves. I also enjoy writing letters, as in actual ink on real paper. I design most of my own stationery, but also love using vintage paper, and my writing instrument of choice is a calligraphy dip pen. I’m also slightly obsessed with wax seals. On my ninth birthday, I received one as a gift and have been in love with them since. I’ve accumulated quite a collection and use them to seal all my personal correspondence.
Do you have a day job as well?
I write full time and LOVE it!
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
When my kindergarten teacher asked what we wanted to be when we grew up, I said, “I want to write stories like the ones my mom reads to me.” I wrote my first one when I was four: a five-sentence, illustrated-with-crayons story about a mouse who broke his leg. My mom still has it. In middle school and high school, I wrote poetry in both English and French, as well as lots of short stories.
As an adult, I didn’t start “seriously” writing until after I was married. Thinking myself the next J.R.R. Tolkien (ha!), I attempted to write a fantasy trilogy. After two years of frustration, I ended up shoving that idea right under the bed. It’s still there and is unlikely to ever see daylight. I began writing romance in 2009 when my daughter turned two, after telling my husband how much I missed writing. He said, “Why don’t you finish that trilogy you were working on? It was pretty good.”
The shock of learning he’d read it almost sent me to the ER. Upon recovering, however, I told him no way was I ever going to touch that monster again. That’s when he suggested I try writing romance… After checking to make sure he wasn’t an alien doppelganger, we talked, and he told me he thought I’d be really great at it (since I’d read so much of it). He was 100% supportive throughout my efforts, and two years later when I got an offer for a 3-book contract with the first release planned for late 2012, he told me he always knew I’d succeed. That’s just one of the many reasons I consider him my hero!
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I’ve loved historical romance since I discovered it at the age of fourteen. Why? It’s escapism at its finest, an entirely immersive experience with a guaranteed happy ending. As to the specific periods I chose for my settings, the Regency was always a favorite thanks to Jane Austen, but the early Georgian period also called to me after reading the histories of people like Madame de Pompadour and Giacomo Casanova. Fascinating people! The entire Georgian era is so richly documented that it makes it easy for my imagination to run wild in it.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I used to just “pants” it, but nowadays, I write a synopsis first. It helps to have a loose structure to build upon, a foundation that covers all the main points a good story should include to be emotionally satisfying. I’ve learned that it’s much easier to write when I know exactly where I’m heading.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I’ve always been an avid reader. My mom read aloud to me when I was really young from books like The Hobbit, Uncle Remus, and Frank Baum’s tales of Oz.
I got “normal” bedtime stories, too, but I always liked the BIG books best. She’d read a few chapters every night, doing all of the “voices” and singing all of the songs. She really made those stories come alive for me. Her “Sméagol” was absolutely chilling. I loved it. I learned how to read by following her finger as she read to me from the King James Bible and The Hobbit. As for later influences, I must credit the late, great Bertrice Small for having an enormous impact on my romance writing. She was my first with The Kadin. I was instantly addicted. After it, I devoured everything she wrote and then went on to Mary Jo Putney, Johanna Lindsey, and Jo Beverley, to name just a few.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
Yes! I’d have joined Romance Writers of America and my local RWA chapter before ever opening a blank document. I did things the hard way, however, and waited to join until after I’d finished writing my first romance manuscript. I ended up having to rewrite that story several times before it was fit to submit.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
Scandal of the Season is a “friends to lovers” story where passion runs deep beneath the surface for both the hero and heroine. For Sorin, it’s a matter of assuming Eleanor, his best friend’s young cousin who he’s known many years, could never feel the same way about him. Sorin has always been a sort of older brother to Ellie, but his affections became altered when she turned sixteen and chemistry suddenly became a factor. Being a morally upright man, it terrified him. Afraid to damage her innocence and lose his dearest friends, including her, he ran. But after a five-year absence, he’s back, and his predicament remains unchanged because she’s still unwed and the attraction is stronger than ever.
For Eleanor, her love for Sorin has been platonic for so long that it’s a shock when she starts seeing him differently through the eyes of another close friend. Conflicted and confused, she feels the man who so sternly lectured her on propriety, an honorable man who has always treated her like a little sister, would be mortified to learn of her inappropriate thoughts concerning him, as he deplores brazen women. Meanwhile, her guardian is trying to marry her off. When she comes to the realization that she doesn’t want anyone but Sorin, she’s got to find a way to make him see her as a woman grown and deserving of both his affection and his desire without losing his regard or causing a scandal that would taint them all.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I loved writing the part where Eleanor finally comes to understand her true feelings for Sorin.
It’s where the sparks really begin to fly between them. Writing that first adrenaline rush of a potent attraction is something I savor with each and every book.
What project are you working on now?
With me, it’s never just one. I recently finished writing a first draft and am working on wrapping up another now, both historical romances for proposed series. Once those have been polished and sent off, I’ve got another Regency romance to be revised. My agent also has a couple of other manuscripts out on submission. Then there are the “back burner” projects I work on whenever I hit a sticky spot in my primary. I don’t believe in writer’s block. If a manuscript starts getting uncooperative or I hit a slowdown, I put it aside and work on another so I don’t lose momentum. I’ve learned to trust my subconscious to work out the solution. And keeping busy keeps me happy!
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
As soon as possible, join a reputable writers’ association. Don’t wait! Join early, and then listen and learn as much as possible from its veteran authors.
There is nothing as valuable as the knowledge and experience of someone who has already been through the journey you’ve just begun. I’m where I am today because I had fabulous mentors who generously shared their expertise with me.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Both? It’s exciting, fun, and I get a lot of satisfaction from the creative process, but it’s also work, and it requires a lot of effort and energy. That’s why I think of writing as my dream job. Just like anyone else with an “office job,” I typically spend between 8 and 10 hours of every weekday (and occasionally some weekends) at my desk. Any person whose primary work tool is a computer can tell you how drained you can be at the end of a full workday staring at a screen and tapping away at a keyboard. So yes, it’s energizing, but at times it can also be quite exhausting.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
The enormous distraction that is social media! I can go online to post one quick update, and by some strange and, I’m convinced, altogether dark magic, the next time I check, an entire hour has passed. Nowadays when I really need to focus and achieve my word count goal, I don’t open social media until that goal is reached.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
There are so many! But the first to come to mind are my Austin RWA chapter mates. I’ve never met a more wonderful, supportive group of people. We encourage, mentor, and help each other whenever possible. Fairly often, a few of us will go on a writing “date” at a favorite restaurant or coffee house and write together for several hours. Not only does this keep me honest and (mostly) off social media when I’m supposed to be writing, but it’s heartening to know I’m not alone, that someone is down in the trenches with me. And I’ve learned a lot during those informal meet-ups. We’re very open and share the mistakes we’ve made as well as best practices.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I was blessed to get an enthusiastic editor who provided me with painstakingly detailed feedback, and I say that with genuine affection, because without her that first book would have been a total disaster. My second book was much easier to write (and edit) because of what she taught me. With every book published, I learn from the editing process and apply those lessons to my current writing. I continuously strive to hone and improve my craft. My philosophy is: the day I stop learning is the day I’m on the wrong side of the dirt.
the heart and the imagination, taking the reader out of the now and into
another world. Liana lives in Central Texas with her dashing husband/hero and
their beautiful daughter. She’s also privileged to serve one spoiled rotten
feline overlord. Liana has been devouring romances since she was fourteen and
is now thrilled to be writing them for fellow enthusiasts.