Thursday, July 18, 2013

Today I'm welcoming from across the pond USA Today bestselling author Nicola Cornick––"I’ve wanted to write a series set in Scotland in the Regency period for quite a while and I am so excited about The Lady and the Laird and the Scottish Brides series. The series is tagged as “Regency elegance meets highland passion” and that’s quite appropriate for the hero and heroine of this first book; he’s a wild highland laird and she is a very proper Duke’s daughter."




  • ISBN-13: 9780373777419
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 7/30/2013
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384





Overview
 An Indecent Proposal
Lady Lucy MacMorlan may have forsworn men and marriage, but that doesn't mean she won't agree to profit from writing love letters for her brother's friends-letters that become increasingly racy as her fame grows. That is, until she inadvertently ruins the betrothal of a notorious laird....

Praise for Nicola Cornick:
"Cornick gives the Regency historical a deliciously fresh twist." -Booklist on Whisper of Scandal
"A rising star of the Regency arena." -Publishers Weekly
"Nicola Cornick creates a glittering, sensual world of historical romance that I never want to leave." -Anna Campbell, author of Untouched
"Witty banter, lively action and sizzling passion." -Library Journal on The Undoing of a Lady

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Please welcome USA Today bestselling author Nicola Cornick!
Hi Nicola, welcome across the pond to The Reading Frenzy
Thank you! It’s a great pleasure to be here.

Tell us a bit about The Lady and the Laird.
I’ve wanted to write a series set in Scotland in the Regency period for quite a while and I am so excited about The Lady and the Laird and the Scottish Brides series. The series is tagged as “Regency elegance meets highland passion” and that’s quite appropriate for the hero and heroine of this first book; he’s a wild highland laird and she is a very proper Duke’s daughter.

Robert Methven has returned from Canada to claim his title and lands only to find that he is in danger of losing them if he cannot find a wife and heir in short order. The only woman who can help him is the one woman he cannot have, Lady Lucy MacMorlan who, after the death of her fiancé years before has sworn never to marry. Robert and Lucy had been childhood sweethearts but time and tragedy have intervened to change all of that. How they re-discover the tenderness they once had for one another and how Robert persuades Lucy to help him is, I hope, a poignant as well as a romantic and very sensual story!

Book 2, One Night with the Laird, is about Lucy’s sister Mairi and Robert’s wicked cousin Jack, and that is out later in the year. I’m working on Book 3 in the Scottish Brides series now.




You’ve had a quite an education, but what really caught my eye was what your Masters dissertation was about–“heroes and hero myths”
Can you give us the cliff notes edition of it?
I love history so much I don’t seem to be able to stop studying it! For my Masters degree I studied heritage and different ways to present history so that it is engaging to the public. One of the things that has always fascinated me is what we look for in our heroes, whether they are real live heroes or fictional creations. What qualities do we want in heroes? What characteristics do we admire? Why do we need hero legends? So I examined the myths around characters like Robin Hood and King Arthur and also looked at other historical heroes with a view to pinpointing those qualities they possessed or that people attributed to them. I studied Horatio Nelson in great depth. It was fascinating. Here was a man who was an inspiring leader, physically brave, cool under pressure, clever, resourceful and with loads of charisma. Yet he was also easily swayed by emotion and made some questionable decisions in his personal life. One of the things about him that I found particularly interesting though was that he was very active in promoting his own legend. We tend to think that celebrity is a modern phenomenon but Nelson was aware of how popular he was and did all he could to promote himself as a celebrity!



You’ve won a multitude of awards on both sides of the ocean.
Is there one that means more than the others?
Is there still one elusive one out there for you?
It’s always a great feeling to win any award or receive recognition from readers, reviewers and other authors. It’s something I value because it encourages me on those days when the writing simply isn’t coming together. 

The one elusive prize I would love to win is the RWA RITA because it is so prestigious. I’ve been shortlisted three times and I hope that one day a golden lady will be mine!




You write in the historical romance genre.
Could you ever see yourself either mixing genres or writing in another one?
I’d love to write a book that moves between several different time periods. I think that would be quite a challenge. I’d also like to try writing historical romance with paranormal elements.



What’s your favorite historical time period and why?
It’s pretty hard to choose! I love the medieval period. King Richard III is a lifelong hero of mine and I love the period of the Wars of the Roses. I’m lapping up the current BBC/Starz adaptation of The White Queen by Philippa Gregory! I think my all time favorite historical period is the English Civil Wars of the 17th century, though, because it was a time of such enormous turmoil and passionately-held belief. There is so much conflict and such powerful characters and strong forces in play.



Nicola besides being an author you work as a guide and historian for The National Trust at the Ashdown House.
What led to this “second life”?
I used to drive down the road from my house every day to work (in those days I was an administrator at a local college) and I would pass this gorgeous stately home built of white stone. When I resigned my job to work full time as an author I signed up to be a guide at Ashdown, to show people around and tell them a little bit about the history. We’re a small but dedicated team. There’s something about Ashdown’s story that completely grips me. The house was built by William Craven, a cavalier and a supporter of King Charles I in the English Civil War, who fell in love with the King’s sister and probably married her in secret. It’s impossibly romantic! I started to research the history of the house and the Craven family and the more I discovered the more hooked I became. From William Craven and his love for Elizabeth, the Winter Queen, to the Craven family in the Regency period and their connection to Jane Austen, Ashdown’s story is totally fascinating. One day I hope to write a non-fiction history book about it.



Nicola, you’re a pretty connected author, on Facebook, Twitter, and you blog.
Is everyone in the UK constantly checking their I-phones, I-pad etc… like they do over here?
And seeing that write about an unconnected era, how do you feel about that?
Oh, totally! We’re all addicted to technology! I find the contrast with the Regency period fascinating in terms of how quickly we can communicate now compared with how long it took to send a letter in the early 19th century. I think that they found some very clever ways to send messages; I love that the results of the National Lottery were sent out from London by carrier pigeon, for example!

I love being connected with people through social networking. It’s great to be able to talk to people all over the world and it gives a social aspect to writing, which I find quite a solitary occupation. The only problem is that like a lot of people I do use it as a displacement activity. I try to limit my internet time but I don’t have as much willpower as I need!




Are you a city girl or a country girl?
I’ve lived in cities for half my life, including four years living in London, and it was great! There was so much going on, so many things to see and do. In my mid-twenties, though, I moved to the country and I have lived there ever since. I love it. It’s beautiful and peaceful and inspirational. I love going out of the back door and straight out into the fields to take my dog for a walk. That said, every so often I find I have to go up to London for some shopping, exhibitions, talks and shows… Nothing beats the buzz of a city!



Are you a Downton Abbey fan?
I am a huge Downton Abbey fan! I’ve been engrossed in every series. The early 20th century is a fascinating era and I love the way they entwine the upstairs and the downstairs stories. Like a lot of people I was very shocked at the way in which Matthew Crawley left the series but I am intrigued to see what will happen next for Lady Mary…

Last year I was lucky enough to visit Highclere Castle, which doubles for Downton Abbey in the series. I got to see all those gorgeous rooms that feature in the program and to chat to the staff there about what the actors are like in real life!

We took one of our Guide dog puppies with us – he looked very regal on the grand staircase! - and we recreated the scene in the opening credits where Isis, Lord Grantham’s Labrador, is walking up the path towards the house!




On your website it mentions your travels some of which are pretty exotic.
What’s the most remote place you’ve ever visited?
I love to travel and see new places and I’ve been really lucky to see the places I’ve seen. Sailing to the Arctic Circle was probably the most remote trip I’ve ever done but it was amazing in terms of scenery and the experience of seeing polar bears in the wild. Second is probably Fair Isle. It’s the most remote inhabited island in the UK, off the north coast of Scotland, and it’s only five miles long and three miles wide. I used Fair Isle as the inspiration for Golden Isle in The Lady and the Laird. We had to take three flights to get there and then we were marooned on the island because a storm blew in and grounded all the planes! It’s stunningly beautiful with huge cliffs and white sand beaches and magnificent scenery but it does feel like the end of the earth – in a good way!



Nicola, do you ever come on this side of the ocean for signings or events where fans could meet you in person?
I do! I love travelling to the US and come as often as I can. I usually attend the RWA Conference and next year I’m planning to be at RT as well. Plus I try to visit friends and family in between. 



Thank you so much for answering a few questions and letting us get to know you a little better. Good luck with the new novel!!
Thank you so much! It’s been great!



Visit Nicola’s website here