Ashlyn Macnamara is visiting the virtual offices today to chat about A Most Scandalous Proposal. Please give her a warm welcome!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Ashlyn Macnamara] Reader, writer, mother, bilingual, cat-lover, escapist, Internet junkie.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about A Most Scandalous Proposal?
[Ashlyn Macnamara] My debut Regency begins when my hero, Benedict Revelstoke, sees his old childhood friend, Julia St. Claire, named as party to a wager in White’s betting book. Neither one of them is sure what’s going on at first, but they piece it together soon enough. Julia’s sister’s long-term crush on has set his sights on winning Julia’s hand in marriage. She only has to find a way to dissuade a man who won’t take no for an answer—which is understandable since he’s already bet a considerable sum on her saying yes.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Ashlyn Macnamara] A couple of years ago, I read two separate historical romances. One was Beverley Kendall’s debut Sinful Surrender, in which the heroine has a long-time crush on the hero. Missy, the heroine, confides a lot in her sister, and that relationship got me thinking about how the angst of a long-standing, unrequited crush might color the younger sister’s views of love and romance.
At the same time, I read Emma Wildes’s Lessons From a Scarlet Lady, which featured two romances. So that got me thinking about telling the story of both sisters in the same book. My working title was A TALE OF TWO SISTERS to reflect the duality of the story.
And then somewhere along the way I realized I was unconsciously riffing on Sense and Sensibility, but that was perfectly in line with my Regency setting, so I went with it.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Julia?
[Ashlyn Macnamara] Loyal, headstrong, devious.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Benedict had a theme song, what would it be?
[Ashlyn Macnamara] Benedict begs I not reveal this particular bit of information, lest the Upperton sisters get wind of it and insist on performing it at their next musicale. They’re certain to butcher anything they attempt. However, they’ll have a job trying to present “Wonderwall” by Oasis on Regency musical instruments. “There are many things that I would like to say to you, but I don’t know how…”
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Julia is never without.
[Ashlyn Macnamara] Unlike her sister, who always has her head in the clouds, Julia is never without the head on her shoulders. Well, unless Benedict gives her a bit too much wine. At that point, all bets are off.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Benedict’s pockets?
[Ashlyn Macnamara] Oooh, let me think about that one.
He’d never carry lumps of sugar to feed his horses as treats. He prefers to give them carrots, as it’s better for them. Plus sugar was a bit of a luxury item in the Regency.
He would most definitely never have an invitation to one of the Earl of Clivesden’s parties. He hasn’t liked Clivesden since they were in school together, and the blow-up over Clivesden’s choice of bride only exacerbated matters.
For the third, I’m going to say a copy of Debrett’s Peerage, because while he is the (younger) son of a marquess, he doesn’t hold much with all the goings-on in London. He much prefers a quieter life in the country.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Julia’s greatest regret?
[Ashlyn Macnamara] This is going to be difficult to answer without introducing spoilers. I think Julia’s answer at the beginning of the book and at the end would be two different things. At the beginning, anyway, she’d have made reference to a traumatic event she experienced during her childhood, which colored her view of love and passionate feelings.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Ashlyn Macnamara] Odd as it might sound, J. K. Rowling. If it wasn’t for Harry Potter fanfiction, I’d never have learned I can write. When I was in school, I never wanted to get anywhere near anything that smacked of creative writing, but maybe that’s because my teachers often forced us to write poetry. Adhering to things like rhythm and rhyme schemes require far too much discipline.
For this particular book, see the reply to the concept and characters question.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Ashlyn Macnamara] An empty house, a broken Internet connection, and at least an idea of where things are going (but I can’t decide this ahead of time—my characters have their own ideas and don’t like to listen to me).
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Ashlyn Macnamara] I’m going to go with Sherry Thomas’s Tempting the Bride, only because it’s her latest. Just about anything she writes, really. I love, love, love her lush prose style.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Ashlyn Macnamara] I don’t know if I can pinpoint one book that turned me on to reading per se. I’ve always loved to read, and before that I loved to have stories read to me. What I recall most is a book of fairy tale we owned when I was a child. I remember asking for “Wassilissa the Beautiful” as often as possible, because, like any good Russian tale, it was the longest in the collection. It was a great way to delay bedtime.
I can tell you which books turned me on to re-reading: the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I read those over and over when I was younger.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Ashlyn Macnamara] Anything that allows me to avoid the housework. I’ve got a teetering TBR pile, so I’m pretty good. If I don’t feel like reading, I’ve got a stash of yarn begging for me to knit it into something. Or I might decide to catch up with the latest goings-on at Downton Abbey.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Ashlyn Macnamara] Through my website: http://ashlynmacnamara.net
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorAshlynMacnamara
On Twitter: http://twitter.com/ashlyn_mac
Sign up for my newsletter.
And you can often find me blogging with the Dashing Duchesses.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
You can purchase A Most Scandalous Proposal from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below. Available in print and digital.
About the book:
About the author:
Ashlyn Macnamara writes Regency romance with a dash of wit and a hint of wicked. She considers writing her mid-life crisis but reckons producing romance novels is a lot less dangerous than skydiving or rock climbing. She lives outside Montreal with her husband, two teenage daughters and a cat. When not thinking about ballrooms and gentleman’s clubs, she looks for other excuses to neglect the housework, among them knitting, reading and wasting time on the internet in the guise of doing research.