Interview with Cecilia Grant, Author of A Lady Awakened and Giveaway!

Cecilia Grant is the author of A Lady Awakened, a Regency romance due to hit store shelves December 27th.  Cecilia dropped by the virtual offices to chat about her book, and she brought a surprise!  After the interview, one random commenter will win a copy of A Lady Awakened!

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Cecilia Grant] Romance author. Feminist. Habitual cynic. Mother of daughters. Hoping to one day integrate those components into one seamless identity.

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about your new book, A Lady Awakened?

[Cecilia Grant] It’s the story of an indecent proposal that turns out to be not nearly indecent enough: when an abruptly widowed neighbor approaches him to help her conceive a fraudulent heir, Theo Mirkwood assumes it’ll be a glorious month-long debauchery-fest, complete with inevitable sensual awakening on the lady’s part.

But for Martha Russell, the arrangement is strictly business – unsavory, degrading business with sky-high stakes. She’ll do what she must to keep her estate, and housemaids, out of a predatory brother-in-law’s hands, but she’s not about to enjoy it.

That’s the starting point. The real meat (heh) of the story is the way they get involved in one another’s lives outside the bedroom, and the friendship that takes root against all odds.

[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Cecilia Grant] It’s fiendishly difficult to come up with an original concept for a historical romance. Much easier is to take a concept that’s been done before, and try to put a new spin on it. “Desperate childless widow seeks virile stranger for procreation purposes” isn’t a new premise, so I concentrated on trying to give the hero and heroine a different dynamic from the insta-passion that you usually see in this scenario.

And I used two of my favorite character types for the hero and heroine. Theo is the sort of golden child who’s sailed through life with a sunny disposition and very little experience with adversity (Elle Woods, in Legally Blonde, is one of the best examples of this type), while Martha is the crusader-with-blinders-on, armed with a purpose and believing she knows best in every situation (Captain Ahab, Emma Woodhouse, and Ignatius Reilly all live at grander heights along this same spectrum).

[Manga Maniac Café] What have you learned about yourself through your characters?

[Cecilia Grant] The full and staggering extent of my appetite for lowbrow humor, especially if it involves puns or other wordplay. These characters, the hero especially, just kept going there in dialogue.

[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing this story?

[Cecilia Grant] Story mechanics don’t come naturally to me. Projecting how much story I need to fill a 100,000-word book; working out turning points in advance; figuring out how to end scenes, chapters, and the story itself – those things were all a struggle.

[Manga Maniac Café] What are your biggest creative influences?

[Cecilia Grant] I’m of the “grain of sand in the oyster’s shell” school, meaning I tend to create in response to things that bug me as opposed to being influenced by things I admire. A Lady Awakened actually owes its existence partly to my longstanding aggravation with Lady Chatterley’s Lover, in particular with passages like this one, in which Lady C takes a good look at her lover’s penis:

“So proud!” she murmured, uneasy. “And so lordly! Now I know why men are so overbearing. But he’s lovely, really. Like another being! A bit terrifying! But lovely really! And he comes to me!” She caught her lower lip between her teeth, in fear and excitement.

I read stuff like that and my reaction is to want to write a stubbornly nonresponsive heroine who’s neither frightened nor particularly impressed by sight of a man’s private parts. Take that, D.H. Lawrence!

[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Cecilia Grant] A pen or pencil, some paper, and eventual recourse to a thesaurus. (I do a lot of writing on the bus, in the orthodontist’s waiting room, or other thesaurus-deprived places, and those drafts are full of bracketed words that I know aren’t quite the words I’m looking for.)

[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Cecilia Grant] Ramona the Pest. It was my gateway to Beverly Cleary’s awesome backlist, where among other things I first grasped the startling idea that an antagonist (the overalls-wearing, holy-terror Ramona of the Henry Huggins books; Ellen Tebbits’s gleefully anarchic nemesis Otis Spofford) could later be a hero in her/his own turn.

Also, having read the book to my own kids, I’m happy to report that the “Sit here for the present” episode is just as hilarious as it was in my day.

[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Cecilia Grant] I can hear how lame this sounds but… I really like driving my kids around. They’re both teenagers now, and, as other parents of teenagers can probably attest, that time in the car, chatting about random topics, listening to the radio stations they like, diving for the channel-change button when a song we all hate comes on, is kind of precious. (Both my kids are extremely pleasant company, certainly better than I was at that age.)

Vaguely pathetic. But true :)

[Manga Maniac Café] Thanks!


You can learn more about Cecilia by visiting her at the following websites:

http://twitter.com/#!/Cecilia_Grant
http://facebook.com/CeciliaGrantAuthor
http://goodreads.com/author/show/4996526.Cecilia_Grant

You can pre-order A Lady Awakened from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the handy widgets below:

 

Ready for the giveaway?  One random commenter will win either an ARC or a finished copy of A Lady Awakened (available around Christmas).  To enter, make a comment, and then fill out the form below.  You must make a comment to enter. 

Contest Rules -

You must be 13 or older to enter.

I am not responsible for lost or damaged shipments.

Open to International addresses.

Contest ends December 11th.

 

40 thoughts on “Interview with Cecilia Grant, Author of A Lady Awakened and Giveaway!

  • December 1, 2011 at 9:46 am
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    Awesome giveaway!

  • Pingback: Blog Tour, Stop One « Cecilia Grant

  • December 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm
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    I can’t wait to read this book.

  • December 1, 2011 at 1:13 pm
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    Beverly Cleary is the BEST! Have you read “The Luckiest Girl”? It’s the one where she goes to stay in California and they’ve never heard of donut holes? I still have it around somewhere…

  • December 1, 2011 at 1:18 pm
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    thanks you for this giveaway ( international i hope) i would love to discover it

  • December 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm
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    A Lady Awakened sounds like a really good book and has a stunning cover! The green used on the cover is just magnificent and makes the beauty of the model and pose stand out. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • December 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm
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    Can’t wait until the end of the month, feel like I have been waiting for this book forever :)

  • December 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm
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    Thanks everyone for the comments!

    miki, yes, this is an international giveaway. Sorry; I forgot to pass that detail along to the blog admin.

    Rose, I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read The Luckiest Girl. Nor Fifteen, nor Jean and Johnny. For some reason I could never wrap my mind around the idea of Cleary writing about teenagers, and so I avoided those in my youth. I’m adding TLG to my 2012 TBR list, though!

    Maria D., isn’t the cover just gorgeous? “Stunning” is exactly the word I used when I first saw it. I’ve had a lot of good luck in my publishing journey, and getting that cover is definitely one of my luckiest moments.

    Lisa W., I feel like I’ve been waiting forever too. Day after the day after tomorrow will be the 2-year anniversary of my “sold” call. But I suspect this last month is going to fly by!

  • December 1, 2011 at 3:46 pm
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    I’ve heard so many great things about this book already! I’d love to win!
    Thank you for the giveaway!

  • December 1, 2011 at 5:25 pm
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    I’ve read a lot about this book and also read excerpts too. Your books sounds great and, I would love to be in with a chance to win it. I adore Historical Romance so much. I love to be swept back to a different time and place where people lived, laughed, loved and were find this way to each other. Your book appears to contain everything that I love in a book, i.e. passsion, intrigue and lots of romance.

    I adore the cover art and colors, it’s very sensual and eye-catching.

    Many thanks for this great opportunity.

    dpd333 (AT) aol dot com

  • December 1, 2011 at 10:58 pm
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    Congrats on being so close to your publication date, Cecilia! Soon everyone will know the awesomeness of A Lady Awakened, and we’ll be 6 months closer to A Gentleman Undone.

  • December 2, 2011 at 12:02 am
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    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR DOING IT INTERNATIONAL! YAYY! I love LOVE regency novels, the story, the cover, everything looks so beautiful! Crossing Fingers! Thank you for the giveaway!

  • December 2, 2011 at 12:26 am
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    This book does sound great and the cover is beautiful. Thank you so much for the post and the giveaway.

  • December 2, 2011 at 2:19 am
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    I don’t think enjoying the time you have driving around talking to your kids is lame. I think it’s great you have that. I must read LADY CHATTERLY’S LOVER again to see the passage you spoke of. Hilarious.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

  • December 2, 2011 at 2:26 am
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    Thanks for the giveaway. I love Beverley Cleary, ‘socks’ was the first book I ever fell in love with lol

  • December 2, 2011 at 8:27 am
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    Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to read this book. Tore923@aol.com

  • December 2, 2011 at 11:48 am
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    I enjoyed the interview; it was a great read.

    Thanks for the contest.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  • December 2, 2011 at 4:35 pm
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    I Love Regency romance & this one sounds really good – these characters should be a lot of fun as the y come together.

  • December 2, 2011 at 5:16 pm
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    awsome giveaway! :D

  • December 2, 2011 at 6:17 pm
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    Great interview! This book is on my TBR list if I don’t win!
    Thank you for the giveaway!

    Gena Robertson
    robertsongena@hotmail.com

  • December 3, 2011 at 12:12 am
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    Thanks for the interview & giveaway. Would love to read this.

  • December 3, 2011 at 4:09 am
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    That’s funny, even as a kid I loved romances! TLG was my favorite Cleary, These Happy Golden Years was my favorite Little House book, and Betsy’s Wedding was my favorite Betsy-Tacy book. I have a copy of TLG, I’ll loan it to you!

  • December 3, 2011 at 8:28 pm
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    i like the colours of the cover – beautiful ^^ would like to win a copy ;)

  • December 4, 2011 at 3:52 am
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    Thanks for the giveaway.

  • December 4, 2011 at 2:33 pm
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    Thanks for the giveaway! This is a new author for me but I love historical romance so I’d love to give her book a try!

  • December 4, 2011 at 8:24 pm
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    I can hardly wait to get my hands on this book. I’ve heard such wonderful things about it.

  • December 5, 2011 at 9:31 am
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    Gorgeous cover and great excerpt at website. A must-read. Congratulations and thanks!

  • December 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm
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    One of my favorite authors Eloisa James HIGHLY recommends this book! Congrats!

  • December 6, 2011 at 11:52 am
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    I love to read its so nice to get away from it all and immerse yourself in another world awakened by another persons words put to paper.

  • December 6, 2011 at 12:20 pm
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    This is a new author for me but I love historical romance so I’d love to give her book a try! A must read!!
    Thank you for giveaway!!

  • December 6, 2011 at 6:05 pm
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    I really am so very excited about the release of this book. What a fun read it promises to be!

  • December 6, 2011 at 8:51 pm
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    Really looking forward to this book! After-Christmas present for me!

  • December 7, 2011 at 10:54 am
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    It looks like and interesting story.

  • December 7, 2011 at 4:34 pm
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    Wow, more comments! Thanks, everyone, for stopping by and for the kind words.

    BTW, I can confirm that the winner will get a FINISHED EDITION of the book, as opposed to the Advance Reader Copies I’ve been giving away up until now. The cover is even more beautiful without the ARC seal, and the book now contains an excerpt at the back from my June release, A Gentleman Undone. So whoever wins this drawing will be the first to get a peek at that book!

    Rosie – Are you the same Rosie who was a winner in my first giveaway? Either way, thanks for the support. So nice of you :)

    Mary Preston – Aww, thanks for saying my spare-time activity isn’t lame. It just seems like everyone else has actual interesting hobbies, where mine are “I like to drive my kids around. I like to watch tv with my kids,” etc. Oh, and if you do re-read Lady Chatterley’s Lover, keep your eyes peeled for some jaw-dropping racism. I re-read it a little while ago and I’d completely forgotten about that part.

    Rose Lerner – I swear you are the only person I’ve ever heard of who liked Betsy’s Wedding the best of the Betsy-Tacy books. I’m partial to the one where she goes to Europe alone – I love the out-on-her-own stuff, but it’s also hugely romantic when Joe puts that ad in the paper for her.

    cheryl c – I still can’t quite believe Eloisa James read and liked my book. That was another enormous stroke of luck in my publishing journey.

  • December 7, 2011 at 11:48 pm
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    I’m definitely looking forward for this book..:)

  • December 8, 2011 at 9:02 pm
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    I have been reading about this book on the internet. I can’t wait for it to come out.

  • December 10, 2011 at 1:45 am
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    I’ve had this one on my wishlist for since I first saw the cover and read the blurb. Thanks for the giveaway!

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