Samantha Grace is the author of Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel, a new regency from Sourcebooks and the kick-off title for her new Regency series, The Beau Monde. Samantha dropped by the virtual offices for a chat, and she brought a present for one lucky reader! You can win a signed copy of Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel after the interview!
[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Samantha Grace] Warm, playful, loyal, optimistic, family-focused, curious…
[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel?
[Samantha Grace] HE’LL NEVER SETTLE FOR ONE WOMAN…
Debonair bachelor Lord Andrew Forest lives for pleasure and offers no apologies. But he receives a dose of his own medicine when his family’s entrancing houseguest beds him, then disappears without so much as a by-your-leave. He’d like to teach the little vixen a thing or two about how to love a man…if he can find her…
AND SHE WON’T SETTLE FOR HEARTBREAK…
After the dashing man of her dreams is revealed as a lying scoundrel, heiress Lana Hillary is ready to seek a match with a respectable gentleman—if only they weren’t so dreadfully boring. Unable to rein in her bold nature for long, Lana flirts with trouble and finds herself entangled with exactly the type of man she’s vowed to avoid.
What the summary doesn’t say is there is also an element of mystery and danger that could cost Lana and Lord Andrew their lives.
[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the book?
[Samantha Grace] Lord Andrew and Lana Hillary began as secondary characters in my first attempt at a romance novel, but their personalities were so appealing to me that I wanted to cast them as hero and heroine in their own books. The two of them weren’t even together much in the first book, but I began to question what it would be like if they became a couple.
I’ve always loved rake stories, but usually it’s the guy who’s resistant to marriage. It seemed like it could be an interesting story if the roles were reversed, and it was the lady who didn’t want to marry. I figured I couldn’t be the only woman who had dated the wrong man at least once in her lifetime and had learned she shouldn’t trust her heart with just anyone. I also can’t imagine I’m the only one who has been impulsive in a relationship and later regretted it. I know not everyone has been through these experiences, but the ones who have can hopefully find in Lana a heroine that’s relatable.
[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the story?
[Samantha Grace] Because Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel was written early in my career, my biggest challenge at the time was learning how to write fiction. Everything up to that point had been work-related writing, such as medical research papers, documentation, policies and procedures… All that really boring stuff. I’ve learned a lot from being part of a writers’ critique group, attending conference workshops, and studying books on writing. It’s my goal to keep growing and improving my skill as an author, and to write stories readers will love.
[Manga Maniac Café] What are three things Lana would never have in her boudoir?
[Samantha Grace] A miniature of her former betrothed. Her mother, if she could bar her from entering. That horrid tea her maid served her.
[Manga Maniac Café] Why do you think romances are so popular? Why did you decide to write one?
[Samantha Grace] Sigmund Freud said, “Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.” It seems like our society has no trouble embracing work as being one of those things we need in our lives, sometimes at the expense of love and relationships. I think romance readers are also in-tune with the need for love in our lives. They celebrate love, romance, and relationships. Before I married, romance novels gave me hope that I would meet a guy who was right for me. Now that I’m married to the right guy, romance makes me appreciate the love I have in my life. So, why do I think romances are popular? There are a lot of smart folks out there who already know the importance of love, and they aren’t afraid to acknowledge it.
I decided to write romance, because I’m always drawn to the romantic elements of any story. Unfortunately, other genres don’t explore the love relationships as fully as I want, and there is no guarantee of a happy ending if you’re reading literary fiction. In fact, you can almost count on a tragic ending. I write what I like to read, love stories with a happily ever after.
[Manga Maniac Café] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Samantha Grace] Nature and music. Both take me out of my thoughts and make me experience the moment.
[Manga Maniac Café] Name three things you need in order to write.
[Samantha Grace] My morning coffee, something to put my hair up, and quiet. I can’t always have it quiet, so then I listen to instrumental music on Pandora radio. I can’t concentrate if there are lyrics, unless they are in a different language.
[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Samantha Grace] My aunt gave me the second book in the Trixie Beldon series when I was in third grade. (The first one was sold out.) Not a lot of people I talk to are familiar with Trixie, but she was a girl who solved mysteries, similar to Nancy Drew. I really loved the characters and read the series through elementary school. After reading Trixie’s stories, I decided I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.
[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Samantha Grace] I like entertaining at our house. We remodeled our kitchen a year ago, and it has been getting a lot of use. I love getting together with my husband’s parents, siblings, niece and nephew, aunts, uncles, and cousins. If we lived closer to my family, we would have them over all the time, too. There’s always lots of laughter and good food. And lately, my brother-in-law, the kids, and I have been playing a really fun game called Carcassonne.
I love meeting my BFF for lunch and catching up on life.
I also enjoy hiking with my husband and kids, but we don’t do it often enough. I like my pilates reformer class and dancing. My son is interested in archery, so I may take this up with him, too.
[Manga Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?
[Samantha Grace] I can be found at www.samanthagraceauthor.com, Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/samanthagraceromanceauthor), Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/SamGraceAuthor), and I blog regularly at Lady Scribes (www.ladyscribes.blogspot.com). I’ll also be attending the RT Booklovers Convention in Chicago this year, and hope to see some of you there.
[Manga Maniac Café] Thanks!
Bio: Samantha has worked several years as a clinical social worker with a background in behavioral health and geriatrics. It is her belief that everyone has a story worth remembering, and she cherishes her work with aging adults, immersing herself in their stories of eras gone by. She is married to her best friend, strives to stay one step ahead of their two precocious offspring, and lives in Wisconsin. Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was named in the PW Top 10 Romances for Spring 2012.
Now for the giveaway! Samantha generously offered to give a signed copy of Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel to one lucky reader! To enter, all you have to do is make a comment on this post! Pretty easy, huh?
Updated to add Samantha’s questions - Thanks so much for having me here today, Julie. I’d like to ask readers a couple of questions.
1. What do you like to do when you aren’t reading?
2. Take a look at the cover of Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel. Yes, I know it’s hard to take your eyes off Paul, but I promise it will only take a moment. ;D
What actor does he look like? I’m wondering if I’m the only one who thinks he looks like a certain actor. I’ll tell you who later.
Contest ends March 9th. US mailing addresses only. You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel is out now! You can order it from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below.