Today we’re interviewing RITA award winning author Diane Gaston, who has been known to impersonate that other fabulous Risky author Diane Perkins on occasion. Learn more about Diane and her books at www.dianegaston.com.

Diane is going to tell us about her new release, INNOCENCE & IMPROPRIETY. Leave an original, meaningful comment for the chance to win one of either the Mills & Boon or the Harlequin Historicals versions of the book. Winners will be selected based on comments left between February 25 and 28 and will be announced March 1.

“For an engaging romance with moments of suspense and danger, I highly recommend INNOCENCE AND IMPROPRIETY.” Jane Bowers, Romance Reviews Today

How did you think of writing this particular book? Did it start with a character, a setting, or some other element?

I wanted to stay in the world I’d created with THE MYSTERIOUS MISS M, THE WAGERING WIDOW and A REPUTABLE RAKE, so I looked for a character from A REPUTABLE RAKE who needed a romance. I picked Rose, one of the courtesan students.

In A REPUTABLE RAKE, Rose wanted to be a singer and she had already sung at Vauxhall Gardens, so that was a logical place for the story to start. I just had to figure out who deserved to be her hero.

How long did it take? Was this an easy or difficult book to write?

I can’t remember exactly how long it took to write. I generally allot 4 months to write a Harlequin/Mills & Boon book, but that includes all the interferences life tosses at us (and a lot of Scrabble Blast playing).

There were difficult parts to INNOCENCE AND IMPROPRIETY, but they also were the parts that make writing historicals fun. I had to learn about Vauxhall Gardens, well enough to move my characters around the Gardens, and I had to learn about Kings Theatre and the Opera and singing, all things I really knew nothing about.

“Brilliant writing, a classic reformed rake plot, and vivid depictions of the Regency period make this a compelling read for fans of this era.” Romantic Times BOOKclub on THE REPUTABLE RAKE

Tell me more about your characters. What or who inspired them?

I’d created Rose for A REPUTABLE RAKE, so all I needed to do for her was flesh out her character and backstory a little. It was a little more difficult to figure out who could be her hero. I like to stay true to my vision of what society was like in the Regency, so I did not think her hero would be a titled lord. Because she was Irish, I thought an Irish hero would be nice. Rose was strikingly beautiful, the most beautiful of the courtesan students in A Reputable Rake, so it stood to reason that she would attract male admiration. So I came up with the idea of a marquis who was smitten with her, but it was his Irish secretary who fell in love with her.

The original conflict was that the marquis, Tanner, wanted Rose for his latest mistress, but he needed his secretary, Flynn, to make the arrangements. The story needed more, though, so I threw in another rival. The sadistic Greythorne from THE MYSTERIOUS MISS M and my eHarlequin Daily Read, THE DIAMOND, was a tailor-made villain. He needed to be vanquished once and for all.

My favorite character was Tanner. By the end of chapter one I knew Tanner needed a book of his own!

Did you run across anything new and unusual while researching this book?

The other performers in INNOCENCE AND IMPROPRIETY were real people who actually performed at Vauxhall Gardens and King’s Theatre. It was fun to include them!

What do you think is the greatest creative risk you’ve taken in this book? How do you feel about it?

The biggest risk was choosing a non-traditional hero and heroine. An Irish secretary was not your typical Regency hero. Flynn was without the power of a gentleman with a title and I just wasn’t certain if readers would like that. Rose as a heroine was less of a risk, but again, as a singer, she was not typical of Regencies I’ve read.

I’m still wondering what readers will think of Rose and Flynn!

“Perkins takes a standard marriage of convenience plot and brilliantly turns it into an emotionally intense, utterly captivating story that will thrill readers to their core.” — Kathe Robin, Romantic Times BOOKclub on THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN

What are you working on next?

I just turned in Tanner’s story! (titled THE VANISHING VISCOUNTESS). Tanner rescues a lady fugitive from a shipwreck and decides to help her escape to Scotland.

I’m also putting the finishing touches on my next Warner book. Remember the Ternion from THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN? DESIRE IN HIS EYES tells Blake’s story. Blake meets a woman he cannot resist–an imposter and a thief.

How does your Gaston writing style differ from your Perkins writing style?

There is no difference in style between the writing in my Gaston books and my Perkins books. My Perkins books are slightly less risky and tend to have more traditional characters and settings. Of course, DESIRE IN HIS EYES has a con artist as a heroine. Not too traditional.

What did you think of 300?

Only 13 more days to go!!! Then I’ll tell you.

Thanks, Diane!

Remember to comment for the chance to win a copy of either the the Harlequin Historicals or Mills & Boon version of INNOCENCE AND IMPROPRIETY! Contest ends February 28.

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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56 Responses to Diane talks about INNOCENCE AND IMPROPRIETY

  1. For more information about Innocence and Impropriety, check my website

    (Keira, I tried to do the hyperlink but I’m doing something wrong!)

    You can read an excerpt there!


  2. Mina says:

    That sounds fabulous! I can’t wait to read it. What made you want to use actual people from Vauxhall and what sources did you use to learn about them?

  3. Hi, Mina!
    When I was researching Vauxhall I came across these real people. A male singer and a man who played lots of instruments at once. Mr. Hook is a real person, too. It just seemed fun to include them.


  4. pThat was a very interesting post. I am looking forward to reading this book because I like the idea of a non-traditional regency hero. Flynn sounds different and Rose as a singer will add something extra, I’m sure.

  5. KimW says:

    Oh, how I want to read Innocence & Impropriety! It sounds so good!

  6. Maria, I’m relieved you like the idea of a non-traditional hero and heroine!

    Kim, what was it that appealed to you about Innocence and Impropriety? I want to learn what piques readers’ interest.


  7. alissa says:

    Enjoyable interview which informed me about the background of the novel. The research necessary sounds fascinating as far as this era is concerned. How much depth into that period do you have to go?

  8. ellie says:

    The characters are certainly unique and appealing. Love the idea of Flynn and his position. Rose sounds wonderful! What a grand idea to have this approach.

  9. Michelle says:

    The books sound like lots of fun. I’m impressed with the way you can write so quickly! Can’t wait to read the new one. 🙂

  10. pearl says:

    Sounds like a great combination of plot, and suspense and lovely characters. Very original and enticing novel.

  11. joelle says:

    The interview has been great! I was wondering if you had traveled to acquire an interest into the Regency Period. That would be a great experience. Your book has peaked my interest.

  12. Alissa, I already know a lot about the time period in a background kind of way, from my reading in the time period, but in each book there are always specifics to learn. I’ve used Vauxhall before, in Mysterious Miss M and A Reputable Rake but I needed to learn about the entertainment there and how food was served. I knew that the ton attended the theatre, but I didn’t know very much about King’s Theatre, the only theatre to feature Opera.
    come to think of it, I also had to find songs for Rose to sing. That was fun!
    I mostly used this site for the music


  13. seton says:

    I like the idea of recycling villains. I hope Greythorne doesnt have an untimely demise and comes back to cause conflict for another opportunity.

    and I have to say that I like the Harlequin cover of I&I better than the M&B cover because of the font used for “Diane Gaston” 😉

  14. sharon says:

    Your book sounds absolutely enthralling and delish. Great interview that has given me more insight into the characters and story.

  15. Maureen says:

    Hi Diane,

    Congratulations on your new book. I like the idea of the secretary being the hero. With the hero not being a titled gentleman did it give the book a whole different feel as you were writing it?

  16. Seton…I’m not giving any spoilers about Greythorne!!

    Maureen, yes, Flynn had a different mindset than a titled gentleman, and he was acutely aware of his place in society. It was fun to explore that different sort of hero!


  17. robynl says:

    I love the concept of Rose and Flynn coming together because of Tanner wanting Rose for a mistress and he needs his secretary, Flynn, to secure her for him and the story takes off from there. What a great concept!!!
    Did you enjoy the research aspect of this story? Thanks.

  18. I loved the research, robyn. At the same time, it scares me a little because I want it to be right and yet I know I won’t get it totally right.

    I never was all that interested in studying history, but now I realize that I love learning about this era–and even other parts of history. In addition to my TV watching of What Not to Wear, Cash in the Attic, House Hunters, Top Design, Top Chef and Project Runway, I love to watch the history channels–all except the Hitler stuff!


  19. Kalen Hughes says:

    Oooooooo, more fab books from Diane!!! Can’t wait . . .

  20. seton says:

    Seton…I’m not giving any spoilers about Greythorne!!

    Translation: Yes, Seton. I thought like your favorite comic book writer and Greythorne will come back to twirl his dastardly mustache for another book.

  21. Lois says:

    Oh, for me, I’ll take traditional hero/ines, non-traditional, they all work for me! 🙂 And I can’t wait for it either! 🙂


  22. Anonymous says:

    Hi !

    I do like Diane Gaston/Perkins books, I’ve got them all and can’t wait to get the new one !!!!
    Love from a french reader : JOELLE/romanceh@free.fr

  23. Seton, I forgot to mention that I like the HH cover best, too. Authors like it when their name is bigger than the title!

    Joelle, Bon Jour! I think my Perkins books are being released in France. My newest Warner book, still yet to be scheduled, actually begins in France and has a french secondary hero, who I’m very fond of!


  24. First, I have to gush… I loved LOVED loved the book from beginning to end.

    Well, now that that is off my chest…

    Seton: We must be twins separated at birth. One of the main reasons I loved the book cover was the font.

    I also really liked how they carried the cover theme to the inside of the front cover and did a black-n-white image of the H&H in another pose. THe back cover also continues the background Covent Garden scene. Very classily done!

    Diane: I used to sing in the choir, so of course, I fell in love with Rose because of her desire to sing first in A Reputable Rake and then here to learn opera singing. All your details about learning the art were spot on. The breathing, lifting the hard palate, etc. The soft palate also needs to be raised like in a yawn in order to the notes above high A.

    Diane, Q: Why did you choose the year you did to set the story in? What were the historical reasons?

    Flynn was amazing the minute he walked on the page. I loved how he could be larger than life, yet be committed to Tanner as his boss and his position as a secretary. I liked how both Flynn and Rose didn’t feel that the other was lesser for doing things to advance their respective careers. I also loved that both of them needed rescuing, both did the rescuing, and openly shared the anguish of separation.

    Diane Gaston Website

    Folk Music

  25. Diane, I am so excited to read about such unusual characters! And to get to learn more about Covent Garden. 🙂

  26. Listen, everyone, I really don’t PAY Keira to say such things!!

    My friend Helen helped me with the singing parts and I’m grateful to her for it!

    Keira, I am so glad that you felt I could make characters who are lower on the social scale and make them “larger than life.”

    (I must learn how to do those urls!)


  27. traveler says:

    Thanks for the interview! Congrats. on this lovely novel. The entire aspect of Flynn and his position and Rose are a wonderful set of characters and totally original idea. Love the era and am so interested in reading more about this story.

  28. Santa says:

    I am so excited about this book that I haven’t gotten my grubby paws on yet. SOOOOO happy to hear that the H/H are Irish!! I just love hearing when a character pops up in one story and screams for a story of their own. It makes for more happy reading for moi!

    Hearing that Blake will have his own story forces me to reread The Marriage Bargain, a sacrifce I am more than willing to make!!

    Who, come Hades or high water, will GET THAT BOOK!!!

  29. Diane–tell us where you did your opera research. Did they sing in translation or in the original language?

  30. Diane, Q: Why did you choose the year you did to set the story in? What were the historical reasons?

  31. Janet, I did most of my opera research in a wonderful book, Opera in London: 1785-1830 by Theodore Fenner, which chronicled the performers and the operas. The opera is Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Italian. I am not one hundred percent sure the play was performed exactly when I said it was, but it could have been. Mr. Ayrton was the musical director, however, and the Welsh Miss Hughes did play Elvira and Signor Angrisani played Don Giovanni.

    Santa, I’m glad you are looking forward to Blake’s story. I’m disappointed that it won’t be out this year, so you need not rush rereading The Marriage Bargain!

    Keira, I set Innocence & Impropriety in the summer of 1817 because it followed A Reputable Rake which was set in the Spring of 1817. Starting with The Mysterious Miss M, I’ve had to tailor the timing of subsequent stories to the time period that would logically follow.

    I have to say that it is a delight that so many of our Risky friends have dropped by today. So hello, too, to Mina and Lois and Alissa and everybody!


  32. Jane George says:

    Okay, if Blake gets a story then Wolfe gets one too! He’s the character from The Marriage Bargain I kept thinking about.

    Congrats on Innocence & Impropriety.

  33. Jane, I have a story all ready for Wolfe–not written yet but the proposal is ready. I have to get the okay from Warner! It starts in India!

  34. Teresa says:

    Hello Diane as an avid reader of all different genres came upon this site by reading your blog at Warner Women blog. Must say I love it. Your book sounds wonderful and good luck on the release!

  35. Welcome, Theresa! You must come back and visit the Riskies more often, now that you’ve discovered us!


  36. Diane, I noticed that your historicals for Harlequin tend to be longer books than the usual Harlequins. Is it because it is produced primarily by M&B? Or is it because it doesn’t have a month and number printed on the cover?

  37. Gee, Keira, I never noticed they didn’t have a number and month on the cover! Duh.

    The Historicals are just longer than the other series Harlequin produces. at 75,000 to 85,000 words, they may be the longest of the Harlequin series lines and I think they are very close to what other publishers publish as single title historicals.


  38. Judy T says:

    YAY! Wolfe is going to get his own story! I’m thrilled to hear that, and am looking forward with anticipation to both Blake’s and Tanner’s stories. You have such delicious heroes!

    Flynn and Rose are so perfect for each other. The story was a nailbiter for me, and I loved it! Because I knew you would take very good care of the characters, and you did!

  39. Awwww, thanks, Judy! I know Blake has been a long time coming and will be a bit of a wait still, but Tanner should show up late 2007, early 2008.

    Gee, things are going to be quiet for me for a few months….


  40. Cara King says:

    Diane, I was wondering — when you use a character from a previous book as a main character in a new book, do you ever find yourself wanting to change something in the character’s background/life/character, to fit your vision of the new novel? And if so, have you ever done it?


  41. Cara,
    Nothing jumps out at me. I sometimes wish I could alter time–make it a different year or season. I do wish I had spelled a character’s name differently – Tanner’s friend Pomroy, who is the hero in the next book.

    Usually I don’t find it a problem to have to work with a character’s past. It just helps me craft the story. Like if you tell me to write a story about a woman, it is hard. If you tell me to write a story about an Irish young woman who wants to be a singer, it is easy.


  42. Jane George says:

    Wolfe’s story starts in India… fabulous! Extra special good proposal juju comin’ at ya! 🙂

  43. principessa says:

    Your historicals have me hooked. This newest novel is enticing to say the least. Very original concept and characters. Enjoyed this interview which was informative and interesting.

  44. KimW says:

    I read the excerpt on your site and the last line “the sweet voice of Rose O’Keefe lingered in Flynn’s ear” made me want to read more. The heroine being a singer is different. Oh, and the fact that I’m already a big fan had a lot to do with wanting to read it, too.

  45. Thanks, Principessa and Kim!


  46. I loved the world the world you created in _The Mysterious Miss M_ (along with _The Wagering Widow_) it remains among my favourites of novels I’ve read set in the Regency. Therefore, I am so happy to read that you are not leaving that world behind. I would miss it, and the characters created therein. I look forward to reading your new book.

  47. Glencora,
    Have you read A Reputable Rake, too? Because Rose, the heroine in Innocence and Impropriety, first appears in A Reputable Rake. You don’t NEED to read it first, it just might make it more enjoyable since you like this world.

    You can find used copies of A Reputable Rake on Amazon or Ebay or try Allbookstores.com


  48. Diane wrote, “I did most of my opera research in a wonderful book, Opera in London: 1785-1830 by Theodore Fenner, which chronicled the performers and the operas. The opera is Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Italian.”

    Diane, I’m curious why you chose “Don Giovanni.” Is this a favorite opera of yours, or is it Mozart, or is it the year you’ve set the book in, or ??? Thanks!

  49. A book set in The Raj, Regency India, sounds like a ton of fun and must’ve also meant a ton of research. I have my fingers crossed that Warner will accept the proposal.

    (And no, Diane really does not pay me to say these things. 🙂

  50. Carol Thompson says:


    I am so glad that your writing seems to be going so well.
    I love Regencies and similar types of historical romance but from all I read it seems as if Erotica is taking over the world!
    And that is not really my kind of thing.

    More power to your pen and lets have lots more from you.

  51. Keira,
    I chose Don Giovanni, because I thought readers might have heard of it, readers who knew nothing about opera, like me! Also, I could verify that the two opera stars of the time were in it!
    Re: Wolfe. I do have several books now on India. I probably have to move the hero and heroine to England as soon as possible, but at least it should start there.

    Carol, it does seem like Erotica is taking over the world, doesn’t it? Romance is so diverse, though, you can dig behind whatever are the books-of-the-moment and find something you’ll love.

    It will be interesting to see if Erotica has staying power. We know historicals have staying power!!


  52. Lis says:

    Loved the last 3, can’t wait to pick up I&I. Thrilled that Rose is getting her own book :o)

  53. Manuelita says:

    Diane, are you married? And if you are, does your husband ever get the two Diane’s mixed up? Just kidding, of course.

    However, I was thinking that it would have been more fun, if not confusing, if one of your pen names was Diana instead of Diane. Although, all my friends named Diana absolutely hate it when you mistakenly call them Diane.

    Anyways, I’m rambling. Sorry. I’ve got I&I on my TBB list. This will be my first book by you, but am anxious to read it because of great reviews by Keira and others.

  54. Manuelita, I am married and my husband loves to cheat on me with that other “Diane.”

    I understand where your friend Diana is coming from, even if she spells her name totally wrong…It’s spelled DianE

    I hope you like I&I!!

    You, too, Lis!


  55. Juliet says:

    Diane, the book sounds really interesting. I love variety and I like to find heroes that are not titled.

  56. Welcome, Juliet!
    There are dangers in googling your book title. I did this last night (eager for reviews). Judy T and our friend Mary left wonderful reviews on Amazon (I love you guys!), but I did run across a stray comment on the Library Thing, saying she didn’t like my hero. So I’m still nailbiting as to whether he will win hearts or not!
    I suspect more reviews will come in starting tomorrow.


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