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Sabrina Jeffries Interview!


Sabrina Jeffries is a New York Times bestselling author, a lover of outrageous jewelry, and lives in North Carolina with her husband and son. Her latest book, Beware A Scot’s Revenge, has just come out, and is the third in her School For Heiresses series. Commenters to the interview will be entered to win a copy of Beware A Scot’s Revenge; check out the official rules here. The winner will be announced on Monday night.

Welcome to the Riskies, Sabrina. Thanks for joining us.

1. Can you talk a little bit about your background, and how it helps—or doesn’t—in your writing?

Growing up in Thailand opened my mind to different cultures, which is good for any writer. Also, because we were isolated in the country and I had no other American kids to play with (and my Thai friends spoke little English while I spoke little Thai), I spent more time reading than most kids. Being out there alone must have also sparked my creative bent, because I made up stories all the time. There was nothing else to do.

2.Which of your books is your favorite?

That’s like asking which child you love best! I like them all, for different reasons. I loved the whole childless theme of Married to the Viscount (and I really love that it landed me on the New York Times Extended List for the first time ☺). I can identify with the heroine of Never Seduce a Scoundrel. I adore Lachlan Ross from Beware a Scot’s Revenge, just because I have a thing for Highlanders, and he’s my only one. I could go on and on.

3. You’re continuing your School For Heiresses series with Beware A Scot’s Revenge. What was the spark that series? Did it start with a character, a setting, or some other element?
The generation of this series wasn’t nearly as clearcut as for The Royal Brotherhood series. Pocket said something about wanting a character who went across all the books, and for some reason, I thought of Charlie’s Angels. Weird, I know, but I did love that TV show, and I think I’d just seen one of the movies. Anyway, I loved the camaraderie of the women in the show, and I especially loved the anonymous Charlie. I wanted so badly to find out who he was. So that was in the back of my head when I came up with the series — I wanted an anonymous benefactor who could end up in a romance with the school’s headmistress (whom I subconsciously named after Charlie by naming her Charlotte, even though the mysterious guy is Cousin Michael). Then it went from there.

4. Was Beware A Scot’s Revenge an easy or difficult book to write?

The beginning of any book is usually difficult for me. I tend to go back and revise the beginning several times before I’m happy with the characters and their motivations. Once I get to that point, writing the rest of the book generally comes pretty naturally. But Beware didn’t fit the pattern. I sailed along on it until about chapter 18, where I came to a grinding halt. It took a couple of weeks for me to figure out what was wrong in the book, so I could go on.

5. How do you do your research?

I‘ve accumulated several research books already, but for book-specific research, I use the internet and libraries (Wikipedia rocks!). I‘m lucky that I live in an area with several major libraries, so I can always find what I need at ONE of them. I usually don‘t do much research in the beginning—just enough to confirm that my plot will work in the period. But once I start writing, I have to research individual points, so that takes me lots of different places. My website has a page that discusses the research I did for each of my books, in case readers are interested.

6. What are you working on now?

I’m writing the fourth book in the School for Heiresses series—Once a Rake, Always a Rake.

7. In your writing, do you feel as if you are taking risks? How?

My risks are small ones—things like having a gay secondary romance in In the Prince’s Bed—but that’s only because I truly enjoy the classic romance, and have no great desire to mess with what I like. I don’t feel this incredible pressure to stretch. I just want to entertain. If being entertaining required me “stretching,” then I’d do it.

8. Your writing is deliciously light and very, very readable, especially as compared to your earlier books. Was that a conscious decision, or did it just evolve naturally?

Definitely a conscious decision. Early in my career I wrote darker historical romances under the pseudonym Deborah Martin, with less dialogue and more history and complicated plots. At some point I realized that I wasn’t writing the books I enjoyed reading, but the books I felt, as a former academic, that I somehow ought to write. What I enjoyed reading was Regency historicals by authors like Johanna Lindsay, Amanda Quick, and Judith McNaught. I finally decided that it was time to start writing what I liked reading.

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

I always run across something new and unusual. In this case, I discovered that there were wildcats in Scotland in this period, and that they looked like giant tabbies. I even saw a woodcut of one. I just thought they were so cool that I had to put one in the book.

10. Is there anything you wanted to include in the book that you (or your CPs or editor) felt was too controversial and left out?

Not really. If I really want to include something in a book, I do. My CP’s job is more to give me a perspective on things that I, in my clueless way, sometimes don’t pay much attention to. For example, I had my hero nicknaming the heroine Princess Priss. Later, he utters some doggerel about how “Princess Priss hates to piss” (he was deliberately being coarse), and my CP said that from there on out, she heard Princess Piss every time he teased the heroine. Which was NOT a side effect I was aiming for. In fact, only once in my career did my publisher ask me not to do something because it was too unappealing, and that was YEARS ago.

11. You are a part of the GoddessBlogs group blog; what is your favorite part of participating there?

I love interacting with readers, but more than that, I really enjoy the authors there. We’re a good mix of fun-loving types, so doing the blog is sheer enjoyment for me. Which is what I was aiming for.

Is there anything else you’d like the Risky Regencies readers to know about you?

I can’t think of anything. But thanks for having me!

Thank you, Sabrina!

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bamabelle
15 years ago

Thanks for the fabulous interview! I was an only child, so I also made up stories to entertain myself. Your background sounds very interesting, Sabrina. I also enjoyed hearing how Charlie’s Angels played a role in the School for Heiresses series :).

Beware a Scot’s Revenge sounds amazing! I love those highlanders too, so I’ll be looking forward to reading this one. Thanks again for the lovely interview!

Maureen
15 years ago

Hi Sabrina!

Congratulations on your new book. I’m wondering what’s the story line of your new book and do you have to read the first book in the series to know what’s going on in this book?

Diane Perkins
15 years ago

Hi, Sabrina!
It is so good of you to come visit us and our readers.

Readers, I had the pleasure of introducing Sabrina last year when she spoke at our Washington Romance Writers Spring Retreat. She’s a very nice lady who writes terrific books!

Lois
15 years ago

Hi!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 Loved seeing you here!!! 🙂 I’m the one that recently said to you in an email that I have all your books, just haven’t read them all yet. 🙂 Still working on that. LOL Maybe I’ve gone through half or a little more than that and loved all of them. 🙂 So yep, can’t wait to get the new one 🙂

And that’s a great title, Once a Rake, always a Rake. 🙂

Lois, who I think is a little too excited today while visiting here. LOL

Minna
15 years ago

Great interview!
I loved reading A Dangerous Love and it looks like I need to add Beware a Scot’s Revenge to my TBB list…

Sabrina
15 years ago

Thanks, y’all, for having me! I know several of the bloggers here, either from the Beaumonde loops or conferences. Megan and I are buddies, so I always love hanging out with her. It’s great to be here.

As for the storyline of the new book (I assume you mean Beware and not the one coming out next year, Maureen), here it is:

During Lady Venetia Campbell’s visit to Scotland, she’s kidnapped by her father’s enemy—her childhood playmate Lachlan Ross. As the wickedly sexy Scottish Scourge, he plans to use her as a weapon against her father, but Venetia has other ideas.

It’s not your typical Regency, since it takes place entirely in Scotland, except for the prologue. And it’s not a typical kidnapping story, since Lachlan and Venetia knew each other as children. He really just wants to force her father’s hand in getting something he thinks her father owes him. She warms to him over the course of their journey, and between them, they uncover a devastating family secret and fall in love.

I really don’t think you’d need to have read the previous books to follow this one, although both characters ARE introduced in the first book of the series. But they don’t meet then, and you don’t get but a glimpse of him, just enough to know that he has it in for Venetia’s father.

seton
seton
15 years ago

Hi Sabrina! I decided to check out one of your Deborah Martin books and finally got a hold of one. Think it’s called STORMSWEPT.

Wow, it’s really different from your current style! I did like the book be4cause the denser, darker romances was what I was reading at the time that book came out.

Is Charlotte’s and Cousin Michael’s book gonna be the last book in the series (which would make it a 6 book series)?

Rhonda Stapleton
15 years ago

What a great interview! Thanks so much for sharing…and your book sounds AWESOME!!! *swoon*

Anonymous
Anonymous
15 years ago

Hi and welcome Sabrina. I love jewelry also and I’ve owned some outrageous pieces I believe.
I also loved Charlie’s Angels and the mystery person.
I like the sound of your book and enjoyed learning more about you in the interview.

robynl

Sabrina
15 years ago

Yes, Charlotte and Michael’s book is the last of the six-book series, assuming that I don’t do anything with some of the other characters showing up. 🙂

Sabrina
15 years ago

seton, it’s cool that you read Stormswept. I think it’s one of the best of my DM books, but yes, it’s very different from my present style.

Stacy S
15 years ago

Great interview Sabrina! Love your books. Can’t wait for the new one.How many more books will there be in this series?

Deb Marlowe
15 years ago

Hi Sabrina!

Stormswept is one my favorites of your DM books, and Beware a Scot’s Revenge is one my favorite SJs! I love a Highlander and Lachlan is so honorable and appealing. I know everyone is going to love him.

Keira Soleore
15 years ago

skysqHello, hello, hello Samantha. Your interview was great fun to read, just like your books.

I do stop by the Goddesses once in a while, but I’m a lurker, well, except for that one “Godette” comment.

Wild tabby cats… Have they all but disappeared now from those mountains?

Hope to meet you in Dallas in July.

Sabrina
15 years ago

Hi, Deb! Deb’s one of my critique partners (who regularly saves me from myself *G*), and her first published regency historical comes out in the U.S. next year–Scandalous Lord, Rebellious Miss–from Mills and Boon. I recommend it highly!

StacyS, there will 6 books total in the series, not counting the novella. Beware makes #4.

Keira, yes, there’s some dispute about whether there are any true wildcats left in Scotland, although I saw a picture of at least one. I’ll be putting up links on my site in the next couple of months, so people can read about them. And do say hi at Dallas–yes, I’ll be there, rooming with Claudia Dain, Deb Marlowe, Caren Crane, and Laura Maldonado. I can’t wait!

Diane Perkins
15 years ago

Sabrina, did you know Amanda, Deb and I went on an England tour together. And — get this — now we’ll all be published by Harlequin Mills & Boon!

Keira Soleore
15 years ago

I know Caren Crane from the Romance Bandits blog. Besides, I’ll be attending the BM conference, where–congratulations–you’re the keynote speaker. The title is rather mysterious: Are we talking produce market, fashions, or publishing markets? 🙂

Keira Soleore
15 years ago

Diane, you’re amazingly well-connected. You know the game “six degrees of separation”? With you it’s always one, two, or at the most three.

Theresa N.
15 years ago

Hi Sabrina,

I must have been awesome growing up in Thailand, but I’m so glad this book is set in Scotland. The Charlie idea is so good.

Sabrina
15 years ago

Yes, Diane, I knew about the tour. I would have killed to have been able to go, but travel is difficult for me. One of these days, though…

Keira, the title of my Beaumonde talk has to do with Regency historicals and the book marketplace and how current romances/novels differ from the ones popular in the Regency.

Keira Soleore
15 years ago

Every day I find out something new to get excited about the upcoming conference. What a fabulous subject for comparision: Today’s Regency-set historicals v. books from the Regency.

tetewa
15 years ago

Enjoyed the interview today and continued success on the series. Love the new title for the next book,Once a Rake, Always a Rake.

Amy
Amy
15 years ago

WOOHOO!! My sissy and I have really enjoyed this series so far and are big fans Sabrina. As I’m sure you remember…*G* I enjoyed the interview. It is always nice to learn more about people and getting to know your favorite authors is something that makes them seem like real people and not just names on the cover. CAn not wait until May 29th!!! Looking forward to many more books in the future.
Amy

Sabrina
15 years ago

Actually, Amy, Beware is coming out this Tuesday, the 22nd, so you don’t have QUITE so long to wait. *G*

Amy, is it your sister who had the baby? Is she doing okay?

I’m glad everyone’s liking the title of my WIP, Once a Rake. It’s actually one I came up with myself, for a change.

And thanks to the Risky ladies for having me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

Cara King
15 years ago

And thanks to the Risky ladies for having me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

So glad to hear that! And we are thrilled to have you.

I do wish I were going to conference this summer! I’d love to hear your talk, Sabrina, and everything else! (I’m planning on next year, though!)

Cara

Janet Mullany
15 years ago

Hi Sabrina,
belated welcome to the Riskies. Can you talk about the problems/challenges, or possibly even the pleasures of writing a series, and how you maintain the links between them?

CrystalG
15 years ago

Great interview Sabrina. The first book I read of yours was The Pirate Lord and I have been a fan ever since. Your characters are so vibrant and I get swept into their stories.

Erin
Erin
15 years ago

Hello Sabrina! I am SO EXCITED to read about Lachlan! As my sister Amy mentioned we are HUGE fans of yours and I have read all of your books except for your back list. I have a certain area where I hold my top 5 favorite authors books and you are, OF COURSE, one of them.
I am also the proud parent of a 10 week old baby boy named Caden. He is our first child and he is so GREAT! Thank you by the way!!!
YAY! SABRINA,
Erin

Margaret Evans Porter
15 years ago

Greetings, Deb/Sabrina!
So nice to find you here.

Kimberly L
15 years ago

Congrats on your book. I love reading your books.

Sabrina
15 years ago

Erin, great to hear about the baby! Congratulations!!!

Hi, Margaret! Wonderful to see you here!

Janet, about series, I’ve always enjoyed reading them so they’ve been a natural fit for me. I must say that the Royal Brotherhood series was a little easier to write because it was smaller, and I had a really clear idea of the story arcs for the three half-brothers when I started.

Some of my series are more amorphous, however, and this is one of them. The present book, for example, is only tied to the school because the heroine went there and the epigrams on the chapters are between Michael and Charlotte. So I did worry that you didn’t get as much a sense of continuity with the other books.

But the next book takes place squarely at the school. Unfortunately, because my publisher wanted me to add two books I hadn’t planned for, the hero and heroine are new to readers. Normally, I would try to introduce them in an earlier book. Other characters are familiar, however (Kirkwood and Foxmoor show up again, and of course Mrs. Harris; the reader meets the “radical” Godwin for the first time), and I’m introducing the heroine of the next book. I think. Haven’t thought much about the next book yet. 🙂

The important thing is to establish the key parts of your world early on, and then to keep track of them. I use a series timeline and a character chart with names, coloring, attributes, etc., to keep myself straight.

The appeal of the series, IMO, is that readers can return to the same world over and over and find familiar characters. At least that’s what *I* like about series.

Dannyfiredragon
15 years ago

Sabrina, congrats to the new release. I can hardly wait to read this book. Great Interview

Kat
Kat
15 years ago

Hi Sabrina!!!!

I just wanted to pop in and say how much I love all of your books. 🙂 I just finished Beware a Scot’s Revenge and that has surpassed even To Pleasure a Prince as my favorite of your books. Loved it and can’t wait for the next story!!!!

Kat

Cherie J
15 years ago

Hi Sabrina,

Thanks for being here. Your books are wonderful. Enjoyed the interview. I loved learning more about you. Thanks for being here.

Helen
15 years ago

Hi Sabrina I have read a couple of your books and have really enjoyed them I still have four others here in my TBR pile and am making sure I have them all so as I can read them in order I will be ordering The new one as soon as I can I am waiting for the new catologue from Rendezvous at the moment.Great interview I can’t wait to read them all.
Have Fun
Helen

Hana
15 years ago

Thanks to Risky Regencies for the great interview! And thanks to Sabrina Jeffries for the upcoming release of the new book. I’m a bit of a newcomer to your books, but what I’ve been able to lay my hands on in the last week or two I have eagerly devoured. Picking a favorite, that would be too hard! But I definitely have a soft spot for the Brotherhood.

Best of luck in all that you do, and thanks again for taking the time to share with all of us readers!

Sabrina
15 years ago

Y’all are so wonderful!! Thanks for the warm welcome and the lovely comments about my books. And Kat–I’m delighted that you liked Beware so much! I confess to having a soft spot for Lachlan. Writing this book made me want to do more Scottish heroes. Maybe when this series is finished, I’ll consider it!

Keira Soleore
15 years ago

Yay, for more Scottish heroes !!!!!!!!! 🙂

Kat: It’s fun to see you popping by here.

jennybrat
15 years ago

Hi Sabrina, gotta love them Scots!

Have you ever been to Scotland? If yes, what’s your fav place to visit? If not, what is the one sight/attraction you would wish to go?

How important are character names to you? Do you spend a lot of time deciding on the right name?

Sabrina
15 years ago

Jennybrat, I’ve never been to Scotland and am dying to go. One of these days, I do hope to get there. I have an autistic teen who requires round-the-clock supervision, so travel is complicated for me, but we’re working on it. My dh and I are eager to visit the entire UK.

But if someone could pick me up and plunk me down, I’d want to visit Holyrood Park at Edinburgh, the Orkney Islands, and anywhere in the Highlands, especially Inverness. Oh, and Dunkeld, on the off chance that I could meet Dougie Maclean. I’m a huge fan.

Character names are hugely important to me. Some names just don’t work for some characters. I use a book entitled The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names to make sure all my first names are authentic, and a dictionary of English surnames for those.

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