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Sophia Nash is here!

Nash’s vibrant, fresh storytelling sparkles as she tells the tale of a woman’s secret desires and the man who can make them all come true. Here’s a fantastic story you’ll want to go on forever! –Romantic Time BOOKreviews 4 1/2 stars for Love With A Proper Scoundrel

Let’s give a warm Riskies’ welcome to my friend, Sophia Nash. I knew Sophia even before she became an award-winning Regency Romance author, and I’m delighted she’s visiting us today. Sophia writes for AVON and she’s here to talk about Book 3 in her Widows Club series. Sophia is also giving away a signed copy of Love With A Proper Scoundrel to one lucky commenter.—Diane

1. Tell us about Love With A Perfect Scoundrel.
This is the third book in the series I’ve had a wickedly fun time creating for Avon.
Here is the back cover blurb:
Twice jilted in the last two years, the achingly beautiful yet stoic Grace, Countess of Sheffield has given up on love. Now she’s no longer capable of maintaining the elegant, serene facade with the members of the Duchess of Helston’s secret circle of friends. And so she flees… only to encounter wretched disaster during the carriage ride north.
But little does Grace know that once she faces all fate has tossed her way, she will find a new life…with a tall, rugged stranger who not only saves her life but forces her to dig deep into her hidden reserves of desire and fortitude to blossom into the woman she was destined to become—a lady willing to sacrifice all for a mysterious, yet powerful man who insists he is nothing more than a perfect scoundrel.

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

It started with a character–Grace Sheffey. Many readers wrote in and demanded that this poor woman have her own happily ever after after the first two books. She was a challenge to write because after horrid endings for her in the first two books, she was very unsure of herself. So right away I put her in a situation where she had no choice but to prove how strong she was under her elegant facade. And the hero? Well, Michael Ranier is my very favorite hero I’ve ever created–enough said.

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

Absolutely– the plot! While the characters were firmly fixed in my head early on, the overall plot was more elusive. Luckily I had planned a research trip to England months before. After driving 1,200 miles through a gazillion hair-raising roundabouts, I arrived in Derbyshire–right into the teeth of a freak snowstorm. And I wondered….what if Grace Sheffey got caught in a blizzard in Derbyshire? A hundred scenes popped into my head and a story was born.

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

I remember one of my favorite authors suggesting a long time ago that it was very difficult to have only two characters in a story. And she was right. But I wanted to delve deep into the psyches of two strangers cocooned in the middle of nowhere together. I have to say that I really loved writing this part of the book. The extraordinary chemistry between the hero/heroine made it easier than I had imagined. The tricky part was weaving in bits and pieces of the mysteries and secrets of Grace and Michael along the way.
Can you tell I loved writing this book? It’s not always that way. I will admit that The Kiss gave me ALOT of sleepless nights!

5. Your books have won an incredible number of awards in the relatively few years (in publishing years) that you’ve been writing, including the biggest of all, the RITA. What has this been like for you?

Well, while the initial glow of winning an award is lovely, I’ve also learned not to take any of it seriously. Author Anne Lamott wrote something like, “whenever the world throws rose petals at you, beware the cosmic banana peel right behind.” I’ve found this to be dead on. Right after the RITA and having a book named “Top Ten Romance of the Year” by Booklist the Signet Regency line closed, I struggled with a proposal that flopped, changed agents, wrote a new proposal, etc. ad nauseum before FINALLY, my stories found a new home.
And of course the opposit is true re my Banana Peel View on winning awards: All the writers watching the winners crying on stage are the ones with the last laugh since they’re the ones being offered the “significant” deals, right?

5. You’ve also had a variety of exciting careers, from news producer to Capitol Hill speech writer to Executive Director of the Washington International Horse Show. Why in the world did you become a Romance Writer? And how does writing Regency Romance compare?

The reason I turned to writing is a very sad story. My father, a WWII war hero and the most avid reader I’ve ever known, had always talked about the idea of one of us writing a novel. During the last stage of an illness, he made me promise to write a book because he said life was too short and he knew I secretly wanted to write. So I I forced myself to write a terrifyingly bad first draft of A Secret Passion. My father edited the first few chapters and I gave him my word before he died that I would see it through. Needless to say it is dedicated to him. Which of my jobs did I like best? Writing will always be my first love, although the nightly adreneline rush of the Miami newsroom was great. It was kind of like boot camp with alot of hairspray and duct tape.

6. What’s next for you?

An anthology: Four Dukes and a Devil arrives on book shelves this coming July. And then the final book in the Widows Club quartet, which I’m currently writing. Although…there might be another widow or other liar lurking about in mourning if the powers that be have a say…

Here’s your chance to ask Sophia a question. Or simply make a comment. You’ll be in the running for her prize, Love With A Proper Scoundrel
Thanks for blogging with us today, Sophia!

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Maureen
13 years ago

Hi Sophia!
I have enjoyed your books in the past and am looking forward to this one. Do you think you’ll stick with historical romance or do you see yourself ever writing a contemporary?

Margay
13 years ago

Hi, Sophia, I am reading A Dangerous Beauty now and am intrigued by your upcoming ones. My question is: How do you keep your ideas fresh?
Margay

Sarah Tormey
13 years ago

Hi Sophia,
I am eagerly awaiting the third installment in your Widows series (I LOVE the cover!) and can’t wait to see what you write next. My question is: what was your favorite part of your research trip, aside from the inspirational blizzard?
Sarah Tormey

Mary Blayney
13 years ago

Hi Sophia, I love hearing the story behind the book. Will you be signing anywhere?

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Hi, Sophia!
Welcome to the Riskies!
I am so envious of your trip to England. I’d love to be snowbound in Derbyshire!

Gillian Layne
13 years ago

Sophia, the story about your dad touched my heart, thank you for sharing that with us. I think many of us have someone special we want to honor with our writing.

I’ve read the excerpt of LWPS and loved it! May I ask about your process? Do you revise as you write or do you write more than one draft?

Janga
13 years ago

Hi, Sophia!

I loved A Dangerous Beauty, and The Kiss was one of my top reads of 2008, so I am primed for Love with the Proper Scoundrel. (I love all the implications of a “proper scoundrel.”)I’ve already had word from PJ that the book is wonderful and that Michael is a hero with whom I’m certain to fall in love. I’m eager to read Grace’s story.

Can you tell us anything else about the anthology?

Sophia Nash
13 years ago

Hi Maureen and everyone,
Thanks so much for all your encouragement! Regarding your question: I’m usually working on 2 projects. One is always a historical and the other is something to “cleanse the palate.” Sometimes it’s a contemporary, and other times a paranormal, and other times a screenplay. So, I’ll never say “never” to branching into a new genre, but I don’t think I’ll ever want to stop writing Historicals as they are so close to my heart.
Off to church, and then I’ll be right back!

azteclady
13 years ago

Welcome, Ms Nash!

I confess with some embarrassment that I have yet to read your work (I’m so behind, it’s not even funny).

Personally I love well-written stories in which the two main characters are alone and forced by circumstances to interact constantly. Here’s wishing you great success with this one!

Louisa Cornell
13 years ago

Hello, Sophia! Thank you for writing such wonderful, sexy, fun books! They have given me hours of escape and relaxation. Trust me, after an 8 hour shift at the local Wal-Mart bakery hearing complaints like “I just didn’t think it would be that PINK.” or “Why can’t you make a quarter sheet cake that is 1/3 chocolate, 1/3 white, and 1/3 red velvet?” or “Do you have any bigger croissants?” I’m sorry, we don’t make croissants big enough for a six foot sub! Your books ensure the continued health of my customers and co-workers alike!

The Widows series has been so wonderful and I can’t wait to read the next installment. And I happen to like those books where are there just two characters and you get to learn all about them and watch just the pure simplicity of love coming to be.

I’m with the Divine One! I would love to be caught in a snowstorm in Derbyshire for a few months. Especially if I were trapped somewhere like Chatsworth!

I’m with Janga. Please do dish on the anthology. Sounds delicious.

And what are your favorite research resources on the Regency?

Christine Trent
13 years ago

Sophia,

I’m glad Grace is getting her own happily-ever-after and I’m looking forward to getting my own copy of LWPS, which I just ordered from Amazon.

I really enjoy the complexity of your stories and your clever use of chapter openers (Devil’s dictionary, lists, etc.). I hope to be as good a writer someday when I grow up. 🙂

Christine Trent

“The Queen’s Dollmaker”
Coming January 2010 from Kensington Books
http://www.christinetrent.com

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

“hearing complaints like “I just didn’t think it would be that PINK.””

LOL, Louisa! Maybe then they shouldn’t order a pink cake? 🙂

Marian Griffin
13 years ago

Hello, Sophia! I can’t wait to read The Kiss. I bet I’ll love it as much as all your other books. And I am intriqued by the idea of only two characters in a book. Talk about a challenge!
Marian in Sunny Florida

Cheri2628
13 years ago

I have really enjoyed your Widows Club series. The Kiss was a particular favorite. I love that the heroine in that book wasn’t physcially perfect. Her injured limb added a poignancy and sweetness to the first love scenes.

I am looking forward to the next book in the series!

Keira Soleore
13 years ago

((Sophia)), hello Ms. Chic-n-Elegant. Welcome to the Riskies.

I’m hoping you’re not going to be on a book deadline during National this year. I barely caught a glimpse of you last year.

As you know, I loved DANGEROUS and KISS, and after reading PJ’s review and talking to her about it, I’m totally jazzed to read LWTPS.

Do you regularly go to England on research trips? Do you have a fellow author or favorite research partner you go with?
Diane, I love your story of how you won the RITA the first year, and then the next year, you were the one to award the RITA to Sophia.

LOL, Louisa! Maybe then they shouldn’t order a pink cake?

That was us one year. Needless to say, the birthday girl was supremely delighted.

Louisa Cornell
13 years ago

Thank you, Amanda! I mean, PINK is PINK, isn’t it? It is especially frustrating when they have looked at the design in a book and in a photo. Keira, honey, we have a couple of CUTE Hello Kitty cakes. I would love to do one for your little princess.

And last time I got stuck in a snowstorm, the only hero around was my 23 year old horse, Taz! But he did get me to the grocery store and back when the roads were impassible!

Sophia Nash
13 years ago

Hi Margay,
So glad you’re enjoying A Dangerous Beauty. How do I keep my ideas fresh? Hmmm…I’m not sure! All I can say is that I try to remain open to story ideas that pop up when I usually least expect them–like the snowstorm in England. Then if something intrigues me, I always take this germ of an idea and ask, “what would my characters do in this scene?”

Sophia Nash
13 years ago

Hi Sarah,
In London, I always love staying at Home House in Portman Square (the setting for all the characters’ houses in the series.) There’s a huge portrait of the Countess of Home in one of the elegant drawing rooms, and her dour expression always makes me laugh out loud each time I see her. She’s off-screen in a number of the stories in the series and the dowager duchess of Helston is her nemesis.

Sophia Nash
13 years ago

Hi Mary!
I’ve been seeing your book EVERYWHERE! That shiny red cover really stands out–as do your beautiful stories! Re signing: I’ve signed stock in several Washington/Maryland bookstores in preparation for the official release date on Tuesday.

Sophia Nash
13 years ago

Hi Gillian,
My writing process is not nice, neat, or tidy. While everyone always suggests it is better to write the first ugly draft straight through without looking back, I’ve found I can’t do it that way (even though I wish I could.) Instead, everyday, I reread what I’ve written the day before and then I edit and ponder the next scene. Usually every 3 or 4 chapters I come full stop. At least I now know that means something is very wrong and I have to figure it out and fix it before I can move forward. It’s a frustrating process but I’ve learned that every writer develops their own way of getting the words on the page.

Sophia Nash
13 years ago

Janga! How are you?
I had so much fun writing the novella for Four Dukes and A Devil. I’d always hoped to be given the chance to tackle a short story.
The novella is entitled: “Catch of the Century” and the ducal hero is the most hotly pursued bachelor in all of England. The heroine, Victoria Givan, is featured in several chapters of “Love With the Perfect Scoundrel” but it is, of course, a stand alone story just like all of the books in the series. The H/H in the novella have very strong personalities and the dialogue just flew onto the page which made it fun to write!

Virginia
13 years ago

Hi Sophia, I do so enjoy your books because you write historical and I love them. I was just wondering if you enjoy doing the research for your books? I really enjoyed your interview and keep writing those historicals for us!

Thanks for sharing with us today!

Sophia Nash
13 years ago

Louisa and Azteclady,
Thank you for your good wishes. And I LOVE the bakeries at Walmart and Cosco! Nothing like a gigantic apple pie or platter of chocolate chip cookies for 50 to cheer me through a deadline! So, please keep baking and ignore those escapees from the lunatic asylums…
Research materials? I love the Torrington Diaries, and several horticultural and farming almanacs from the period that would bore most people to tears!
PS–Chatsworth was even more beautiful than I had imagined. If you want to see the amazing pictures from the trip, just “friend” me on Facebook!

Sophia Nash
13 years ago

Hi CHristine.
It was so lovely to see you at the WRW workshop yesterday! And you know what I want to be when I grow up? A master at diplomacy such as yourself! And by the way, I meant to tell you yesterday that I LOVE your website–there is just something so elegant and cozy at the same time. I can’t wait for The Queen’s Dollmaker!

Sophia Nash
13 years ago

Hi, Cheri2628 and Marian.
I’m so glad The Kiss moved you. I’ve hinted it was the hardest book I have yet to write–and I can’t figure out why. I felt the same way when I wrote “A Passionate Endeavor.” Anyway, I’ll be curious to hear what readers think of Love With the Perfect Scoundrel.
PS-Marian, I am so jealous. It is SNOWING right now and I’d give anything to be wiggling my toes in the sand in Florida.

Kathy
13 years ago

Hi Sophia!

Your book sounds like a fabulous read!! 😉 I can’t wait to get one in my hands.

What is it about the Regency period that fascinates you? And if you could meet one person from this ear, who would that be?

Kathy
13 years ago

Oops! I meant to type ‘era’ not ear. Good grief!! 🙁

Andrea Pickens
Andrea Pickens
13 years ago

Hi Sophia,

Thanks so much for the wonderful interview and sharing your insight. I love the rose petals/banana peel analogy—oh, do all we who toil at this crazy craft relate to that!

Am looking forward to Grace’s story!

Sophia Nash
13 years ago

Hi, Virginia.

It’s easy to let research take over a writing day because it is so much easier than crafting a story. So when I can, I highlight passages of my work that require research as I’m writing and then only give in to the research bug at the end of the day.

Sophia Nash
13 years ago

Thanks Ammanda and Andrea for commenting. It’s always so lovely to hear from former Signet sisters!

Margie
Margie
13 years ago

Hi Sophia! Thank you so much for the wonderful interview! Love With A Perfect Scoundrel sounds so intriguing. I love how you incorporated the blizzard in Derbyshire into your book. Researching your books must be so exciting! 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us today and I can’t wait to read your book!

Sophia Nash
13 years ago

Hi, Kathy.

If I could meet one person for the era? Hmmm, the logical choice would be Jane Austen, of course. But for pure research, it would have been amazing to spend a day at the male bastion: White’s Club with Beau Brummel, don’t you think?

Santa
13 years ago

Hi Sophia!

So glad to see you here. I fell in love with your books from the very first one and have been a fan ever since. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one. I love the title. I love the premise and I know I’ll it.

I’m also happy to see a novella in the very near future. I adore novellas.

I can’t wait to see you at National.

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Sophia, I’ve found that I write best and am most comfortable writing the way you do, re-reading what I wrote the day before and fixing it before I can move on. I’ve tried the rough first draft way but that process is not as comfortable for me.

Jane
13 years ago

Hi Sophia,
Congrats on the new release. I enjoyed “The Kiss.” I hope there will be more than four books in the series.

Beth Elliott
13 years ago

Hello Sophia,

I loved the remark about the gazillion roundabouts – they get to us too. Can’t wait to read ‘Love with a Proper Scoundrel’.

Cara King
13 years ago

Thanks for being here, Sophia!!!

And I must say — your new cover is extremely pretty, and it has the bonus of looking slightly unusual — very eye-catching!

Cara

Janet Mullany
13 years ago

Third time I’ve tried to come on and say hi to Sophia. Hi Sophia!

Deborah
Deborah
13 years ago

Hi Sophia! Thank you so much for the wonderful post! I enjoyed reading about the background for Love With A Proper Scoundrel. It sounds like such a fascinating book. Historical romances are my favorite genre! I’m really looking forward to reading it!

robynl
13 years ago

Hi Sophia and welcome; you are a new to me author. From all reports given here your books are a must read and I shall look into this. Thanks.

Sophia Nash
13 years ago

It was so nice to chat with all of you–new and old friends. Can’t wait to see some of you at WRW or RWA later this year. And thank you so much–again–for inviting me here.

I’ll post the new book to the winner as soon as I find out who won!

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