Yes, here’s Diane Gaston, to talk about her newest release Scandalizing the Ton, and one lucky person will win a signed copy of the book–your comment or question enters you into the contest. So chat away and have fun.
4 Stars! In this spin-off of The Vanishing Viscountess, Gaston deftly portrays the era and brings back previous characters. Her sensitive, compassionate and sensual romance shows how the power of love can overcome adversity. — Joan Hammond, Romantic Times BOOKreviews
Scandalizing the Ton has everything you want in a romance novel – love and passion, scandal and secrets….— Debby Guyette, Cataromance
Tell us about Scandalizing the Ton (and congrats on the great reviews!).
Scandalizing the Ton is my Regency Paparazzi story, my idea of what it would be like for a Regency lady to be the victim of the historical equivalent of the media frenzy we’ve seen around celebrities like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Or Anna Nicole Smith.
Here is the backcover blurb: Lady Wexin, once the ton’s foremost beauty, has been abandoned by her family and friends, and creditors hound her. Her husband’s scandalous death has left her impoverished and the gossip-mongering press is whipped into a frenzy of speculation when it becomes clear the widow is with child. Who is the father? Only one man knows: Adrian Pomroy, Viscount Cavanley. He has cultivated the reputation of a rake, but in truth yearns for something useful to do. Delicate beauty Lydia Wexin could pose an intriguing and stimulating challenge.
Your hero, Pom, appeared in an earlier book. (Is that really his nickname?) When you created him, did you anticipate that he would have his own story?
Sigh. I didn’t realize when Pomroy first appeared in Innocence and Impropriety that “Pom,” as his friend Tanner called him, was a derogatory Australian term for a British person. Pomroy was a minor character and I had no plans to make him a hero, even when he was mentioned in The Vanishing Viscountess, Tanner’s story. When I selected Lydia as my next heroine, though, Pomroy was the perfect hero for her because of his reputation and his connection to Tanner. I couldn’t go through the book calling him “Pom” (my British editor told me) so I gave him a courtesy title and contrived to have Lydia call him Adrian, which I thought was a pretty cool hero name. He’s Adrian throughout the book—except to Tanner.
How would you define your books?
My niche at Harlequin Historical is to write about the Regency Underworld, the darker, grittier side of the Regency. The Mysterious Miss M, my first book, set the tone with its heroine who had been forced into prostitution. Since then I’ve tries to focus on the seamier side of gambling, of the theatre, and I also sent a marquess on the run with a beautiful fugitive. Scandalizing the Ton examines the darker side of the press during the Regency.
Do you find US and UK readers have different demands or expectations, and how do you meet both?
I mostly leave this up to my editors to help me get the varying expectations correct. (See my answer above about “Pom.” – there’s a lot I don’t know about the UK !). I do believe that the UK readers would want me to get their history and their geography correct. As a result, I try to be as accurate as I can be. Mostly, though, I believe both US and UK readers primarily want a good story. That is what I try to deliver.
How did you start this book: with the characters, or with the idea of a book about paparazzi in the Regency?
I started with the character of Lydia , who had to suffer for the sins of her former husband. At the end of The Vanishing Viscountess I’d left poor Lydia , totally innocent of any wrongdoing, in a very unhappy situation. She deserved a happy ending and someone like Pomroy ..er … Adrian … who was a light-hearted charmer, seemed perfect for her.
I originally focused on the pregnancy aspect of the story and had a villain who, in the end, abducted her baby. My editor accepted it but added, “Diane, do you realize you have ended the last three books with an abduction?”
Acck! (Amazing how blind one can be to such things) It was back to the drawing board for me. The paparazzi element had always been part of the story, but my friend Julie suggested I make the press the “villain.” Once she said that, I knew I had my story, a story I could put my heart into.
What’s your favorite scene?
Probably the initial scene when Adrian is caring for Lydia and it leads to lovemaking. I like to write these premature love scenes between two people who are obviously right for each other but who don’t even know each other yet. It’s like a foreshadowing of what is meant to be between them.
What was the most troublesome scene to write?
Oh, gosh. I can’t think of a troublesome scene (or one more troublesome than all the others). What was tricky was sustaining the love story between Lydia and Adrian when they really were not together for a significant part of the book. I did that by keeping them in each other’s thoughts and by the scene when Lydia sees Pomroy…er Adrian …pass by in a carriage.
The very next thing is my novella in the anthology I’m doing with Amanda and Deb Marlowe. We had such fun plotting this together. The anthology is called The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor, to be released May 2009, and it will be a featured book in Harlequin’s Diamond Jubilee. Mine is the first story and here is the set-up:
When the Duke of Manning ran off with Lady Linwall it had been the scandal of its day. Did they care? Not at all. Their home, Welbourne Manor, soon housed a happy miscellany of his and theirs—but not hers, not the young son she left behind. Now all the children are grown, this estranged son is on their doorstep, and all their lives are about to change.
There are more books coming, too, but you’ll hear more about them a bit later. Scandalizing the Ton really brings to an end the series of books that began with The Mysterious Miss M, which makes me a little sad, but I ran out of characters and I was coming perilously close to the end of the Regency era. I have a new trilogy planned and this is what you’ll hear more about as time goes on.
And you can always check my website!
Ask away… your question or comment enter you into a contest for a signed copy of Scandalizing the Ton.
p.s. sneaky promo from Janet, who’s guest blogging over at Historical Romance UK today. Come on over and chat!
Hurrah! Another Diane Gaston book:))) I can’t wait to read it. I love your work!!!
First, can’t wait to read your new book!
The subject of lovemaking early in a story is of interest to me since sometimes I can’t keep the h/h apart.
Can you touch on what aspects of a scene are important when this happens early in a story? I know motivation is important, but what else should a writer keep in mind?
I like the fact that you have the scene foreshadow their relationship.
Diane, I have always enjoyed your books, and this one sounds like another winner! I am intrigued that it features Regency paparazzi because we hear so much about paparazzi in our own time. I have always felt so sorry for the celebrities that are hounded and stalked by vultures with cameras!
Diane – I covet your books! I love all kinds of genres, but if I’m jonesing for a Regency, you always come to mind.
I think of how the papparazzi has truly messed with people’s lives (most recently Heather Locklear, and who can forget Princess Diana). A viewpoint of the Regency version of papparazzi should be most interesting and quite entertaining. I know that no matter how down on her luck your heroine may be, life is going to be just fine.
Interesting about the use of the word “Pom”. When my daughter was traveling the world via backpack (which is why I now dye my hair), she met Australians everywhere, and they would use the word “Pom” when referring to the British. My daughter asked why and was told that when prisoners of England were brought to Australia’s penal colony many, many years ago, they were tattooed with the letters POM – Prisoners of Mother England. What happened to the E is beyond me. I had forgotten about that until you mentioned it in the blog.
Anyway, can’t wait to read “Scandalizing the Ton” – using the word scandal and ton in the same title sells me!!
Debra from WRW
Diane, your stories are all richly creative, and this is such a clever tie-in to present day.
I think it’s fascinating that your readers and editors take such an interest in the precise details. Living in the US, it isn’t my main concern; I’m all about the romance. But kudos to you for all the hard work!
Can’t wait to hear about the new trilogy. 🙂
Gillian, thanks for calling my stories “richly creative.” I love that!
Cheri, I agree with you about today’s paparazzi. No matter what I might think about the celebrity, I do feel sorry for them to have to endure the paparazzi.
And a special wave and thanks to my WRW pals, Gail, Barbara and Debra. Thank you so much for stopping by. Washington (DC) Romance Writers is my home chapter and so these ladies are “family!”
Regarding an early lovemaking scene, motivation is very important, as you point out. I’ve done this three times in my books (The Mysterious Miss M, The Wagering Widow, and Scandalizing the Ton).
I think that the physical attraction has to be there, but also the hero and heroine must connect on an emotional level as well, so something more has to occur than each of them just thinking the other is hot. I like to leave the reader thinking from the moment of this scene that these two belong together.
And, of course, in the Regency, I need to be certain that I believe a hero and heroine would really consider making love, but that is where the motivation comes in.
Have to say, it is always easier to portray the heroes as motivated!!!
I think I deserve a big reward in the form of your book and so I am going shopping with my sister friend today and, because she loves me, a stop at Borders will be part of our trek for chicken parm fixings.
And as a HUGE fan of novellas, I’m sooo looking forward to this particular offereing. Gaston, McCabe and Marlowe – doesn’t get any better!
Wonderful, fun premise! I heard the other night that paparazzi in Italian means mosquito. *G* Fitting. My sincere best to you!
Zebra/His Captive/Alexander MacGruder
Zebra/His Woman/December 08/Duncan MacGruder
An interview with the Divine One! What a great way to start my day off! (I know it is almost 11 AM here but it’s my day off! I slept in!)
And I even learned something about the term POM in Australia. Tuck that bit of information away for future reference.
The only thing I don’t like about Diane Gaston novels is that they don’t come out nearly often enough for me!! This one will be my reward for breaking the 200 page mark on my current WIP. I was going to make it my reward for finishing the book, but that may take more than a few weeks and I can’t wait that long! I have SO been looking forward to this book!
I just love the idea of the “mosquitoes” in Regency England. What a great word for them!
I think that a big part of the appeal of these books has been the fact that they DO depict a side of Regency England that we don’t often read about and the stories are filled with such intriguing, heart breaking and funny characters – People you want to know and for whom you are rooting.
Now my big question is – Care to give us a hint about the next trilogy????
And I can’t wait to read the Gaston, McCabe, Marlowe collaboration! I will be doing the happy dance out of the store with that one!
Hi Diane, I have never read any of your books but girl you write historical and that is right up my alley. I love a good historical and have heard a lot of good things about yours.
Virginia, you’ve never read any of the Divine One’s books?????????? THUNK!!! Get thee to a bookstore posthaste!! Anything by Ms G is fabulous, but if you read the Mysterious Miss M you will be hooked for life!!
Thanks for the interview, Diane. I, too, love the seamy side of the Regency underworld. Fascinating, rich stuff for a novel.
And your story sounds like so much fun, very modern, while still being true to the time.
Scandalizing the Ton sounds very intriguing. I just ran out to Amazon and bought it. I can’t wait to curl up with it in my reading chair with a warm cup of pumpkin coffee and my three cats.
Waving to Diana and Christine, more WRW pals. Diana writes great medievals so give her a try and you’ll hear more about Christine who JUST SOLD her dollmaker to Marie Antoinette story!!!!
Special thanks to Christine for buying Scandalizing the Ton!!
And another note to Debra. I love the POM explanation! I feel totally dumb for not knowing what Pom meant.
Santa, aren’t you the darling to go out to buy my book!!!
I’m looking forward to Deb, Amanda’s and my anthology, too. Although I know their heroines, I haven’t read their stories!!! We’ll probably make a lot of noise when the anthology comes out.
Virginia, do stop by our blog often. You’ll hear a lot about historicals here and our individual opinions on the history, the books, the market, and various hunky men.
I hope you will give my book a try and then let me know what you think of it.
Louisa, O Doggie One!
I love that you consider my book a REWARD. How neat is that.
I may have to hire you as a publicist if you keep up the good words about my books. You must get that GH entry done, though.
I love our Risky Regencies community and all our lovely commenters!!!!
Re: the Trilogy…..you’ll just have to wait ((g)) I must start on book 2 soon….
Hey Louisa, congrats on the 200 page mark! I like to have a little celebration every time I hit a 100 page mark (helps it break down the story a bit so I am not as intimidated)
Thanks for the shout-out for our anthology, Diane!! The 3 of us had lots of fun working on this project, it was the most collaborative thing I’ve ever done (and Diane and Deb made it relatively painless, LOL)
I love how you took the current craze for celebrity gossip and showed how it is really timeless–and how destructive the loss of privacy can be. (plus I just went to see “The Duchess” last night, so was thinking about historical celebrity anyway LOL). You showed that so very well.
I want to see The Duchess!
I must say that it Keira Knightley looks better in the film clips on TV than I thought she would. She is such a good actress!
Thanks, Amanda and Megan, for stopping by.
Hi, Diane, and congrats on the new release. I love how you weave the darker sides of Regency England into your stories along with the romance.
Hmmm, fans of Regency historicals could all be called Prisoners of Mother England. In our own way!
I’m really looking forward to reading Scandalizing the Ton. And please don’t enter my name in the contest, I’m a previous winner.
“I want to see The Duchess!”
It’s definitely worth seeing! It’s a little slow and muddled in spots, but the costumes and sets are fabulous, and the acting much better than I expected. Keira Knightley’s facial expressions in intense scenes (like when she gives up her baby) were very evocative and moving. And Dominic Cooper should always act with his shirt off–I think it’s what went wrong with “Sense and Sensibility” (too mych clothing) and right for “Duchess” and “Mamma Mia.” :))
Anyway, the scenes of celebrity adulation and gossip made me think of your book, too!
Three Cheers, Diane, on a new trilogy coming from you. And of course, an anthology from you three in May. You Riskies are getting busier and busier. Fantastic news for your loudest, er, most ardent, fan.
The genius of STT for me is that a current threat for notorious celebs from the paparazzi is seamlessly taken almost 200 years back. Way to make it current and historical at the same time!
Ammanda, say, “AYE” for Keira Knightly in The Duchess.
Cara, are we going to discuss this movie??
Diane, a comment for you at the end of Ammanda’s post from yesterday.
Chiming in late, but just love your idea of showing that gossip is not a modern invention—it probably reared its ugly head from the time of cuniform writing!
Your books are wonderful, and it’s a treat to have a new one to devour. And of course, looking forward to the anthology with Amanda and Deb. Sounds like fun!
Awwwww,geee, Elena, Amanda, janegeorge, Keira (the unKnightly one), and Andrea – you ladies sure make me feel good!
Keira, when my friend Julie suggested I focus on the “paparazzi” aspect of the story, it was like a lightbulb went off in my head. I knew it was exactly the story I wanted to write, because I’d been fascinated by the frenzy around Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and, of course, the media interest in Anna Nicole Smith’s baby’s paternity. It seems so cruel to swarm anybody, just for a photo or video footage.
Even my “heartthrob” Gerard Butler has been in the news lately for punching a paparazzi guy.
Off to see what Keira said about me on Amanda’s blog day.
Yay, Gerrard! Some of those people need a good punch! I have to confess I bought the latest issue of Men’s Health because Gerrard was on the cover!! Great article about him inside too!
I missed that issue, Louisa! Arrgh! I just hope he doesn’t get arrested for assault. I suspect in Scotland this would not be a problem.
I tend to agree, O Divine One, in Scotland as in the South, sometimes the ‘he needed punching’ defense is perfectly acceptable!
The article was about him leaving the law to become and actor and it was really insightful.
Hi Diane! Great interview! I love your books! I’ve read Innocence and Impropriety and The Wagering Widow. Both are on my keeper shelf. Scandalizing the Ton sounds wonderful. I can’t wait to read it!
Hi Diane! Congratulations on your latest release! It sounds like another winner! I’ll be looking for it in the stores.
hi, Debbie and Margie, thanks for the nice words!
Hi Diane, wonderful interview. I enjoyed reading about your process. The book sounds great!
Can’t wait to read that book!
Hi Diane. Great interview. Scandalizing the Ton sounds wonderful. I love your books.
ArkieRN, Minna, and Crystalgb, you arrived right in time!
Crystalgb, thank you for the nice words about my book!
Diane – no need in feeling dumb about not knowing what a POM is!! I would never have known but for my daughter. I can also tell you that “thank you” in Hungarian is a very vulgar way of describing a female’s privates in Arabic. Since my daughter was working with a refugee camp in Hungary with a large Arabic population, she quickly learned to mumble a Hungarian thank you and go on her merry way. Can you imagine the surprise if after buying ice cream for Arabic teens, she turns and uses what we would call the “c” word to the vendor, then turns and sees the startled look on her young charges???
The things you learn from your children.
Hugs Diane, and hope to see you soon!
That’s too funny, Debra!
Can’t wait to read Scandalizing the Ton b/c it sounds like a very interesting book.
What a great interview! Sorry I’m late to the party…
And I love the tease for the novella — I want to read it now!