Sarah MacLean

Get Lost in This Story…

In retrospect, there were four actions Miss Juliana Fiori should have reconsidered that evening.

First, she likely should have ignored the impulse to leave her sister-in-law’s Autumn ball in favor of the less-cloying, better-smelling and far more poorly-lit gardens of Ralston House.

Second, she very likely should have hesitated when that same impulse propelled her deeper along the darkened paths that marked the exterior of her brother’s home.

Third, she almost certainly should have returned to the house the moment she stumbled upon Lord Grabeham, deep in his cups, half-falling down, and spouting entirely ungentlemanly things.

But, she definitely should not have hit him.

It didn’t matter than he had pulled her close and breathed his hot, whiskey-laden breath upon her, or that his cold, moist lips had clumsily found their way to the high arch of one cheek, or that he suggested that she might like it just as her mother had.

Ladies did not hit people.

At least, English ladies didn’t.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!! Do you know what’s even better than a margarita?  Spending a few moments with our awesome guest blogger today!  I am beyond thrilled to host fellow historical author, Sarah MacLean.  Her debut with Avon, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake was seriously one of the most memorable and fun books I read last year—one of those books you read and say “I should just quit writing now, because I’ll never be as good as that!”  So you can imagine how much I’m looking forward to curling up with “Eleven Scandals”.  It will be the first book I download onto my Mother’s Day Kindle.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sarah MacLean grew up in Rhode Island, obsessed with historical romance. Her love of all things historical helped to earn her degrees from Smith College and Harvard University before she finally set pen to paper and wrote her first book. Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband, their dog, and a ridiculously large collection of romance novels.

So, let’s get right to the Get Lost Interview!!!

Heather:  What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Sarah:  When Harry Met Sally. Barely acquaintances become best friends and then fall in love. With hilarity. Win.

Heather:  What turns you off like nothing else?
Sarah:  Satisfied ignorance. You know those people...the ones who say, “Oh, I would never read about that...learn about that...care about that...” with a kind of pride that turns my stomach. Do not want.

Heather:  Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?
Sarah:  Classical music engenders a nearly Pavlovian response in me. I hear the strings of a violin and my fingers itch for pen and paper.

Heather:  If you couldn’t be a writer anymore, what profession would you take up?
Sarah:  I really wish I’d gone to medical school. I would love to be a doctor.

Heather:  What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Sarah:  I do a little dance. Usually in my kitchen.

Heather:  Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
Sarah:  I try to avoid them, but I can’t help but peek now and then. To be honest? The really positive ones scare me, because I’m afraid I’ll never be able to live up to them, and the really negative ones make me feel better, because I’m sure I can do better.

Heather:  What soundtrack or playlist do you recommend for your current release?
Sarah:  I did a blog post about this a few weeks ago! http://macleanspace.com/musicality/eleven-songs/

Heather:  What’s your favorite kid joke?
Sarah:  Two snowmen are standing in a field. One says to the other, “Do you smell carrots?”

Heather:  What name have you been dying to use as a lead character, but haven’t found the right fit yet?
Sarah:  Asriel.

Heather:  How much money does it take to be happy?
Sarah:  As much as keeps my dog fed and a roof over my head.

Heather’s GOTTA ASK – Sarah’s GOTTA ANSWER  J

Heather:  So, I noticed on your website that you are the daughter of a British spy and a jet-setting Italian?!  Any favorite stories of theirs you can share or would you then have to kill us?  Any plans to use any of them in your books?

Sarah:  It’s true!  While it’s been a long time since my mom served in Her Majesty’s Secret Service or my father landed in the US and turned in his frequent flyer card, you can absolutely see their influence in my books...particularly Eleven Scandals...which is about an Italian and a Brit finding love.


Sarah:  What’s more important to you in a book, great characters or great plot?


Sarah:  Yes, we’ll be giving away a copy of Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart to one random commenter.

Thanks so much for being with us today, Sarah!  Where can your fans learn more about you on the web?

**Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North American addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

Join us next tomorrow when I’m back, hosting historical medieval author Kris Kennedy!


  1. Hi Sarah! Let me be the first to welcome you to GLIAS story today! What fun it was to interview you.

    I found it funny that you and I share something in common in reverse...whereas you really wish you'd gone to medical school, I really wish I'd have started writing sooner and bypassed medical school altogether :)

    And speaking of "When Harry Met Sally" (which IS a totally fab movie), have you seen the spoof trailer with Billy Crystal, Helen Mirren and a host of other Hollywood peeps, Grampires: When Sharon Bit Harry? It's a fake proposed sequel where Sally dies and Harry meets a vampire in the old folks home. So Funny!

    As for your question, I LOVE plot...but I would have to say I'm probably 55/45, because if the characters aren't endearing, the best plot will fall flat.

    Thanks again for stopping by, and huge congrats on your RITA nomination for "Nine Rules to Break" and for hitting the NYT with "Eleven" this week!

  2. I like to have both great characters and a good plot. Maybe a leaning a bit more on the good characters side. Nothing is worse then reading a good plotted book without fleshed out characters and the same goes for having great characters but no plot for them do anything with.

  3. Welcome to GLIAS, Sarah. And I have to agree with Danielle...I want both. The story has to be somewhat logical and there have to be great characters.

    Again, Welcome.

  4. I agree with Angi....The story has to have a good plot and great characters to really hold my interest. I have read books (definately NOT yours) where they just did not develop either the plot or the characters very well and was disappointed in what could have been a good book.

    I am so sorry to see the numbers series end! I love it. Perhaps you can write about the siblings of Callie, Isabel (when James grows up, and Simon. I know I would love to keep reading about these characters! I fell in love with your writing with NINE RULES... and it continued to grow with TEN WAYS and was very anxious for ELEVEN SCANDALS.

    Congrats on the book making the bestseller's list! I look forward to reading many more books from you, including the new series.

  5. As always thank you for a brilliant interview Angi! And Sarah I always enjoy reading your interviews so very much Anna was right your so very funny and I just cant stop smiling while reading your interviews your so full of life and I am sure that passion gets portrayed in your books and I am dying to read them!

    Have a fabulicious day

  6. I think endearing sympathetic characters are great in romances so the story has to be driven by them. But in a mystery the story has to be about the plot more than the character's relationship. However, if the character in a mystery is not likeable, plot won't make any difference. So they have to have both.
    Good luck on your success now and in the future.

  7. Hi Sarah!

    LOVE LOVE YOUR BLURB! Now I have to run out and get both nine and eleven! And I'm with Heather on the plot/character question: BOTH!

  8. Well, if there isn't a good plot the book falls flat but without awesome characters the plot falls flat.....I guess I would choose characters but only a couple of percentage points above plot!

  9. Preferably both but I think great char can cover for a poor plot, while a great plot can't necessarily make poor annoying characters enjoyable. Therefore I'd have to say "character trumpts plot" (sounds like an old fashion sampler saying).

    Congrats on the rave reviews for 11 Scandals, have loved the series and the next one sounds yummy. But (isn't there always) I'm one of those wishing for Callie's brother to get his story -- he deserves a HEA too!

  10. I think I would have to choose great characters over plot. I would love to have both. If I can't identify with the characters or if I find them annoying I'm not going to finish the book. Great characters will keep me reading a story when the plot doesn't grab me.

  11. Welcome Sarah! I loved Nine Rules. Also, I like your philosophy about reviews. It sounds almost sane :)

  12. Thank you for your post, Sarah. I dig your answers to the interview questions. If someone were to ask me what I do when I finish writing a work, I'd say: I start the next one.

    Characters or plot? I say a great plot makes for great characters, so my answer should be obvious. The other way around doesn't work, at least with me. And fundamental to both elements is a great theme; but that's another blog post.

    Also, I read fiction, including romance, largely to experience that which is meaningful, but unavailable in my real life. There are plenty of people in my life, and some are real characters; but no interesting stories. So plots matter, a great deal.

    Good luck with your new release!

  13. If I had to pick one, I would go with great characters. If there is a great plot but the characters are wishy-washy, I can't stand it!! I love strong characters!

  14. Enjoyed reading this interview immensely. Both the questions and the answers were delicious and thought provoking.

    My answer about the importance of plot and characters would be 47% great characters and 53% great plot. What is happening with the story is a little more important to me than the characters.

  15. Congrats on the new release. I think a great plot is more important. A great plot can move the story along.

  16. Hi Sarah, I love your writing and have been looking forward to Eleven Scandals!

    I tend to favor character driven stories so for me, characterization is more important.

    jenma76 at hotmail dot com

  17. Both are important. You can have interesting characters, but if you don't have a good plot, there's nothing but the "lovey" romance. YAWN! :)

  18. Great characters, for the DEFINITELY! :-)
    I'm excited to read your new book!

  19. Thanks so much for having me, Heather! I'm so sorry I wasn't around all day...I was out of the house and my BlackBerry died before I could comment! Blergh!

    I'm fascinated by all the answers to my question...I am a character girl myself (as anyone who has read my books can probably guess)...but sure...there's a place for plot. I guess. ;)

  20. Congratulations Mary Anne Landers. You are our winner! Please send your name/address to GetLostInAStory@gmail.com so we can forward it to Sarah!