Get Lost in This Story…
The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton tells the story of London's most feared dandy and a governess whose life he ruined with one careless quip. Escaping from a kidnapper on the desolate Yorkshire moors, Celia comes across Tarquin Compton, who has been attacked by the same villain. When she finds he’s lost his memory, she decides to get a little revenge by telling him he’s her fiancé, a clergyman called Terence Fish. But as they flee their pursuers “Terence” turns out to be a far better man than the arrogant Tarquin. They fall in love, but the real trouble starts when he regains his memory. Can the arbiter of the ton and the lowly governess ever find happiness together?
Welcome to Get Lost in a Story today, where I am excited to host fellow historical author Miranda Neville, who is not only a completely lovely person, but who looks stunning in a fascinator (which I saw for myself in New York at RWA’s conference). Sadly, I couldn’t not find a picture of her in her fantabulous little hat, but I can give you something better ~ Miranda herself, here for one day only ;-).
Miranda tells us a little about herself:
I grew up in Wiltshire in southwest England. During my misspent youth I devoured the works of Georgette Heyer, Jean Plaidy and any other historical novels I could lay hands on. I now live in beautiful rural Vermont with my daughter Becca, a college student and confirmed drama queen. I am always happy to be distracted from gainful employment by cooking (30 minute recipes only), gardening (don't look at the weeds), cross-country skiiing, arguing about unimportant topics, and general procrastinating. The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton is my fourth historical romance for Avon.
So, let’s get to the Get Lost Interview and learn more about this fabulously talented author!
Heather: What’s your favorite kind of story to get lost in?
Miranda: Apart from romances, I enjoy mysteries and general fiction. I love classics like Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë and Anthony Trollope. I’m not big on very gloomy tales and I enjoy a quick pace. I’m quite particular about prose: nothing pulls me out of a story faster than sloppy writing and poor grammar. But in the end what matters is compelling characters I can root for.
Heather: What’s the first book you remember reading?
Miranda: The earliest books I remember were probably read to me by my parents. Winnie the Pooh certainly. Piglet and Tigger were my favorites. Makes me laugh just to think about Tigger bouncing. Here he is – the original illustration, not the Disney one.
When I could read myself I loved the Paddington Bear books.
Heather: What’s your favorite “love” word?
Miranda: Amour. It sounds so much better in French.
Heather: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
Miranda: Cinderella. The poor girl who wins a handsome prince never gets old.
Heather: Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?
Miranda: Never. When I write it’s all going on in my head.
Heather: What was the first story you remember writing?
Miranda: I took up fiction writing quite late (I do have a daughter in her 20s!) but I guess I must have had earlier ambitions. When I was helping my father move out of my childhood home I found a box of manuscripts, the beginnings of romances I wrote in my teens. I’d forgotten all about them! They aren’t very good.
Heather: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Miranda: I sit with glazed eyes, unable to believe that the loathsome thing that’s been torturing me for months is actually on its way to my editor. I look around my house and notice the mess and the dirt I’ve been ignoring. Then I celebrate with a special dinner.
Heather: What question are you never asked in interviews, but wish you were?
Miranda: Do you watch football? To which the answer is a vehement NO. I do quite like baseball.
Heather: Which era would you least like to have lived in, fashion-wise and why? Most?
Miranda: Those corsets of the high-Victorian era must have been agony to wear. And crinolines, though gorgeous, must have made going to the bathroom quite the business. I love the fashions of the 1930s. Very elegant and simple, like this photo of Coco Chanel (better without the cigarette!)
Plus women were wearing pants by then, at least the more dashing ones. (I like to think I would have been dashing.)
Heather: Have you ever written a character who wasn’t meant to be a hero/heroine but he/she wouldn’t go away?
Miranda: Goodness yes! In fact you could say I make a specialty of unpromising heroes. When I was writing The Wild Marquis, I introduced a couple of young book collectors as secondary characters. Sebastian Iverley, a bespectacled nerd who dressed like a scarecrow and despised all womankind, existed to annoy the heroine. Tarquin Compton, the dandy, performed the same office for the hero. But then I got thinking, what if (writers spend a lot of time thinking “what if”) I gave them each their own book? Thus were conceived The Dangerous Viscount and The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton.
It all comes down to the power of point of view. In most romances we see the story through the eyes of the hero and heroine. We know and perceive only what they tell us about secondary characters. But when we start to see inside those people, they may turn out to be very different. Both the woman hater and the dandy have reasons for being the way they are and when we learn them we empathize, even if we don’t always approve. Then of course the right woman comes along.
Heather: What is your favorite cheese?
Heather: Dog person or cat person?
Miranda: Cats. I like dogs but they need too much attention. Cats are so deliciouly self-reliant. They also know what they want. My cat is trying to sit on my laptop now. Probably wants to go out.
Heather: How much money does it take to be happy?
Miranda: Enough to pay your bills without worrying, take an occasional fun vacation, and save for a rainy day. That’s not a very exact answer and mileage may vary. I don’t understand billionaires who want more and more money. After the first few million what’s the difference?
Heather’s GOTTA ASK – Miranda’s GOTTA ANSWER J
Heather: So, I noticed in your fascinating bio on your website that you used to write catalogues of rare books, original letters and manuscripts for Sotheby's auction house in London and New York and spent much of your time reading the personal correspondence of the famous. Any memorable stories from that time you can share? Feel free to change the names to protect the innocent…or not!
Miranda: Once I handled the sale of some letters and musical scores of a very famous 20th century composer, which had been found in a closet of a Paris apartment where he’d lived in the 1920s. The letters contained a lot of very revealing information about the break up of his first marriage. Then the ex-wife, now an incredible old battle ax, stormed into the auction house, claiming the stuff all belonged to HER and threatening law suits. I’ve never met a more terrifying woman in my life. Come to think of it, those wives of famous men were often difficult. One time I was called to look at some books belonging to a woman who was the daughter of one famous man and the widow of another. She had quite the high opinion of herself. I knocked at the door of her New York townhouse and was told to go to the servants’ entrance!
But the thrill of holding first editions and handwritten manuscripts by people like Mozart, Austen, and Dickens never palled.
GOT A QUESTION YOU’D LIKE TO ASK YOUR FANS?
Miranda: If you could own a letter written by a famous person, past or present, who would you choose?
WILL YOU HAVE A DRAWING FROM THOSE LEAVING COMMENTS?**
Miranda: One commenter will win a copy of The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton.
Thanks so much for being with us today, Miranda! Where can your fans find out 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.