The Phenomenal Courtney Milan & 2014 RITA nominee The Countess Conspiracy

Courtney, welcome to Get Lost in a Story!  Congratulations on being a 2014 RITA® nominee for The Countess Conspiracy!  We at Get Lost in a Story are Roving Reporters checking in on RITA® nominees and asking them, ideally, fun questions.


Sebastian Malheur is the most dangerous sort of rake: an educated one. When he's not scandalizing ladies in the bedchamber, he's outraging proper society with his scientific theories. He's desired, reviled, acclaimed, and despised--and he laughs through it all.

Violet Waterfield, the widowed Countess of Cambury, on the other hand, is entirely respectable, and she'd like to stay that way. But Violet has a secret that is beyond ruinous, one that ties her irrevocably to England's most infamous scoundrel: Sebastian's theories aren't his. They're hers.

So when Sebastian threatens to dissolve their years-long conspiracy, she'll do anything to save their partnership...even if it means opening her vulnerable heart to the rake who could destroy it for good.

DONNELL:  Courtney, you’ve had major success in your writing career.  I’m curious when an RWA board member called and told you you finaled, what was your reaction?
COURTNEY: No matter how successful you are as a writer, it’s always such a huge boost to final in the RITA. I had no idea what to expect—the rules for the RITA this year were very different, and my books tend to be love/hate, so I don’t always do well in contests. I was just flabbergasted. Then delighted. Then my hands started shaking. And then I started convincing myself that I’d made it all up.

DONNELL:  What does finaling in a National competition like this mean to you?
COURTNEY: On the one hand, finaling in the RITA is such a huge deal. The fact that it is peer judged means that the people who liked my book were writers. On the other hand, I felt that the fact that some categories were not adequately represented was a real problem, and one that if left untouched, could really effect the reputation of the contest. I hope that matters.
DONNELL:  How many RWA conferences have you attended, and what is one thing you want to do while you’re in San Antonio? At the conference?
COURTNEY:  I’ve been to every RWA since Dallas in 2007, and I hope to keep attending as long as I can. My challenge for this year is to try to get some running in at the conference. I very rarely leave the conference hotel, but I’ve been told the Riverwalk is gorgeous and I’ll have to walk down it.
DONNELL:  What is your favorite thing(s) about attending Romance Writers of America conferences?COURTNEY: For me, the best part of every conference is always catching up with old friends who I see maybe once a year. It’s both friendship and business. I always learn the most from just sitting and chatting with people in the bar.
DONNELL:   Have you been shopping yet?
COURTNEY:  I have a book coming out July 15th, so all my conference readiness will get crammed in after that. It’s going to be a whirlwind experience. J
DONNELL:  I tend always to overpack?  Are you a smart packer?  Do you bring back loads of books?
COURTNEY: I wasn’t a smart packer, but then I found Erin Knightley’s AMAZING “how to pack for conference in a carry on” video: 

She is a genius—and her method totally works. I’ve done it now for both RT and RWA, and I owe her big time for it. I don’t bring back books at all—I don’t let myself pick them up anymore, because I don’t have room in the house for them.

DONNELL:  Are you nervous?
COURTNEY: Not at all! There are so many historical finalists, and with so many incredible books, that my chances of winning are just about nonexistent. I’m just going to wear a pretty dress and enjoy the show.
Now if I was in one of those categories with only two finalists, THEN I would be nervous.

DONNELL:  What are you working on right now?
COURTNEY: I’m working on finishing up the last book and novella in the Brothers Sinister series. 

The final book is called THE SUFFRAGETTE SCANDAL, and it’s the romance between Frederica Marshall, an idealistic suffragette who owns a newspaper, and Edward Clark, the jaded scoundrel who tries to take her on. After that, there will be one last novella in this series—called TALK SWEETLY TO ME, which is the romance between Stephen Shaughnessy, an author of biting social commentary, and Rose Sweetly, who is a computer—which in the 1880s means that she does slide-rule calculations of celestial bodies for an astronomer.

Thank you, Courtney!  I’m going to be cheering you on from Colorado! 

Courtney Milan’s debut novel was published in 2010. Since then, her books have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist. She’s been a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller, a RITA® finalist and an RT Reviewer’s Choice nominee for Best First Historical Romance. Her second book was chosen as a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010.

Courtney lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, a marginally-trained dog, and an attack cat.

Before she started writing historical romance, Courtney got a graduate degree in theoretical physical chemistry from UC Berkeley. After that, just to shake things up, she went to law school at the University of Michigan and graduated summa cum laude. Then she did a handful of clerkships with some really important people who are way too dignified to be named here. She was a law professor for a while. She now writes full-time.

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  1. What a great idea for a book! Looking forward to reading it.

  2. Great interview! Courtney, your books sound amazing. Congratulations on the RITA nomination!!

    And thanks for sharing the video! I'm totally going to repack and follow Erin's advice!

    Have a great day!

  3. Hi, Courtney and welcome to GLIAS! I love how the heroine is the one with the scientific theories. What a cool twist. Going to buy right now!

  4. Fun interview. It really must be exciting to win a contest.

  5. So nice to meet you Courtney! Glad you could spend time with us and our readers here at GLIAS.
    What a gorgeous cover on The Countess Conspiracy. It sounds like fun. I look forward to reading it. We'll be rooting for you at the gala!

    And thank you for sharing the packing video!!! Wow, she sure gets a lot in that little bag.

  6. Nice interview. Thanks.

  7. That was a nice interview

  8. Good interview, and congrats on your Rita nomination! Excellent video too ;)

  9. Great blog post. Congratulations on your Rita nomination. I hope you bring it home with you!

  10. Great interview! Congrats on the RITA nomination, Courtney!

    Marcy Shuler

  11. Fun interview, Courtney! Thanks, Donnell for introducing Miss Courtney to GLIAS readers! Good luck at the RITAs and thanks, always, for the information and expertise you share with your fellow authors all over the internet and in person!

  12. Best of luck Courtney. You have a great attitude. And thank you for sharing the packing video. Heaven knows, I needed that. Enjoy RWA14 and I hope you get that run in. As a fellow runner, I find it's a great way to see parts of a new city.