Follow My Lead | Historical Romance | Berkley Sensation | Release Date: May 3rd, 2011
Jason Cummings, Duke of Rayne is feeling the weight of his responsibilities - one of which is to get married. Being the most sought after bachelor in London can be trying, so who can blame him if he seeks refuge from the voracious hordes of young debutantes at the decidedly female-free Historical Society? Female-free, that is, until Winnifred Crane marches up to the door, demanding entrance.
Despite her prowess as a historian, Winn is denied membership the Society. So she daringly offers an unusual bargain: if she can prove the authenticity of a certain painting, she'll be granted recognition, fame, and respect. But to do that, she must go abroad. And to go abroad, she must have an escort, even a stubbornly unwilling one.
Jason has no desire to accompany Winn on her adventure across Europe, but even he is not immune to Winn's passion for her profession. As the journey proves more difficult than planned, they must work together to stay one step ahead of their rivals.. and the closer they get to the proof Winn seeks, the closer she and Jason become. But as their adventure turns dangerous, can Jason keep this headstrong bluestocking safe? And what will become of their growing bond when the adventure ends?
Please describe your writing environment.
My office is the loft of my apartment -- small but a great view. It has my bookshelves on one side and a big white board on the other, where I brainstorm. but when I'm writing, I tend to haunt coffee shops, and watch hipsters get their caffeine fix.
What main genre do you write in?
Please tell us your latest news!
Today, my latest release, ""Follow My Lead"" hits the shelves! I'm very excited, this story was so much fun to write. It's a cross continent road-trip adventure, with two people who couldn't be more mismatched: Miss Winnifred Crane, who is determined to prove to the members of a preeminent learned society that she is worthy of being a member, and Jason Cummings, the Duke of Rayne, who is simply trying to do the right thing - whether the right thing be courting a young lady who would make an appropriate duchess, or following Winn across Europe and keeping her out of trouble, as she seeks the proof she needs.
Do you have a specific writing style?
You know how people who have an accent don't think they have an accent, it's just how they speak? That's how I feel about my writing style. To me, it's just how I write. But I have been told that my voice is distinct in that it is effervescent, witty, but deeply romantic. In other words, perfect for historicals!
Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely! Nobody goes into novel-writing thinking, "oh this will be a nice hobby." (And if they do, they sure don't come out of it thinking that.) There are so many aspects to the business of being a writer other than the actual act of sitting down and creating story (maintaining a social network, doing publicity, setting up a multiple book story arc) that you have to approach it as a career. It's a long-term deal.
How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?
My family is incredibly supportive of my writing. I am something of an oddball in my family - every last one of them works in the math or science fields. So to have a right-brained person like me around is a bit of a rarity.
What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both?
I'm going to say I'm a combo. I write out the story in an outline, 10-20 pages, and that becomes the basis of what the book will be. I don't break it up by chapter or POV, so the structure of the novel emerges in writing.
Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing?
I tend to write in coffee shops. I find it best to get out of the house and have an environment that is entirely dedicated (for me) to writing. So, yes, I get my coffee, I find a table, I plug in my headphones, and write until I'm done.
Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write?
Well, with "Follow My Lead", I had a good idea of who at least one of my characters was before I began writing, as Jason is the brother of my heroine from "The Summer of You", and he is featured quite prominently in that book. But since at the end of that story he is still somewhat immature, I decided to age him up about 5 years before he was ready to meet his own heroine. Which meant I had to get to know him all over again.
Winnifred Crane - Winn - came very much out of the process. I knew I wanted her to be someone very career focused, and unlike most of the ladies of the era, whose goal in life was marriage and children. Winn had honestly never considered that for herself. But when it came to the details, her tone of voice, her physical attributes, that all came about from putting pen to paper. (or, er, fingers to keyboard.)
Tell us all about "The Call" or "The Email"!
The Call came at about ten in the morning as I was just settling into my morning routine at my day job office, when my agent called me and told me she had an offer for my first book "Compromised". At the time, I worked in a fairly conservative place, and most people there didn't know about my writing, so it wasn't as if I could jump up and down and scream like I really wanted to. But I did step out into the hall and do the happy dance there - happier too, because I was offered a two-book contract, which meant I wasn't just a one-book wonder. My career had a path.
What inspires your writing?
So many things in my life inspire my writing. "The Summer of You" was inspired by my family's summer visits to a lake in the Midwest - of course, I transplanted that lake to the Lake District of Northern England, but the sentiment remains the same. "Follow My Lead" was inspired very much by trips I took to rural Bavaria, spending weeks at a time traveling across Germany.
I try to make my characters as individualized as possible, but sometimes little personality traits of my friends, my family, make their way in - case in point, I based certain traits of Jason and Jane Cummings' mother on my own mom.
How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?
I have two levels of research - general world research, and story-specific research. Since I write historicals set in the late regency era, it is imperative that I try to get as many details about the time period itself right, to create the general world in which my stories are set.
As for story specific research, that has to do with knowing what the story requires. For "Follow My Lead", my story specific research included but was not limited to: the life and works of Albrecht Durer, the history of British Learned Societies, the geography and topography of Germany and Austria, Oxford's system of colleges, and all about modes of long distance travel.
Thank you so much for having me here today, I really enjoyed all your questions. "Follow My Lead" is available in stores now and I can't wait for you to check it out! I f you would like to learn more about me and my books, please visit my gorgeous and newly redesigned website www.katenoble.com, where you'll find excerpts, extras, contests, and more!