Wednesday, 11 June 2014


Brook Cottage Books welcomes Julie Lemense to the blog! Thanks Julie for agreeing to be interviewed. Lets begin!

JB: Why did you decide to write Regency Romance?

JULIE: I'm of the firm belief that the men and women of the Regency era were not so different from us. We're equally curious, equally passionate. Yet in the Regency era, behavior was severely constrained by social rules. It would be easy to say that things were simpler. There were far fewer distractions, after all, but I like to imagine how I would have navigated Society in that era (although I'm far more likely to have been a scullery maid!) I suppose that in my books, I get to insinuate myself there, and see what happens!

JB: You like Barbara Cartland. Tell us which one of her books inspired you to write?

JULIE: To be honest, I read so many that they meld together. A constant theme was a heroine with impossibly large eyes, and an extraordinary talent. The heroes were brooding and all-powerful, and there was invariably a villain in the mix. The brilliance of Cartland was that she presaged every romantic Disney movie ever made!

JB: Tell us a little about your membership of the Romance Writers of America. How did you get involved with them?

JULIE: It is a wonderfully nurturing society of both published and would-be published authors, who really seem to work together to support each other. My twin sister was the romance editor for a large NYC publishing company for a number of years, and she was the first to make me aware of the RWA. They host classes, regional events, and annual conferences. Check them out!

JB: You are working on 2 more novels. What can you tell us about them?

JULIE: The first is a follow up to Once Upon a Wager. It's Jane's story, and the poor girl gets beaten up quite a bit before she has her HEA, but I sincerely hope that readers will like her maturation from a staid, reserved woman to one who speaks her mind, and takes tremendous risks to find happiness.

The second is completely different, set in America's Gilded Age, which reminds me in so many ways of England's Regency era!

JB: Tell us about the two main characters in Once Upon A Wager.

JULIE: Annabelle is one of those rarified beings, born under a perfect alignment of stars, with beauty, charm and confidence at the ready, yet she is challenged in ways that even I find terrifying, and her growth into a real and more complete person is the cornerstone of my book.

Alec is a hotty, but even hotties have challenges. His is a domineering father, and an overweening sense of honor that both makes him more maddening, and more attractive. (I hope!)

JB: Did the book develop as you had originally planned or did it take on a life all of its own?

JULIE: I really wish I had planned it more! To be truthful, I just sat down one day and started writing. I've loved these books all my life. But that approach led to an awful amount of scenes consigned to the dustbin.

JB: Tell us who designed the beautiful cover.

JULIE: Have to thank my wonderful Crimson editor, Julie Sturgeon, for that!

JB: From start to finish, how long did it take you to write Once Upon A Wager?

JULIE: Way too long! About a year. I'm hoping to be more disciplined with Jane's story, and carve out time every day.

JB: As a writer, is there anything you wish you’d done differently when first starting out?

JULIE: For me, discipline was difficult. I'd go for a run, and plot scenes in my head, and then get home, eat a brownie, and watch TV. Very counterproductive!

JB: Top 3 writing tips for any budding writers out there!

JULIE: Believe in yourself. Write whenever you can, and don't be afraid to self-edit. It's a wonderful journey, and you can do it!

 Thanks so much for the opportunity! It still stuns me that anyone might have an interest in what I say!

Publishing 12th May 2014
Will be available to purchase at available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes

When Lord Alec Carstairs returns from war, hailed as a hero, only Annabelle Layton knows the sort of man he really is. They’d been friends before a passionate kiss changed everything, before a reckless wager left her broken and bloodied, and he abandoned her.

Hardly the actions of a hero.

But shocking lies have distorted the past. Can Alec uncover its painful truths, and still keep his distance? Can he deny his forbidden desire, even as it flares hotter than ever?


Just as evening fell, Alec walked up the crushed stone drive to Astley Castle. Despite its rather grandiose name, it was more accurately a fortified manor house, although it did have a moat. Briefly the home of Lady Jane Grey, England’s unfortunate Nine Days Queen, it had also served as a garrison for Cromwell’s forces during the Civil War before passing into the Layton family. Tonight, however, the house gave no hint of its troubled history. Japanese lanterns were strung, not only in the trees leading up the drive, but also in those surrounding the house, and the effect was magical. In the early dusk, a gentle light bathed the grounds, softening the lines of the old home, coloring it with pale pinks and darker purples. Alec heard strains of music and conversation. In fact, it appeared to be a remarkably conventional party, which was something of a surprise. Surely, circus animals were lurking somewhere.

The oversized front door was open to the evening air, and dozens of people were assembled in the Great Hall, which was brightly lit with wall lanterns. Chandeliers decked with wax candles flickered high above as Gareth’s parents received their guests. Sir Frederick, who often panicked in crowds, was hiding his misgivings well, and Lady Layton was radiant beside him. Gareth stood next to her, dressed in a colorful approximation of evening attire, but he seemed distracted. His eyes were darting the crowd and looking for someone. A footman with the champagne tray, no doubt. Alec did not see Annabelle.

But then familiar, melodious laughter washed over him, and he turned. A willowy, honey-tressed blonde stood at the center of a crowd of adoring men. Her face was hidden from view, but her gown—the color of moonlight—caressed her curves like a lover. Alec braced himself, every nerve taut. As if sensing his presence, she looked over her shoulder and smiled.

God in Heaven, he should never have come here tonight.

Annabelle had been only four years old the first time he saw her. He’d joined his mother on a neighborly visit to Astley Castle, and the little girl had utterly charmed him, struggling to sit still while Lady Layton served tea to her guests. Delicate, soft, and pink, like a rosy-cheeked doll, she’d roused all his protective instincts before kicking him in the shins to gain his attention.

If only he could see the girl she’d once been in the woman standing before him. Even two years ago, there had been hints of her, hiding in the body of a goddess. But there was nothing childlike about Annabelle now. She was spectacularly lovely, with arched brows, high cheekbones, and cornflower blue eyes that took his breath away.

Excusing herself from her admirers, she walked toward him with a slow smile. Then again, walking was not the right word. Swaying was the better choice, and all he could do was stand there, heart slamming in his chest as she approached, the gossamer silk gown caressing her curves. Were it dampened—as was the fashion with London’s faster set—it would be almost transparent. Just like that morning when she had gone swimming in the fountain, casting a spell over him like a sorceress.

About the Author

© William Donlin of Studio D, Berwick PA

A Georgetown University graduate with a degree in English Literature, I have been a Regency romance addict since I read my first deliciously bad Barbara Cartland novel. These days, I prefer the complex characterizations and plotting of Julie Anne Long, Sherry Thomas and Meredith Duran. A member of the Romance Writers Association of America, I am currently working on my next two novels, as the ghosts who live in my haunted, gilded age-era home try to sneak their way into my stories.
Author Links

One Response so far.

  1. Thank you for such fab questions JB (and Julie's answers!).

    Appreciate your support on tour.


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