Tuesday, February 16, 2010

An Interview and Giveaway with Laura Kinsale

For me, there hasn't been a giant five year gap in books by Laura Kinsale. I only discovered her last year, when I finally got around to reading For My Lady's Heart, a battered copy I'd picked up at a used book store at the Smart Bitches' recommendation. I read it, adored it, then read The Prince of Midnight and became a Fangirl for Life, and started frantically acquiring all the precious copies of her backlist that I could. I still have many favourites to look forward to, such as Flowers from the Storm, Uncertain Magic (my next read of hers, to correspond with Sourcebooks' re-release in June), and The Shadow and the Star.

However, that didn't make the arrival of Laura Kinsale's newest book, Lessons in French, any less welcome or highly anticipated. While I reviewed it last month, the marvellous author herself agreed to stop by Gossamer Obsessions during her blog tour and answer a few questions (I am in bold, Laura Kinsale is in, um, regular).

Quick, randomness: what's your favourite colour?

Second, when I went to RWA 2009 I discovered that there seem to be two main types of writers: the plotters (who outline and plan extensively each novel, down to the chapter) and the pantsers (who write, as it were, by the seat of their pants with relatively loose outlines but a firm idea in mind). Which writer would you characterize yourself as, or if you feel you don't fit into either category, could you explain why?
Hint: Ever since high school, when I was supposed to outline a paper and then write it, I would write the paper and then go back and create the outline.

Definitely a pantser. Because I always start with the characters, and the characters develop their story.

In your latest novel, Lessons in French, you depart from what some would call your trademark dark, conflict-driven style to write a lighter, comedic and more character-driven story. What was harder about writing a "light" story, and what was easier?
Every book is difficult in its own way. I didn't want to write slapstick, which I don't like to read, so I had to walk a fine line between verbal humor (without being snide or snarky, which I also don't care to read), physical chaos, and a bit of heart-tugging to bring it all together.

From my personal experience with reading your books (Lessons in French, The Prince of Midnight, For My Lady's Heart), many of your couples involve an emotional, romantic hero and a withdrawn or practical heroine, which is atypical in historical romances, where the greater tendency is towards cold heroes and warm heroines. Is there a conscious reason behind this?
If you took all my books together, you'd find a wide variety of heroines, from warm and practical and funny, like Callie in Lessons in French, to coldly calculating, like Melanthe in For My Lady's Heart. I've done some chilly, proud heroes - Ransom in Midsummer Moon springs to mind. Sheridan in Seize the Fire is anything but romantic; he's a cynic out to steal the heroine's jewels. So I'd say the characters of each pair are created relative to one another, rather than as a larger tendency across all of my books

What sorts of research did you conduct for Lessons in French? And a follow-up question: what's the oddest/wackiest/most interesting fact or piece of information you discovered during that research?
I have all sorts of pamphlets and books from the 19th century agricultural fairs and societies. The wackiest thing I discovered was an actual contest at a fair in which a prize was given for the farmer who supported the largest number of legitimate children. I used that in Lessons in French.

This is the first book you've published in 5 years, and since 2004 many new methods of book promotion have emerged, what with the rise of Twitter, social networking sites, and book bloggers, as you've no doubt noticed, as you are now participating in a blog tour yourself. What are your opinions on these new methods of book promotion?
Social networking is great for getting the book and my name out there in front of people. That said, I'm a firm believing that no amount of publicity is as good as writing a book that readers will love. In spite of all the changes, my job is to write, not to promote. It suits me better by temperament and talent in any case. What many people would consider a couple of little blog posts are huge tasks for me. I don't tend to articulate well in short formats.

Finally, a question I'm sure you're going to be asked very frequently - what are you working on next?
I have several things I'm working on, but it's too soon to tell what will gel!

It was great to have you with us, Laura! Can't wait to read what you write next!

And for all you rabid fangirls out there, thanks to the lovely people at Sourcebooks, two lucky commenters will win free copies of Lessons in French (Yanks and Canucks only, sorry)! Just leave a comment by midnight, February 17th (MST).


Laura Kinsale's unique and powerfully written love stories transcend the romance genre. In this, her first new book in five years, she delivers a poignant, funny, sexy, Regency romance sure to delight her many fans and attract a whole new readership.

Trevelyan and Callie are childhood sweethearts with a taste for adventure, until the fateful day her father discovers them embracing in the carriage house and, in a furious frenzy, drives Trevelyan away in disgrace. Nine long, lonely years later, Trevelyan returns. Callie discovers that he can still make her blood race and fill her life with excitement, but he can't give her the one thing she wants more than anything—himself.

For Trevelyan, Callie is a spark of light in a world of darkness and deceit. Before he can bear to say his last goodbyes, he's determined to sweep her into one last, fateful adventure, just for the two of them.

About the Author

Laura Kinsale, a former geologist, is the New York Times bestselling author of Flowers from the Storm, The Prince of Midnight, and Seize the Fire. She and her husband divide their time between Santa Fe, New Mexico and Texas. For more information, please visit www.laurakinsale.com or follow her on Twitter, @LauraKinsale


  1. Vorkosigrrl12:36 PM

    Wow! An interview with Laura Kinsale. I love her work. I am in awe that you were able to interview her. I still have a few of her books to read, including Lessons in French, so definitely enter me in the drawing!

  2. Enter me in the drawing!!!

    I LOVE Laura Kinsale - she is the romance writer I aspire to be when I grow up. Her characters set the standard, and her worlds entirely envelop you.

    LOVE YOU LAURA!!! I promise I'm a good stalker! :)

  3. Anonymous3:52 PM

    I agree with the comment about publicity, though would point out that social networking is great for readers to get the word out sbout those really fine books.

    BTW, someone who didn't read romance much asked me for a recommendation; I suggested Flowers from the Storm and she told me recently that not only did she read it, but her copy has been getting loaned out to everyone she knows. -- willaful

  4. This would be a new author for me, sounds good! tWarner419@aol.com

  5. I bow down to the greatness that is Ms. Kinsale.

  6. Laura6:40 PM

    Enter me in the drawing please. :-)

  7. Can't wait to read it! REALLY can't wait to read it if it's free! ;-)