I’m thrilled to interview Julia Quinn, Eloisa James and Connie Brockway collectively about their latest collaboration, THE LADY MOST WILLING
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Introduction: I’m thrilled to interview Julia Quinn, Eloisa James and Connie Brockway collectively about their latest collaboration, THE LADY MOST WILLING. Welcome ladies—it’s wonderful to have you with us at Romance Junkies.
1) I found your collaboration such an interesting concept. I bet it was exciting working together again after the success of THE LADY MOST LIKELY. How did THE LADY MOST LIKELY influence THE LADY MOST WILLING for each of you?
Connie: Probably the most important thing is that we learned we work really well together so there was no doubt about whether future books following a similar template would be “doable.”
Julia: And fun! Writing is normally such a solitary pursuit. Writing with Connie and Eloisa provides such a great change of pace.
2) How did you choose your characters and where your story would take place within the novel? Did you outline how events would happen or use some other method to create the storyline?
Connie: We knew we wanted to do another LADY MOST… I came up with the idea of doing a riff on SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS set in the regency era Scotland. I played around with who would stand-in for the older, married brother but then Taran appeared. I love a comic foil and when I suggested we use him as the chief instigator for the plot, Julie just jumped in with this fabulous introduction.
After we had the bare bones worked out, we divvied up the characters. From the start, Julia wanted to use a reoccurring character from earlier stories, the Duke of Bretton, so –lucky wench– she knew her man. She also wanted to do a heroine unlike her shy Gwendolyn from LADY MOST LIKELY.
She ended up with the first story by virtue of her great introductory chapter.
Eloisa and I had to play around a bit looking for characters distinct from those we created for THE LADY MOST LIKELY. She had a wonderful idea for a “ruined” heroine with a very naughty reputation. Pairing her with a man who, ostensibly, cares *mostly* about his reputation was genius.
I took the final story because I had volunteered to write the last group scene and it would be easier to do so chronologically. Like my co-authors, I wanted a distinctly different sort of heroine– generally my heroines tend to be very articulate and forceful types. Cecily seems a perfect, dutiful and demure young lady but she’s hiding a spine of pure steel. So, I matched her with a rake and a rogue– the last man your dad, or her dad, would want you to marry.
3) Did each of you discover something about each other during the collaboration of THE LADY MOST LIKELY that you did, or did not, want to repeat in the making of THE LADY MOST WILLING? Come on, you know you want to tattle on each other for something, don’t you?
Connie: Julie’s WHAM! playlist. Nuff said.
Julia: It’s the lie that won’t die. You can all blame Connie if you can’t get “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” out of your head for the rest of the day.
Eloisa: Connie is much calmer after a glass of wine in the evening. Come to think of it, we all are! We had such a great time writing this book — we wrote all day in a wonderful hotel in Seattle, and then drifted downstairs to talk over our characters in the evening.
Julia: Seriously, though, I think we all learned not to change characters’ names. Ever. It doesn’t matter how early in the process you let the other writers know that Caroline is now Carolyn. You’ll still have a few Carolyns running around.
4) How is the LADY MOST WILLING similar or different from other books you’ve written?
Connie: By virtue of its structure, it’s completely unique. THE LAY MOST LIKELY was the protoype for a novel in three parts (Eloisa coined the phrase!) but in THE LADY MOST WILLING I believe we even more successfully and fully incorporated our narrative threads into the book as a whole. I’m really proud of how organic and natural the whole thing feels and flows.
Julia: I think the nicest compliments were when readers said they couldn’t tell who had written which part. Although this where I must gently point out that our names are on the tops of the pages in the stories we wrote.
5) If you could throw a dinner party filled with guests from history (even if you have to bring them back as ghosts), who would be on your guest list? Would it be an intimate affair, or something wild and history making? What would be the topic of conversation?
Connie: I’d want Mary Shelley, Ambrose Bierce, Dorothy Parker, Truman Capote, Maxwell Perkins. We’d talk about writing <g> or we’d drink <G>
Eloisa: I want Shakespeare! I know that would be expected, but it’s true. Once I dreamed I time-travelled, found him, and managed to seduce him, so I feel as if I already know him!
Julia: I’d actually go for my own ancestors. I’ve recently gotten into genealogy, and I’d love to ask them a few questions.
6) If you could vacation inside a book, which book would you choose, which character would you be, and why? Would you take anyone with you or book travel by yourself?
Connie: Blueberries for Sal. I don’t care which character. Why? Because of how it very simply describes an elegant co-existence between man and the natural world as a parallel but separate and mutually respectful experience. And because I love making blueberry jam from wild blueberries.
Eloisa: Well, since Connie chose a children’s book, will too. I want to go to the fair and meet Wilbur and Charlotte, from Charlotte’s Web. Oh, and then I would also like to be Hermione’s best girlfriend (she needed one!) at Hogwarts.
Julia: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’d take my towel.
7) Tell us about the most memorable moment of your career.
Connie: When my daughter came with me to an RWA conference and saw me win a Rita award. I gained some serious cred in her teenage eye’s that year– something any mother of a teenage girl will tell you is as rare as hen’s teeth.
Eloisa: Being on a very small plane tossed about in a windstorm during a book tour this last fall. The plane set down and I whipped out my cell phone and discovered that my book had tied for #5 on the New York Times bestseller list. I think I was more grateful to have survived, but it was a close call!
Julia: When I won my first RITA Award. I had reached the finals so many times before (and always been shot down), and then I won for a book that had recently been voted (in an online poll) “Worst” AND “Most Disappointing Romance of the Year.” I couldn’t stop laughing when I reached the stage to accept the statue.
8) What’s your “wish” location choice for the three of you to meet for a writers’ retreat in the future to generate ideas for your next collaboration?
Connie: I’m thinking island. Small, drowsy, with great food and a massage therapist on call 24-7.
Eloisa: Yes! I agree!
Julia: Well, apparently it’s my turn to come up with the plot, so I think we may have to go with pirates. Which works well with the island theme.
9) What most redeeming quality or annoying habit of your own seems to show up as a character trait in your books most frequently?
Connie: the good? Pragmatism. I’m very practical. I don’t let my less desirable qualities show up in my characters. They’re annoying enough in real life.
Eloisa: Mine tend to be wittier than I could ever be. My heroines are distilled versions of my friends (yes, Connie & Julie — that’s a compliment!)
Julia: My characters talk a LOT. I’ll let you decide if that’s a good or bad quality.
10) Which color best describes your personality and why?
Connie: Oh, that changes day to day. No one color can pin me down!
Julia: I have been known to say, “You can never go wrong with black,” but I don’t think it would describe me very well.
11) What’s your favorite way to celebrate after you’ve typed “the end” of your novel?
Connie: I clean my office. It’s a ritual. I clean my office, then clean up my computer’s hard drive. I know. How much fun can one woman have?
Eloisa: I go shopping!
Julia: I take a nap. Every day for a month.
12) Please list your website address, plus your favorite social networking places so readers can find out more about you.
Thanks so much for joining us at Romance Junkies, ladies!