Friday Feature with author Lynne Connelly
We welcome Lynne from across the pond! It’s fabulous to have her here with us today. Now let’s learn a little more about her and her books.
About Lynne Connolly
Lynne grew up in a haunted house in Leicester, England, and got used to telling the ghosts to shut up! She has lived a variety of lives, moving from the rock music world to the business world, and then to writing.
She has won awards and written best-selling books, although the writing is always her greatest reward. As Lynne Connolly she writes historical romance, and as L.M. Connolly spicy contemporary and paranormal romance.
- What made you start writing romance?
It just happened. My very first published book, “Yorkshire,” was supposed to be a historical detective novel. The hero, Richard Strang, was originally planned as a quiet, self-effacing gentleman who watched and listened, and solved murders. He would be married to Rose in a marriage of convenience. But Richard happened. Flamboyant, aristocratic, anything but self-effacing! And he fell madly for Rose at first sight. I’m not a huge fan of love at first sight, but this book just happened, and I let it. There wasn’t much else I could do!
- What inspired your current release?
“Wild Lavender” is the last Emperors of London story. The series started with a what if…? question. What if the Old Pretender, the son of James II of Britain, had children nobody knew about? What if he was actually married to their mother? That would make the children legitimate heirs to the throne of Britain.
The stories are about the extended family that searched for these children, both to ensure they were safe and to stop any claims to the throne. The last book is about Helena, the daughter of the Duke of Kirkburton and Tom, the son and heir of the Duke of Northwich. They are deeply attracted to one another, and from the day they meet, they want more, but their families are at loggerheads. Tom’s family are Jacobites, Stuart loyalists, and Helena’s family supports the Crown. Shocking secrets are finally revealed, so I have to be careful what I say. I don’t want to let any spoilers out!
- Any quirky writer’s habits you want to share?
I can’t think. Maybe that I do a vast amount of planning when I start a story, then I don’t bother with any of it! I think I do it to get my thoughts in order, and to get to know my characters.
- Please share your research process for your books/series.
I love history. Love it. My shelves are full of historical texts, and when I travel, I make sure I see the historical sites in the place I’m going to. I’m a museum and art gallery addict, but more than that, I love to just walk, and look, and let a place sink into me. When I was little, my parents took my sister and me to a different stately home every weekend, because we couldn’t afford a big holiday. I saw so much beauty and I fell in love with the mid-Georgian era. Like most love affairs, it doesn’t have a reason. I just do.
- What is your favorite thing about this book?
Just one? I did so love revealing Helena’s secret at last! When I start a series I usually know where it’s going to end, so I knew the outline of the last book all the way through.
- Where there any surprises in writing this book? If yes, would you share?
I can’t! Spoilers! However, it was good to know that the Shaws, a large and boisterous family who belonged to the Emperors, will be continuing in their own spin-off series.
- What about the hero and heroine made you want to see them together?
Three words. Romeo and Juliet. Scions of families at odds with one another. Would they bring the families together, and if they did, would they suffer in the process?
- How do you celebrate when you finish a novel?
I start the next one.
- If your book becomes a movie, who would play the hero and heroine?
David Tennant and Billie Piper would work well.
- What are you working on next?
The Shaws. I’ve already written the first book, “Fearless,” and I’ve been asked to write the story of Darius, the gay member of the family. In an age when loving one’s own sex could lead to death by hanging, there was a lot more at stake in this story.
Of all the characters you’ve written, who would you most like to be? Why?
Rose, probably. She’s from the country, not particularly beautiful, except in Richard’s eyes, and she loves reading.
As a reader, what was the first romance book to deeply impact you? What about it touched you?
I think that has to be Georgette Heyer’s “Venetia.” And what better introduction to romance than Damerel?
If you had to live in another country, where would you go? Why there?
Florence, Italy. Because I feel at home there, and it’s beautiful.
What’s your favorite animal? Can you tell us why?
Cats. Because they walk by their lone selves.
Name three books from childhood that affected you the most.
Alice in Wonderland, A Study In Scarlet and Nicholas Nickleby. We didn’t have much money and books are good insulation, so I just foraged!
At the top of the stairs, he caught sight of a flick of lavender silk as she turned into a room he was sure wasn’t open for the ball. He followed her. The night had just become interesting. He stepped into the room after her and closed the door softly. She did not turn around but stood with her back to him, facing the garden. Her knuckles were white where they gripped the back of the chair she was standing behind. Her shoulders were shaking, but as he waited, she lifted one hand and wiped it across her face, uttering a low curse. “I should perhaps tell you that you’re not alone,” he murmured. He folded his arms across his chest and allowed himself a wry grin. She gasped and whirled around to face him, her skirts rocking precariously. “Who are you?” “I could ask you the same thing. I’d certainly remember seeing you before.” She was ravishing. Her sweet face was saved from pure sugar by the firm chin and the sparkle in her blue eyes. What light there was in this room came from the bright moonlight outside and the barely-there glow from the banked-down fire. Enough for him to make out her features. She flicked her fan open and covered the lower half of her face, the spangles twinkling in the moonlight. “I should ask you to leave.” He kicked away from the door. “Do you want that? Truthfully?” “I came in here because I was infuriated with someone and I did not wish to inflict my mood on anyone else.” The enticing sparkle in her eyes intrigued him. “Then should I leave you?” She shook her head, a curl bouncing on her shoulders. Finally, she took the fan away from her face. His sharp intake of breath sounded loud in this room. He stared at her, just drank her in. She was enchanting, every part of her, from her powdered head to her dainty feet. He hadn’t realized he was going to do it until he touched her cheek, ghosting the back of his forefinger along her silken skin. Her eyes widened but she didn’t move away, only lifted her chin and met his gaze with a direct one of her own. “Why did you do that?” “To make sure you’re real.” The pause was so complete, a drop of water would have broken it. Her bosom lifted as she breathed. She pulsed with life, held it within her as a precious thing. The pearls around her neck glowed. He touched them lightly before he let his hand fall back against his side. “They say that pearls need wearing often, otherwise they’ll die.” A slow smile curled her soft mouth. He longed to taste it, to feel that vitality against him. “I heard that pearls signified tears.” “It depends who wears them.” He kept his voice low, not because he was afraid of someone coming in, but because he didn’t wish to break the bubble enclosing them. “That’s pretty.” He grinned. “It is, isn’t it? I’m not given to poetry. But looking at you, it comes to my lips effortlessly.” She flicked her gaze to his mouth and back to his eyes. “The pearls belonged to my grandmother. It seemed appropriate to wear them for my first ball.” “Your first?” He frowned. She did not look like girl fresh from the schoolroom. “My first for years. I haven’t visited London for a while.” She shrugged, her gown slipping delightfully on her shoulders. He would love to help it the rest of the way. She had none of the debilitating shyness of the very young, the bashfulness that would send him from the room. “I can only assume you were ill or abroad, because what other reason would a family have for keeping you away from me?” He’d meant to say “society.” “You’re assuming rather a lot.” “I am, aren’t I?” Unable to bear the distance between them any longer, he tilted her chin up with the tip of his finger and kissed her. How had he lived without the touch of her lips, existed without the sweetness of her breath? She stunned him, this stranger, overwhelmed him. Before he’d arrived here, his mind had been in turmoil. She gave him a cool center with her living heat. When he drew away, they were breathing heavier, despite keeping the kiss a mere brushing of mouths.
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