When Isobel meets Phineas Archer at a masquerade ball, she lets down her guard (but not her mask), revealing a hidden passion. As an agent assigned to root out a kidnapping plot, Phineas is intrigued by the mysterious woman. When he discovers her identity and her strange behavior, she becomes a suspect in the plot.
What was your inspiration for Isobel and Phineas?
I love taking favorite fairy tales and interpreting them in new ways! The original concept was “Cinderella” meets “The Scarlet Pimpernel.” Cinderella longs to go to the ball and meet the prince. Isobel gets that wish, but like Cinderella, her fantasy turns back into the ugly pumpkin of her real life until her true love finds her. “The Scarlet Pimpernel” is a wonderful old movie about a clever spy who covers his secret mission by playing a rake and a fool.
Tell us about your road to publication?
I submitted to an agent several years ago and didn’t recognize her rejection as the encouragement it actually was. She said my work had merit, and to keep trying, but I was so green that I only saw “no”.
When I moved to Calgary and started writing full time, I began submitting to contests, joined a critique group, and pitched to agents and editors whenever the opportunity came up. There were still plenty of rejections, but I made it a rule to send the poor rejected thing back out again within a week - including the times I got bad contest feedback.
I was lucky enough to meet my wonderful agent Kevan Lyon at a conference. She rejected the first book I sent, but loved the next one, which was “Secrets of a Proper Countess.” So persistence definitely pays off!
Who are some of your favorite romance authors/books?
I love Mary Balogh, Jo Beverly, and Julie Garwood’s marvelous Scottish romances, but my all-time favorite romance is Jude Deveraux’s “A Knight in Shining Armor”. I still cry every time I read it.
What do you think the appeal of historical romance is?
In the A&E mini-series “Pride and Prejudice,” there’s a scene where Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth) stands in the driveway at Pemberley, staring after Elizabeth as she drives away. The look of longing and restraint perfectly describes what historical romance is all about to me. What woman doesn’t want someone to look at her like that?
Historical romance sweeps us to a time with different rules. These rules and manners dictated behavior and love, and although we want a modern historical heroine to overcome those rules and prove herself worthy of true love, the order and grace of the Regency has tremendous appeal. We all want the gentleman, the knight, or the brave and daring hero to capture our hearts.
What is the most surprising thing you have learned about publishing a book?
I thought the learning curve on the other side of publishing was tough! Hang on to your hats aspiring authors, because there’s another learning curve after that publishing contract is signed! I’ve learned how to do copy edits, plan and use publicity, and understand how to work with my editor.
I’ve gone from someone who could barely send an e-mail with an attachment two years ago (really!), and couldn’t figure out Facebook at all, to being comfortable navigating social media.
According to a poll Avon recently conducted, seventy percent of respondents said they find information about new books by looking on Facebook. That’s a huge number, and it’s a completely new way of reaching and interacting with readers.
When is you next release and will they feature any characters from “Secrets of a Proper Countess”?
My second book, “The Price of Temptation” is scheduled to be released in January 2012. This story features Evelyn Renshaw as the heroine. Evelyn was a minor character in “Secrets”, appearing as the hostess of the ball where Phineas and Isobel first meet. Her husband Philip, however, was one of the villains. He’s stolen a treasure from Napoleon, and both the French and the British want it back.
Evelyn’s hero is a soldier with his own wrongs to right. Disguised as a footman, he is sent to spy on her in hopes she’ll reveal her husband’s hiding place. But is Lady Evelyn wife or widow?
This story also includes Adam and Marianne De Courcey. Marianne is Phineas’s sister in “Secrets”, and I loved these characters. Marianne is bold, brash and outspoken, while Adam is a restrained gentleman to the tips of his manicured nails, despite being a spy-master. Someday I hope to go back and write Adam and Marianne’s romance.
Visit Lecia’s website http://www.leciacornwall.com
Find Lecia on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/leciacornwall
Join Lecia on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lecia-Cornwall/147981455226519
To win a copy of “Secrets of a Proper Countess,” let us know what you like most about historical romances. Please include what country you are from in your comments.
Donna T from Canada
Diana Q from Virginia
Johanna J from Oregon