1. What inspired you to become a romance writer?
I like to read romances. Truly, that’s all there is to it. So when I thought I might like to try writing a book, it’s only natural I’d choose romance.
2. You had a wonderful debut. Your novels “Splendid” and “Dancing at Midnight” were subject to a fierce bidding war between two publishing houses. How did that feel?
It felt great! Almost surreal. I had had several months of rejections, so I felt rather lucky that my manuscripts happened to find the two editors who loved it at the same time. The best part is – I’m still with the same publishing house (and the same editor!) eleven years later.
3. Do you ever contemplate writing a contemporary?
Not anytime soon. I don’t have the time.
4. Do you have any idea what you are going to do after finishing with the Bridgertons?
I have a few ideas, but they’re still in the early planning stages. I don’t think I’m going to embark on another eight-book series anytime soon, however.
5. Will Francesca and Michael ever have children?
I don’t know. Seriously, I just don’t think ahead in that manner. When I finish a book, I finish a book. If it happens books will have moved forward in my mind, but not past the date I’m currently working in. So I guess all I can say at this point is that by 1825, when IT’S IN HIS KISS is set, they have not had children.
6. Do you have any idea what you are going to do about Gregory?
I just finished the outline! I don’t generally discuss story ideas this far in advance, though. Too many details are likely to change. If I’d chatted about IT’S IN HIS KISS at this stage in the game, you would all have thought that Hyacinth would have ended up in Spain. (She doesn’t; she never leaves London, as a matter of fact.)
7. Have you got any words of advice for beginning authors?
Two things. First, join RWA. It’s an invaluable resource. Second, if you want to write, you have to write. You have to put your butt in the chair and do it. And you have to finish chapters.
8. Do you do extensive research for your books’ settings?
I tend to research as needed. I’ve been working on the Bridgerton series for so long that I already have many of the facts that I need. But I do look things up as I need them. For example, when I was writing TO SIR PHILIP, WITH LOVE I did a bit of research on botany. With WHEN HE WAS WICKED I spent a ridiculous amount of time finding names of vessels that had sailed from England to India (all for a one word mention!).
9. How do you handle criticism?
I have always said that a book is a kind of social contract between the author and the reader. If I get to write stories and actually get paid for it, then you, the reader, get to say whatever the heck you want about it.
And I do pay attention to what people say. I read and answer all reader mail (I’m always hopelessly behind on it, though) and I do pay attention to what readers say they do and don’t like about my books. It doesn’t necessarily mean that their feedback will be reflected in my work, but I do listen.
10. Can you tell us which books you read yourself? Or which authors you admire?
I know I’ll forget someone, but off the top of my head, some of my current favorite historical romance authors are: Lisa Kleypas, Gaelen Foley, Teresa Medeiros, and Loretta Chase. There are also some wonderful up and coming authors I think everyone should be watching: Adele Ashworth, Laura Lee Guhrke, Mary Reed McCall, Kresley Cole, and Julie Anne Long.
Finally, I’l like to encourage readers to go out and buy at least one new-to-them writer this year. I hear a lot of readers complaining, for example, that there isn’t enough variety in historical settings; If you want more medievals, you have to vote with your pocketbook and buy one! This may sound funny coming from an author of regency historicals, but as a reader, I love variety too. Or if you love regency historicals, try someone new. It’s so hard for a new writer to get a foothold in this business, and there are so many wonderful writers out there, just waiting to be discovered. And in this internet age, almost everyone posts excerpts on their websites, so you can even try before you buy! Or visit the JQ Recommends page on my website. I don’t update it as often as I’d like to, but I do try to list plenty of books that I enjoy.