Loretta Chase interview and BIG giveaway

Loretta Chase’s latest book, Vixen in Velvet, comes out on June 24. Ms. Chase was kind enough to agree to an interview and to offer ten lucky readers galleys of her new book. To be entered in the running for a copy, all you need do is make a comment below. The contest is open  until midnight on Sunday, June 22nd. (This contest is now closed.)

Dabney: Ms. Chase, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. You are, as I’m sure you know, one of our readers’ favorite authors. (Lord of Scoundrels has been picked as the top romance in every top 100 poll we’ve run since 2000.)

LC:   I’m honored to be talking with you.  AAR has been such an important voice for romance as well as so supportive of my work—and I’m deeply grateful to your readers for showing Lord of Scoundrels (as well as others of  my books), so much love, poll after poll.

Dabney: I very much enjoyed Vixen in Velvet, the third (and final?) book in your Dressmakers series. In this book, as in the others in the series, the clothes your heroines design are extraordinary. What gave you the idea to write about a trio of dressmakers?

LC:  I’m so glad you enjoyed it!  I did too, once I’d wrestled it into submission.  As the third book, it needed to complete the story arc about the Noirot sisters, and that proved more challenging than anticipated.   As to the dressmakers idea, I have to give credit not only to my historical nerdiness but also to my agent.  She was (probably numbly) aware of my fascination with the fashions and ladies’ magazines of the time, and when we started talking about what would follow the Carsington series, she said, “What about dressmakers?”  I said yes before she could finish the sentence.

Dabney: At the end of the book, there’s a glossary of different kinds of fabric. You write that you gathered information from the milliners and mantua makers of Colonial Williamsburg. Are there practicing milliners and mantua makers there?

LC:  Yes, it’s for real!  The first time I visited with my blogging partner and friend Isabella Bradford/Susan Holloway Scott, I was astounded.  The people who work in the Margaret Hunter Shop (tailors, milliners, and mantua makers) are historians, and—like others at CW—they live in that world.  They start as apprentices and work their way up.  They use the same tools and materials their counterparts would have used in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Though Colonial Williamsburg focuses on the era of the American Revolution, the tailors and mantua makers make clothing from other time periods.  That’s where I got to see and touch a historically correct early 19th century corset.  And that’s how I learned just how tight men’s breeches could be.  They have a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Margaret-Hunter-Shop-Milliners-and-Mantuamakers/121002921252887 ) where you can see photos of them at work, and get an idea of the projects they do. The tailors have a page, too (https://www.facebook.com/TailorsOfWilliamsburg)).  We blog about them often at Two Nerdy History Girls. (http://twonerdyhistorygirls.blogspot.com/).   I cannot say enough about them. Whenever I have clothing-related questions, I turn to them, and they’re unfailingly generous with their knowledge.  This was the case with all the Colonial Williamsburg historians.  They love their work and it shows.

Dabney: You write that “The detailed fashion descriptions (not those written from a man’s point of view) are taken/adapted from ladies’ fashion magazines of the time. The women’s clothes are based on fashion plates.” What magazines did you use? Where did you find the plates? I’d love to see some of the dresses–the gowns the women wear are so complex, I have a hard time imagining them!

LC:  Many early 19th century ladies’ magazines—like La Belle Assemblée/The Court MagazineThe Ladies’ Pocket MagazineAckermann’s Repository, and others—are now online at Google Books and the Internet Archive.  Not all have fashion plates, alas, because some people cut them out and sell them.  Because of a limited supply of 1835 magazines with color (or any) fashion plates, I also used images from the Casey Fashion Plate collection at the Los Angeles Public Library.  Unfortunately, the site doesn’t have the fashion descriptions (or if it does, I couldn’t find them).  The good news for fashion history sleuths is that magazines stole from one another.  Eventually, I found some of the same images (black & white, or different colors and/or reversed) elsewhere, with descriptions.  These days readers can find illustrated guides to my books on my Pinterest page (http://www.pinterest.com/lorettachase/)

There are more images at our Two Nerdy History Girls Pinterest Page (http://www.pinterest.com/2nerdyhistgirls/)  At the Two Nerdy History Girls blog, I post historical fashion plates once a month.  When a new book comes out, you can expect to be inundated with attire from the time period.

Dabney: Did you have a favorite gown from the book?

LC:  It’s very hard to choose.  There’s the ensemble Leonie wears to Hyde Park.

(http://www.lapl.org/sites/default/files/visual-collections/casey-fashion-plates/rbc1818.jpg ) I love the style of it, and the pose is so saucy.  But the dress she wore to Vauxhall for the poetry reading is deliciously insane. (http://www.lapl.org/sites/default/files/visual-collections/casey-fashion-plates/rbc1830.jpg)

Dabney: Your heroine Leonie is a whiz with numbers. She uses math and finance as a way to make sense of the world. Did you imagined her as a native mathematician or are her skills a product of training and/or education?

LC:  That’s a spot-on analysis of the psychology of Leonie.  When I started the series, I decided each sister would bring her own special talent to the business.  Marcelline was Art & Design; Sophy was Marketing & Promo; Leonie was Finance—the CFO/financial whiz.  I saw her as having a native ability, and developing it with training and practice.  It was also important to offer perspective on the family dynamic, and the way she has become The Responsible One.

Dabney: In Vixen in Velvet, each chapter begins with a snippet taken from a magazine or guide. All of the quotes came from actual publications. You must have spent hours reading 19th century media. How influential were the publications you cite? Did all the ton read these guides and magazines?

LC:  Thank you for taking the time to read those epigraphs!  I did try to relate them to the specific chapters.  I probably spend way too much time reading those old magazines, but they offer so much more insight into the times than history books do.  As to influence, author Candice Hern can no doubt tell you, since she offers workshops on Regency-era magazines.  I can only make an educated guess based on the amount of piracy.  (Godey’s created a huge controversy when they had the audacity to copyright their material!)  That cheaper magazines stole from the more expensive ones tells me a lot of women wanted an affordable way to read the poetry, fiction, and other reporting as well as see the latest styles.  Another clue is that every magazine had a column devoted to reports from a “Paris correspondent,” and dressmakers and others bragged in their ads about having the latest Parisian styles.  Since some of the magazines were quite expensive, one assumes they were intended for the ton.  Certainly the gossip in the Court Journal indicates an intimacy with the inner workings of the aristocracy.  Because of the lack of other media, I suspect they were more influential than magazines today.

Dabney: Your hero owns the (now famous) Botticelli “Venus and Mars.” Why did you pick that painting?

LC:  Because it’s my favorite painting in the whole world? Because the first time I saw it, I almost fainted?  Because I wanted to stay there all day, staring at it, the way Leonie does?  Because it stuck in my mind for decades?  Yes.  And because of all the elements Leonie & Lisburne talk about.  It’s beautiful and intriguing and funny.  It tells a story, but we’re not exactly sure what that is.  I’m not an art historian.  My reaction is emotional.

Dabney: Is Vixen in Velvet the last book in this series? If so, what can readers look forward to next?

LC:  It’s the last of the trilogy about the three Noirot sisters, but a spinoff, with Lady Clara in the starring role at last, is in process.  At present, the new book only has idiotic working titles, depending on my mood that day.  I’ve invited visitors to my website to suggest titles.

Dabney: Thank you again.

LC:  You’re most welcome!  And thank you for asking the Nerdy History Girl questions I most love to answer!

Dabney Grinnan

Vixen in Velvet is available as a pre-order from Amazon and other sellers.

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92 Responses to “Loretta Chase interview and BIG giveaway”

  1. Justine says:

    Every time I read a Loretta Chase book, I think it’s so much fun! So the question is why don’t I read more of them?

    • Kathryn Riley says:

      I’ve never read a Loretta Chase book, but after reading this interview, I think I’ll have to give her a try.

  2. Sue says:

    Can’t wait to read it. And it would be great to win a copy, too.

  3. Bona says:

    She’s an autobuy for me. Now I’m working on her backlist. Not all the books are great but they are always entertaining. I do specially love her heroes. Rupert Carsington is one of by favourite heroes -ever.

  4. BettyB says:

    I’m a real Fan. I read all her books since I read Lord of Scoundrels in 2005.

  5. Malin says:

    I love Loretta Chase and have been waiting so long for this book to be released.

  6. Ginny says:

    I love when I find a good book like Lord of Scoundrels. And then to find out she had a back list was bonus points. Can’t wait for Vixen!

  7. CelineB says:

    I love Loretta Chase and can’t wait to read this one!

  8. Louise B says:

    Because I sew, I love old fashion pictures and patterns, but I want to use a modern sewing machine to do it! Love the story concept. I can identify with the heroine since my background is in accounting. :)

  9. Maureen says:

    I am so excited that Loretta has a new book out!

  10. susie wilzon says:

    my sister and i are eagerly awaiting this new book.

  11. Valerie L. says:

    It is always a pleasure to read a new Loretta Chase book. Thank you for the interview and for this chance at winning.

  12. rachel says:

    Looks like another winner!

  13. Renee W says:

    Fingers crossed. I look forward to reading the next book.

  14. Barbara says:

    One of the highlights of the summer is reading Loretta’s new book. I have collected everything from the short novellas to the short stories written with others to all the beautiful stories written and published from the first to the last book which I am craving just about now.
    Thanks for giving me a special time during this summer to read your new book; I keep all of them so that when I am totally swamped with work, I reread one of your books late at night and feel so much better. I don’t have one favorite; they are all soooooo good.

  15. Just finished Lord Perfect and loved it. Can’t wait for Leonie’s story. It’s great to see the designs. I had not realized they were posted anywhere.

  16. Mary says:

    I believe I have read every book Loretta Chase has written and just re-read Lord Perfect. I cannot wait for the next book!!

  17. Christina says:

    I haven’t read the Dressmakers – totally have to go get them! This last book sounds like something I’d love.

  18. Gale says:

    I love the Dressmakers series, as well as all of her other books. Looking forward to Vixen in Velvet.

  19. Meg says:

    Love Loretta Chase! Thanks for the Pinterest links — my grandmother had some old Goody’s Lady Book fashion plates when I was a child and I love looking at things like that.

  20. Karen says:

    Love all Loretta Chase’s books and am so looking forward to the new one!

  21. Dawn says:

    Love Loretta Chase, one of the short list of authors who write humorous, lol but also emotionally poignant books, making her a favorite. I have mountains of books tbr, but a few weeks ago I opened LOS, and read it again. It drew me in from the first sentence, as all the truly great books do!

  22. Billye says:

    I read Nerdy History Girls and really like it. I’ve never read any of Ms. Chase’s books so guess I will be heading over to Amazon to buy the first two when I leave here.

  23. Elysa says:

    Always a fan of LC. She has the ability to make me laugh an cry, which makes for my preferred kind of reading experience.

  24. Sandra says:

    Love her books!

  25. Pam says:

    I grab each new LC and devour it in hopes that I will love it as much as Lord Perfect, my all time favorite of hers! Many come close, and I can always hope!

  26. Karen says:

    Can’t wait ’til Tuesday!
    Love these characters!

  27. sula says:

    Thanks for the fun interview and contest! I love the links to the photos of the dresses.

  28. Parker Clarion says:

    I love Loretta Chase books. Based on the commentary, I just ordered Lord of Scoundrels! Please keep up the great work Ms. Chase!

  29. Lynn says:

    One of my favorite authors and an auto buy!

  30. MaryC says:

    Love Loretta Chase – can’t wait to read her latest release.

  31. Pam P says:

    Never miss a Loretta Chase book, and have been waiting for Leonie’s story, loving this series. Another big fan of Rupert Carsington here!

  32. JUANITA DECUIR says:

    WAVING MY ARMS UP HIGH! Looking forward to reading this novel.

  33. Terry Driscoll says:

    I’d love to read Loretta Chase’s latest and greatest!

  34. Terry Driscoll says:

    I’d love to read Loretta Chase’s latest and greatest romance. She always entertains!

  35. Stacey I says:

    Loretta Chase is one of my favorites! I just love Lord of Scoundrels, Mr. impossible, and more! I love the way she takes a trope and twists it into something new, unexpected, and better.

  36. We have closed this contest! Thanks for all the great comments. We’ve sent emails to ten lucky winners–we need your address so we can send you your copy of Vixen in Velvet!

    Thanks,

    Dabney

  37. Renee says:

    I enjoy Ms. Chase’s novels very much and look forward to the next addition.

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