Books with Buzz: Laura Kinsale Interview and Giveaway – Ten Copies of Lessons in French!(Contest closed)

rsz_kinsale I like lots of books, but the list of books I absolutely love is a much shorter one. Laura Kinsale’s work figures prominently on it, however. Whether deeply dark or somewhat lighter, her prose captures the mood of her stories vividly, and I am in awe of the versatility of her voice. Her writing runs the gamut from the lighter tone and Regency world of her upcoming Lessons in French to the deep moodiness and medieval voice of the magnificent For My Lady’s Heart.

There’s something about anticipation. The longer we have to wait for something, the more it gets built up in the mind. As one of the many who adore Laura Kinsale’s writing, I have been waiting years for Lessons in French, and am excited that the release date is just around the corner. On January 26, 2010, Lessons in French should be hitting store shelves, and it lived up to those vast expectations I had built up in my mind. Both hilariously funny and quite poignant, I suspect this book will have readers laughing and crying – and probably both at the same time!

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I am beyond thrilled to have Laura Kinsale here with us today as she begins counting down to release day for Lessons in French! And after you finish reading her interview, keep going for information on how you can win one of ten copies of the book!

1. Lessons in French is your first new book in several years. Could you tell readers briefly what to expect?

If you love those stories where the shy, plain girl gets the hot dashing guy in the end, this will be your kind of book! And be warned, Lady Callista is not a kick-ass heroine. In fact let’s call her the anti-kick-ass heroine. She ought to be quite a catch—she’s the daughter of an earl and wealthy to boot–but she’s been left standing at the altar by three different men. She’s long ago resigned herself to spinsterhood, and her greatest desire is to win the silver cup at the agricultural fair with her prize bull, Hubert.

That’s until Trev d’Augustin waltzes back into her quiet life. The son of French émigrés, he was run out of town by Callie’s father years ago for stealing a bit more than a kiss from her. Callie and Trev share quite a past, in fact, full of secret adventures and harebrained antics that no one else knows about, not even Trev’s very shrewd mother. On his return, Callie is instantly drawn willy-nilly into scandal and deception–the sort of deception that involves trying to hide a huge bull under the bedsheets. She goes from having no suitors to having more than she wanted. And in the midst of these escapades, she finds herself falling in love again with the worst possible man for her.

2. Lessons in French has a very different tone than Shadowheart, your previous book. What prompted you to write something lighter this time around?

Shadowheart took me a long time to write, and was an extremely intense experience. I went to a lot of dark places with Allegreto and Elena–I think I needed a happy ending more than they did!

So partially it was a change of pace, and partly it was a writing challenge for me. I love to read light romances—I’ve often said Lessons in French is a tribute to Georgette Heyer in thanks for all the hours of enjoyment I’ve had with her books. I’m in awe of her. Humor, done well, is very much a skill in itself. I’ve always had touches of humor in my books, but they are overshadowed by the intensity in some cases. I wanted to write an entire book in a light vein.

I also think this is the perfect time to publish a feel-good story. All I want for readers with Lessons in French is to sit back, read it and smile.

3. I think Trev is my new favorite “rogue” hero. Usually, when I see the word “rogue” in a title or being used to describe a hero, I know I’m being told the hero is a rogue because: (1) It’s a light, frothy story and (2) the hero was a manslut before he met the heroine. And often that’s it. However, that’s not what is going on in this book at all. With his wonderful sense of humor and colorful past, Trev just seems to embody the word through the very way he carries himself. What was your inspiration for him?

Often the original inspiration for a character becomes very distant as the story develops. That’s what happened in this case. Originally I had the general idea that I wanted to write a book using a very minor character that appeared near the end of Seize the Fire, a true scoundrel with a murky aristocratic title and a charming but dubious character.

That determined the time period and general idea for a “continental” hero, but I quickly found myself moving away from the particulars of that specific character (I won’t even mention the name because I don’t want to give the misimpression that Lessons in French is in any way about him, or connected to Seize the Fire. It isn’t.). The only thing Trev shares with that “inspiration” is a sense of humor, a mysterious past, and a useless aristocratic title.

4. I’ve seen you quoted elsewhere saying that writing pure humor is harder than writing deeply emotional scenes. However, you make the dialogue and interplay between Callie and Trev flow so effortlessly in this book. What was the hardest thing about constructing that relationship in your story?

It certainly isn’t easy to be funny. Ask any comedian. I spent a little time actually studying stand-up comedy—a very interesting field. There’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. Of course that’s just the way you always want humor to appear–effortless.

It reminds me of riding dressage (which I do) or ballet (which I don’t do!)—both activities which are extremely demanding of both skill and practice, and yet appear to the audience to happen naturally, gracefully and with no work at all.

5. What was your favorite thing about writing this book?

I loved both the characters. And Hubert! It was a pleasure to spend time with them.

6. A lot of writers seem to become identified almost exclusively either with lighter, comedic stories or with darker, more serious tales. However, you have written both types of stories in your career. Do you identify more strongly with one type of story or do you prefer to try out a variety of tones and story types in your writing?

I’ve been thinking about this. I know I have the reputation for very dark, intense stories. And yet, I don’t think my readers would be surprised to find that Lessons in French is also intense in its own way.

It is a deeply emotional book. Looking back over my career, I think that’s what my stories have in common, and what readers can always expect. Whether they are “dark” or “light,” my goal is that my books will engage the reader’s heart in a deep and memorable way.

7. So, do you have any upcoming books planned?

I’m working on a book now, but since I never know how things will turn out, I’ll spare everyone the details in case it changes.

Thanks so much for having me on the blog today!
Thank YOU, Laura Kinsale for taking the time to chat with us! Though the book is not yet on shelves, the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, has generously offered to provide 10 lucky readers with copies of Lessons in French. This giveaway is limited to readers in the US and Canada, and to enter, all you need to do is comment to this post by 4:00 p.m. EST on Friday, January 8, 2010. Good luck!

-Lynn Spencer

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273 Responses to Books with Buzz: Laura Kinsale Interview and Giveaway – Ten Copies of Lessons in French!(Contest closed)

  1. Robin says:

    Please enter my name. I just recently discovered Laura Kinsale and am looking forward to the new book.

  2. Dede says:

    I love Kinsale because she takes her time and does it right! I’d love to win a copy, but not winning won’t stop me from buying!

  3. Olya says:

    Oh, I want, I want! :-) Not holding my breath, since I never win anything, but it’s worth a try…

  4. Valerie Bongards says:

    I love Laura’s books, can’t wait for this one!!! I would like to be entered to win, but I live in Germany, so don’t know if I’m able to.

    But I loved reading the interview and it’s great to see Laura back again!!!

  5. KathyB says:

    Laura Kinsale has been one of my go-to writers for years. I am looking forward to Lessons in French very, very much! I’ll especially appreciate the effort Laura made to make this a smooth read… as a youngster of “only” 52 I am just now learning dressage and know exactly how difficult something that looks so easy can be!

    Welcome back, Laura – and thanks for the opportunity!

  6. Carina Sommers says:

    I have never read any Kinsale but the reviews want to make me read her books.

  7. romsfuulynn says:

    Whee – new laura Kinsale. This sounds like it will be a lot of fun. And one of the things I’ve noticed is that even fun books can be emotionally true to themselves.

    And I definitely want to be entered for a copy, although I have one preordered – sooner would be better!

  8. Martha Lawson says:

    Great interview!! The book sounds awesome. I love humor in books I read. Laura is a new to me author – I love finding new authors. This book will definitely go on my to buy list!!

  9. Heather says:

    Laura Kinsale! My all time favorite is “The Shadow and the Star”, with My Sweet Folly running a close second….

    Lessons in French sounds wonderful. I love Regencies!

    Pick me! Pick me!

  10. Linda says:

    Ohhh sounds good, I can’t wait! I need a break from kick-ass heroines.

  11. Jennifer T says:

    Love her books and would love to win a copy of “Lessons in French”

  12. Jen W. says:

    Sounds awesome!!

  13. VickiT says:

    Please include me in the drawing. I own all of Ms Kinsale’s books, and have reread many of them over the years. A new Kinsale is a great way to start 2010.

  14. Janet W says:

    If I win a copy, it will complete my Kinsale collection: LOVE her books, dark, light and in-between!

  15. Jennifer Ohman says:

    I love Laura Kinsale’s books! My Sweet Folly is my favorite.

  16. Myra says:

    I look forward to the book. Her reads are always memorable ones.

  17. Pat says:

    Please enter me. I have never read Laura Kinsale and this sounds interesting. Thanks

  18. Kate K says:

    I love Laura Kinsale’s books… her characters and the relationships she writes are a benchmark for how I judge other romances. Unfair? Maybe, but she’s awesome. I’d love to win Lessons in French!

  19. Jackie says:

    I love to read books where the author has a personal liking for their characters…you can tell, it comes out in the story. I’m looking forward to reading Laura’s new book.

  20. MaryC says:

    Lessons In French sounds awesome! I’m a big fan of Georgette Heyer too.

  21. Fay says:

    Please place my name in drawing. Thank you!

  22. Quilt Lady says:

    Love the cover of the book and it sounds awesome! Please enter me!

  23. Moriah says:

    excited for the new book

  24. Cindy says:

    The book sounds great!

  25. Susan says:

    GIVE IT TO ME ME ME! I love all of her books and I might die if I don’t get this book soon!

  26. Ellen says:

    I bow down to Laura Kinsale!!!!!!!
    Seriously, though, you are the genuis of the light comedy romance, in so many ways. I can’t tell you how much I’m atwitter about this new book. Keep ‘em coming!

  27. Catherine says:

    I haven’t read Laura Kinsale yet but HAVE been trying to track down a second-hand copy of “Flowers from the Storm” for months and months and months – seriously. I always figure it’s a testament to a good book when it can’t be found in the second-hand bookstores!!

    I’d love for “Lessons in French” to be my introduction to Laura Kinsale and I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  28. Cynthia Durichek says:

    I have just started reading Laura Kinsale’s books. I don’t know what took me so long but now I’m hooked and hope I win her new one.

  29. Alice says:

    I love her books!

  30. Barbara Elness says:

    Oh, I love a book with humor as well as a great story. Lessons in French sounds like a fantastic book, I’m dying to get my hands on it. If I don’t happen to be lucky enough to win a copy, you bet I’ll be heading to the book store on January 26th to pick up my copy.

  31. JulieJV says:

    These characters sound wonderful and different (including Hubert). Will you ever do a story that features dressage or is there one and I haven’t realized it yet? Thanks for the contest.

  32. Michelle B. says:

    Her writing is such an inspiration (plots, characters, situations, prose style) that reading Laura Kinsale always puts me in a very creative mood. She is one of my favorites. Hard to single out a favorite book, but it just might be For My Lady’s Heart. Can’t wait for Lessons in French to come out.

  33. Stephanie says:

    Laura Kinsale is one of the best of the genre. I’m really looking forward to Lessons in French. And can I just mention that the book cover is great!

  34. Susan says:

    What good news! A new Laura Kinsale! I can’t wait to read it and I’d love to win one of your giveaways! Thanks!

  35. Eleanor Rodgers says:

    Kinsale was a wonderful writer a few years ago – it will be interesting to see if her five year break has altered her style and intensity. I share her love of Georgette Heyer and thus look forward to this book which Kinsale hopes is like Heyer’s “light vein” romances.

  36. Michael says:

    In 2009 (otherwise known as the year I became addicted to Romance novels), I found myself reading a horrifying number of Romances (150+). Of that large heap of books, I found my favorite Romance (and one of my favorite books period), The Shadow and the Star. Without a doubt, it is one of the most touching, tearjerking, funny, intense, you-name-it books I have ever read. And all the others of Laura’s that I’ve read (Flowers from the Storm, My Sweet Folly, Midsummer Moon, and For My Lady’s Heart) have also been uniformly impressive. I cannot wait for Lessons in French.

  37. mindy says:

    this sounds like a fabulous read thanks minsthins at optonline dot net

  38. M. Leigh says:

    please enter me

  39. Karen W. says:

    LESSONS IN FRENCH sounds like a great read!

    Thanks for the interesting interview and the contest!

  40. Susan says:

    I just discovered Laura Kinsale and I would love to win a copy of Lessons in French!

  41. Lois M. says:

    I’d so love to try a book from Laura Kinsale — especially a light one, I sure don’t mind that at all! :)


  42. msaggie says:

    A Laura Kinsale which is written in the style of Georgette Heyer – what a wonderful start to the New Year! Please enter me in!

  43. QLady48 says:

    Nice interview Laura!! You are a new author for me. I would love to win this book!! Thanks, Sue

  44. Ameliad says:

    Wow! It’s great to have a new Laure Kinsale book to read!

  45. Stephanie H. says:

    I can’t wait for the new Laura Kinsale book!!!

  46. cmkh says:

    Love her books, please enter me.

  47. Michelle B. says:

    Please enter me in the contest!
    I didn’t realize Laura Kinsale had a new book coming out, but it sounds terrific! Can’t wait to read it.

  48. Mitzi H. says:

    I’m doing the circle dance….yipee, a new LK Book!!! Can’t wait to read it!!! It is indeed going to be a good year!!! Enter me pleaseeeee!!!

  49. Debra says:

    I love, love, love Kinsale’s work – her writing is magical. I am counting down the days to Jan 26!

  50. SaraC says:

    Love Laura Kinsale!

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