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. Kathy D says:

    would love to read

  2. Catherine says:

    What a treat! I’m looking forward to reading this one.

  3. DebbieB says:

    I can’t wait to read it!

  4. Kathy W says:

    I have enjoyed the “darker” books that Laura wrote and was thrilled to hear about the upcoming release of Lessons in French (on this blog of course). Hurrah!

  5. Nicole Stoner says:

    Can’t WAIT to read her newest book! Thanks for a fun interview. =)

  6. Kami says:

    It’s wonderful to have a new Laura Kinsale book to look forward to. A new book by one of my favorite authors! Doesn’t get any better than that.

  7. Alice says:

    Thanks for the interview. I have read many of Laura Kinsale’s books but I am definitely intrigued how she would handle a lighter fare than her more emotionally charged books. I am looking forward to reading this ASAP.

  8. Scorpio M. says:

    Longtime Kinsale fan, this is a must read. What a great start to the 2010 reading year!

  9. Rosie says:

    I’m excited about this book the “shy, plain girl gets the hot dashing guy in the end” plotlines are very near and dear to my heart, if done well, and I know Laura Kinsale will do it well!

  10. Denise says:

    This sounds like a wonderful book. I’ve loved all of Laura Kinsale’s books. I can’t wait for this one!

  11. gumbybird says:

    I am so excited for this book to come out. I love everything I’ve read by Laura Kinsale – she is one of my all-time favorite overall authors (not just out of romance authors I’ve read, but all of them!). I am always so touched by her writing – Dream Hunter and Flowers From the Storm are two of my favorite books ever.

  12. Pam P says:

    I like a fun read with a charming rogue, can’t wait to read it, Laura.

  13. Kristy says:

    Sounds like a great book. Hope it will end my recent reading slump.

  14. Denise says:

    I’m glad to see she’s publishing a new book–I think I stopped reading romances when she stopped publishing (I started again about two years ago when I discovered Liz Carlyle). My favorite romance of all time was Flowers from a Storm and I also loved The Shadow and the Star. Since I’ve started reading Georgette Heyer (a bit late in life to come to her, but better late than never), I’m happy to hear she’s publishing a book that’s a tribute to Heyer.

  15. Vinny says:

    I love the shy girl gets past, dashing love plots :) and Laura Kinsale is one of my favourite authors.

    I agree though – humour done well is a skill and I daresay few actually excel at pulling it off well without crossing the line into “wtf” territory. Personally I love emotional intensity, but occasionally I love the whole sit-back and laugh throughout a good light read!

  16. Tara Hill says:

    Great interview! Thanks for the chance!

  17. Julia says:

    Hi. Interested in the book :)

  18. Lynn says:

    I’m so excited. Finally a new Laura Kinsale book. I lover every book by Laura and I can’t wait to pick up this new one and dive into it.

  19. Ann says:

    Sign me up! Thanks for the opportunity to receive a copy of LESSONS IN FRENCH

  20. Lynz says:

    Oooh, I can’t wait to read this one! Please enter me!

  21. Judith Israel says:

    At last! I am delighted that Laura Kinsale has found a publisher that believes she can write light as well as dark romances.

  22. Karen says:

    Love, love, love Laura!

    From Shadowheart to Midsummer Moon. All keepers!
    Flowers From the Storm is one of my favorites of all time.
    Bravo and looking forward to Lessons in French!

  23. Kathleen Smith says:

    I am very interested in Lady Callestra. I seldom care for heoines who are the kick-ass type. As for plain ones, it is the person inside who needs to be seen. I am eagerly awaiting “Lessons in French”.

  24. Julie says:

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  25. Debbie says:

    Oh I’d love a copy of this! I have been hearing about it so much on twitter the anticipation is killing me.

  26. Laura says:

    Laura Kinsale is one of my all time favorite authors. Seize the Fire happens to be at the top of my list because of the humor and the “rogue” hero, Sherry. I just lent a copy to a non-romance reader friend, along with Kinsale’s Midsummer Moon, another fovorite with hilarious moments. I am so excited about this new book.

  27. Mary Beth says:

    I’d love to win a copy, but if I don’t my birthday is shortly after the release date. Easy gift for my husband to give!

  28. cheryl m kaplan says:

    The book sounds interesting. The characters sound terrific. Good combination.

  29. Camillereads says:

    I’ve read other books by Laura Kinsale and was unaware of her new novel, until reading this post. Thanks for the heads up!

  30. elainec says:

    Two interviews in a year – that’s neat. After the last , I bought “The Shadow and the Star”. I loved it. It was quite different from most romances. This new book sounds good. I’d love to win it. :-)

  31. Pixie says:

    Can’t wait!!!!

  32. Cindy says:

    I would love to win Lessons in French…”The Shadow and the Star” and “Shadowheart” are both on my keeper shelf

  33. Magdalen says:

    I don’t normally enter giveaways, but I’m really excited about this book. And also because Laura Kinsale is an extraordinary writer and a nice person — the best possible combination!

  34. Tiffany says:

    I have never read a Laura Kinsale. This sounds like a good, light read.

  35. Mary Frances Graham says:

    Can hardly wait for Lessons in French. Love Georgette Heyer in audio book format. Cotillion was hilarious.

  36. Cathy says:

    I just “discovered” Laura Kinsale and am working my way through her books. She is a wonderful writer.

  37. Kiersten says:

    I am so thrilled to have a new Kinsale novel to look forward to this month! She has been a top shelf favorite for me since high school – more than twenty years! The Shadow and the Star and Uncertain Magic are two of my all time favorite romances. I’m very excited!

  38. Claudia says:

    Sounds wonderful! I can’t wait to read it :)

  39. LaRue Foster says:

    I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Laura Kinsale–but I have a feeling I’m going to be enchanted by this one. I love the premise that the heroine is not bold and feisty. Ordinary girls deserve romance too!

    Best wishes to Laura on the book. It’s been a long time coming and surely will be worth the wait.

  40. Kelly says:

    Release date for this book is on my calendar! Must read all Kinsale!

  41. Carol says:

    Wonderful interview! I have marked it as to-read!

  42. Rose says:

    I have been waiting for a new Laura Kinsale. I have kept every one of her books. She is one of the few authors that I can read over and over. I am so thrilled that there is a new book coming. Can’t wait!

  43. Sarah Willliams says:

    I love Laura Kinsale’s work! I am very excited about the new book.

  44. Kelly says:

    Really looking forward to reading this new book. This is the type of story I love to read. Although, Flowers From the Storm is my all-time favorite novel. I’ve been a reading doldrums – can’t wait for this one.


  45. Amna Khan says:

    My fave LK book is flowers from the storm, looking forward to this one!

  46. BethanyA says:

    I don’t know why I have never kept track of LK’s books. I have never read For My Lady’s Heart. I’m gonig to get on that.

  47. Marie75 says:

    Can I just say that I’m liking 2010 if that means a new book out by Laura Kinsale. Light-hearted or dark/instense . . . I won’t be picky! :) I’m a loyal fan of hers because 2 of her books are on my all-time fave romances list. Like others, my copies of The Shadow and the Star and Flowers from the Storm are so well-worn from the many rereads … I’m just so grateful I was introduced to her books 5 yrs ago per recommendation. I have to admit too that when I read a romance that’s a disappointment (there are those!) – I always revert back to a Kinsale. Always takes me to that perfect place where I sit back and just sigh . . . and tell myself this is why I read romance!
    I have a question for the author (noticed her website is not up) — would she ever consider revisiting her past characters and writing epilogues?? Some of the other popular authors seem to do this due to them being such fan-favorites. If she doesn’t I’d understand . . . but I find I’m always wanting a little more from Samuel/Leda and their new found level of trust/intimacy but then the story ends. And then maybe not – because then I’m allowed to fill in with my imagination what could take place . . . sigh!!!

  48. Dee says:

    I’ve been reading Laura for some years now. I look forward to this newest one.

  49. Heather K says:

    Sounds great. Can’t wait to read it.

  50. Nicole D says:

    Cannot wait for the book to be released!

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