Friday, April 12, 2013

INTERVIEW WITH GRACE BURROWES



    “…confidence comes almost exclusively as a result of our failures. We become confident not from success, but from the try, try, again aspect of getting to success.”




It’s my pleasure to have, historical romance author, GraceBurrowes, again visiting Over Coffee. Grace is a relatively new author; her first book debuted in December 2010. It hit the Bestseller’s lists. 
Over night success? Hardly. 
Grace writes truly enthralling Regency romance and filled with fascinating families and unforgettable characters that touch your heart.  I truly love how Grace explores the complexities of the era—it’s not all lightness and parties. Her characters face some tough choices amid some of the darker aspects and problems of Regency society. Always her tales are entertaining—they make you laugh, sometimes want to cry, and you always feel good at the end. 
Grace was nice enough to answer some questions. No worries, I offered her sustenance and a spot of her favorite beverage for her efforts. J
  • What is it about the Regency era that draws you to set your stories there?

My very favorite keeper authors write Regencies: Mary Balogh, Loretta Chase (though she’s drifting Victorian of late), Mary Jo Putney, and others. I love the diversity of the world—the elegance and the looming threat of war, the class structure with the emerging rights of the common man (sic), and so forth. Then too, there are horses in the Regency—always a plus. 
  • You don’t write the usual Almacks, endless balls and assemblies, and silly debutantes thankfully, but you do write your stories to fit the mores and culture of the era—you just shift the focus a bit. I know as a reader I appreciate seeing more of the regency world aside from Ton parties but what intrigues you, as a writer, to explore darker issues or the edges of the Regency society? What makes it fun for you?

I’m increasingly aware that some of what we think of as the Regency (the balls and simpering debutantes, the strict propriety) is what the Victorians wanted us to think of their parents and grandparents. And while that picture isn't wrong, the reality also included child brothels, horrendous odors, infant mortality, childbed fever, and much unpleasantness, particularly for women and children. That complexity, and how members of society ignored it or dealt with it, fascinates me.  
  • In your latest release, Darius, you write about balancing honor with hard choices one has to make to take care of family. Despite his choices, what are the things you really about Darius? Is he someone you’d like your daughter to meet? 

Of course I’d like my daughter to meet him! He’s fundamentally honorable, though suffering what I think of as moral fatigue. Darius’ strength and heroism lies in his honesty. He’s not whitewashing his choices, not minimizing their impact on his well being  He recognizes that his choices take a toll on him, ethically, and that he can’t keep paying that price indefinitely. When the woman he loves is threatened by the choices he’s made, he un-makes them. 
  • Lady Vivian seems to defy people’s expectations. On one hand she comes across as weaker a damsel in distress. But, she’s not really, is she?

Some might view Vivian as “passive,” though considering her absolute lack of legal rights and material resources, and her lack of honorable male family, I think of her more as pragmatic. She’s ready to make the same compromise Darius did: To stay where she can keep somebody she cares about (her child) safe, she’ll make a deal with the devil. That’s the choice of somebody who doesn't realize they’re truly, deeply loved by others. It’s an orphan’s choice, but when she trusts Darius, she makes the heroine’s choice and gambles everything for love. 
  • Without spoiling the story, what was your favorite scene in Darius?

The fight scene, oddly enough. I am not a fan of violence in any form, but readers have told me that in the past, I've let some bad folks get off with a wrist slap. Darius was nearly at the end of his rope, contemplating dire alternatives when he instead found something to live for. The fight wasn't so much about administering justice as it was about Darius’s struggle to hold onto his honor, to fight his way back to a place where he could love and be loved. That surprised me. 
  • Even though your stories are set in the past, you tend to write about worries, flaws and insecurities people face; regardless of what time period they live in. Is the fascination in pitting those personal issues against the restrictions and limitations of the times?

Hmm. Not consciously?  As you note, people are people, regardless of the era, and true love is true love.  What often solves the conflict for a romance is the hero and/or heroine healing an old wound in themselves. They regain the courage to love, shed their old dysfunctional coping habits, and in so doing, regain parts of themselves they’d discarded previously. Thus renewed emotionally, they can approach some external problem (the wicked uncle, the murderous cousin) with a wider view of the possible solutions. This isn't an era-specific process. 
  • In your working life as attorney, you do deal with families and children in crisis. How much do you that do you draw on for your stories? (For instance, there is quite a bit of realism to Sophie and Maggie’s (Windham series) choices and worries over children of their world.) 

Excellent question, and spot on. I see both tragedies and miracles in my lawyer life, and have often witnessed children in foster care unable to choose options many would say were “obviously” in the child’s best interest.  As children, the instinct to stay with and protect our progenitors, even when those people are dangerous to us, trumps the survival instinct. It’s probably the most heartbreaking reality of my work, and one I relied on specifically in Maggie’s story.

Grace, speaking from a professional counselor’s perspective, I would have to agree, and what I appreciated about most Maggie dilemma. You do a great job with showing the worry, guilt, and sense of responsibility the child in question may face in such a situation. I really loved Maggie’s story. 
  • As a writer, how do you deal with doubts and setbacks?

Another excellent question. I’m a reader with specific tastes, so I absolutely respect that not every book I write will work for every reader. It’s the reader’s hard-earned money, and he or she should spend it on books they love. That said, I've become very, very selective about who I associate with as a writer, where I browse on the web, and what discussions I’ll become part of. I love to write, so I try to stay close to that aspect of published authordom—and stay away from places of contention, sniping, competition, and destructiveness. 
  • Do you think we benefit from setbacks or even failure?

I recently came across a study that concluded most of us radically underestimate the effort required to achieve success (Gladwell’s 10,000 hours being just the start), and that as a result, confidence comes almost exclusively as a result of our failures. We become confident not from success, but from the try, try, again aspect of getting to success. That rang true for me. 
  • If you could spend your day however you wanted, what would you do? 

WRITE, take a walk with my dog, meet one friend somewhere quiet and unpretentious for some good food and good talk. 
  • What’s coming next from Grace Burrowes?
The Lonely Lords series launched with Darius earlier this month, and the rest of the fellows are schedule at the rate of about one a month though early next year. I have many books in production, but I’m also working on a Regency trilogy about the things, people and ideas that can hold us captive. And I feel a Scottish Victorian Christmas story coming on… For more info and updates on coming titles, please visit my website, www.graceburrowes.com.

Grace, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. I also want to thank you for the wonderful stories you tell. They have given me hours of pleasure. You have renewed my love for a good historical. 


“What often solves the conflict for a romance is the hero and/or heroine healing an old wound in themselves. They regain the courage to love, shed their old dysfunctional coping habits, and in so doing, regain parts of themselves they’d discarded previously.”


DARIUS BY GRACE BURROWES – IN STORES APRIL 2013

A story that breaks all the rules...
Darius is a gripping and remarkable tale of desperation, devotion, and redemption from award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes. Her gorgeous writing and lush Regency world will stay with you long after you turn the final page...
With his beloved sister tainted by scandal, his widowed brother shattered by grief , and his funds cut off, Darius Lindsey sees no option but to sell himself—body and soul. Until the day he encounters lovely, beguiling Lady Vivian Longstreet, whose tenderness and understanding wrap his soul in a grace he knows he'll never deserve...
AMAZON, B&N, INDIEBOUND, INDIGO/CHAPTERS

LEAVE A COMMENT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF DARIUS!

24 comments:

Victoria Roberts said...

Grace Burrowes, you're still my hero. Great answers to great questions.

Jo said...

Sounds like a good book. I have always enjoyed books about that era. Not all the books are simpering debs and ton balls.

JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That period of time had a lot of gloss covering the filth below.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I first read The Heir and was then off on a tangent finding all of Grace's backlist. I have been anxiously awaiting Darius. It is good to know I won't have to wait a year between books.

Grace Burrowes said...

Victoria, they were good questions, weren't they? Maybe you should be getting YOUR answers ready?

Jo, I think the series historicals do a particularly good job of showing the reader a range of Regency realities. There something like 36 ducal titles at the time, and I'm sure that number was exhausted before Barbara Cartland even shifted into second gear.

Diane, I'm convinced much of that gloss was supplied by the Victorians, who were in a position to select what mementos of their parents and grandparents survived.

Hardworking Mom (isn't that redundant?), glad you're enjoying the books. I'm lucky to have a publisher who will work with me on a faster publication schedule. We're standing by to see what the reader reaction is. Everybody SAYS they don't like waiting for books, but...

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I definitely like getting the books approx a month apart. I truly don't like to wait and have been known (not often because I am very into instant gratification) to hoard a series of books so I can read them all at one time.

My daughter named me Hrdwrkdmom years ago, not nearly as hard worked as I once was :-)

Sandra Kenny said...

Grace,
Thank you for an awesome interview. I love your books and am currently enjoying "Darius". I think I'm in love with him myself! Keep up the wonderful work. Love ya!

Jo said...

Funnily enough, I couldn't stand Barbara Cartland. I always thought she plagiarised a lot of stuff from Georgette Heyer whom I did enjoy.

JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

Anne Gallagher said...

Great interview, Sia. Thanks so much for sharing your views about the Regency. As a writer of same, I agree it wasn't all ton parties and debs. There was a lower side to the glitz and glamour that no body really ever talks about.

vls said...

I enjoyed your answers and look forward to reading Darius and the other books you promised us :)

Tammy Sommervold said...

Great interview. These Lonely Lords are wonderful.

Grace Burrowes said...

Sandra, thanks. I wish everybody could love what they do and do what they love, at least most of the time.

Jo, I never "got" Barbara Cartland myself, but the gal wrote something like 700 books. Surely not all of them plagiarized Heyer?

Anne, I think that lower side got even lower still in the Victorian era, as the cities crowded, and international trade become more complicated. The Victorians, though at least labeled things, "The Great Stink," "The Great Waif Problem..." Naming a challenge is a first step in acknowledging it, I suppose. And they did build those sewers (thank heavens!).

VLS, I understand Nicholas is already available at discoveranewlove.com, which often has my releases a month early (if you're an e-reader, which I AM NOT).

~Sia McKye~ said...

It's not that I don't enjoy and haven't read fun and froth and witty--I do. But I do like stories like Grace writes because they have depth and make me feel like I stepped through a door into the era. I like that feeling and I like seeing the other parts of the time.

I like this story!

~Sia McKye~ said...

I'm glad y'all enjoyed the interview! Grace was great!

So, how's your horse doing Grace? Had time to get in much riding of late?

Bonnie said...

I love the idea of the Grace-book-of-the-month-club. Grace, do you know if the upcoming books that will be trade size and ebooks will be later released as standard size paperbacks?

Grace Burrowes said...

Sia, thanks! As a reader, I'm not much for "love and laughter" stories but occasionally, a change of pace is nice. Mostly, I like good writing, and that can come any genre.

And I will be visiting some riding buddies this weekend. They vow and declare they've found a handsome Thoroughbred/draft cross prince for me.

Bonnie, from your keyboard to the shelves of hordes of readers... Darius is mass market/ebook, but the plan for at lest the first four Lonely Lords after him is trade/ebook, with the trade paperback option available through Amazon's POD service. Any one of these books can become available in mass market if demand is sufficient, and I'm particularly hopeful that Douglas, as the Windham prequel, might enjoy that honor.

Barbara E. said...

Grace is such a prolific author I'm having a hard time keeping up! But it's a fun challenge, that's for sure. I think this new series sounds wonderful and I'm looking forward to reading it.
By the way Sia, I enjoyed the soundtrack to my reading, it's awesome. :D

moodymolly said...

First off, please omit my name from the contest to win the book. I've already got it and don't want to deprive anyone else from possibly winning it.

Thank you for asking Grace such thought provoking questions. I've read several interviews with her and have enjoyed each of them because I learn something new about her each time. I think she's one amazing lady because she does the work she does as an attorney and still finds time to write.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Draft/Thoroughbred? Actually, that's great cross. The Draft is beautiful and a bit calmer and much more patient than the TB. They have such a solid feel to them and surprisingly smooth for riding. Thoroughbreds are tall, for the most part and I like them tall, and man, they're smart and fast. The ones we had were full of attitude. Prima donas in a group-my mom didn't tolerate bad manners, tho.

All those muscles and sweetness of temperament mixed with a fast light riding breed like a thoroughbred? Makes some awesome competition sport horses. We had a couple of hunters from that cross breed--fast and tough, good jumpers too, and not as inclined to fuss with other horses. Always a plus in a group.

I have only 3 horses. My beloved Sassy--foundation Arabian out of Classic Symphony and Polish out of Bandagold--he's phenomenal and 25 years old. His progeny are all over the world, lol! A real lover.

My other mare is a Morgan, and my favorite riding horse is Doctari--he's foundation quarter horse-he's 17 this year. We're both getting a bit slow.

Share some pics of your Prince. I'd love to see them.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Victoria, I'm looking forward to having you visit Over Coffee again. Just let me know when. :-)

Barbara, I'm glad you enjoyed the music! Thanks for stopping by!

jmcgaugh said...

Grace, I enjoyed the interview and have really enjoyed your books. It's particularly great that you're so prolific and, yet, still put out wonderful books with wonderful, albeit flawed, characters.

Grace Burrowes said...

Barbara, some time next year, we'll hit the end of my queue, and by then I'm sure I'll be ready to go on spree reading something besides my own manuscripts.

Hiya, Molly. You're amazing too, and I know at least four little people who will back me up on that.

Sia, I'm a dressage rider who stepped away from the sport a couple years ago, but had great fun with it for a long time. The stepping away... not going so well. That business about having to listen with your body to a beastie five or ten times your size, that's good for me. Hope this guy works out, but then, shopping for a horse is my idea of fun, too.

JMC, thanks for those kind words. I'm very, very fortunate to have a publisher that will try this print schedule. Very fortunate.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Grace, is he already familiar with the movements? Yeah, tuning your body to his and vice versa, that takes some time--especially when out of practice.

I have a friend who competes with her Arabians. They're beautiful to watch. Her horses are a work of beauty to begin with. :-)

One of these days I'll share the tale of the horsefly, a dressage saddle (which isn't my favorite)and wild thistle.

Have fun shopping.

Old Kitty said...

I like how it's a man having to sell himself after such dire family circumstances rather than the usual put upon woman!! Wonderful!! He so deserves Lady Vivian's love!! Take care
x