How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
The hero and heroine of A STUDY IN SCOUNDRELS were introduced in the first book of the Romancing the Rules series, RULES FOR A ROGUE. I immediately knew that Sophia Ruthven, who was straight-laced and exceedingly proper, should end up with Jasper Grey, who reveled in being a scoundrel. The challenge was figuring out what each possessed that would appeal to the other. Since I knew Sophia loved detective novels, having them set out to solve a mystery together seemed a perfect way to keep them in each other’s company for a while.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoyed writing A STUDY IN SCONDRELS because of the opportunity to include a bit of mystery in the storyline. Like my heroine, Sophia, I am a big fan of detective novels. Sherlock Holmes was as popular in the Victorian era as he is today, and I was fascinated to learn that there were several “lady detective” novels published in Britain long before Conan Doyle’s sleuth appeared. Sophia loves mysteries and when faced with one, she can’t resist jumping in to investigate.
Name one thing you won’t leave home without.
A small purse-sized notepad and a pen. After getting stuck at doctor’s offices and restaurants with nothing to write on when a story ideas strikes, I’ve learned my lesson. In desperation, I’ve written on the backs of receipts, napkins, and envelopes, but nothing compares to having a little notebook in which I can organize my thoughts during all those “waiting” moments that pop up during a week.
Name three things on your desk right now.
Sticky notes, an unfinished cup of coffee, and way too many pens. I feel like no desk is complete without a big heaping pile of sticky notes. I love their cheery colors and find them a useful tool to capture ideas as they pop into my head. I try to limit myself to one big cup of coffee a day, but many days I get busy and don’t end up drinking most of it until it’s gone cold. And pens? I seem to attract them. I clear off my desk each morning before starting to write, but by evening the surface is covered with pens. I tend to reach for another one every time I need to write something down.
What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?
I love moments of tension, especially when they involve banter between the hero and heroine. Writing snappy banter is a challenge for me, but I enjoy the struggle because those are the moments that reveal so much about my characters. It’s a chance to build emotion between the hero and heroine, but banter also allows them to begin admiring each other for wit and cleverness, something beyond the initial physical attraction.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
Secondary characters are always hard to let go of. Often harder than my heroes and heroines, since they haven’t had their stories fully explored. I have a dozen secondary characters that I’d love to revisit, but one, Rob Wellesley from my first Avon Impulse novel, ONE SCANDALOUS KISS, persists in my mind. I’ve received several reader letters about him and would love to give him his happy ending someday.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Persist and never stop learning. I’ve been writing for years, began publishing three years ago, and I still feel as if I’m a newcomer. There is always more to learn, more ways to stretch ourselves as writers. Rejections come with the territory if your goal is to publish, but each rejection is just an opportunity to improve your story and hone your writing skills.