Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Guest Post & Giveaway: Sophie Barnes - HOW MISS RUTHERFORD GOT HER GROOVE BACK


Hi Everyone. Please help me welcome Sophie Barnes to the blog today! She is here to promote her debut novel, How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back. It's a sweet historical romance so be sure to check it out. Today Sophie is going to talk about her love of romances. 

From the moment I popped into this world, I had one goal that shone brighter than the rest – to find my very own prince charming (tall, dark, handsome…you get the picture). My parents did not indulge the ‘all little girls are princesses and must wear pink’ notion that seems to have run rampant since the early 90’s. In fact, I was usually clad in a pair of overalls and a blue sweatshirt. Not that I didn’t think that frilly dresses were pretty (I even owned a few), but I quickly discovered that they were just that – nice to look at but completely impractical when sliding down a hillside on your butt.

However, my mom did read fairytales to me – repeatedly and at my insistence until she was exhausted. And so my love for romance began – particularly the sort where any number of odds must be overcome in order to achieve that “happily ever after”: a girl suppressed by her evil stepmother, a deep sleep from which only a kiss will awaken the princess or some other challenge that forces the hero to rise above and beyond his normal capabilities, spurred on by the power of true love. The stories were magical: the castles, the gowns, the handsome hero and the beautiful heroine, the battle between good and evil…Rich fodder for a child’s imagination. 

As I grew older, I became enthralled by the kind of movies that offered a similar opulence, glamour and happy ending my beloved fairytales had done. I must have seen Robin Hood with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland a thousand times, not to mention Pride and Prejudice, Jayne Eyre, The Princess Bride, Doctor Zhivago and of course Gone with the Wind.

And yet, surprisingly enough, I didn’t actually read my first romance novel until I was married. Yes, it’s true. Of course I’d read everything that I could scrape together by Jane Austen and I absolutely adored Wuthering Heights, but when it came to contemporary writers, I would pick Wilbur Smith, Ken Follet and Margaret George – writers that many, including myself at the time, considered to be more ‘serious’. Yet somehow it was always the moments of romantic intrigue (as scarce as they were in these novels) that drew my interest and made the rest of the pages fly by faster. What was it going to take for me to just capitulate and pick up a proper romance novel?  Apparently, a mother-in-law.

I kid you not. I believe my mother-in-law has more romance novels on her bookshelves than most people would be able to read in a lifetime. So, on one of my many visits to her home, and having voiced my need for something new to read, she promptly handed me You Belong To Me by Johanna Lindsey, which she happened to have in duplicate. My life would never be the same again. I’d re-discovered the fairytales I loved - full of adventure, intrigue, a dashing hero and a gorgeous heroine with an independent streak to challenge any sane man.

From then on, I quickly began acquiring as many romance novels as I could get my hands on. Living in Africa at the time, I bought most of them on my visits abroad, sampling both the contemporary ones and those set in different time periods (Medieval, Victorian, Georgian and Regency). One day, on a chance visit to a local bookstore, I scanned the dusty shelves…hoping. There, shining like a beacon was the book that would launch my writing career as you know it – Julia Quinn’s, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton.
 
For many years I’d been trying to write a fact-filled historical novel about a medieval queen, but that required immeasurable amounts of time spent on research – time I just didn’t have at my disposal with two small boys around my feet (three if I include my husband). But after reading Julia’s book, I was inspired. I loved the witty dialogue, the setting, the strict etiquette governing each and every person’s conduct. It brought back the Austen novels in a modernized fashion and I thought, “Maybe I can write something like that,” figuring I wouldn’t need all that research. After all, this was pure fiction so I could just make it up as I went along. I thought.

Boy was I wrong. :o) Perhaps I didn’t need as much research as I would have had I been writing about a real historical figure, but I soon discovered that I didn’t know nearly enough about the Regency period to get past the first paragraph. (I’m so grateful for Google!)  Of course, the first book I wrote was rubbish. I think of it as a lesson in everything writing related, and though I did submit it and it did get rejected a million times, I still consider the plot solid enough to merit a re-write at some point in the future.

But, back to my own love for the Regency period – as a writer. I think the period’s social constraints for women offer a never ending variety of plotlines; featuring women insistent upon thwarting those limitations; or women trying their best to adhere to them, but somehow forced to act outside the acceptable norms due to extraordinary circumstance. The promise of scandal is always juicy – particularly when a striking Duke, Earl or Viscount happens to be involved. It was a time when a woman’s virtue was held in the highest regard, when men were gentlemen and when etiquette (or lack of it) meant everything to a person’s place in society. Certainly romance writers use their artistic licenses liberally, but we do so whilst sticking to what was (and was not) socially acceptable at the time, and by injecting correct historical facts that further enhance the plausibility of both plot and characters.

Writing “How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back” was a pleasure. I fell in love with the characters (and hope that those of you who read this novel, will grow to love them too).  

 I’d like to thank Monique for hosting me today. I’ll be popping in throughout the day to chat with you and to answer any questions you might have. So feel free to leave a comment or two. Let me know how you were first introduced to the world of Regency romance. Remember, your comment will automatically enter you to win a $25 Amazon gift card, so start typing =)

If you’d like to follow the rest of my tour, I’ll be back again tomorrow at http://www.seductivemusings.blogspot.com/ to talk about how I came to marry my husband three times in three different dresses. Hope to see you again soon =)
To find out more about me, How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back, or my upcoming releases, please visit my website at: www.sophiebarnes.com

How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back
by Sophie Barnes
Release Date: January 31, 2012


Emily Rutherford is having a very bad day. Of course, having the man you’ve loved forever, announce his engagement to your (now very former) best friend will do that.

Emily is sure nothing good could possibly come out of this horrid situation. But she lets her sisters and Adrian’s cousin, Francis Riley, the delectable but brooding Earl of Dunhurst, convince her a season in London will be just the thing.

Now Emily has a choice: sulk in a corner while her sisters enjoy the glitter of the ton. Or become the belle of the ball, dazzling everyone on an earl’s arm. But as Francis helps Emily get back on her feet, she quickly realizes that a childhood crush is nothing compared to the power of true love.

Author Bio – Sophie Barnes

Born in Denmark, Sophie has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish and Romanian.

She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Parson’s School of design, but most impressive of all – she’s been married to the same man three times, in three different countries and in three different dresses.

While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion – writing.

When she’s not busy, dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading. She currently lives on the East Coast.


Giveaway:
Sophie will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. The more comments you leave the better your chances of winning.
 
To Enter:
Leave a comment or question for Sophie and include your email address.
Be sure to visit the other blogs on this tour. Click on the tour button below for a list of participating blogs.

35 comments:

  1. Jane Austen introduced me to the world of Regency Romance & I never left. This is a world I could lose myself in entirely.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Which is your favorite Austen book? Mine is probably Pride & Prejudice with Sense & Sensibility as a close second.

      Delete
  2. Good morning and thank you for hosting me today Monique! I'm absolutely thrilled to be here as your guest :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Sophie! Have fun on your tour & Happy Release Day!

      Delete
  3. Kudos to your Mother-in-Law for introducing you to romance! Miss Rutherford sounds like an entertaining debut. Best wishes for great success with it. I look forward to reading tomorrow about your multiple weddings.

    catherinelee100[at]gmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Catherine! I hope you enjoy reading it =)
      Have a great day!

      Delete
  4. Loved You Belong To Me, just read the first in the duology 'Once a Princess' and loved that too. I also love Jane Austen, Mansfield Park is the least favourite, though I still love it. Congrats on the new release.

    yvonnedvn[at]yahoo[dot]ie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So good to see you again =) And thanks for all the wishes! Funny how most people like Mansfield Park the least. Personally my least favorite was Northanger Abbey, but as always, it comes down to a matter of taste. Have a great day & thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  5. How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back sounds like a great read! Best of luck to you on your blog tour.

    sandy(dot)wolters(at)q(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the wishes Sandy and for stopping by!

      Delete
  6. Sophie, I can't wait to read How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back! It brings me back to the adoration I had for the Julia Quinn, Amanda Quick, Johannna Lindsey books I loved and re-read so much!
    What's so much fun about the regency era is how rigid society was, and how clever and sneaky the hero and heroine had to be in order to be naughty and have major sexual tension without anyone noticing. Oh so much fun!! And to get caught meant to be tied together forever *gasp* - the horror, the shame! LOL Just love it so much!
    Thank you for the giveaway chance - loving the tour =)
    Gena Robertson
    robertsongena@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. You hit it on the nail, Gena! Great to see you again and so happy to hear you're liking the tour =)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello Sophie, has living in so many different places shaped your interest in writing the types of books that you write? Thanks for a super giveaway!
    My email: anashct1 [at] yahoo [dot] com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wouldn't say it's shaped my interest in the types of books I write, but it certainly helps that I've been to the places that I write about.
      Thanks for stopping by Anash, and thanks for the question =)

      Delete
  9. I got my start on romance with Johanna Lindsey. Found her at the library and fell in love with the Malory's. I then found my favorite romance author, Julia Quinn. Love the Bridgeton series, and now falling in love with the Smythe-Smith. Can't wait for the next book about Daniel.
    My question for you is: Are you turning this book into a series or going to be a stand-alone. Love series, because you get to follow along with the family or group of friends.
    Love the title of this book and loved the blurb. Sophie is a new author for me and would love to win and read this book. I love to read and always looking for new books and authors to check out. Thanks for the chance to win.
    christinebails@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by Chris, and thanks for the question. Miss Rutherford will not be a series, simply because all the loose ends are all tied up in a neat bow by the end of the book. However, my next release from Harper Collins, which should be out this summer, will be a series. I have three books for it so far that follow each of the three Summersby siblings, and am planning to add more that center around some of the secondary characters. You can read more about these books and their plots at: www.sophiebarnes.com

      Delete
  10. My very first regency romance was Fredrica by Georgette Heyer. I have been hooked ever since. Today your book is coming out and I am going to get a copy. It sounds really good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Jane! I hope you enjoy the read and fall head over heels in love with the characters! Can't wait to hear what you think =)

      Delete
  11. Congrats on the release of this book. It sounds great. I guess the first Regency books I read were by Karen Hawkins and Sabrina Jeffries. They definitely started a love a historicals.
    June
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice to see you again June! Thanks for stopping by and posting a comment, and thanks for the Congrats!

      Delete
  12. Sounds like an awesome read!!! Adding it to my wishlist! Thanks so much for sharing and the contest!
    -Amber
    goodblinknpark@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for adding it Amber - I hope you enjoy it!

      Delete
  13. Hi Sophie,

    Interesting post today...in fact you even answered one of the questions I was going to ask about what happened to the first book you ever wrote. Still in the bottom drawer waiting to see light of day again?

    I love historical romance, especially Regency and Victorian. Some of my favorite authors are Sabrina Jeffries, Liz Carlyle, Candice Hern and Stephyanie Laurens, just to name a few.

    If your book was made into a film, who do you picture as playing the lead parts?

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen - Thanks for posting.
      This is not an easy question. In an ideal world I'd go with a ten year younger Hugh Jackman alongside Keira Knightly. I love them both and have a feeling they'd be quite good at capturing Emily's and Francis' personalities.

      Delete
  14. Thank you for the giveaway. I would love to read your book. It sounds very good. Have you wrote any books that take place in Denmark? What is Denmark like? Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Victoria!
      In fact, the very first book I wrote - the one that's still gathering dust somewhere in a drawer - takes place partly in Denmark. How do I best describe it though? Rolling hills (no mountains)with mostly farmland and forests. Lots of thatched cottages in the smaller villages. Cobbled streets with sidewalk cafes...but quite expensive. Almost everyone speaks English. Lots of bicycles (like Holland), Beer drinking nation, very clean and a capital city that's easy to get around due to it's small size.

      Delete
  15. As for many (of a certain age) I started with Georgette Heyer and Barbara Cartland. The world of Regency romance has changed a lot over the years, and I'm liking it.

    sallans d at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Can't wait to read your book,good luck. And the Hello Kitty, dressed as a dragon,so cute.
    r.d1@myfairpoint.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Renald! I hope you enjoy it =)

      Delete
  17. Thank you Monique for being such a wonderful hostess!

    ReplyDelete
  18. This book sounds very good. Your life seems very fascinating. Do you have a favorite place where you have lived?

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I miss Spain a lot. We lived in the south, up in the mountains overlooking the Mediterranean. It was beautiful and the people are lovely.

      Delete

Thank you for stopping by my blog! I appreciate all of your comments.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 
Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs all images from the Cherry Blossom kit by Lily Designs