Pleasuring The Fair: Q&A with Historical Romance Author Sue London
by Madeline Iva
At a masque ball, a mysterious foreigner’s kiss ignites Elisa in ways that nothing else has, but he refuses her pleas to elope. Has she lost her heart to a man who doesn’t exist?
SUE LONDON: Thanks so much for having me on Lady Smut! My latest release is a novella called LORD LUCIFER’S DISCIPLE, which is included in the Scandalous Summer Nights collection. (Currently sale for .99 cents–click on this link to buy: Scandalous Summer Nights: A Sexy Historical Romance Box Set (A Collection of Series Starters Book 1). It kicks off my new Haberdashers Nights line of short, sexy stories.
MADELINE IVA: How did you come up with the idea of the Lucifer book for your novella?
SUE LONDON: Lord Lucifer is something of a running joke in the Haberdashers series. I don’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone who hasn’t read the first book, but suffice to say it is someone’s nickname. Someone who has apparently decided to write down all of his “knowledge.” Or has he? There are multiple theories on who actually penned Lord Lucifer’s Guide.
MADELINE IVA: I always find shy guys a challenge and I like nothing better than embracing that challenge. But I thought I was just weird that way! What’s the appeal to most women of a shy hero?
SUE LONDON: I was surprised as anyone that John Howards volunteered to be the hero of the first Haberdasher’s Nights novella, especially as it was clear that it was going to be a racy/sexy read. He was a minor character in the third Haberdashers novel and is of the *painfully* shy variety. Then I started writing his story and found out that he collects sex manuals. Interesting hobby.
To me as a writer, the appeal of a shy hero is that you have a built in ‘man vs. self’ conflict. Will he or won’t he be able to overcome his shyness to do what he needs to do? In John’s case, his social awkwardness happened to be hiding a wicked wit that he finally displayed in defense of his beloved.
As a reader, I like shy heroes because I can relate to them. People can hardly believe it now, but I was one of the shyest kids you could ever meet. I call myself a “recovering shy person.”
MADELINE IVA: I have to confess, knowing you as you are now, it’s hard to believe. Why is your series called the Habadasher’s series?
SUE LONDON: The Haberdashers is the name of the club that the girls formed when they were eight years old. Sabre (the leader) thought it sounded, well, dashing. Jack figured out what it meant and tried to convince the other two to change it, but Sabre insisted on keeping it. Now it’s just sort of their “thing.”
The series description is: In 1805 three little girls decided to create a “boys club” because boys have more fun. Their childhood was filled with sword fighting, horse racing, and archery. Now in 1815 they are all grown up and expected to join Society. Who will marry such independent and deadly misses?
MADELINE IVA: What’s the appeal of writing novellas?
SUE LONDON: I love writing novellas. The Haberdashers Tales are sweet little love stories. The new Haberdashers Nights series novellas are sexy. The really funny part? Both novella series average even better scores from reviewers than the actual Haberdashers series. Try the novellas! You’ll like them!!
All of the novellas explore character and place, but aren’t required reading to understand the overall story arc of the twelve book series of novels.
MADELINE IVA: Where do you hang out most on social media? What do you like about that platform best?
SUE LONDON: Hang out the most? Definitely twitter (@cmdrsue). I’m naturally pithy and snarky, so it suits me well. I’ve built my inner circle out of writers, geeks, and humorists… maybe not in that order. I also hang out on Facebook (especially facebook.com/bysuelondon), my website (bysuelondon.com), G+, and hit my old blogs from time to time (like bysuelondon.blogspot.com). If you don’t trip over me on the internet you’re just not trying.
MADELINE IVA: I love to geek out about history, but know that if romance writers really stick to the historical script they’d be way too confined. What’s your philosophy when it comes to historical research or bringing that historical mojo to a romance novel?
SUE LONDON: I make no bones about the fact that what I’m doing is “historical fantasy.” I’m not out to write a 100% historically accurate anything. (Not that you could without a time machine, because there are gaps and conflicting theories and purposefully misleading information and DON’T GET ME STARTED.)
Then there are times that I insert my characters a little more into the events of the day. A great example is in the third Haberdashers novel where I put the hero and heroine in the midst of intelligence gathering at the Congress of Vienna and essentially “blame” them for something that really happened. Because it’s fun messing with history.
MADELINE IVA: As a self-published author, you don’t need an agent — and clearly you’re doing so well that you don’t need an audience–you already have one. What does the self published author need? Does she need to improve her craft?
SUE LONDON: Uhhh, I definitely need an editor. In fact, I have two. Even though I have a pretty good business background, if I needed to sign anything serious (ex. film rights) I would either get an agent or a literary attorney. I love my audience (over 100,000 books sold! thank you Haberdasher fans!), but it’s all about building as broad an audience as possible. I want to write for a long, long time. I want write exclusively and be able to leave the day job at some point. I need a few hundred thousand more readers.
I like meeting and talking to other authors for all the normal reasons – to exchange info on things like marketing, craft, and the best place to get chocolate. We all face a lot of the same problems, regardless of how we’ve been published. (Maybe this is a great time to mention that http://www.gearhartschocolates.com/ is a great place to get chocolate, so we can at least solve that problem.
MADELINE IVA: Why did you end up writing historicals vs. the ever-popular paranormal? Do you think paranormals are going to get old any time soon — OR — like historicals do they present an ever-needed obstacle so that the romance works?
SUE LONDON: Why write historical romance? I read a LOT of it. I’ve read some paranormal (note that my ‘some’ might count as others’ LOTS, because I read tons), but it does not make up the bulk of my reading. Or writing. An example of my take on the supernatural is this little vignette: http://bysuelondon.blogspot.com/2010/08/do-you-ever.html
But as for paranormal getting old? Heck, maybe the current version of it, but this stuff has been around forever. We will always be intrigued by the dark and tempting. Someone will just reinvent the way we look at it again.
MADELINE IVA: Uh, Werechaun? Is this book a poke at paranormal?
SUE LONDON: To understand Werechaun you have to understand my background. Growing up, I read pretty much everything else (especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery) before I started reading romance. And my very, very favorite thing in the world is humor. Werechaun started as a joke between two Twitter buddies (Andy Click and myself) and very quickly became a short fantasy novel.
Even though Fi and Kyle got a little “shippy,” it never occurred to us to make it a romance. We were just writing the story that we came up with – about turning into Leprechauns on the full moon. So no, not at all a poke at anything having to do with romance or paranormal. We call it an “Urban Fairytale,” i.e., an Urban Fantasy with fairy tale elements. I love, love, love that little book.
MADELINE IVA: Thanks Sue! Readers you can click on the links below to buy Sue’s books.
SUE LONDON: Thanks again for having me!
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