Monday, February 10, 2014

An Exclusive Interview with Sherry Thomas + Giveaway #favoriteauthorfeature

I contacted Sherry Thomas last year when I was working on my Thanksgiving Author Feature series and was so, so, so incredibly happy when she replied. At that time, she was working towards a deadline and asked if she could send her answers in January. I've had this sitting in my inbox for a while and I've been waiting for a special time to finally put up the feature.

Valentine's Day is on Friday, so, here we go!

It is not a secret how much I love Sherry Thomas's works and that I am a big, big fan of hers. I've read all of her books and have loved all of them. She's an author that's firmly on my auto-buy list. I can't really enumerate the reasons why I love her works so much -- I just do, and I will probably spend the rest of my days reading her stories and still trying to figure out why she is so amazing (because she is).

I am thrilled beyond words to have this Q&A with Sherry Thomas on my blog today.

LStW:  I remember reading your debut novel, Private Arrangements, and being moved by your voice, story and characters. Do you still remember the moment when you decided to start writing? (And what inspired you to write Private Arrangements?)
Sherry Thomas: LOL, yes, I will always remember the moment when I decided to start writing. It had to do with a historical romance by an old favorite author that failed to deliver. Normally I would just set the book aside and move on. But I was at a rather extraordinary period in my life as a fairly new and largely inept stay-at-home mom. My organizational skills were nil, which meant my free time also hovered around nil, and I was irate that this book took an hour of my free time and gave me nothing in return.

That was when the arrogance of youth kicked in. That evening, when my husband came home, I told him that I was going to write romances and make some money doing it—I figured I couldn’t do worse than the wallbanger that had inspired this dramatic idea. Given that I’d never written so much as a short story in my life, taken any creative writing classes, or even displayed any inclination whatsoever toward creative endeavors, the spouse did an admirable job not telling me that I was talking out of my rear end.

You heard it right, folks: I started writing because I was an idiot who didn’t know any better.

The first draft of what would later become Private Arrangements was the first thing I started working on, if not the immediate next day, then pretty soon thereafter. And my idea was, I’d read lots of romances where the hero wrongly believed the heroine to have done something terrible. And I wanted to write a twist to that. I wanted the dude to be right when he came to the conclusion that the heroine had done something pretty darn underhanded and I wanted the conflict and mistrust that flowed from that original mistake to be the reason they couldn’t be together.

Nothing gets my creative juices gushing like when my characters become the authors of their own woes. ☺

LStW:  Your novels often have flashback scenes. It features very prominently in Ravishing the Heiress (which I loved). What is the attraction of using this literary device?
Sherry: I really haven’t found anything that does as beautiful a job in layering the characters as being able to see them at very different points in their lives. To see how harden men and women used to be so open and trusting, or how a relationship that has become brittle and embittered was once tender and full of hope. Or, in the case of Ravishing the Heiress, how an enduring friendship that eventually took wings came from the most heartbreaking and inauspicious of beginnings. The insight is truly invaluable.

LStW:  What was it like to write the very erotic The Bride of Larkspear? (Did you always intend to publish this when you started plotting/planning your Fitzhugh Family series?)
Sherry: Not at all. The erotic novella that Hastings wrote came as a totally surprise to me.

When I started working the Fitzhugh Trilogy, my agent advised me to have the books be tightly connected, which meant having the thread of the third story start in the first book itself. Since I wasn’t really concentrating on Helena and Hastings’ story at that point, whatever I wrote was complete garbage.

By the time I finally had a more clear idea who Helena and Hastings were, I had to go back and rip out everything I had already written about them, and put new stuff in. And I don’t like needless repetition. Since Hastings had already come up to Helena and antagonized her a couple of times, I wanted a new element to their interaction.

Essentially, he opened his mouth and to my astonishment and delight, told her that he had written a book of erotica and was looking for a publisher. And once I realized that I was going to use snippets of the erotic novella throughout the rest of the series, I decided to actually write the whole thing.

And I have to say, I enjoyed the heck out of it. At that point I’d written three historical romance plus a historical romance novella in a row and I thought my well was completely dry. But The Bride of Larkspear was just different enough to be both fun and replenishing.

LStW:  (This question is from my book buddy and fellow Sherry Thomas fan, Mary @ Buried Under Romance) How do you, as a writer, determine the personalities of your hero and heroine? (i.e. do you want them to complement each other, be opposing, etc?)
Sherry: I want them to be perfect for each other. Pretty ambitious statement, eh? And this from someone who doesn’t believe in soulmates.

But I do believe that two people can become perfect for each other, like Fitz and Millie did in Ravishing the Heiress.

When I don’t have a story with that much time for me to play with, then I basically make sure that the hero and heroine share something important, whether it’s a personality trait (in His at Night, both Vere and Elissande are always pretending to be someone else) or a similar interest (astronomy for Felix and Louisa from The Luckiest Lady in London, for example). And then I make sure they love each other as they are, flaws and warts included, rather than who they wish they other person could be.

LStW:  You've written Historical Romance, Erotic Historical Romance and YA Fantasy, are there any other genres you would like to try writing?
Sherry: I have been tinkering with this contemporary romance for years -- it’s my escape from contractual writing. I would also like to write wuxia-martial arts epics -- which thus far has been a genre of literature more or less specific to the Chinese market. It would be all kinds of impossible to sell, even as a self-publisher. But at heart I remain an idiot who doesn’t know any better, so I am going to have go at it. ☺

LStW:  What's next for Sherry Thomas in 2014?
Sherry: I have just finished copyedits for The Perilous Sea, sequel to The Burning Sky, my YA fantasy, and that is due to come out in September of 2014.

I also have a historical romance coming out in August called My Beautiful Enemy. And it has a heroine who is a martial arts expert. (This is not the ancient China wuxia projects I aim to tackle in the future, but a book that largely takes place in England, and maybe by the skin of its teeth fits inside the constraints of the historical romance genre.)

And most likely I will self-publish a prequel to that. Because while My Beautiful Enemy will work as a standalone romance, the backstory is humongous, so much so that I can’t even shoehorn it in via flashbacks. So a separate book it will be.

That’s my 2014. I will be on deadline all year. ☺

* * *

Felix Rivendale, the Marquess of Wrenworth, is The Ideal Gentleman, a man all men want to be and all women want to possess. Even Felix himself almost believes this golden image. But underneath is a damaged soul soothed only by public adulation.

Louisa Cantwell needs to marry well to support her sisters. She does not, however, want Lord Wrenworth—though he seems inexplicably interested in her. She mistrusts his outward perfection, and the praise he garners everywhere he goes. Still, when he is the only man to propose at the end of the London season, she reluctantly accepts.

Louisa does not understand her husband’s mysterious purposes, but she cannot deny the pleasure her body takes in his touch. Nor can she deny the pull this magnetic man exerts upon her. But does she dare to fall in love with a man so full of dark secrets, any one of which could devastate her, if she were to get any closer?

* * *

Sherry Thomas is one of the most acclaimed historical romance authors writing today, winning the RITA Award two years running, and appearing on innumerable "Best of the Year" lists, including those of Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Dear Author, and All About Romance. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and sons.

* * *

I'm hosting a giveaway for The Luckiest Lady in London (paperback or ebook), which is Sherry Thomas's newest release.

*This giveaway is via Rafflecopter and is open to International Readers.
*This giveaway will run until February 17.
*One entry per household per IP.
*One winner will win a copy of The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas (paperback via The Book Depository or ebook via Amazon Kindle).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I've read Not Quite a Husband & it was very different from other hist-roms! Made me cry buckets tho (always a sign of a good book)

  2. Hi Sherry!!! It's so great to see how you started writing! You are just full of surprises dipping into all sorts of genres. I'm super excited for all these upcoming works!

    And for that wuxia project, would you say it's kind of like Jeannie Lin's work??

  3. I read and loved all your books! Where do you get your inspiration from, do you just decide what you want to write about(ie: one character you've introduced before)?

  4. Thank you for the giveaway Sherry. You are a new author to me.

  5. I always love a tortured hero; this sounds great!

  6. I love wuxia but sadly you are right, there isn't much of a market for it. If you ever decide to write one, be assured you have one reader, ME!

  7. I really enjoyed the interview and I must say, every book I've read by Sherry Thomas has been awesome. I'm looking forward to reading The Luckiest Lady in London.

  8. Hi Sherry!

    I love all your books but must admit I have a special love of The Bride of Larkspear because my middle name is Hastings which I was named because of my ancestors who came before me! I loved the misconceptions that David had of Helena and wondered how you came up with that scenario? To me it made the story so much fun to read!

    Congratulations on The Luckiest Lady in London being released last November and I'm already looking forward to My Beautiful Enemy being released the beginning of August this year!

  9. Sherry,
    Thanks for sharing the story of how you started writing. I loved it! It's interesting how some of the most successful careers have unusual beginnings. :-)

  10. Oh wow! I'm so glad to see so many fans of Sherry Thomas drop by!

    Thank you for your wonderful comments and questions! ^_^

  11. How much could people accomplish if they didn't stop to think of all the reasons why they couldn't, shouldn't be able to do something? Bravo, Sherry Thomas, and don't stop. I've read most of your books and enjoyed every one.

  12. Thank you for the feature & post. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  13. This sounds like such a great read and I can't wait to get started on it. I enjoyed the interview.

  14. One of my favorite authors! Thanks for the interview.

  15. Thank you everyone, for your kind, kind words! I hope to always write books that you will want to read.

    And now to those who asked questions.


    I would say it probably will not be very similar to Jeannie Lin's works and more like the works of Gu Long (Ancient Dragon)--or at least I would like it to be, since he was a master of wuxia and I would be starting out. :-)


    I usually have to have a conflict, i.e., the reason the h/h cannot be together, before I can start writing.

    Jeanne M,

    I'd love to answer your question but I'm not sure what scenario you are talking about exactly. Would you mind being a bit more specific? Thanks!



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