Interview with Sherry Thomas – and giveaway!

Sherry ThomasHistorical romance author Sherry Thomas deserves every bit of the vast amount of praise she’s received since she debuted a few years ago. Her stories are sensuous, her language is lush, and her characters are delightfully flawed and nuanced.

Sherry writes novels that make me lose whole days as I immerse myself in them, and I’m so pleased she’s here today giving away a copy of her latest release, Beguiling the Beauty.

Welcome, Sherry!

1. Your novels portray worlds that are rich with historical fact—from art to geography to science. I suspect you do a hell of a lot of primary research. What are your favorite kinds of sources?

Google Books changed my life. I used to haul a suitcase to the University of Texas library for research books and well, that’s only a suitcase of books, and usually secondary material. With Google Books, I have entire libraries of primary material at my disposal. Since I write in the 1890s, I typically set my search parameter from 1880 to the date of my book, and let Google do its magic.

My favorite kind of sources are books meant to explain something to people who might not be as familiar with the subject of the book. So for example, travelogues that explain local customs and idiosyncracies are invaluable for when you want to mine little details that make a setting come alive. Or for example, articles that describes all the technical advances and creature comforts of the fastest, most luxurious ocean liner of the day—which totally made me squee when I came across them while researching BEGUILING THE BEAUTY, half of which took place during a transatlantic crossing.

2. What draws you to the Victorian world?

I’m drawn less to the entirety of the Victorian world as to the turn-of-the-century period, when the world was a very exciting and interesting place with all sorts new technologies in place. The telephone was in use. Automobiles are beginning to appear on the streets—in fact, I’d come across an article written by a lady driver to other ladies interested in driving their own cars on how to go about it. And women were no longer thought to be out of their minds to pursue higher education.

And then of course you contrast all that modernity against a system of etiquette and rules that are still quite antiquated in our eyes and there is this fascinating tension I can explore—urges of freedom against societal restraint, and how far can a woman push to live as she wished versus the box in which those around her still wanted to keep her.

3. Your novel Not Quite A Husband is the first romance novel I remember reading where the epilogue made it clear that the couple remained childless, a decision on your part that I personally really appreciated. Was that difficult to get published? Have you had much reader feedback about it?

Not Quite a HusbandIt wasn’t difficult to publish that—my editor never even mentioned anything about it. The first ever letter I’d received on it was from a Filipino reader who was rather distraught about it. And a romance writer also told me that perhaps it would have been even better had I given them children. But afterwards most readers have been quite appreciative, when the matter comes up, that the H/H did not need children to be happy.

I have children and I adore my children. But I know quite a few couples who do not have children and are just as content to be that way. Moreover I know couples who might have stayed together had it not been friction over children/share of childcare that eventually led to their disillusionment with each other. So children do not, in my view, seal the deal on a relationship. My commitment to my marriage is not conditional on whether I have children, just as my commitment to my children is not conditional on whether I am married.

4. Several of your books feature couples who marry before the novel starts, or early in the story, and have to work through their own failings in order to make the marriage succeed. Why is that?

A person’s character is forged during times of adversity, so is the character of a relationship. It is the choices the H/H make when it might be easier to walk away, to not apologize and not deal with the baggage, that determine whether they can forge a stronger bond or whether that initial attraction will whittle to nothing over time.

5. I’m so excited that you have a few new books coming out this year! Tell us about your new series.

Beguiling the BeautyThe Fitzhugh Trilogy starts with BEGUILING THE BEAUTY in May, continues with RAVISHING THE HEIRESS in July, and concludes with TEMPTING THE BRIDE in October. (I’ve also a novella planned, but am not sure the exact release date yet—it will be in the anthology Midnight Scandals with Courtney Milan and Carolyn Jewel.)

The books feature the Fitzhugh siblings–Venetia, Fitz, and Helena–and begin in Cambridge, Massachusetts of all places, ostensibly because Helena is there to write an article about the first graduating class of Radcliffe College whose degrees will be emblazoned with not only the signature of the president of their college, but the signature of the president of Harvard University. In truth Helena has been whisked far away from England to put some distance between her and a gentleman she ought not be seeing.

Toward the end of their stay in Cambridge, Massachusetts, twice-widowed Venetia, who is acknowledged to be the great beauty of her day, drags Helena to a lecture by Christian de Montfort, the Duke of Lexington, a famed naturalist—evolutionary biologist by today’s terminology—in the hope that she might be able to introduce Helena to the young, rich, eligible duke.

During the lecture, when asked about the evolutionary significance of beauty, to illustrate his point that the pull of beauty often overrides the principles of civilization, Lexington enumerates the sins of a great society beauty.

Ravishing the Heiress

Though he never mentions her name, Venetia recognizes a highly distorted version of herself. This is a knife in the heart to her, as the duke drags up painful memories that she has been trying to bury for many years.

However, Venetia has no idea that the duke has been in love with her ever since one glimpse of her ten years ago, despite the fact that he believes her to be quite the rotten egg. So she plots revenge in the form of seduction aboard the ocean liner Rhodesia. The duke, who’s been aching to forget the beautiful Venetia, falls head over heels in love with a mysteriously veiled fellow passenger who calls herself Baroness von Seidlitz-Hardenberg.

And of course, you can only maintain a deception for so long and all hell will soon break loose… 🙂

Giveaway!

Sherry’s giving away a copy of Beguiling the Beauty to one person who leaves a comment here. I’ll choose a random winner on Tuesday May 8th!

Read an excerpt on Sherry’s website

79 thoughts on “Interview with Sherry Thomas – and giveaway!

  1. Hi!
    When there’s pro contra about Sherry’s book Private Arrangement, between me in my groups.
    I’m so curious with the book, I want to know which side I’m in. I read it, and I found that I’m in the pro one.
    I like PA, I admire the heroine character, Gigi’s so tough.
    I found Sherry’s book is different from others at this part, I like PA is not because the hero at all. For me the hero isn’t charming as the other books. But I still get into the book. ^^

    1. Hi, LadyMilano,

      LOL, I do write a charming hero here and there. The one in Not Quite a Husband is charming. And the one upcoming is Tempting the Bride is too. But glad you liked PA all the same.

      1. I’ll throw my name in the hat for this one. Sherry Thomas is one author that gets rave reeviws that I have yet to try. Thanks for the chance to win.Have a great one!

  2. Great interview! Love your books and I can’t wait to get this one. Beautiful cover also. Thanks for sharing your books with us today!

  3. I just heard of Sherry Thomas recently and am looking forward to reading her books. That was a great interview. Thanks for the giveaway 🙂

  4. I’ve been a Sherry Fan since Private Arrangements and find her novels to be unique in the way she explains her characters’ back stories. Every one of her female leads is a tough cookie; no small feat given the time period in which Sherry writes. I can’t wait to read this latest story!

  5. Great interview! Your books sound and look amazing. The best part is that we won’t have to wait long for the next book.

    1. That’s true. RAVISHING THE HEIRESS and TEMPTING THE BRIDE will both be out this year. So for readers who like to have a series end before they start to read, we’ve got them covered. 🙂

  6. I will read anything Sherry writes. 500 page books, songle page interviews, even her grocery lists if I could. Her words just put a smile on my face. This interview was no different. Can’t wait to read this new trilogy.
    -Sonali

  7. I will read anything Sherry writes. 500 page books, single page interviews, even her grocery lists if I could. Her words just put a smile on my face. This interview was no different. Can’t wait to read this new trilogy.
    -Sonali

  8. I didn’t really think it was a big deal that the couple in Not Quite A Husband didn’t have kids. It was a VERY sweet ending IMO anyways. 🙂 Love all the books that Sherry Thomas writes!

  9. What great news–3 more books by Sherry to anticipate. I hate to say this, knowing how much research Sherry doesn, but I don’t notice it –probably because she blends it in so well but even more likely is that I’m so engrossed in her books!

  10. Hello folks,

    So lovely to see you all. Sorry I came by so late. Was without internet access all morning and will be again without it in a few minutes. So just a quick Hi now and I’ll come back again ASAP.

  11. A wonderful interview! I’ve loved your other books and I’m really looking forward to this new series. I’m so excited that they’ll all come out this year. I get impatient waiting. 🙂

  12. Sherry – Congratulations on the new trilogy. You’ve become somewhat famous for your marathon rewrites. I think you once blogged about how you missed out on a holiday dinner trying to meet a deadline. Was it easier or more difficult plotting and writing a trilogy? Also, do ever envision setting a book during America’s Gilded Age? You had a few scenes during this period in Private Arrangements.

    1. Not as many rewrites this time–I waited until I was sure of the spine of the plot before wading into the thickets of the actual writing.

      The Gilded Age definitely intrigues me, but I’ll need to first read more books set in the era to get a feel for it and then wait for the right idea to come along.

  13. I love research so much–I can get lost in google books forever! (I also get lost in your books, so apparently I’m just a lost soul!)

  14. I just have one book from your back list – Delicious to read before I am all caught up before the new trilogy release. I’ve been hoarding your books since 2010 knowing a new release won’t come until 2012. Before I knew it, 2012 is here and I’ll have 3 new Sherry Thomas books to fangirl over. I hope once I’ve devoured these you won’t make us wait another 2 years for more books. 😀

  15. Hi Sherry! You are a new author for me. I really enjoyed your interview. Your books sound amazing and must read. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  16. Heh–that sounds fabulous! I do love stories where there’s a bit of “dress up” and hiding behind another persona for part of the story–those are awfully fun! And thanks for the lovely interview!

    1. I think I must be just as fond of those stories. I’d written a book earlier–DELICIOUS–where the hero falls in love with the heroine’s cooking, not knowing that she is the same woman he’s been searching for a decade.

  17. Hi Sherry, you are a new to me author but your books sound great. I will definitely be checking into them. I think it is great that you wrote about a couple remaining childless. Not everyone can have or in some cases even wants children. Due to medical reasons, I have not had children. I do love each & every niece & nephew that I have, but I don’t really feel like I have “missed out” on something necessary for happiness.
    Thank you for the interview & giveaway. Btw, your covers are gorgeous!

  18. Hello Sherry, C
    Congrats on the trilogy, cannot wait for them to be out! From the sound of it, each of the books seem quite different and distinct from each other, in plot, characterization, etc. Did the ideas for each come to you separately or did they just slowly morph out of each other one by one?
    Great interview!

    1. Hi Ray,

      Yes, the stories of the trilogy are quite different, since the leads for each story and the circumstances of their meeting are quite different. The ideas came separately, and sometimes the final iteration of an idea bears very little resemblance to what I first thought it would be.

  19. Very nice interview. Your book sounds very intriguing. And I like cover book, it was beautifull, Can’t wait to read this series. Hope i win this contest, Thanks for chance:)

  20. Finally a new book! 🙂 I’ve devoured all of Sherry’s other books and I’m so looking forward to reading Beguiling the Beast!

  21. I love all of Sherry’s books, although my favorite is Not Quite A Husband – such anguish and intensity in that book. I cant wait to read the new trilogy.

  22. Great interview Kat! I was fortunate to take a class through RWA Univ from Sherry that ended a week ago and it was awesome. She is a very generous and thoughtful teacher. I write historicals mostly, and loved reading about Google books. In my current MS, I have them visiting the British Museum in 1834 and I actually found a room by room description of its holdings published not too far from that date and it really lent some atmosphere (and a moment of humor) to the scene! Love Google Books!
    Angela Quarles recently posted..Six Sentence Sunday – 4/29/12My Profile

    1. Hi Angela,
      I had a similarly wonderful experience with the Natural History Museum–called British Museum (Natural History) in 1896. I found a room by room, case by case description of the entire place. Wonderful for planning out a scene. Google Books too, of course.

  23. I’ve read an excerpt from BTB and knew immediately I wanted to read this story – it was the moment the heroine assumes the false identity. I also love the idea of the enforced close quarters of a transatlantic crossing. There are several old movies that have used that setting as a way to heighten tension, and I recently saw TITANIC (in 3D IMAX) again, so I’m primed for a HEA version. I’m glad you mentioned Google Docs as a starting point for your research. I found a resource – free – yesterday that answered several questions I had in my research. I have a worse addiction than my reading romance; it is researching history, so my love for historical romance is a given. Looking forward to getting to know your fictional characters.

    1. Hi Debbie,

      Sounds like there are lots of elements in BEGUILING THE BEAUTY that’s right up your alley. And me too, I love Google Books because the stuff I need are in the public domain and I don’t have to pay to read them.

  24. One more thing about the Gilded Age. Have you ever read Lions and Lace by Meagan McKinney? It’s an excellent romance novel set during this era. Unfortunately for the citizens of New Orleans, though Ms. McKinney is a gifted writer, she broke the law and is serving time. Therefore, I don’t think the book will be re-issued anytime soon.

  25. Congratulations on the new series! I look forward to reading the first book. Thanks for the chance to win it.

  26. Love all of your books Sherry! PA was one of my favourites! Really looking forward to the next set coming out this year. I love when the h/H have a backstory!

  27. I love reading all of Sherry’s interviews. I get to learn a little more about all of my favorite characters!

  28. Stumbled upon sherry on her agent, kristen’s, blog on query letters, then i went straight to amazon and bought private arrangements. God, Sherry is good, her metaphors and similes the best. i hope to keep reading your books, and when mine comes out, i hope you get a copy…and i hope you check the dedication page too

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