Interview with Samantha Grace – & giveaway!

Samantha GraceSamantha Grace debuted earlier this year with her witty, fun Regency romance Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel. Her follow-up, Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half, is out now and it’s just as wonderful as her debut (you can read my review here).

I interviewed Samantha earlier this year, and I’m thrilled to welcome her back to Reader, I Created Him!

It’s great to be here, Kat! Thanks so much for inviting me back.

1. Your debut novel, Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel, came out in February and has received great reviews. What has surprised you the most in you first five months as a published author?

I think it has to be how busy I am. I had no idea! But it has also been great. I’m also surprised by how kind and generous readers are. I’m so honored when they take time out of their just-as-busy lives to let me know what they love about my books. It makes all that hard work worth it.

2. I read in an interview with The Romance Reader that you work for a hospice helping families take care of their loved ones at home – an incredibly admirable job that I imagine can take quite a toll on you emotionally. Does writing romance play a therapeutic role in your life?

Miss Hillary Schools a ScoundrelAbsolutely! Writing is not only a nice escape, at times I’m able to express my emotions through my characters, and it helps me to make sense of them.

On the other hand, my work in hospice helps me to keep things in perspective with my writing. In comparison to what my patients and their families are dealing with every day, a review from someone I don’t even know saying my book is pretty much the worst book ever written is hardly a crisis. And in the words of Kip from Napoleon Dynamite, “Like anyone could even know that.” LOL

3. I love the picture of the cake you were given to celebrate your debut. How have your family and friends reacted to your new career as a romance novelist?

Continue reading “Interview with Samantha Grace – & giveaway!”

Review: Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half by Samantha Grace

Lady Amelia's Mess and a HalfLady Amelia and Jake Hillary have a complicated history. They’ve loved each other for years, but Amelia married Jake’s best friend, Audley. After Audley’s death, Jake and Amelia shared a passionate kiss, but then Jake disappeared to take care of family issues…and his family meddled in their relationship.

Years after they should’ve gotten together, Jake and Amelia finally have a chance to clear the air of all the misunderstanding and malicious acts that have kept them apart.

But just when it looks like they’ll be able to have their richly deserved happily-ever-after, two things conspire to ruin their chance for happiness. First, Jake has difficulty accepting Amelia’s promiscuous best friend. And once he comes to accept her friend, Amelia receives troubling news that she may not be a widow after all, making any marriage to Jake bigamous.

Samantha Grace debuted earlier this year with the first book in this series, Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel, which features Jake’s sister Lana. I said in my review that it was full of  fun, feisty characters who are as adept at teasing each other as they are at waltzing.

Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half continues in that vein – though some of the men seem considerably less adept at waltzing.

Continue reading “Review: Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half by Samantha Grace”

Winner of the Samantha Grace giveaway!

Miss Hillary Schools a ScoundrelThanks so much to everyone who commented on my interview with Samantha Grace, and to Samantha for answering my questions.

The winner of Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel is…Quilt Lady!

Congratulations, Quilt Lady. Send me your mailing address and I’ll forward it on to Samantha.

Everyone, this week I’ve revealed my contemporaries to covet for March, so if you let me know what contemporary romance you’re looking forward to coming out this month, you could win a gift certificate for yourself AND the author.

Plus, this is the last week of my $25 gift certificate giveaway. Next Tuesday I’ll announce the winner, so find some posts to comment on, and subscribe if you haven’t already!

Interview with Samantha Grace – and giveaway!

Samantha GraceThis month, romance readers are being treated to a brand new voice. Samantha Grace’s Regency debut, Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel, is full of funny, quirky characters as well as a dash of suspense.

I’m really looking forward to watching her career grow, and I’m delighted to say she’s here today so we can find out more about her. She’s also giving away a copy of Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel to someone who leaves a comment.

Welcome, Samantha!

Thank you. I’m so happy to be here today and to have a chance to chat with readers.

1. I love hearing about debut authors’ publishing journeys. What made you decide to write a romance novel in the first place?

I knew I wanted to be a writer at the age of nine, but it was one of those things that went on my “one of these days” list. I played around with writing stories for my kids when they were little, and I began a couple of women’s fiction stories, but I never seemed to have the time to really devote myself to writing. Then about four years ago I think I had a midlife crisis and came out on the other side with a tattoo and a burning desire to write romance.

In one of my restless moments before I realized which way I needed to go, I was browsing the shelves in the library and ran across an old love, Johanna Lindsey. I devoured the only two books of hers I hadn’t read from my younger days and instead of thinking, “I should see what other regency authors I might like, I thought, ‘I should write my own regency romance.’” My restlessness went away almost immediately.

2. Gosh – that sounds so much like my own writing journey, except for me it was a Julie Garwood novel. 🙂 So tell us, what were you doing when you found out Sourcebooks wanted to publish Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel, and how did you celebrate?

Miss Hillary Schools a ScoundrelI really wish I had a romantic tale to share, but the truth is I was in the ladies room. It had been a hectic day and I had just stepped inside for a minute of quiet when my son knocked on the door and said someone was on the phone. I thought it was another telemarketer. I can’t remember if I said, “Tell them I’ll call back” or “Who is it now”, but I was miffed. I heard him speaking to the person on the other line then he said, “It’s a lady from Sourcebooks. She said she’ll wait.”

The minute I hung up with Deb Werksman, now my editor, I called my husband and my best friends to share my good news, then I danced around the house with my kids. One of my dear friends brought flowers by within an hour and my wonderful Aussie friend had flowers delivered the next day. I can honestly say it has been months of celebrating. I have the best support system ever, and they share in the joy and excitement of each new experience. I’m very lucky.

3. In Miss Hillary, your hero and heroine have wonderfully realistic relationships with their siblings – teasing each other, using each other, and worrying about each other. Can you tell us about the book’s dedication, and how that relates to your characters’ family relationships?

In part, the book is dedicated to my kids, and they were my inspiration for the brother-sister relationship between Drew and Gabby. Their interactions often make me laugh.

The relationship between Drew and his brother, Richard, reminds me a lot of my husband and his brother. They have given each other a hard time all their lives, making up songs about the other having buck teeth, etc. It’s all in good fun.

When my brother-in-law was in Iraq, they would send letters back and forth with goofy pictures of buck-teethed characters they drew and other silly things. (By the way, neither of them have buck teeth as adults, so they must have grown into them.) It’s cool to see how they express their love for one another. It’s like they have their own secret code.

4. Happily, you have two more books coming out in 2012, focusing on Miss Hillary’s two brothers Jake and Daniel. How exciting is that??

Lady Amelia's Mess and a HalfIt’s very exciting for me. Every time I finish writing a book, I think that hero is my favorite. Well, I just did a final read through on Jake’s story, and I sent in revisions of Daniel’s story last week. Now I honestly can’t pick which one I like best. They are different personalities, but yet they both have a strong sense of loyalty and a desire to protect the ones they love. I hope readers love the Hillary men as much as I do.

5. As well as being an author, you also work with aging adults. How has that work shaped you as an author and the stories you tell?

The people I work with are very sick and often they are being cared for by a spouse at home. I’m so inspired by the devotion and tenderness I witness every day. I especially love working with WWII veterans. When a gentleman calls his wife of 60 years his bride or his sweetheart, my heart melts.

A couple in their nineties used to sit beside each other on the couch and hold hands a large part of their day. No television on or anything. They just enjoyed being together. And when the gentleman looked at his wife, he didn’t see that her lipstick was outside of her lip line or that her shirt was smudged. He saw a beautiful woman who was his dearest friend, and I was able to see her through his eyes. What a gift for me as a writer and just as a person.

Physical attraction is great, but it can be fleeting. These happy couples I meet genuinely like each other, care about what is important to the other person, and they see the beauty inside. I think having access to these amazing examples of true love has shaped me as person and in turn, it has given me direction as an author. I would love my stories to embody the spirit of these couples.

Giveaway!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but that last answer brought tears to my eyes.

Samantha is giving away a copy of Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel to one person who leaves a comment. I’ll randomly select the winner on Tuesday March 6th.

Commenters will also be included in my $25 gift certificate giveaway.

Bio:

Samantha has worked several years as a clinical social worker with a background in behavioral health and geriatrics. It is her belief that everyone has a story worth remembering, and she cherishes her work with aging adults, immersing herself in their stories of eras gone by.

She is married to her best friend, strives to stay one step ahead of their two precocious offspring, and lives in Wisconsin. She distracts herself during the bone-chilling winter months with pilates classes and learning to belly dance.

Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was named in the PW Top 10 Romances for Spring 2012. To learn more about Samantha’s bachelors, visit www.samanthagraceauthor.com.

 

Review: Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel by Samantha Grace

This debut Regency novelist gives readers a truly entertaining romp to start what promises to be a fantastic series.

Miss Hillary Schools a ScoundrelIn the midst of her third disappointing Season, Miss Lana Hillary finds herself in a potentially compromising situation: dangling from a tree limb outside a crowded ballroom with her skirts caught up in the branches.

She really will go to extreme lengths to avoid the fortune-hunters trying to trap her into marriage.

Lana wants a husband. She wants a family. But she wants to marry a decent man who respects her, unlike the despicable man she was engaged to in her first Season.

Also unlike Lord Andrew, the rogue who comes to her rescue as she dangles from the tree. At least, she tries to convince herself she doesn’t want him. He’s clearly not decent husband material, but try telling that to Lana’s traitorous body.

I thoroughly enjoyed Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel. As the title implies, it’s a novel filled with fun, feisty characters who are as adept at teasing each other as they are waltzing.

For me, the real joy of this book is in the lighthearted banter between the characters, making them feel human and thoroughly entertaining to spend time with.

Take this scene, for example, where you get a brief taste not only of Lana and Andrew’s relationship but of Andrew’s teasing relationship with his teenage sister Gabrielle, whom he’s pretending to chaperon so he can have an excuse to spend time with Lana.

Continue reading “Review: Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel by Samantha Grace”