Today I would like to welcome to the blog author Laura Navarre. Laura is currently on tour celebrating the release of her book By Royal Command, and has stopped by to answer some questions. Before I get to those, lets get to know about Laura some.
In her other life, Laura Navarre is a diplomat who’s lived in Russia and works on weapons of mass destruction issues. In the line of duty, she’s been trapped in an elevator in a nuclear power plant and has stalked the corridors of facilities churning out nerve agent and other apocalyptic weapons. In this capacity, she meets many of the world’s most dangerous men.
Inspired by the sinister realities of her real life, Laura writes dark medieval and Renaissance romance with a dash of political intrigue. A member of Romance Writers of America’s Published Author Network (PAN) and a 2009 Golden Heart finalist, she has won the Emily Award for Excellence, the First Coast Romance Writers Beacon Award, the Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award, the Golden Pen, the Duel on the Delta, Hearts through History’s Romance through the Ages, and other awards.
Previously published with Samhain and Dorchester, Laura’s newest releases are her epic medieval romance By Royal Command (Harlequin/Carina, July 2012) and her sexy romantic intrigue The Russian Seduction (Affluent Press, August 2012, as Nikki Navarre). She teaches writing workshops on “Sympathy for the Devil: Dark Heroes in Popular Fiction.”
Laura holds an M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine. Living in Seattle with her screenwriter fiance and two Siberian cats, she divides her time between her writing career and other adventures for U.S. government clients.
Places to find Laura:
First off, can you tell us a bit about you?
Thanks so much for hosting me on your Ramblings! And CONGRATS on being nominated for the Most Fascinating Blog of 2012 award!
To answer your question, my background is a bit unusual. I’m a former diplomat and Russia specialist with a focus on weapons of mass destruction issues (for real). I have degrees in international relations, national security policy, and creative writing—so you can already see the bizarrely bifurcated nature of my life! By day, I still consult for government clients. By night, I write dark medieval and Renaissance romance as Laura Navarre and, lately, sexy international intrigue and romantic suspense as Nikki Navarre.
Oh, and did I mention I’m getting married to my screenwriter-fiance in two days (on June 30)? Between the wedding, this book tour, and the pending release of my historical romance By Royal Command (Harlequin/Carina, July 2012), it’s been a bit nuts!
Did you always want to be a writer?
I’ve been a scribbler of stories since childhood, but I’m a pragmatic soul and never thought I could support myself doing it, so I didn’t start writing seriously with the intent to publish until years later.
Once I did start, I wrote four novels and soldiered through 67 rejections before I made my first sale, a dark Tudor romance called The Devil’s Mistress about a reluctant lady assassin who’s blackmailed to poison Anne Boleyn, to Samhain in 2009.
My pending release is By Royal Command, an epic medieval romance about two brothers, one daughter of royalty, and three hearts at war. I was thrilled when it won a 4 ½ star review from Romantic Times this month! You can peek at an excerpt here on www.LauraNavarre.com
What kind of writer are you? Panster or Plotter?
It took me many years to embrace my plotting nature. =) I wanted to be an organic, seat-of-the-pants kind of writer, but my process works best when I do tons of pre-writing before I sit down at the keyboard. My stories are known for a wealth of historical detail. I do considerable research on the period and detailed character sketches, including for the real historical characters in my pages. My sense of the story flows from immersing myself in the world and knowing my characters at a bone-deep level, which give me the inspiration I need for the plot.
Where do your ideas come from?
I’m often inspired by reading exactly the right book at exactly the right time, which involves an element of serendipity. For By Royal Command, I was inspired by everything from Bertrice Small’s epic historical romances to Bernard Cornwall’s dark, gritty Anglo-Saxon historical fiction. To capture the look of the Viking world, I pored over the Lord of the Rings movies, especially the world of Rohan and Helm’s Deep. Beowulf was another source of inspiration.
A la Twitter style, can you describe your book (or series) in 140 characters or less.
Two brothers. One woman. Three hearts at war. BY ROYAL COMMAND by @LauraNavarre for @CarinaPress #medieval #historical #romance
What are some of your favorite kinds of stories to read?
My reading tastes are fairly eclectic. I love epic fantasy in the style of George R.R. Martin, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Terry Brooks. Love the dark, sexy, edgy historical fantasy of Jacqueline Carey and the alternate history of Naomi Novik (the Napoleonic Wars with dragons!)
Obviously I read tons of historical romance, but I strongly favor romance with a rich historical tapestry and intricate plot. Bertrice Small, Laura Kinsale, Mary Balogh, Sherry Thomas, Delilah Marvelle, Leigh Michaels and Elizabeth Hoyt are some of my faves.
I also really enjoy richly imagined, character-driven science fiction, as well as literary historical fiction if there’s a strong narrative and a happy ending (e.g., Memoirs of a Geisha, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Other Boleyn Girl.) Oh, and all my Tudor authors: Philippa Gregory, Barbara Kyle, Robin Maxwell, and Karen Harper.
Do you have a favorite book and if so what is it?
See all of the above! My all-time favorites are The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, For My Lady’s Heart by Laura Kinsale, Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell, and The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory.
What are the scenes that are the hardest for you to write?
This will probably doom my career, but the intense, passionate, steamy sex scenes are the hardest for me to write. I do write them, and they generally turn out pretty well, but I’d usually rather be working on something else. It’s incredibly challenging to write essentially the same scene (sex act, one party protesting/conflicted but persuaded, the other party taking the lead, the breasts, the manhood, the molten core—though I try never to use that phrase!) and make it fresh and specific to the characters every time.
If you could have dinner with any three authors, who would you choose and why?
- George R.R. Martin, because I want to know how that bloody Game of Thrones series is going to end. What happens to Jon Snow?? I’ve thought of nothing else since I read Dance with Dragons.
- Philippa Gregory, for the sheer pleasure of talking Tudor. I’d love to know what she thought about The Tudors on Showtime and the way Hollywood portrayed The Other Boleyn Girl on the silver screen.
- Laura Kinsale because she’s brilliant. I think she’s the greatest historical romance author working today.
Last question, are you working on anything right now?
I’m extremely excited about the historical paranormal trilogy I just sold--a trio of dark Tudor romances with elements of Arthurian legend and fallen angel heroes. Release dates and titles are still being worked, but I hope you’ll see these Laura Navarre titles on sale in 2013.
As a sideline, taking advantage of my background in diplomacy, I’m also writing a trilogy of Russian-set romantic suspense, with lots of international intrigue and glamour, under the pen name Nikki Navarre. Think spies, champagne and seduction. State secrets have never been this sexy! The first book is The Russian Seduction (October 2012). You can check out Nikki’s first chapter and other goodies here at http://www.lauranavarre.com/book/nikki-navarre-books
Thanks so much for hosting me today! I love hearing from readers about their favorite books, movies, history, writing, travel, cats—whatever tickles your fancy.
Katrin of Courtenay's husband is dead—and she doesn't mourn him. He was cruel and controlling, and she doesn't need a husband to hold her northern keep. But her vengeful uncle, the King of England, has other ideas: intent on marrying her off, he's ordered his Viking-bred warrior to return her to court.
On the journey, the Viking captures her interest, and for the first time Katrin understands passion. But her guard is honor-bound to deliver her to the king, and so it is settled—she must wed the mysterious Rafael le Senay, the Baron of Belmaine.
A forced marriage to a stranger slowly becomes something more, and Katrin realizes she is in love with Rafael. But with the shadow of her former lover hanging over her, and Rafael's powerful brother making dangerous plans, can Katrin negotiate the delicate balance between survival and happiness?
Download the first 6 chapters here.
Places to Purchase:
Want to win some goodies from Laura? Check out what's up for grabs.
Up for grabs:
- 1 lucky commenter from the ENTIRE tour will win a $25 Amazon/Barnes & Noble Gift Card
- Please leave a meaningful comment/question for Laura.
- Please leave your email address broken up along with your comment to be entered.
- Giveaway ends July 6th
Good Luck =)