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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Guest Post with Author Sophie Barnes and Giveaway

Today I would like to welcome to the blog author Sophie Barnes. Sophie is currently on tour promoting her book Lady Alexandra's Excellent Adventure and has stopped by the blog to chat. Before I give the floor over to Sophie lets get to know her a bit.

Born in Denmark, Sophie has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish and Romanian.

She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Parson’s School of design, but most impressive of all – she’s been married to the same man three times, in three different countries and in three different dresses.

While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion – writing.

When she’s not busy, dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading. She currently lives on the East Coast.

Places to find Sophie:

Developing the plot for Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure:

When I start working on a new book, I always have a loose idea of where I want the plot to go, but generally, the characters make the final decision based on their actions and dialogue. It was no different with Lady Alexandra. A large portion of the beginning was re-written before I even submitted it, because I suddenly felt that Alexandra revealed herself as a woman to soon. Similarly, there’s a section with a carriage chase that was written in much later on. It not only alters the way in which one of the characters is disposed of, but also adds a bit more action to the plot.

Back to basics though =) In the beginning, I was sure of one thing – I wanted my heroine to be a skilled sword-fighter, similar in many ways to one of Alexander Dumas’ musketeers. My initial intention was for her to join the army disguised as a man, but eventually decided that she and the hero would have better interaction with one another if they were afforded more alone time than they would be likely to have, surrounded by a whole regiment. So I turned to espionage instead and Michael Ashford began to take shape as an agent for the Foreign Office. But I needed intrigue and conflict – some heated arguments that would lead to…more =) They both had to be honorable and likeable people of course, and Alexandra needed a compelling reason to join Michael on one of his assignments. Inspiration struck – what if one of her brothers was in trouble and needed rescuing? What if word reached England that he was a traitor selling valuable information to the French? And what if Michael was given the responsibility of going to France, finding William and either bringing him back to face charges or worse, stopping him by whatever means necessary? Alexandra suddenly had a reason to travel to France herself in the hopes of uncovering the truth and saving her brother. She was also given a reason to dislike Michael, adding just the right amount of tension between them.

But, would Michael be all right with a woman tagging along on such a perilous journey? Probably not, so I returned to the idea of disguising Alexandra as a man and decided to have a couple of fun Commedy of Errors moments where Michael, who’s otherwise quite the rake, feels very baffeled and disconcerted by the effect that Alexandra’s deep blue eyes start having on him (her face is otherwise concealed by a scarf over her mouth and nose).

Once these elements had been settled though, I started researching Napoleon and what he might have been up to around that time – well, if Alexandra’s brother William was going to be accused of treason, then Napoleon seemed like a compelling reason. As it happens, he had just escaped from Elba and returned to Paris shortly before the story begins, and was in the process of planning his attack against the Seventh Coalition – soon to be known as the Battle of Waterloo. Now, while I was busy researching, I discovered something interesting. As Napoleon’s troops began to advance, the Duke of Wellington was led to believe that they’d be attacking from Mons, cutting off his acess to the ports. It wasn’t until the very last minute – the evening before the battle in fact – that Wellington was warned that Napoleon intended to attack from a different direction alltogether. It’s not clear who delivered the message to the Duke, but I thought it would be fun if, for the sake of the plot, it would be Alexandra and Michael.

Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure is the first book in the Summersby series. Books two and three are about Alexandra’s brothers, Ryan and Willian, and will be published on November 13th and 20th.

I’d like to thank Ramblings from this Chick for hosting me today. I’ll be popping in throughout the day to chat with you and to answer any questions that you might have. So feel free to leave a comment or two.

If you’d like to follow the rest of my tour, I’ll be back again tomorrow at to talk about some of the challenges involved in writing in American English when I grew up attending British schools =)

It’s going to be a wild ride . . .

Lady Alexandra Summersby is not your average society miss. Not only is she more likely to climb a tree than she is to wear a dress, but she has also sworn off marriage. Alex loves taking chances, which is how she finds herself embroiled in a secret mission as she races across the country with the Earl of Trenton. But Alexandra is about to discover that the real danger lies not in duels, but in her completely unexpected reaction to Lord Trenton’s company.

Michael Ashford, Earl of Trenton, is a man of duty. Honorable, charming, and a hit with the ladies, he’s never had trouble staying focused—until now. Lady Alexandra is like no other woman he’s ever met, and suddenly the prospect of marriage seems far more appealing. Now, to convince Alexandra that a life together could be an adventure like no other . . .

Places to Purchase:

Check out the other books in Sophie's Summersby series:
Click on the cover for more info.

Want to win a copy? 1 lucky commenter will win an eBook copy of Lady Alexandra's Excellent Adventure

To Enter:
  • Leave a comment answering the question:  Was is it about Historical romances that brings you back for more. If you are new to Historical, what makes you want to read this book?
  • Fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Please answer the question below or leave a meaningful comment. 

Good Luck =)
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you so much for having me here today - what a great welcome =)

  2. Hi Sophie,

    Again, I'm loving this background information about your book. Taking a look at the other books in this series too! Can't wait!

    Questions for you:
    1) Are you a plotter or a pantser, or a combination of both?
    2) Do you do re-writes in hopes of perfection before turning your book over to the editor or do you wait for it to come back bleeding red?

    1. Hi Karen - Nice to see you again =)
      I suppose I'm a combination of both. I do try to make a chapter by chapter list of events that I plan to take place, but these events can change as the plot develops and the characters take it in a different direction.
      I do strive for perfection so I have re-written many scenes before turning the book over, and I do seem to be developing an eye for what should stay and what needs to go because my editor had fewer 'red marks' on THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT LADY MARY than she's had previously, so I guess I'm moving in the right direction...It's nerve-wrecking knowing that tons of people will read what I wrote so I want to do the best that I can.

  3. I am a big fan of historical romances. I think I love them because they're almost like taking a mini vacation back to a time that is so different from our own. There are the beautiful gowns, balls and the illusion of a more romantic and innocent time.

    Sophie, I hope you don't mind my asking....
    How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back --- How Stella Got Her Groove Back
    Lady Alexandra's Excellent Adventure ---- Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

    Do we like the same movies? lol By the way, I love the title for this new book. Additionally, every time I read another little snippet about how you came up with the idea of the book it makes me want to read it that much more.

    Are historical romances your favorite books to read? What is it that you love most about writing historical romances?

    1. Hi Lisa - I'm so glad you stopped by =)
      To be honest, the publicity department at Avon Impulse as well as my lovely editor should take the credit for these titles. My working title for the first book was Seducing Miss Rutherford, which isn't nearly as catchy as what they came up with. I haven't actually seen How Stella Got Her Groove Back, but I did enjoy both Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure as well as There's Something About Mary (big fan of over the top comedies =)) Before I became a fan of Historical Romances (thanks to my mother in law who has over 1000 of these books - a true romance lovers Eldorado), I loved reading historical novels in general. Pillars of the Earth is probably one of my all time favorites, as are River God, Birds of Prey, Cathedral by the Sea and The Memoirs of Cleopatra. But in all of these books, it was the romance and the action that kept the pages moving for me, so when I read the first Regency Romance novel and realized that this was a whole genre, I became enthralled. I love the 'fairy tale' happy ending after all the conflict, set in a time where chivalry still thrived, where men were gentlemen and women were ladies, but where all were governed by rules of society. These rules make for some very intriguing plots - how will the hero and heroine ever make it when all the odds are against them from a social point of view? And then of course, there's my love for Austen who just oozes romance =)

  4. I love historical romances because you get a lot more romantic dialogue than in most modern romances (which I also love). The fact that sex was much more of a scandal also makes it more daring when it happens in the historical romance. Mainly, I love romance novels because of the anticipated happy ending!

  5. Above was mine. Sharlene

  6. I love historical romances because it's 'simpler' times and no one worries about world issues.... And I love the HEA!

  7. I think I love historicals because it was so much harder to show your interest in another person back then, so the romantic tension is pretty high. A glance, a touch with bare hands, all those little things become meaningful.

    Sophie, you speak so many languages - which one is your favorite?

    1. I'm most comfortable with English because that's the language I was taught in at school since the age of 4, so while I'm also fluent in Danish, my vocabulary isn't as vast. In terms of sound, the Latin languages are my favorite, although I don't get to use them nearly as much as I'd like, so they do have a tendency to merge with each other from time to time =)

  8. I just love the history. Historical romances just seem to be more exciting, I don't know why that is. They seem to have a better HEA too.

  9. I love historical romances for several reasons, the way the author interprets the history and societal issues of the time, the fashion and behavior of the characters in their respective time periods and the changes that we get to see these characters undergo. I also like comparing the roles men and women played in the past against the roles we play today. Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. Hi Sophie!

    You might understand my love of historical romance better if I explain that I read my first one at 15 and it was Don Quixote by Cervantes. Imagine yourself as a teenager again and think of the insecurities we all have at that age.

    Can you imagine of a better "hero" than Don Quixote - someone who sees you as beautiful and doesn't notice any of your flaws? How could I not fall in love with historical romance?

    That's what keeps bringing me back year after year to historical romance and as Cervantes wrote:

    This is my quest
    To follow that star
    No matter how hopeless
    No matter how far

    After all isn't that the essence of a great love story? To hope, to dream, to reach for "the unreachable star" and to find love.

    And that's my favorite part of a historical romance, that moment when the laughing, the crying, the misunderstandings, the celebrations are all over and finally - yes - it's just the two of them togethr.

    PS: It helps that my husband loves history - I can tell him I'm doing research!

    1. Hi Jeanne - I loved your post - you really put it beautifully, because that's my favorite moment too "when the laughing, the crying, the misunderstandings, the celebrations are all over and finally - yes - it's just the two of them together." And Don Quixote was such a lovely romance. Thanks for sharing =)

  11. I've always been a huge historical fiction fan and I think it has to do with being a history buff. There is something romantic about older eras

  12. I love historical romance, i always think this story have more romance. My first novel was genre historical romance, until now i stil love read it.

  13. I love history and a happy ending, so historical romances are the perfect genre for me. I also love that historical romances are so descriptive about the characters, the clothes, and places and in a way, it's like experiencing a little bit of what those days gone by would be like.

  14. I'd like to be entered into the giveaway :)
    And the history of anything is the most important base of that thing, and it makes you understand more of the story situation :)
    So I guess, I'd love to win this book by miss.Sophie :)
    And enjoy a great tour into her written world :)

  15. My favorite genre to read are historical romances. Specifically regency/victorian even Edwardian era. The times were just so different with the fashions, the courting, the morals, etiquette, and rules of society and the ton. Yes, it was very constricting, especially for females but I've always felt like a very old fashioned woman who was born in the wrong century. The perfect mix for me in this genre is when there is a strong female lead who pushes societies rules and isn't afraid to be different. That's why Alexandra sounds perfect. And a hero who admires a female like that and doesn't try to oppress her is even better :)

  16. I love the HEA and a lot of the historical romances have that. Plus, I love the descriptions of all the clothing and setting. It makes me feel like I'm there

  17. I love how they always manage to intervene romance and history.

  18. I love historical romances because it makes me feel like I have been transported back to a simpler time where the man is so respectful and devoted.

  19. There are so many things I love about historical romance: I personally love them because they are the “grown up” version of fairy tales: there are princes (or at least dukes ;-p) and fair maidens, villain step-mothers and jealous sisters and of course a love that conquers all. I love reading about balls, beautiful gowns, carriages and etiquette. But if I had to pick only one favourite thing from all the things I love about this genre it is the fact that due to the time period’s social restrictions the romance between the h/h is even more heightened: every small glimpse and touch becomes more just because liberties aren’t done. :-)

    Congratulations on the release of Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure Sophie, I can't wait to read it! :-)

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

    1. Thanks Stella! I look forward to visiting you tomorrow =)

  20. It brings that time period to life for me. I love it!
    Thank you for the interview and giveaway!
    PhoenixCarvelli at gmail dot com

  21. I've always been fascinated by history. I love reading about different times and customs than what I'm used to, all of the aristocrats parties and lovely clothes, it's all fascinating to me.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  22. I love historical books and the cover of this book is absolutely gorgeous. I am looking forward to reading this book. Adding it to my TBR list immediately. Thanks for the invite.


  23. I think what keeps me coming back for more historical is the escapism of being transported not just to a different time, but to a different era where the way of life and culture is vastly different than now. The mannerisms and taboos of society are particularly interesting to me as well as the fashions.

  24. Thank you so much for all of your lovely comments & support!!!

  25. I like reading about the time period and lifestyle.

  26. I love historical romance which is my fav romance genre because of the elegance - the speech, the characters, just about everything which makes it so much more romantic compared to a contemporary setting.

  27. I always like people going against the norm in historical romances. Not doing what's expected of them.

  28. I love historicals. Favorite genre besides paranormal. I love historical because I love the history, the fashion, and love the innocence.(most of the time, excerpt for the famous rakes). LOL. Sophie is a new author for me and would love to win and read this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  29. Why I love historical Romance? Mostly because of the fashion, the princess kind of dress I used (and still am) to imagine wearing it. And maybe because I'm a bit conservative, I love the situation where the characters are forced to have a marriage of convenience thing. At the same time, I really love the idea of the female character being different and breaks the standards/rules.
    As for the reason why I really really want to read this book, there are some of them.
    1. Love the cover. A lot.
    2. I really love the character's name: Alexandra and Michael. It may sounds silly, but I often decide to read a book just because I love the main character's name. :))
    3. A not your average society miss meets a man of duty. Imagine the chemistry. Yummy!

    Thanks for having Sophie Barnes here and giving this giveaway.

  30. I enjoy historical romances (various periods) for several reasons dealing with the escape to a different time/place with it's own set of pomp & circumstance, elegance & danger, charm & rules

  31. For me I like being able to visit the different eras especially when it's so different from modern times. I like learning the ways of life.