Archive for the ‘The Summer of Living Dangerously’ Category




getting ready for 1811

Filed under: about me, RNA, The Summer of Living Dangerously

I’m really looking forward to Saturday, when I’ll be at the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Regency Celebration at the Royal Overseas League. There’s going to be Regency dancing, talks on Georgian sex and Regency scents, a talk by Jennifer Kloester about her new Georgette Heyer autobiography, and walks around Regency London. (For some pictures, have a look at Jenny Haddon’s blog.)

It’s a Regency romance fan’s dream come true.

I’m dressing up, of course; I can’t sew, like the intrepid Christina Courtenay, so I’ve borrowed my long-suffering friend Ruth’s red bridesmaid dress again, and I’ve got a shawl to go with it. I’ll have to do something about my hair (Jan Jones is also worried about this problem) and the ostrich plume I wore the last time I dressed Regency is distinctively worse for wear, from sweeping under the arms of dancing gentlemen during the Duke of Kent’s Waltz.

Unlike the last time I wore the outfit, I will have several like-minded women to help do my dress up in the back, so I won’t have to ask some random cider-drinking smokers to help me. Which is a relief.

I’m also chairing a talk, with the brilliant Juliet Archer, Nicola Cornick, and Beth Elliott, on Sense & Sensibility, which is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. In preparation, I’ve been rereading the book and also watching the film (what a hardship).

It’s going to be a fabulous day and I’m really looking forward to it.





things of beauty

Filed under: about me, The Summer of Living Dangerously

I’m looking through the proofs for my next paperback, THE SUMMER OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY, and it’s extremely cool to see that the very pretty cover design carries through to the inside. Have a look at these lovely title pages!

Fecklet has started school full time, which is a good thing for both of us. He’s loving it, and I really need the time to catch up on work. On Tuesdays he stays late at school to do Lego Club. He mostly wanted to do Lego Club so he could destroy the things he made.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to pick out shoes to wear to my book signing at Waterstones in Windsor this Saturday. There’s a pair of fake crocodile brogues which are quite possibly the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. But I’m trying to resist. Also, my friend Michelle is having a Jamie Oliver party at her house the night before and though I have good intentions, I fear that I’ll end up drinking like seven bottles of wine and then spend my shoe money on tea towels and storage canisters.

Anyway, if you’re in the area, come to Windsor Waterstones on the afternoon of Saturday the 24th September. You can buy a book if you want, but you can also just taunt me for being hungover.

I will have chocolate.





A Regency Celebration

Filed under: about me, RNA, The Summer of Living Dangerously

If you’re a fan of Jane Austen or Regency romance, or if you just like seeing men in tight breeches and women in gorgeous frocks, check out the Regency Celebration that’s happening next month in London.

This event will be a celebration of Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer and the books they have influenced. It coincides with the launch of a new biography of Georgette Heyer, written by Dr Jennifer Kloester, and 2011 also happens to be the bi-centenary of the publication of Jane Austen’s “Sense & Sensibility” – both perfect excuses for a Regency themed day!

The day will be a mixture of serious talks and more frivolous activities, and will include the following:-

• Georgette Heyer, Her Life and Writing – Talk by Dr Jennifer Kloester
• Sense & Sensibility: The Things You Didn’t Know – Panel discussion by Amanda Grange, Juliet Archer, Nicola Cornick and Julie Cohen
• Austen & Heyer – Were they better than they thought they were? Panel discussion
• The Celestial Bed: Sex and the Georgians – Talk and panel discussion
• Regency Scents: Odours and Malodours – Louise Allen and Christina Courtenay “sniff-and-tell”
• Regency Clothing – Jane Walton demonstrates the fashions of the day
• Regency Dancing – Mr and Mrs Ellis Rogers take us through the steps
• Parlour Games – Learn how to play Whist, Piquet, Vingt et Un or Loo
• Regency Walk – Guided tour of St James’s
• Afternoon Tea, with the chance to attend a special Waterloo Tea

To book, please visit the RNA website, or you can visit the event page on Facebook. You can also follow @RNARegencyDay on Twitter.

I’ll be there, speaking about Sense & Sensibility, promoting The Summer of Living Dangerously, and perhaps dressed like this…

Regency Julie





The Summer of Living Dangerously cover!

Filed under: covers, The Summer of Living Dangerously

Good morning, world.

I’m back from my holiday in Maine (having fortunately failed to be killed by several odd men in the woods) and very excited to share the cover for my next book, THE SUMMER OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY.

The Summer of Living Dangerously
Beautiful, isn’t it?

Here’s the blurb:

Alice Woodstock has been running away.

Well, not literally. She spends most of her time glued to her desk, writing about grommets and model aeroplanes. No, Alice is avoiding the real world because there’s something — someone — in her past that she’s desperate to forget. So when she’s commissioned to write about life in stately home Eversley Hall, she jumps at the chance to escape into Regency England, even if it does mean swapping her comfy T-shirt for an itchy corset. Perhaps she’ll meet her own Mr Darcy…

But when her past resurfaces in the shape of Leo Allingham, Alice is brought back to earth with a bump. Reckless, unpredictable Leo reminds Alice of the painful price of following her heart. And the new Alice doesn’t live dangerously.

Or does she?

It’s out in November in hardback, and April in paperback. You can pre-order it here.






Filed under: The Summer of Living Dangerously, writing

You would think that coming up with a title for your book would be an easy thing for an author. After all, the author is the one who’s lived with the story for a year or so, who knows every word and every character. I write down the themes and journey and key bits of symbolism/imagery for each of my books, so I know that, too.

How hard can it be?

Well, actually it can be pretty damn hard. Turns out I’m not all that much a whiz at titles. Let’s see…I’ve sold 14 books now, and I’ve kept my own titles with five of them.

When I was writing for Mills & Boon, that wasn’t surprising. Nobody, or hardly anybody, chooses their own titles for M&B novels. The titles have a style and keywords of their own and that style and those keywords are seemingly set in stone by the marketing people—at least until they change their mind. This is one reason why, as a reader, you shouldn’t be put off by these titles like The Billionaire Sheikh Cowboy’s Secret Baby Marriage of Convenience of Revenge, because underneath that horror of a title there is most likely a really good, exciting, touching story with hardly any sheikhs or revenge in it, and which was probably originally titled Ouch! Get Away From Me With That Thing!

Or similar.

Anyway, as I said, I’m not so good with titles really. The provisional title for one of my M&Bs was Remarkably Penetrative Sperm, and I persisted in calling another book Who’s Your Daddy? until my agent renamed it One Night Stand. The title that is widely agreed to be my best one to date, Nina Jones and the Temple of Gloom, was mine but it was originally a joke, a working title that I would not have believed I would be allowed to keep in a million years.

Now that I’m writing for a mainstream imprint, the title selection process for the past two books has gone something like this.

1. I come up with a working title. The working title for my next paperback was, at first, THE WATERLOO SUMMER, which I liked and my agent also liked but we both agreed that it wasn’t much of a title for this type of book, especially when I changed the date of much of the imaginary action to 1814, when the battle of Waterloo hadn’t even happened yet. So I changed the working title to THE REBIRTH OF MISS ALICE WOODSTOCK, which was a line from the novel.

2. I submit the novel and my agent and my editor both tell me the title is bad. The novel then becomes called UNTITLED. (My novels spend a lot of time being called UNTITLED.)

3. All of us—me, agent, and editor and also assorted helpful people at my publishers—start brainstorming new titles. These titles need to fit the book, sound snappy and appealing to the target audience, and not have been used very recently by anyone else. It has to look good on a book cover, too. We come up with lists and lists. Lots of them are rubbish (you can guess who usually comes up with the rubbish ones) and some of them are actually quite good. When we get a good one, we share it with each other and if someone doesn’t like it, we scrap it and start again. It turns out, it’s actually quite difficult to please three people with the same title. This can be frustrating, but the thing is, that my agent and my editor really know their stuff, unlike me, so I trust them implicitly and know that eventually, it’ll happen. This process can take months.

4. At some magic moment, someone (ie a person who is not me) will come up with a title that makes all of us cry, “That’s it!”

5. This happy time immediately becomes a nail-biting time whilst you wait to find out if the shiny new title will be approved by the editorial team, and then by the sales and marketing team. If not, you’re back to the drawing board.

6. If everyone likes it, then you have a title! Hooray!!

Having been through this entire process, I can now very happily confirm that the title of my next novel will be THE SUMMER OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY.

Nice, isn’t it?


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