|Some Like it Haute.|
Jillian Leigh, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Some Like It Haute. What a great title! Tell us more about it.
Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Cover artist: Boroughs Publishing Group
Length: 10,000 words
Heat rating: Sweet
Tagline: Too haute for comfort? A stylish gentleman meets his match when he wagers he can make a dowdy spinster the talk of the ton in Regency England.
Blurb: Stylish leader of the beau monde Sir Richard Sheridan has managed to avoid most forms of vulgarity for almost thirty years, but one evening, when he is goaded by a drunken young pup in the middle of a ballroom, Sherry finds himself embroiled in the most vulgar of wagers: to turn a dowdy young woman into the talk of the ton. Jane Smith, in town as chaperone to her niece, isn’t interested in a dandy such as Sir Richard, even if he is the most handsome man she’s ever encountered. But when he offers to help make her niece’s season a success, how can she refuse his company? Soon, they discover that they are--despite appearances to the contrary-- more evenly matched than either could have imagined.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Sir Richard Sheridan, known to the world as Sherry, is almost 30. He’s a Regency gentleman, so naturally he does as little as possible.
Jane Smith is about the same age, though it’s impolite to speculate about a lady's age. Suffice to say she’s old enough to play chaperone to her young niece in London society.
Jane had been so engrossed in her housekeeping she hadn’t noticed her hostess appear in front of her. “Yes, of course, my lady,” she said as she got up to curtsy.
She would have moved to wake her great-aunt, but Lady Gresham shook her head then frowned at the splotch on Jane’s gown. “I fear these occasions are always such terrible crushes. Never mind, my dear, I have someone who wishes to make your acquaintance.”
“Yes. Sir Richard Sheridan is asking especially for you.”
Jane’s heart raced. There could be only one reason he wanted to meet her. Wasn’t it bad enough that she had to suffer being invisible amongst all these handsome, stylish people? At least invisibility had its benefits. Now she was going to be publicly shamed for her awkwardness by a dandy with a ghastly pink waistcoat and a quizzing glass. “Must I?” Jane asked. “I mean, must we? I’d rather not, if you don’t mind.”
“Most would consider it an honor to meet him,” Lady Gresham said. “May I ask why you are reluctant to do so?”
“Because...” Because he’s going to pick me apart. “Because I’m not sure I wish to make the acquaintance of a man I consider no more than a mere fribble.”
Lady Gresham’s gaze drifted over her head.
Jane swiveled slowly. Sure enough, the man was standing behind her. Only a faint tightening of his mouth betrayed the fact that he had heard her comment.
“Sir Richard,” Lady Gresham said with perfect aplomb, “may I present to you Miss Jane Smith?”
Jane’s legs trembled as she sank into what she hoped was a graceful curtsy, her head almost colliding with his outstretched hand. Ascending jerkily, she thrust out her own, watching as he bent his dark head over it to place a kiss on her glove. All the while, he kept his gaze on hers, a ploy that he undoubtedly knew would draw attention to his eyes. They really were most extraordinary, with flecks of amber rimmed by a darker chestnut.
“How do you do?” she said in a squeak.
Don’t allow him to rattle you. Just because he’s the most attractive man you’ve ever stood two feet from, he’s still only a fop. Nothing of substance lies behind those eyes.
“Miss Smith has accompanied her niece, Miss Porter, who is enjoying her first Season under the sponsorship of my dear friend Mrs. Gordon here,” Lady Gresham said. “I believe Catherine is at present engaged on the dance floor.”
His gaze focused with devastating intent on Jane. “I must confess I find it hard to believe that Miss Smith could possibly be anyone’s chaperone, let alone a niece.”
“I am her senior by eleven years,” she blurted, “I’m certainly old enough.” Oh, Lord. He didn’t need to know how long in the tooth she was.
Lady Gresham hailed someone in the crowd, excused herself, and sailed off, leaving them standing awkwardly in a small clearing of their own.
Or it may have been she who was experiencing all the awkwardness. He seemed to be quite comfortable, posing with one well shaped leg thrust in front of the other. “Do you enjoy your time in town?” he continued smoothly. “You must have attended a number of balls and assemblies so far?”
“Not as many as my niece would like.” At his quizzical look, she added, “When one doesn’t know anybody in London, it can be a bit difficult to get invitations.”
A flicker of warmth lit up his fascinating eyes, and Jane wanted to give herself a good, swift kick. She sounded almost pathetically rustic. She was, of course, but she didn’t want to give this man further cause to look down on her. “At any rate,” she added, “I prefer more serious pursuits. I would particularly like to visit the British Museum.”
He raised one brow. “Are you a bluestocking, then, Miss Smith?”
Jane fancied she could detect a hint of disdain in the way he asked the question, as if he’d capitalized each syllable. Are you a Blue Stocking, then? Well, she’d show him a Blue Stocking. “I aspire to that title, Sir Richard, but I fear I lack the requisite breadth of study, the singleminded dedication to the improvement of one’s accomplishments, and the quickness of wit that distinguish such ladies from the rest of us.”
“Oh, dear,” he said. “Then I fear a day at the museum will not be of much help to your cause.”
Now he was simply mocking her. “And what of you, Sir Richard, how do you like to fill in the hours of your day?” Jane inspected the cherry colored monstrosity not quite hidden beneath his closely tailored coat. “I expect it takes a good deal of time to choose your outfit.”
The long fingers of one gloved hand splayed over the front of his waistcoat. “Contrary to expectations, only when I feel it is worth taking the time to make an impression.”
How could he fail to? The man was magnificent up close and from a distance.
But he was still a man of straw. “Yes, I daresay you like to be noticed.”
His gaze raked over her from the top of her inelegant hairdo to the scraped toes of her slippers. “And you do not.”
Tell us about your latest book, including its genre. Does it cross over to other genres? If so, what are they?
Some Like It Haute is an historical Romance, set during the period of English history known as the Regency. It’s my take on traditional Regency. I hope I’ve captured some of the elegance and wit that this kind of historical is noted for.
How do you come up with ideas?
Ideas come from all sorts of places. Sometimes I’ll see a scene in my head. I don’t know exactly who these people are or what they’re doing there, precisely, but it’s fun to find out. Or I might start with a premise: a what if? Movies and books often start little ‘fires’ in my brain. Not all my ideas are suitable for turning into stories, though, or they may need to be tweaked and refined a bit first. Occasionally I’ll get a kernel of an idea that ends up sounding almost unrecognizable by the time I’ve finished with it. But that’s writing for you.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
As Dorothy Parker famously said, “I hate writing. I love having written.” While I don’t hate writing--or I probably wouldn’t do it--it’s hard work. Once the draft is written, though, it’s fun to edit, revise, shudder at what’s on the page, then come back and realize it’s not so awful after all. Even though reading your own work can be a humbling experience, occasionally you come across a bit of dialogue or a scene that you almost forgot you wrote--and it’s not bad!
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
A great deal depends upon what sort of idea has possessed my mind. I do try not to do a lot of research before I start, because it can become a distraction. So I either look up something as I need to, or make a note to come back later (as long as an important plot point doesn’t hinge on knowing the answer). Generally, I try to start with a vague but almost coherent outline. I used to think I was a plotter, someone who needed to dot the ‘I’s and cross the ‘T’s before starting to write. Somewhere along the way, I came to the conclusion that I was either too lazy or too impatient to be a dedicated plotter. So then I decided I must be a pantser, who wanted to launch into things and work out the finer points later. Now I realize that I’m somewhere in between. I do need some sort of plot to work with, but writing outlines and character sheets just makes me grumpy. Does that mean I’m a plantser?
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
I would tell young me to ‘go for it’--not worry so much about what I should be doing and do all the things I want to do, no matter how wild or improbable they may seem at the time. I’d tell myself that your regrets tend to be about what you wished you’d done, rather than the things you did do. I would also tell young me to start writing sooner.
What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
I would love to think that readers are transported to another world for a little while, so much so that they forget their everyday existence and go along for an entertaining and amusing ride.
List two authors we would find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.
If I had to choose two only, I suppose I’d have to include Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. But if I could mention more than two--which I’m going to do blatantly and unapologetically now--I would want to include writers such as Dickens and Trollope. In the genre of historical Romance I enjoy, amongst others, the fabulous Julia Quinn and Tessa Dare.
A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
She was a good girl, but...
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
I’ve often thought, being an Anglophile and a history buff, that I’d love to live in the UK. In some picturesque English hamlet, no doubt. I’d grow a cottage garden and visit all the places I’ve mostly read about. But then I think of how cold it would get and suddenly I’m thankful I live in Australia, where it’s warm (no, make that hot). Actually, I’d love to have residences all over the world, like Summer and Winter Palaces, that I could drop in on from time to time as the mood took me. A girl can dream!
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
My store is a cross between an elegant department store and something out of a Dickens novel. You’d find an eclectic mix of old and new. In one corner, you can try on the latest fashions, gorgeous shoes, sample makeup and perfume. In another, you’ll wade through old collectibles and antiques. In a third corner of the store, you’ll find books and DVDs. People will be dancing, performing live theater and having debates. Of course there would be a café where you can enjoy a cup of something and a great pastry. I don’t know whether my store would make any money, but it would be a fun place to browse.
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Keep Her Fed and Watered Properly
Please Fill in the Blanks
I love pizza with almost anything except olives.
I'm always ready for a good laugh or a great conversation.
When I'm alone, I daydream.
You'd never be able to tell, but I can swear with the best of them.
If I had a halo it would be chipped, dented and slightly crooked, but basically intact.
If I could go back in time I'd visit the 19th century (of course).
I can never read a map properly because I’m spatially challenged.
Find Me Here
Website and blog: http://jillianleighauthor.com/