When it comes to romance novelists, few are more storied than Lisa Kleypas. She’s been a beauty queen (Miss Massachusetts in 1985), a best-selling author (she’s written 38 books and four novellas), and is known for her warmth and charm.
I can attest to the latter. When Avon asked if I’d like to interview her at RWA2015, I gulped. Me? Talking to Lisa Kleypas? I feared I’d be starstruck and tongue-tied.
I was starstruck, but no tongue-tied. From the moment, she sat down, Lisa was lovely (She began by complimenting me on my jewelry and then moved on to telling me how much she adores AAR.) I felt at ease.
She answered every question I asked. Here, dear readers, is our conversation.
Dabney: What’s next for you and when will it be out?
Lisa: The next is Brown Eyed Girl, out August 11th, and that’s my last Texas contemporary. My first historical in five years will be Cold Hearted Rake, out October 27. I’ve been pleased and surprised by the level of enthusiasm for that!
Dabney: What’s it about?
Lisa: An irresponsible sexy rake unexpectedly inherits an earldom that is a wreck. The estate comes with three young women. He has to dig deep into his character in order to become a man who can take care of them and the estate. It’s an extreme character arc. The heroine is the widow of the late Earl. She is young, high spirited, and constantly pushing him to be a better man. He softens her and brings out a playful side and she pushes him to be more of grownup.
Dabney: What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Lisa: I’d read a lot of recent historicals in the past five years and I didn’t see as much historical detail as I typically write so, at first, I struggled how much historical detail to put into the book. I decided to put in as much as I wanted. That is part of the joy of writing it for me. I didn’t want to write a contemporary with long dresses!
Dabney: What book have you read lately that you enjoyed?
Lisa: A John Wayne biography. It was fascinating. I never realized how handsome he was as a young actor and how he used this to get parts in his youth. It was exciting to read because it’s hard to get male characters right. I try to absorb things like that.
Dabney: What advice would you give to your younger self?
Lisa: Don’t try to be such a pleaser.
Dabney: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t asked?
Lisa: Just that I’m thrilled to be writing historical romance again. Cold Hearted Rake is the beginning of a series called The Ravenels. It’s set in a later Victorian period than I’ve ever tried before. This affects the book quite a bit because of the settings I can use. The second book is set in a department store!
Dabney: Thanks so much for talking to me.
Lisa: It was fun!
Impenitent social media enthusiast. Relational trend spotter. Enjoys both carpe diem and the fish of the day.
LLLOOOVVVEEE all your regency romances! Will Marrying Mr. Winterborne be
available in large print? hope so.
Thanks for the interview, Lisa Kleypas is one of my favourite authors. It’s great to see that she’s a charming person. I cannot wait to read her next historical series, because I prefer her historicals rather than her contemporaries. As a matter of fact I think the only books with her name on the cover that I haven’t read yet are a couple of the Frifay Harbor series. I just didn’t ‘hear’ her voice in those books. Brown Eyed Girl was published in Spain a couple of months ago and, well, I didn’t like it. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing ‘wrong’ in it, just a simple contemporary love story, but there was nothing special in it. You can enjoy it, but don’t expect anything awesome.
I have had the unbelievable pleasure of meeting Lisa and spending some quality time with her and she is one of the warmest, generous, most ‘real’ people I have ever met. I was at RWA and without question one of the biggest thrills was getting a few minutes to talk with her again.
I admire her tremendously as both a writer and a person.
A whole series?! Be still my beating heart!
I wholeheartedly endorse the inclusion of as much historical detail as is wanted and can only nod my head and agree with the “”not writing a contemporary with long dresses”” comment.
I’m so looking forward to October :)
“”I’d read a lot of recent historicals in the past five years and I didn’t see as much historical detail as I typically write …””
Well, that makes sense because I’ve read a lot of historicals in the past five years and I haven’t seen as much historical detail as I want to read. Sad. Because a historical romance should actually be, you know, historical.
Thanks for the great interview!
Wow, Lisa Kleypas! I would be starstruck and tongue-tied too. I’m so glad that she’s back into historicals. She is just one of the very best.
I’m not sure if _Brown Eyed Girl_ is going to be a book I’ll read, as I have not been happy with some of her contemporaries. I think I’ll wait for some reviews to come out first before deciding.
Glad she’s back with historical fiction. I like the “”contemporary with long dresses”” comment as the fancy-dress parties that constitute too much of historical romance market have never come close to what “”historical”” even means.
Brown-Eyed Girl was the first contemporary of hers I’ve read, and I was so surprised how much I loved it. I had no idea what to expect. Apart from being shocked it was written in the first person (however, for once it was a style I liked), I was so happy she wrote real contemporary, modern, funny, smart characters.
Contemporary romance recently has been so misogynistic and disgusting, and often so old-fashioned, and this one was very different.
Thanks for posting this, as it is helpful to hear some early feedback on Kleypas’s new release!
Looking forward to reading both books!
“”I didn’t want to write a contemporary with long dresses!””
I wish more authors would take that attitude! :) Can’t wait for more Victorian era books.
I’m starting Brown-Eyed Girl in a few minutes. I’ve been looking forward to it.