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!