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Monday, October 29, 2012

Sabrina Jeffries Visits RB4U Today!!!

Sabrina Jeffries is a multi-award winning New York Times best selling author and today RB4U is honored to have her as a guest. Her romances have a loyal following and we get to see an bit of an insight into her and the latest release, 'Twas the Night After Christmas.

Let's get to it, but first a little background on our guest today and then I'll get into the interview.

And, don't forget to visit Sabrina's author page at for more information!


At the tender age of twelve, Sabrina Jeffries (aka Deborah Martin and Deborah Nicholas) decided she wanted to be a romance writer. It took her eighteen more years to get there, during which she took a detour to get her Ph.D. in English Literature from Tulane University, but once she got the chance to write romances, she never looked back. She is now the award-winning author of thirty-four novels, five novellas, and three short stories, including the last book of her Hellions of Halstead Hall series, A Lady Never Surrenders, and her upcoming holiday hardcover, ‘Twas the Night After Christmas. Her sexy and humorous historical romances routinely land on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists and have won numerous awards. She lives in Cary, North Carolina, with her husband and son.

Now on to the fun Interview Questions.

Q: What kind of research do you do for your books?
A: I generally have to do some research related to everyday life in the period, depending on what the book covers. I research the main events of the year of my setting. I pore over maps of the area and info about the flora and fauna. I also regularly use a Regency thesaurus. I don't know how long it takes me, because most of my research I do WHILE I'm writing the book. I wait until I need to know something and then I spend time looking it up. Each book usually also has a focus on some specific area (breweries, crime-fighting, attorneys, target-shooting) that I have to spend a good deal of time researching.

Q: Fascinating! You must have an extensive library for the information collected over the years. For any readers who may not have read any of your books, can you just give us a little sneak peek into your world (i.e. the type of genre you write, type of stories you like to write....etc).
A: I write historicals set during the Regency period in England. It's kind of like Jane Austen with sex. Although my novels can be very emotional, they also contain humor, strong sexual tension, and witty banter between the hero and heroine along with smart heroines who stand up for themselves against the alpha heroes. And I prefer to set my novels in places other than the usual ballrooms, etc. They take place in breweries or country houses or villages—anything less typical. The book I’m writing now includes a quick jaunt to France and a meeting with the famous real-life founder of the detective agency, Eugene Francois Vidocq.

Q: I love dialogue between the main characters that take them on the journey. Makes a much more interesting read, in my opinion. What would you like readers to take away with them once they finish one of your books?
A: Joy and laughter and a release from the everyday troubles of life. I write to entertain as well as thrill, and if I succeed at either, then I feel I've done my job.

Q: We could all use some stress release these days and your stories definitely do that. Is there a story that you’d like to tell but you think the world isn’t ready to receive it?
A: I’d love to have a hero/heroine with a severely disabled child (I have a severely disabled adult autistic son, after all). But I think that destroys the fantasy for readers too much.

Q: I think that would be a great story. What is the strangest source of writing inspiration you’ve ever had?
A: A couple of period peep show boxes that I saw at an exhibit at the New York Public Library while I was on vacation. It spawned several scenes in the book.

Q: OMG! It is amazing where we get our inspiration. What authors have influenced you most (not necessarily in the romance genre)?
A: To be honest, my romance writing is mostly influenced by romance writers or “classics” authors who really wrote romances. I started with Grace Livingston Hill, who got me hooked on romance as a girl; Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre), Zane Grey, and R.D. Blackmore (Lorna Doone) who made me love historical fiction; and Barbara Cartland, who introduced me to the Regency period. In grad school, I discovered Jane Austen, whose books I adore to this day, and William Shakespeare, from whom I’ve learned so much about plotting and character development. I also discovered the Restoration comedy playwrights, with their excellent witty banter.

Among romance writers, I was initially most influenced by Judith McNaught, Johanna Lindsey, Amanda Quick, Rexanne Becnel, Mary Jo Putney, and Meagan McKinney. But recently, I’ve learned a lot from paranormal writers Nalini Singh and Lydia Dare; steampunk writer Meljean Brook; historical authors Loretta Chase, Deb Marlowe, Claudia Dain, Liz Carlyle, Karen Hawkins, Julia London, Suzanne Enoch, and Madeline Hunter and contemporary writers Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Virginia Kantra, and Elizabeth Lowell. And I’ve always been influenced by romantic suspense—authors like Karen Rose, Cynthia Eden, and Laura Griffin. I could probably list a hundred more authors, though, whom I’ve learned from. I think all writers are magpies—we pay attention to what works.

Q: Wow! What a list of influences. Can't beat the classics. What are the elements of a great romance for you?
A: Strong sexual tension is paramount. I like lots of humor, but that’s not always the book I want, so for the other kind I need a heart-wrenching plot involving well-developed characters I can really identify with and like. And I prefer to have the loose ends all tied up (unless it’s part of an over-arching series). I also really do prefer an epilogue. Oh, and some bursts of something different, either in the banter or the characters or the setting.

Q: Good point about well-developed characters no matter what. What’s your strongest point as a writer?
A: I think I’m a good storyteller, which is different from being a good writer. I’m not a wordsmith—I don’t paint pretty pictures in words. But I do write what I think is fairly authentic dialogue, and I work hard to create genuine people as characters. Just don’t look to me for your word-painting.

Q: I agree, don't add flowery words to get word count up. Give me something "real". What genre would you like to try writing in, but haven’t yet done so? Why?
A: I’d love to write a sort of contemporary fantasy novel, but haven’t had time to consider it, and it would require tons of thought and time.

Q: That would be fun. If your muse were to talk behind your back, what secrets would he/she tell?
A: That I play WAY too much spider solitaire!

Q: Oh, I love spider solitaire too! What is the last line of your last WIP you worked on that you wrote?
A: Okay, do you mean the last line of the book I’m in the middle of? Because that’s not very interesting: “Then she turned on her heel and left.”
Or do you mean the last line of the last book I wrote? Because that one’s better: “’Oh, all right,’ he said as he carried her up the stairs. ‘I suppose it is the naughty version.’”

Cynthia: Either, but I definitely like the second one better. Well, that's enough of the probing questions. I want to thank you for honoring us with this interview and now can you tell us where to find you before we get to the great excerpt you've come to share.


Dear Sir,
. . . I feel I should inform you that your mother is very ill. If you wish to see her before it is too late, you should come at once. Sincerely, Mrs. Camilla Stuart
Pierce Waverly, the Earl of Devonmont, has led an unabashed rogue’s life, letting no woman near his heart. Inexplicably abandoned as a child to be raised by distant relatives, he never forgave his parents, refusing to read any of his mother’s letters after his father’s death. Then came a letter that shook his resolve. A Christmas visit to Montcliff might prove his last chance to discover the truth of his past, and come to terms with the stranger he calls “mother.” But, when he arrives at Montcliff, he finds his mother in fine health and Mrs. Camilla Stuart, her meddling, yet utterly intoxicating lady’s companion, behind the misleading letter. Between his desire to unravel long-standing secrets about his abandonment and his introduction to the mysterious and beguiling Camilla Stuart, Pierce finds himself with plenty of reason to prolong his holiday stay.

Mrs. Camilla Stuart’s cheeks heated as she gaped at Pierce Waverly, the Earl of Devonmont. How dare he refuse to remain here visiting his own mother for Christmas unless Camilla agree to spend her nights with him! What a despicable, wicked—

Then her brain caught up with her moral outrage. The earl wore a very calculating expression, as if he knew exactly what her reaction would be.

Oh, of course! He was making this up as he went along, the devilish creature. He wanted her to be so insulted by his proposition that she left him alone and stopped plaguing him about his estrangement from his mother.

That made far more sense than believing he actually meant it. She wasn’t the sort of woman whom fashionable rakehells tried to seduce. The very idea was preposterous.

She forced herself to look bewildered. “I’m afraid I don’t understand, my lord. How could I possibly entertain a worldly man like you?”

His sudden black frown only strengthened her supposition that his bargain was a humbug. “You know perfectly well how. After dinner is over, you and I will have our own party. Here. In my bedchamber, where you can slip in and out without being noticed. If I must spend dinner with her, then you must spend the night with me.”

“Entertaining you,” she said primly, buying time to figure out what answer would best gain her what she wanted. “Yes, I understand that part. I’m just not sure what kind of entertainment you want.”

He gritted his teeth. “Oh, for the love of God, you know precisely what kind of entertainment a ‘worldly man’ like me wants.”

Now that she had caught on to his game, it was all she could do not to laugh at him. He was so transparent. What was wrong with all those women in London that they didn’t see right through him?

“On the contrary,” she said blithely. “I don’t know you well enough to know what you enjoy. Perhaps you would prefer me to sing for you or dance or read you a good play. I understand there is quite an extensive library at Montcliff Manor. Your mother says you bought most of the books yourself. I’m sure there is some volume of—”

“I’m not talking about your reading to me!” he practically shouted.

When she merely gazed at him with a feigned expression of innocence, he changed his demeanor. His eyes turned sultry, and a sensual smile crossed his lips. “I mean the kind of entertainment most widows prefer.”

My, my, no wonder London ladies were rumored to jump regularly into his bed. When he looked that way at a woman and spoke in that decidedly seductive voice, the average female probably melted into a puddle at his feet.

So it was a good thing that Camilla was not an average female. In her other posts, she’d seen plenty of rakehells seducing their way through halls and balls. Even if they’d never tried their skills on her, she had a good idea how to handle such scoundrels.

This was a trickier situation, however. If she was not an average female, he was definitely not an average scoundrel.

She pretended to muse a moment. “Entertainment that widows prefer… Works of charity? Taking care of their families? No, those are not actually entertaining, though they do pass the time.” She cocked her head. “I confess, my lord, that you have me at a complete loss.”

Uh oh, that was probably doing it up too brown, for understanding suddenly shone in his face. “Ah, I see you are deliberately provoking me. Well then, let me spell it out for you. You’ll spend the night in my bed. Is that clear enough?”

He said it in such a peeved manner that she couldn’t help but laugh. “Clear indeed, though preposterous.”

His gaze narrowed on her. “How so?”

Time to let him know she had caught on to his game. “I’m aware of your reputation, sir. I’m not the sort of woman you take to bed.”

Something glinted in his eyes that looked remarkably like admiration. “I thought you said you didn’t know me all that well,” he drawled.

“I know what kind of women you are most often seen with. By all accounts, they are tall, blowsy blondes with porcelain skin and clever hands.”

He looked startled. “You do know my reputation.”

She shrugged. “I read the papers. And your mother insists upon hearing all the stories of you, even the salacious ones.”

Mention of his mother made his gaze harden. “Then you should know that men like me aren’t that discriminating.”

“Oh, but I’m sure you’re discriminating enough not to wish to bed a short, mousy, freckled servant when there are any number of beautiful blonde actresses and opera singers awaiting you in London,” she said coolly.

Crossing his arms over his chest, he dragged his gaze down her, then circled her in a slow, careful assessment that made her nervous. A pity that he had not proved to be a perfumed dandy. She could have handled one of those easily enough. But this sharp-witted rakehell with hidden secrets was unpredictable.

Camilla had never liked the unpredictable.

“And what if I say that I really am that indiscriminate? Would you then share my bed in exchange for my dining with my mother tonight?”

She swallowed. Why did he persist in shamming her when he knew she’d caught on to him?

It didn’t matter. Two could play his game. “Why not? You are rumored to be quite good at that sort of thing, and I have been married.” She couldn’t keep the edge from her voice. “Besides, the likelihood of my ever again having the chance to be seduced by such a notorious fellow as yourself is slim.”

Her frank statement made him halt, then shake his head. “Great God, Mrs. Stuart, remind me never to play cards with you. I daresay you’re a terror at the gaming tables.”

She bit back a smile. “I’ve won a hand or two at piquet in my life.”

“More than a hand or two, I’d wager.” He let out a long breath. “All right then, let me propose a bargain that we could both actually adhere to.” He searched her face. “I’ll do as you wish—I’ll dine with you and Mother. Afterward, you will come here to join me in one of your more innocuous entertainments.”

She let out a breath. She’d won! “I am happy to attempt to entertain you, my lord, if you will just give your mother a little time with you. That’s all I ask.”

“I’m not finished.” He gazed steadily at her. “In exchange for my doing so, you must agree never again to try forcing my hand in the matter of my mother.”

When she drew a breath as if to speak, he added, more firmly, “One night of watching me and Mother together should demonstrate to you why you have no business involving yourself in our relationship. But even if it doesn’t, tomorrow must mark the end of your meddling on that point. Or I will dismiss you, without a qualm. Am I understood?”

She hesitated, but really, what choice did she have? “Yes, my lord.” The dratted devil was tying her hands. She’d have only one night to attempt some repair to his relationship with his mother. But it was better than she’d had before.

A heavy sigh escaped him. “I must be out of my mind to be letting you off so easily after what you did.”

“Easily?” she said tartly. “Have you forgot that I will have to entertain you this evening?”

“Ah, yes, such a trial,” he said with heavy sarcasm. “And I’ll expect rousing entertainment, too. At the very least, you must show me your reputed ability at piquet, so I can trounce you.” He stared her down. “Now that you’ve brought me here to endure this house, it’s only fair that you join me in my suffering.”

The bitter remark gave her pause. Hadn’t Lady Devonmont said that this was the original manor house on the estate? The one where he’d grown up?

As if realizing he’d revealed more than he’d meant to, he flashed her a bland smile. “It won’t be that difficult. I can be charming when I want to.”

“No doubt,” she said dryly.

“Well then, we’re agreed. I’ll see you here this evening after Mother has retired.”

And after Camilla had put Jasper to bed, though she couldn’t say that.

Still, she hesitated, wanting to confirm one thing. Perhaps she shouldn’t press the matter, but in for a penny, in for a pound. “But you will come down to dinner first, sir?”

His face turned rigid. “That’s the bargain, isn’t it?”

She let out a breath. “I was just making sure.”

“Whatever else you may think of me,” he said sharply, “I do honor my promises.”

“Of course, my lord.”

She turned for the door, relief swamping her. She’d braved the lion’s den and survived. She’d even won a small concession. It wasn’t much, but it might be enough to soothe the countess’s hurt feelings. Spending a night “entertaining” his lordship would be no sacrifice at all compared to that.

“One more thing, Mrs. Stuart,” he said as she reached the door.

She paused to look back at him.

“You were right when you said I’m discriminating in my choice of bed partners. But you aren’t remotely mousy.” His gaze scoured her, this time with a decided heat that didn’t seem the least bit feigned.

Could he really mean it?

Oh, she hoped not. Because the last thing she needed in her life right now was a lover, not with Jasper to take care of.

Only when he had her thoroughly agitated, and not just from concern over her virtue, did he lower his voice to a husky drawl. “Fortunately for you, I’m not in the habit of abusing the trust of those in my employ, whether chaste maidens or experienced widows. So as long as you want me to play the respectable gentleman, I will do so.”

He fixed her with a smoldering look. “But let this be a warning to you. Give me an inch, and I will take two miles. If you offer more, I will be only too happy to take you into my bed.”

“Then I shall have to take care not to offer more, shan’t I?” she said smoothly.

And with that, she slipped from the room.

But as she made her way down the hall, her knees shaking and her hands clammy, she had to acknowledge that this bargain might not be quite so easy to keep. Because insane as it might be, she found the idea of being in the earl’s bed rather intriguing.

You can order my books online at any of the major online outlets
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Books-A-Million), or at a variety of independent bookstores

Q: Great excerpt Sabrina. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

A: Nope. You’ve covered a lot!

Thank you again for honoring us with the interview and I look forward to reading 'Twas the Night After Christmas!

Cynthia Arsuaga


Elf2060 said...

Thanks for the interview, congrats on the new release, it's a wonderful story!

Paris said...

Wonderful interview, ladies! I loved the blurb and the excerpt. "Twas the Night After Christmas" is definitely on my TBR list:)

Molly Daniels said...

Love, love, LOVE your School For Heiresses series, and the Hellions of Halstead Hall, which I've discovered I'm reading backwards! And this latest one will also be on my TBB list:)

Great to have you here Sabrina; I missed you at RT (Chicago)in April, but I did pick up one of your books and took a picture of your booth. Hoping you'll be in KC next year! And we'll get there earlier, too, lol:)

Adele Dubois said...

I really enjoyed reading this interview. I haven't read many historical romance novels, but prefer the Regency period to others. I'll definitely pick up a Sabrina Jeffries novel soon. Thanks for visiting with us!


Anonymous said...

I love Christmas stories, especially like reading them in the off-season, like smack in the middle of a scorching July. Looking forward to reading this one, Sabrina!

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Looking forward to another lovely book, just in time for the holidays. Thanks so much for stopping by!


Hi, Sabrina. What a delightful cover and excerpt. I've read many of your books and thoroughly enjoyed them.

jean hart stewart said...

Great excerpt... Gotta get to know your writing better, and soon.

Sandy said...

Great job on the questions, Cynthia. I really enjoyed your answers, Sabrina.

I, also, enjoyed the excerpt. It sounds like a great Christmas story.

Sandy said...

I forgot to say I would like a story on autism. I have a great-nephew with severe autism and another with aspbergers. I have a good idea of what you go through, Sabrina. I admire parents who can deal with a disability like autism. Often times, a family is torn apart when one parent can't deal with it.

Sabrina Jeffries said...

Elf2060, thanks so much for having me. Glad you enjoyed the book!

Molly, I'm surprised I didn't see you! We stayed to the bitter end. But maybe I had popped out to go to the bathroom. :-) Yes, I'll be in KC for sure!

Thanks, Adele!

Sabrina Jeffries said...

Polly, LOL! I prefer reading them during the season myself, but I've had to write them during a scorching July before. :-)

Vicki, thanks!

Jean, yes, you do, LOL!

Sandy, I wrote a contemporary romantic suspense with an autistic character years ago when I was writing as Deborah Nicholas. It was never published, and I'd love to get it published, but it was written before computers and cell phones, so it would have to be completely revised, and I just haven't been able to do that. One of these days, though!

Kim in Hawaii said...

I was honored to review 'TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS - Sabrina engaged all of my emotions while sprinkling in holiday cheer. Sabrina is a doll in person as I have met her at RT and RWA.

Sandy said...

Sabrina, you have to get that book published. I'm in the middle of working on one I didn't published, too. When will you be in Kansas City?

Molly Daniels said...

@Sabrina: We were only there for the book signing, and had my pic taken by your life-size banner in the hallway, lol:) Arrived around 1pm and stayed til 3 or 3:30.

@Sandy: If I'm not mistaken, RT is at the end of April, first part of May. Since that coincides with our 22nd wedding anniversary, hubby agreed to take me, and make a long weekend out of it:) Another author and I are also hoping to be part of the book signing day. Not sure if that means we have to attend the whole thing or not; we're looking into it:)

Sabrina Jeffries said...

Kim, you're a doll in person, too! So glad you enjoyed it.

Sandy, what Molly said! I should be there for the whole conference.

Molly, I hope we can meet up this year!

Sandy said...

Thanks, Molly and Sabrina. I live in the K.C. suburb, so I expect to attend RT. It'll be great to meet both of you.

Cynthia Arsuaga said...

Thanks for doing the interview Sabrina! I'm sorry this is a late response but was on the road traveling from New Orleans back to Orlando yesterday and didn't get back until late and today soooo busy!
I'm glad everyone enjoyed this interview. Please come back anytime Sabrina!

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