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Hobbits, Hunks, and Heroines and Giveaway (and it’s not a Hobbit)

At long last, The Reluctant Countess, the eagerly-anticipated debut novel by New Zealand author Wendy Vella, is available as a Loveswept Romance!

The Escape Diaries by Juliet Rosetti is an irresistible read with the heroine Mazie Maguire wrongly convicted of killing her philandering husband. After escaping from prison Mazie’s life is an outrageous adventure of a woman on the run! It’s a great read that will keep you hooked until the last page.

Random House’s fabulous Sue Grimshaw came up with the idea of two Loveswept first time writers from opposite corners of the globe interviewing each other. And so here is Wendy Vella, from Auckland and Juliet Rosetti from Oshkosh, giving their take on hotties, heroines, and hobbits:

hobbitwendy vellajuliet rosetti

The temperature in Oshkosh. Wisconsin, where Juliet lives is pretty cold over the Christmas season, whereas Wendy is sitting on 25 degrees in Auckland NZ (That’s 82F.) and heading hopefully for a hot sunny Christmas at the beach!

So both of you tell us what you do over the Christmas period? Do you have traditions? What do you like to eat? (Besides chocolate because that’s a given).

Wendy: A tradition I make my kids adhere to every year is to watch the Muppets Christmas Carol movie with me; this is the start of Christmas in our household. Even at 25 and 22 they humor me, of course it could be the lure of treats as well. Christmas in my family has always been a big occasion. My parents are English and the huge meal and all day celebration was something I grew up with. We used to stuff ourselves with a hot meal but have modified that over the years to more summer food. Ham, steaks, potato salads; that kind of thing and dessert is usually Christmas pudding and my Nana’s sherry trifle. I spend the day with family, it’s hectic and busy. We play games listen to the Queen’s speech, and eat and drink until my girth has extended out several inches. The celebration always flows into Boxing Day where we rise to battle another meal, this time the left over’s (of which there is enough to feed several battalions). The 27th of December is pack up and take off for a summer holiday day. Traditionally this is the big holiday of the year so we make the most of it, usually heading for a beach somewhere where we shake of the year that has been and re-charge our batteries for the next one.

Juliet: Your holiday sounds like so much fun, Wendy! The beach on Dec. 27th! We spend Christmas afternoon sledding on an icy hill, risking pneumonia and broken bones.
You are planning on inviting me to your next holiday, right?

Wendy: The invite is in the post already for next year Juliet, but honestly, I’ve always wanted a white Christmas, maybe we could just house swap, but you get my kids with the deal.;

Can you tell me how you came up with the story for your new release? Has it been building inside you for a while or was it something that just popped into your head?

Wendy: Usually I just have something pop into my head before I start a book but the The Reluctant Countess was a bit different. I found a competition I wanted to enter and you were given the starting scene; Countess with a secret, handsome Lord and a ballroom, and the story and characters grew from there.

Juliet: That’s amazing! That you took those bare bones and built your whole fabulous romance around them that’s like starting with a lone piano on a stage and creating The Fantasticks! As for Diaries, I was striking out on everything I wrote, so just decided to create something I liked. Miracle of miracles, I found an agent–Andrea Somberg–who possessed the same warped sense of humor as me and who found a home for it with Random.

Is there any particular scene in your story that really stands out for you and why? Something that when you re-read it you think- I wrote that and it’s great!

Wendy: I think my favorite scene is when Sophie the heroine gets injured and Patrick quite simply unravels. Usually he’s in complete control at all times, but seeing the woman he loves in pain is something he can’t handle. It’s a scene that was hard to write because I wanted to get across how helpless he was feeling, I hope I managed it.

Juliet: Oh, you definitely did, and I loved that scene too! Not to gender stereotype, but I think that would be a typical reaction for a number of men. As for my favorite scene in my book–well–it’s hard to top destroying a toilet showroom.

Wendy: Definitely my favorite scene in your book Juliet. I laughed so hard my husband wanted in on the joke.

Some writers are great with characters, others dialogue and some are good with descriptions, what do you believe is your strength?

Wendy: Dialogue is probably my strength and I think both Juliet and I do this quite well. I like it to flow and be fast paced and humor is very important to me. I really enjoy a book that has that connection between the characters through dialogue.

Juliet: It’s obviously your strength and that’s why your story is such a fast read, Wendy; the dialogue just carries the plot along pell-mell. Writing dialogue is my favorite part of writing, too.

What was the most difficult thing about writing your story?

Wendy: I think the hardest part of any book is to keep the momentum going throughout. You have peaks and troughs through the book, but you have to keep the readers interest and that’s quite hard when there is not a lot happening in a scene, yet the scene is a pivotal link to the next one.

Juliet: Plotting sucks. Like Mazie, I never plan ahead; just blunder along.

Wendy: I hear you there, I hate plotting too!

Say your book gets made into a movie. Who plays the leads?

Wendy: Patrick would be played by James Purefoy and Kate Beckinsale the heroine Sophie.

Juliet: Who’s James Purefoy, and why isn’t he my screen saver? Must hunt him down! For Diaries, I’d shanghai John Krazinsky—Emily Blunt knew what she was doing when she nabbed that guy. As for Mazie, gotta go with Mila Kunis for all-out sassiness.

How much research did you do? Have you been to any of the locations in your book and were there others you wished you could have put in?

Wendy: I was raised with stories of Great Britain and especially London and I lived there for two years so I had a good knowledge of it. I spent many happy hours walking around castles and historical buildings with my long suffering husband but I didn’t use any in this book, although I’m determined to have one in the next. The Tower of London has always interested me, so I’m hoping to slip that in somewhere too!

Juliet: I’m so-o-o envious! But of course, I did have the privilege of living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (motto: Yeah, but have you ever felt a witch’s teat?).

Wendy:
Hahaha, strangely I’ve always wanted to visit Wisconsin the names kind of cool.

Did your characters ever hijack the plot–diverge from your plans?


Wendy:
My characters constantly hijack the plot! Sometimes I’m heading along quite nicely in one direction and end up in another. I always think that must seem strange to a non-writer, but it’s true. They just sort of write themselves sometimes even though you have other plans for them.

Juliet: Ditto. Mazie can be an idiot sometimes.

Wendy: Actually after reading The Escape Diaries I can imagine Mazie doing that.

Wendy, you’re from New Zealand. Very exotic for us Americans. How would you describe your country? Are hobbit infestations a problem?

Wendy:
Hobbit infestations are huge! We have a new anti Hobbit repellent kit that comes with hair removal for the feet if you come into contact with one.

NZ is a great place to live, sure it’s small and that means we spend a lot of time worrying about everyone else’s business but I think that’s part of its charm, you really do know your neighbour. We have acres of rolling pasture, stunning mountains, lakes and some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll see, and when the Pohutukawa tree is in bloom it will take your breath away. To the average Kiwi a beach is only a short drive away which means we spend a lot of time there in the summer months. The Kiwi is a chameleon who can adapt to varied situations. We love our shorts and jandals, a good BBQ with beer accompaniment but can handle dinner with the Queen when required. We’re Patriotic and will support anyone representing us on the world stage, staying up all hours to watch and scream encouragement. I think we have a unity that is brought about by our isolation from the rest of the world. I am incredibly proud to call NZ home and hope a few of you can visit here one day to see what it has to offer.

Tell me a bit about your home town, Juliet?

Juliet: Too boring for words, and I’m still laughing over your hobbit comments. Then I’m going to look up Pohutukawa, and then, I’m packing for a visit to Kiwiland. Throw another shrimp on the barbie, Wendy–or don’t Kiwis talk that way? Must find out if rivalries exist between Aussies and Kiwis. Suggested topic for next interview session?

Romance readers, have you envisioned the characters in a book you’ve read coming to life on the big screen? Tell us the book and who you’d love to see as the leads.
Giveaway – 2 Print books, US or New Zealand only of THE RELUCTANT COUNTESS!

WINNERS Announced below – thanks for blogging!


Meet the Authors:

Author Bio:
wendy vella
Wendy Vella is a lover of all things romantic. She started reading her first Georgette Heyer book at a young age and instantly fell in love with the Regency era. Writing is something she has always found time for; she penned her first novel at eighteen though she says it will never make an appearance further than the closet in which it currently resides.

After having her two children Wendy then joined RWNZ and started honing her chosen craft by entering competitions with some success and attending conferences. Her Clendon and Readers Choice award-winning historical romance The Reluctant Countess will debut in Jan 2013 with Random House in their Loveswept line.

She has an addiction to reading and loves a wide range of genres while her first love will always be historical. She relishes novels steeped in Romance and excitement with feisty heroines and delicious heroes, especially when they are set amongst the treacherous waters of London society.

Wendy is a sucker for a happy ending having secured her own. She has been married to her own dark brooding hero for 28 years and shares her home with two wonderful children, two dogs and anyone else who happens to be visiting at the time. Born and raised in a rural area in the North Island of New Zealand, Wendy loves the beaches and lush green rolling hills of her homeland and is proud to call herself a very patriotic Kiwi!

wendy vellaFind Wendy on her Website | Facebook | Twitter

Check out Wendy’s New Release here


Juliet’s bio:
Juliet Rosetti
Juliet grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm. She has taught school in Milwaukee and in Sydney, Australia, where her duties included coaching cricket—a pretend sport originated by the Monty Python troupe. Her travel pieces, humor, and personality profiles have appeared in many publications and she is a past winner of The Milwaukee Journal’s Wordsmith Award for Non-fiction. Currently she lives in Oshkosh, Wisconsin with her husband and son and is working on the second Mazie Maguire novel.
Find Juliet ranting on her blog | Facebook

Buy THE ESCAPE DIARIES here

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