Led Astray by a RakeBook titles, they’re a real pain in the you-know-what.  For me, anyway.  Either my mind goes completely blank or I end up with something totally inappropriate.  As for asking my husband… he believes a rake is something you use in the garden!  So, more often than not the title is chosen by my editor after discussions with her colleagues and I agree.  That’s probably the way it is for most authors.

But titles are important.  They have to call to you from the bookshelf, intrigue you when you read them, urge you to buy this book and discover what it’s all about.  There have been some great titles over the years:  Gone with the Wind, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice.

I always think a title has to evoke something of the story you’re telling.  For instance, my latest, Led Astray By A Rake, is fairly self explanatory ;)   Or is it?  Olivia Monteith is in love with a man who everyone else believes is a rake.  Wicked Nic has a reputation as a bad boy while Olivia is a proper young lady.  On the surface it appears Olivia is being led astray by this rake, but the truth of the matter is it’s Olivia who’s doing the leading astray.  She’s seducing the rake and he’s falling in love with her and fighting her every inch of the way.

When I’m writing a series I try to chose titles with something in common.  For instance, the Greentree Sisters series was supposed to have a school/educational theme because Aphrodite, the Courtesan, was tutoring the girls in seduction.  So I had Lessons in Seduction, Rules of Passion and Mistress of Scandal.  When writing my Medieval series I tried to think of titles incorporating the heroine’s name, which was also a flower, and the hero, who was represented by a piece of medieval weaponry.  So I had The Lily and the Sword, and The Rose and the Shield.  The third book began life as the Briar and the…hmm, but that was the trouble.  You can’t have the Briar and the Lance or the Briar and the Big Javelin.  And the Briar and the Ball and Chain is just plain silly.  So we ditched that idea and the title became Once He Loved, with the final book as Kissing the Bride.

I can see I’m going to have a problem with Book #2 in the Husband Hunters Club series.  Led Astray By A Rake is a great start, but what next?

What do you think?

Sara Bennett

one-reckless-summer_largeI don’t know about you, but I love a tortured hero. And as a writer of contemporary romance, I often hear from readers that they are surprised to find my heroes are so tortured, and they go on to say they usually find those types of guys in historicals or paranormals. I will admit I was unaware of that until I heard it a few times – but what can I say? Making my heroes suffer just comes naturally to me. ; )

In my current release, ONE RECKLESS SUMMER (the first book in my new Destiny series), Mick Brody ranks right up there as one of the most tortured guys I’ve ever written. Mick had a very rough home life growing up, with abusive parents and a dangerous older brother who drew Mick down a dark path, but the worst thing for Mick is that when the story begins, he has a big, big, life-or-death-size secret – and it becomes an even bigger problem for him when the heroine, Jenny Tolliver, finds out. Of course, I can’t tell you what the secret is, but I hope you’ll pick up the book and find out for yourself. That’s right – beneath that beautifully relaxing summery cover (I love it and can’t quit looking at it) lurks some very emotional stuff.

So who are some of your favorite tortured heroes? And why do you love them? From book, movie, or TV, what agonized hero makes you just ache for him?

And meanwhile, if you want to learn more about ONE RECKLESS SUMMER, just visit me online at www.ToniBlake.com, where you can read an excerpt and learn more about the book.

A Talent For Sin 1) Lavinia, congratulations on the release of your debut, A TALENT FOR SIN! What a delicious title … and cover!! Can you share something about the book with us? For instance, your heroine sounds uniquely brazen – no wilting miss here! The excerpt on your website is absolutely riveting! Did you always want to write a heroine with a little more experience … with, dare I say — a talent for sin? Sorry … couldn’t help myself!

My heroines have always tended to be strong. I wrote one who was naïve and it just didn’t work for me. Violet, my heroine, is the first one I’ve written who is unapologetically experienced. I loved creating a character who could be both powerful and seductive. She started as a minor character in an earlier (unpublished) book and just fascinated me. It took me a long time to decide what kind of man would be perfect for her. I finally decided that she needed a man who could accept her and love her no matter what – although it takes time for her to come to believe it.

2) Can you tell us something about your sale to Avon?

It really was a dream come true. It taught me that perseverance really does pay off. I’ve always loved Avon Romances and from the time I started seriously writing it was one of my goals. I just never thought it would be my first book.

How could any romance writer not want to be grouped with great authors at Avon?

3) If you were to recommend one romance novel to someone new to the genre, which book would it be?

I’ve never been able to only choose one. I had a cousin who asked for a recommendation a few years ago and I gave her Julia Quinn’s “The Duke and I,” Gaelen Foley’s “The Duke,” Mary Balogh’s “Simply Dangerous,” JR Ward’s “Dark Lover,” and Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s “Match Me if You Can.”

My list might be slightly different if I put it together now – but maybe not. These are all on my read and reread shelf.

The hardest part for me was choosing from among the historicals. I love so many that it was an impossible choice. I love reading and am a horrible critic. I like almost everything.

4) What’s the one piece of advice you would give to aspiring writers?

Keep at it. While there are a few amazingly talented writers who sell their first books, most of us work at it for years and think about giving up many times.

My other piece of advice would be – FINISH THE BOOK. Until you’ve finished a book don’t worry about perfecting it. I’ve known a bunch of writers who have perfect first chapters and can’t seem to get further. The best way to be a writer is to just do it.

5) And just for fun, what’s your favorite drink of all time (alcoholic or non)? And how much of it do you consume while writing your delicious stories? ;)

I love citrus – lemon, grapefruit, and lime. I can be happy with a big cold glass of lemonade or delirious with a good mojito. I just like something that gives me a good pucker.

When I am writing I tend to stick to coffee and water. I get sleepy very quickly if I try anything harder. I love the image of sitting down with a good glass of wine and writing my heart out, but in truth my head would end up on the keyboard – and key imprints take hours to fade from your cheeks.

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