Sophie Jordan interviews Lavinia Kent

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 She started as a minor character in an earlier (unpublished) book and just fascinated me.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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