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10 Questions for Lenora Bell


RWA Golden Heart winner and RITA-nominated Lenora Bell was inspired to begin writing romance fiction after reading an article by Eloisa James in 2005. When she’s not working on her latest historical romance, Bell tries to curb her collector’s cravings for vintage clothes, purses, and costume jewelry. A third-generation Alaskan who grew up in a tiny town with less than 2,000 residents, Bell has taken her work around the globe, and she currently resides with her family in New Zealand.

Who is Lenora Bell?

USA Today best-selling author of sexy Regency romps inspired by pop culture and classic literary tales. Adventurer currently exploring New Zealand. Jane Austen devotee. Mother to two rescue kitties. 

Tell us about your latest book, One Fine Duke.

One Fine Duke stars the intrepid Miss Mina Penny, who was inspired by the character of Miss Moneypenny from the James Bond novels and films. Mina is a young lady who knows exactly what she wants—to join the family spy business by marrying Lord Rafe Bentley, one of her uncle’s spies. There’s only one very large, very distracting obstacle: Rafe’s brother Andrew, the brooding, reclusive Duke of Thorndon. Andrew vows to save Mina from heartbreak and ruin at the hands of his degenerate brother, but he quickly discovers that Mina is no damsel in distress. She’s daring, passionate . . . and swiftly melting his cold heart.

You are something of a global vagabond, having lived and worked on five different continents. What is the story behind all the traveling?

From teaching English in China to volunteering at a women’s shelter in Bolivia, I love to travel for work and pleasure. My first historical romance was written in Bolivia, my third in Switzerland, and One Fine Duke, my sixth, was started in Paraguay and finished in New Zealand. I like to weave details and texture from my travels into my books. I visited a cacao museum in Peru to get the details right for the drinking chocolate in How the Duke Was Won.

You have now written two different seriesThe Disgraceful Dukes and School for Dukesfeaturing ducal heroes. What is the Regency reader’s fascination with English dukes?

A duke is a prince is a billionaire is a rock star is a . . . code word for a powerful, sexy man with a big bankroll and a secret heart of gold. Think Fitzwilliam Darcy. He’s the original arrogant, wealthy aristocrat who richly deserves the comeuppance he receives from the intelligent, outspoken, and utterly irresistible Miss Elizabeth Bennet.

What three words best describe your writing style?

A reader once aptly described my books as “fun, frothy, sensual historical rom-coms.”

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out as a writer?

I dedicated If I Only Had a Duke “To all the girls who doubt themselves. Let your light shine.” Believe in yourself. Don’t worry about striving for perfection. As Nora Roberts famously said, “you can fix anything but a blank page.” Finish that book! Follow your passion because life is short.

What is the romance novel (or novels) that got you hooked on the genre as a reader?

I read an article by historical-romance novelist and Shakespeare professor Eloisa James and the line that captured me was: “Let’s move beyond knee-jerk denigration of a genre that does nothing more heinous than speak to the dreams that many of us hold.” The next day I checked out Eloisa’s Potent Pleasures from the public library and was immediately hooked. A few days later, I visited Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon, armed with a list of historical romance authors. Soon I needed more bookshelves. A lot more bookshelves.

If you could be one character in fiction for a day, whom would you choose to be and why would you choose that character?

There’s a BBC show for that! Actress Jemima Rooper lives out my fantasy in the TV series Lost in Austen. She steps back in time and into the pages of Pride and Prejudice, taking over Lizzy Bennet’s life. I would choose to live that day. You know, the wildly romantic moment where movie-version Darcy emerges from the lake in his transparent white shirt and then says all of those swoon-worthy things about being bewitched.

What is next for you as a writer?

More sexy Regency romps, of course! I’m currently working on a spin-off book featuring Lady Beatrice Bentley, a side character in One Fine Duke who turned out to be a huge reader favorite.

How can readers best connect with you and your books?

I love to hear from readers! Sign up for my mailing list on my website to hear about new books, sales, and giveaways. We have tons of fun in my Facebook reader group, Lenora’s Bookish Belles, where I post photos of my adventures, give away books and themed gift packs, and have lively discussions about all things historical romance.

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About the Author:

The Romance Writers of America 2002 Librarian of the Year, Charles has been reviewing romances for Booklist since 1999 and is the author of Romance Today: An A to Z Guide to Contemporary American Romance. After working for the Scottsdale Public Library System for 30 years, Charles retired and went to work for Scottsdale's independent bookstore the Poisoned Pen, where he still gets to push books but has to deal with far fewer computer questions.

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