Hey everyone! Today, we’re joined by Vivienne Lorret, author of How to Forget a Duke, for a special Q&A and an excerpt!
Learn about Vivienne’s writing process, what she’d tell her younger self, and more. You can also find out more about her book, read a short excerpt, and enter a giveaway at the end!
An interview with Vivienne Lorret
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
So many things, but most of all—be fearless.
Of course, it’s difficult to start off this way when your internal editor is breathing down your neck. So, before you begin to write, take your internal editor by the hand and explain that you have to do this without her. Then write what you want to say, what’s in your heart. Pour it all out onto the page and don’t hold back. Keep going until every single word contains your DNA.
Then, and only then, should you unlock the cellar door, untie and ungag your internal editor (it’s okay; she’ll eventually understand that this is part of the process).
Oh, and don’t cringe when you think of edits. Be fearless now, too. Sometimes this is the best part. The first draft was a wonderful day spent with your characters—a picnic, a rain shower, a fond hug farewell. But the edits… they are the reunion—the long embrace at the airport, talking over dinner until the restaurant closes, hoots of laughter and sloppy, soggy tears. You’ll understand the story and the characters better after editing than when you’d spent the first few weeks outlining every detail of their childhood.
By being a fearless writer, you’re honoring the blessing you’ve been given.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
For me, research can get kind of tricky. I always start off with the best of intentions, but end up getting lost for days, weeks even, on a wonderful little treasure hunt. Googling “how to tie a mailcoach knot” might seem simple enough, just a quick sifting through historical sites, find the nugget, dust off my hands and done. Right?
Nope. Because, while panning, I’ll tend to find hidden gems, too. I tell myself that I’ve found my treasure and it’s time to move on… but it’s usually too late. I already have the fever.
One nugget just isn’t enough. So, I’ll call my friend in the research department at the library and share my findings, knowing that she’s just as addicted to looking for buried treasure (and she always unearths the coolest, hard-to-find books from university libraries). From there, I start filling notebooks and covering the entire surface of my desk (drawer fronts, too) in Post-its. And when the fever finally breaks, I’ll have developed a backstory (complete with attire and regional dialect) for a character who may or may not end up in the book.
So, how long do I spend researching before I begin writing? Well, usually far too long.
How many hours a day do you write?
As long as it takes. Sometimes I’ll only need a few productive hours to meet my daily goal. This usually happens after I’ve stayed up late the previous night, filling my bedside notebook with ideas. Having a snippet of dialogue, or setting the stage for the scene, helps to start the process. Caffeine helps with this, too.
Yet, there are days when no amount of tea can help, when every word is wrong, the scene is crap, the dialogue is flat, and I’ll have an itchy trigger finger over the backspace key. Those days take much longer to meet my goal, if at all. When this happens, I’ll force myself to take a break. A few errands or loads of laundry later, and I’m usually able to begin again.
Then again, sometimes these breaks awaken my inner procrastinator. I keep trying to smother her, but she always springs back to life like an inflatable tube person, flailing her arms toward distractions, grinning and making promises of how it will be different this time. Willingly, I believe her… until the calendar brings me back to reality.
Nothing inspires me to write for twelve to fourteen hours a day like a fast-approaching deadline.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
My goal is to write a chapter a day. So, for a book that is thirty chapters long, I should be able to write it in a month, right?
Well, sometimes my math brain doesn’t see eye-to-eye with my writing brain. There’s a process to these things.
Day one usually starts like this: I sit at my desk holding a mug of steaming chai and open a WORD document. I sigh contentedly, taking a moment to admire the blank page, grinning from ear to ear. I absolutely love this part. There’s nothing on the screen except for a gleaming white rectangle, and yet it seems like everything is there—hopes, dreams, loss, and a potential happily ever after—just waiting to be discovered. Even the cursor seems to know this as it pulses with anticipation.
Then I prepare the foundation of this new world by formatting the pages. Center the title in the header? Check. Add page numbers to the bottom right? Check. Type Chapter One. Check!
Eagerness zips through every nerve and cell as my fingertips hover over the keys as I contemplate the best first sentence ever created.
And then I get up to refill my tea.
This is part of the process, too—tea drinking and procrastination—and it usually takes those thirty chapter-a-days to six weeks or more.
What was your hardest scene to write?
The goodbye scene killed me.
I’m not an author who pictures the happily ever after when I begin. Instead, I write with the black moment in mind (sort of like a villainess—but one with the best of intentions and a fabulous cloak, of course—thrumming her fingers together and waiting for everything to fall apart).
So, when I first wrote Jacinda saying goodbye to Fellows, to Sybil and to Crispin, I really didn’t know how the book was going to end. It felt like an actual goodbye. Forever.
I was a wreck. And after I wrote it, I moped around the house, completely lost, heartbroken, and in need of some serious classic movie therapy. Thanks to TCM and triple chocolate brownies, I recovered enough to finish the book.
About the book
How to Forget a Duke
Series: Misadventures in Matchmaking #1
Release date: May 29th 2018
Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance
Add to TBR: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon US | The Book Depository | iBooks | Kobo | Audible
By using some of the above links, you're helping to support the running of LiatoF. Thank you!
The Bourne Matrimonial Agency has one rule: Never fall in love with the client. A simple thing to remember...unless you’re a matchmaker with amnesia.
The Duke of Rydstrom needs a wife. Preferably one with a large fortune and a complete lack of curiosity. The last thing he needs is a meddling matchmaker determined to dig up his dark family secrets.
All Jacinda wants is to find a bride for a duke. How hard could that be? He’s handsome, enigmatic...and hiding something. She’s sure of it. Determined to discover what it is, she travels to his crumbling cliffside estate. Yet, by the time she washes up on his beach, she can no longer remember who she is or why the duke is so familiar to her. All she knows is that his kisses are unforgettable—and she intends to use every skill she can to discover what’s in his heart.
When Miss Bourne can’t remember what brought her to his ancestral home, Rydstrom intends to keep it that way. Yet as the days pass, his true challenge will be safeguarding his secret while resisting this woman who—confound it all—may well be his perfect match.
“Things should be kept where they belong.” Like matchmakers who lived in London and dukes who did not.
If things began to stray, there was chaos.
“At opposite ends? Yet, by your own words, these pillows”—she reached down and snatched it again—“and the iron horses are mated. Why not allow them to be side by side like your peas?”
“An object’s design is not to be consumed but admired. Those are bookends, one at either end. You would not have your ears on one side of your head, crowded together, would you?” He added this, hoping to quiet her.
This time it did not work.
“You are rather obsessed with my ears.” From her quadrant, she tilted her head to study him. “See? I do use them to listen. On occasion. You even said they were pretty. Do you really think so, or were you trying to unsettle me?”
Suddenly his mind was back in the corridor again, hands gripping, bodies flush, sheer panic transforming into a reckless desire.
He glanced down at the silver pillow. Only now he realized that it matched the hue of the counterpane on his bed. Then, he was helpless to notice the way she gripped it, the tips of her modestly manicured fingernails pressing into the silk.
An unrepentant surge of arousal tore through him. “Miss Bourne, would you return the pillow to its proper place, take your gloves, and then leave my study?”
In response, those lips curled again.
His palms began to itch, craving the delicate abrasion of cream-colored muslin, and the softness of the flesh beneath.
“You just looked down at my lips again.” She tsked. “A clear indication that you have, in fact, kissed me.”
“We’ve already discussed this.”
“And you didn’t deny it.”
“I am now.”
She shook her head, adamant. “It’s too late. Your denial is invalid.”
“Well, I am denying it because that, Miss Bourne, is the truth.”
She would not let it rest. He had not even concluded a week of his fortnight prison sentence with her and he was ankle deep in a swirling chasm of madness.
“So you say now . . .” She shrugged. “I do have one more question, however. Do you—”
“By all that’s holy! I can take no more. You refuse to give me a moment’s peace until your curiosity is satisfied. Then so be it.”
He crossed the empty path between the rugs—the first step on the hardwood echoing like the twelfth strike of a clock tower, the second muffled by the woven wool.
Crispin took her by the shoulders and lowered his mouth.
Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a gift package containing a clothbound copy of Emma by Jane Austen, a travel journal, and a packet of Forget Me Not seeds. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 6/10/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted.