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Author interview with Sara Bennett

Seducing the Duchess comes out tomorrow! Sara was kind enough to answer some questions for us.

You can get your copy of this delightful historical romance HERE!

Did you always know you wanted to be an author? What is the first story you remember writing? How did you get from there to where you are today? 

I did always want to be an author. I started writing from a very early age. Something about living in my own head, in my made-up world, really appealed to me. When I was eighteen I won a short story competition for my local newspaper. It was a dystopian story about a war, and how the world had become split into two groups. It was intense but hopeful. After that it felt like maybe I could do this as a career.

Hmm, not so easy, but I have persisted and am now the author of many books. Firstly I was published in Australia, writing Historical Fiction, and then with Avon in the US, with Medieval romance and then Victorian Romance. Since then I’ve self published, writing Regency romance, and recently been contracted with Hachette for a Regency romance series, and now my Disgraceful Duchesses trilogy with Dragonblade.

More importantly I have fans and friends all over the world, who have joined me on my journey.

What are your favorite kind of characters to write? Do you have a specific trope that you’re drawn too?

My favourite troup by far is second chance romance. I love it when two people meet again after years apart, or some incident that drove them apart, and suddenly they are together. They realize just how much they used to love each other. Still do!

If a couple already know each other it also helps with the sort of awkward getting-to-know-each-other situation. And they have memories to draw on, times when they were together and happy, which I can use in the book.

I don’t know the number of stories I have written with this troup.

I think Seducing the Duchess falls into that second chance troup. Catherine and Sebastian have met before, and there was a strong attraction. She has been dreaming of him for ten years, and suddenly there he is.

Which comes first for you: the plot or the characters?

Definitely the characters. They are what drives the story. Sometimes I know them immediately, and that’s wonderful. Mostly though I learn about them through writing and rewriting the book.

At some point in my writing those characters suddenly come alive. That’s a fantastic moment, when they begin to take over the book. Well, in one way it is, in another way it can be very annoying if they won’t do what I want them to. Or when they’re busy explaining the story to me at midnight when I’m trying to sleep.

Do you write better in the morning or evening? How do you handle the distractions of working from home, especially if you’re sharing the space with others?

The morning. My brain works so much better first thing in the morning. I suffer from a few health issues that mean ‘foggy brain’ and by midday I’m starting to fade. Even though I think I am writing well, when I read back over my work I find lots of typos and other errors. Characters’ eye color mysteriously changes from page to page, not to mention the spelling of their names!

Working from home is a distraction. I can’t look around at my messy house, and I’ve become very good at that. It’s other stuff that I find difficult to tune out. World events can be an issue, so I need to stop listening to the news, but family things are more difficult. Everyone has a personal issue now and again, and that is hard to tune out.

I don’t have to share my space. I have an office and a door to close, and these days the only others bothering me are my two cats. They like to curl up to keep me company, and sometimes roam around my desk, knocking things to the floor.

What do you like to read when you’re not reading in your genre? Did you have a favorite book or series when you were growing up?

I read widely, depending on my mood. At the moment I am reading domestic thrillers, although they do tend to bring my mood down, especially when they don’t end in a way that I would like them to. I’m all for a happy or hopeful ending. Hate it when the hero turns out to be the villain.

When I was growing up my favorite author was Daphne du Maurier. I think I read all her books, but I loved Frenchman’s Creek and Jamaica Inn, and Rebecca. That mixture of adventure and romance really appealed to me, and I think I usually write that combination today. My characters tend to take off on a journey somewhere when I least expect it. I find it difficult to keep them in the one place, as much as I would like to.