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Author Interview with Sofie Darling

Lady Amelia Takes a Lover is out tomorrow! It’s book one in the Windemeres in Love series. Sofie was kind enough to answer some questions for us.

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

Give us a little bit about your background and when you first started publishing.

I’m what’s known as a late bloomer. In my early twenties, I took a break from school to travel the world with my husband Eric and raise my two sons, Max and Nate. In my thirties, I decided to return to university and finish my English degree with an emphasis in creative writing, for I had a plan: To write the historical romances I’d fallen in love with.

So, after I graduated, I started writing and didn’t look back. In 2017, I published my first book, Three Lessons in Seduction, which is the first book in my Shadows and Silk series and now spans six books and counting. My new series—“Windermeres in Love”—is my second series and first one with Dragonblade. I couldn’t be more excited about both the series and working with Dragonblade!

Have you visited the places you’ve written about or just read about them?

As I have a bad case of the travel bug, I have visited most of the places I’ve written about. I’ve found that having walked the grounds and breathed the air of a location allows me to form an important personal connection as I write. The four books in “Windermeres in Love” all take place in different settings—and even different countries. Lady Amelia Takes a Lover, which is the first book of the series, mostly takes place in Florence, Italy as it centers around a scandalous family of exiled English aristocrats. Florence and the surrounding Tuscan countryside is so lovely that I knew I had to set a book there someday.

What interesting settings have you used (homes, battlefields, events in history, etc)?

I do enjoy incorporating settings—and even historical figures—into my books that are accurate to the time period. For example, in my book At the Pleasure of the Marquess, the hero and heroine attend a supper party given by the Duke of Wellington at his mansion, Apsley House. The house is still standing today, only a few hundred yards from Hyde Park, fully intact with all the paintings, furnishings, and spoils of war acquired by Wellington during his various campaigns. After I visited several years ago, I couldn’t wait for it to be a setting in one of my books.

Miss Windermere Woos a Highlander—book three of “Windermeres in Love”—finds the cousins, Juliet and Lady Delilah, in the Scottish Highlands. There was one element I’d seen on my travels there that I knew I had to incorporate: a faerie glen. The Isle of Skye has a really beautiful one that I knew would be magical and romantic on a night with two lovers beneath an inky night sky, a crescent moon and twinkling stars their only light as they dance to the rhythm only their hearts know…

Why did you choose the particular period you write in? What is it about that era that speaks to you?

For “Windermeres in Love,” I knew it had to be set in the Regency era. Nestled between the more restrictive Georgian and Victorian eras, the Regency was a time when aristocrats could—and did!—take more liberties than were strictly proper. The Windermere siblings definitely needed that freedom to be their wildest and ultimately most fulfilled selves.

What inspires you to create a certain character (give example)? Have you ever changed the character arc because it didn’t work with the storyline?

The idea for “Windermeres in Love” was sparked one night a few years ago when I was watching the movie A Room with a View. I’d read the book as a teenager and loved it, but it was the viewing of the film that inspired me write about English siblings in Italy. Just this idea of Amelia, Archie, Delilah, and Juliet chafing against the restrictions of British propriety and the only way they can find happiness and fulfillment is by following their hearts.

Do you have a certain quirk in your writing process? Do the stars have to be aligned or do you have to have your favorite tea? Where do you do your best writing?

The biggest quirk in my writing process is probably my copious use of yellow sticky notes. I always always always plot my books from beginning to end before I start writing, which makes me a “plotter.” But during the plotting and writing process, snippets of conversations—or sometimes entire conversations!—and other details come to me, so I write those down on yellow sticky notes. By the time I’ve finished writing a novel, I’ll easily have a hundred yellow stickies all over the wall in my office devoted to timeline and notes. So, essentially, I plot linearly, but I write out of order. Over the years, I’ve come to realize and accept that my best work comes from writing what inspires me at that very moment.

I do my best writing at a coffee shop and with a nice brew of green tea—gyokuro, preferably. 🙂

From all your books, who is your favorite hero and why?

This is a tough one! I fall in love with all my heroes. But I do have a particular weakness for a gruff-but-sweet guy. His Grace Tristan Carteret, the Duke of Ripon, from Lady Amelia Takes a Lover definitely fits that bill.

Outside of your own genre, what’s your favorite genre?

I’m an omnivorous reader, so I read everything. But my two favorite genres are historical fiction (surprise!) and cozy mysteries set in the English countryside (preferably involving a too-curious, slightly naughty cat or dog). I usually flip between those two genres.