Historical Fiction Week: Author Q&A with Lenora Bell

The next guest on my Historical Fiction Week is Lenora Bell, Piatkus author of How the Duke Was Won (May, 2016). Read all about her writing, her novels and her inspiration in this interview and don't forget to enter the giveaway to win a paperback of How the Duke Was Won for yourself. Also, everyone who answers Lenora's question will be entered to win an ebook copy! 

Hello Lenora and welcome to Alba in Bookland. First, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi Alba! Thanks for having me here at Alba in Bookland (love that name). I’m an avid reader and a longtime historical romance fangirl. My favorite authors include Eloisa James, Lisa Kleypas, Lorraine Heath, Sarah MacLean and Tessa Dare (among many, many others). I have an MFA in creative writing and I’ve taught English around the world. I’m currently living in Switzerland with Mr. Bell and two very naughty adopted kitties. 

You've recently published your debut, How the Duke Was Won, a story about a wild duke looking for a suitable wife for a strictly business arrangement. What sparked this idea?
One Christmas holiday I was browsing in a used bookstore and I came across Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl and I thought to myself, this would make a great romance novel plot! The rich magnate who requires an heir for his fortune and invites a bunch of people to compete for him. I immediately thought of a title: Charlene and the Duchess Factory. The book went on to win RWA’s Golden Heart contest and How the Duke Was Won was born!

How the Duke Was Won is loosely inspired by the classic tale of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and the next books in the series were inspired by THE WIZARD OF OZ and ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Can you tell us a bit more about how these classics inspired you?
I love rereading favorite books multiple times. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice the delight is fresh. I laugh, I cry, and sigh with pleasure when Darcy finally declares that Elizabeth has bewitched him body and soul. 

I also love revisiting childhood classics like The Wizard of Oz to recapture the wonder of living in the world of make-believe and imagination. At the heart of all three of these classics is a quest. Charlie has the chance to raise his family out of poverty. Dorothy is trying to find her way home and learns the value of self-reliance along the way. And Alice tumbles through the rabbit hole into a new awareness of the strength of her creative identity. These universal journeys are at the heart of the Disgraceful Dukes series as well.

What made you start writing historical fiction? 
I write historical fiction because I love reading it so much. After I read Eloisa James’s debut novel Potent Pleasures I decided I wanted to become a romance novelist. She’s been so very gracious with me and with so many other aspiring writers. 

Sometimes I wonder what Jane Austen would say if she knew her books were still so popular 200 years later and served as the inspiration for so many novels, plays, and movies. She’s the patron saint of romantic fiction!

Do you think that in historical fiction, the time period and setting is as important as the story itself?
Great question! I actually wrote a piece about that for the awesome romance site Heroes and Heartbreakers (check it out here). I’ll read any historical time period - Medieval Scotland, Victorian England, or Jazz Age Harlem – but what I’m truly looking for are strong-yet-sensitive heroes and powerful heroines to fall in love with. I do crave rich historical details but I want them seamlessly woven into the fabric of the narrative in a way that adds texture, yet doesn’t take away from the heart of the story – the tentative, easily crushed emotional intimacy developing between the protagonists. 

Who would be your historical book boyfriend?
Speaking of strong-yet-sensitive heroes, my latest book boyfriend would definitely have to be Captain Logan MacKenzie from Tessa Dare’s When a Scot Ties the Knot. I mean, come on! The guy rocks a kilt and has ginger hair so I can’t help but picture Jamie from Outlander. Am I right?
Logan insists he “dinna do cuddling” (tough and strong – check!) and then proceeds to read Pride and Prejudice in bed (be still my wildly beating heart). 

Jamie from Outlander - Image source
Question for readers: Who’s your current book boyfriend? 


You can find out more about Lenora Bell and her books on: 

About the book

Title: How the Duke Was Won (The Disgraceful Dukes #1)
Author: Lenora Bell
Published: May 26th 2016 by Piatkus

Blurb: The pleasure of your company is requested at Warbury Park. Four lovely ladies will arrive… but only one can become a duchess.

James, the scandalously uncivilized Duke of Harland, requires a bride with a spotless reputation for a strictly business arrangement. Lust is prohibited and love is out of the question.

Four ladies. Three days. What could go wrong?

She is not like the others…

Charlene Beckett, the unacknowledged daughter of an earl and a courtesan, has just been offered a life-altering fortune to pose as her half-sister, Lady Dorothea, and win the duke’s proposal. All she must do is:

* Be the perfect English rose [Ha!]
* Breathe, smile, and curtsy in impossibly tight gowns [blast Lady Dorothea’s sylph-like figure]
* Charm and seduce a wild duke [without appearing to try]
* Keep said duke far, far from her heart [no matter how tempting]

When secrets are revealed and passion overwhelms, James must decide if the last lady he should want is really everything he needs. And Charlene must decide if the promise of a new life is worth risking everything . . . including her heart.


Thanks to the publisher, I've got a few copies of How the Duke Was Won to giveaway to some lucky winners. The Giveaway is open to Europe and the winners will be contacted via email and will have 48h to claim their prize. Also, if you answer Lenora's question, you can win an ecopy of the book: 

You Might Also Like

6 comentaris

  1. Hunter Knox from Emergency Delivery by Samanthe Beck :)
    Thanks for the great interview :)

  2. Sylvester - I'm rereading this Georgette Heyer at the moment, so many favourites.

  3. Braden from On the Fence by Kasie West <3

  4. Marcus Goldman from The Truth about the Harry Quercus Affair

  5. Garcia from Chris Carter's books. Have a random idea what he would look like in real life. :)