I’ve known Leigh LaValle for years. She’s an amazing friend and an amazing author, and I’m not the only one to think so! Leigh’s debut historical romance, The Runaway Countess, was nominated for the prestigious Golden Heart award in 2011, and recently the book was nominated for Best Historical Romance by The Romance Reviews. Join me in welcoming Leigh to Magical Musings! Read below for your chance to win Leigh’s book, and where to find her free novella!
I am certain my mom asked me this question more than once. (And not just during my youth, mind you.) I get this question about my books, too. Why did you decided to write a Robin Hood book? How do you come up with names? And, most often, how in the world can you fill four hundred pages with story?
Often, I give the same answer I gave my mom: “I don’t know, my mind just does these things.”
The Robin Hood question has been a favorite (for who doesn’t love Robin Hood?) The basic answer is that I chose to retell the Robin Hood legend because I wanted to craft a story where the premise of right and wrong seemed really clear to begin. Throughout THE RUNAWAY COUNTESS, I try to challenge these pre-conceived ideas about justice. Stealing is not the answer, no matter how justified. Neither is oppression. As I retell the Robin Hood legend, both sides are right, and both sides are wrong. Both the hero and heroine have really compelling reasons why we should root for them, but only one can win. It’s a wrestling match to the end!
Where do I get my ideas for names? I have to admit this is a hard one for me. (My son was not officially named until he was 7 days old and I had to file the birth certificate.) For surnames, I often use thepeerage.com. For first names, I take inspiration from the local landscape. Trent derived his name from the River Trent. His estate, Giltbrook Hall, was also named after a local water way (and subsequent town).
Finally, how do I fill four hundred pages of story? Even I don’t know the answer to that. I research a lot of history and take ideas from there. While reading about Nottingham, for example, I discovered the last rebellion in England took place just fourteen miles north of Nottingham in 1817. That quickly became part of my story. And I needed a scene where Trent interacted with his villagers, something fun and lighthearted. Research pointed me to the Midsummer’s Eve festival, which was a very entertaining (and naughty) bit of history. I happily incorporated that into the book as well.
What about you, Dear Reader? Do you wonder how we authors get our crazy ideas? Do you want to know how we generate unique characters? Elaborate sex scenes? Unexpected twists? I am here to answer your burning questions. Or to chat about Robin Hood, who I could talk about any day of the week.
***One lucky commenter will win a digital copy of THE RUNAWAY COUNTESS.***
***(Lori here, as a side note, Leigh’s novella, The Misbehaving Marquess is free for Amazon Kindle right now! For Barnes and Noble click here! You can also find it on ITunes! Get it while you can!)***
ABOUT: Leigh LaValle was born in a time when ladies shopped at the modiste and rogues sent heated looks across a crowded ballroom. Time slipped forward a few hundred years, and she currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. When she is not writing about said ladies and rogues, mommying, or reading, she is rarely seen cleaning. More often, she is found hiking or, when she is really lucky, in the white powder of the ski slopes. She is also a devoted yoga practitioner and instructor.