Friday, April 3, 2009

Donna Lea Simpson - interview

As promised two days ago, I give you a short interview with Donna Lea Simpson, the author of Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark. I hope you'll enjoy reading the interview and maybe even consider reading the book (that is, if my review didn't do the job :-) ).

Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark (Sourcebooks Casablanca – April 2009)
By: Donna Lea Simpson

RE: Lady Anne is quite a character. Did you have anyone specific in mind while creating Anne or did she just take on a life of her own?

DLS: Oddly enough, I was lately reminded of a character from one of my own Regency stories, a spinster named Ariadne Lambert. Ariadne, like Anne, was intelligent, nosy and stubborn. She was also passionate and headstrong. Anne is all those things, as well as independently wealthy (which made her more free to do what she wants) and titled.
I’ve always had a soft spot for heroines who knew their own mind, had indomitable wills, but had a softer, passionate side that only the hero can bring out. Lady Anne sprang almost fully formed into being, and I think she is the very essence of the heroine I always wanted to create!

RE: Do you have any authors that you absolutely love and have any of them had any influence on you writing style?

DLS: Jane Austen inspired me to read Regency romances. Among Regency and historical romance writers, I learned so much from Mary Balogh, Jo Beverley, and Mary Jo Putney. Stephanie Barron is brilliant!
But I have always read widely from authors from the time period, too: Maria Edgeworth, Sir Walter Scott, Charlotte Bronte. I think it is that blend of period writers and modern historical writers that helped me form my style!

RE: Are there going to be more adventures of Lady Anne and Lord Darkefell?

DLS: Oh yes! Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark, is followed by Lady Anne and the Ghost’s Revenge, (Sourcebooks Casablanca – August 2009) a tale of smugglers and murder on the Cornish coast, and then Lady Anne and the Gypsy Curse, set in Kent, Lady Anne’s home county. Lord Darkefell, of course, follows her around the country, determined to make her take his offer of marriage seriously while they investigate murder and mayhem together!

RE: Your deep interest and knowledge of historical England are quite apparent in Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark. Are there other countries whose history you're interested in and would like to use for your next novels?

DLS: I love writing about England, of course, and I have begun to get interested in England of the 1300s, a fascinating time period, but I am enthralled by Germany, and have been since taking a German culture course several years ago. It’s the perfect setting for Gothic tales; I think the Teutonic character, with undertones of melancholy (think The Sorrows of Young Werther) is ripe for historic romance. I used it in my last series of paranormal novels, the ‘Awaiting’ series. Interestingly enough, the royal houses of England and Germany have been, historically, closely tied until the events of the First and Second World Wars changed public perception of Germany, and the English monarch distanced themselves.
I’ve recently done some research on Belgium, a gallant little country I find fascinating. Through much of history what we now know as Belgium was tossed back and forth among the Netherlands, France, Germany… anyone who wanted to use it as a pawn. I am setting my fourth ‘Awaiting’ novel there, in the middle of the French invasion of 1795!

Thank you for such interesting questions… I’ve enjoyed answering them. If anyone is interested in learning more about the Georgian Era in England, (or my Lady Anne series of novels) I have a page devoted to it on my new website,

Donna, thank you for making an effort to answer my questions. I really appreciate that and I can't wait to be reading more adventures of Lady Anne!