Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Interview with New Zealand author Abby Gaines and book giveaway

Narelle here. I'm excited to welcome Abby Gaines to our blog today. We will be giving away a copy of Abby's latest release, The Earl's Mistaken Bride. The giveaway is open to readers who live anywhere in the world.

Abby Gaines writes funny, tender romances for Love Inspired Historical and Harlequin Superromance -- she's currently at work on her 19th novel for Harlequin. She's also experimenting with a young adult novel and a women's fiction novel. Abby loves reading, skiing, traveling and cooking for friends, as well as spending time with her husband and children.

As soon as Marcus Brookstone lifts his bride's veil, he sees he's been tricked. He made a bargain with God—to marry a good, Christian girl if his mother recovered from illness. But Marcus intended to marry pretty Amanda, not stubborn Constance. His next plan, to ignore his new wife, fails as well when Constance makes it clear that she wants a true union.

Constance Somerton doesn't dare reveal that she's been enamored of Marcus for years. The man believes love is for weaklings. Someone needs to teach him about marriage's blessings. Someone who sees beyond his arrogance to the tender heart beneath. Someone exactly like Constance....

Narelle: What do you find most fascinating about the Regency era?

Abby: The dresses! They're so floaty and feminine. Plus, the Regency was such a short period in England's history, and was followed by an era that was in many ways more constrained for women…that brief window of time is all the more interesting for its brevity. I'm also utterly fascinated by the banter that Georgette Heyer used to bring the Regency period to life in her books, but I don't know how true to life that is.

Narelle: Have you visited England?

Abby: I am of English descent (I have the passport to prove it!), and lived in London for several years. I worked very close to Mayfair for a while, and one of the things I enjoyed most about writing The Earl's Mistaken Bride was having my characters live in streets and squares that I've wandered many times.

Narelle: What was your inspiration for writing The Earl’s Mistaken Bride?

Abby: The Bible story of Rachel and Leah… as you know, Jacob wanted to marry Rachel, but was duped by his father-in-law into marrying Leah. I feel so sorry for Leah, knowing she was an unwanted bride. My heroine, Constance, is in the same situation (though it's not her father who's the culprit). Unlike the Bible days, Constance's husband doesn't get to marry his first choice bride as well…he's stuck with just the one he didn't want!

Narelle: Do any real life historical figures play a role in The Earl’s Mistaken Bride?

Abby: Not an active role, but I did discover during my research that the poet Keats had his first poem published in 1816, the year my story is set, so my characters talk about him. Also, the landscape artist JMW Turner was in his early days, and my hero and heroine are divided in their opinions of his work, which back then was quite different from the prevailing art.

Narelle: Did the church influence the faith and lives of your characters?

Abby: My heroine is a parson's daughter. She has huge love and respect for her father, and for the church. The hero goes to church more out of duty. He believes in God, but at the start of the book doesn't have the concept of a personal, submissive relationship to Him. He strikes a bargain with God (at least, he thinks he does!) and that's what lands him with the wrong wife.

Narelle: How has your faith influenced your writing, and the type of stories you write?

Abby: When I first started writing romance, I tried writing inspirational, but just couldn't get it to work. I think I was too preachy! So I switched to secular stories, very much at the "sweet" end of the romance market. I will likely continue to write those books, as well as inspirational. All my books, whether inspirational or secular, tend to explore the theme of unconditional love…someone loving you just the way you are…which is really a reflection (though pale and human) of God's love for us. But that's not the end of the story. In my books, being loved like that inspires my characters to change for the better - just as being loved by God inspires us in real life.

Narelle: The Earl’s Mistaken Bride is your first release with Love Inspired Historical. Please tell us about your upcoming releases.

Abby: This book is intended to be the first of a series of five, called The Parson's Daughters. A kind of inspirational Pride & Prejudice, with five sisters to marry off. The next book, The Governess and Mr. Granville, out in 2012, is a bit like a Regency-set Sound of Music.

Abby, thanks for joining us today. It's been a pleasure to interview you and learn more about the Regency era.

By commenting on today’s post you can enter the drawing to win a copy of The Earl's Mistaken Bride. The drawing will take place on Friday, November 18 and the winner announced on Sunday, November 20. Please leave an email address [ ] at [ ] dot [ ] where you can be reached.

"Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws."

To learn more about Abby and her books, please visit her website.

Narelle Atkins writes contemporary inspirational romance. She resides in Canberra, Australia with her husband and children. To learn more about Narelle, please visit her website.


  1. I read the blurb for this book and really want to read this. I was immediately reminded of the biblical story and am dying to see how this regency hero copes with that duplicity! Lovely blog BTW! Thanks for the post! cfpagels (at) aol (dot) com

  2. I saw the Rachel/Leah connection right away and thought -- awesome!
    I'm interested that you write for both secular and inspirational lines. When I first started targetting inspirational publishers, the "rule" was that no secular writers need apply. How have you handled this?
    Please enter me in the draw avaldal at shaw dot ca.

  3. thanks for the comments, ladies. Alice, I'm not sure with other publishers, but there was no problem with Love Inspired about me writing for other lines. However, my secular books are fairly sweet (no sex outside marriage, no graphic making out etc). I guess a pseudonym would be another option, if there was a big contrast in content, but I think some inspy publishers consider that a bit deceptive, if the purpose is to, say, hide the fact that you write erotica...

  4. I love Regency settings so The Earl's Mistaken Bride sounds perfect. Please include me in the drawing. Thank you!
    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

  5. I like the sound of the title alone, then I read the description! Sounds fantastic! I am excited, love this time period! :)

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Sorry forgot to leave my email, Cindermely@gmail.com :)

  8. Hi Abby congrats on the book. It looks really good and I love all LI books. I think I have seen you on goodreads (not sure). I would love to read your book.

  9. Hi Abby, this looks like a great story and I am wondering how Constance will fare when He wanted another, I am routing for her. I definately will want to read and find out what happens, thanks for sharing.
    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

  10. Hi Jenny, yes you have seen me on Goodreads and also occasionally on eHarlequin boards...

  11. Abby, thanks so much for viisiting with us today :)

    Alice, I think authors writing in the secular market may strike trouble if they want to write in the Christian market under the same name and the content of their secular books may offend a Christian reader and potentially damage book sales. Many authors write under different names for branding reasons, as readers will have certain expectations when they buy books from authors they have previously read.

    Harlequin have a number of authors who have written for both the Love Inspired lines and the secular lines. Gail Martin, Linda Goodnight and Roxanne Rustand come to mind but I know there are others.

  12. Definitely a Leah/Rachel story... sounds so fabulous!

  13. This sounds like a wonderful story, I'm very interested to see how the main characters work things out and how the Earl becomes a better man. Please include me in the draw, raylee@sunflowerquilting.com.au Thanks

  14. Jillian Hart started out with the other lines and Leona Worth still writes for a couple of lines.

    Abby I thought I had seen you around just didn't realise you were from NZ.

  15. This book sounds very interesting. I am dying to find out how he could marry the wrong sister.I love the Regency time period. It is always a fun read. Women and men interact so differently then they do today.

  16. I'd love to read this book! It's a great idea, a great title, and I LOVED Georgette Heyer novels. So cool you lived in London--I'm sure the book is all the better for your personal knowledge.

    valerie at valeriecomer dot com

  17. woops forgot to leave my addy. ausjenny at gmail dot com

  18. I have read the blurb for this book and really can't wait to read the whole book.


  19. Hi Abby!
    It's great to see you writing for Love Inspired Historicals. I already enjoy reading your Harlequin Superromance books.

    The Earl's Mistaken Bride sounds like a wonderful story that I'd love to read, and I'd love to be entered in the drawing for this book.

    The cover is gorgeous, especially Marcus! ;)

    Good luck with your book, and I'll be looking forward to many more from you!