Friday, May 20, 2011

Interview & Giveaway with Vanessa Kelly

With book titles like "Sex and the Single Earl", it's no wonder why I am jumping up and down in my computer seat to announce todays special guest! Vanessa Kelly's latest release features a main male character that's not necessarily plucked from the same well-worn path other historical heroes come from . He's not a Lord or Duke, He's a DOCTOR! Imagine a hot Gyno with McDreamy tendencies and you can see what type of a fix this puts our advantageous-marriage-minded heroine in! But without further adieu, let's get to chatting and learning more about my special guest!:

About The Author:

Vanessa Kelly was born and raised in New Jersey, but eventually migrated north to Canada. She holds a Master's Degree in English from Rutgers University, and went on to attend the Ph.D. program in English Literature at the University of Toronto. Alas, she didn't finish her degree, but she did spend many happy hours studying the works of 18th century British authors and writing about the madness of King George III. Vanessa now devotes her time to writing historical romance, and hopes that her readers will find her books as much fun to read as they were to write. She currently lives in Ottawa with her husband. You can visit her on the web at

Find Vanessa Online: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Latest Release:

Spirited, stubborn, and entirely irresistible...
She is difficult, demanding, and at times, quite fierce. And Dr. John Blackmore can’t take his eyes off her. The Countess of Randolph is the most striking woman he has ever seen...and the most infuriating patient he has ever tended.

Mired in responsibility, Bathsheba doesn’t have time to convalesce in the country. She should be in London, hunting for a wealthy new lover to pay off her late husband’s vast debts, not dallying with a devastatingly handsome doctor.
But it is only a matter of time until the good doctor and the obstinate countess will have to contend with the sparks that fly between them. Once their bodies surrender, their hearts may follow...

Get Your Copy Today!!!

The Interview:
RJ: Hey Vanessa! Welcome to Not Another Romance Blog. I am so excited to have you on! Congrats on your latest release, ‘My Favorite Countess’ (from Kensington Books, May 3rd, 2011). After publishing 3 single novels and a story in an anthology, have you gotten used to the anticipation that goes along with waiting out a new release or was it easier to handle this time around?
VK: It never gets old to see one of my books on the shelves! I am getting a bit used to it, though, so I don’t really get stressed out anymore. I just try to enjoy the day, and once the release date is past I get back to working on my next manuscript.

RJ: Your latest has a fresh twist to it: The male protagonist is a doctor. In my opinion, hot regency doctors haven’t gotten nearly as much ‘screen time’ as they deserve in romance novels. Why did you stray away from the traditional Lords of the House and go with a doctor as your Hero in this book?
VK: I do love writing about aristocratic alpha males, but sometimes it’s good to shake things up. Doctors have always been hot in TVs and movies, and they make great heroes (see Dr. McDreamy!). My idea stemmed from wanting to create a good match for my heroine, Bathsheba, who is rather arrogant, and aristocratic down to her fingertips. I needed someone to challenge her assumptions and make her realize that she could live her life a different way. A crusading slum doctor seemed just the ticket. Plus, researching Regency medicine was really interesting.

RJ: Let’s get straight down to it; what is ‘My Favorite Countess’ all about? 
VK: My heroine, Bathsheba, is a widowed countess, desperately in need of money for reasons that need to remain secret. She’s on the lookout for a rich titled husband, and the last person she wants to fall in love with is a doctor who’s more interested in helping the poor than in advancing his career as a physician to the rich and titled. But John has a few secrets, too, which makes it even harder for Bathsheba to imagine a life with him. These two really fall hard for each other, but they’ll both have to make significant sacrifices if they want to be together. But that’s what partly love is about, right?

RJ: Your heroine, Bathsheba, was actually a villain in your last book, ‘Sex and the Single Earl’. How did you go about ‘humanizing’ her in ‘My Favorite Countess’ and making her into a character readers could like-or even love- by the time they reached the last page?
VK: The first thing I did was reveal her backstory, which explained much of her behavior and why she acted so badly in Sex And The Single Earl. She also feels quite guilty about her past, and although Bathsheba is convinced she had no other choice in acting as she did, she really wants to atone for past sins. My Favorite Countess is a redemption story. Can someone who makes mistakes or behaved badly actually turn her life around? I think so, and that’s what I wanted to do with Bathsheba – show her journey to redemption and her personal growth.

RJ: You simply must tell me more about your main characters! John and Bathsheba seem like complete opposites. John (from what I gleaned) is a kind doctor who will go out of his way to help any patient- rich or poor. Bathsheba-at first glance- seems to be a mercenary character interested only in making a good match and doesn’t care who or how she has to hurt to get it. What is the true character of these two and how are they able to work together as a couple?
VK: With John, it’s pretty much what you see is what you get. He’s a great guy, although he does carry a burden of guilt from some mistakes he made in his younger days. Bathsheba, on the other hand, didn’t start out as the person she appears to be at the beginning of the book. She was actually a sweet, rather shy girl when she married her first husband. That marriage significantly changed her, as you find out in the course of the story. But Bathsheba’s motivations have never been entirely selfish. In fact, they are grounded in wanting to protect her family and the people who depend on her. In that way, she’s much like John.

RJ: I must touch on your choice for character names real quick. John is a nice, common, and popular name while Bathsheba is one I haven’t seen around in historicals that much. Is there a story behind the choice of her name or was it something fun and different you just wanted to go with?
VK: I think it’s an unconscious tribute to Loretta Chase, who named her heroine Bathsheba in Lord Perfect. I also think it really fit my heroine’s rather bold and sexy character.

RJ: I think secondary characters are sometimes the unsung heroes in a story. Great main characters are a must, but authors who put the time into making loveable or even detestable secondary characters as well offer a better-rounded story for us readers. That being said, I’d love to know the name and a little about a secondary character from ‘My Favorite Countess’.
VK: I absolutely agree with you about secondary characters, and I spend a lot of time on them in my books. The most important secondary characters in My Favorite Countess are Meredith and Stephen, the hero and heroine of my first book, Mastering The Marquess. As you can imagine, they were pretty easy to write about since I knew them so well. But I also have a number of characters who are John’s patients and who live in the slums. They were really interesting to work on because I wanted them to be sympathetic and intelligent, and not stereotypes of what we might think poor people were like during the Regency. One of them is a little flower girl named Bess, and I love her. She’s cheerful and strong, and plays a key role in helping John and Bathsheba out of a sticky situation.

RJ: What were some interesting tid-bits you picked up while researching or something quirky that you incorporated into the story?
VK: I was absolutely fascinated by the history of midwifery, and how starkly terrifying it could be to give birth back in the Regency period. There were many accomplished doctors and midwives but, boy! Things could go very wrong. The climax of My Favorite Countess incorporates some of that in what I think is a very dramatic scene.

RJ: The writing process differs from author to author. Some are planners, and others just jump right in. Some consider themselves evening writers, while others need daylight and a park bench or a coffee shop to set the mood for creativity; what’s YOUR writing process and atmosphere like?
VK: I need order, and lots of peace and quiet! I’m a huge plotter, and spend several weeks putting together a notebook that includes a full outline, character biographies, a plot chart, family trees, and just about everything but the kitchen sink. And I’m definitely a daylight person.

RJ: Besides anything reading or writing related, what are 5 things you can’t live without?
VK: My husband, my family, my friends, coffee, and TV.

RJ: What can the readers expect in stores and on the shelves next by you?
VK: Later this month I’ll be releasing a Regency short story in e-book form, called His Wicked Revenge. It was really fun writing that, and I think it’s a very cute, sexy story. I’m also hard at work on my next book, which is a Christmas story and will wrap up my series.

RJ: Final Question: What is something shocking or interesting about you that the readers may not know?
VK: I can’t really tell you, because it would get me in a lot of trouble!

RJ: Thanks once again for stopping by and sharing! I can’t wait to read ‘My Favorite Countess’! Best wishes!

~*~Giveaway Details~*~
Vanessa Kelly has generously offered to giveaway a copy of her latest historical romance, 'My Favorite Countess' to (1) one lucky commenter! She asks that to be eligible for the giveaway, simply tell her in the comments which new books you're most looking forward to reading in May or remark (meaningfully) on the interview.  The giveaway will end on June 3rd and the winner will be announced and contacted shortly thereafter.

*Please leave an email address in your comment so that you can be contacted if you're chosen as the winner.


  1. Hi Vanessa. Love your books. Like you, I really enjoy unsung secondary characters. What would Stephanie Plum books be without all her cohorts? With the historical fiction books, you need those families and friends to make the characters seem real.
    lvsgund at

  2. Hi LilMissMolly! Yes, cohorts and sidekicks are essential, aren't thy?

  3. A lot of terrific books out this month. I'm looking forward to reading Your book of course. I loved Sex and the Single Earl and this new one sounds so amazing and different. I'm a big Anna Campbell fan so Midnights Wild Passion is on my wish list and Sarah Macleans Eleven Scandels looks great too! There is also Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris that I'm wanting to read. Thanks for the awesome interview today!


  4. Vanessa - I look forward to reading your latest release and your upcoming short story e-book. I'm also anxious to read Kimberly Killion's CARIBBEAN SCOT, which comes out today.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. Johanna, there are some great books out this month. I've got both Sarah and Anna's at the top of my list. And I'm so happy you loved Sex and the Single Earl!

    Jena, Kim's book sounds great, doesn't it?

  6. Good afternoon ladies!
    Great interview, thanks for sharing.

    I find the methods of midwifery back in the day was a difficult thing. If you had a doctor with feelings, meaning he actually cared, you were very lucky. Otherewise you hoped for the best.I really felt bad for the women, what they must of felt and gone through.
    I'm happy I live in modern times!

    Hmmm.....I have one heck of a list. My TBR pile is really out of control, but I just can't help myself! LOL!
    Here's a small list of what I'm dying to get my hands on.


    Thank you!
    Have an awesome day!


  7. Hey Vanessa, congrats on the release :) I think a doctor hero makes for a great change. While I would love to read your release, I have to be honest and admit that Anna Cambell's newest Midnight's Wild Passion is burning up my TBR pile (hopefully this wknd I'll be able to relax and enjoy it cover to cover) and I'm anxiously awaiting the releases of Elizabeth Boyle's Lord Langley is Back in Town & Sally MacKenzie's The Naked King (love the humor they add to their books).

  8. Hi Dalila! Great list! I just saw Tiffany Clare last week - I think her book is going to be great.

    gamistress, Anna's books should always be at the top of everyone's TBR, and I love Sally's Naked series.

  9. Hi, Vanessa! Great interview! This month I am most looking forward to reading The Truth About Mr. Darcy by Susan Adriani-- which I just got in the mail today! Yea! :-)


  10. Chelsea, I've heard lots about the Darcy book. I'll be interested to hear what you think!

  11. A few books I'm looking forward to reading:
    - "Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart" by Sarah MacLean
    - "Cloudy with a Chance of Marriage"
    by Kieran Kramer
    - "My Favorite Countess" by Vanessa Kelly (of course)
    - "Midnight's Wild Passion" by Anna Campbell

    As I recall, women who stayed out of hospitals were more likely to survive childbirth since back in the day, "gentlemen" were assumed to have clean hands regardless what they were doing beforehand. Wasn't this how Joseph Lister made his mark?

  12. Hi Vanessa,
    Congratualtions on your new book. I do like the aristocratic heroes but it is nice to see a different type of hero sometimes. I don't think it's out until summer but I am looking forward to Loretta Chase's new book.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  13. Sheree, you are absolutely correct. The lying-in hospitals were often a hotbed of infection since beds and linens weren't necessarily cleaned, nor did doctors wash their hands. Not that private physicians did either - I actually have a scene in the book that depicts that.

    Maureen, I wait with bated breath for every Loretta Chase book!

  14. Hi Vanessa -

    Thanks for the great interview. I was really interested on your take of secondary characters. I loved Mastering the Marquess and can't wait to read My Favorite Countess and "meet" Meredith and Stephen again. I know you'll be wrapping up this series with your Christmas story but have you ever considered having a secondary character "appear" in a new series as well? I think it would be interesting to read a book in an unrelated series for a secondary character to reappear with a more substantial role.

    In Sex and the Single Earl Bathsheba was a character that was easy to dislike and I can't wait to read her "true" story especially since many people hide their true selves to protect themselves.

    Because of past history it's hard to believe that my two sons were born in a "lying-in" hospital in the 1970's that was considered the most respected hospital in Rhode Island for critical care births. It's really amazing how far medical practice has become not just from the time period of My Favorite Countess but from the 1970's until today. Without the care my sons received at Providence Lying-In Hospital neither of my sons would be alive today. Since then they have changed the name to Womens & Infants Hospital and it is located in the same complex as Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Childrens Hospital.

    While you were doing research for the story was there one fact that you had a hard time believing when you learned about medical practice at the time?

    I'm sorry that this series will be ending the end of the year but looking forward to another great series beginning next year. Thanks for the many hours of wonderful reading that your stories have provided to your readers like me.

  15. I just started reading 'The Little Women Letters' by Gabrielle Donnelly. But Regencys are my favorites. I've got several in my TBR pile: Johanna Lindsey's 'No Choice But Seduction', Mary Balogh's Huxtable Family series. I definitly have to try one of yours!
    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  16. In the past couple of years I have read a lot of historicals. I love the Regency period because people were still so proper but the stories are about the sordid little dirty bits! I love that John is a doctor instead of gentry. The idea that having to earn your money was beneath those that were entailed is so fascinating. And it is even more interesting to consider that doctors weren't considered top of the pecking order in that society. Thanks for the giveaway.

  17. Jeanne M, thank you for your wonderful response. The series will not actually come to an end until October 2012, which is when the Christmas book will be published. In the meantime, I will be doing at least one novella to fill in the gap, with characters from the series. I'm pretty sure that some secondary characters will be playing major roles in that novella.

    One medical fact that really surprised me was that forceps were invented by a French Huegenot family back in the 17th century. A family of doctors, they handed down the secret for 150 years. Midwifery was actually an incredibly political and competitive practice during the 17th and 18th century as midwives, physicians, and surgeons vied for patients. Fascinating history!

    Thanks for sharing that great story about your sons!

  18. Thanks for stopping by, Di!

    Jen B., doctors could do very well in the Regency period, especially doctors who treated aristocrats. But they were still professional men who had to work to earn a living, so, yes. They were not at the top of the pecking order.

  19. Hi Vanessa, I am so looking forward to "My Favorite Countess." Especially since "Sex and the Single Earl" really burned up the sheets, on paper as well as at my house! (HEHEHE)

    I'm very curious to see how your are going to turn the villainess from that book into the heroine of this one. A mighty challenge, and I am sure you will pull it off very well.

    The books I am looking forward to reading soon start with yours, of course, but I also can't wait for Julia Quinn's first in her new "Smith-Smythe series, "Almost Like Heaven." Those girls were crying out to have their stories told!

  20. It's hard to find Regencies where one of the leads is a "normal" person but that is one of my favorite tropes so I definitely want to read this. As a Labor/Delivery nurse myself, whenever I read a historical where medicine is included, especially childbirth, I always have to wince, but I'm also fascinated by it. Best wishes on the book.

    Jen at delux dot com

  21. Thanks, fsbuchler! I can assure you that My Favorite Countess is just as hot as Sex And The Single Earl! It was fun to redeem Bathsheba, so I hope she lives up to your expectations.

    JenM, I worked with a researcher on the medical stuff because I wanted to get it right. It was really a fascinating if horrifying topic to research.

  22. Hi Vanessa, excited to read My Favorite Countess! Another May release I am looking forward to is Emma WIldes' One Whisper Away!


  23. There are some good books that come out in may. i am looking forward to read Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris, Midnights wild passion by anna campbell, and when you dare by lori foster.
    thank you for the giveaway and would love to win.

  24. I am very intrigued that Bathsheba was a villianess in Sex and The Single Earl (just the title makes me want to read that one!), and now I have to read both books to learn about her! I also want to read Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris, and am reading The Land of Painted Caves by Jean Auel.

    Robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

  25. Thanks for the interesting interview and best of luck with your projects! I like having a "different type" of hero and love that you did the research.
    My question is, did you know when you created Bathsheba that she would have her redemption? I'm writing a series of contemporary romances involving a family (isn't it great when you get to revisit old friends?), but there are two characters I really don't like. I don't know if I could write their stories.
    I'm reading Jo Beverley's An Unlikely Countess, with an unconventional cast of characters.



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