A Most Scandalous Proposal By Ashlyn Macnamara

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Writing Inspiration

Hello RomCon readers! I am tremendously excited today, because my first ever published book is making its debut. If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to tell you a little bit about where I got some of my inspiration.

When an author sets out to write a book, she draws her inspiration from something in her surroundings. It might be that hot actor she likes to drool over, who suddenly looks like her hero. She might pull an element out of her favorite movie. She might find some unexplored territory in the last book she read.

Wherever that seed of inspiration came from, there’s probably even more at work in an author’s subconscious. I discovered this to be true when I was maybe a third of the way through drafting my debut novel A Most Scandalous Proposal. I had started out with the idea of writing a novel where two romances intertwined and found myself writing about the St. Claire sisters, Julia and Sophia. At one point, Sophia reveals a love of novels, specifically Jane Austen’s work, although she never refers to it as such. In 1816, when my novel is set, Jane Austen had published several works, but under the name of A Lady. Now Sophia particularly liked Sense and Sensibility. And when the character revealed that little tidbit to me, I realized something. I was, in a sense, retelling Sense and Sensibility—only with rather more scandalous material than Jane Austen would have been able to get away with.

Now A Most Scandalous Proposal isn’t a faithful retelling by any means, but there are some similarities. The St. Claire family is in financial straits. Julia, the younger sister, is ruled by her mind. She aspires to what she thinks of as a sensible union that has nothing to do with emotional entanglement. Sophia, on the other hand, lets passion rule her. She’s convinced herself she’s got a crush on the wrong man and has let the situation drag on for years while she refuses other suitors.

Naturally, both sisters meet men who use rather delicious means of persuasion to show the sisters the error of their ways. In fact, Sophia’s hero, the Earl of Highgate, is himself a man who tries to let his mind rule his emotions. Whether he completely succeeds or not is another question entirely.

Curious for more? Here’s the blub:

After watching her beloved sister Sophia pine over the ton’s Golden Boy for years, Miss Julia St. Claire has foresworn love and put herself firmly on the shelf. Unfortunately, her social-climbing mother and debt-ridden father have other ideas, and jump at the chance to marry Julia off to the newly-named Earl of Clivesden…the man of Sophia’s dreams.

Since resigning his Cavalry commission, Benedict Revelstoke has spent his time in London avoiding the marriage mart. But when he discovers that the Earl of Clivesden has set Julia in his sights, Benedict tries to protect his childhood best friend from the man’s advances—only to discover more than friendship driving his desire to defend her. He surprises them both with the force of his feelings, but when she refuses him and her father announces her betrothal, he fears he’s lost her forever—until Julia approaches him with a shocking scheme that will ruin her for all respectable society…

…and lead them into an exquisite world of forbidden pleasures.

And now over to you. Tell me about your favorite book. Do you see any other influences in that book? What do you think inspired the author? One commenter (US and Canada only) will receive a copy of my book plus a DVD copy of Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, and the delectable Alan Rickman—who may or may not bear a resemblance to the Earl of Highgate.

Ashlyn Macnamara writes Regency romances with a dash of wit and a hint of wicked. Despite her insistence on looking back, she can be found on Facebook and Twitter. A Most Scandalous Proposal makes its bow today! *throws confetti* It is available at your favorite bookstore. The second book in the series A Most Devilish Rogue is coming in August.