Thursday, May 29, 2008

Interview:Regina Scott(Author of La Petite Four)

I recently did an interview with Regina Scott, author of La Petite Four-you can see my review and of course my layout devoted to the site.


Why did you decide you would like to write a young adult book?
My brilliant agent actually suggested it. I'd read an article on how every author has a core story that shows up whatever she writes. My core story--discovering who you are and how you fit in the world--works well with romance and fantasy, two areas that I love, but my agent suggested that my writer's voice would work even better in young adult literature. I read everything I could, and I realized she was right. I love YA!
When did you become so interested in the "regency" era?
When I was a YA! I was a voracious reader growing up, but right around the end of high school I was having a hard time finding books I really loved. My mother had checked out Elizabeth Mansfield's The Phantom Lover from the library, and I picked it up. I couldn't put it down! The publishing industry calls that kind of book a traditional Regency romance. I loved the language, the witty dialogue between heroine and hero, the elegant society, and the gorgeous gowns. It was another of those "I have to write this" moments.
Where did the inspiration for La Petite Four come from?
My junior year of high school, my family moved to a different city. I was pretty shy in those days so it wasn't easy to make new friends. But an incredibly creative girl named Nancy and I bonded because we both had a major crush on the same actor. Nancy was an amazing artist and a wonderful storyteller. Long after high school, we still made up stories for fun, with each other as the heroines. One of those stories featured Nancy as an art teacher at an exclusive girls school during the Regency era. Nancy's four favorite students were four friends named Lady Emily Southwell, Priscilla Tate, and Daphne and Ariadne Courdebas. The story went on to be published as a (you probably guessed it) traditional Regency romance titled A Dangerous Dalliance. Readers really liked it and wrote me letters asking if I'd write about the four girls as well. So, when I turned to YA, I knew which story I wanted to write first.
Which of the girls do relate to most?
I think there's a little of me in each of them. I definitely look more like Lady Emily, with dark hair that's frizzier in the rain and angular features, but I couldn't paint like she does. I love pretty clothes like Priscilla, but I could only wish wish for her incredible presence. Like Ariadne, I adore books, and I'm still a bit shy, but I don't have her courage to make my own rules. Like Daphne, I enjoy a round of fencing--there's something about hacking and slashing, even with a boffer sword!--but don't get me near a horse! They're beautiful, but I could never ride like she does.
Did anyone in your life inspire a character?
As I mentioned, Lady Emily's beloved art instructor was inspired by my dear friend Nancy Robak. Sadly, she passed away last year, far too young, from cancer, before I got the call that La Petite Four had been accepted for publication. I miss her a lot, but I know she would be thrilled to see her girls get their own story.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
About third grade, when I realized that all these wonderful books I was reading were written by someone. I wanted to be that someone. I wanted to write the stories in my head, the ones I told myself as I fell asleep at night.
I know some authors "miss" their characters once they are done writing about them. Will you miss any characters from La Petite Four?
Lady Emily, for sure! She is by far the most real character I ever wrote. Very early in the planning process for La Petite Four I started hearing her voice in my head. Here's the first thing she said to me:
"I despise pink. Truly, was there ever a more insipid color? It neither whispers the purity of white nor makes the bold declaration of red. Yet I am convinced that my father would be the happiest of men if I were to wear nothing but that color. Pink, he thinks, is singularly feminine. It is simply not me." And yes, I find it amusing that the cover artist at Penguin decided to go with a singularly pink cover on the book!
Do you have any upcoming projects you're working on?
I'm always writing. I'm finishing a proposal for my first contemporary YA and working on a YA fantasy based on a Native American myth. I'm hoping for a sequel to La Petite Four, telling Priscilla's story, but no word yet on whether that's a go.
and. The Vita Dei/Trainspotting Reads Question-every-author-gets-asked.......What's your stance on Vampires?
I love the ones done with humor like Braced2Bite by Serena Robar. I can't read the dark and scary ones--I get nightmares! If you want a really good Regency-set one, try The Vampire Viscount by Karen Harbaugh. It was originally published in 1995 but I hear they reissued it in 2004. You can find used copies online. Great book!

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