Thank you so much for having me, bookworms! This was [here] one of my favorite stops on my Lily Among Thorns blog tour and I am so thrilled to be back.
I saw Amanda Scott’s Five Fun Facts post and stole her brilliant idea. So, five fun facts about Sweet Disorder:
1. The hero, Nick Dymond was originally inspired by Nate from Gossip Girl. Specifically, Nick is a character who doesn’t really know what he wants from life, he hates when his family lies to him, he’s used to acting as if everything is fine, he knows how to be the perfect thoughtful boyfriend but somehow there’s always an element of emotional distance, and he doesn’t always know how he feels.
It is hard to write a story where one of your protagonists does not have clearly defined, consistent goals that they care about very much. What usually drives a story for me is the characters wanting something very badly. That’s usually my emotional in to other writers’ stories, too. So I had to figure out ways to make Nick’s ambivalence and apathy narratively compelling. You’ll have to tell me if I succeeded! Also, visit my Pinterest board for my dream cast of ‘Sweet Disorder’ :)
He also, in my head, looks like Chace Crawford. (Seriously, click the link, you will NOT be sorry.)
2. This is the first book in my Lively St. Lemeston series, set in a small Sussex market town. The town’s name came about because…wow, I’m about to reveal just how into Gossip Girl I was when I started working on this book, aren’t I? I guess I’m cool with that.
Anyway, my BFF and I used to joke that most of the cast of Gossip Girl sounded like small English towns: Leighton Meester, Blake Lively, Penn Badgley, Chace Crawford (of course you’d have to spell it “Chase” for a town). Would any of those be out of place on a map of Sussex? No, right? So I had originally named the town “Blake Lively.”
But Blake Lively is much too famous for that to not be distracting for readers, as was pointed out to me by my critique partners right around page one (I like to think I would have figured it out myself eventually–in my defense BL was much less famous at the time and I wasn’t sure how many people would have heard of her). So I changed it to Lively St. Peter.
Then I found out that St. Leonard of Limousin is a popular saint in Sussex (although he was a French saint, folklore grew up in Sussex that his hermitage was in St. Leonard’s Forest, and also that he slew a dragon there, both of which seem about equally likely), and I saw an example or two where “Leon” as a Sussex place name prefix got changed to “Lem” over time. So it seemed plausible that “St. Leonard’s Town,” over centuries, could turn into “St. Lemeston.” Hence…Lively St. Lemeston!
When Phoebe and her friends are feeling less than thrilled with their home, they call it “Sleepy St. Lemeston.”
3. My heroine, Phoebe Sparks (my dream casting was Melissa McCarthy), is part of the Lively St. Lemeston Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor’s Committee for the Encouragement of Charitable Subscriptions and Bequests. (Concise naming was not considered important during the Regency.) One of their activities is to sew quilts every year for a charity auction that takes place around Christmastime.
Since Phoebe writes children’s stories or as she calls them, Improving Tales for Young People, I wanted her to make a story quilt (four scenes from Maria Edgeworth’s novel Belinda, including the famous duel between women. Last year she did Castle of Otranto, complete with giant helmet falling out of the sky and squishing someone).
But I wanted to make sure that narrative appliqué existed during the Regency. Then I found this quilt from 1799, showing George III inspecting his volunteer troops and bordered by dozens of small scenes and portraits!
To see more Regency quilts, including one sewed by Jane Austen and her mother and sister, here’s a great blog post from Austenonly.
4. Phoebe’s mother complains constantly that Phoebe and her sister are self-centered. Phoebe recalls that, “Even reading by herself had been a selfish pleasure; it was read aloud to the family or nothing. If she broke a plate while washing the dishes, it was because she was careless and didn’t think of how hard her father worked to buy those plates.”
Nowadays, many parents are pleased to see their children reading, while watching TV has taken on many of the negative stereotypes that Regency folk associated with novel-reading. But back then, reading alone (especially by a woman) was often associated with selfishness and laziness. Reading was supposed to be a social act, again, especially for women.
I’m betting this was part of why novels were so decried during their rise to literary dominance: because they give the reader an urgent desire to know what happens next, inspiring self-focused, anti-social reading, or worse, neglecting one’s work. The lazy maid who read novels when she should be cleaning was a popular stereotype. As Jacqueline Pearson explains in Women’s Reading in Britain 1750-1835: A Dangerous Recreation:
“Only the selfish and foolish refuse to participate in social reading. In Memoirs of Modern Philosophers, Bridgetina Botherim is so intent on her own reading pleasure that she will ‘never read aloud to any one’[...S]he is contrasted with Henry Sidney, who generously reads aloud to the injured Julia, with Julia Delmond, who reads to entertain her father, and with the ‘active and judicious’ Harriet Orwell, who ‘performed every domestic task, and having completely regulated family economy for the day, was quietly seated with her aunt and sisters, listening to Hume’s History of England, as it was read to them by a little orphan girl she had herself instructed.”
What even is there to say? Except that poor children used as props to extoll the virtues of one’s heroine is pretty gross.
5. At one point in the book, Nick tells a story about the most delicious food he ever ate. It’s a sausage someone brought back for him from Lisbon, only to have it go rotten on the journey:
“I couldn’t possibly eat it, so I threw it in the fire. I was sitting there, trying to write a letter, when a fellow officer walked by and asked what on earth that delicious smell was. When I told him, he drew his saber and plucked the sausage from the fire. Once he had, it smelled so fine none of us could wait, and we all burned our tongues.”
This actually happened to my grandfather during WWII, except it was a kosher salami someone mailed him from home, and no one involved had a saber.
Tell me a fun fact about you!
One commenter will be chosen at random to receive a free e-book of Sweet Disorder, and one commenter will be chosen from the entire blog tour to receive an awesome prize package that includes tie-in pinback buttons, bookmarks, bacon-scented candles, a bookstore gift card, and much, much more!
(You can see the full list and pictures of my fabulous swag at my blog. This drawing is open internationally–void where prohibited!)
BOOK BLURB: Nick Dymond enjoyed the rough-and-tumble military life until a bullet to the leg sent him home to his emotionally distant, politically obsessed family. For months, he’s lived alone with his depression, blockaded in his lodgings. But with his younger brother desperate to win the local election, Nick has a new set of marching orders: dust off the legendary family charm and maneuver the beautiful Phoebe Sparks into a politically advantageous marriage.
One marriage was enough for Phoebe. Under her town’s by-laws, though, she owns a vote that only a husband can cast. Much as she would love to simply ignore the unappetizing matrimonial candidate pushed at her by the handsome earl’s son, she can’t. Her teenage sister is pregnant, and Phoebe’s last-ditch defense against her sister’s ruin is her vote-and her hand.
Nick and Phoebe soon realize the only match their hearts will accept is the one society will not allow. But as election intrigue turns dark, they’ll have to cast the cruelest vote of all: loyalty…or love.
BUY LINKS: Kindle / Kobo / Nook / Google / iBooks / Samhain
EXCERPT: Chapter One
AUTHOR BIO: Rose Lerner in her own words: “I discovered Georgette Heyer when I was thirteen, and wrote my first historical romance a few years later. My writing has improved since then, but my fascination with all things Regency hasn’t changed. When not reading, writing, or researching, I enjoy cooking and marathoning old TV shows. I live in Seattle.
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