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Lenora Bell: When Fairy Tales Meet Reality TV

Bestselling historical romance author Lenora Bell discusses researching, avoiding info-dumps while still charming readers, and how her latest book was inspired by her life.

Lenora Bell is a USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of historical romances. A teacher with an MFA in Creative Writing, Lenora has lived and worked on five continents. She currently lives in New Zealand with her carpenter husband and two tiger-striped rescue kitties. She loves hearing from readers! Sign up for her mailing list to hear about new books, sales, and giveaways.

Lenora Bell Author Photo COLOR Photo credit Alexander Petrenko

In this post, Lenora Bell discusses researching for her historical romance, charming readers, and much more!

(Defining Conflict: What Conflict Is and Isn't in Writing a Romance Novel)

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Writing the Romance Novel

Do you yearn to write a romantic story? If so, you need to know what sets romance writing apart from other types of fiction. This workshop will help you to understand those specific factors that make up the specialized world of romantic fiction.

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Name: Lenora Bell
Literary agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM
Title: Love Is a Rogue
Publisher: Avon Books
Release date: October 27, 2020
Genre: Romance, Historical
Previous titles: One Fine Duke, For the Duke’s Eyes Only, What a Difference a Duke Makes, Blame It on the Duke, If I Only Had a Duke, and How the Duke Was Won
Elevator pitch for the book: Gender-flipped Beauty and the Beast meets HGTV’s This Old House.

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What prompted you to write this book?

This is the “book of my heart.” It was inspired by my experience renovating an old Victorian fixer-upper in Portland, Oregon with my carpenter husband (that’s how we met).

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? 

My books generally take a year from idea to publication. I pitched this series to my editor as “gender-flipped fairy tales meet reality TV.” My first six books with Avon featured wealthy dukes. We decided to change things up for this series and go with working-class heroes—not the typical Regency set-up. The idea for Love Is a Rogue remained the same, but the setting changed from rural Cornwall to London, where the class differences between the hero and heroine were more present and urgent.

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title? 

I had to rewrite the cover copy for this book six times because I kept trying to give away too much of the plot and backstory. The same could be said for the opening chapters—my editor is constantly reminding me that books are like a full glass of water sliding across a tabletop and the book shouldn’t start until the glass is about to fall off the table. Most of the backstory can be woven into the action. The reader doesn’t need a big “info dump” at the beginning.

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book? 

During my research for the book, I was surprised to learn that the first multitool was invented somewhere between A.D. 201 to 300 and it was amazingly similar to the modern Swiss Army Knife.

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What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

Lady Beatrice Bentley is a bookish lady who is equal parts Beast and Belle. Ford Wright is a handsome rogue of a carpenter who channels Gaston, and Harrison Ford as Han Solo. I want readers to feel the charm of Beauty and the Beast.

If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

I like Elizabeth Gilbert’s advice from Big Magic: “A good-enough novel violently written now is better than a perfect novel meticulously written never.” This goes hand in hand with the famous line from Nora Roberts: “You can fix anything but a blank page.” 

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