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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Interview - Meredith Duran (Author of Wicked Becomes You)

Meredith Duran
Historical Romance Author

Read my review for Wicked Becomes You.

About the Author

MEREDITH DURAN grew up enamored of British history. At thirteen years old, she made a list of life goals that included writing romance novels, trying sushi, and going to London to see Holbein's portrait of Anne Boleyn. Now a doctoral student in anthropology, she is happy to report that all three goals have become her favorite things to do. When not studying, doing fieldwork in India, or working on her next novel, Meredith can be found in the library, browsing through travelogues written by intrepid Englishwomen of the nineteenth century.  


First off I would like to thank you for agreeing to be interviewed by me, it's always an honor to get to know authors that I admire.

The pleasure is all mine!

1.  If you could write any other genre of books, which would you choose and why?

I think the only rule of thumb when branching into other genres is to write the sort of stories that you enjoy reading.  Since I’m a pretty omnivorous reader, this would include several genres –  urban fantasy, young adult, contemporary fiction of all stripes, and within romance, contemporary paranormals, which I absolutely adore.

2.  You've already met three of your life goals, and loved them, what may I ask are some of your other goals in life?

So many goals, so little time…  I’d like to become truly fluent in the two languages I’ve been learning longest -- Spanish and Hindi.  I love to dance but I have two left feet, so it would be fabulous to get to the point where I can go salsa dancing without posing a physical hazard to other people on the floor.  And…let’s see. As a child I played the violin; as a teenager, the lute (I was SUCH a dork when it came to English history that the lute seemed like the only option at the time!).  I’d like to take lessons again in both instruments. 

3.  I headed on over to your blog, and this is the quote that I found..

"After looking at her bookshelf, I am not only terrified, I am downright appalled." -- Random Anthropology Professor #24

What kind of books can be found there, and can you give us a few titles?  How about a few recommendations?

Ha.  I should probably qualify that quote – a random anthropology professor might be appalled, but my academic committee is pretty cool; they’d probably just tease me about my taste in books with clinch covers.

My keeper shelf is pretty consistent; it’s filled with historicals from the 1990s, when novels were longer and the historical details were rich.  So: Mary Jo Putney’s Silk trilogy, Patricia Gaffney’s Wyckerley trilogy, just about everything written by Judy Cuevas/Judith Ivory and Laura Kinsale…   Newer additions include books by Julie Anne Long and Sherry Thomas.  (Sherry’s upcoming historical, His at Night, is the best book I’ve read all year—Lord Vere is one smoking hot spy!) 

4.  I know you're probably super excited for the release of Wicked Becomes You.  We're all wondering, are you working on any other new titles that we can look forward to?

Yep, I’m currently at work on my next historical, to hit the shelves next year.  No title as yet – and I’m withholding all details until I pass the momentous page 100 threshold.  Until then, anything can change.

5.  You probably don't have much time on your hands do go browsing among the blogosphere, but when you get the chance, what are some blogs you tend to frequent?

I love blogs in which writers talk about their processes – I have this odd and persistent fascination with listening to plotters discuss their strategies, although I could not become one of them if you put a gun to my head.  For industry news and substantive discussions about trends within the genre, I like All About Romance, Dear Author, Babbling About Books, and, of course, Mediabistro’s GalleyCat!

6.  I've been broadening my horizons, and just recently began to love reading Historical Romances, can you recommend any other authors in the genre that can deliver a 'wicked' good romance?

Every author on my aforementioned keeper shelf!  In addition, you can always count on Loretta Chase, Connie Brockway, Jo Goodman and Liz Carlyle.

7.  Are your characters in Wicked Becomes You modeled off of anyone you know, or simply pure imagination?

Pure imagination.  For me, a large part of the fun in writing comes from discovering the characters themselves.  They start out as mysteries, or as ciphers; I breathe life into them as I flesh out their histories, their secrets, the parts of themselves they deny, their reasons for saying and doing things that surprise me.  Modeling a character on a real-life acquaintance would diminish the mystery and thereby cut into the fun!

8.  I read a lot of books on my breaks at work, and more often than not my co-workers will make fun of the books I read merely because of the covers.  Would you say you're the type to judge a book by it's cover?

I’m a devoted fan of romance, and some of the most brilliant writing I’ve encountered has come sandwiched between covers that make me hesitate to read the book in public.  So, no, I’d say I’ve learned the hard way not to judge a book by its cover.

9.  You've written four titles in your writing career so far, but in your own opinion which one can you say your most proud of?

That’s a tough question.  As I ponder it, I realize that I’m having a very hard time separating the books themselves from the experience of writing them.  And so I’m proudest of the book that was written under the most difficult circumstances, but that doesn’t have any bearing on the content of the book itself – which is what you’re getting at, I think. 

To speak to the books themselves – well, Wicked is a real departure for me in terms of its tone.  It’s not a fluffy book but it’s lighter and (I hope) funnier than the other stories I’ve written. Not only as a romance writer, but also as a reader, I tend to prefer angst, so this book really pushed me out of my own comfort zone.  Based on the early reviews from Library Journal and RT, it looks like I succeeded in making at least two people laugh, so I feel pretty proud about that!

10.  I love the cover for Wicked Becomes You.  The gown on the cover model is just radiant!  I know authors don't have much say in the finished covers of their novels, but given the choice, is there anything about it you would change?

About this cover?  No way. Even the shade of Gwen’s hair is precisely right –in Alex’s words, “the shade of a fine pinot noir when struck by the sun.” When I first saw it, I squealed.  I think it’s absolutely gorgeous.

Personally I think this interview went fabulous, and I have to admit I'm so proud of myself for thinking up these questions, as I always get flustered when thinking of what I want to ask an author :)

Books by Meredith 

The Duke of Shadows - published March 25, 2008
Bound by Your Touch - published June 30, 2009
Written On Your Skin - published July 28, 2009
Wicked Becomes You - published April 27, 2010

Visit Meredith 


Jan von Harz said...

Wow great review. I am not familiar with this author and she looks so young. Very accomplished young women. Kudos to you too.

Jenni @ Falling Off The Shelf said...

Jan von Harz - Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you liked the interview, and I was able to introduce you to a new author :)