Interview With Debut Author Nina Rowan + Giveaway

EVERYONE welcome debut Historical Romance author Nina Rowan!
(A STUDY IN SEDUCTION releases tomorrow (8/28/12)! Go Get it!)
(Giveaway info at bottom)

Originally from California, Nina Rowan holds a PhD in Art History from McGill University, Montreal, with a specialization in 19th century French and Russian art. She began writing when she was an undergraduate at UCLA and lived a dual life as a student and a pseudonymous erotica author. She has studied Indian and Southeast Asian art and film, worked as a curatorial assistant at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and traveled in India and Europe.

A librarian-at-heart, she also holds an MA in Library and Information Sciences, a course of study that renewed a deep-seated interest in folklore and fairy tales. In addition to being an eternal student, or likely because of it, Nina possesses an abiding love for research that involves dusty, old books. She also thinks popcorn should be one of the four food groups. She lives in Wisconsin with her atmospheric scientist husband and two children.

While randomly trolling the internet, (..cough..) I stumbled onto Nina. After contacting her, she was kind enough to send me an ARC of her debut novel A STUDY IN SEDUCTION, and guys, I’m pretty sure you’re going to love it. It’s a complex story with a very intelligent heroine, a hero mired in scandal, and a plucky pre-teen. There’s even a quote from ELOISA JAMES on the cover!

I asked Nina 10 questions:

1) This is your debut novel. When did you start writing? What was THE CALL like?

Nina: I started writing way too long ago to actually calculate HOW long…cough*twenty-five-years*cough…Actually, I’ve been writing fiction since I was a kid and started submitting to romance publishers when I was an undergrad. I published a few pseudonymous novels, but A Study in Seduction is my first “big” debut. The call was wonderful, of course! I was thrilled not only to have contracted for three books, but also to be working with Grand Central/Forever Romance.

(PS: You started early!)

 2) Tell us a bit about your novel. What inspired it?

Nina: A Study in Seduction is a sexy, intense Victorian historical about a brilliant female mathematician and a viscount who is fighting scandal. When Lydia challenges Alexander to a wager for a locket that contains a dark family secret, they embark on a battle of wits and hearts…in which only one can be the winner.

The book was inspired by my discovery of a gifted 19th century mathematician named Sofia Kovalevskaya, who formulated highly innovative work in mathematics and broke through the barriers of Victorian society to become the first woman to earn a doctorate summa cum laude and a full professorship. I thought it would be fascinating to create a heroine who is secure in her own intellect, but then is confronted with her attraction to a man who both challenges and arouses her.

(PS: This is why I love historical romances. You learned something new every time.)

3) Who was the first character you wrote?

Nina: Lydia. She was very loosely based on Sofia Kovalevskaya, so I started with her, though I made her much more isolated and introverted than Sofia was. Then I had to figure out why Lydia was like that!

(PS: Lydia’s still too smart for me 🙂

4) Your heroine is unique in that she is not the typical ‘lady’, ‘miss’, or ‘governess’. I keep comparing your heroine Lydia Kellaway to Minerva Highwood in Tessa Dare’s A WEEK TO BE WICKED. Both women are intelligent and are not shy about it in a time where educated women were the minority. What made you go in this direction?

Nina: I think women like that are fascinating and make very memorable characters! Also both their internal and external struggles with their own intelligence provides a great way to layer on the conflict, not to mention giving the hero more than he bargains for. I love it when a hero meets more than his match in the heroine.

(PS: Poor Alex.)

5) What made you create a mathematical genius as opposed to a different field? (Beyond high school math my eyes glaze over.)

Nina: I suspect that when people think of intelligent 19th century women, they tend to think of queens and empresses or writers rather than scientists and mathematicians. So since women were most definitely involved in those fields, I thought it would make for an interesting and challenging character. Also, even today we don’t tend to think of mathematicians as being women, which made the historical setting of A Study in Seduction all the more inspiring.

(PS: Another reason Lydia reminds me of Tessa Dare’s Minerva!)

6) I particularly like that your hero, Alexander Hall, Viscount Northwood, is of Russian ancestry. It branches out of the normally British and/or French heritage of the genre. What made you do this?

Nina: Thank you! My mother was of Russian descent, so I have a personal connection to Russia, plus I have always found it to be an amazingly complex country with a fascinating history. I especially thought it would be interesting to set the story during the time of the Crimean War when there was a great deal of conflict between Great Britain and Russia, so the political and societal climate enhanced the conflict. I also like the idea of characters who have divided loyalties, whether to people or countries.

(PS: Adds to the drama too)

Now for some fun questions:

6) What was the first romance novel you read? (Or who was your first romance author?)

 Nina: The classic. Sweet Savage Loveby Rosemary Rogers. I loved it.

7) You recently attended RWA12 in Anaheim, California. What was it like? Was it your first conference? How did if feel attending as a published author?

Nina: It was marvelous! It was my first national conference, and I was thrilled by all the workshops and the chance to meet so many wonderful authors and editors. My favorite part was definitely my first signing with the other Grand Central/Forever Romance authors—I could have sat there for hours signing books and chatting with people. I learned a lot at the conference, had a huge amount of fun, and am already looking forward to Atlanta next year.

8) If you could be someone else (dead or alive) for a day, who would it be?

Nina: Pablo Picasso. I’d love to know how his mind worked.

9) Give one thing people would be surprised to learn about you.

Nina: I received my first publishing rejection letter when I was twelve years old.

10) Quick! You’re being pulled back into the Victorian era, what is the first thing you grab to take with you?

Nina: My family! (Is that a fair answer since there are four of us?)

Thanks Nina!

Check out the trailer:

How to enter:
(open internationally to anyone with an eReader/eReader app)

Do you want to club me over the head because I left out a VERY important question or two? Leave a comment or question in the comments section.

Comment/questions gives you one entry.

CLICK HERE for FIVE more entries for a total of SIX chances to win.

You have from 8/27/12 12:01 EST to 9/2/12 12:01 EST to enter.

Winner will be announced 9/2

Terms & Conditions:

  • Must be 18 years or older

  • No purchase necessary

  • Open INTERNATIONAL and/or to anyone with an eReader or eReader app

  • Do not leave your email in the comments section

  • Leave a meaningful comment/question in the comments section for 1 entry

  • Fill out the form for extra entries

18 thoughts on “Interview With Debut Author Nina Rowan + Giveaway

  1. Thanks, Carrie — I haven’t read Heather Snow’s book yet, but now I’ll put it at the top of my TBR pile. I love women ahead of their time, too — makes for both interesting and challenging characters!

  2. Thank you, Kim! There are a few changes in the final book, but mostly continuity corrections. The second book is called A Passion for Pleasure and focuses on the second brother Sebastian — it’ll be out in April. Hopefully I will be able to post the beautiful cover soon!

  3. What an awesome giveaway!

    I would LOVE to read A Study in Seduction, where the heroine seems to be smart and totally kick-ass XD We need more of those ladies out there. And even more so, to read them in the 19th century? Just, yes please and thank you. I know those ladies were out there. They had to be.

    Minerva Highwood from Tessa Dare’s A Week to be Wicked is one of my favorite heroines so I have the feeling I’m going to love Lydia! Also, have you read Heather Snow’s Sweet Enemy? Her heroine is also another lady before her time, which I love. She’s a chemist XD

  4. Congratulations on your debut. I was lucky to win an ARC and enjoyed it. I was wondering if the final book differs much from the ARC. Also, will Talia’s book be after Sebastian’s or one of the unseen brothers. Thanks.

  5. Jeanne, thanks so much — I am so excited! The release day countdown finally ends tomorrow.

    As to your question about Alexander’s Russian ancestry — I have always loved Russian history and have a personal connection to it. My grandparents left Russia during the revolution and had some fascinating stories to tell, plus I find it so interesting to write about characters who have divided loyalties and have to live on the “boundaries.” Plus I just love the complexity of Russian history and literature. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the new upcoming Anna Karenina movie!

    Thanks again so much for your congrats!

  6. Congrats on your debut book NIna & it sounds like a real winner. Love intelligent heroines; coincidentally I just finished a book where the Hero was a mathematician (Anna Randol’s A Most Naked Solution). I’m definitely adding this to my wishlist but winning it would be awesome *fingers crossed”. I laughed at Priscilla’s comment “Poor Alex” but I reckon that augurs really well for the story!

  7. Hi Priscilla and Nina!

    I’m so glad that I stayed up late reading tonight so I can be the first one today to congrstulate Nina on A Study in Seduction being released in just two days (oops it”s after 12:00 pm so actually in just ONE MORE DAY! I’m really excited to read Lydia and Alex’s story!

    I’m of an age that I can remember how hard it was to convince my guidance counselor to let me take multiple disiplines of mathematics when I was in High School so I love that Lydia is involved with mathematics. I can still remember her “dismay” that I actually WANTED to take calculus! I can only imagine what everyones dismay must have been during the Victorian era that a “mere” woman would be interested in mathematics!

    Nina, I can’t wait to see how you have other people, male and female, reacting to Lydia interest that are so unique to a woman of the Victorian period.

    Nina = After reading your interview I’m curious what gave you the inspiration to have Alex have a Russian ancestory. In all the research you must have done did you get a chnace to interview anyone of Russian ancestry and find out any interesting facts or impressions that you were able to use in your story? My parents had friends who had fled Russia durint the early 1960’s and their story of escaping throught the woods and hiding precious family jewels there hoping one day to be able to return and get them was an amazing story of fear during their flight.

    Prisilla – Thank you so much for your interview and giving us the chnace to learn more about this exciting debut author!

    PS: Nina, I also can’t wait for your next book to be released later this year!

    • Jeanne, I really think you’re going to like the Russian (and Alex) aspect of the novel 🙂 Don’t forget the other 5 entries if you’re inclined !

      • Unfortunately I’m a little behind the times and I not only don’t twitter or tweet but I don’t even have a cell phone! My husband says that I wouldn’t even know how to use a computer if I didn’t need to for my job!

        To be honest I still want my old black rotary dial phone back (the one that still worked when the power went out) as well as my manuel typewritter which didn’t need power to work either!

        My one regret is that I’m missing out on addtional opportunities to win a copy of Nina’s debut book!

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