How about some Haute history? 😉
Here’s another Boroughs Author!
(BTW, don’t forget to check out Boroughs’ writing contest! Many of the Lunchbox Romances that have been featured STARTED in last year’s Boroughs Love @First Sight Writing Contest!)
Jillian Leigh is a writer of historical romance who has a particular fondness for the wit and elegance of the Regency period. She lives in Australia with her long-suffering husband, (almost) perfect son, and two cats with a terrible sense of entitlement. She enjoys Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, chocolate, old musicals, classic screwball comedies and TV shows that feature models or designers vying for domination.
Here are a few questions I asked her:
Me: What inspired SOME LIKE IT HAUTE?
Jillian: I was a bit of a history nerd as a child—I can remember poring over thick tomes like they were treasures I’d just discovered. At my school library, I discovered new treasures—Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, plus writers such as Victoria Holt and Georgette Heyer. They opened up a whole new world for me. History and romance in the same story? Witty, elegant, well dressed characters who drove around in dashing vehicles and had adventures in glamorous locations? Pure catnip! And like many others, after years of reading and enjoying many wonderful historical romances, I had numerous plots unfolding like movies in my head. So I decided to start writing them down. The concept for SLIH was one of those ideas that floated around in my imagination for a while. The trope of a man wagering on a woman is a well-loved one in regency romance, and I adore a story where the hero is going to be in big trouble if the heroine finds out what he’s up to.
Me: What is your typical day like?
Jillian: Until recently, my typical day consisted of the usual: working at the day job, cooking, housework, mindless TV for a couple of hours in the evening. Maybe a bit of writing and reading if I was lucky. Writing, writing, writing on weekends. However, I’ve taken leave from work for a little while, so at the moment I’m able to indulge in more writing time, plus there’s always research and social media (and lots of other ways to spend time on the internet). I would love to say I’ve been super disciplined so far and get a lot of writing done every day. I would be thrilled to say that J. I am trying to get into a daily rhythm, and I’m being pretty good on the whole, but sometimes I go to look up some little fact that I need that very moment and then … well, you know what happens next.
Me: What’s your favorite love story? (movie or book)
Jillian: I’m not sure I could pick just one. There have been so many wonderful love stories: Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre to name a few. But the first book that came to mind is Devil’s Cub, by the great Georgette Heyer (naturally). That story has everything: the hero abducts the heroine, she shoots him, he fights a duel over her, she flees … (It sounds melodramatic, but it isn’t—no, really. It’s actually a lot of fun.) Plus, it has a truly swoon-worthy hero and a likeable heroine. And to cap it all off, it has that classic Heyer wit. Every time I think about it I want to read it again.
And if I were to include some movies (and I’m going to), I would have to mention a couple of old musicals: Guys and Dolls, and The Music Man—great storylines, great characters, and charming romances. And that’s before we get to all the brilliant songs. Then there are the classic Hollywood movies (can you tell I like them old?) with lush, clever, sexy romances (despite the Hayes Code restrictions). One of my all-time favorites is a lesser known Cary Grant movie called Mr. Lucky. Grant plays a gambler who sets out to scam a wartime relief organization and ends up falling in love with a wealthy society ‘dame’ who works for it.
There is a sequence in which Laraine Day (the heroine) kisses Grant, but he doesn’t respond. So she asks him, “Don’t you like it?” He replies that he doesn’t know, and he leaves her. Then we see him driving across a bridge, and the camera focuses on a series of signs which say clearly, No Left Turn. Next minute, he makes a sudden U turn to go back to her. He barges into her house, bounds up the stairs to her, kisses her and says, “Yep. I liked it.” It may sound corny or mundane out of context, but trust me, it is utterly romantic.
I should add that I do enjoy more contemporary romantic comedies, too. One that I never get tired of watching is He’s Just Not That Into You. Those on-the-street interviews are hilarious, but so true.
You did ask for one, but how can I stop at one when there are so many great romantic stories out there?
Me: What’s your next project?
Jillian: As a very young man, Hugh Trevalyn invented ‘His Betrothed’ to fend off marriage-minded females, and her existence has come in very handy over the years. But a moment of madness sees him proposing to the beautiful Lucy Meriwether, and now she won’t be content until she meets His Betrothed in the flesh. Suddenly Hugh has to come up with someone to play the part. Who better than his oldest and dearest friend—who just happens, most conveniently, to be a woman.
Amelia Grant decides to go along with Hugh’s scheme—reluctantly. After all, she wants to see him happy, no matter how ridiculous it is for her to play the part of his former fiancée. However, one brief conversation with Lucy to allay her qualms soon snowballs into an elaborate charade involving Hugh’s rakish cousin, scandal, and inappropriate kisses. As Hugh risks his friendship with Amelia to win Lucy’s hand, he has to wonder … is the woman he thought he wanted really the one he loves after all?
Me: Quick! You’re dragged 200 years into the past, what ONE item do you take with you?
Jillian: The obvious answer would be : a video camera (with fully charged battery, of course). Because no one will believe me. Plus I can watch the video and relive all the details.
Or is that cheating?
Me: Do you believe in love at first sight?
Jillian: I believe in strong attraction at first sight. It can seem like love, when it’s overwhelming and feels so wonderful. But love is more than just physical attraction. Love remains after the pheromones have calmed down a bit. Love is being able to live with all the little irritations that you didn’t notice at all during that first breathless phase. Love is taking out the garbage, watching some TV show you hate because s/he loves it, sharing the night feeds, the colic and the first teeth, and all the other minutiae of sharing your life with someone.
Me: Are you a morning or night person?
Jillian: I used to be more of a morning person, but now I find I’m evolving into slightly more of a night person. Actually … is it possible to be an afternoon person?
Me: If you were a dessert, what would you be and why?
Jillian: I think if I were a dessert, I’d be one of those old-fashioned trifles (does anyone even make them anymore?) with fruit and cake and custard—a medley of bits and pieces, a mix of flavors, colors and shapes, hard and soft, tart and sweet, healthy and decadent, all interesting in themselves, maybe contradictory, but when combined, they make an even more interesting whole.
Me: What is your favorite quote?
Jillian: “Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is awfully important in this day and age. Humor has a tremendous place in this sordid world. It’s more than just a matter of laughing. If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how things can be in whack.” –Dr. Seuss
Me: If your house were burning down, what would you take and why?
Jillian: They say you should take photo albums, because you can’t replace them and their value is priceless. But these days, all our digital photos are stored on our computers or on CDs, so (assuming the family and pets were safe) I’d probably grab my laptop first. Plus there’s a lot on there I wouldn’t want to lose. I do use sugarsync now to store files, but there’s so much other ‘stuff’ on my lappy that I would miss. It’s funny, though, because that question reminds me of something similar from the romantic comedy Leap Year. The Irish hero (played by Matthew Goode) asks Amy Adams’ character what she’d grab on the way out, and there is a pivotal scene in the movie where she sets off the sprinkler system in the lavish apartment she and her fiancé have just moved into, in order to see what he rescues. He chooses the laptop, phone etc. So she chooses the Irish pub owner.
Me: If you could have picked your own name, what would it be?
Jillian: I love old-fashioned names that have a melodious sound to them. So I’d love to be a Georgiana or an Eloise. Georgiana as a name might be a little conspicuous in this day and age, though.
Too haute for comfort?
A stylish gentleman meets his match when he wagers he can make a dowdy spinster the talk of the ton in Regency England. Some Like It Haute is a Lunchbox Romance available from Boroughs Publishing Group.
Thank you, Jillian!
And don’t forget to visit Boroughs’ website for more Lunchbox romances, novels, novellas, and romantisodes.