Interview with Ashlyn Macnamara, Author of To Lure a Proper Lady

31 Mar 2016
Tell us a little bit about your new release, To Lure a Proper Lady.

The heroine is the daughter of a hypochondriac duke whose “dying” wish (which he reminds his children of regularly) is to see his three daughters make proper society matches. Except Lizzie has reason to believe her papa isn’t faking it this time, so she hires a Bow Street Runner to investigate. Naturally sparks fly, but a Bow Street Runner is hardly an appropriate match for a duke’s daughter.

Who are your literary heroes working today? Why do you admire them?

I have a couple, but they’re my heroes because of who they mean to me more than what they write—although you should check that out, too. One of them is Valerie Bowman and the other writes as Caroline Bradley. I admire them both for their ability to set writing goals and their determination to do everything possible to meet those goals. Valerie is a great organizer of people. She sets up groups of writers and then leads them on and encourages them to surpass themselves. Caroline has met with a lot of challenges in her life, but last year I watched her draw a line in the sand and decide this was going to be her year to publish no matter what. She self-published a book, but at the same time she finaled in the RWA®’s Golden Heart® contest (which determines the best unpublished manuscripts in various categories every year) and sold that same manuscript. Both these ladies have given me invaluable encouragement at different points, and I can safely say I wouldn’t be published without them.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Getting paid to listen to the voices in my head.

Who is your favorite historical figure?

I have such trouble picking favorites. It varies, because I tend to bump from one fascination to the next. There are just too darn many to choose from. Daniel Morgan and Benedict Arnold (yes, I know, but before he turned traitor, he didn’t get enough credit for some of the things he did—and perhaps if he had been given that credit, he might not have turned) are a couple of figures whose stories I enjoyed reading when I was writing about the American Revolution. Jane Austen, of course. Mary Wollstonecraft. I could go on.

What’s your favorite thing about Montreal?

I’m a transplant. I came here when I was 18 to attend university. I had to leave a time or two after that, once to go home for graduate school and another time when my husband was transferred to another province. But we’ve always missed Montreal terribly and we’ve always come back. You might say I came of age here, in a sense, but a lot of what I love about this city is intangible. Due to the French factor, it’s different from anywhere else I’ve ever been. I think the dual cultures (that, at times, duel), the French and the English, add an extra depth. And that’s before we get into all the people of other cultures that have adopted this place. It’s simply a very unique mix—and not without its problems, I hasten to add. But still.

What makes your world go round? Why does it bring you joy?

Love makes my world go round, literally. I’m a romance writer, and I need to believe in happily ever after. I don’t think I need to explain how that brings me joy. 😉

What’s your favorite quote or scene from To Lure a Proper Lady?

I’m fairly partial to a scene where my Bow Street Runner hero Dysart has to pretend he’s a guest at a house party the family is holding while he’s trying to investigate potential foul play. He gets suckered into playing a parlor game with the heroine in his lap, which makes things rather uncomfortable, since he has to behave himself in front of a room full of other guests. And that’s before the heroine’s batty great-aunt crashes the party.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

Not so much something I live by, but here’s a quote I like. It’s on the front page of my website: “Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.”–Lloyd Alexander. There is an inherent truth to this. It’s a reminder that even if you’re writing the most fantastical of worlds, you still have to draw on fundamental reality so your reader can relate to what you’re writing. You still have to maintain that recognizable humanity in your characters.

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Ashlyn Macnamara is the author of the new book To Lure a Proper Lady.

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