Interview with Suzanne Tierney, Author of The Art of the Scandal
24 Sep 2019
What can you tell us about your new release, The Art of the Scandal?
My new release “The Art of the Scandal” is my debut novel and it has garnered some beautiful reviews including:
“Tierney’s language in the bedroom is like candlelight – it diffuses and softens and makes everything seem dreamy and lovely while still managing to be sexy.”
—Biscuits and Bodices
“Suzanne Tierney is one of the best historical romance authors out today and this book is no exception.”
“The love between Simon and Lydia is so palpable it almost hurts.”
It also won the 2018 Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference Romance category (unpublished) and was a 2018 Golden Heart Finalist with Romance Writers of America
The Art of the Scandal is the story of an impoverished English Rose who, having been jilted by her fiancé, abandoned by her father and scorned by her friends due to a scandal, must rescue her family by regaining the family home her father lost to a mysterious South African with an agenda of his own — to exact revenge on the English ton who humiliated his mother when she chose to marry a Jewish man. Lydia attempts to charm and English rose the deed to her home from Simon, and Simon refuses to be manipulated by someone he perceives as part of the ton. But when Lydia, with her quirky eye for art, notes that one of his precious paintings, which he intends to donate in his mother’s honor to the National Gallery of London, is a fake, the two strike a deal. She’ll ferret out the fakes and, if she’s successful, he will return the deed to her house. But to do it, she must hide in Simon’s house, the two must work in close proximity, and they fight an attraction to each other, develop a friendship, and build a slow-burn love that defies social class and prejudices.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
I was inspired to write by a love of reading. I think it was instilled at my at birth by my parents, who are avid readers. But it was reinforced by my grandmother, who used to read and smoke in bed (not a good combination), my high school english teachers (one was a poet, the other a spy and who always wore a tweed suit), and fed by E.B. White (Trumpet of the Swan makes me cry every darned time), Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and Haruki Murikami.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
E.B. White’s Trumpet of the Swan, which is the ultimate romance. A trumpeter swan with no voice, whose father steals a trumpet so he may learn to communicate. Louis, our trumpeter, who falls in love at first sight with Serena. Louis is so honorable — he goes out into the world to earn the money to pay for the stolen trumpet. And among his adventures, he rescues his love at first sight swan from the zoo. It’s so simply written and utterly tear-jerkingly beautiful.
Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Captain Wentworth is a classic, can’t get over his first love, hero. And the line “you pierce me to the heart” pierces my heart.
Meredith Duran’s The Sins of Lord Lockwood. Her prose is stunning. the stakes in this second chance romance are so high, and when Anna the heroine orders Liam to strip to show his wounds. the scene is breathtaking.
Haruki Murakami’s Wind-up Bird Chronicle. I don’t know how Murakami creates these worlds within worlds; his symbolism is so rich and his prose is so simple and elegant and his characters are all achingly lonely and haunted.
Emily Dickinson’s Completed Poems. Her poetry is lush, quiet, and yet fervent and still takes me by surprise.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
Just one? I’m going to go with Haruki Murakami because I want to know where these crazy universes come from. And I want him to explain all his symbolism to me.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Building a romance between two people who, to be together, have to break the rules. Including the rules they build internally.
What is a typical day like for you?
Busy! Work, family, occasionally cooking a nutritious meal, walking, plotting, writing, and worry about whether I can do the characters in my head justice.
What scene in The Art of the Scandal was your favorite to write?
I’m going to cheat and name two. I can’t help myself! The first is the scene in which Lydia, having tried to charm, plead and English-rose her way to the deed of the house Simon has won, is furious when he won’t relent. She’s soaking wet (thanks to a rainstorm) starving and about to be homeless. So instead of retreating into her “English Rose” rule-following persona, she loses her temper and points out to Simon that his painting is fake. She is suddenly strong, vibrant, and formidable because she is, in that moment, herself.
The second comes after Simon and Lydia have shared their first kiss and committed to a fake engagement. They are standing in the garden of his house beneath the moon. THey’re deeply attracted to each other, and while Lydia is ready to explore that attraction, Simon, who is mourning the loss of his parents, isn’t. He’s a reverse-Rapunzel, locking himself in a tower because he knows that price of love is the pain that comes when you lose someone you love.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
I wish I was more wise and witty. At my core, it’s hug the people you love and don’t be afraid to do the hard work. There are days when I literally can’t get out more than a sentence when it comes to writing, it’s so tough and painful. And there are days it all flows. And in between, there are the days where it flows and then I have to delete all but one sentence. But I could never give up writing. It releases something within me that makes me whole. And as far as hugging your loved ones, well, everyone needs to feel loved and it’s important to share your love for others. It helps them be stronger and braver and more open to love themselves. Plus, I just like the act of squeezing someone. Except my mother. She doesn’t like hugs. She thinks it makes people weak. 🙂
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