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Five Things about Lauren Willig

I’ve enjoyed Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series for years, so I was a little starstruck to meet her this summer in New York and all-too-thrilled that she wanted to be a part of Five Things. So without further ado, Five Things About Lauren Willig:

1. Did you have a nickname growing up?

In college, one of my best guy friends used to call me “Emma”, because of my tendency to meddle (constructively!) in peoples’ love lives. Well, at least it was mostly constructive. Some of my best match-making has been done by misdirection. I had a particular talent for accidentally setting people up with their future spouses while trying to set them up with someone else.
I’d say this was great training for writing romantic fiction. I play the same “will they work? Won’t they work?” game of trial and error with my characters. The only difference? In this scenario, I get to craft both sides of the dialogue.

2. Where is the most beautiful/romantic place you’ve ever been?

Okay, I know this is going to sound counter intuitive, but… Wales. I went on vacation to Wales this past summer. The general reaction of most of the hoteliers and restaurant staff we encountered was “Really? You came here for fun?” Yes, yes, we did. And I loved it. Wales was gorgeous: crumbling old castles, amazing natural scenery, an absurdity of photogenic sheep dotting the fields. My favorite spot was a cliff in Snowdonia with heather turning the hills purple all around and a river and an old abbey lying way down below.

3. Do you celebrate when you finish a book and what you do?

Er, sleep? While I write my books, I print them out chapter by chapter, keeping the growing pile of pages on my ancient Walmart kitchen cart so I can actually see my progress as I go. It’s one thing to know, intellectually, that you’re up to three hundred pages; it’s another thing to actually see that pile and think, wow, that’s a lot of paper! Even better, once I’ve finished the book and send it off to my editor, I take the whole huge, unwieldy pile of paper and dump it with a great big whump into my recycling bin. There’s nothing more satisfying than that whumping noise. To me, that’s the feeling of DONE. Not to mention that there’s then an empty spot on my kitchen cart which needs to be filled with a new proto-page pile….

4. What new authors have you recently added to your TBR pile?

My TBR pile has grown exponentially recently, thanks to a Friday feature on my website called Weekly Reading Round-Up, where my readers pop in and talk about what they’re reading. Through them, I found Rhys Bowen’s Lady Georgiana mystery series and Kate Morton’s compelling historical novels. Also recently added to my TBR pile via Weekly Reading Round-Up is A Brief History of Montmaray, which I’ve been assured is just like I Capture the Castle. I also have Loretta Chase’s Silk is for Seduction, which I’ve been using as a personal bribe. I don’t get to read it until I finish my latest manuscript.

EB: Great! Now my TBR is overflowing.

5. If you were going to an island for a long time, name 5 things you would bring.

  • A supersized tube of SPF 85 sunscreen—I burn just by being in the vicinity of sunshine. We’re talking full-on lobster red. My skin doesn’t seem to have grasped the concept of “tan”, although it has “burn”, “peel”, and “freckle” down to an art.
  • An ipod, programmed by my little sister—she’s a genius at mixing peppy 80’s music, mellow girl music like Vienna Tang and the Weepies, folk music of the Judy Collins persuasion, and Broadway tracks. Perfect for a week (or several weeks) at the beach.
  • A kindle with lots and lots of books! (Is that cheating?)
  • A copy of Gone With the Wind, since I can re-read that an infinite number of times.
  • My netbook (or, if there’s no power, lots of notebooks), for working on a new novel….

This week saw the paperback release of The Mischief of the Mistletoe, which by the way, won the 2011 RITA for Best Regency Historical Romance. To learn more about Lauren and her wonderful Pink Carnation series, visit her website:

6 comments to “Five Things about Lauren Willig”

  1. Susanna Kearsley
    November 3rd, 2011 at 12:44 pm · Link

    Lauren, I thought I was the only one who did that “drop-the-manuscript-so-you-can-hear-the-WHUMP” thing!!!

    I do exactly the same thing: print the chapters out so I can see them growing, then drop them to hear the sound. Only I drop them on the kitchen table (good resonance) and I don’t wait till I’m all the way done to do it, I do it throughout the 18 months or so that I’m writing, because it helps reassure me I’m doing something!

    So happy to learn I’m not the only one who does this. That’s too funny.


  2. Lauren Willig
    November 3rd, 2011 at 2:04 pm · Link

    I love that you do that, too! Occasionally, I pick up my pile and tap the pages together, just to enjoy the heft of it– and to prove to myself I’ve been doing something!

    By the way, just got “The Rose Garden”. I’m saving it to bribe myself with!

  3. infinitieh
    November 3rd, 2011 at 2:45 pm · Link

    Oh no! Now you will have fans loitering outside on garbage pickup day just to rummage through your recycling bin for your next book! Okay, probably not, but it’s a thought…

  4. Kate @ Musings
    November 3rd, 2011 at 5:33 pm · Link

    Wales! Perfect! We had an opportunity in February to travel there and absolutely loved it! We were on a similar hillside along a foot path in someone’s back ‘yard’ and sat next to babbling brook in the winter sun. What a perfect moment that was!

    Congrats on all of the novels and the awards…well deserved!

  5. Linda McDonald
    November 4th, 2011 at 8:26 pm · Link

    Wales is definitely on the list of places to visit! Castles, the beautiful scenery, the sheep….definitely a must see.

  6. Kim
    November 10th, 2011 at 2:35 pm · Link

    I have really enjoyed your books—and it’s cool to see that you are a Rhys Bowen fan as well! Her Molly Murphy series as well as Evan Evans series (set in Wales, right at your vacation spot) are wonderful as well. It’s fun to see that someone I am a fan of (that’s you) is a fan of someone else that I like…..hmm, did I say that right? Anyway….please keep writing! We enjoy your books!!

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