Today I am grilling author, Arabella Sheen, on all aspects of writing romance.
Tell me a bit about the type of books you write and where you are in your publishing journey.
I’m Arabella Sheen, a British author of Contemporary and Historical steamy romances, published with Beachwalk Press, and a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
Having graduated from the RNA’s -New Writers’ Scheme in 2016 when my debut novel, Castell’s Passion, was accepted for publication by Beachwalk Press, I haven’t looked back.
Beachwalk Press is a publisher of romance novels with heat levels of sensual and higher. They are fantastic to work with and generously supportive when throwing professional comments back at me during edits.
I’ve also travelled the self-publishing route, and even though to date I’ve had seven novels published, I feel I still have a lot to learn about the art of writing.
Oh, this is an easy question to answer…I love a happy-ever-after ending.
What inspires your stories?
Anything and everything.
There were a couple of factors that inspired the writing of A Gentleman in Love.
One was a visit to the United Kingdom’s buzzing capital, London, where classical ‘old’ buildings such as the beautiful Palace of Westminster and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office are situated. Another creative trigger was a desire to write a Christmas romance.
Domestic and foreign diplomatic scandals have hit the news headlines recently, and the urge to delve deeper and create a fictitious world involving an embassy, an ambassador, and a political protocol gone wrong intrigued me.
A Gentleman in Love follows the sizzling romance of Shelby and Sam as they come to terms with the problems they face and the unexpected passion they feel for one another. Shelby wishes to clear her father’s name of political blame and Sam needs a wife to secure the adoption of his ward – Nicola. The question is: can Sam and Shelby join forces and help one another achieve their goals?
As for Christmas, well, who doesn’t love a steamy Christmas romance?
Who are your favourite romance authors, past and/or present?
In my teenaged years, Georgette Heyer was my go to author for romantic and historical satisfaction. She still is.
At the moment, my nose is buried in Helen Dunmore’s Birdcage Walk. I was born and bred in Clifton, Bristol, and the story features Georgian life in this area during 1792. Helen weaves a dark, sinister tale about Diner and Lizzie’s marriage and turmoil in Europe. I’m not sure this book can be classed as a true romance novel as I’ve yet to read to the end…so no spoilers, please.
It is 1792 and Europe is seized by political turmoil and violence.
Lizzie Fawkes has grown up in Radical circles where each step of the French Revolution is followed with eager idealism. But she has recently married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer who is heavily invested in Bristol’s housing boom, and he has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war.
Diner believes that Lizzie’s independent, questioning spirit must be coerced and subdued. She belongs to him: law and custom confirm it, and she must live as he wants.
But as Diner’s passion for Lizzie darkens, she soon finds herself dangerously alone.
If you had to pick one romance novel for me to read, which one would you recommend?
I’m not sure what your taste is in romance. There are so many sub-genres to choose from. Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, LGBT, New Adult romance, etc, etc, etc.
Saga Author, Rachel Brimble has a delightful romance series about Pennington’s, Bath’s finest department store you might enjoy.
Which romantic hero would you choose to spend your perfect romantic weekend with? Where would you go and what would you do?
Can I cheat and say romantic hero and film star- Denzel Washington. If it means I would get my man, I’d be prepared to travel back in time and experience the perils of Déjà Vu with him any day!
(Blogger’s Note: Apologies for interrupting your viewing but I could not let this opportunity pass to include a completely gratuitous picture of handsome men in leather trousers. As this is shot from Much Ado About Nothing, it counts as romantic literature and is, therefore, completely relevant to the subject matter of this post. Now back to Arabella.)
But if it’s to be a hero in literature, then it would have to be the Marquis of Alverstoke from the Georgette Heyer novel Frederica, and we’d have the pleasure of a balloon ride across the undulating green fields of Somerset.
What is your favourite thing about being a member of the RNA? What do you think you have gained from membership?
My favourite thing about being a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association is knowing I have one thing in common with other members…the love of romance and books.
And to answer the question about what I have gained from my membership…I’ve gained friends.
What one piece of advice or tip would you give to new writers starting out in the romance genre?
Learn the craft of telling a good story. Not just the mechanics of writing and penning a story, (although these skills are important), but unearth the ability that comes with sharing a story around a campfire. Learn how to captivate and hold your readers spellbound to the last word.
Write because you have a story to tell. And don’t worry about becoming an instant bestselling author. Some wise words from an author friend have carried me forward on my writing journey: “Persist. It took me twenty years to become an overnight success…”
So, perhaps there is hope for me yet.
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is a contemporary romance called A Gentleman in Love and you can buy a copy here.
A Christmas wedding and a growing passion. Will a political scandal destroy their love?
Desperate to exonerate her family name of any wrongdoing, Shelby Chesterfield gate-crashes the Foreign Office Christmas party to ask her father’s accuser for help. When Ambassador Samuel Hardwick refuses to cooperate, Shelby is determined to ruin his diplomatic career any way she can, and a chance to do so arrives sooner than she expected.
Caught in a passionate embrace, Shelby puts Sam on the spot and tells journalists they’re engaged. But her plan backfires when Sam turns the tables on her.
Sam wants no commitment to anything or anyone except his career. But when his best friends are killed in a violent terrorist attack, leaving their daughter orphaned and in his care, he has the daunting task of finding a wife and substitute mother, or he will risk losing his newly acquired ward into the foster care system. With time running out, when Shelby asks for help to clear her father’s name in a political scandal, Sam offers support in exchange for a Christmas wedding.
The trouble is…Shelby knows about his ongoing affair with Lady Donna Ruston.
Can Shelby and Sam work together to achieve their goals, or is their winter romance fated to fail before it’s begun?
Content Warning: contains sensual love scenes
About the Author
Arabella Sheen is a British author of Contemporary and Historical sensual romance. Published with Beachwalk Press, she is also a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
One of the many things Arabella loves to do is to read, and when she’s not reading or writing romance novels, she is either on her allotment sowing and planting with the seasons or she can be found curled on the sofa pandering to the demands of her attention-seeking cat.
Having worked and lived in the city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands for nearly twenty years, she now lives in the South West of England with her family.
Connect with Arabella:
Facebook: Arabella Sheen Author