In 2005 I read an article about Eloisa James leading a double life as a Shakespeare professor and a historical romance author and I thought – “I want to do that!” I was in a Creative Writing MFA program and I was writing mostly nonfiction, memoir, and travel writing, but I was always scribbling romance stories during my classes. I finally worked up the courage to submit some of my romance writing for a workshop and the professor, the wonderful women’s fiction author Whitney Otto, encouraged me to pursue my dream of writing romance! I gravitate toward historical romance because I grew up reading and loving the classics by Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters.
2. How would you describe your writing style?
One reader described my books as “fun, frothy, and fast-paced.” Another reader said she felt like I gave her “a hug in book form” and I love that description!
3. Having lived in 5 continents, do you incorporate your experiences from the different cultures into your stories?
I definitely incorporate my travels into my books. Lumley’s toyshop in What a Difference a Duke Makes is based on Hamleys toyshop in London which I visited as a young girl. In For the Duke’s Eyes Only, the hero and heroine visit the Louvre in Paris and it was so much fun to research what the museum looked like in 1829. I did a study abroad program in Paris during college and my art history class visited the Louvre every day for two weeks!
4. Are any of your characters based on people you know?
They tell writers to “write what you know” so there are bits and pieces from my own life woven into my books, however, I’ve never based an entire character on someone I know in real life.
5. What kind of heroes and heroines do you enjoy writing about?
I love strong, powerful heroes and heroines who are on a journey of self-discovery and emotional transformation. I adore an alpha male with a heart of gold who’s never intimidated by the powerful woman who brings him to his knees.
6. What is the inspiration behind your characters?
7. How many books do you write in a year? Stand alone or series?
I’m working on my second three-book series with Avon/HarperCollins. Each book stands alone but they have interrelated characters and are probably best read in order. Ideally I would publish two books per year but the reality is something like two books one year, one book the next, and then repeat.
8. Who are some of your favorite authors?
My list of favorite authors is so long, Lorelei – don’t make me choose! I have enormous book shelves filled with favorite books by (in no particular order) Eloisa James, Tessa Dare, Julia Quinn, Beverly Jenkins, Courtney Milan, Sarah MacLean, Lisa Kleypas, Loretta Chase, Sherry Thomas, Julie Anne Long, Cathy Maxwell, Lorraine Heath, Darcy Burke, Erica Ridley, Julia London…see, I told you the list was long! Right now I’m obsessed with Vanessa Riley – she’s amazing!! If you haven’t read any of her Regency romances you need to read them RIGHT NOW. Trust me.
9. What do you enjoy reading aside from romance?
I’m a huge fantasy reader and I also love sci fi, classic literature, women’s fiction, mystery, poetry and…all of the books. I’ve always been a bookworm.
10. Do you have any hobbies, special interests or talents?
I’m a trained singer and I was raised in a musical family so I love singing and playing the fiddle with my husband on banjo. I collect vintage clothing and costume jewelry and one of my most treasured possessions is a lace day dress that was owned by my great-grandmother Lenora.
11. Any writing advice for aspiring authors?
Read widely in the genre you’re writing. It’s a great education to read a book you love first for pleasure, and then in a more analytical way, asking yourself the questions: how did the writer make me feel that way? Why do I care about the characters and their goals? How does the author keep the tension, conflict and stakes high enough to sustain a whole book?
Join writers groups and meet other authors. Find critique partners that you respect to read your work and offer feedback. It’s important to find your community of writers, readers, and booklovers because sometimes writing can be isolating and a little bit lonely. That’s why Lorelei’s Lit Lair is such a fantastic resource – your passion for romantic and women’s fiction is so infectious and really makes everyone feel more connected. So thank you for what you do!!
(Lorelei: *blushing* Thank you! It’s an honor and pleasure! And so much fun!)
12. Do you like engaging with readers?
I love hearing from readers! It gives me so much joy when a reader lets me know that they liked one of my books. I answer all of my emails and I absolutely love to do giveaways and share the love.
13. Where can they find you?
Come find me on Facebook, Instagram, and my website www.LenoraBell.com, I’ll be sending out a newsletter soon with an exclusive giveaway, a sneak peek at my next book, and lots of other fun tidbits!
If you’ve been following me you know I love to host giveaways and post cute photos of my “librarian kitty.” All the love to librarians, by the way! I read my first Eloisa James book in hard copy from a library and that was how I got hooked on romance.
14. Best way to contact you?
You can DM me on Facebook or email me directly at Lenora@lenorabell.com. I respond to all messages received and I love to hear from readers!
15. Do you Pinterest? Have Storyboards or visuals of your stories?
I have Pinterest boards but I don’t keep up with them very often:
I always storyboard my books! Here’s a photo I took of the storyboard for my second book, If I Only Had a Duke, before the book was finished.
Learn more about Lenora at www.LenoraBell.com