Please welcome British author of Contemporary and Regency steamy romances, Arabella Sheen,
What was the inspiration behind your book? Can you tell us a little about it?
There were a couple of factors that inspired the writing of A Gentleman in Love. One was a visit to the United Kingdom’s capital, London, where 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. The question is: can they join forces and help one another achieve their goals?
As for Christmas, well, who doesn’t love a steamy Christmas romance?
How long did, A Gentleman in Love take to write? How much re-writing do you do?
From conception and plotting to penning the final chapter, A Gentleman in Love was about six months in the making. As for: how much re-writing do I do? Whilst the dynamics of the relationship and the underlying inner conflicts are happening between the hero and heroine, my WIP (work-in-progress) can change at the drop of a hat.
I’ve been known to cancel a wedding, kill off the mother-in-law, and delete two chapters, just because the story unexpectedly heads off at a tangent. But, A Gentleman in Love has reached the finishing line without too much huffing and puffing.
There are always editorial re-writes to be done, and for me, these corrections usually involve converting from UK English to American English. Pavement = Sidewalk. Colour = Color. etc.
After a manuscript has gone through the submissions page on my publisher’s website, (in other words, I’ve politely joined the manuscript submissions queue), and a contract has been signed, it’s over to my editor to make decisions on how much of a re-write is needed…or not.
What is your writing day like?
I don’t have a writing day as such…it’s more of a writing week.
Mondays and Tuesdays are days I’m usually rostered off the 9-5 job. As well as being an author, I work in a boutique hotel as a chef.
Many authors claim frustration at having to ‘work a day job’ ― I love going to work. I’m grateful for the inspirational opportunities this ‘out of the home’ activity gives. After a demanding breakfast shift and then helping to cater for engagement parties, weddings, and baby showers, interacting with people celebrating a happy event is often thought-provoking. I’ve frequently returned home with new ideas and plots for the next novel spinning around in my head.
Wednesdays are always earmarked for my blog page. Linked to my website is Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat. Over several years, I’ve hosted some amazing romance authors all willing to have a tête-à-tête about their chart-busting number one bestsellers before sharing a few of their writing secrets with readers along the way.
Thursday through to Sunday is a bit of a writing muddle.
If I’m not in the middle of edits or promoting my latest release, I’m either penning my next novel, or…weather permitting, I sneak away from the computer and relax weeding and digging on the allotment.
What was your journey to publication?
First came the reading and then the writing.
I’ve been plotting and writing ‘romance’ since secondary school. The moment I realised I had read entire bookshelves of the romantic fiction section in the schools’ library, I knew I was hooked on the genre. From reading about a heroine and hero, I wanted to write about them. It’s taken a long time to achieve that goal; travel, work, and everyday life have got in the way, but finally, the words are being written.
I’ve self-published novels and I’m also a traditionally published author with Beachwalk Press. The editing team at Beachwalk Press is fantastic and generously supportive when throwing professional comments back at me during edits. I still have a lot to learn about the art of writing and the feedback from Beachwalk Press is always constructive and has delivered a positive effect on the way I now plot and write romance.
I’m also a graduate of the Romantic Novelists’ Association -New Writers’ Scheme and since my debut novel – Castell’s Passion – was accepted for publication, I haven’t looked back.
Can you tell us what you are working on now?
I’m in the throes of writing a sizzling sensual Regency series. Two books are with my publisher and the third has been ‘paused’ on Chapter One whilst I tackle my side of marketing and promotion for A Gentleman in Love.
And yes…for those budding authors who might not be in-the-know…most publishers like authors to contribute in some way toward the launch of their books.
If you could give your younger writing self any advice, what would it be?
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.
And read, read, read. This also applies to my ‘older’ self. Simply by reading the written word, you can discover so much about the art of writing.
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.
Before signing off, I would like to thank the “Hot Seat” team (Ruby/Catherine/Eleanor) for all the hard work and organising they do to ensure the RNA blog spots are posted. Behind the scenes, there is always a lot of emailing and formatting taking place to guarantee copy is delivered on time for us to read. Thank you, ladies.
About Arabella Sheen
Arabella Sheen is a British author of Contemporary and Regency 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.
A Gentleman in Love by Arabella Sheen
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
Arabella keeps in touch with her readers on:
Book Blurb A Gentleman in Love
About the interviewer.
Catherine Lawless lives in Hertfordshire with her husband, daughter and their three border terriers. She writes novels, journals and children’s books. Catherine’s career started out as a singer/songwriter in a rock band. She toured extensively throughout Europe and the UK before settling down and following her childhood dream of writing books.