Handsome appearance counts for naught unless matched by good character and actions. That’s the firm opinion of not-so-meek minister’s daughter Lavinia Ellison. So even though all the other villagers of St. Hampton Heath are swooning over the newly returned seventh Earl of Hawkesbury, she is not impressed. If a man won’t take his responsibilities seriously and help those who are supposed to be able to depend on him, he deserves no respect from her. In Lavinia’s pretty, gray eyes, Nicholas Stamford is just as arrogant and reckless as his brother–who stole the most important person in Livvie’s world. Read our story spotlight on The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller to learn more!
Plus, Carolyn is celebrating her new release with a giveaway. Settle in for a cozy night of reading with a cuppa and a Kindle! Click here to enter.
The Story Behind The Elusive Miss Ellison
Tell us a bit about the story behind your latest novel. Where did you find inspiration?
I really enjoy reading Georgette Heyer books. Her books are (mostly) set in Regency times and have a great deal of wit and banter. I wanted to write something that was similar, but had a Christian thread. I also wanted to incorporate something of a ‘Pride and Prejudice’ set up, with two characters whose misunderstandings are not dissimilar to how we can often misread others. I hope people enjoy my attempt to weave these elements together in my debut Regency The Elusive Miss Ellison!
What was the hardest part about writing your novel: Getting started? Keeping it going? Finding the perfect ending?
Unless I have a clear plan then keeping going in the middle can be a challenge. Apparently I have to keep upping the stakes!
What trait do you love most about your main character?
I love Lavinia’s forthrightness and her compassion. She is quick to speak up on behalf of the unfortunate, yet her compassion can also be stirred by those she finds difficult or challenging. I think this stems from her security in knowing she is loved by God, which means she can say what she wants (within reason!) without fear. I wish I was as brave as her!
When readers get to the last page, what do you hope they take away from the story?
I hope readers can take a greater sense of God’s grace, that whether they are Christian or not, that they will have a greater understanding of God’s love for them, and feel encouraged to extend that compassion to others.
What are you working on next?
I’m finishing proofs for book 2, The Captivating Lady Charlotte which releases in June, then it’s more edits for book 3, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey.
Get to Know Carolyn Miller
What are your ideal writing conditions?
I like quiet. I have four children at school, so my times between 9 and 3 are gold. I’m still figuring out how to balance being a mum and a writer!
If you could write in a different genre, which would you choose?
I’ve written some contemporary and some romantic suspense. Probably romantic suspense–because it’s fun to make people suffer! (A sadist? Me?)
What book have you reread the most?
It’s a toss up between Anne of Green Gables, The Blue Castle (both by LM Montgomery) and Pride and Prejudice. I can quite happily reread these books every year for the rest of my life!
If you could have lunch with any literary character, who would it be and why?
I’d love to have lunch with Mr. Darcy (of course!) because then I could see the magnificent rooms at Pemberley!
Favorite first line of a book:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” (I just typed that from memory – it must truly be my favourite first line!)
Do you have a go-to writing snack?
(Australian-made) Cadbury Dairy milk chocolate. So yummy!
What is your favorite writing tool?
A reference book I have used more than any other is Georgette Heyer’s Regency World by Australian academic and Heyer-aficionado Jennifer Kloester. It’s packed full of interesting facts and information about Regency England, customs, slang, clothing details and more. I find myself constantly referring to it as I write.
If you were trapped in a book, what fictional place would you like to explore?
Pemberley (Mr. Darcy’s grand estate). But I really don’t think that’s fictional . . . .
What would the title of your biography be?
From the Sticks to the Stars: How Hollywood came calling on a small-town Aussie author 😉
If you could live a day in one of your characters’ lives, who would you choose? And why?
I think I’d love to be Lavinia when she’s visiting St Paul’s Cathedral with the Earl. Who wouldn’t love the handsome Earl murmuring romantic quotes among the glories of St Paul’s Cathedral?
It’s actually a line the Earl quotes from Shakespeare: “She is a woman, therefore may be wooed; she is a woman, therefore may be won; she is Lavinia, therefore may be loved.”
Isn’t that beautiful? Who wouldn’t want that said about themselves?! (especially by a very eligible, handsome Earl)