HRR Interview & Contest: Sabrina Jeffries

The Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London

SJ-22Jen:  Today we welcome Sabrina Jeffries back to Romancing the Book as part of our Historical Romance Retreat feature.  Sabrina, will you share a short bio with us?
Sabrina: Sabrina Jeffries is the NYT bestselling author of over 50 novels and works of short fiction (some written under the pseudonyms Deborah Martin and Deborah Nicholas). Whatever time not spent writing in a coffee-fueled haze is spent traveling with her husband and adult autistic son or indulging in one of her passions—jigsaw puzzles, chocolate, and music. With over 8 million books in print in 20 different languages, the North Carolina author never regrets tossing aside a budding career in academics for the sheer joy of writing fun fiction, and hopes that one day a book of hers will end up saving the world.

She always dreams big.

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Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Sabrina: Stormswept, set in Georgian Wales, is about an English earl’s daughter, Lady Juliana, and a Welsh radical, Rhys Vaughan, who are torn apart when Rhys is impressed into the British navy. He returns after six years apart, believing that Juliana betrayed him to the press gangs. It takes them some time—and renewing the passion they once had—for them to realize the truth . . . and that their love has stood the test of time. I got the idea from Romeo and Juliet, believe it or not. I asked myself, “What if Romeo went off to Padua . . . and didn’t come back for six years?” Only I had to throw in some other stuff to make it work as a romance. No suicides for Juliana and Rhys!

Here’s a short excerpt:

Juliana’s brother Darcy held up his glass, his face flushing with pleasure. “A toast! To Lady Juliana and her newly betrothed, Stephen Wyndham, the Marquess of Devon! May their joy be unbounded!”

The guests raised their glasses, but another voice rang out from the other end of the ballroom. “I dispute that toast!”

Darcy looked incredulous, as the other guests hesitated with their arms suspended as if by invisible wires. Juliana’s heart dropped into her stomach.

She picked out the man who’d spoken. Towering over the other guests, he stood in the shadows, where she couldn’t make out his features. Dressed more soberly than her guests, his entire bearing bespoke arrogance. The gasps of those around him had little effect, for he carried himself forward with the invincibility of a battleship.

He snatched a glass from a guest’s hand as he passed. “I would propose another toast entirely.”

Something in his voice tweaked her buried memories. It couldn’t be. He was dead! And this man’s accent wasn’t right. As he approached, she could see he wore the expensive attire of a lord, not the modest garb of a radical. He was too big, too self-assured, and entirely too imposing to be . . .

But her fear became a certainty as he strolled up the aisle to the head table. She stared at the broad shoulders, at the black curls cropped at the chin framing an arresting and painfully familiar face. She rose, not realizing that she did, disbelieving the evidence of her own eyes.

Darcy seemed to regain his wits. “What preposterous rudeness is this? I don’t know you, sir, and I’m certain you weren’t invited. Leave at once, before I have my footmen throw you out!” He signaled to a servant, who hastened toward the stranger.

With a sinister clang, the encroacher withdrew his sword and the summoned footman fell back.

Sure of his audience, the man came up to her. “If anyone should have been invited, ’tis I. But then, I’m sure you treacherous blackguards thought yourselves well rid of me.” He cast the head table a scathing glance. “Otherwise, you wouldn’t be engaging in this farce.”

Juliana stared at the man’s face. ’Twas impossible!

Stephen jumped to his feet. “Treacherous blackguards! I’ll call you out for that, sir!”

“Ah, but you have it all wrong, Lord Devon. I should call you out. Ask Juliana.”

Stephen shot her a questioning look, but Juliana took no notice as the man fixed his gaze on her, searing her. Her throat tightened and her knees shook. Only one man had those blue eyes. And for a moment, her heart leapt and she wanted to bound over the table into his arms.

Then she saw the coldness in his eyes, the anger in his face, and the urge fled.

“You should have told him, Juliana.” His voice held an edge of fury. “’Tis an important thing to leave out of any discussion about betrothal.”

“It c-can’t be tr-true,” she whispered.

His eyes narrowed. “What? That I’ve returned? That I’ve come to reclaim my lands . . . my inheritance . . . and you? Oh yes, love. It is true.”

The entire company was thrown into confusion, except for her brothers, who looked as if they’d commit murder any moment. It was like seeing a corpse rise from the grave.

“Rhys, please.” She clasped her chair as her knees began to buckle.

With an expression as cold as the frostiest winter, Rhys lifted his glass in a toast. “To Juliana, my darling wife. I’ve come to take you home.”

And for the first time in her life, Juliana fainted.


Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Sabrina: Yep! Three, if you count my brother who’s working on his memoirs and my mom who’s working on hers. My other brother, Dr. Daren Martin, is a published author of business books.

Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Sabrina: Definitely a plotter.

Jen: Describe your writing in 3 words.
Sabrina: Angst with humor.

Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Sabrina: I either type notes about them in the Notes app on my iPhone, or, for more complicated ideas, I use the Voice Memo app to record them. I’ve also been known to text an idea to myself. 🙂

Jen: How do you come up with characters names?
Sabrina: I use two books: The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names (which has the added advantage of telling you when a name was popular in England) and A Dictionary of English Surnames (which also gives the area in which they were popular). Then I just go hunting for a name in them that I haven’t used and that appeals to me.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Sabrina: I’m doing two things—revising the follow-up book to StormsweptWindswept—which is set about twenty years later, and starting my new Sinful Suitors book, about Niall Lindsey, the Earl of Margrave and the brother of Clarissa from The Study of Seduction. Readers will recall that he fought a duel for his sister’s honor. He lived in exile for seven years until he got pardoned. Now he’s back in England stirring up trouble.

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39 thoughts on “HRR Interview & Contest: Sabrina Jeffries

  1. Theresa N says:

    It’s been a while but yes I have read a book set in Wales. The setting does interest me.

  2. Linda Ortiz says:

    Loved the interview! Yes, I love to read books that are set in Wales and all over England.

  3. Janie McGaugh says:

    I know I have read books set in Wales, though I couldn’t tell you which ones! I think it’s a great setting for a romance (and the history is very interesting, too).

  4. LilMissMolly says:

    Yes, I just finished Lisa Kleypas’s Marrying Winterborne and the hero is originally from Wales.

  5. Shelby Forbes says:

    Never ready a book story set in Wales… For which I should as my family comes from Wales.

  6. Karen H says:

    I haven’t read a book set in Wales yet…or as far as I can recall. That said, I did just get a used copy of Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas and I understand the hero is from Wales. Love your books Sabrina and I can’t wait for the next installment of the Sinful Suitors series.

  7. Delia Daza says:

    Yes I would be interested in a book set in Wales. Loved the interview, Sabrina has been one of my favorite authors for a long time and will continue to be 🙂

  8. erinf1 says:

    I know I have but I can’t think of the exact book 🙂 this sounds fabulous! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Hylla says:

    I have read about a character from Wales, but never a book set in Wales. I hope this will be my first 🙂

  10. Hylla says:

    I have read about a character from Wales, but never a book set in Wales. I definitely hope this will be my first 🙂

  11. Robyn K says:

    I’ve never read a book set in wales, but I would love to. Thank you for this chance and wonderful interview.

  12. JoAnne_W says:

    Nice interview and excerpt. Yes, I have read books set in Wales but will have to try and find which titles since I can’t recollect them at the moment..
    I actually had a pen pal from Wales when I was in middle school and we continued writing until I went to college and then we lost contact.

  13. Cynthia Powers says:

    Yes I have. I believe they were a few harlequin medieval romances, but the author’s name escapes me. Wales, UK, Ireland, Scotland. I’ve read great books set in all those places, and find them interesting. I love Sabrina’s books and haven’t read any of her pen name books, so I’d love to win. Thanks for the chance!

  14. Carolyn Valdez says:

    I have not read any books set in Wales, but it does sound interest. Thank you for the chance to enter.

  15. Ada says:

    I haven’t read any books set in Wales but I love everything about the UK so I think I would definitely enjoy it.

  16. Anne H says:

    I believe one of Mary Balogh’s earlier books, Longing (?), was set in Wales, and several of Edith Pargeter’s books were (but not her Brother Cadfael series, written as Ellis Peters). Part of my family emigrated from Wales in the early 19th century.

  17. Mel K. says:

    I have a huge collection of books by Sabrina. I’ll read anything she writes! Wales is an excellent setting (says the Anglophile). I enjoy England as a setting. Period!

  18. Lori L says:

    I have read books set in Wales and with Welsh characters, but not many. Windswept sounds wonderful and I look forward to reading it. On a side note, I adore the name Rhys.

  19. Alicia says:

    Not that I recall, but think it would be very interesting!
    I have started reading Sabrina Jeffries books in 2005, when this girl I worked with at the SPCA in Philly, Pa was reading a romance novel by whoever, and she suggested I buy a book and read during lunch break. So I did just that. I went to the rite aid lol and looked at the books they had there. The only one that jumped out at me was a book by Sabrina Jeffries. It was called One Night With A Prince. I have never read any historical romance novels, so that was my 1st one. I loved it of course, and then realized it was the 3rd book of the series….so after finishing that book, I immediately went to Amazon and ordered the 2 books in the series before that one. lol Ever since then, I been reading books by her, and ONLY by her. She is the only Author I have read any books from. She is my favorite Author! 😀 🙂 So, THANK YOU Sabrina Jeffries for writing these awesome books! 🙂 🙂

  20. Connie Reynolds says:

    Yes, I’ve read a book or two in Wales. My enjoyment depends upon how untranslated the book is.

  21. Jen B. says:

    i have read a book set in Wales. I love reading books set it locations that are foreign to me!

  22. Joanne Ledbetter says:

    I’ve never been to Wales but am very interested in books set there. You’re a new author for me and I would love a chance to read one of your books 🙂

  23. Anita H. says:

    Wales is such a fascinating place, I don’t see why it won’t be a great setting although I can’t really recall reading any previously set in Wales.

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