Thursday, August 12, 2010

Q and A with C.A. Belmond + Giveaway!

C.A. Belmond is the author of the "Rather" series (A RATHER LOVELY INHERITANCE, A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT, A RATHER CHARMING INVITATION), and today she's here to answer a few of my questions and offer up quite the excellent of contests.

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In your opinion what are the top three reasons why people should consider picking up the “Rather” series the next time they see it in stores or online?

Here’s what my readers from all around the world tell me about why they love the “Rather” novels:

1) People totally identify with my main character, Penny Nichols. They say, “I would react exactly the
way she does in each situation” and they love her “take” on every place she visits and every person she
meets.

2) Penny and Jeremy are a couple who truly like each other’s company. They bicker, they banter, they
sometimes drive each other crazy, but you know that underneath it all, they love being with each other.

3) In addition to the great locales, there’s always a bit of history and mystery in each book. Penny
narrates in the first-person voice, so readers say, “Wow, I feel like I was right there on a fantastic trip
with a good, trusted friend who gives you a private tour of the best cultural hot-spots in Europe!”

The “Rather” series is told from Penny Nichols’ viewpoint, so can you tell us a little about her? Also, if you could offer her any type of advice what would you say?

Penny is smart, but modest; idealistic, but sensible; she has wry, funny insights about people but she’s never cynical or judgmental. Penny gets her inspiration from 1930s movies, and she refuses to believe that there’s nothing more to modern life than dog-eat-dog. She’s determined to carve out an authentic, unique, elegant life for herself. I wouldn’t give her any advice at all, except to tell her to stay true to herself.

What’s you favorite aspect of writing the “Rather” series?

I love doing the research for my “Rather” novels because it means travelling to all these great locations. I also get deep pleasure from the quiet daily act of writing. And, I just love hearing from my readers,
because they come from many different places, different ages, different walks of life, yet it’s like a secret club of really wonderful people.

If the “Rather” series had a theme song what would it be?

There’s a wonderful Noel Coward song called, “A Room With A View”, about how he’d like to go off with the one he loves and just watch the world go by. Also, there’s a great Beatles song called “I Feel Fine”.

What inspired you to have Europe be the “Rather” series backdrop?

My first trip to the South of France was when I was awarded a writers’ residency. Then I returned to France, England and Italy for film festivals and other work projects. And all the while I kept thinking about writing about a sort of modern-day Henry James heroine, you know, an American girl on her first trip to Europe.

How do you come up with your character’s names? Is it something that comes to you easily or do you go through many before deciding on the perfect one?

I came up with Penny’s name when I was trying to describe her hair color. I thought her hair must be the color of a penny, but just to make sure, I went to my coin purse. “Yep, that’s it,” I told myself. And
right there in my palm, next to the penny, was a nickel. That’s how I got Penny Nichols. As for the other characters, I use a very old book of names that tells you their origin and meanings. Something inside me just knows when I’ve found the right one.

If you could live in any book for one, which book would you choose? Why?

Wow, how do you choose between Antibes and Rome in the first book, Lake Como and Corsica in the second; and a ch√Ęteau near the perfume fields of Grasse or a chalet in Lake Geneva in the third book? But wherever Penny and Jeremy roam, in every book they always come home to two spots: their
townhouse in London where they work, and their villa on the French Riviera where they go to relax. So if I had to pick just one spot, I’d take the Riviera. Of all the places in the world, that’s where I feel most at home.

Name three things that most people don’t know about you.

I often get my inspiration when I’m in the water, either the bathtub, or swimming. Maybe I’m part mermaid? Second, I love music, perhaps because I had some dance training. Third, I started out writing for television and film, which perhaps is why people tell me that they love the scene in A RATHER LOVELY INHERITANCE where Penny is working on a movie shoot.

What’s next for you book wise?

I am writing a fourth book in the “Rather” series, which will be released in September 2011. Also, I am co-authoring a stand-alone historical/suspense novel with my husband. So, stay tuned!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

People often ask me what inspired me to write these “Rather” novels, and while there are many reasons, in the end it all comes down to this: Just like my readers, I, too, wanted to open a book and discover a secret world, a timeless place that you’ve never seen before, yet you knew in your heart that it must exist somewhere. So, if you’re a seeker, then, welcome to the club!

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Thanks, C.A.! To find out more about C.A. and her books head on over to http://www.cabelmond.com/.

Now for the giveaway part...

C.A. has offered up a copy of each of the novels in the "Rather" series (A RATHER LOVELY INHERITANCE, A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT, A RATHER CHARMING INVITATION) and a "Rather" T shirt that includes all three of the "Rather" books' covers. There will be a winner for each prize, and have no fear if you haven't read this series before, C.A. told me it's easy to pick up what's going on from any of the books.

Here's the summaries for each book:
A RATHER LOVELY INHERITANCE is the first book in C.A. Belmond’s “Rather” series, and introduces Penny Nichols, an American art researcher who works for the movies. Out of the blue, she is summoned to London for the reading of her English great-aunt’s will, where she learns of her inheritance, and is reunited with a childhood friend, Jeremy Laidley, who is also an heir. But to claim their legacy, they must team up and go off on a chase from London to Antibes and Rome, to uncover some family secrets. If you’ve ever dreamed of having the perfect apartment, auto, wardrobe and guy to see Europe with, here’s your chance to go for the ride!

A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT is the second novel in C.A. Belmond’s “Rather” series. Penny and Jeremy are a real team now, in love and in work. They decide to sock away their inheritance, except for one splurge—a vintage yacht that they win at auction, which leads to another mystery for them to solve. If you want to know what it’s like to live on a yacht, and visit Lake Como, Italy, and Nice and Corsica on the Mediterranean, then climb aboard!

A RATHER CHARMING INVITATION is the third novel in C.A. Belmond’s “Rather” series. Penny and Jeremy are trying to plan their wedding while balancing the demands of their American, English and French relatives. But when a family heirloom loaned to them for the wedding goes missing, Penny and Jeremy must solve the theft in time to say “I do.” If you’ve experienced the family dynamics of planning a wedding, and if you love the idea of travelling to Paris, Lake Geneva and Monte Carlo with the man you love, well...here’s your invitation!


To enter please fill out the following form.

Though as with any contest there are rules:

~ Must be 13 or older to enter.
~ Open to participants with an United States mailing address only. (international readers can enter if they have a friend in the States who can accept their prize by mail)
~ Don't comment below to enter or you will not be entered!
~ The contest will close on August 26th at 6:00 AM Eastern.

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for the contest, these books sounds great!

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  2. Great interview and contest! t'd be fun to have your life, lol. I've never heard of your books, but now that I have I can't wait to read them!

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  3. These books sound great! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  4. Thanks for the great interview C.A. and Lauren. I have not heard of this series but am very interested in reading.

    Thanks Lauren, for hosting and the opportunity to enter.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

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  5. THANKS, I COMMENTED ABOUT MY SCROOGE DH AND ENTERED!

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  6. Hi Hotcha told me about the great contest so I popped over. I filled out your contest form and posted this in 3 places and emailed a few friends. The books sound good!!!

    -Brandy

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