Dual joy/pain of these Q&As? Our TBR pile is currently so full of books we’d have to be millionaires (though, I’d settle for several thousand-aires) to afford them all. And just when I think I’ve honed the discipline to resist, Elizabeth Moss, brilliant author of Rose Bride, comes along and—long story short, I have so much to read now, including Rose Bride, which is 1. amazing and 2. out now!
What are your five favorite movies with romance/romantic elements?
You’ve Got Mail
Pride & Prejudice
Kate & Leopold
Describe your favorite scene from each one (you can included a YouTube clip if you would like).
You’ve Got Mail – my fav scene is where Joe Fox visits Kathleen Kelly when she has a cold. He tucks her into bed and hands her tissues while she tells him about Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. It ought to be unromantic – but of course, it’s absolutely the opposite and shows that these two are meant to be a couple.
Pride & Prejudice – I love the film version with Keira Knightly, it’s such a romantic, multi-layered story, but my favourite part is perhaps the sequence where Elizabeth is on a swing in her yard, and the seasons change around her to indicate the passage of time. In a way, it sums up how her relationship with Darcy changes and grows over time, rather than being insta-love.
French Kiss – ‘The rocking! Stop the rocking!’ I find it fascinating how Kate (I do love Meg Ryan – she’s in three of my top films here!) is unable to resist gorging on French cheeses on their train journey from Paris to the South of France, despite knowing she’s lactose intolerant. But if she hadn’t been so impulsive, they would have stayed on the train, and Luc would never have been reconciled to his family. Which I think is so sweet.
Casablanca – My favourite scene is the flashback to where Rick is standing at the train station in Paris in the rain, waiting for Ilsa so they can flee the German occupation together – but of course Ilsa is not coming. It’s such a poignant, heart-rending scene, it acts as a fulcrum within the movie, with all the romantic and political action pivoting around that one still point in their history.
Kate & Leopold – This is another brilliant romantic comedy, with the most wonderful, smooth-tongued hero in Leopold, played by the gorgeous Hugh Jackman. My favourite scene is probably where they are sitting on the balcony, listening to Moon River. Hugh fails in his mission to ask Kate to marry him. But his devotion shines out as he puts her to bed. It’s really about domesticity, and sharing the little things in life together. Which is one of the most romantic vibes going, in my opinion.
Did you have any of these scenes in mind when writing scenes from Rose Bride?
I always write out of an original impulse, so no, I don’t tend to think about other stories or movies when actually writing. But certainly all the romances I’ve ever enjoyed will feed subconsciously into the way I approach my hero and heroine scenes.
If you could only read five books for the rest of your life, what five books would they be and why?
These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer – a lavish May to September period romance, and one of the most romantic stories ever written!
Venetia by Georgette Heyer – a witty and adorable flirtation between a Regency rake and a beautiful young woman who’s been shut away from the world.
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer – yet another brilliant offering from Heyer, this time full of verve and sparkle and high romance.
The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart – a real epic, the young Merlin coming to terms with his magical power and his heritage. First in a fantasy trilogy.
The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin – another magical story with a superb brooding hero at its heart, and the book that inspired me to become a writer myself.
Who are your book boyfriends (list a maximum of five)? What do you like about them?
I love the austere but sexy Duke of Bewcastle, Wulfric Bedwyn, from Mary Balogh’s Slightly Dangerous. He’s just begging to be mocked, and then seduced!
St John Sandiford in Julia Justiss’ fiery Regency romance, The Proper Wife, is a perfect combination of courtly gentleman and daring soldier. Definitely the man for me!
The rugged Jack Reacher in Lee Child’s fantastic thrillers tends to play the field in all his adventures, but I doubt the taciturn giant would forget me if we ever tangled. (That’s my secret dream, at any rate!)
What characteristics do they share with the hero from your latest release?
Virgil Elton is quite taciturn and reserved, like Jack Reacher, but also extremely sensual, like Wulfric Bedwyn. He’s also, deep down, very open-minded in his attitude to Margerie, whose position at court is highly precarious, just as St John Sandiford sees past Clarissa’s wild reputation to the woman of integrity that she is beneath.
Everyone has a favorite couple (an “OTP” in ‘shipping terms) in romance, whether in a book, movie or television series. Who is your favorite couple and why?
Captain Mal and Inara in Joss Whedon’s brilliant Firefly series. There’s just all that glorious love-hate-lust-frustration thing going on that is never fully requited, and they’re as awkward round each other as teenagers. Damn cute!
What was the first romance novel you read?
The Long Surrender, I think, which was written by my late mother, Charlotte Lamb. I spent most of my early teens devouring Harlequin romances by her and other great romance writers of the 70s and 80s. Which probably explains a lot!
What do you remember about it?
The intensity – and the scorching sex scenes!
What did you like most about it?
Probably that it was doing things with series romance that few other writers dared to do at that time, on either side of the Atlantic. Going beyond the bedroom door, for one, and for another, exploring dark themes like rape and adultery and illegitimacy. All big taboos in 70s Harlequin romances.
What did you like least about it?
It was too short!
Have you ever reread it? If you did, how do you feel about it now?
I’ve re-read most of my mother’s romances from that time, and although some feel quite dated in places, including The Long Surrender, most are still capable of holding the reader spellbound. Love is eternal!
Christian or Gideon?
Sunrise or sunset?
Scruff, beard, or clean-shaven?
About Rose Bride:
She’s Fallen Too Far…
Margerie Croft yielded her virginity before her wedding night, and then fled King Henry VIII’s court, knowing she couldn’t marry a man she did not love. Now she is viewed as soiled goods, fit only for the role of a courtier’s plaything.
Virgil Elton has heard the wicked rumors, but something about Margerie calls to him. Drawn close despite himself, he invites her to help in his work to restore the king’s flagging health. But as he comes to know her, Virgil discovers beneath the layers of protective reserve a woman who is as intelligent and passionate as she is beautiful. He will stop at nothing to heal the damage the court has inflicted, even if it means falling himself…
Born into a literary family, Elizabeth Moss is a keen countryside walker who writes fun and sexy historical romances. She also writes award-winning fiction as Victoria Lamb. She lives with her husband and five children in South-West England.