Guest post by Juliana Ross + Giveaway

Filed in featured , Giveaways , Guest Post , Juliana Ross , The Latin Lover Posted on May 10, 2012 @ 7:00 am 24 comments

Today I am very happy to welcome to Book Lovers Inc and introduce you to Juliana Ross, the author of the wonderfully spicy historical romance: Improper Relations, released by Carina Press in April. Juliana didn’t come alone, she brought as special guest the heroine of Improper Relations, so please take a seat and get to know Hannah! (and thanks to Juliana’s generosity you could even get to know Leo, the hero if you win the copy of Improper Relations offered in the giveaway) 

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Hannah, the heroine of Improper Relations. Don’t ask me how it was possible to reach back in time and speak directly with a woman born in 1829 – I have my ways. Let’s just leave it at that.

Juliana Ross: Thank you so much for agreeing to speak with me.

Hannah: You’re most welcome. Although this is rather unusual. And I am not entirely certain what you mean when you speak of a “blog”. It sounds rather unpleasant.

Juliana Ross: I promise it’s perfectly respectable. Shall we begin with some personal history? Where were you born?

Hannah: I was born and grew up in Steyning, in Sussex. My father was a farmer—a gentleman farmer, if you will. I was an only child and was educated at home by my mother. I had a lovely childhood, if perhaps a rather lonely one.

Juliana Ross: How did you meet your husband?

Hannah: By husband you mean Charles? It was at a ball, at Petworth House – the home of some friends of my parents. Much grander than my family. Looking back, I’m surprised we were even invited. So…Charles was at the ball and he took a liking to me. I was nineteen, nearly twenty, and was no beauty. Nor could I expect very much from my father. But he was looking for a wife, I suspect because of some pressure from his parents to settle down, and decided I would do. So that was that.

Juliana Ross: You wouldn’t say it was a love match.

Hannah: No. But we were fond of one another. He was perfectly pleasant, perfectly civil. And I was grateful to him for giving me a home, and a future of sorts.

Juliana Ross: Were you happy?

Hannah: I would have said I was happy, as I understood it, at the time. But then I’d little notion of the world beyond the little towns where I’d lived, nor indeed beyond the four walls of my own home. I was content, and that seemed like happiness to me.

Juliana Ross: You were aware of your husband’s grand relations?

Hannah: Of course—they weren’t the sort of people one could ignore. Lady Dorchester, in particular, had a very commanding way about her. She was extremely fond of Charles—he was her late sister’s only son—and at first I was nervous she might feel I wasn’t good enough for him. But she seemed to like me, which was a blessing.

Juliana Ross: Particularly after Charles’s unexpected death.

Hannah: Yes, it was entirely unexpected. A fever, the doctors said. He felt unwell one morning, was abed by the end of the day, and was dead by the end of the next. Quite shocking, of course. And then to learn the truth about his finances…

Juliana Ross: He was in debt?

Hannah: Yes, and had managed to cope by selling off nearly everything of value his parents had left him. So by the time he died we really had only the furnishings in our house, of which we were only tenants, and personal items such as clothing and so forth. Everything went to settle his outstanding debts. I was left with the clothes on my back. Nothing more.

Juliana Ross: So you went to Lady Dorchester for help?

Hannah: Yes. I had hoped she might furnish me with a character reference so that I might seek employment as a governess or a lady’s companion. Instead she decided to take me on as her own companion. Although we did have our differences later on it was very kind of her to help me.

Juliana Ross: That’s very charitable of you given how unhappy you were in the Dorchester household.

Hannah: She helped me, at a time when very little stood between me and complete destitution. It would be very wrong for me to complain of ill treatment at her hands.

Juliana Ross: And what of Leo?

Hannah: Do you mean then? What did I think of him then? You must remember that he was only a boy when we first met. He’s five years younger than me, so he would have been just fifteen when I married Charles. I didn’t see much of him then—only family weddings, funerals and so forth. Once or twice Charles and I were invited to balls at Wraxhall House in London. That was terribly exciting. But I wouldn’t say that Leo and I were truly acquainted with one another.

Juliana Ross: Yet you’ve said that you were “half in love” with him.

Hannah: That was later, once I was living with the family, and I saw much more of him. How could anyone not be in love with him? He was—is—so handsome. And his manner is so winning. I cannot imagine there is a more charming man on earth—he has this way about him that immediately puts one at ease. It would have been impossible not to fall a little in love with him.

Juliana Ross: Naturally I don’t want to reveal anything of the later events of Improper Relations, but if you might answer one last question: what would have happened if you and Leo hadn’t met in the library that afternoon?

Hannah: Very little would have happened to me. By that I mean my life would have gone on, one day after another, until I died or became too infirm to be of use to the Dorchester family. I doubt I would ever have had the strength to break free, or to ask for any kind of payment for the work I did. So I would have been trapped. Without a reference, and without any savings, I would have ended up in the workhouse. Or worse.

Juliana Ross: But Leo saved you from all of that?

Hannah: He did. He truly saved me—that is no exaggeration. When I think on my life as it once was, and as it is now, I know it to be true. Leo would disagree, of course.

Juliana Ross: What do you mean?

Hannah: He believes that I saved him.

Dorset, 1858

When Hannah’s caught watching her late husband’s cousin debauch the maid in the library, she’s mortified — but also intrigued. An unpaid companion to his aunt, she’s used to being ignored.

The black sheep of the family, Leo has nothing but his good looks and noble birth to recommend him. Hannah ought to be appalled at what she’s witnessed, but there’s something about Leo that draws her to him.

When Leo claims he can prove that women can feel desire as passionately as men, Hannah is incredulous. Her own experiences have been uninspiring. Yet she can’t bring herself to refuse his audacious proposal when he offers to tutor her in the art of lovemaking. As the tantalizing, wicked lessons continue, she begins to fear she’s losing not just her inhibitions, but her heart as well. The poorest of relations, she has nothing to offer Leo but herself. Will it be enough when their erotic education ends?

Read my review here

Buy at: Amazon – Barnes & NobleCarina PressAll Romance

An editor by profession but an historian by inclination, Juliana Ross lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and young children. In her spare time she cooks for family and friends, makes slow inroads into her weed patch of a garden, and reads romance novels (the steamier the better) on her eReader.

You can find Juliana on:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest


Juliana has generously offered an ebook copy of Improper Relations  to a lucky commenter!

All you have to do is leave a meaningful comment about the interview or you could ask either Hannah or Juliana a question.

(You can read our full giveaway policy here)

Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).

This giveaway is open to all!

Giveaway ends on Saturday, May 26th, 2012; we will announce the winner on Sunday.

Good luck!

ps. If you’d like to double your chances of winning Improper Relations and read how Juliana got THE CALL, read her guest post at Ex Libris.

About Stella

Stella is a proud bookaholic and a self-taught multilinguist in training. Besides reading, her other great passions are travelling and baking. When she is not globetrotting she lives in sunny Budapest, where she loves to spend her free time preparing (and feasting on) delicious cookies or devouring equally yummy books. Her favourite genres are urban fantasy and romance and she couldn't live without her daily dose of sunshine. Besides being the Latin Lover on BLI Stella also blogs about books and a bookish life on Ex Libris.

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Join the Discussion
  • Jeanne Miro May 10, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Hi Juliana and Hannah!

    Juliana – You are truly a gifted interviewer as well as author! I believe the Today Show could use your common sense in getting to the “heart” of the matter when interviewing their guests!

    Hannah – Since my husband is younger than I am I can understand how you may have felt conflicted at first about being drawn to Leo. I know at first when my husband and I first met he tried to hide his fears and feeling and appear merely carefree but I found that his feeling and thoughts went much deeper than that. When was the moment and what occured (without giving too much away) that made you realise who the “true” Leo was?

    • Hannah Taylor Bell May 10, 2012 at 10:04 am

      Dear Jeanne,

      My friend Juliana has offered to send you this message as I am frankly baffled by the notion of a device that sets out words like a printing press, yet without the aid of ink or paper. But she assures me she can capture my exact words and render them faithfully, so I shall have to trust her.

      I hope you do not mind if my answer is a trifle vague; too much detail, as you say, is likely to give away the ending of my story. Suffice it to say that I did not truly appreciate my Leo for the man he was until very late in our acquaintance–in fact almost too late. I realize now that the circumstances in which I had been living (unappreciated lady’s companion) had trained me, too well, to doubt myself and my instincts, and to doubt that I had a right to be happy.

      I hope you find my answer acceptable and I thank you sincerely for your interest in my story.

  • Lexi May 10, 2012 at 10:48 am

    What a great character interview, her last comment “He believes that I saved him.” was so perfect! So moving. I have to read this book now. So glad you were here so I could find out about you Juliana!

  • BlackwaterMama May 10, 2012 at 10:56 am

    What a great interview! It sounds like a wonderful story and I can’t wait to read it!

  • aurian May 10, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Very nice review, thank you ladies. Don’t enter me in the contest though, I just wanted to comment : )

  • erinf1 May 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Thanks for such a fun “interview” 🙂 I’ve had this novella on my radar for a while and I would love to read it!!! Thanks!

  • Arianne May 10, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Did u get to pick that super awesome cover?!

  • Juliana Ross May 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    As is the case with all authors at Carina, I had a lot of input into the design–in fact we’re asked to fill out a very comprehensive form with details of how the hero and heroine look as well as specific information on the period/region/genre in which the book is set. We’re also encouraged to include artwork or other book covers to give the art department a better idea of what we want.

    As you can imagine I was just blown away when I saw the cover for the first time–it was so lovely and unique and exactly what I had hoped for (but would never have had the talent to design myself).

    Even better, I saw it for the first time on my birthday! Talk about the world’s best present!

    • Stella May 11, 2012 at 5:35 am

      I agree, best present! 😀 And that cover is truly gorgeous, as I confessed, it was due to this beautiful eyecatching cover that I started reading Improper Relations, made me curious 😉

  • June May 10, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    This story sounds so great. I loved the last comment about him believing she saved him. I have this on my TBR list and can’t wait to read it. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. Is this going to be part of a series, or is it a stand alone book?

  • Juliana Ross May 10, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    I’m working on a follow-up right now that takes a minor character from Improper Relations (I won’t say which one) and tells their story. Am aiming at finishing soon, with publication (I hope) in early 2013.

    Thanks so much for your interest and I do hope you enjoy Hannah and Leo’s story!

  • Filia Oktarina May 11, 2012 at 5:27 am

    Great interview!! I like this and to see cover book,….well, very very like the cover book!!!
    I want reading this book, and i will add in my list wish.

  • sienny May 11, 2012 at 6:34 am

    Hey, lovely cover.. And a story about an older woman with a younger rake? I definitely gonna love this book

  • Rachel @ theJeepDiva May 11, 2012 at 7:09 am

    I do love the cover. It grabs your attention. The summary/review really makes me want to read this book. Love the guest post. Thanks

  • StacieD May 11, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I love character interviews! You really get a sense of Hannah’s personality in just a few questions. I love it! Congratulations on the new release!

  • Tamsyn May 11, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    I really enjoyed the interview! Especially as the heroine is older than the hero. In historical romance, it is usually an older man and a much younger woman. And that was a fabulous cover! Glad to know that you do have a say in the cover creations. Thanks for sharing.

  • Victoria Zumbrum May 11, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    I would love to read this book. It sounds very good. Please enter me in contest.

  • bn100 May 12, 2012 at 2:01 am

    Very fun interview. The book sounds good.

  • SoftFuzzySweater May 12, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Since 19th century people were so closed minded about sex, how were you able to research about Victorian mores and sexuality?

    Please enter me in the giveaway. Thank you.


  • Joy Gifford May 12, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Loved the interview, I liked getting to know Hannah alittle bit. The books sounds great, already adding to my wish list, and will definitely be watching for the follow-up. Please enter me in the contest.

  • juliana May 17, 2012 at 6:25 am

    I can’t imagine in the 18th century that a woman married a younger man. Usually the women married an old man which differed about 5-10 years apart. Well, isn’t hard to be with a younger man since the way of thinking, emotional part and the lifestyle are so different?

    • Stella May 17, 2012 at 7:27 am

      Juliana, it was quite frequent in real life since marriages in the nobility were pre-arranged by the parents/families and sometimes they married their younger sons to rich widows. (Henry VIII.’s first wife Catherine was also years (if I remember correctly about 5-7 years) older than him)

  • Natasha May 19, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Great interview! Thanks for the chance to win!

  • Emily D May 22, 2012 at 8:40 am

    What a great interview. I always love reading these and getting a little glimpse of the character outside of the book itself. This sounds like a really good book. Plus I am loving the image of Henry Cavill that I will now have in my head while reading, haha. Thanks for the chance to win!

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