Welcome to Tea with Mrs B, an author interview series. Here to share a pot of tea and to chat about her brand new book, Illegal Love, is Leanne Lovegrove.
Leanne Lovegrove is a lawyer, wife and mother and a lover of romance and reading. Her law career has caused her addiction to coffee (and Pinot Noir) but provides her with countless story ideas. Leanne lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband and three children.
Hello Leanne. It is my pleasure to warmly welcome you to my blog, Mrs B’s Book Reviews. Thank you for joining me for Tea with Mrs B, an author interview series. To set the mood for our tea infused interview, what is your preferred beverage, tea, coffee or other? And side accompaniment, scone, cake or other?
Thank you for having me, Mrs B!
I love both tea and coffee. I usually have a flat white (or two!) in the morning and I’ll drink it alone, and in the afternoon I love a cup of orange pekoe tea with a square of dark chocolate.
Can you tell us what genres you write for and how many books you have had published?
I write contemporary romance and Illegal Love is my second novel. Unexpected Delivery was released last year and it is set mainly in a fictional and small country town. Illegal Love is set in Brisbane, but both are contemporary stories. I also love historical fiction and I have written a first draft of my next novel and it is historical, set in Tasmania in the 1950s. In the future, I hope to write both contemporary and historical fiction or perhaps a combination of both!
What came first in the creation of the novel – the title, plot, characters or setting when you first set out to write Illegal Love?
For Illegal Love, it was a little bit of both character and plot. I had a clear idea of the bikie plot and how my main male character would come unstuck and the dilemmas he would then face because of his actions. I actually then thought of Kate as I wanted the opposite personality type to Nick, a sweet, happy and fun female lead but with a tragic past. I also knew quite early that I wanted this to be a more urban book than my previous novel. But I also wanted there to be an exotic location and I came up with Hoi An, Vietnam that I visited a couple of years ago with my family.
How different was the process of writing Illegal Love, compared to your previous novel, Unexpected Delivery?
It was really similar, excepting I had learned a lot from the writing of my first novel. I think the editing of Illegal Love was much harder and I wrote many more drafts of this novel than I did of my first. And again, I’ve learned a lot since the writing of this one, too.
What ingredients do you feel are necessary to compose a successful contemporary romance based novel?
I think setting is vital and strong and well developed main characters who suffer adversity but triumph in the end. It’s also important that the reader likes and can empathise with the characters, too. With contemporary fiction, there also needs to be issues relevant to modern times.
Where did the inspiration for your characters come from?
In Illegal Love, my main female character, Kate, is a teacher. My inspiration for her came from a fantastic teacher that all three of my children had in primary school. She was an inspiring, nurturing and fun teacher who had a voracious approach to life and was always happy. Of course, Kate has a tragic past and that is all made up. My image of Kate might look a little bit like this teacher too!
Nick is inspired by the lawyers in our community who defend criminals and how we often hear of them falling from grace when we expect them to be above reproach. I thought this was a fascinating concept and I wondered what circumstances made people act like this. Of course, Nick doesn’t act in any criminal manner but veers off the course of the career he’d envisaged. He is actually a chivalrous and caring tough guy but when it comes to any of the females in his life, he is a big softie.
And Brittany Bartholomew is a combination of all the mothers I’ve met rolled up into one character. She was so much fun to write.
What do you hope readers will take away from reading Illegal Love?
All I really hope is that readers enjoy the story and it provides a couple of hours of escapism for them. I hope it’s a pleasurable experience.
How long did it take you to write Illegal Love?
The first draft was about six months, but the editing took forever because I rewrote the novel many times. From start to finish was about two years.
If Illegal Love made it to the big screen, who would you like to cast?
Easy! Sam Heughan as Nick (his kilt exchanged for sharp, power suits) and Emily Blunt as Kate. Swoon!
How do you balance life with writing?
I still work as a lawyer and juggle work with home life and my passion for writing. I squeeze writing in wherever and whenever I can. Of course, this means evenings and weekends predominately. It’s a juggle and I’m sure my family thinks I am either always typing away at the computer or have my nose in a book! They tolerate it because they know how much I love it.
What is next on the horizon for Leanne Lovegrove? Do you have any writing projects you would like to share with us?
I’m very excited about my next novel. I travelled to Bruny Island off Tasmania a couple of years ago at Christmas time. When I visited the lighthouse on Cape Bruny, the image of a young woman came to me very clearly and then her story started to form. That has never happened before! I spent the remainder of the trip ruminating about the book. I loved writing that first draft and cannot wait to go back and read and edit that story to make it shine.
What 2019 book releases are you most excited to read?
I have just read and loved The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley. It has everything a great book needs – a rambling old English manor house, unforgettable characters, secrets, love, loss and tragedy. I raced through it and thoroughly enjoyed it. I also devoured Natasha Lester’s recent release. I’m looking forward to the next one by Paige Toon, If You Could Go Anywhere and the next release by Rachael Johns later in the year.
Finally, wrapping up our tea themed interview, who would you most like to share a pot of tea with?
Kate Morton – isn’t she fabulous? I would just want to sit with her and soak up her brilliance.
Thank you for taking the time to visit Mrs B’s Book Reviews for Tea with Mrs B Leanne. Congratulations on the publication of Illegal Love!
Thank you so much for having me and supporting my books. x
Kate and Nick should never have fallen in love.
Three years ago, Kate Penrose lost her husband in a tragic accident on their honeymoon. Now, she’s trying to piece her life back together, focus on her career as a teacher and avoid any future heartbreak.
Nick Harding is a successful criminal defence lawyer. He’s invincible, that is, until he can’t acquit the leader of the Warlocks motorcycle gang on violent offences. The gang aren’t happy. Nick is no longer bulletproof as the Warlocks seek revenge. Above all else, Nick must keep his thirteen-year-old daughter safe.
As Kate and Nick fall for each other, the gang’s escalating threats place their lives in danger.
Kate has to decide if loving Nick is worth the risk.
Purchase Links: https://books2read.com/u/mdWjVy
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