Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

The DA3 Interview & Giveaway: Lois Lanes

Maybe not exactly Lois Lane, but each book in today’s DA³ Interview features a heroine who works at a newspaper. Here, in order by chronological setting, are the books:

Seducing Mr. Knightly

FIRST LINE: Some things are simply true: the earth rotates around the sun, Monday follows Sunday, and Miss Annabelle Swift loves Mr. Derek Knightly with a passion and purity that would be breathtaking were it not for one other simple truth: Mr. Derek Knightly pays no attention to Miss Annabelle Swift.

Words Spoken True by Ann Gabhart

FIRST LINE: Adriane Darcy’s heart pounded as the darkness settled down around her like a heavy blanket.

The Last Woman He'd Ever Date by Liz Fielding

FIRST LINE: Sir Robert Cranbook glared across the table. Even from his wheelchair and ravaged by a stroke he was an impressive man, but his hand shook as he snatched the pen his lawyer offered and signed away centuries of power and privilege.














In Seducing Mr. Knightly, Maya Rodale concludes the Regency-set Writing Girls series with Annabelle, the shy advice columnist who asks her readers’ help in attracting the attention of the man she loves from not-so-afar—he’s the paper’s owner.

Editorial wars fan the flames of the social and political unrest of 1850’s Louisville in Ann Gabhart’s Words Spoken True. Adriane writes for her father’s newspaper, but the arrival of a Northern editor challenges her beliefs.

Finally, back to Britain and the present day for Liz Fielding’s The Last Woman He’d Ever Date. Claire is the gossip columnist for a village paper, which is far from the prestigious journalistic career she had in mind for herself pre-unplanned pregnancy. One great story on the self-made millionaire in town could turn things around, though.

The interview:

Instead of the usual six-word memoir, let’s stick with the newspaper theme: A headline for your protagonist:

Maya Rodale: Lovelorn Writing Girl Attempts Audacious Schemes To Seduce Rogue

Ann Gabhart: Editor’s Daughter Defies Conventions by Writing News Stories

Liz Fielding: Single Mother Struggling To Keep Job

How your heroine came to journalism:

Maya Rodale: Annabelle entered a contest in The London Weekly, never imagining that she’d win the position of advice columnist (“Dear Annabelle”) and become one of the four scandalous and celebrated Writing Girls.

Ann Gabhart: Adriane was born to it, a newspaperman’s daughter. She grew up in the newspaper offices of her father and learned about getting out the news.

Liz Fielding: Claire Thackeray should have been a high-flying journalist. Instead she fell in love with the wrong guy, had a baby and is now writing up the women’s interest and gossip on a small town newspaper.

What readers will love about your hero:

Maya Rodale: Besides being devastatingly handsome, wealthy, and powerful… He’s a man that gives women a chance to be something more that what society allows. While he is fiercely focused on his work at the newspaper, Annabelle recognizes “the intensity with which he might love and make love to a woman—her—if only he would.”  She’s right. Oh, so right.

Ann Gabhart: Blake Garrett reports the news as it happens. He fights for what he believes and refuses to be intimidated. He works and loves with his whole being.

Liz Fielding: He’s a man hell-bent on revenge, but right from the start we see his vulnerability, and a well-developed conscience when he bathes Claire’s wounded foot.

The setting for the first kiss: 

Maya Rodale: In the drawing room…

Ann Gabhart: In a carriage…

Liz Fielding:  In a muddy ditch…

A scene you vividly remember writing:

Maya Rodale: I had spent years writing the first chapter in my head and I knew exactly what I wanted it to be. Finally sitting down to write it—in bed, on a crisp autumn day—was such a pleasure. (Take a look at chapter one!).

Ann Gabhart: The election riot scene where Blake and Adriane see the mob burning the Irish tenement houses. The history is intense and so are the characters’ reactions to what is happening and to each other.

Liz Fielding: Hal invites Claire to be his date at a charity auction. Until now, although he hasn’t been able to stay away from her, he has been planning to make her pay for what her father did to him as a boy and every scene between them is underpinned with threat. At the auction, he realises that he’s been fooling himself, that what he wants is Claire Thackeray, in his bed, in his life. On the surface the scene is all about sex, but the subtext is all about letting go of the past.

For me, the heart of a good tale of journalism lies in the ethical dilemmas. Tell us about one your heroine faces.

Maya Rodale: Annabelle receives a letter requesting advice from her rival for the hero’s affections. She’s torn between doing her job well—and thus giving advice that would thwart her own goals—or putting herself first for once. Of course, the first thing she does is stuffs the letter in a book on a high shelf and tries to forget about it.  It’s true: even romance heroines are prone to procrastination.

Ann Gabhart: In the 1850s, newspapers were how people got their news. Editors wrote fiery editorials intended to incite readers. Adriane knows her father’s editorial rants are escalating the political unrest in the city, but there’s little she can do to influence his opinions. Then she finds out her father owes one of the politicians money and she wonders if her father is reporting what he believes or what he thinks the politician wants him to believe. She wants their news stories to be truth, but at the end of the story, she is confronted with the dilemma of reporting the truth of what has happened and facing social and economic ruin or not reporting the whole story and being in a position to write the news on another day.

Liz Fielding: In order to get back onto the career path she originally envisaged, Claire needs a big story. The arrival of Hal North, the bad-boy made good, is her opportunity. He’s a person of interest but he guards is privacy well. He’s a scalp every editor would pay highly for and she knows where he comes from and all his youthful misdeeds. Then she discovers the truth about his birth and can name her price.

What’s distinctive about the role of the press in the time period of your novel?

Maya Rodale: The Writing Girl novels center around The London Weekly, a fictional but “typical” newspaper from the Regency era that is based largely on actual newspapers from that time period that I read while doing research. Those papers and the society were gossip-tastic–just like our society today. Whether The London Weekly or People Magazine, or calling hours, Twitter, salons, and Facebook, it just seems human to want to know what other people are doing and to connect with them.

Ann Gabhart: The 1850s were a decade of political unrest in America. Not only was the Civil War lurking on the horizon, but also an influx of Irish and German immigrants was settling in cities like Louisville, the setting of Words Spoken True. Some of the established citizens of these cities feared the immigrants would take over the country if they began getting elected to office. That led to election riots like “Bloody Monday” in Louisville where dozens were killed. Some people put part of the blame for the riots on newspaper editors because of how their fiery editorials incited the public.

Newspapers were how people at that time got the news. People also looked to newspapers as a means of entertainment and enjoyed reading about their own social functions and activities. These stories were generally reported in the flowery language of the Victorian age.

Liz Fielding: The present-day obsession with celebrity has led to phone hacking, bin diving journalism. Personal privacy has been lost in the rush to salivate over the latest scandal or ogle Prince Harry’s bum, all in the name of “public interest”. We have become voyeurs of other people’s intimate moments.

How was your heroine’s characterization affected by putting her to work in this particular profession?

Maya Rodale: It was a tricky balance because Annabelle is decidedly not the sort of daring girl who would do something scandalous, like write for a newspaper. And yet one of her defining characteristics is that she extremely generous, kind and helpful to others, even at her own expense. So while she would never author, say, a gossip column, she’s a natural to offer advice to anyone who asks.

Ann Gabhart: Adriane’s character was greatly influenced by her work on the newspaper. She had “ink in her blood,” which meant she could never be truly happy unless she was involved in the business of getting out the news. At this particular time period, the middle of the nineteenth century, such work was not something a lady would do or even be thought capable of doing. So Adriane had to be independent and not concerned with the rules of society.

 Liz Fielding: Claire gave up her place at a premier university to have her baby, defying her mother and her teachers who tried to persuade her to have an abortion. She’s probably the smartest reporter on her local paper, but is confined to women’s interest, reviews of the local pantomime, small stuff. Hal’s story gives her a chance to break out, but instead of excitement at the challenge, the reality of exposing someone to the public gaze makes her uncomfortable. Even when she discovers what he is planning, she hesitates to send her story to one of the big tabloid newspapers. And yes, like everyone, I read the gossip columns!

What’s coming up next? 

Maya Rodale: In addition to Seducing Mr. Knightly I’ve also published a light-hearted and humerous novella, Three Schemes and a Scandal. I’m also at work on a new series which features a contemporary heroine writing a series of historical romance novels based on her own romantic misadventures.

Ann Gabhart: My inspirational novel, Scent of Lilacs, will be re-issued in March 2013 with a new cover. Then in July, my second Rosey Corner book, Small Town Girl, will be released.

Liz Fielding: I have just finished the first draft of my second “ice cream” book. The first, Tempted By Trouble, was published a couple of years ago and I’ve now written Sorrel’s story. No title as yet.

Your favorite book at age 10:

Maya Rodale: Anne of Green Gables—which is still one of my favorite books.

Ann Gabhart: Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.

Liz Fielding: I read so much as a child and I’m trying to remember what I was reading about that age. What Katy Did Next, maybe. It’s a book I loved. Anne of Green Gables, Pamela Brown’s The Blue Door Theatre, or Noel Streatfield’s Ballet Shoes. They are all still bright in my memory.

Many thanks to Maya, Ann, and Liz. Readers, leave a comment or question for a chance to win one of the featured books.


Alison Atlee (also known as "Alyson" here at Dear Author) is fascinated by creative people and how they work, which is why she enjoys contributing author interviews to Dear Author. She likes her romance novels light on the internal monologues, twisty with the conventions, and brimming with voice. Her favorite book at age ten? "An Old-Fashioned Girl" by Louisa May Alcott.


  1. kp
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 07:57:06

    all 3 look great!

  2. SandyH
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 08:42:49

    Very interesting interview – definitely interested in reading the novels.

  3. Maya S.
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 09:13:49

    Looks like I have another series and a few new books to look out for! They look awesome!

  4. Connie Fischer
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 09:29:22

    Look at these wonderful novels – each and one of them a gem by fabulous authors. I have other novels by each of these ladies and enjoyed all of them. I’m so looking forward to reading these new ones. There are going to be some very lucky winners here. :-)

  5. laurie g
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 09:29:41

    Very interesting interview – definitely interested in reading the novels.

  6. readinrobin
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 09:40:59

    I’m trying to remember the last time I read a romance with a heroine who was a journalist, and can’t think of a single one! I guess I need to rectify that!

  7. Laura Florand
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 09:44:10

    This is fun! I like the focus around a career and three different takes on it. Maybe you should do one on clergymen heroes, since we’ve had several come up on Dear Author lately. :)

  8. erinf1
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 10:20:40

    thanks for the fun interviews! Congrats ladies on the new releases!

  9. CrystalGB
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 10:40:42

    Great interview. All the books sound so good.

  10. May
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 10:41:26

    Fun interview! :) I love Maya’s books… congrats on the release!

  11. Liz Fielding
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 10:54:20

    Thanks so much for this – great fun reading an interview around the heroine’s career. And looking forward to reading the other two authors.

  12. Julie
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 11:23:52

    What a great theme. A little early for the new Superman movie, but I’ll take it! Thanks for the interview. :)

  13. Divya S
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 11:27:15

    All these books look amazing, especially the regency one. I’ve had a soft spot for British journalism (or gossip columns) ever since Lady Whistledown.

    Divya S

  14. Readsalot81
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 11:41:55

    What a great interview :) They all sound like books I’d love to read.

  15. Janet W
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 12:31:39

    Very neat to have the books come together around a shared theme. They all sound good, especially the contemporary one. I second the notion of doing one for books about clergymen.

  16. Janet S
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 12:41:45

    Love to read about smart women who write. Thanks for the interview.

  17. Suz Glo
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 13:09:13

    Great interviews and book information. And I especially love the cover for “Words Spoken True”.

  18. Danielle Gorman
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 13:20:09

    Great interview! I loved Seducing Mr. Knightly and the other books look really good too.

  19. hapax
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 13:26:15

    All three of these are outside my usual reading comfort zone, but also look intriguing — especially for the ethical dilemmas.

  20. Maya Rodale
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 13:53:48

    Thanks so much! It’s so wonderful to be included here and I definitely found out about some books that I am ordering IMMEDIATELY. Ann, Liz, I’m excited to read your books!

  21. Karen
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 15:13:29

    These sound great and Liz Fielding is an autobuy for me. Would love to try the other 2 authors as well. Thanks!

  22. JenniferH
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 16:46:10

    I haven’t read books by any of these authors before, but each of the books sounds like an interesting read, with strong female protagonists.

  23. sarac
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 18:33:40

    I love stories about journalists.

  24. Sandy Pochapin
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 19:30:15

    Ah, the third book didn’t have someone with a Jane Austen novel character’s last name! Almost had a hat trick going there!

  25. Susan
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 20:00:06

    Maya Rodale is an auto-buy for me and I’ve enjoyed her Writing Girls. I’m interested to see what she does with her next series, as well.

    I’m not familiar with Ann Gabhart, but the book sounds interesting. Will have to check out the other “Lois Lane” books.

    Also, kudos to the ladies for remembering what they were reading when they were 10 yo. I was a voracious reader at 10, but am horrified that I can’t remember one single, specific book I read. I think it was chiseled onto stone tablets, tho.

  26. Victoria Zumbrum
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 20:16:04

    I would love to read these books. They sound very good. Thanks for the giveaway.

  27. Meg
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 20:38:04

    I agree, all three look great! I love how they take a look at different newspapers and even different types of journalism. As a journalist myself, I love to see different takes on the industry.

  28. Nancy
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 22:05:16

    I’m a huge fan of journalist heroines, especially in historical settings, so I will definitely try at least one of these books. Now to decide which one.

  29. Barbara Elness
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 22:10:31

    I loved the format of the interview, it was a lot of fun. All three books sound wonderful, especially Seducing Mr Knightly.

  30. NCKat
    Nov 08, 2012 @ 05:15:49

    I love the premise of “Seducing Mr. Knightley” but OMG, I really want to read “The Last Woman He’d Ever Date.” The description of the man in the wheelchair still with a sense of power grabbed me because I’m in wheels, too.

  31. Alyson
    Nov 08, 2012 @ 05:49:20

    @Laura Florand: Oh, I like that idea. Thanks!

  32. Alyson
    Nov 08, 2012 @ 06:04:33

    href=”″>NCKat: That’s why I sometimes go a little past the first sentence. These two work so well together.

  33. Kim
    Nov 08, 2012 @ 11:35:23

    Thanks for the interviews and plot details.

  34. Sandy Pochapin
    Nov 09, 2012 @ 15:46:29

    I think all 3 books sound terrific.

  35. Ann H. Gabhart
    Nov 09, 2012 @ 15:50:18

    Great to see so many of you interested in reading some newspaper girl stories. Loving all your comments and wishing you good luck in the drawing. Hope if you decide to read my book and/or the other two, that you will enjoy the stories. I like discovering new authors and new stories, don’t you?

    Readinrobin, it’s definitely time you tried a book with a heroine who’s a journalist.

    Susan, those stone tablet books give a whole new take to reading on a tablet. :) I’m sure you just read so many books that they overloaded your memory circuits for that age.

    Connie, thanks for reading my books. Always music to an author’s ears to hear that.

    I enjoyed being part of the interview. Thanks for including Adriane in the journalism heroines. It was fun reading about Maya and Liz’s characters too.

  36. Lobo
    Nov 09, 2012 @ 16:38:25

    I love to read about journalist heroines especially in historical settings. But all three books sounds good after this interview.

  37. Maxie Anderson
    Nov 09, 2012 @ 17:38:59

  38. Ann H. Gabhart
    Nov 09, 2012 @ 20:35:08

    @Maxie Anderson: Always fun to see your comments, Maxie. Good luck in the drawing.

  39. Fran
    Nov 10, 2012 @ 01:52:43

    They all look great! I’ve been looking for more journalist women stories since I read one about a year ago. Thanks for the opportunity!

  40. Justine
    Nov 10, 2012 @ 20:37:50

    As I read the interviews, I kept bouncing around as to which book to read first. By the way, yay for other Anne Shirley fans!

  41. Alyson
    Nov 14, 2012 @ 04:29:50

    We have a winner–Sylvie! Thanks, everyone!

  42. Liz Fielding
    Nov 16, 2012 @ 01:24:49


    Glad that scene grabbed you, NC. You might enjoy The Marriage Miracle, my Rita winning book with the heroine in a wheelchair.

%d bloggers like this: