Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Belle of the (Kingsborough) Ball: Sophie Barnes Waltzes into Print | RT Book Reviews

Belle of the (Kingsborough) Ball: Sophie Barnes Waltzes into Print


I recently had the pleasure of visiting RT Book Reviews for a lovely chat with my editor, Erika Tsang. Here's what we had to say to each other:

Erika: I’m delighted to introduce everyone to Sophie Barnes, one of Avon’s rising stars. How does it feel, Sophie, to be a multi-platform author?
Sophie: I’m still waiting for it to sink in. Having had one of my Impulse books, How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back, available at Target, I know how wonderful it is to walk into a store and find your book there on the shelf. I’m all for digital, but being fond of paper books, this move has really meant a lot to me. It’s exciting to know that my books will be widely available to readers both digitally and traditionally.
Erika: The Trouble With Being a Duke started out as an idea for a novella for an anthology. How did it become the start of a trilogy instead?
Sophie: Well, after submitting my proposal for the anthology, I received a phone call from my previous editor inquiring if I’d be interested in turning it into a three-part series for print. My answer was, “Absolutely!” Of course, I had to expand on my plot in order to do this, but the idea of using the Kingsborough Ball as the starting point for each book was an intriguing one. The Trouble With Being A Duke is the story that stays true to my original plan for the novella. For the sequels, new characters were invented, and since I wanted to avoid too many plot overlaps between the three books, I decided that this would be easier to achieve if the heroes and heroines were not related to each other. Instead, they’re friends and acquaintances who are tied to each other by secondary characters and by the Kingsborough Ball shooting, at which they are all present.
Erika: Some writers think publishing with a digital-first imprint is different than a traditional imprint. What do you think? Are there differences? What hasn’t changed?
Sophie: The most tangible difference is the ‘bookstore element,’ since I’m hoping to attract those readers who don’t buy their books online. But even with Impulse, it’s not all digital like some might think, it’s print on demand. As far as the writing and publicity goes however, you’re absolutely right: there’s very little difference. I’m working with the same incredible team now as I was before and I could not be happier. My work requirement is still the same of course, although it doesn’t really feel like work at all considering how much I enjoy it.
Erika: Is there anything you’d like to add for aspiring writers?
Sophie: I think it’s important to believe in yourself and your ability to get published, whether digitally or traditionally. And don’t dismiss the digital opportunities for they might lead to print, if that’s what you’re hoping for. In my opinion, it’s best to get your foot in the door as soon as possible. Once that’s done, you can set a new goal for yourself. However, it is hard work — something most people talk about doing but never actually accomplish. So if you’ve actually finished a manuscript, well done! Continue to work at the craft — there’s always room for improvement. After all, writing is a continuous learning experience, so don’t be overly protective of your work, but listen to the advice you receive along the way — changing a scene or two may just be the key to getting published.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Q&A with Sophie Barnes

Romance authors seem to have an unending love-affair with fairytales. Why do you think that is—and what drew you to this much-loved fairytale?
When it comes to romance, we all long for the hero and heroine to live happily ever after. The greater the obstacles in their way, the greater our tendency to cheer them on, and let’s face it, Cinderella did not have it easy. I think I was drawn to this particular fairy-tale partly because it’s one of my all-time favorites, but also because it centers on something we can all relate to – the wish for a once in a lifetime opportunity to make our dreams come true. Compared to other fairy-tales, it’s probably also the one that’s easiest to adapt to everyday life. We can remove the fairy godmother and her magic wand without compromising the heart of the story. What we’re left with, is a young woman trapped in a difficult situation. When she’s offered the chance of a happily ever after, we want her to succeed, perhaps because inside every one of us there’s a little bit of Cinderella – that wish…what if?
The Kingsborough Ball turns out to be a lively affair, to say the least: gunshots, fireworks, scandals and stolen kisses abound! Where did you come up with the idea to create a whole series revolving around one, glorious evening?
To be honest, it all began with an idea for a short novella with Cinderella as the underlying theme. After submitting my proposal, my lovely editor called, offering me a three book deal instead. I felt like I’d won the lottery, so in a way that was definitely a “Cinderella moment” for me. I no longer had a novella to write, but three full-length novels. While they would all have the Kingsborough Ball as a back drop, I wanted each story to be capable of standing alone without the reader feeling as if they were re-reading the previous story from a different character’s perspective. To achieve this, I gave all the heroes and heroines one event they would all have in common – the Kingsborough Ball shooting. Outside of that, they all have their own separate stories to live, each with their own obstacles and villains.
You’ve had something of a fairytale romance yourself—getting married to the same man three different times in three different dresses is sigh-inducing and swoon-worthy. Do you draw on your own experiences in love and marriage when you write?
Absolutely. It says on my website that my heroes are based on my husband, and that’s definitely true. He has helped me so much by offering me an insight into how a man would react or what he might say in a given situation, and in fact, many of the dialogues between my heroes and heroines are based on conversations that he and I have had. Additionally, we know how wonderful it is to be together and how difficult it is to be apart. When I write, I draw on these emotions. In fact, I believe that being married and knowing what it’s like to care about someone else so deeply, to constantly worry about their welfare, makes me a better writer.
You’re the first historical romance author to migrate from Avon Impulse’s digital-first to Avon’s printed line. What was your publishing journey like?
It truly has been a whirlwind experience – I’ve achieved a lot in a very short time, but I’ve also worked extremely hard at it. Four years ago, I wrote to one of my all-time favorite authors in regards to one of her books. In my email, I mentioned that I was living in Ghana and that I was working on a manuscript (How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back). She responded with something along the lines of, “how interesting – one of the editors at Avon (aka, the fabulous Esi Sogah) is from Ghana.” A year passed and I moved back to the US, upon which I wrote to this wonderful author again, inquiring if there was any chance at all that she might be able to put me in touch with Esi directly. Naturally, I expected a categorical “no”, but as I’ve since come to discover, everyone in the romance book industry is so sweet and helpful. Esi wrote to me shortly after asking to see my manuscript, and in August 2011 I received my first offer.
What’s next for Sophie Barnes and The Kingsborough Ball?
I’m currently working on the third book in the series which will be a friends to lovers story in which the assassin at the ball is revealed. This one will have a few twists and turns as our heroine finds herself in mortal danger and the hero sets out to rescue her. I think readers will be surprised by the villain’s identity – at least I hope they will, because it’s going to be someone completely unexpected. Once that wraps up I’ve a whole bunch of story ideas to work on. I’ll have to decide which one of them to pick for my next proposal.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Having just returned from this year's RWA in Atlanta, I thought I'd share a few of my pictures with you. This was my first conference and while it was a bit overwhelming to begin with, I can honestly say that it was an incredible experience, not only because of what I learned while I was there, but also because of the friends I made. Avon had a wonderful program planned for everyone which included not only signings (one was even an e-book signing in cooperation with Autography) but also a great party with a super cool photo-booth opportunity!

The Literacy signing at RWA in Atlanta - July 17th

With the lovely Katherine Ashe at the Avon signing
Had a great time talking to Sarah MacLean at the Avon party. She won the Rita for best historical romance which I thought was very well deserved. Congratulations, Sarah!
Had a blast with Jennifer Ryan (photo-booth moment)

Check out the massive "blinking" ring on my finger! Avon had lots of goodies waiting for us at the party

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tasty Summer Reads

I'm so thrilled to have been included in this wonderful summer blog hop which includes some really wonderful romance authors! My fellow author from the Five Golden Rings anthology, Viv Lorret invited me to join and in return I have invited the fabulous Kristin Vayden and Bronwen Evans to tell us what they're currently working on, so be sure to stop by their blogs as well.

Here's how the hop works: every author along the hop invites other authors to answer five questions about their current summer release or WIP (work in progress) plus a tasty recipe of their choice for you all to enjoy =)

Right now, I'm trying to cram in as many words as possible for The Danger In Tempting An Earl (book 3 in my Kingsborough Ball series) before heading off to the RWA conference in Atlanta next week. The first book in the series (The Trouble With Being A Duke) is all set to go on sale August 27th while book 2 (The Scandal In Kissing An Heir) is due for release December 31st.

Now, on to the questions:

1)When writing are you a snacker? If so, sweet or salty?
When I finally manage to steer my attention away from all the social media and

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


My copy edits for THE SCANDAL IN KISSING AN HEIR arrived yesterday so I'm going over those at the moment as they're due back with my editor on July 1st. Meanwhile, I'm just over 1/4 of the way through my manuscript for the third book in the Kingsborough Ball series starring Lucien Marvaine, Earl of Roxberry and the recently widowed Katherine Langdon. We're going from friends to lovers on this one with quite a bit of intrigue/action piled on for good measure =)

Monday, June 3, 2013


I have to say that I am so impressed by the talent at Avon - I could just sit and look at this cover all day. How amazing it is that it's actually on the front of one of my books!!! I couldn't be happier =)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Writing tip - open with a question

When embarking on a new project, the hardest thing for me is always that first sentence. There's a reason for that, I think, because it's that first sentence that's going to grab the reader's attention and hold it for long enough to get them hooked on the story. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received, was to open with a sentence that creates a question in the mind of the reader. As an example, I'll use the first sentence I wrote for THE SECRET LIFE OF LADY LUCINDA which reads as follows, "Run, Lucy, run - as fast as you can!"
The reader is being dropped, right in the middle of the action, and immediately wonders who Lucy is, why she's being told to run and what the urgency might be, but in order to find out, they'll have to keep on reading. Creating questions like this, not only at the beginning but throughout your book is what makes it impossible for the reader to put your book down, because they'll want to know what happens next, especially when such questions are placed at the end of chapters. It seems like such a simple trick really, and yet it's something that (at least for me) requires a conscious effort. In the end however, it's likely to make the difference between a page turner and a book that's easily put aside half way through, so I'd say it's well worth spending some time on =)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Work in progress...

I've been driving myself mad trying to figure out how to make this work - a short story (or perhaps one that will turn into a really long one), written by anyone willing to add a few lines here and there. In other words, a bit of creative fun for anyone with a bit of a writer in them =)
Here's how it's going to work: I'll write the first bit, and since I am a Regency romance writer, I will be starting out in that era - apologies to anyone hoping this would be contemporary or paranormal etc. If you want to add to the story, please do so in the comment section below. I will check in regularly to copy and paste your bit into the post, making sure to add your user name in parenthesis next to your contribution. Therefore, if you would like to add something, please check the latest comment first since this will be where the story has left off. Thank you so much to anyone willing to participate - I'm hoping that this will be a great deal of fun for us all!!!
NB: This is a collaboration in creativity - not something that will ever be published! You may make as many contributions as you like, though each one should be limited to one paragraph or eight lines of dialogue and with someone else posting in between. Also, I reserve the right to permanently delete any posts that I consider to be inappropriate for this blog. Thanks!

London, England, 1815

(Sophie Barnes) A loud crack split the air, scattering the birds that had still been resting peacefully in their nests. Nigel Bainley, Earl of Foxwood, blinked. To his astonishment he was still standing upright instead of lying lifeless on the rain drenched grass, which was what he'd expected. Squinting, he peered through the fog as it sifted between the trees, trying to locate his opponent - a youth whose life was rapidly turning into a more reckless one than his own. By God, he'd barely said two words in reference to the delightful attributes of the lad's sister when he'd been called out. Complete madness to his way of thinking, but then again, he didn't have any sister's, so perhaps that explained why he couldn't quite comprehend why anyone would find the words 'lusciously ripe' so offensive.
(Marla Gollady) He could not help it if the lad's sister was exactly as he described, a "lusciously ripe" debutant. Brothers were a strange breed, one, he again could not comprehend, being an only child.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Scandal In Kissing An Heir

It looks as if I'm finally done and ready to send my 99,000 word manuscript over to my editor. My deadline is April 15th, so I'm going to hold on to it just a little while yet. I don't know, but I always have this feeling of apprehension when my books leave my hands for the very first time so for now I'm just enjoying the relief that comes with having written the final word. It's strange in a way, having had my daily word count shaping each day for the past 4 months with a concrete purpose. I feel a bit adrift now that I'm done, but that won't last too long. There's still the third book in the series for me to get started on and then of course I have new proposals to send to my editor, but for the rest of this week I'm going to spend some time on my house and garden together with my family. Spring is here and after being cooped up inside the whole winter, I cannot wait to get out and take a breath of fresh air!

Monday, February 25, 2013

I am moving from Impulse to Print!

Hello everyone!

I've been waiting so long to share this with all of you and am absolutely thrilled to finally announce that I am moving from Impulse to Print! If you'd like to know how this came about, please read on =)

In May of 2012, after submitting a proposal for Five Golden Rings, my editor called to ask if I would be interested in turning my idea into a three book series instead. I was thrilled with the offer, although, after hanging up the phone and jumping up & down with excitement a few times, I realized I now had two problems: one, I would have to think of a different idea for Five Golden Rings, and two, I would have to turn my idea for a short novella into three full-length novels. In the end, the first novel in the series, THE TROUBLE WITH BEING A DUKE, is the one that's based on my original idea while I thought up three new concepts for the sequels. All three books have two things in common though - the heroes and heroines all make an appearance at the infamous Kingsborough Ball, and they're all gathered in the same spot when one of them gets shot by an assassin.
From a duke who falls in love with the daughter of a carriage driver (who's also practically engaged to another man), to a lady who's feigned insanity to avoid being married off to an old relic and a widow who will risk her life to protect her daughter when the past comes back to haunt her - prepare yourselves for the fairytale adventure that the Kingsborough Ball will bring.

The Trouble With Being A Duke is now available for pre-order and will be in stores on August 27th 2013. For more information and to watch the trailer, please visit my website at: www.sophiebarnes.com

Thank you so much everyone! I know that this opportunity is largely due to your wonderful support.
With the very best wishes,


Get Your Own Copy: Amazon | B&n  |  Harper Collins | BAM | Powell's

Monday, January 28, 2013

Giveaway - A Valentine’s Day Gone Awry

Leonora Compton and Connor Talbot, The Earl of Redfirn (Five Golden Rings) were affianced at Christmas. They are now looking forward to a March wedding with great anticipation, but in the meantime, there’s a Valentine’s Day for them to celebrate.

It was impossible for Connor to relax as he strode through the foyer of the theatre, dressed in his evening black.
 Christ, what a day!
To think it could be so difficult to pull off a surprise was unfathomable. Who would have thought that getting Leonora to the right place at the right time would be such a task? He’d lost track of how many times he’d had to alter his plans because of some infernal obstacle.
It was now eight o’clock in the evening, no less than ten hours since he’d first arrived upon Leonora’s doorstep, intent on taking her out for a morning ride, only to discover that she wasn’t at home. From what he’d understood, some emergency situation pertaining to Lady Rowena (the latest unmarried lady under Leonora’s protection) and Lord Vanick (the current candidate for Lady Rowena’s hand) had arisen. Muttering an oath as he climbed the stairs to the first floor of the theatre, Connor pictured Leonora hurrying off to save whatever disaster had befallen Lady Rowena without a single thought for herself – or him. A smile tugged at the corner of his lips. If there was a match to be made, then God help the unfortunate fellow who happened to get in Leonora’s way. It was one of the things he loved about her – her investment in other people’s future happiness.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A day in the life of a historical romance novelist

Becoming a recognized romance writer has been such a whirlwind experience for me that I still can’t quite believe it is happening. How great is it to be able to do what you love day in and day out, not just as a hobby, but because people actually have a genuine interest in your work?

Having only recently begun to share the details of my writing career with people, I’ve been met with an astounding amount of support and congratulations, usually followed by tons of questions about the genre and my plots in particular. I think a lot of people are under the assumption that my days must be truly extraordinary to inspire such stories. Well … occasionally, but most days are not.

My life revolves around my family – my wonderful husband and incredible boys whom I love with all my heart and soul. The stories I write are mostly fiction, meant to entertain and

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Secret Life of Lady Lucinda - Chapter 1

Chapter One
London, 1817

William Summersby stared into the darkness that surrounded the terrace of Trenton House. He’d stepped outside with his father in order to escape the squeeze inside the ballroom. Taking a sip from the glass of Champagne in his hand, he shot a quick glance in his father’s direction. “I’ve made up my mind, Papa.”
Bryce said nothing in response to this, but merely waited for his son to continue, the cigar he held in his hand seemingly forgotten for the moment.
“I’ve decided to marry.”