A Day in the Life of a Romance Writer by Author Lauren Smith

A Day in the Life of a Romance Writer by Author Lauren SmithEver wonder what a normal day is like for an author? I know I do. Usually my imagination conjures up one of two scenarios: They hole up in a cozy office drinking coffee and writing maniacally without stopping for human interaction or sustenance…or they spend half the day writing extremely productively, then get to hang out by the pool or snuggle with a dog the rest of the day.

Romance writer Lauren Smith, author of The League of RoguesThe Surrender and Her British Stepbrother series, volunteered to give TDQ a peek at the reality of being an author. But Lauren’s not just any author – she splits her time between writing and working part time as an attorney! Keep reading to get a peek at what a normal day looks like for Lauren as she balances her careers.

I used to be a part time writer, full-time attorney. Let me just say…I don’t know how I survived four years of that. Intense is the best way to describe it. I used to write my novels in the most random and occasionally awkward of places. Think of me perched over a desk in a lounge of a courthouse bathroom basement, or instead, acrobatically using one arm to guard my notebook as I scribbled away in the middle of a long docket waiting for the judge to call my case. Lauren Smith, undercover author and attorney extraordinaire.

Well, those days behind me. I’m now a full time writer, part-time attorney. It’s a bit of a switch-up but, technically speaking (or maybe just in my heart), I have been a full-time writer all this time. When you love something and you think about it about 97% of the day – what’s more full time than that? Now I just have more hours to actively work on what I love. So what does a day in the life of romance writer look like? Follow me…

5am: I’m up and wide awake, downing my first Diet Dr. Pepper and walking the dogs. I am a total animal person. My pet crew includes a chinchilla (Churro), a betta fish (Neptune), a long-haired prissy cat (Tiki) and two dogs: a black schnauzer named (Fritz) and a wheaten terrier (Evangeline, or Evie for short).

6am: Laundry. You know those shirts don’t fold themselves….nor do those pesky socks pair up on their own. For every author, there is a special get-up they prefer to wear on a day-to-day basis while working. Much to my fashionista mother’s dismay, my writing uniform is jeans, a comfy tee and my lucky white Converse sneakers. It’s all about the comfort. If you’re thinking about what you wear, you forget to write. No Dior gowns for this girl.

7am: Hit the gym for a long run and meditate on the future of the characters in my current work in progress. Once I start running, my mind goes into a trance; you forget how much you don’t want to be, and lose yourself in the story as it unfolds in your head. Let’s face it, I love to play God. Today I’m picturing six Regency era rogues grouped in the woods just outside a Scottish castle, discussing how one goes about laying siege to a castle in order to rescue a damsel (who doesn’t in fact need rescuing). You can expect some giggles from me while I run and plan this out.

8am: Shower and eye my pajama pants wistfully. I should put on “real clothes” before ten in the morning.

10am to Noon: Work on day job assignments. It’s fun to dive into my legal work for part of the day. It helps me balance my creative side by using my logical side for a few hours. But after that work is over, I’m rip-roaring and ready to go back to the characters.

Lunch: But first, lunch and some fresh air – which means another dog walk.

1pm to 4pm: This is it. Magic time. I peer deep into my well of inspiration and drag my muse out from the bottom by her hair and force her to work with me. Picture me with a stack of verb books, Scottish Country Houses, Character Trait books, and music! Music is pivotal. I’ve got my noise cancellation headphones and my playlist loaded with Florence + The Machine, Hans Zimmer and Sia. I need just the right songs to help me imagine how those six rogues will go about seizing a castle to rescue one of their lady loves. Sometimes I have a rough day where the words don’t want to come and it feels like the characters are just standing there waiting for me to push them in a genius direction. On days like those, I have to take a step back, go on an extra walk with the dogs, listen to more music and allow the pieces to fall together themselves. As Terry Brooks, a fav author of mine, says: “Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn’t.”

4pm to 5pm: Share steamy scenes with a friend and giggle over her reactions. Then dive into my research materials to make some notes on less steamy but historically interesting topics like where men would go boxing during the regency, what sort of coach a bachelor would drive when escorting a lady to the park and what roads a rogue might use to whisk a lady away to Scotland to marry her without her family’s consent.

5pm: Stare at the stove in my house and wish it could magically make something delicious for dinner. I’m a passable cook, but I really hate it. I usually end up calling my mom and asking her what I can whip up in half an hour with minimal effort. Tonight it’s a homemade meatloaf recipe from the Molly section of my American Girl cookbook. Yes, I’ve had this cookbook for twenty years, and every recipe is fabulous.

6pm to 9pm: Turn on some TV. It feels so good to indulge in someone else’s fantasy world. But my laptop is still out so I can work on some much needed edits or check in with my friends and my readers on social media.

9pm to 10pm: I’m settling down in my bed and perusing my ever growing to-be-read pile which includes the latest Karen Robard’s book, The Meaning of Night, and The Mummy by Anne Rice.

10pm: Time for some shut-eye. The best nights end with dreams about scenes that will unfold tomorrow in my notebook. Tonight I’m imagining a super sexy blond-haired baron and how he’ll win over a fiery Scottish business woman. Man, I love being a writer!


Lauren Smith is a romance author, living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her series include The League of Rogues from Samhain Publishing, and The Surrender and Her British Stepbrother series from Grand Central Publishing. She has also written for Heroes & Heartbreakers and Bustle. For more (including cute animal photos), follow Lauren on Twitter @LSmithAuthor or laurensmithbooks.com.

Life Lessons from ‘I Was Here’ Author Gayle Forman

Life Lessons from ‘I Was Here’ Author Gayle FormanGayle Forman has a knack for writing prose not only beautiful, but impactful. Regardless of what she’s saying, it always packs an emotional punch. In honor of the paperback release of Forman’s I Was Here, we’re participating in a giveaway of Forman’s entire paperback collection –  and I’m going to share one of my favorite quotes from a Forman novel.

Forman’s Just One Day tells the story of Allyson, a girl who spends a life-changing day with a near-stranger, Willem, during a trip abroad. The follow-up book, Just One Year, tells Willem’s story as he attempts to track down Allyson, without even knowing her real name. Throughout the course of the book Willem struggles with the line between leaving everything up to fate and making his own fate. Just when Willem is starting to give up hope, he gets this much-needed reality check:

“Nothing happens without intention, Willem. Nothing. This theory of yours – life is ruled by accidents – isn’t that just one huge excuse for passivity?”

I love this quote because it doesn’t discount the fact that strange, unexpected things can happen that change the course of your life, but realistically points out the necessity of trying when there is something you want. It’s easy for teenagers to romanticize the idea of fate and things happening for a reason. It’s a nice notion, until you end up with the short end of the stick and think that’s just the way it is. But it’s really not – through Willem, Forman shows the importance of making an effort. Things may not always go your way, but sometimes they will, and you never know if you don’t try.

Keep reading for a giveaway, and let us know your favorite Gayle Forman quotes or life lessons in the comments!


And now for the giveaway! Whether you’re a longtime Gayle Forman fan looking to complete your collection, or you’re just getting started, this giveaway will give you everything you need to catch up on all things Gayle Forman.

Five winners will receive paperback copies of:

  • I Was Here
  • Just One Day / Just One Year / Just One Night (Box Set)
  • If I Stay / Where She Went (Box Set)

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Open to US addresses only. Prizing courtesy of Penguin Young Readers. Giveaway closes 2/15/16.

To learn more about Gayle Forman, visit her official website or follow her on twitter @gayleforman.

An Interview with ‘Revolution of Ivy’ Author Amy Engel

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The Revolution of Ivy author Amy Engel is a TDQ favorite, and we were thrilled to have the chance to ask her a few questions about completing The Book of Ivy duet and what she has coming up next. The Revolution of Ivy is available now, so if you’re itching to find out what is on the other side of Westfall’s fence, be sure to pick up a copy…and keep reading for our interview with Amy! Continue reading

VIDEO: An Interview with ‘The Clockwork Crown’ Author Beth Cato

(Image Credit: John Michael Dangan/The Daily Quirk)

(Image Credit: John Michael Dangan/The Daily Quirk)

The Clockwork Dagger Author Beth Cato has now published the second book of the duology, The Clockwork Crown, and The Daily Quirk got the chance to chat with Cato about it during San Diego Comic-Con. Check out the video below to hear what inspired her to write about the steampunk genre, what her favorite book was as a teenager and advice to others who want to take up the same career path as Cato! Continue reading

An Interview with ‘Hey Sunshine’ author Tia Giacalone

HEY SUNSHINE Author Tia Giacalone

HEY SUNSHINE Author Tia Giacalone

From the minute I started Hey Sunshine by Tia Giacalone I could hardly put it down. As a new mom, my time spent reading is precious, so I only save it for the best. And Hey Sunshine was definitely the best. A mix of romance and new adult fiction that kept me intrigued and smiling the whole way through. Continue reading

20 Questions with ‘Nearly Found’ Author Elle Cosimano

Elle Cosimano

Elle Cosimano

To celebrate the release of Elle Cosimano’s Nearly Found, the sequel to last year’s Nearly Gone, Elle was game enough to tackle The Daily Quirk’s version of 20 questions. Keep reading to learn more about Elle and her writing, and be sure to check out our review of the fantastically twisty and ambient Nearly Found.

Getting to know Elle

  1. Can you tell The Daily Quirk a little about yourself and how you became a writer?

I was a real estate sales and marketing professional for 14 years before I started writing. I was highly successful, but deeply unsatisfied in my career. I had always joked around that one day I would have midlife crisis, quit my job, and write a book. And with the support of my family, that’s exactly what I did. That book was Nearly Gone.

  1. Do you have any special writing habits or routines?

I spend a lot of time thinking, and I do my best thinking on the beach at the end of my street — pen in hand, toes in the sand, and headphones in my ears.

  1. How was your process writing Nearly Found similar or different than your process writing Nearly Gone?

I had a lot of creative freedom writing Nearly Gone. It was my first draft of my first book, and I had no idea if it would ever make it out into the world, so I was writing the story I wanted tell. Writing a sequel is a very different experience. Readers have hopes and expectations for the next book, and there’s a lot of internal pressure not to let my fans down. Also, the research for book 2 took me in a very different direction. I had to learn a lot about forensic science, which included a field trip to a regional forensics lab, and that was REALLY fun!

  1. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love cooking, hanging out on the beach, and spending times with my kids. I’m also a volunteer librarian at my local biblioteca, and we’re ramping up a YA book club and writing group for community teens.

  1. Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?

Holding Smoke, described as The Shawshank Redemption for teens, releases in 2016 with Disney*Hyperion. I love this book so much! I can’t wait to share it with readers. I also write short fiction on Tumblr with a talented group of YA authors. You can find my short stories here: http://hanginggardenstories.tumblr.com/TOC


What is…

  1. …the last movie or TV show you watched that made you cry? I bawled like a baby at the end of the movie Odd Thomas.
  1. …your favorite place for fast food? I’m not a fan of big fast food chains. There’s a cool little taquería near my house called Paco’s that serves up some amazing shrimp tacos.
  1. …your biggest pet peeve? Unmade beds. I’m like the Princess and the Pea when it comes to wrinkly sheets.
  1. …your favorite smell? Homecooking.
  1. …a song you never get tired of hearing? Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks
  1. …your biggest guilty pleasure? Chocolate. I have a terrible sweet tooth.
  1. …your favorite website or app for killing time? Facebook. We have a love/hate relationship, but dammit Facebook, I can’t quit you!
  1. …a hobby or skill you wish you had? Math.
  1. …the last book you read that you just couldn’t put down? Soulprint by Megan Miranda.
  1. …your go-to movie theater snack? Sno-Caps.


Would you rather…

  1. …eat pizza every day or eat ice cream every day? Ice Cream
  1. …have free Starbucks for a year or free itunes music for a year? Music
  1. …travel back in time or visit the future? Back… otherwise, it spoils the surprises.
  1. …be a celebrity for a day or hang out with your favorite celebrity for a day? Neither, I’m terribly shy, and I get awkward when I fangirl.
  1. …wear only 80s clothes and hairstyles forever or wear only 90s clothes and hairstyles forever? 80s, but only if I can listen to all the music too.

Thanks to Elle Cosimano for gamely participating in Twenty Questions! You can check out Elle on her official website or Twitter.


An Interview with ‘Miss Mayhem’ Author Rachel Hawkins

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If you read just a few pages of Rachel Hawkins’ Rebel Belle series, you will definitely notice that Hawkins has a fantastic sense of humor. We love to have a laugh here at The Daily Quirk, so to celebrate the release of the second book in Hawkins’ Rebel Belle series, Miss Mayhem, Rachel answered a few questions from The Daily Quirk about her books, along with a few silly ones thrown in for good measure! Continue reading

An Exclusive Interview with Author Amy Engel

Author Amy Engel (Image Credit: Amy Engel)

Author Amy Engel (Image Credit: Amy Engel)

Debut author Amy Engel may be fairly new to the world of young adult fiction, but you would never know it from her twisty and addictive first novel, The Book of IvyIvy has a bit of everything, from romance to dystopia to espionage, and trust me – you’ll be hooked after just a couple of chapters. Amy was kind enough to answer a few of The Daily Quirk’s questions about her new path as an author and where The Book of Ivy series is headed.

The Daily Quirk: Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how you became a writer?

Amy Engel: I always wanted to be a writer, but after college I took the practical route and went to law school. I worked as a criminal defense attorney after graduation and then left the practice of law to stay home with my kids. I promised myself that I would try writing a book and just see what happened. I wrote one novel that wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t very good, either, so I trunked it. After that, I got the idea for The Book of Ivy and was lucky enough to have Entangled Teen pick it up.

TDQWhat was your inspiration for The Book of Ivy? Does the finished story pretty well match up with your original idea, or did it evolve as you wrote?

AE: I’m not really sure what my inspiration was for the book, to be honest. I’ve always been interested in family dynamics and the ways our families influence us, both for good and for ill. But the initial idea pretty much came to me in a flash one morning. I had just a broad idea for the story and knew how I wanted it to begin and how I wanted it to end. The rest was pretty murky and definitely evolved as I wrote. I’m not a writer who outlines; I like discovering the book as I write.

TDQFor me The Book of Ivy was a page-turner; once I started reading I could have kept going for a few hours straight until I finished. What’s the last book you read that gave you that feeling?

AE: First, I’m so glad Ivy was a page turner for you. I definitely wanted readers to be engaged with the story. As for the last page turner I read, it was probably Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell. I was late to the party on that book, but once I began reading I devoured it!

TDQ: What has been the most exciting part of being a published author?

AE: With writing, you often feel like you’re existing in a vacuum. You are alone and writing and pretty much living inside your own head. It’s nice to have my book out in the world where other people can read it. Ivy and Bishop have belonged to only me for so long; I love introducing them to other people.

the-book-of-ivyTDQ: How has the experience writing the conclusion to the series, The Revolution of Ivy, been different from writing the first book?

AE: I probably feel a little more pressure with the sequel. With The Book of Ivy, I was writing for myself only. Now that readers have connected with Ivy and Bishop, I feel an even stronger obligation to make sure I write the best sequel I possibly can.

TDQ: Speaking of which, The Book of Ivy ends on a pretty major cliffhanger. Is there anything at all you can tell us impatient readers about The Revolution of Ivy, or any other upcoming projects?

AE: This is a hard one because I don’t want to spoil anything major! I guess I can say that although The Revolution of Ivy is again Ivy’s story, Bishop is a huge part of who she is now, so her story wouldn’t be complete without Bishop being involved. Also, Ivy is going to learn a lot about who she is, how strong she can be, and what she has the power to endure.

Thank you, Amy, for taking the time to answer our questions! You can learn more about Amy Engel on her website or by following her on Twitter.

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WHATEVER LIFE THROWS AT YOU / Author Julie Cross (Image Credit: Julie Cross)

An Exclusive Interview with Author Julie Cross

WHATEVER LIFE THROWS AT YOU / Author Julie Cross (Image Credit: Julie Cross)

WHATEVER LIFE THROWS AT YOU / Author Julie Cross (Image Credit: Julie Cross)

Julie Cross is an ambitious lady. Here’s how I know: not only is Cross a former competitive gymnast and coach – a sport that requires extreme commitment and attention to detail – but she also tackled time travel in her first young adult series, Tempest. Time travel and triple twists are no small potatoes, folks. Continue reading

Author Louisa Treger (Image Credit: Nick Harvey)

An Exclusive Interview with ‘The Lodger’ Author Louisa Treger

Author Louisa Treger (Image Credit: Nick Harvey)

Author Louisa Treger (Image Credit: Nick Harvey)

For many authors, tackling a true story and turning it into a work of fiction may seem like a daunting task. Louisa Treger did just that in her debut novel, The Lodger. The novel follows the life of the writer Dorothy Richardson through her affair with famed author H.G. Wells, many personal tragedies, and the beginnings of her own writing career (read our review).

Treger was kind enough to chat with us about how she discovered Dorothy Richardson’s story, what it was like to write a novel based on real people and events, and her upcoming projects.

The Daily Quirk: Could you please tell us a little about yourself?

Louisa Treger: I was born and bred in London which is the setting of this novel, and I actually started life as a violinist. That was my passion growing up. I went to music college, I freelanced for a couple of years – you know, played in orchestras and taught – and then switched to English and got a degree in English Literature and started writing fiction. I then had three children fairly quickly which led to a sort of career hiatus, and I carried on writing fiction.

TDQ: How did you become interested in Dorothy Richardson?

LT: I found her by accident. I’d been interested in Virginia Woolf, and I wanted to write actually a Ph.D. thesis about Virginia Woolf, but it was difficult to find something fresh to say because so much has been written about her. And then I found this review that she’d written about Dorothy Richardson, and that’s how I became interested in Dorothy. Virginia said, ‘Miss Dorothy Richardson has invented a sentence which we might call the psychological sentence of the feminine gender. It’s a more elastic fiber than the old, capable of stretching to the extreme, of suspending the frailest particles, of enveloping the vaguest shapes.’ And I was really riveted by that. I thought, ‘Who is she? She seems to have reinvented the English language.’ And that was the start of my fascination with her.

TDQ: What was it like to write a novel based on real people and real events?

LT: It was quite a responsibility. Especially, it was one of those characters, H.G. Wells, who was very well known. And I felt that Dorothy deserves to be better known. So I did feel it was a responsibility. What I liked was I knew there was a really interesting story there. I was absolutely sure of that. And there was a framework of facts on which to hang my story, but at the same time I had a bit of wiggle room to be creative and sort of put in my own interpretations. I think that’s a very nice balance to have.

TDQ: The Lodger deals with many heavy issues – mental health, sexuality, adultery to name a few – were there any particular scenes or storylines that were challenging to write?

LT: I found it all really interesting, so I don’t think it was particularly challenging. I mean, I haven’t been in any of those situations, really, that she’s been in, but I felt very close to her. So I wouldn’t say there was anything that was more challenging than anything else. I admired her for not letting any of it break her. She just kept going. She was incredibly strong. Also, in that day and age, you couldn’t really talk about anything in the way that we do now. So I thought that was interesting as well. She really had to deal with a lot without speaking of it, but she found herself through writing. That was her salvation in the end.

TDQ: What was your favorite scene to write?

LT: H.G. Wells. I must say, I developed a bit of a crush on him while I was writing. I found him completely fascinating. I also found his marriage very interesting. He was so charismatic, really, and not particularly good looking, but he just won all these women over with his intellect and by making them feel that he was interested in their thoughts as well as their physical qualities. So I think in a way, I was won over by him in the same way that he won over all his girlfriends. I found those qualities very appealing. I was also interested in his open marriage, the sort of agreement he had with his wife that he would go off and sort of do his thing and have other relationships, but he was devoted to her. He couldn’t do without her.

LodgerTDQ: What about Dorothy’s story do you think will appeal to today’s readers?

LT: I think in a way she was a very modern character. A lot of the dilemmas she faced are very modern dilemmas like the work-life balance and being independent and being single. I hope that readers will very much relate to those issues. I think Dorothy trying to be independent and in a low-paying job, deciding not to marry and being independent in a big city, I think those are really important issues to girls still today.

TDQ: Do you have any projects currently in the works?

LT: I just submitted my second novel to my agent for his comments. So, yes, I have a second novel in the pipelines. It’s also sort of got a foot in history. It’s about the Kindertransport, which was a sort of rescue mission that brought thousands of Jewish children from Nazi occupied Europe to safety in England. And I’ve got an idea for a third novel as well, so I hope to write many more novels.

TDQ: What is a book you’ve read recently that you’ve particularly enjoyed?

LT: A debut novel by an English author called Sara Perry called After Me Comes the Flood. I really loved that. I thought it was so beautifully written, and she really created a very eerie, strange atmosphere. Another one I really loved was The Medici Boy by John L’Heroux, and it was about the sculptor Donatello and it was set in fourteenth century Florence. It was just extraordinarily vivid. You really feel like you were just seized and put in this little hot street in Florence. Few novels have just grabbed me like that.

The Daily Quirk would like to thank Author Louisa Treger for taking the time to chat. To find out more about Treger and her books, visit her Official Site and follow her on Twitter.

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Abbie Reetz
Hi! I’m Abbie. I’m a Wisconsin girl who just completed a degree in journalism, which I hope will help me achieve my goal of reading books and writing about them for a living. In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching Doctor Who and hanging out with my boyfriend and his two cats.
Check out more from Abbie Reetz on TDQ…

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Author James Dashner with TDQ Correspondent Tara Robinson (Image Credit: Sean Torenli / The Daily Quirk)

VIDEO: An Exclusive Interview with ‘The Maze Runner’ Author James Dashner!

Author James Dashner with TDQ Correspondent Tara Robinson (Image Credit: Sean Torenli / The Daily Quirk)

Author James Dashner with TDQ Correspondent Tara Robinson (Image Credit: Sean Torenli / The Daily Quirk)

The Daily Quirk was thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with James Dashner, best-selling author of the wildly popular The Maze Runner series, at this year’s New York Comic-Con. A self-proclaimed movie nut, Dashner tells us that his successful book franchise making the big transition from the page to the big screen is “the highlight of his career.” In addition to insight into the new film and its sequels to come, the Dashner also opened up about his writing process and current works in progress, specifically The Morality Doctrine series. Dashner proves that his amazing success has not caused him to stray from a humble nature (he confided that in the world of the maze, he probably would have strayed from heroics and been a slopper) and offers words of advice to all aspiring writers out there. For all of this and more, check out the video below! Continue reading

Morgan Matson (Image Credit: Sean Torenli / The Daily Quirk)

VIDEO: An Exclusive Interview with ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ Author Morgan Matson

Morgan Matson (Image Credit: Sean Torenli / The Daily Quirk)

Morgan Matson (Image Credit: Sean Torenli / The Daily Quirk)

The Daily Quirk met up with author Morgan Matson after her Zola Books signing at the inaugural BookCon in New York City for an exclusive interview about her latest Young Adult novel, Since You’ve Been Gone. Watch the interview below to find out more about Matson, what inspires her as a writer and Since You’ve Been Gone. Continue reading

VIDEO: An Exclusive Interview with ‘Memory of Water’ Author Emmi Itäranta

Emmi Itäranta (Image Credit: Sean Torenli / The Daily Quirk)

Emmi Itäranta (Image Credit: Sean Torenli / The Daily Quirk)

The Daily Quirk met up with author Emmi Itäranta after her Zola Books signing at the inaugural BookCon in New York City for an exclusive interview about her debut novel, Memory of Water. Watch the interview below to find out more about Itäranta, Memory of Water and what inspired the award-winning speculative novel. Continue reading

Barbara Taylor Bradford (Image Credit: Sean Torenli / The Daily Quirk)

VIDEO: An Exclusive Interview with Author Barbara Taylor Bradford

Barbara Taylor Bradford (Image Credit: Sean Torenli / The Daily Quirk)

Barbara Taylor Bradford (Image Credit: Sean Torenli / The Daily Quirk)

The Daily Quirk sat down with prolific author Barbara Taylor Bradford after her Zola Books signing at the inaugural BookCon in New York City for an exclusive interview about her latest novel, Cavendon Hall. Watch the interview below to find out more about Bradford, Cavendon Hall and what inspired the engaging saga of love, war and family struggle. Continue reading