Guest: Carolyn Jewel

In case you didn’t know, the lovely and talented Carolyn Jewel recently had a new release. Just look at that stunning cover!

I did a “Fresh Meat” post for this at H&H so you can read my thoughts on it there. Anyway, I always like knowing more about a book I enjoyed, so I came up with a bunch of potential topics for Ms. Jewel… and she decided to do mini answers on each! 


When Lily Wellston heads to the Bitterward Estate to comfort her widowed friend Caroline, she certainly does not have romance in mind. In fact the playful but level-headed Lily is amused to no end when, en route, a gypsy gifts her with a beautiful medallion, claiming it will ensnare the romantic desires of a stranger.

But Fate has other plans in the form of Caroline’s ruggedly handsome brother, the Duke of Mountjoy. One day at Bitterward and Lily can’t deny the sizzling attraction between her and the roguish duke. Nothing can come of it, of course. She’s not looking for entanglements and he’s practically engaged. But whether it’s her outgoing nature and the duke’s outlandish ways sparking off one another; or the mysterious gypsy medallion working “magic”—hearts are stirring in the most unexpected and wicked ways…

How did you come up with with Not Wicked Enough/the series? (I know it’s at least two connected books… I’m good with it being two.)

My two previous historicals, Scandal and Indiscreet, were both on the angsty side of the scale. Despite Scandal being a RITA finalist and appearing on a list of the 100 Best Romances, and despite Indiscreet winning a Booksellers Best Award, sales were, well, dismal. In 2009 and 2010, with the economy in such terrible shape, the feeling was that, no matter how good the books, readers preferred a lighter story. That being the case, my publisher was not wild about the thought of more angsty historical romances from me. It was only after I proposed writing something lighter in tone that we could move forward with a contract.

My proposal was a series of books loosely linked by a “magical” amulet, with no real magic (or is there?). As my agent will attest, I cannot write a detailed synopsis unless the book is already written. I never know exactly what the story will be until I start writing it.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned while doing research for Not Wicked Enough?

I’m afraid this won’t be very exciting to people who aren’t history nerds, but I learned a lot about Regency era door hardware. I needed to know how a doorknob might fail so as to trap my hero and heroine in a room. I was having the absolute worst time getting specific information that would answer my question, and I was beginning to think I’d have to do something completely different to achieve the outcome I intended with the scene. But then I got in contact with the president of a group of antique doorknob collectors, and he was kind enough to point me in the direction of two newsletter articles that contained everything I needed to know, with pictures and dates.

Although doorknobs existed in the Regency era (1811 to 1820) they were not the turning doorknobs we know today. Door hardware in this period had a metal plate with a knob affixed to it. The knobs, which can be quite beautifully worked, were essentially there for leverage. You grabbed the doorknob to move the door.

What made you choose Lily (the heroine) to be such a person for clothes and how much research did you have to do to come up with her outfits?

Remember when I said, I can’t write a synopsis until after the book is done? Well, this sort of thing is why. I didn’t make a conscious choice that Lily was a Regency Fashionista and Mountjoy (the hero) was not. I had no idea until I started writing.

It went kind of like this, and although I am condensing several days work, this is how it happened:

Lily has arrived at her destination late at night. It’s raining and she’s concerned that her pretty slippers might be ruined and that her gown might now have water spots. Well. Isn’t that interesting? (It was to me at the time, OK?) She sees a very tall man in the foyer with her. Very handsome. Also quiet. He has a tremendous presence, but, gee, the servant is dressed better than he his.

From that scene, it can’t be much of a surprise that a writer would really work the fact that Lily and Mountjoy are opposites in their feelings about clothes. For me, it was a key to Lily’s personality. She wanted beauty in her life. Why? Because as a child, she was not permitted to indulge her tastes. Her family didn’t have money, but now she has it. Her money permits her, in a small but not insignificant way, to prove that her controlling father no longer controls her.

As to research for the clothing, over the years, I’ve collected a really wonderful set of books, website links and images of Regency era clothing, so I had a great deal of visual information and inspiration readily at hand.

What was your favorite part of writing Not Wicked Enough? Your most hated?

For me, the worst part is the beginning, when I don’t know the characters well enough to know what situations will most challenge them and drive the story forward. The best part is when I know exactly what sets off sparks between my hero and heroine, usually at the 50-60% done mark. Then it’s mostly a matter of rewriting and rearranging the parts.

Isn’t Ms. Jewel sneaky? She basically got an interview out of me! Not the usual type we see here though. 😉 Have you read this book yet? Have you read anything by Carolyn Jewel? Do you read historical romances? Got any questions for Ms. Jewel on the nitty gritty of Not Wicked Enough

Ask away! One lucky commenter will win a gorgeous copy of Not Wicked Enough.

0 thoughts on “Guest: Carolyn Jewel

  1. myrandaroyann

    I loved this interview! It made me want to read the book right now! 😉 Carolyn’s answers were so vivid that as I was reading the interview I was really able to really picture everything you were talking about. 🙂
    A question for Carolyn: Other than the Regency era, what part of history (European or World) is most interesting to you? I’ve always been a huge Ancient History buff, particularly Ancient Egypt.

    1. Carolyn Jewel

      Myrandaroyann: Thanks! I love love love the Medieval period. Also Ancient Greece and Rome. I also love the pre-Roman English period, though I don’t know as much about that era as I like. To be honest, there’s not really a period of history I don’t like.

  2. eli yanti

    i never read Carolyn, but reading the excerpt make me interested, i will try her book.

    thanks for the interview and the excerpt 😉

  3. Mary Preston

    I never thought I would ever be interested in door knobs, but I found it fascinating. It’s astounding that for the research you needed to do, there was someone out there to help you with the answers.

    I’m looking forward to reading about the clothes Lily, the heroine, wears.

    I adore the cover.

    I’d love to read NOT WICKED ENOUGH thank you.

    1. Carolyn Jewel

      Mary: For every seemingly obscure historical fact, somewhere there are people who have expertise in that sort of fact. Particularly with physical objects, and I am very grateful that collectors are so generous with their time and knowledge.

      I know several authors who collect period objects, from Shannon Donolley who has a lot of period letters, to Candice Hern and her wonderful Regency collection.

  4. June M.

    I have not read anything by Ms. Jewel but this book really makes me want to. Thanks so much for the great interview. I think it is great that she was so determined to provide an accurate historical situation and research so thoroughly about Regency era door knobs. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of this book, it sounds really great and I would love to read it.

  5. Maureen

    I read both Scandal and Indiscreet and liked them very much. I would say that one of the things I noticed is how much detail there is in the story about the characters. This really brought the whole story alive for me.

  6. Diane D - Florida

    I’m an avid reader of Historical Romance books. There’s just something about this type of romance that really engages me. I love to follow the journey of the Hero and Heroine from the beginning of their story upto their happy ever after. Sometimes the descriptions in books are so vivid, that I can actually imagine that I’m actually there. 🙂

    I appreciate all the research that an author does to make her story more authentic. I love the front cover and the art work, her dress is absolutely stunning and the colors!!! It’s extremely eye-catching and very sensual.

    Congratulations on your new release and, for this awesome opportunity. I really look forward to reading this book.

  7. JoAnne

    I have not read books by Carolyn Jewel but do enjoy historical romances. I will give her books a try – I did enjoy the excerpt and learning more about her writing.

  8. Cathy P

    I love historical romances and NOT WICKED ENOUGH sounds like a great read. I have never read anything written by Carolyn before, but now will need to get her 2 other books, SCANDAL and INDISCREET. I loved the interview, and could see Lily and the Duke as if they were real. Looking forward to reading all three of these books. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  9. booklover1335

    I’ve been after this book ever since I saw the gorgeous cover. I happen to really like the angsty historical romances, but I guess I’m in the minority 🙁 But I also like light-hearted ones as well.

    The only historical romance I’ve read of Ms. Jewel (I’ve read some of her paranormals too) was Lord Ruin based on your recommendation Lime and it ended up being one of my favorite reads of 2011.


    Lime mentioned that this was a series? If you don’t usually don’t write a synopsis of a book prior to finish writing it, how do you plan a series, or do you just kind of go with it?

    1. Carolyn Jewel

      Booklover1335: Thank you for the kind comments! If a synopsis is absolutely necessary for a sale, then I write one. But, as my agent now accepts, that synopsis is “fake.” Nothing I put in there is likely to happen. It doesn’t matter how awesome and exciting it sounds. which is sad, because I would love to read some of those stories. The fact is, when I start writing, that’s when the story happens and what’s in the synopsis that sold the series is pretty much irrelevant.

      For a series, I usually have a vague idea of “stuff” that will happen, but it’s the writing of a story the develops the conflicts that drive things forward. For a lot of writers, this is frightening, but I have learned to trust that my subconscious will be hard at work for me. Basically, yes, I just kind of go with it. Except that I am paying attention to what happens, looking for that moment when I say, Oh, THAT is really interesting . . .

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  11. Jeanne Miro

    I’ve read both Scandal and Indiscret and Scandal definately deserved being named on the list as a Best Romance and I wasn’t surprised when Indiscret won the Bestsellers award.

    Although I don’t mind if the historical romances I read are on the “dark” side I’m looking forward to reading a little “lighter” fare in Not wicked Enough. What really intrigues me is all the historical aspects that it includes because I’m one of those “history nerds” that Carolyn referred to and Regency historical is the one I love the most.

    My husband, who reads history books as well as historical history books is to blame but it also gave me the advantage when we visited England about 15 years ago and I knew the facts that he didn’t when we visited historic sites!

    Limecello – I’m thrilled that you extended this giveaway so that I had a chance to enter. sorry I didn’t have a chance to get over to post earlier. I love Carolyn’s books and would love to win a copy of Not Wicked Enough.

  12. Shannon

    Hi Limecello and Carolyn,

    Fabulous post! I had no idea how much I wanted to know about door knobs 🙂

    And your cover is gorgeous.

    (No contest since I already won this month. Thanks again, Limecello and Jennifer!)

  13. Rini K

    Gorgeous cover, love the fabric! I enjoy regency romances, but always wonder about the details on what it’s like to live during those times (not enough to do research on in though!).

  14. Diane Sallans

    I haven’t read anything by Carolyn yet, but that cover is gorgeous and the description looks like the story will be wonderful too.

  15. aliquis

    That cover is so impressive, I’m almost at a loss for words. I love it! I’ve never read anything by Carolyn Jewel, but I think I have to pick up this book. And I loved everything she had to say about it here!

  16. Pam

    I have not read Not Wicked Enough yet but would very much like to. And I haven’t read any of Carolyn’s books yet though I do actually have at least one on my kindle at the moment. Yes, I do read historical romances. They are one of my favorites! Paranormal romances is another of my favorites. 🙂

    I’m afraid I can’t think of a question as of yet but I will say that I think the cover art for Not Wicked Enough is beautiful. I adore the color scheme!

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  18. Carolyn Jewel

    Thanks everyone for the lovely comments! For those of you who decide to give my books a try, thanks! I hope you enjoy them.

    I apologize for my tardy appearance here. My editor sent me revisions for Not Proper Enough, which follows Not Wicked Enough, and I’ve got a really tight deadline.

    Feel free to ask more questions or tell me how gorgeous that cover is. Because, yes, the cover is just so pretty!

  19. Diane D - Florida

    Oh, thank you so much. I’ve sent you my full name and address via the “contact form”. I’m really looking forward to reading this. 🙂

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