Friday, November 16, 2012

Meet Sophie Barnes - Author Interview

Sophie Barnes
Visit her website at
Follow her on Twitter at  @BarnesSophie

Born in Denmark, Sophie has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish and Romanian.

She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Parson’s School of design, but most impressive of all – she’s been married to the same man three times, in three different countries and in three different dresses.

While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion – writing.

When she’s not busy, dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading. She currently lives on the East Coast.
The Interview
Lisa: Thank you Sophie for joining us today and answering some of our questions.

Sophie: Hi Lisa! Thank you so much for inviting me to join you here today, it’s great to be here =)

Lisa:  I went to your website and noticed it said you married your husband three different times, in three different counties, in three different dresses. That begs the question what's the story behind that? I'm guessing you didn't divorce and remarry but rather planned this out purposefully? I noticed you've lived in quite a few different places so I'm curious if you did it so all your family members could see you exchange vows or are you perhaps superstitious and decided good things come in threes? Also, I'm curious as to how you got your husband to agree to them all?

Sophie: LOL – No, we did not divorce and remarry =) Actually, we got married for the first time ten years ago this year at our local city hall. My in-laws were the only other people present because they lived close by, so two years later we decided to have the big bash. You’re correct in your assumption, Lisa – we did have two more weddings because it was easier for the two of us to travel to our respective relatives than to bring all of our relatives to us. My husband didn’t mind at all – he had his own ideas on how he wanted the service and celebration so it worked out beautifully as we each organized our own event. For those of you who’d like to learn more, I wrote a longer post about it which you can find here:

Lisa: Your heroines all tend to be strong women and in the case of The Summersby's series you have three very independent woman. Alexandra is a talented swordsman, Mary is a surgeon, and then there is Lucinda who is bent on bringing her parent's murderer to justice. Are strong heroines your favorite type of heroine to write? What inspired the series and each of the books?

Sophie: Yes, I suppose I do have a fondness for strong female characters, though in spite of their independent streaks, they all discover that it can be really nice to have a man by their side =) After writing about Emily Rutherford, I wanted to tackle something more adventurous and took , inspiration from The Three Musketeers and The Scarlet Pimpernel for Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure. After reading Noah Gordon’s The Physician, I immediately conjured up Mary, and as I began researching 19th century medical practices and discovered that many treatments were in use long before the people they’re attributed to came up with them, I was intrigued. The plot fell into place around this. As for Lady Lucinda, I began with the idea of William getting trapped into marriage, which led to the question “why?” Lucinda’s character and her reason for seeking out William began to take shape.

You can read more about how I developed the plot for Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure here:

And if you’d like to know more about women who dueled, you can see my post on that topic here:

Lisa:  Are you a history buff? I noticed your blog has a whole section devoted exclusively to research. I found it quite interesting. I am curious, however as to which came first, did the research inspire the story or the spark of an idea inspire you to do some research?

Sophie: When I was in school, history was probably my least favorite subject. What I enjoy is discovering unusual bits of information, like William Buchan’s Domestic Medicine which has a whole chapter dedicated to hygiene and how important it is to wash ones hands so as not to convey infection to others. The fascinating part, in my opinion, is that this was written in 1769, almost 100 years before the man to whom the importance of hand-washing is attributed (a Hungarian physician named Ignaz Semmelweiz who demonstrated that the contagion of puerperal fever could be drastically reduced by routine hand-washing). Semmelweiz made this discovery in 1847, and even then he failed to convince the rest of the medical community of the importance of his findings. But Buchan clearly writes: “were every person, for example, after visiting the sick, handling a dead body, or touching anything that might convey infection, to wash before he went into company, or sat down to meat, he would run less hazard either of catching the infection himself, or of communicating it to others.”

I would say that I usually start with an idea which leads to research, which then in turn leads to more ideas on which to build the plot.

Lisa: Besides a strong chemistry between the hero and heroine, what do you feel is the next most important ingredient to making a good romance novel?

Sophie: Obstacles! Throw a villain or an issue preventing the hero and heroine from being together in their path, and drama and conflict are created. Seeing how the hero and heroine deal with such issues is what keeps the pages turning for me =)

Lisa: You've lived in several different countries and visited quite a few more. Do you feel this has given you an advantage in your writing? In at least two of your books you've had the main characters travel to other countries.

Sophie: It certainly increases my plot options since I know what these places are like. Much of Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure is set in France – I think writing about that would have been more difficult if I hadn’t spent two years in Paris.

Lisa:  If you could travel back in time to any time period and witness any event and/or meet any person from the past, what would you pick? Additionally, if you could bring back some memento from that time period what would you choose?

Sophie: Regency England! What better way to conduct research than to visit the period I’m writing about? And if I could bring back a dance card with the Duke of Wellington’s name on it, that would be gold =D

Lisa: What is your all time favorite love story? 

Sophie: There are several, so it’s difficult for me to pick just one, but I have to say that I love Somewhere in Time.

Lisa: What do you believe is the most romantic thing one person can do for another?

Sophie:  Stay with them in the face of adversity. It can be easy to claim you love someone as long as your life is easy, but when things get hard, that’s when your love for each other is really put to the test.

Lisa:  Originally you started writing for recreation as a hobby. What happened to make you decide to make a career of it? Did someone encourage you to try to get published? Is there a story there?

Sophie: Writing a novel has always been one of those ‘things to do before I die’ items. So when I was staying at home taking care of the kids when they were smaller and I had a bit of time to myself as they napped, I decided to put that time to good use and make an attempt at that novel. Reading Julia Quinn’s Romancing Mr. Bridgerton gave me that extra push – I love her sense of humor. And then, once I was done, I decided to submit it. My husband encouraged me every step of the way which helped tremendously. However, I never would have done it without determination – once I put my mind to something I stick with it =)

If you’d like to know how I became interested in Regency romance, you can find out here:

Lisa:  What is your favorite thing about being an author? When did it first hit you that you had joined the ranks of published authors? Was it seeing that initial book in print or seeing the book being
displayed on a book store bookshelf, or something else entirely?

Sophie: My favorite thing about being an author is probably the joy of being able to share my stories with others as well as the positive reinforcement that being published offers. As for when it first hit me that I’m a published author, I still find myself having moments of disbelief…LOL…But actually, the moment my editor sent me an advanced paperback copy of How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back was definitely incredible – I believe I squealed as I jumped up and down with excitement =)

Lisa: Do you have anything else in the works and, if so, can you tell us a little about it?

Sophie: I do, but I can’t share much about it yet (it’s classified…LOL). What I can say is that it’s another trilogy and that I’ve almost finished the first book which is due in my editor’s inbox on December first, so I’m keeping myself busy. Hopefully I can find a few moments to relax in December – I love Christmas!

Lisa: Thanks again so much for joining us today. 

Sophie: Thank you so much for stopping by today. I’ll be popping in throughout the day to chat with you and to answer any questions you might have.

The Summersby Series

Lady Alexandra's Excellent Adventure

Lady Alexandra Summersby is not your average society miss. Not only is she more likely to climb a tree than she is to wear a dress, but she has also sworn off marriage. Alex loves taking chances, which is how she finds herself embroiled in a secret mission as she races across the country with the Earl of Trenton. But Alexandra is about to discover that the real danger lies not in duels, but in her completely unexpected reaction to Lord Trenton's company.

Michael Ashford, Earl of Trenton, is a man of duty. Honorable, charming, and a hit with the ladies, he's never had trouble staying focused—until now. Lady Alexandra is like no other woman he's ever met, and suddenly the prospect of marriage seems far more appealing. Now, to convince Alexandra that a life together could be an adventure like no other

There’s Something About Lady Mary

Mary Croyden lives a simple life . . . and she likes it. But when she inherits a title and a large sum of money, everything changes. Forced to navigate high society, Mary finds herself relying on the help of one man—Ryan Summersby. Determined not to lose her sense of self, she realizes that Ryan is the only person she can trust. But Mary's hobbies are not exactly proper, and Ryan is starting to discover that this simple miss is not at all what he expected . . . but just might be exactly what he needs.

The Secret Life of Lady Lucinda

Lucy Blackwell is desperate, reckless, and maybe a little bit crazy. That's the only possible explanation for tricking a man she doesn't know into a dance, a kiss, and an engagement—all in the middle of the biggest ball of the year! But Lord William Summersby is the final piece of her grand plan, and she'll do what it takes to make this marriage of convenience work—as long as it's convenient for her. She just never counted on falling in love . . .


  1. Intriguing review and wonderful answers. Hi Sophie and Lisarenee! 3 weddings - that's one way to solve the problem of having the wedding of your dreams and your hubby's. LOL!

    The new series sounds great - I've got so much catchup reading to do. I'm especially eager to read LADY ALEXANDRA'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE - love a heroine who can brandish a sword. ; )

    1. Thanks, Amy - I hope you'll enjoy reading them =)


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