Thursday, August 1, 2013


Bestselling, Yale graduate, and multi-award winning author, Lauren Willig spent some time Inside the Writer's Study. The author of the extremely popular Pink Carnation Series--a collection of Napoleonic-Era British spy novels inspired by the Scarlet Pimpernel--reveals her uniqueness through the distinctive questions of the Proust questionnaire.

What is your favorite word?
Ontomatopeaia: the sound of falling peas and tomatoes.

What is your least favorite word?
Huh. That’s a tough one. I’ve seldom met a word I didn’t like. I guess I’d have to go with “classy”. Because the word “classy” by definition isn’t. 

What turns you on?
What if. Anything that gets me speculating about characters or ideas—it could be seeing a play where the characters don’t behave quite as I expect or overhearing a chance conversation in the street. Anything that gets me thinking “what if you took that concept and transposed it in such and such a way….” And I’m off and running. 

What turns you off?
Anything administrative. I go to incredible lengths to avoid accomplishing routine tasks. 

What sound or noise do you love?
The clip clop of horses’ hooves. I live right across the street from Central Park and on quiet nights, when there aren’t too many trucks backfiring, I can close my eyes, listen to their steady tread, and imagine myself back in the nineteenth century. 

What sound or noise do you hate?
Whatever vehicle it might be that makes those really loud noises outside my window at three in the morning. Garbage truck, perhaps? 

What is your favorite curse word?
Drat. (Although, after a memorable Deanna Raybourn interview—Deanna knows what I’m talking about!—there was a time when it was briefly supplanted by a vehement “bugger damn!”) 

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Is reigning monarch an option? I’m all about the tiaras, and I love court intrigue. 

What profession would you not like to do?
I’d really rather not go back to being a lawyer…. Wait. Was that my outside voice? 

If heaven or the after-life exists, what would you like to hear God, The Source (or whatever Deity you may believe in) say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“Welcome.” (Infinitely preferable to, “Would you mind lining up by that down escalator over there? And you won’t be needing that pashmina down there. It’s rather… warm… where you’re going.”) 

In one sentence, describe your newest or most recent release.
Hailed as “a reader’s treat”, THE ASHFORD AFFAIR is a sweeping family saga stretching from the inner circles of Edwardian society to the red-dirt hills of 1920s Kenya and the skyscrapers of modern Manhattan. To read an excerpt (or listen to an audio sample), just pop by my website at

Thank you, Lauren, and a big congratulations of the birth of your daughter, Madeleine Elizabeth Radcliffe, July 24th!

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