What better way to start the new year? I’m thrilled to present Ms. Carol Cork, the iconic historical romance reviewer/blog host that so many of us love and enjoy. She’s provided dozens of wonderful posts introducing us to books, reviews, culture, and history. This year on my blog I’m reaching out to authors, blog hosts, and readers to find out what we love about historical fiction. Have a great weekend!
Tell us a little about your background—where you grew up—and your career.
I grew up in Walsall, a large industrial town in the West Midlands of England. It’s about 8 miles northwest of the City of Birmingham. I had always wanted to be a teacher and so, when I left grammar school, I started a three year training course at the local Teachers’ Training College. After a year and a half, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t working for me. I had no idea what I wanted to do and, in the meantime, I took a temporary job at the local Inland Revenue office but ended up staying there for 21 years! I later worked in the Tax Departments of various accountants’ offices until I retired.
How old were you when you read your first romance? Which one?
In my teens, I read lots of Barbara Cartland books but, gradually, over the years, I started to read crime novels. I think it was in the early 2000s that I was looking for something a little lighter to read for a complete change. Wandering around a bookshop in Birmingham one day, I picked up a book called Whitney, My Love by Judith MacNaught…thus started my love of Historical Romance.
Who are your favorite romance authors?
Lisa Kleypas, Elizabeth Hoyt, Tessa Dare, Loretta Chase, Julia Quinn, Jennifer Ashley, Victoria Vane, Anna Campbell, Courtney Milan, Lila DiPasqua, Teresa Medeiros, Lorraine Heath and J. R. Ward (I don’t normally read Paranormal Romances but I’m hooked on the Black Dagger Brotherhood series). I’m adding to the list all the time as I discover new authors.
What are your top five romance books of all time?
It’s difficult to restrict the list to five but here goes.
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Again The Magic by Lisa Kleypas
A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith MacNaught
The Duke by Gaelen Foley
The Lady’s Tutor by Robin Schone
Do you have a favorite quote? What is it?
I love this one from Romancing Mr Bridgerton by Julia Quinn. Colin Bridgerton is one of my favourite heroes.
“I love you with everything I am, everything I’ve been, and everything I hope to be. I love you with my past, and I love you for my future. I love you for the children we’ll have and for the years we’ll have together. I love you for every one of my smiles and even more, for every one of your smiles.”
What’s your favorite romantic movie?
An Affair to Remember with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. The final scene always makes me cry.
What’s the most romantic place you’ve ever visited?
What’s the most romantic era/setting for romance books?
It has to be the Regency era.
How long does it take for you to read a great book?
On average, it takes me about 2 days to read a book.
How many books do you read a year?
I keep a reading log on Goodreads and I read 54 books in 2013, 47 in 2012 and 40 in 2011.
Tell us a bit about your blog. What inspired you to start it? What are your future plans for your blog?
Every time I read a great historical romance, I was excited to share all my thoughts and feelings with someone. Unfortunately, the only someone around was my husband, who would just sit there with this glazed look in his eyes. So I knew I had to find some way of reaching people who shared my love of historical romance. I toyed with the idea of creating my own blog but knew absolutely nothing about how to set one up or even running one. But with my husband and son’s support and assistance, Rakes and Rascals went live in September 2012. I can’t believe how successful it has been and I have made so many wonderful friends and discovered some great new authors. 2014 is going to be an exciting year because I have some fabulous author interviews and guest posts lined up.
If you could interview any author, who would it be?
I’d love to interview Elizabeth Hoyt because I’m a huge fan of her Maiden Lane series.
What questions would you ask?
I would ask her…
What inspired her to write a series set against the backdrop of the seamier side of London?
Were all the main characters formulated in her mind before she started writing?
Does she have a favourite hero in the series?
As a reader/reviewer, what advice would you offer aspiring writers seeking that 5 Star review?
This quote from one of my stellar 5* reviews sums up perfectly what I look for…
You made me laugh; you made me cry; you made me blush; you made me sigh.
What’s your biggest pet peeve in books?
An arrogant, overbearing Alpha hero with no redemptive qualities at all.
Any general words of wisdom you’d like to share?
I remember my dad saying that you should ‘owe a bit, spend a bit and save a bit’ and I think these are very wise words to live by.
You can visit Carol’s blog at…
Thank you so much for visiting us today, Carol. We look forward to another wonderful year on your blog.