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Sarah MacLean answers Eleven Essential Questions on Romance

To celebrate the launch of Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart in the US, I hosted a collection of fabulous authors over on my blog to answer Eleven Questions on romance.

Now to celebrate the launch of my Love By Numbers series in the UK – and for a bit of fun – I thought I’d share my own answers here with you!

1. Alpha hero or Beta hero?

I love to read about alpha heroes: Stephanie Laurens’s Devil Cynster; Jude Deveraux’s Ranulf, the Black Lyon; any of JR Ward’s enormous, leather-clad Black Dagger Brothers. There’s nothing that makes me sigh harder than a book with a hero who knows precisely how to run the world.

That said, my heroes seem to be something different. Oh, on the outside they may have their alpha moments, but on the inside, they’re conflicted and emotional, and damn if that heroine doesn’t set them out to sea.

So…I vote 85% alpha with a dash of beta. Not that they’d ever admit it.

2. Virgin Widow or Secret Baby?

I am a sucker for a secret baby story. I love that moment when the hero marches into the room thinking he knows everything there is to know about everything….and realizes that he knows absolutely nothing about everything. Secret Babies make that moment much, much sweeter.

3. Time Travel or Futuristic?

Do you remember that rash of Time Travel romances in the early 90s? Amazing. I wish that genre would come back. I blame A Knight in Shining Armor.

4. Hot as Sin or Cold as Ice?

This is a tough one. While writing Ralston in Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, I was all hot as sin. But having just finished Bourne in A Rogue by Any Other Name…I think cold as ice might just be hot as sin.

5. Spinster or First Season Out?

I love spinsters. I love the way they take in the world, the way they think about themselves, the way they think about the way the hero thinks about them. Debutantes need to go a time or two around the block before they have any idea about life. Spinsters know what’s up.

6. England or Anywhere but?

Blame my British mum, or my Judith McNaught obsession, or Colin Firth. My heart…and reading taste…is all England.

7. Vampire or Shape Shifter?

So difficult. I now realize why I never answered my own questions before. In the right hands, vampires are the best. JR Ward does them beautifully, for example…tough and dangerous without being scary. But I’m over the whole ‘I vant to drink your blood’ thing. So, I vote shifters. As long as they’re shifting into cool things like lions or tigers or wolves. Basically, I like my shifters in the hands of Pamela Palmer. Her feral warriors are the best.

8. Small Town or Big City?

Big cities make for big sets and big stories and love that ends up in parks and libraries and museums and ballrooms and carriages and casinos and…yeah. I’m a city girl. 100%.

9. Wallflower or Belle of the Ball?

While I believe that wallflowers – like spinsters – always deserve to be the heroine…I love writing Belles of the Ball in the background. The popular girl is popular for a reason, after all…and that makes her a very fun secondary player.

10. Unrequited love or love at first sight?

ARGH! So hard! I love a good pine. Especially one that has gone on and on and on for years. I wrote one in Nine Rules…and another (though less obvious one) in Rogue, and I loved them. But there is something to love at first sight—to that sizzle of awareness that comes when two people simply. Cannot. Stop. Thinking about each other. That’s where Ten Ways, Eleven Scandals and my next book, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover, live. So, by sheer count, I’m going with Love at First Sight. Or, at least, Lust at First Sight.

11. Now I get to turn the tables! You tell me…what’s your absolute favorite romance plot device?

Books One and Two in the Love by Numbers series from Sarah MacLean are available from Piatkus Entice now.