Monday, October 30, 2006

Sunday Spotlight on Nicola Cornick

This week we, here at The Pink Heart Society, are shining our spotlight on Best-selling Historicals Author Nicola Cornick ...


Born in Yorkshire, Nicola credits her early years with having a big effect on her writer’s imagination, firstly because she went to school in an historic house, the eighteenth century dower house that once belonged to the Earls of Harewood, so the historical atmosphere was all round me. She also spent hours walking on the moors that inspired the Brontes and devoured a diet of costume dramas and historical novels.

When I was eighteen I went to London University, where I studied Medieval History and met my future husband. It was also at this time that I began my first book, which, fourteen years later, was to be published as True Colours. At that time we were living in Somerset, in a seventeenth century cottage haunted by the ghost of a cavalier! Since then I have written 18 Regency Historicals for Harlequin, several Regency novellas, and one book set in the English Civil War featuring my ghostly hero!

I went back to college in 2004 to study for a Masters Degree in Public History. When I’m not writing I work for the National Trust as a guide at the fabulous seventeenth century Ashdown House. I live in the country with my husband, two cats and two dogs.

Spotlight on Nicola:

Where do you get the inspiration for your books from?

All sorts of places! Sometimes it’s snippets of history I find in books or historical

houses that I’ve visited. Even though I write historical romance a lot of my books are inspired by contemporary ideas. My next book for HQN, Lord of Scandal, has as its theme the idea of celebrity, which is a very contemporary concept but was also something that was understood in the nineteenth century. Lord Nelson, for example, was a true regency celebrity! I find it fascinating that there are so many modern and historical parallels.

What makes you mad?

Violence, cruelty in any form, bad punctuation.

What’s the most romantic thing that has ever happened to you?

When I was 21 a guy working a crane saw me in the street and climbed all the way down from his cab to tell me I was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen and to ask me for a date. Not a bad line! I thought it was a wind up, actually, but he swore he meant it. Mind you, that was a long time ago!

What in a hero makes you drool?

Well, I do go weak at the knees for the tall, dark and handsome type – Hugh Jackman or Matthew Rhys. I’m also a bit of a fan of red hair as long as it belongs to someone like Damian Lewis! But once I’ve stopped being superficial about it, I’d say that character is more important. My dh has integrity, compassion, a good sense of humour and intelligence and I value those qualities very highly.

If you weren’t a writer what would you be?

I think I’d probably work in some kind of job where I could use my interest in history, maybe as property manager at a stately home, or something like that. I worked in an office for 15 years before I became a writer but I always wanted to be an air traffic controller. That wasn’t going to happen because I failed my geography O-level!

What do you do to relax and wind down?

I take the dog for a walk in the countryside or visit a historic house. Or I’ll just sit down in a quiet corner with a glass of wine and a good book.

How do you get out of a writing rut?

I go for a walk. I find that my ideas flow more freely when I’m outside and when I get back I’m itching to write them down.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

I’d love a house by the sea on the west coast of Scotland.

Who would you most like to give a hug to for a fabulous book you’ve read?

Mary Stewart, for her wonderful romantic suspense novels. I’d like to have had the chance to hug Daphne du Maurier for Frenchman’s Creek but she doesn’t strike me as the sort of person you could have hugged – a bit too scary! Stephanie Laurens – I love her writing and all her early Mills and Boon regencies are on my keeper shelf. There are quite a few other authors as well – I seem to be quite free with my hugging!

What music do you listen to when writing?

I have a theme song for each book that I write that is connected in some way to the characters or the plot. For The Earl’s Prize it was “Ace of Spades” by Motorhead because the book had a gambling theme. For my current wip it’s “Feel” by Robbie Williams. I listen to these to get into the heads of the characters. When I’m doing the actual writing, though, I tend to work in silence. If I get blocked I’ll listen to Beethoven or Tchaikovsky, stirring stuff to get me moving again.

Tell us a secret nobody knows about you?

Hmm. I can’t think of anything remotely interesting. I must be an open book!

What was your most embarrassing moment?

When I was in my teens I bumped into Robin Ellis, who played Ross Poldark in the TV series, at the theatre. Literally bumped into him, I mean. He grabbed hold of me and apologised and I was so overwhelmed, because he was totally gorgeous, that I just stood there with my mouth open. Very embarrassing.

What have you had to celebrate in the last year?

It’s been a good year! I’m celebrating18 years of marriage, a new niece, my Masters degree and our first litter of guide dog puppies!

It’s also been a very exciting year for my writing. My first single title Regency Historical, Deceived, was published by HQN in the US and is coming out in the UK in spring 2007 as a trade paperback.

What’s beside your computer when you’re writing?

A cup of tea – usually too close to the keyboard! My cat.

If you could kiss anyone in the world who would it be?

Mmn, as I’m writing a pirate story at the moment I think it would have to be Johnny Depp – purely for research purposes, of course.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on two books at the moment, which is pretty unusual for me as usually I can only concentrate on one book at a time. I’m writing another single title Regency historical for HQN about a girl who was a Russian serf brought back to England as a slave. She runs away and re-invents herself, but then things start to happen that threaten her new existence. It’s a bit of a new departure for me as I’d say it’s historical romantic suspense, but the challenge of writing something new and different is exciting as well as scary!

I’m also revising a pirate story that’s a sequel to a trilogy I wrote a few years ago. I had so many emails from readers asking for my pirate, Daniel de Lancey, to have his own story, that in the end I had to agree! The lure of the pirate hero is a pretty compelling one. Daniel’s a maverick, dangerous, outside the law, but he has his own sense of honour. Even so, no sensible woman would think of getting entangled with him, least of all the woman he jilted years before who is now a most respectable governess… The Pirate’s Kiss is out next year!

Nicola's most recent release,

The Season For Suitors is published in the UK in October 2006 in the Regency Lords and Ladies Christmas anthology.

Visit her website for more!


  1. How lovely to see you here Nicola.

    Both your current wip sound fascinating, but then you are always an automatic buy for me. :)

  2. Hi Nicola

    I've always enjoyed your books and right now I have a postcard of DECEIVED on my cork board next to my writing space! A Regency Invitation is one of my all time fav novella collections--I've read it several times and I enjoy it every time.

    Interesting to read about your work for the National Trust. That must stir ideas.

    Looking forward to The Pirate's Kiss.


  3. Nicola, lovely to see you here! And so pleased you included a pic of Monty.

    Your historicals are on my autobuy list too (I really enjoyed the fact that the last one was in a different era - as you know) and I'll be looking forward to your single title next year.

    love Kate H x

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  6. Oh look at those lovely Labradors!! They are beautiful!!

  7. Sorry not to drop in sooner to say hello and thank you for all your lovely comments. I've been away on holiday in the Yorkshire Dales and Northumbria looking for inspiration for future books! So glad you liked the pictures of the dogs. They are adorable, aren't they!


  8. Nicola, sorry I'm a bit late coming in. I've been away from home too. You're an auto buy for me too and I think the Russian book sounds absolutely fascinating. Can't wait. Perhaps I could come and read it in front of your fireside on the west coast of Scotland! Great interview. Thanks for sharing all that with us.