Friday, February 12, 2021

Author Interview: The Worst Duke in the World by Lisa Berne

The Worst Duke in the World
The Penhallow Dynasty Series #5
Kindle Edition
384 pages
Release Date: January 12th, 2021
Published by Avon

A wayward duke must choose: will he be the bad hero in a love story gone awry, or the brave and clever hero who risks everything for true love?

The acclaimed Penhallow Dynasty series continues in this fresh, fun, funny tale!

Life's no bowl of cherries for Anthony Farr, the Duke of Radcliffe. Duty demands he remarry to provide a spare to go along with the heir — and eligible ladies keep trying to finagle him into a proposal. All he wants is to be a good father to his 8-year-old son, see the Duchess (his truly terrific pig) win first prize at the harvest fête, and stay single. Even if that makes him a Bad Duke. Maybe the Worst Duke in the World.

Then Miss Jane Kent, a long-lost relation of the illustrious Penhallow family, arrives in the neighborhood and is promptly befriended by the Duke's son. Jane, Anthony comes to realize, is smart and fun and also very kissable and dazzlingly desirable. Still, that's not enough to melt his resistance to marrying again. He made a stern promise to himself, and promises must, of course, be kept.

But what if that's just his head talking, and his heart... is saying something entirely different?

I am super excited to welcome author Lisa Berne to my blog today to discuss not only her latest amazing release but some other fun things as well!

Where did you get the idea for your story? What was your inspiration?

As a romance author I’m fascinated by tropes, especially that of the alpha hero and how his powerful personality can shape a narrative. So far in my Penhallow Dynasty series, two books feature classic alpha heroes; two others don’t. I thought it would be fun with The Worst Duke in the World, the fifth book, to veer far, far away from the alpha concept by creating a sensitive, gawky, goofball hero: Anthony Farr, the Duke of Radcliffe, who nonetheless quietly displays a great deal of strength and kindness as a devoted single parent. Hugh Grant’s charming portrayal of Edward Ferrars in Sense and Sensibility inspired me quite a bit.

What does your writing process look like?

I’m a “plantser” through and through — that is, I’m somewhere in between a plotter, who maps out the story in some detail before diving into the writing, and a pantser, who plunges in trusting that the both the details and the larger arcs will emerge along the way. Once I’m reasonably satisfied that I have a basic grasp of plot/characters/setting, I start writing. And I try to write every day if at all possible, always mindful of Anne Lamott’s iconic advice: “Just take it bird by bird.” Word by word, page by page, and eventually you’ll have a novel!

Are any of your characters based off of people you know?

No, not really. Although I’m endlessly interested by people in general, as well as by individual personality traits, behavior, vocabulary and speech patterns, idiosyncrasies and quirks, habits, appearance, and so on, to me it would feel like cheating somehow to attempt to render someone I know, wholesale, into my books. It’s much more fun to piece characters together and let them fully become their own unique people.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

In retrospect, I can definitely say yes! I was around five years old when I started writing (and illustrating) my own little books. I can still vividly remember the intense rush of joy and pride when my mom STAPLED THE SIDE EDGES of my manuscripts to make it all entirely official and booklike. 😊

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Hang out with family, cook/bake, go for walks with our dog, lounge around on the couch reading, dink around in my garden . . . In less contricted times I enjoy spending time with extended family and friends, traveling, going to museums, and day-hiking.

Was there any book that inspired you while writing?

Not a book, but some fellow authors sure did — in particular, Julia Quinn, Loretta Chase, and Tessa Dare. The Worst Duke in the World is my lightest, fluffiest, funniest book to date and so naturally these super-talented ladies — shining stars in historical rom-com — were on my mind.

What type of music or background noise do you have while going while writing?

I have a little fountain in my home office and it’s always gurgling away while I write. I like the sound so much that I’ve come to feel almost Pavlovian about it — that it MUST be on in order for me to write!

Who’s your favorite character in your current book and in other books you’ve written and why are they your favorite?

I love all my characters in The Worst Duke in the World, even the Duke’s awful, snobby sister Margaret, the conniving, pretentious Countess of Silsbury, and her gorgeous, Byronesquely smoldering, dreadful adult son the Viscount Whitton. But I’ll admit to being authorially head over heels in love with my hero Anthony, my heroine Jane who’s very kind and sweet but has a backbone of steel, and also Wakefield, the Duke’s bright, lively 8-year-old son. I think they’re all quite delightful.

Similarly, in my other books I really do love all my characters, even the ghastly and/or villainous ones, but ultimately it’s my heroine and hero whom I adore the most, no doubt because I spend the most time “in” their heads and am so pleased and grateful when together they find their happily-ever-after.

Outside of writing, what other talents do you have?

I’m a decent baker. I can sew a little bit, and actually manage to keep most of my plants alive. Also, I’m very good at reading. 😊

If you were going to give any advice to new writers, what would it be?

Write what you love. Keep at it. Also, keep at it. And finally, keep at it.

Lisa Berne is a bestselling author of historical romance who’s published exclusively by Avon/HarperCollins. To learn more about Lisa, her books, and her quirky interests (as revealed in her blog), you are cordially invited to visit her website,, and to sign up for her VIP Reader newsletter, too, so that you’ll never miss a new release or giveaway!

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