A Candid Conversation With Lisa Kleypas - 2014 RT Convention

“I’m an inner 13-year-old at an ‘N Sync concert!” confessed Smart Bitches, Trashy Books’ Sarah Wendell as she settled in for a 10AM chat with beloved historical and contemporary romance author Lisa Kleypas at the RT Convention in NOLA. And she wasn’t the only one squeeing over Kleypas: Those attending on that bright and busy Thursday morning were just as excited to hear from their favorite scribe!

Lisa Kleypas chatting with a fan

A reader brought two vintage Kleypas books to be signed!

Photo credit: The above images are courtesy of Sarah Wendell

Lisa told us that the first romance she read was The Flame and the Flower, and the thrill of Kathleen Woodiwiss’ dark hero Brandon was not so much his meanness but how he grew to love his heroine, Heather. “Here’s this mean guy doing nice things for her — that’s hot!” she said. Unsurprisingly, the first novel she wrote, at the age of 21, was “very imitative of Kathleen Woodiwiss.” 

But, to many — including romance pioneer Jude Deveraux — it’s Kleypas who’s worth imitating. Her handling of love scenes is legendary across Romancelandia. What’s her secret? “What makes sex ‘sexy’ … is the baggage that the characters bring to the bedroom with them,” she said, noting she makes an eight-question “Love Map” for both her hero and her heroine to ascertain their issues.

For instance, when notorious Devil in Winter antihero Sebastian St. Vincent opened up to bride Evie Jenner in bed, “it wasn’t because she had the magical hoo-ha” but because “he became closer to her.”

Yes. Lisa Kleypas said “magical hoo-ha.” It’s just one reason why she’s so awesome. Want another? “I kind of based [the Hathaways] on The Beverly Hillbillies,” she admitted.

Amid more laughs and memories, Lisa and Sarah touched on all kinds of topics, including her heralded return to historicals with an upcoming trilogy from Avon. And they’re going to be “lush,” she shared, adding, “I like that [sort of] sensual historical.” So do we!

But, don’t worry, Kleypas isn’t done with contemporary romance just yet. She let us know that her fourth Texas-set book, Brown-Eyed Girl, hits shelves in May of 2015. She told the audience that “reader demand” led to Joe Travis’ book after she left the character languishing in a hospital bed at the end of Smooth Talking Stranger.

Joe’s not the only character Kleypas gets passionate reader mail about. Her most popular are Sebastian from Devil in Winter and rough ‘n’ tumble Derek Craven from Dreaming of You. So, to the three heroes yet to come from Avon … ? Game on!

Did you attend the Lisa Kleypas chat? What did you think? You can find all of our 2014 RT Convention coverage here.