1--What is the title of your latest release?
COMPROMISED INTO A SCANDALOUS MARRIAGE
2--What’s the “elevator pitch” for your new book?
Based on a true story. When Paulina Despradel is driven out of her house in a thunderstorm and seeks refuge with her neighbor Sebastian Linares, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with him—or that they would be forced to wed by her unscrupulous brother.
3--How did you decide where your book was going to take place?
For a while now, I’ve been eager to write a book set in the town of San Pedro de Macorís. It’s on the southern coast of the Dominican Republic, around two hours from where I live, and I visit every once in a while, to gawk at all the lovely early 20th century architecture and have seafood in one of the restaurants at the river’s edge. Travel inland and you’ll find sprawling cane fields and sugar mills dating back to the 19th century.
4—Would you hang out with your heroine in real life?
I would definitely join her in a shopping expedition around town. Especially if Sebastian’s paying!
5--What are three words that describe your hero?
Protective, stubborn, dependable.
6--What’s something you learned while writing this book?
I learned so much about the process of turning cane into sugar, and about the history of San Pedro. One of my favorite things I did for research was visiting the town’s 19th century fire station, even though I only ended up mentioning it in passing in the book. And then of course I had to learn how to make a TikTok about it.
7--Do you edit as you draft or wait until you are totally done?
I edit as I go, which is probably what makes me such a slow writer. I have a hard time declaring a chapter “finished” until it’s as polished as I can make it. Of course, once I get my editor’s comments, I always have to go back and polish it some more, so I’m not sure how good a strategy it is.
8--What’s your favorite foodie indulgence?
Anyone who’s been around me for longer than five seconds will probably say really good coffee, but that’s not an indulgence, it’s a basic need. The truth is, I have the biggest sweet tooth and a rebellious stomach, so I tend to rely on my sister for freshly baked, dairy-free treats. I also always have some homemade cookie dough in the freezer because you never know when you might need an emergency cookie!
9--Describe your writing space/office!
Right now, it’s a desk in my living room. It’s right under the window to catch the most amount of light, and it’s a little too full of colorful pens, pastel post-its, plants and illustrated postcards from places I’ve visited. (And a trio of hardware store paint chips because I liked the colors and I love using them as bookmarks.) To my left is a bookshelf and to my right is the open plan kitchen, so the emergency cookies are always within reach whenever I get stuck.
10--Who is an author you admire?
I’ve been revisiting the poems of one of my favorite Dominican writers, Salomé Ureña. She was in her 40s when she died of tuberculosis, and though she never got to see the 20th century, her poems resonate with me as if she’d written them yesterday.
11--Is there a book that changed your life?
In a way, reading in general did. I would not be the person I am today if I hadn’t spent my childhood with my nose stuck in various books—and I would definitely not be writing if that hadn’t been the case.
12--Tell us about when you got “the call.” (when you found out your book was going to be published)
Well, it was a video call, so you can imagine that I was trying to make myself sit still and not jump up and down! A lot of it went blurry in the excitement of the moment, but I think I got a little quiet, as I tend to when I’m processing something.
13--What’s your favorite genre to read?
Aside from romance, I tend to read a lot of fantasy. Paranormal, high fantasy, witches, dragons, zombies… put a little magic in it and I am all over it.
14--What’s your favorite movie?
Come on, that’s not really a fair question, is it? Can I tell you what my top 20 in each genre are?
Okay, okay, if you insist: I’m in love with romantic comedies from the 40s and 50s (not to mention the 60s, 90s and 00s!) More specifically, there’s something about Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly in Cover Girl that makes me want to watch it over and over again. The stylish costumes, the interiors, the Technicolor…
15--What is your favorite season?
We have a joke in the Dominican Republic that we only have two seasons: invierno and inferno. (Translation, winter and hell.) From December to April, I’m a normal human, going on picnics and walks and all that fun stuff. The rest of the year? I’m a sweaty swamp monster who snarls every time she has to leave her air-conditioned cave.
16--How do you like to celebrate your birthday?
I’m not much one for parties, and since my birthday is in August, I love getting out of the tropical heat and traveling to somewhere slightly cooler. One memorable year, I grabbed two of my cousins and we spent three weeks in Europe. We roamed around Spain and France, and I would sneak out of our hotels early every morning to write over coffee and pastries. Highly recommended, would love to do it again.
17--What’s a recent tv show/movie/book/podcast you highly recommend?
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of This Ends At Prom, a podcast about teen girl movies with smart, funny hosts.
18--What’s your favorite type of cuisine?
One of the greatest loves of my life is Dominican food. You may think it’s a little weird that I don’t know how to cook a lot of it, but that’s what my Abuelas and Tias are for. (Don’t tell them I haven’t figured out how to make rice and beans though, or I’ll get disinherited.)
My grandfather is of Lebanese ancestry, and I grew up eating some Dominican-Lebanese mixtures, like shanklish cheese spread on cazabe. His aunt, who passed away recently at the age of 101, made the best kibbeh I’ve ever had.
I made myself so hungry writing food into COMPROMISED INTO A SCANDALOUS MARRIAGE. You better believe I treated myself at the end of each chapter by going out and eating every dish I mentioned!
19--What do you do when you have free time?
I am a picnic fiend. I also love to take myself on solo coffee dates in the historical part of the city where I live, especially to cafe or restaurants that have outdoor seating with greenery and a view of the sky. I spend so much of my time in my apartment, with its lovely views of the building next door, that I really need to recharge occasionally with the only nature this indoor person can handle.
20--What can readers expect from you next?
I’m currently having a blast as I work on my second book for Harlequin Historical. This hero and heroine are very different from Sebastian and Paulina, and I’m scrambling to keep up with their exploits!
When heiress Paulina Despradel is banished from the family quinta in a storm, she seeks shelter with her dashing new neighbor, Sebastian Linares. Their attraction may be as electrifying as the lightning outside, but the night they spend together is totally innocent. Barely more than strangers, they must now marry. But left alone with their simmering chemistry, can they build a true union from the ashes of scandal?
Romance Historical | Multicultural Latin American [Harlequin Historical, On Sale: July 26, 2022, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781335723345 / eISBN: 9780369729682]
Lydia San Andres lives and writes in the tropics, where she can be found reading and making excuses to stay out of the heat.
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