Guest Author: Lenora Bell

My guest author today is a third generation Alaskan who has travelled extensively, (living and working on five different continents), and is currently living in New Zealand. It was when she was teaching English in China in 2006 that she entered an Avon Fanlit online writing contest, and while she didn’t final, she met and became friends with talented authors such as Courtney Milan, Tessa Dare, Erica Ridley and Darcy Burke who became critique partners and continued to encourage her.

In 2014 she was the winning author of the Golden Heart for historical romance, and that prestigious accolade led to a three book deal with Avon Books.  In 2016, she won the RT Book Reviews award for Best First Historical Romance and just last year her novel, “Blame it on the Duke” was a finalist in the RWA RITA for published author in Historical Short Category. Not only is she a USA Today Best selling author and loved by historical romance readers all over the world, but she’s received high praise from her peers. Eloisa James describes her writing as “Georgette Heyer with a sexy twist.” Sophie Jordan says, “Trust’ve been waiting for Lenora Bell” and Sarah Maclean has said “If you’ve been looking for a bold new voice in historical romance, the search ends here. Lenora Bell is it”!

It’s a great pleasure to have Lenora Bell as my guest author today.

Thank you for joining me, Lenora.

Thanks for hosting me, Alyssa!

I’d love you to tell us a little about your latest release and whether it posed any particular challenges for you.

ONE FINE DUKE is the third book in the SCHOOL FOR DUKES series – this will be my sixth title with Avon Books. Every book has its unique challenges – this one was written on three different continents! I began writing Mina and Drew’s story in the U.S., continued it in Paraguay, and finished the book in New Zealand. As you can imagine, all of that moving around took a toll on my writing schedule and I was a little late getting to the finish line.

Gosh, it's no wonder you were late with all that travelling!

You describe yourself as a collector of vintage clothing, purses and costume jewellery and I’m wondering whether you can share with us where you look for items to add to your collection and whether you can share a photo or two of a couple of your favourites?

I’ve been fascinated with vintage clothing since I was little girl. I always had a “dress up trunk” and my sister and I liked to stage plays wearing our vintage finery. My grandmother gave us the slinky sheer black dress she wore to the train station to meet my grandfather when he came home from the war and my aunt gave us her 1950’s prom dresses. One of my most treasured possessions is a muslin and lace day dress (now well over 100 years old!) passed down from my great-grandmother Lenora. My mother says that her mother told her that Lenora would do her household chores and then don her lace day dress and be "at home" for social visits from her women friends. I love how objects passed down through generations keep the family history alive. 

Here’s a photo of my great-grandmother’s dress, and one of me in Regency period costume at the 2017 Historical Romance Retreat with historical author Erica Ridley.



Very nice! How special to have something of your grandmother's.

Speaking Spanish and French and also some Mandarin Chinese and Thai has obviously been helpful to you in your extensive travels. Have you visited Australia yet? If so can you tell us about your time in my home country? If not, and you are planning a visit here and what would you particularly like to see?

Funny you should ask – I was an exchange student to Australia during high school! I was hosted by a lovely family in Brisbane and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the city. It was so strange to me that Christmas in Australia was so hot. I loved the beaches on the Gold Coast and I made all my friends in Alaska jealous by sending them photos of me in December on the beach. I’d love to visit Australia again soon and reconnect with my host family – we’ve kept in touch all of these years.

I always think how funny it is that we, in Australia, still have Christmas cards and decorations that hark back to our European/British roots with all the snow scenes!

I hope you manage to visit your former host family now you're so close in New Zealand. If you're ever Sydney way, let me know!

You have an impressive list of critique partners and I imagine all of you are extremely busy women. Do you all critique each other’s every manuscript or do you tend to send one manuscript to one/a couple of critique partners one time and then the next to someone else? How does the critiquing arrangement work?

It’s so important to have critique partners and beta readers that you trust to tell you the truth. Right now I’m critiquing with another historical Avon author, Charis Michaels. We exchange chapters, bounce ideas off of each other, and stand at the ready to give pep talks or feedback. Critiquing is different for everyone, but once you have trust established, it’s an invaluable resource to share the crazy balancing act of writing with a friend.

Absolutely true! I think we authors can get so close to our characters and stories that sometimes we need someone else to point things out that perhaps we've neglected to explain.

You’ve written “The Disgraceful Dukes Trilogy” and “School for Dukes” books for Avon Books. What’s your next project?

My next project is still in the works but it will definitely be more feel-good, sexy historical romps with fun pop culture hooks.

I'm sure it'll be fantastic! 

Thanks for joining me today and good luck with your latest release which I’m looking forward to reading.  I’m going to leave readers with a wonderful quote from you that they can find on your website (

“Open your hearts to inspiration.
 Surround yourself with support and love.
Solder words into sentences.
Fuse those sentences into pages.
Put one foot in front of the other.
And keep dreaming!”

Thanks so much for hosting me! 

Thank you for joining me with Lenora on the blog today. I hope you'll all come and visit next Saturday for an interview with my next guest author, RaeAnne Thayne.
Until then, Happy Reading!
Best wishes,


About the Blogger:
Alyssa J. Montgomery is an Australian contemporary romance author who is published by Escape Publishing (Harlequin Enterprises, Australia). She also 
writes medieval romance as Alyssa James,



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