Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Today's Special - - Christina Brooke
Please join me in welcoming Christina to The Romance Dish as we explore this exciting new chapter in her writing life.
PJ: Welcome to The Romance Dish, Christina and congratulations on the release of HEIRESS IN LOVE! It’s been getting terrific reviews...and I loved it! Will you please tell our readers a bit about the story?
Christina: Hi PJ! Hi Dishers! Thank you so much for having me with you today. I love visiting the Dish.
Here is the blurb for HEIRESS IN LOVE:
When the Ministry of Marriage arranges a match, all that matters is power, wealth and prestige. In the business of marriage, there is no room for love. But even the most prudent plans can go awry…
A Convenient Marriage
Jane, Lady Roxdale, has endured one marriage of convenience decreed by the Ministry of Marriage. While she deeply regrets her late husband’s death, she is relieved to be free at last. But when a dissolute rake threatens everything Jane holds dear, she must contemplate marrying a second time…
An Inconvenient Passion
Disgraced libertine Constantine Black inherits his cousin Roxdale’s land and title–while Roxdale’s prim widow is left all the wealth. Constantine is not a marrying man, but wedding Jane is the only way to save the estate from ruin. Jane resists the smoldering heat between them, desperate not to fall in love with an unrepentant rake. But for the first time ever, Constantine wants more than seduction. He wants all of her–body, heart, and soul…
PJ: I thoroughly enjoyed Jane and Constantine’s story and was fascinated by the Ministry of Marriage. It’s such an original concept and I don’t recall ever seeing it’s like before. Did anything in particular inspire it?
Some traits seem to run in families, so I enjoy playing on that as well—The Westruthers tend to be highly intelligent, subtle yet ruthless and so confident of their social standing that they think anything they do must be acceptable—they can get away with behavior that other, lesser mortals can’t. The Blacks are charmers and rogues. They have a lot of guile and they use it to the full. The deVeres are a bit on the rough side, graceless and plain-spoken. The men are warriors and the women tend to be tomboys and misfits. Of course, there are family members who buck the trend, too, so it’s all good fun.
You might like to check out my website’s Members Only section to take the quiz about which family you belong to! http://www.christina-brooke.com/members-only/
To tie it all together, I decided that the heads of these and other families would set up a formal organization to arrange and approve dynastic marriages. And so the body nicknamed The Ministry of Marriage (M.O.M.) was born. I like the idea of marriage and romance being of such importance to these nobles that they create a cross between a corporate board and the NFL draft to deal with them! It never happened, of course, but it’s fun to imagine.
So while I do have a few secondary characters running around in these novels, all of them are focused on the courtship and marriage between my hero and heroine.
PJ: You’ve introduced so many intriguing characters in this book and I do love a multi-book series. How many books will there be in this series? Do you plan to write the stories of both the girls and the boys who were raised by Montford?
Christina: That’s a good question! I had six Westruther books in my head from the start—one for each of the three girls and three boys who are cousins as well as wards of the Duke of Montford.
I can guarantee there will be at least three books in this series and they will be the girls’ stories: Jane’s story (HEIRESS IN LOVE) followed by Rosamund (MAD ABOUT THE EARL, January 2012) and then Cecily will meet her match in A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER ( July 2012). What happens after that is in the laps of the publishing gods to some extent, but I would love to write another trilogy for the Westruther men. I’ll keep you posted!
PJ: I'l keep my fingers crossed!
Speaking of Montford (you know I have to ask), will we find out the history between him and Lady Arden? I can’t be the only one begging for their story!
Christina: Haha, no you’re not alone. My agent was aghast when I threatened to marry Montford off to a governess! What I can tell you is that Arden and Montford’s, um, situation will not be resolved in the first three books of the series. They are circling one another still. The cold-as-ice Montford has to learn a few lessons about love before he can have his own happily ever after. Poor man, he keeps arranging these practical marriages for his wards, but they persist in falling in love!
PJ: I am so looking forward to watching him thaw!
I already have the release date for MAD ABOUT THE EARL marked on my 2012 calendar. Can you tell us anything about Rosamund's story? (Christina recently released the cover of MAD ABOUT THE EARL. Isn't it gorgeous?)
MAD ABOUT THE EARL is a Beauty and the Beast meets Cinderfella story. The exquisite Lady Rosamund Westruther is determined to be the perfect wife to Griffin deVere, Lord Tregarth, but her beast of a betrothed is the only man in England who doesn’t want her! Circumstances conspire to force Griffin to claim her hand after a longstanding betrothal. It’s then that the fun starts, because Rosamund refuses to wed him until he has learned to be a gentleman and courted her properly.
And for a delicious little teaser, there’s a bonus excerpt from MAD ABOUT THE EARL in the back of HEIRESS IN LOVE.
PJ: HEIRESS IN LOVE is the debut book of Christina Brooke but you’re no stranger to publication. Writing as Christine Wells, you’ve published four books, including one that was a 2009 RITA finalist. Why the name change? Should fans of Christine Wells expect a different type of writing from Christina Brooke?
Christina: St. Martin’s were passionate about this new series and it seemed like the right time to break away from the more suspense-driven historical romances I had been writing as Christine Wells. Creating the Ministry of Marriage series feels like coming home to me. These are the kind of books I love to read—sensual, emotional romance against the backdrop of family relationships, with a vein of humor and sexy banter throughout.
PJ: It was wonderful seeing you recently at the RWA National Conference in New York City. I hope you had a good time! Do you enjoy travel? What’s your favorite getaway spot? What city/country have you never visited but would most like to?
Christina: Thank you, I always have a ball at RWA and of course, I love catching up with you!
I am not a seasoned traveler by any means but I’m always excited to fly to the U.S.A. to see more of your beautiful country and to catch up with dear friends. Predictably, I love England. I feel like it was my home in another life—perhaps because I grew up on a diet of English literature and theater, period drama and clever BBC television shows like Rumpole of the Bailey and Yes, Minister and To the Manor Born. By contrast, I think Japan is a fascinating country and I want to go back for an extended visit when my children are older (and when the elder one will eat something other than macaroni cheese!).
I’ve never visited Egypt and I would love to go, if only to view the sites in one of my favorite mystery series, Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody mysteries. Perhaps one day!
Time for a quick six!
Vanilla or Chocolate?
Beach or Mountains?
Beach girl all the way. How could I be anything else with the world’s most gorgeous beaches on my doorstep?
Blonde or Brunette (heroes)?
Brunette, but the occasional blonde is good for variety
Pop or Rock (music)?
Depends on my mood. Rock, probably
Dogs or Cats?
Both, although I own only a dog at the moment. Too many allergies in the family for cats.
Early Bird or Night Owl?
Early Bird for work, Night Owl for pleasure—in other words, why not burn the candle at both ends!
PJ: Christina, thank you so much for visiting with us today. It's always a pleasure to host you here at the Romance Dish and we wish you all the best with your new name and new series!
Christina: Thanks so much for having me, PJ and the Dishy Dames! And now for my question to all of you.
If you were a heroine in one of my novels and your marriage was being arranged, what is the one quality in a husband that you would insist on?
Two lucky commenters will each win a copy of HEIRESS IN LOVE! Christina's giveaway is open to all commenters with no address restriction.
For more information about Christina Brooke, visit her website, like her on facebook, follow her at twitter and friend her on Goodreads. You can also find Christina at Romance Bandits.