Thursday, April 5, 2012

Today's Special - - Maggie Robinson


It makes my heart happy to see good things happen to good people and Maggie Robinson is one of the best.  This lovely lady - and hardworking writer - deserves all the success she's now enjoying as a published author.  Maggie returns to The Romance Dish today to talk about a topic that's always intrigued me:  islands!  Maggie's no stranger to islands herself and has created a fictional one that figures prominently in Master of Sin, her new book from Kensington Brava that was released March 27th.  Take it away Maggie! ~PJ


Island Girl

I’m so happy to be back at the Romance Dish to talk about my latest book from Kensington Brava, Master of Sin. It’s the final book in the Courtesan Court series, featuring tortured bad boy Andrew Rossiter and Gemma Peartree, the unlikely governess who heals his soul on an isolated island in the Western Isles.

Islands fascinate me. I’ve lived on four of them in my life, and each one has left an indelible impression. I love islands so much I made one up for MOS: Batter Island. It’s my mental combination of deserted St. Kilda, which is the furthest from the coast of Scotland, and Barra Head, now uninhabited except for “air so thickly crowded with birds as to produce the appearance of a heavy snowstorm.”(~H.J. Elwes, 1868) Isn’t that a gorgeous image?

I’ve been to Scotland several times, but never to any of the islands. But no problem—YouTube has a zillion gorgeous videos, most with haunting Celtic music. Here’s a clip of the St. Kilda heritage site for the “virtual tourist”:




Batter Island is almost as much a character as the hero and the heroine are. Its remoteness, its rugged weather, the fact that all the inhabitants speak Gaelic and Andrew and Gemma don’t all make the couple turn to each other. I’ve set them apart both geographically and culturally, and sparks inevitably fly to keep them warm during a wicked Scottish winter.

Here’s a snippet, after Andrew has caught a glimpse of Gemma too tempting to ignore:  

A blast of wind nearly knocked him over. He’d come to the point overlooking where the Sea of the Hebrides met the Atlantic. Waves slapped together, sending spray high into the sky. A collision of forces too elemental to ignore. If he were at all fanciful, it resembled what would happen if he and the diminutive yet delectable Miss Peartree ever united in his bed.

It would never happen. It should never happen. He’d given all that up to raise his son. No more dallying, no more sneaking around, no more sin. He’d done his share for twenty-five years, both involuntary and voluntary. He was two-and-thirty now, the age when many men finally settled down and became leg-shackled. But marriage was forever beyond his touch. No woman could possibly ignore what he had been, what he had done.

This isn’t the usual Regency. RT Book Reviews says: “Robinson crafts an intelligent, powerful, emotional, highly sensual love story with a damaged hero and an exceptional heroine, moving the story beyond the typical and into the unconventional. Readers will become so invested in the characters that the fast pace and heated sexual tension only add to the delight. Fine storytelling.”

Are you an “island girl?” What’s your favorite unusual romance setting? I’ve got a signed copy of Master of Sin for one commenter!

61 comments:

  1. Hi Maggie

    I live in Ireland and it's an island, will that do. Truly I'm a town/city girl, I have to be close to everything - shops, schools etc. I couldn't bear to be miles away from everything.

    I can't think of a specific unusual setting, but I do like books where the characters are travelling 'cos then I get to read about lots of different places.:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like road books too, Beebs. Almost like reading a travelogue within a romance. ;-)

      Delete
    2. Oh, Ireland! I haven't visited since I was pregnant with my youngest daughter and people were so kind. Yes, Ireland counts!

      Delete
  2. Congrats Maggie on the release of Master Of Sin. I've been waiting to read Andrew's story. I'm going to miss Jane Street. I've never been on an Island :( But I'd love to visit one. I too need the City near me. I can't seem to pull up an unusual setting I've read. Maybe it's too early or too late depending how you look at it. :)
    The brain isn't fully alert yet. lol
    Carol L.
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to miss Jane Street too, Carol. It's been a great place to visit, hasn't it?

      Delete
    2. Jane Street plays a small but compelling role in December's Lord Gray's List! Tease!

      Delete
  3. Good morning, ladies! PJ, thanks so much for your kind words--it made my heart happy to read them!

    We lived on Islesboro for four years, and when the last ferry left at 4:30 PM, you were stuck unless you were friends with a lobsterman to take you across the bay. It was so beautiful, but I like to know I can get to a 7-11 if I have to, LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good Morning, Maggie! So great to have you with us today!

      I've never lived on an island though I've visited many. I have a bit of claustrophobia. I'm not sure how that would translate to living on an island. Maybe I'll just stick to vacations! lol!

      Delete
    2. PJ, I'm so happy to be here. :) Island living takes a certain mindset, I think. Ultimately it wasn't right for us, but my daughter married an "island boy" and she's raising her family there and seems to be thriving. They get away a lot to the mainland, tho.

      Delete
  4. I grew up landlocked in the middle of nowhere Texas, but every time I visit an island or rocky coastal shore my heart beats a little faster and I feel...like that's where I'm supposed to be. Maybe that's my body's way of telling me I come from ancient islanders. ;)

    As for settings out of the ordinary, I've read quite a few historicals in the past few months set in India. I wouldn't say that these have become favorites, but they are interesting.

    Have been waiting for a nice break in my life to pick up MOS....hope this is it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I grew up landlocked in the middle of nowhere Texas, but every time I visit an island or rocky coastal shore my heart beats a little faster and I feel...like that's where I'm supposed to be. Maybe that's my body's way of telling me I come from ancient islanders."

      I'm fascinated by reactions like this. It wouldn't surprise me one bit to discover you had come from ancient islanders. I've also visited places where I've had that soul-deep feeling of connection.

      Delete
    2. Jenni, I feel so much better when I'm near water. We live on a lake, altho I'd prefer the ocean. Too expensive tho, LOL.

      Delete
  5. Well, I love to live in a private island. I can do anything what I want. In fact, I live in East java island which is in Indonesia. It's a big island and it has many big cities.
    If I can say I prefer the setting is in a beach. My country has a beautiful beach in NTT which is near Bali. The beach is clean and beautiful. It's an exotic place and suitable for romance adventure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Juliana! Thanks for stopping by today. I have friends who went to Bali six years ago and are still talking about how beautiful that area is. I'd love to visit someday! :)

      Delete
  6. I am an island girl...Tahiti! However the other island I love is Scotland, so when I win the lottery I will split my time between the two. Men in kilts and man in sarongs- Be still my heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! I like the way you think!

      Delete
    2. Me too! I'm going to Scotland next month & will be on the lookout...

      Delete
  7. When my children were very young and I was a recently divorced working mother, I knew that the three of us needed to do some fun things together. I wanted to make sure that when they were older they had "memories" of fun times as a family. We are in South Florida so The Keys was an excellent place for us to begin our adventure. I bought an inexpensive tent and 3 bedrolls and off we went. Key Largo is the first island off the mainland of Florida connected by highway. We found a nice campground and began one of many week-end adventures "tenting" in The Florida Keys. What a fantastic way for my children to learn about nature.... the birds, fish, ocean, fresh air.....and so many wonderful memories of spending time together as a family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Betty, what a lovely gift to give your children! I have wonderful memories of many childhood trips to the Florida Keys back in the 60's, before the development explosion. My aunt and uncle and their kids used to camp at John Pennycamp when we were growing up and one of my brothers now lives in Key Largo. Small world. ;-)

      Delete
    2. My son used to live in Key West. I love the Keys...all that turquoise water. I hope your kids appreciate their wonderful mom!

      Delete
  8. I like Island... Always think it's romantic to be surrounded by water...

    ReplyDelete
  9. I was born and raised in Michigan. While not an island, the state is surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes. Beautifully nestled in Lake Huron is Mackinac Island. Since I've never visited Isle Royale in Lake Superior, I'd have to say that Mackinac Island is one of the most beautiful islands in the lakes. No cars, only bicyles or horse and carrige for transportation there and it's only open for visiting in the summer months. Anyone visiting Michigan should really make it part of their trip to take the ferry boat to the island for the day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Karen! I also grew up in Michigan - near Lake Michigan - and Mackinac Island is one of my favorite places in the world. So beautiful! We stayed at the Grand Hotel once when I was a teen. It was a wonderful experience!

      Delete
  10. Hi, Maggie! I just love settings that are new to me--I read one of Jeannie Lin's recently, and the descriptions of the bamboo forests in China were amazingly beautiful :) I don't mind islands at all, since those aren't my usual place either! I count on my reading to take me away!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love when romances are set on ships! I dunno there is just something about it for me, like the fact that there is only so much space. I've lived here in Illinois all my life, and have have only seen the ocean once, but just imagining Islands make me happy.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi PJ and Maggie!

    We live in Rhode Island and some of our islands are easy to get to and to others it can be a dangerous journey depending on the weather! Marie Force writes some of her books using Block Island as the location which is just a few miles from our house but the trip is a long one - 2 miles to the ferry and than an hour on the ferry!

    My husband is a master stone mason and yes we did spend 3 hours looking at rocks on a trip to Stonehenge so a visit in my future someday to St. Kilda! I forwarded a copy of the film clip to him already!

    Since we live in Rhode Island there are parts of your property that looks similar to St. Kilda - LOTS OF STONE!

    We've actually had people ask us why the stone walls aren't in any particular order and run at angles. We have to explain that they are very OLD walls that were actually made by farmers stacking rocks to get them out of the way so they had somewhere to plant and put their home.

    I'm of Scotish heritage and when we went to England we also had a wonderful trip to Scotland. It was wonderful to visit the home of my ancestors and we couldn't get over how friendly and welcoming everyone was. Our favorite places were some hamlets and villages where at the local pub we were welcomed and treated to hearing local stories from ages past.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I second PJ's comments about Maggie and her success. And I highly recommend Master of Sin. I loved it!

    I grew up reading Mary Stewart's Greek-set romances and still think that's a wonderfully romantic setting. I have a friend who lives on Hatteras Island--a beautiful place--and has a second home in the Great Smokies. It's hardly surprising that she's one of my favorite friends to visit, island or mountains. Today I'm excited to be reading a GH finalist set on Ocracoke. From the first page, the island setting is an important part of the book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it okay to be jealous of what you're reading, Janga? ;-) Can't wait for the day when we can all read it!

      I also grew up reading Mary Stewart's romances and dreamed about falling in love on a Greek isle. The Moon-Spinners anyone? :)

      Delete
  14. For some reason I'm having difficulty hitting the reply button (I've tried in both IE & Firefox), so please forgive me for not responding to individual comments. :( Janga, thanks so much--you know your review is bronzed in my house, LOL.

    Jeanne, I love RI. When our kids were little we'd vacation in Point Judith & Westerly.

    flchen, I do like to read something that's "different." Jeannie Lin writes such wonderful books, and she is absolutely adorable in person.

    Rhi, I always feel so dwarfed when I go out west. The vast sky, the towering rocks--I guess I prefer cozy New England, LOL.

    ReplyDelete
  15. The day job calls so I'll be away from the computer for awhile. I'll check back in later!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I would love to visit Ireland one day. I think the history and landscape is very romantic. I'd want to visit all the quaint inns and shops and find out about local legends and other interesting facts. That also happens to be where I like historical romances set. Scotland is also up there as places I want to visit!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Na, Ireland is so, so beautiful. I think it's tricky to set historical romances there because of the tragic political history, but I've read some books that have managed. I want to go back again.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Maggie -

    I hope you can make a return visit someday to our little state. One of the best things about it is that everything is close by in fact if you drive more than 40 minutes your out of the state! In fact the state probably isn't much bigger than Lady B's estate!

    Water Fire in Providence is a not to be missed experience. Friends who live in other states are always surprised when they go to the movies and find out they were filmed here and with the lure of great fresh seafood right off the boats down in Point Judith, great Italian Food up in Federal Hill and plenty of beaches for any "sun lover" it's not to be missed!

    Where else can you live on a lake and have the ocean beach just 1 1/2 mile away!

    PS: The big bonus is that it only takes me 10 minutes to get to work - but then the state is so small it doesn't take much time to get anywhere - in fact the Rhode Island probably isn't much bigger than Lady B's Ballroom!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love Islands because they are surrounded by water, and there's usually something so fresh in the air is it comes over the water, especially salt water. My dream home is to be next to some body of water - maybe someday (sigh).

    ReplyDelete
  20. I've been to several islands during my travels. My favorites are the island of Oahu and the city of Venice. Venice is made up of 118 islands! I could spend the rest of my life exporing Venice. For sand and sun I would choose Oahu.

    Congratulations on the new release!

    geishasmom73 AT yahoo DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  21. Jeanne, I'm pretty sure RI is in my future. My youngest daughter's boyfriend grew up in Newport & his parents still live there. We haven't had the "parental meet" yet, but I think it's just a matter of time. :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Di, I'm in my dream home. I was so escited when the ice went out on the lake & the water started to flow!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks, Stacie! I've never been to Hawaii or Venice. Would love to go to either/both!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Maggie -

    Did you know that Newport is a great place to plan an "inexpensive" wedding? You can rent out one of the mansions for the wedding and reception and I'm sure they'll accept ALL your credit cards to pay for it - in addition to your right arm and youngest male child!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Congratulations on the book! I like islands. The most unusual setting was a rainforest.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  26. Jeanne, ha. I have been forbidden to discuss weddings in any shape or form, LOL. It does not stop me from buying bridal magazines tho. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  27. bn, I read a fun paranormal that took place in a rainforest. I kept thinking of giant spiders tho, LOL.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi, Maggie. Oh, that picture makes me want to go back to Scotland again!! Gorgeous. :-) Islands are great....both for vacations and settings. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Congratulations on the new release. I haven't ever visited an island. It must be an enchanting experience. I know pictures of Hawaii are breathtaking.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thanks for a fabulous post and giveaway!!!! I haven't had the pleasure of reading Ms. Robinson but she's on the top of my wishlist!

    I would love to live on an island!!! I live smack dab in the mid of the US so tropical island, sandy beaches, great weather... I'm sooo there!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hey, Gannon! I can't wait for our trip to Scotland next month. No islands, but still. :)

    Thanks, Kim! I have a friend who moved to Hawaii but found the weather TOO nice. She missed fall & wound up coming back hom, LOL!

    Erin, I've always lived on the east coast except for one year in Ohio. I missed the beach.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Congrats on the release of Master of Sin, I can't wait to read it.
    I haven't been to many islands, but I do have a fondness for them. I think the Greek islands is my favorite unusual setting, I can just imagine myself there - the warm sun, the blue water, the quaint villages, wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I've never lived on an island & only visited a couple for vacation a few times. while I'd love the isolation & simplicity at times, other times (prob more than not after a while) I'd be frustrated by that same isolation. prob best I stay mainland except for those vacations :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Barbara, Madeline Hunter had a great Greek-set book whose name escapes me.

    Thank you all for visiting today, and all the lovely dishes for being such nice hostesses! I'm turning off my computer---it feels hot, LOL--and am going to read. I'll check in tomorrow morning!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I live in Australia, officially the largest island in the world. It is great.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thanks so much for visiting with us, Maggie! And thanks to everyone who stopped by today. So sorry my day job interfered with my play time. I'm home, exhausted and heading to bed. Night all! :)

    ReplyDelete
  37. I think islands are cool, but can't say I am an island girl. I can't say that I have ever been on an island. I think they are cool and would love to visit the Hawaiian Islands or Australia. Which as Marybelle states is the largest one.
    Would love to win and read this book. thanks for the giveaway.
    christinebails@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  38. Since i was born in Greece, I have to say that any of the Greek islands would be a fantasy come true!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I live in Penang, a tropical island located in South East East so yes I'm an island girl. I love the sound of the sea.

    I'm not too fussed about the setting of a story; the actual storyline & the connection between the characters are more important.

    thumbelinda03@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  40. I am a mountain girl, but have enjoyed several islands. We visited Price Edward Island and Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia on 2001 and it was the best vacation we have ever taken, in spite of the fact that Sept. 11 happened in the middle of it. I was in the Peace Corps in the Philippines for three years. It is an island nation and I enjoyed visiting those I could. We lived on Lake Champlain in New York State. We had a boat and would go out to several if the islands for the afternoon. There is something relaxing about landing on a beach and spending time on shore. Even better was canoeing on the lakes in the mountains. Many had small islands you could spend the day and camp on. On these, you do feel like you are in your own little world.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Just viewed the St. Kilda video. What a beautiful place. I'm sure life was hard, but what a wonderful place to live. This project is such a good idea. Very few people can visit there and this way they can get the experience and appreciate it. That will also prevent the site from being "loved to death." Too many national parks and historic sites have been damaged and changed by over-visiting. Remoteness is a good means of preservation. I look forward to viewing their finished product.

    We visited the Dry Tortugas in the Florida Keys a year or so ago. It is a 4 hour boat ride out and another 4 back. We were lucky to have a clear, very calm day and the trip was a joy. It still gets quite a few visitors. Areas like this do not have the water or the waste disposal means to support heavy traffic.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hi Maggie ! I am not an island girl :). My favourite kind of a story is the story right like Andrew story scarred hero and strong heroine :), arethazhenATrocketmailDOTcom

    ReplyDelete