We have a special treat for you today - three authors, two dukes and a scandal! Please welcome Avon Books authors Laura Lee Guhrke, Caroline Linden and Gayle Callen!
Gayle Callen began writing at the age of 13 and fell in love with romance a few years later when she borrowed a friend's copy of SHANNA by Kathleen Woodiwiss. After college, marriage and children, she decided to try her hand at writing historical romance and sold her first book to Avon in 1998. Since then, she's published twenty-one novels. Gayle has also written medievals under the name of Julia Latham and currently writes contemporary romance as Emma Cane, with her latest contemporary, A PROMISE AT BLUEBELL HILL coming out in March of this year. Find more information about Gayle at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.
Laura Lee Guhrke had successful careers in advertising and construction management before trying her hand at writing. The author of more than twenty historical romances is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and has also won the Romance Writers of America RITA® Award. Discover more information about Laura Lee and her books at her website and connect with her online at Facebook and Twitter.
|Photos © Allana Taranto/Ars Magna Studio|
PJ: Welcome, ladies! Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions today. Congratulations to each of you on your new release. Please share with our readers what they can expect from each of your books.
LLG: How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days is the story of a marriage of convenience between Edie, a ruined American heiress, and Stuart, the broke and indebted Duke of Margrave. Their marriage of convenience worked in the past, but after a brush with death, Stuart decides it’s time to change the status quo and make a real marriage with his wife. Edie had very specific reasons for wanting the marriage of convenience, reasons based on a traumatic event in her past, reasons the hero doesn’t know until he returns to try and make their marriage work. It’s a story of two wounded souls and how love brings them together and heals them both. It’s not a dark book by any means, though it’s not the fluffy book some readers might expect from the title.
Caroline: In IT TAKES A SCANDAL, Abigail Weston has everything—beauty, wit, and wealth—but longs for a man who loves her, not her fortune. Sebastian Vane has nothing—neither wealth nor respectability—and is rumored to be a thief and a murderer. He knows he should stay away from Abigail, even though she's able to see him, not his ruined reputation. But after a risqué story reveals how well their deepest passions align, Sebastian would brave the fiercest scandal to be with her…
Gayle: REDEMPTION OF THE DUKE is the third book of my “Brides of Redemption” trilogy—but you don’t need to read the books in any order. All you need to know is that, in the past, something went wrong for three soldiers at war, and when they return to England, they want to help the families of their fellow soldiers who died. The tag line for the newest book is “A duke who needs to be tamed; a lady who refuses to be rescued.” Adam is determined to help Faith, who had to go into service as a lady’s companion when her brother died. She doesn’t want to be beholden to another man again, but he doesn’t give her a choice, and manipulates each situation to his benefit. He thinks he’s been redeemed, but she’s going to show him otherwise.
PJ: Your books are part of Avon Romance’s “Two Dukes and a Scandal” campaign. As authors, what do you enjoy most about creating dukes and/or scandals in your stories? What do you find most challenging in creating the same? Why do you think dukes are so popular with readers?
Caroline: My book has scandals a-plenty, which I really like using, as an author. A scandal means someone has broken the rules in some way, and it's caused an upheaval in their world. Dealing with the fallout from a scandal always forces a character out of her/her comfort zone, makes them confront their deeper beliefs and feelings, and gives them a chance to start again—not always fresh and new, but it generally reboots their life. Of course, since I write fiction, it always turns out for the better!
Gayle: Dukes are at the top of the aristocracy, and there’s just something about a man who wields all that power. And, of course, when such an independent man falls in love, we get to see how it shakes his very world. A duke believes he’s in control of everything, and when he finds out his heart has a will of its own, of course a duke resists! But a powerful man can bring his own all-encompassing focus to romance and passion when he finally gives in. That’s why readers love dukes. I think the challenge, as always, is to create a real-life man, to make readers see his flaws, and also the promise of the future, to make him different than the other dukes the reader has read about.
LLG: Dukes are always fun. They’re at the top of the tree, without all the inconvenient political considerations of princes. As for scandals, well, who doesn’t like a juicy scandal in romance? C’mon, it’s one of the best ways for the hero and heroine’s worlds to collide.
PJ: Hellie is reviewing all three of your books for us here at The Romance Dish. (I think she’s setting speed records for reading and we’ve been hearing lots of raves and “you must buy this” from her.) She has a couple questions for each of you.
Hellie: Caroline, I can’t wait until Abby’s little sister gets a man. She and the son of the earl have a real Pride & Prejudice thing going on in the book. I wondered if there’s something there? Do you have plans for her?
Caroline: How funny you mention Pride & Prejudice; I was describing Penelope, Abby's sister, to a friend as part Emma Woodhouse, part Marianne Dashwood. She's an all-Austen kind of girl, I guess. I'm so glad you want to see more of her; Penelope has been one of my favorite characters from the beginning. I absolutely do have plans for her—I am writing her book now. And yes, there is definitely something afoot with Benedict, the earl's son. Penelope hates him…the real question is why?
Hellie: Gayle, Redemption of the Duke seems to wind up a trilogy. Is there a new trilogy in the works? Are you able to tell us anything about it? Any chance Frances will get a book? She was my favorite and the fun characters are already built in with Aunt Theodosia and the mother from hell. *LOL*
Hellie, I love to write in trilogies, I have since the beginning—except for the contemporary romance Valentine Valley series I’m writing as Emma Cane. There’re four books and counting in that series. So yes, I already have a new historical trilogy planned—set in Scotland. I’m very excited, since it’s a whole new world of research for me. The new title is THE WRONG BRIDE: Book 1 in the Highland Wedding series, coming out in the summer of 2015. Can’t go into more detail, because I haven’t started the book yet! I have to be Emma Cane for a while longer. I’m so glad you enjoyed Frances. I have a list of secondary characters I’d love to write some day…but no plans so far.
Hellie: Laura Lee, will there be any more books in this series? Joanna would be a fine heroine for an upcoming book but I’m having trouble imagining the guy who could keep up with her. Any information you’re able to share?
LLG: I have two more books definitely in works for this series, making a total of 4. The next is Catch a Falling Heiress, which is Jack’s story. It’s about what happens when he accidently/on purpose ruins an American heiress’s reputation. He tries to be chivalrous about it afterward and do the right thing, but his attempt to be noble doesn’t go over so well with his ruined heiress, Linnet, who just wants him to go away and stop wrecking her life. When doing the honorable thing doesn’t win her over, Jack decides enough of being honorable. It’s time to seduce his heroine to the altar.
After that, I’ll be doing a story for Stuart’s other friend, Denys. It’s not titled yet, but his heroine is the infamous Lola, the dancer mentioned in (I think) all three previous books of the series. Some readers have also asked about James (nickname: Pongo), and I’m toying with the idea of a story for him. As for Edie’s sister, Joanna, she would make a great heroine! I’d have to set the book later, though, since she’s only 15 during Edie’s story, which would mean putting that book into the Edwardian era. I’m not sure Avon wants me doing Edwardian again for a while because it’s not as popular as Victorian. But we’ll see.
Hellie: Laura Lee, you have quite a niche in your turn-of-the-century books. What books/sources have you found particularly useful for research of this era? Also, do you have plans for any car driving heroines?
LLG: As far as research goes, I find the books of Lisa Picard and Judith Flanders particularly helpful. Also, novels and plays of the mid-to-late late 19th and early 20th centuries are great for picking up the social nuances (Gaskell, Wharton, Hardy, Trollope, Wilde, etc.) And I suppose I am one of the few authors writing late-Victorian, although I don’t think Regency readers would be disappointed by reading my books. All sorts of fun romantic situations are possible in both eras. As for car-driving heroines, I did that! In my Abandoned at the Altar series (Wedding of the Season, Scandal of the Year, and Trouble at the Wedding) all of my heroines drive automobiles. It was great fun to write!
PJ: Let’s turn the focus on the authors for a moment. Please tell us something readers would be surprised to learn about you.
Gayle: I majored in aerospace engineering in college for three years. ;) But all of my electives were in English and creative writing, and I gradually realized I liked writing better. I’d rather write a book on deadline than design a new piece of technology.
LLG: I’m not at all romantic or sentimental in real life. My husband is much more romantic than I am. I guess I put all my romantic sentiment in my books!
Caroline: I like to sew! Followers of my Facebook page have seen some of the costumes I've made my children, especially the Civil War-era gown for my daughter, but I also made the dress on the cover of AT THE DUKE'S WEDDING, the anthology I wrote with Maya Rodale, Miranda Neville, and Katharine Ashe. We all wanted something very accurately Regency, which is hard to find in stock images, so I made it.
PJ: Will you be attending any conferences or book signings this spring and summer where readers will have the opportunity to meet you?
LLG: I’m not going anywhere this year, unfortunately. I have WAY too much writing to do.
Gayle: And I’m with Laurie on that this year.
Caroline: I'll be signing books at The Book Shack (at the Silver City Galleria) in Taunton MA on May 10 at 1 PM. I will also be at the huge literacy signing during the annual RWA conference on July 23 in San Antonio TX, Marriott Rivercenter, from 5:30-7:30. I love meeting readers.
PJ: What’s next for each of you?
Caroline: I have a novella in progress (in case anyone wonders what happens to Samantha) and of course Penelope's story, which will come out next spring. No title yet for either of those! And it isn't really new, but my very first book will be re-issued next spring as well. It's been out of print for a long time so I'm glad to have it available again.
LLG: I’m working on the third book of my current series: An American Heiress in London. CATCH A FALLING HEIRESS will be out in February.
Gayle: As I mentioned above, I’m starting a new Scottish trilogy, and the first book, THE WRONG BRIDE, will be out in the summer of 2015. But I also have the fifth Emma Cane book, SLEIGH BELLS IN VALENTINE VALLEY coming out this November.
PJ: Thank you so much for visiting with us today. Would you like to ask our readers a question?
LLG: I’d like to know what readers think of dukes, scandals, and marriages of convenience? I always want to hear what readers have to say.
Caroline: How do you read series—as they come, eagerly awaiting the next, or do you wait until the series is complete and then read them in a row?
Gayle: Wow, those are good questions. I think I’m going to sit back and enjoy the answers!
Okay readers, let's hear from you. One person who leaves a comment on today's post will win the first book in each of today's authors' current series. (U.S. only)