Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the "New Stars of Historical Romance." Her sensual, Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her third book, My Favorite Countess, was nominated for an RT Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Regency Historical Romance.
Vanessa's current series, The Renegade Royals, is a national bestseller. The first book in the series, Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.
PJ here. It's always a pleasure to welcome Vanessa Kelly to The Romance Dish. Today, she's blogging about the newest entry in her The Renegade Royals series, Tall, Dark and Royal. It's Dominic and Chloe's story, what I've been longing for since meeting them as teenagers in Lost in a Royal Kiss, the novella that started the series.
Welcome back, Vanessa and thank you, thank you, thank you!
Doing it the Hard Way
I got the first glimmer of an idea about my latest historical romance series while reading a biography about the children of King George III. There were mentions of an orphan boy raised at court with the royal princes, an apparently misguided attempt at charity on the part of the queen. It would seem the experiment was a failure, since the princes were anything but charitable to their low-born companion.
I couldn’t help wondering what happened to that charity boy, but info was sparse. Still, the idea stuck with me, eventually developing into the main concept for The Renegade Royals—heroes who are the illegitimate sons of England’s royal princes. Their leader would be this charity boy, a man raised with princes. He would know better than anyone how callous his former companions could be, and it would be one of his missions in life to find the forgotten sons and help them establish their rightful places in the world.
And so Dominic Hunter, the leader of The Renegade Royals, was born.
My editor loved the idea. I originally planned to write six books, with Dominic’s story concluding the series. Once his mission was complete, he would have the time and opportunity to find his own love and happiness.
But my editor had a different idea. He proposed four books and two novellas, with the second novella coming between books two and three. And rather than having Dominic’s story come last, my editor wanted it to begin in the first novella—specifically, with Dominic tragically separated from his childhood sweetheart. He would then spend years looking for her, and there would be elements of that search in the first two books. Finally, Dominic would find his true love and his HEA in the second novella, wrapping up his main storyline.
Great idea, my editor enthused, don’t you think? Definitely, I enthused right back. And then I proceeded to have a mini-nervous breakdown as I contemplated the complications to the timeline and the multiple subplots I’d have to weave through the stories to make the darn thing work. I ended up with several plot boards, flow charts, timelines, and a whole lot of anxiety that I wouldn’t be able to pull it off.
But you know what? It sparked my creativity and forced me to think about my books in ways I never had before. Dominic and Chloe were introduced as teenagers in Lost in a Royal Kiss, the first novella. Obviously, they weren’t the main focus of the romance in that novella but it was where their story began. Dominic’s search for Chloe was then a subplot through books one and two, especially significant in Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom.
Readers liked the idea too, and they seemed to eager to find out if Dominic and Chloe would be reunited.
Well, in Tall, Dark, and Royal, Chloe comes fully back into Dominic’s life and I personally think it was worth the wait. She and Dominic are two mature adults who must overcome a whole lot of baggage in order to find their life together. I found it to be a very emotional and very satisfying story to write—not easy, mind you, but I was SO pleased with the result when I finally typed The End.
I’m happy to say that readers, so far, seem to agree. Tall, Dark, and Royal has gotten great reviews. For that I am very grateful, especially since the whole project felt like a high wire act for much of the time I was writing it.
But it would seem that my editor knew what he was doing—sometimes the hardest way turns out to be the best way, whether you expect it or not!
TALL, DARK, AND ROYAL
Release date: Nov. 25, 2014
He's the man behind the mission to track down the illegitimate children of England's Royal Princes and help them get their due. But his deepest desire is far more personal…
Magnificent and stubborn. Fourteen years apart had not changed Chloe Steele, or Dominic Hunter's love for her. He'd been a street urchin, a boy raised at court, and finally a magistrate, yet he'd never belonged anywhere--except by her side. Now Chloe devoted herself to girls threatened by scandal--like she had been. But she was in danger, and Dominic was determined to help--and hopefully make up for lost time…
Even in childhood, Dominic had made Chloe feel safe. Now she also felt thrillingly flustered by the powerful man he'd become, and by the longing he inspired. Because Dominic meant not only to protect her, but to untangle the lies that had separated them. Yet for Chloe, surrendering to temptation may be easier than risking a future that could ruin them both…
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1y4PKFW