Tag Archives: Historical Romance

Author Interview: ‘The Thief and the Bastard’ by Kit McKinney

About the Book:

Claire has a secret – someone has stolen something very dear to her, and she has travelled from France to London to get it back. With a strange man named Jean by her side, she steals in order to survive, and to find what was taken from her. She is barely scraping by when she and Jean decide to steal from a more glamorous target – The Feather and the Wren. What she finds there, however, changes her life forever.

Duncan, a veteran-turned-entrepreneur, has a secret too – he is the bastard child of the licentious nobleman, The Duke of Argyll. Now, with the help of his friend and comrade-in-arms, Lord Thomas, he plans to find his family and take his place in society. That is, until a young French woman steals the only proof he has of his pedigree.

Thrust together by fate, Claire and Duncan find themselves battling with their attraction for one another. But can Claire help Duncan realise his destiny as an heir to the Argyll title? Can Duncan help Claire find what she is looking for? Can love help them find their way?

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I’ve been writing since before I can remember. When I was a kid, my parents had a particularly disruptive divorce, and I found solace in books and daydreams. The more I read, the more I wrote, and when I was in middle school, I decided to write my first book. It took me ten years to write and finish my first book, and by the end of it, I was exhausted. 

Throughout that process, I found the world of romance novels. My mother had given me a regency romance novel when I started puberty to teach me about the birds and the bees, and I was absolutely fascinated. It took until I had gotten married, written a few failing high fantasy books, and had my own child that I realized I could write what I loved to read. 

So I wrote The Thief and the Bastard, and I have to say, I’m hooked all over again. It took me years to write novels before I got into romance, where The Thief and the Bastard took me a month. I was just so inspired and in love with the process of it, I couldn’t put my pen down. That, and I was on my maternity leave. I decided from there that I would make romance more than a guilty pleasure, and really let myself enjoy my writing in ways I never had before. 

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Where and when I write changes day to day, just as my life does. I wrote most of The Thief and the Bastard on my phone while I nursed my baby to sleep. The next book I wrote completely on my computer the few minutes I had between rocking her to sleep, and falling asleep myself. Now I make the time, and hope to continue that trend as I go back into the work force. For instance, this morning I wrote a scene while I made my baby eggs, and I’m writing this while she plays with blocks on the floor. Whatever happens, I’ll always find a way to squeeze a few words out a day. 

3: Where do your ideas come from?

If I am completely honest, my ideas come from daydreams. I don’t daydream a whole lot anymore, but when I do, it’s usually me trying to find the mood for a book. If I’m having a hard time writing, I’ll set my work down and just sit there and ‘watch’ it unfold in my head, then figure out how to describe it from there. 

With Silk Sheets and Dark London streets, I literally just sat down and wrote, not bothering to think of what the story would be, or where it would take me. Every new scene would flesh the world out for me, and from there I would figure out how I wanted the story to go. It took me until about chapter three to have an idea of the world and whether or not I wanted to make the story a series, and I’m really glad I stuck out with it. So far the first three books are finished, and I’m three-quarters of the way done with book four.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

It really depends on the story, but as I was taking a shot in the dark, The Thief and the Bastard really dragged me along behind it. I usually have a general idea of the story, such as major plot points, and sometimes a particular scene or two, but I find that the more structure I have, the harder it is for me to write something quality. I feel too beholden to my plans, and can’t let the conversations happen naturally.

Dialogue between characters really is what drives my stories. I’ll sit down with an idea for a scene in mind, and then as the characters talk, I’ll realize that what I had planned wouldn’t work, because these characters would never say ‘X’, or ‘Y’, so I write it how I think they would speak, and go from there. If that changes the story, then so be it.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

My books are historical romance, set in the Georgian era. I remember my first romance book, not really much what happened in it, but the fancy it bred in my heart at the idea of balls and bonnets. I have read contemporary, and I particularly like to read Scottish Highlander type stories, but for some reason when I sit down to write romance, I think historical London.

I think it might be the fact that the culture is so different from mine and that love feels a little forbidden in the time. Men could find themselves in affairs and understand their sexuality, but for a woman to know her own body was pretty taboo, which makes the whole thing that much more exciting. I’m not one to like things too risqué, so I think it scratches that adventurous part of me, the part of me that wants to be elegant and powerful and bad (in a good way, of course).

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

When I describe characters, I actually go through and try to find actors or models who look how I want my character to look, and use that as a base for my character’s face. Claire’s appearance is based off of a beautiful French actress, Emmanuelle Béart. Duncan was originally based off of Adrien Brody, a man that I particularly find very alluring, but I eventually switched the actor as I wanted to use Adrien Brody for another character. I eventually found a picture of a man named Tony Ward, who is a Lebanese-Italian fashion designer that is absolutely gorgeous. I don’t know if he would act the part well, or really much about the man at all, but he certainly has a great face that I found inspiring.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I love to read, and sometimes when I have issues with writing, I’ll sit down and read to find inspiration. One of the authors that I found really fun and chill was Wendy Vella, who wrote a supernatural regency series that I absolutely devoured. I also read an author named Minerva Spencer, whose saucy scenes I thought were particularly well done. I really hope that I can one day write eroticism in such a compelling way. There’s a particular scene in her story Outrageous, where the main male character gets in a fight, and instead of focusing on the fight, he flexes for his lady, which I thought was both hilarious and sensual. Outside of historical romance, I used to read a lot of Sherrilyn Kenyon, and loved her supernatural series as well. I definitely think that I will do something historical and otherworldly for my next series. In fact, I already brainstormed characters and supernatural situations that I hope to explore when I finish this series. 

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

Sillily enough, I am reading The Crown and the Sceptre by Tracy Borman, which is a history of British royalty. I am also reading A History of the British Isles by Kenneth Campbell and the entirety of the Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle. That might give hints to where I want to take my next series, but I really wanted to know more about the era and culture that I am writing about, as American culture has never been particularly good at educating people on other’s cultures and history. I have found the history books very enlightening so far, though I’m still far from the time period I write in. And I have also been enraptured with the stories of Sherlock Holmes, as I have only ever seen adaptations of the work, and hope to learn how to ravel a web of mystery like Arthur Conan Doyle can.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

I honestly don’t have a favorite book, though I feel like I should sometimes. Books are much like music to me, my favorite song and book is different almost everyday, depending on my mood and what is interesting that day. My favorite books in that past have been The Giver by Lois Lower, Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Outrageous by Minerva Spencer, but right now I’m looking for my next favorite book.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Write for yourself. I don’t ever plan to make money off my writing, but I want people to read it. I self published because it was a dream of mine, and I enjoy it, not because I want to make a career out of it. I will try my hardest to make the most out of writing, but at the end of the day, I will write whether or not I have an audience. I love writing because it helps me cope with my mental health issues and it enriches my life. I love writing like I love eating. It’s something to enjoy and do every single day. So I write for myself. Beyond that, do your research so you know what to expect. Things change all the time, and what might be true as I write this will be different when you start. From what I have read, having a back log is one of the best things for a writer, so work on getting things out, make the cover of a book you want to read, read blogs, and follow your favorite authors. There’s a lot of great information out there if you just look. And good luck!

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

You can find me at:

Facebook: Kit McKinney, Kit McKinney Fan Page

www.en-gb.facebook.com/people/Kit-McKinney/100079066089609

Twitter: @KitMcKinney4

Instagram: www.instagram.com/KitMcKinney4

Amazon page: www.amazon.co.uk/Kit-McKinney/e/B09YS7GBN9

About the Author:

Kit McKinney is a mother and author from San Antonio, Tx. She has been writing since she was in middle school, and fell in love with romance as a genre in her early teens. After graduating from Texas A&M and giving birth to her first child, she decided to commit herself to family, love, and happily ever afters. Happy reading.

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Author Interview: ‘Worth Waiting For’ by Matilda Madison

About the Book:

Betrayed by his wife five years earlier, Edward Powell, the Earl of Canton is furious. Penelope Powell is out to hurt him once more. Only this time, he won’t stand for it and he intends to teach her a lesson for her wicked deeds.

Penelope is shocked to learn that her husband has come to Scotland to confront her, although not nearly as surprised as he is. For five long years, Penelope has kept a secret, a child, from Edward and knowing her husband, he won’t soon forgive her for such treachery.

Now reunited in London, Edward demands that Penelope be a perfect example of what a lady should be, while he extracts a more intimate revenge in the bedroom. Will Penelope be able to meet Edward’s demands? Or will she lose herself to him just as she did all those years ago?

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I’ve been writing for about fifteen years now and it’s started out as a sort of therapy for me. I would try to work out my issues vicariously through my characters. This led to dozens of stories and piles of notebooks. Eventually I realized that I was no longer writing to deal with my personal situations, but because I had fallen in love with the world I had built and the characters that had problems all their own. I love writing and as much as I can get frustrated with re-writes and submissions and all that jazz, I always find my way back to my stories.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I like to write in the early morning and late evening. I try to write at least 2,000 words a day which isn’t always achievable, but it’s easier for me to write while it’s dark out. If the sun is shining, I can get distracted, which is why I tend to write most of my stories during the winter months. 

3: Where do your ideas come from?

All over. I could be in a car, looking out a window and daydream up a story about a chase scene. I can see an old couple eating dinner at a restaurant and imagine an entire history about them. I have an over active imagination that would probably have gotten me into a bunch of trouble if I didn’t focus it towards my writing. I also think I love life so much that I want to live a thousand lives and so I dream up all sorts of situations. 

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I used to be a pantser, which is a term I just learned about actually. It means a writer who writes by the ‘seat of their pants’, meaning I used to just sit down with an idea and start. I had a lot of trouble finishing my stories like this though, so now I’ll write a synopsis first when I get an idea. If I like it after a day or so, I’ll write a chapter outline. If that sounds good, I’ll start to flesh out my character analysis and then I’ll get to writing. A little foundation work goes a long way for me.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

Historical romance! I’ve loved them for years, but was embarrassed about them for a long time. I started reading them when I was fourteen and listened, foolishly, to people who called them trashy and believed that I should be reading more important things. Of course, it didn’t stop me from buying them and they were a guilty pleasure for a long time. Ultimately though, it didn’t make sense that I was writing stories that didn’t emulate what I was reading. So, I wrote a few historical novellas and while I didn’t have much success with them, I adored them. I found it liberating to write historical romance and eventually I stopped caring what people would think and decided to embrace it. I haven’t looked back since.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

Literally anyone Shonda Rimes wanted!

Honestly, I’ve always had a tough time imagining my characters because I often just dream up people. Edward is difficult to pin down but I will admit I thought a lot about Luke Evans while writing him. I think Penelope could be played by Sydney Sweeney from Euphoria.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I read a lot. Mostly historical romance, but also practical nonfictions, like ‘Pastoral Song: A Farmer’s Journey’ by James Rebanks. So, it could be considered and odd pool of authors that I read.  My favorite author is a very obvious answer, the queen of historical romance, Lisa Kleypas.  While I’ve read hundreds of historical romance authors, her books are the gold standard for me and her writing style is unmatched in my opinion. She can create an atmosphere that is so well detailed that the scenes just appear in my head and I’m always left amazed after reading and re-reading her books.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I just finished ‘The Indifferent Stars Above’ by Daniel James Brown. It’s a historical nonfiction about the Donner party and it was both haunting and fascinating. Often times I’ll break my historical romance streaks with harrowing stories of human adventure. Historical accounts about shipwrecks, mountain climbing and wilderness survivals stories captivate me. I’m about to get back on the historical romance train though and I’m going to read ‘Angel in the Devil’s Arms’ by Julie Anne Long and I’m very excited about it!

9: What is your favourite book and why?

The hardest question in the world! My go to answer is ‘The Hobbit’, only because it was one of my first loves and I tend to read it once a year. Really though I have about a hundred favorite books and couldn’t begin to name them all.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

I think if you write, you are a writer, whether it’s poetry or children’s books or novellas or novels. But if you want to be successful at it, I think you have to write a little every day. No one wakes up, having never written a day in their life with a brilliant story, writes one draft and becomes a success. It’s a craft and needs to be practiced and the more your practice the better you get which always makes me wildly happy after I finish a manuscript. Because I know it was better then my last and I know my next one will be better still.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

I’m on most social media sites and I check all of them fairly regularly. I’m not terribly hard to find, a Google search should do it, but here are my Website, Twitter and Instagram.

Website: www.matildamadison.com

Twitter: @madison_books

Instagram: www.instagram.com/matildamadisonbooks

About the Author:

Matilda Madison aka Melinda Michaels lives in Pennsylvania. A lover of history, she finds an immense amount of joy in knowing useless facts, exploring historical places and drinking copious amounts of tea. When she’s not writing she can be found researching obscured time periods for her books or her own amusement, refurbishing old furniture and baking.

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Book Blitz: ‘Scandals of Tokyo’ by Heather Hallman

Title: Scandals of Tokyo

Series: Tokyo Whispers

Author: Heather Hallman

Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group

Genre: Historical Romance

About the Book:

ENJOY THIS PREQUEL TO THE TOKYO WHISPERS SERIES

In the Foreign Quarter of Tsukiji, Tokyo, Japan, Victorian England is alive and well. Manners and etiquette are as valuable as gossip and deceit. Men are more rakish than ever – so far from home, societal rules seemed to be relaxed. But courting young women still requires a deft hand, a smart wit, and a man with something to offer.

INTERNATIONAL SCANDAL

Intent on being an international journalist of repute, Evelyn Prescott will do what it takes to make her mark.

It doesn’t hurt her father has built a newspaper empire, but finding a scandal in Japan is no easy task.

As much as she hates to admit it, she is forced to meet with the owner of the Tokyo Daily News, Ned Taylor, also an Englishman.

Ned holds a deep-rooted dislike of Evelyn’s father’s approach to journalism, and Ned, a notorious rake, pushes her to see just how far Evelyn is prepared to go to get her story.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Kobo

Boroughs Publishing Group

Giveaway:

The author is giving away one electronic copy of Scandals of Tokyo and one electronic copy of Talk of Tokyo. The file type can be the recipient’s choice. All you have to do is send an email to heather@heatherhallman.com with the subject line: Reading Nook and add your name and file type preference for your chance to win. Competition runs from 21st to 28th February where the author will then choose a winner from the pool. Good luck!

Also by Author:

About the Book:

This is the first full-length book of the series. It’s not necessary to have read Scandals of Tokyo to appreciate or understand Talk of Tokyo.

CAREFUL WITH YOUR WORDS

1897 Tokyo is no different than anywhere else in the world: men are exploiting women. Specifically, Western men are exploiting Japanese women, and Suki Malveaux holds no punches in her condemnation of their behavior in her weekly column in the Tokyo Daily News. 

Suki knows firsthand when Western men arrive at Tokyo Bay there’s only one outcome for Japanese women: a child and new mother left behind as nothing more than discarded shrapnel from the heartless war on love. 

Griffith Spenser is her latest target. He’s been seen with Natsu Watanabe, one of Tokyo’s esteemed war widows. Under full anonymity of the moniker “The Tokyo Tattler,” Suki makes sure Griffith knows exactly why his behavior with Natsu won’t be tolerated.

Away from her Japanese mask as a columnist, Suki never intended to meet the cad. When he seeks her out to hire as a tutor for his niece and nephew, she’s faced with seeing him day in and day out without him ever knowing who she really is.

Caught in her struggle for anonymity so she can keep battling for women’s rights, Suki’s about to learn the full impact of her words on the people behind the story, especially on Griff.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Kobo

Boroughs Publishing Group

About the Author:

Heather Hallman writes witty, sensual, contest-winning romances set in Meiji-era Japan (1868-1912). She is the author of the Tokyo Whispers series that includes Scandals of Tokyo and Talk of Tokyo.

She is fluent in Japanese language, history, and culture, and earned a doctoral degree in cultural anthropology based on fieldwork research in Japan. She lives in Tokyo with her professor husband and two young daughters. In her free time, she can be found translating ancient Japanese poetry and observing the passing of seasons while sipping green tea. Just kidding, she has no free time. But she does watch something that makes her laugh while she does the dishes.

Perennial obsessions include the weather forecast (she checks three different apps at least three times a day, as no single app can be trusted), Baltimore Ravens football (hometown obsession), and making smoothies that taste like candy bars.

Feel free to chat her up about any of her obsessions, or, even better, about historical Japan—any era is fine, she loves them all. She also enjoys exchanging book recommendations, discussions about the craft of romance writing, and stories about life in present-day Tokyo.

Social Media Links:

Website: www.heatherhallman.com

Newsletter sign-up: www.heatherhallman.com/contact 

Bookbub: www.bookbub.com/authors/heather-hallman

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/22050466.Heather_Hallman

Instagram: www.instagram.com/heatherhallman_author

Facebook: www.facebook.com/hallmanheather

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Book Blitz: ‘The Last Season’ by Jenny Judson and Danielle Mahfood

Title: The Last Season: A Novel

Authors: Jenny Judson and Danielle Mahfood

Publisher: TouchPoint Press

Genre: Victorian Historical Romance

About the Book:

Set in Victorian England, The Last Season is a story of social upheaval, changing fortunes, and an unlikely romance that develops between a well-to-do heiress and a stable boy.

When they meet as adolescents at Drayton Manor, the well-to-do Cassandra Drayton and the manor’s stable boy, Crispin St. John, seem destined for very different futures. Yet, the two strike up a secret and forbidden friendship. Once discovered, they are forced apart, with Cassandra staying locked in her father’s world and Crispin traveling to India to make his own way.Years later, when Cassandra’s high-society London lifestyle is shattered by her father’s spectacular fall from grace, she is surprised to reunite with her childhood friend, no longer a penniless boy but an enterprising young man who has risen through the ranks of the Indian cotton trade. As they navigate changing circumstances, fickle friendships, and social upheaval, Cassandra and Crispin find that the bond they developed as children is a lasting one.

Praise for The Last Season

“Old school historical romance is not typically my genre, but this sweeping, expertly-written narrative by two friends from St. Paul’s boarding school who split ways to go to Harvard and Yale is like a smart dose of Downton Abbey. Set in Victorian England, this story about a wealthy young woman and the stable boy at her “manor” as their fortunes rise and fall over the years has all the saucy ingredients for an epic escapist read.” —Zibby Owens for Katie Couric’s Katie’s Picks

“Judson and Mahfood immerse readers in British high society…blending Regency romance with Dickensian themes of reinvention, unrequited love, and unexpected benevolence…” —Booklist

“If you love a juicy, Victorian-era story of forbidden love, then The Last Season by Jenny Judson and Danielle Mahfood deserves to be at the top of your TBR pile.” —PopSugar

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

About the Authors:

The Last Season is a collaboration between Jenny Judson and Danielle Mahfood, who met in high school and shared a mutual love of historical fiction and romance novels. Instead of passing notes in class, Jenny and Danielle would write short excerpts from imaginary novels that featured themselves and their classmates as characters caught up in tales of romance and adventure. Many years later, after cheering for opposite teams at Harvard-Yale games, they came together in New York City to begin writing The Last Season, inspired both by the Victorian period and the financial crisis of 2008.

Social Media Links:

Website: www.daniandjenny.com/home

Instagram: www.instagram.com/daniandjenny.authors

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Book Review: ‘Daughters of the Dagger’ by Elizabeth Rose

Title: Daughters of the Dagger (Daughters of the Dagger Series Prequel)

Published: 23rd December 2013

Publisher: RoseScribe Media

Author: Elizabeth Rose

Blurb:

Will an old superstition bring joy or despair?

Lady Mirabelle de Burgh is desperate to give her husband an heir. She’s heard of the superstition that to buy a jeweled dagger from a blind old hag, would ensure her of conceiving a child. One child for each dagger bought.

The old hag she finds on Grope Lane has many jeweled daggers, but Mirabelle hasn’t enough money for them all. Her greed gets her into a situation and what starts as a noble cause ends up in a way that no one could have suspected.

Review:

Mirabelle longs to give her husband a child, though mainly a son. So much so she is willing to explore superstition to see her fate changed.

Superstition has it that if you buy a jewelled dagger off a blind woman you will conceive a child. Gold coins are needed but how many can they buy. The woman shows her 5 daggers, each with there own main gemstone within it – Ruby, Amber, Sapphire, Amethyst, and Onyx. Each gem has its own characteristics that will be matched with the child that it will be given to. Each child needs to be named after its dagger too to make sure what Mirabelle asks for comes true for them. She can only afford 4 of the 5 daggers so must choose wisely but greed can get the best of people to try their luck. Actions have consequences that you can’t out run. One wrong move can change your path forever.

Even though you pretty much know how things are going to play out due to her actions it doesn’t take away from the story at all. As a prequel you see the set up of all the daughters born and what fate might have in store for them all.

Interesting set up for the series, does make me intrigued to check them out. Daggers will always find there way back to their true owner so let’s see what fate has in store for Mirabelle’s children. Fun, quick read that pulls on heartstrings too.

3 out of 5 stars

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