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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Giggles, Daughters, Dukes and Wickedness with Christine Wells!!

Happy Titillating Thursday Everyone!

Today is the first offering in our appreciation for the historical genre.  It is here where some of us here at this blog find our roots, whether they lie with Jane Austen or Amanda Quick or the like, historical novels have been tantalizing us for centuries.   

What's the draw?  For me it was a fascination with a more decadent time and a time some of us can't even fathom existing in from wearing corsets to getting married at a very young age to never being able to actually hold a title.  The women I like are always headstrong, independent, or just plain smart and capable!  Scandal's Daughter is a perfect example of a smart and capable female.  

Which leads me to our first historical guest, Christine Wells

Christine WellsReading her bio on her website, you'll find that, like many authors today, had spent years pursuing a career other than writing only to eventually discover that listening to the voices in her head does not make her crazy.

To think, if she studied art instead of law, she might just be an artist, a paranormal author or maybe even a mistress of crime uh, and punishment novels…oh wait, I think that’s what she’s evolved into from the sounds of Wicked Little Game.

Now, you’ll also find out that she makes a habit to be “out of pyjamas by 10am.” 

[Huh?  May I suggest getting some more comfortable clothes that look like regular clothes and feel like pyjamas so that you can get up and still look like you’re dressed to tackle the day?  It can work wonders.  


Oh well, whatever works!]

I know that you're not here to listen to me ramble, but to check out my interview with Christine. So, here it is:

Q: Of all the historical time periods, why The Regency? What is it that draws you? How did this time period come to be your favorite?

A: I grew up loving Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. When I started writing, I read the advice: Write what you love to read. I tried crime fiction, which I also love, but Regency seemed a better fit for my voice.

Q: How do you choose your settings?  In Scandal's Daughter, you chose Ware. Why Ware? Why London for The Dangerous Duke?  (Is London the setting for Wicked Little Game as implied by the excerpt for Indecent Proposal at the end of The Dangerous Duke? If so, why?)

A: Ware is a fictional estate in Sussex. Scandal's Daughter was about a heroine who has been brought up as the country squire and didn’t want to give up her home and a rake who needed to find home again. It made sense to set the book in rural England.

In The Dangerous Duke, Lyle and Kate meet in London at a ball, but much of the rest of the book is spent hiding out in the country. Max kidnaps Kate to protect her from his fellow operatives, who want to find out what she knows and silence her.

Wicked Little Game is set almost entirely in London, which was necessary because the murder mystery/suspense subplot played out against a background of gentlemen’s clubs and London slums.

Scandal's DaughterQ:  The nickname Scovy.  How did you come up with that nickname?  I know on page 30 you mention that it had something to do with the Muscovy Duck, but how did you choose that particular duck?  (Here in Wisconsin, we mostly see mallard ducks, Canadian geese and peacocks.) 

A:  I wanted to write about a rakish hero and a heroine who met him before he became a rake, who knew the true man underneath the façade. That she gave him a silly nickname brought him back to earth. I have no idea why I chose that particular duck! Maybe it was on a menu somewhere…*g*

Q:  Names, how is it you choose the names you use in your books? The names need to be time-appropriate, right, so how do you know that they are?  What’s your resource?

A:  I think the most important thing is that the name must suit the character.  I have a good general knowledge of the period and the names that were in use at the time.  Sometimes I use the peerage to check that a particular title didn’t actually exist.  Also, a map of England is handy when I’m trying to come up with a title, because those were usually place names.  My mother-in-law has dared me to use Buckfastleigh (which I haven’t yet) and I do love Ashby-de-la-Zouche.  Maybe one day…

The Dangerous DukeQ: I notice that The Dangerous Duke have Fanny and Lord Romney, from Scandal’s Daughter. Is this something you planned, or did it just happen as you sat down to write The Dangerous Duke?

A: Very little about my books is planned! The Dangerous Duke was supposed to be about Alistair Brooke, Gemma’s unsuccessful suitor in Scandal’s Daughter, but he refused to do what I wanted when he walked on the page. He kept turning into a far more forceful, physical man than I’d imagined Alistair to be. So I created a brother, Max, for Alistair and went from there. Alistair and Max were Romney’s cousins so it made sense to include Romney and Fanny in The Dangerous Duke when I needed somewhere for Kate and Max to hide. Romney and Fanny are such an outrageous, tempestuous couple, I enjoyed bringing them back.

Q: After having read comments from Goodreads, I discovered that the supporting characters in The Dangerous Duke have some fans and they want to know: Will Louisa and Lord Jardine get their own story? If not, why not?

A: Yes, I’ve had a LOT of mail asking for Louisa and Jardine’s story so it gives me great pleasure to say that Sweetest Little Sin has been scheduled for May 2010. There’s a first chapter teaser in the back of Wicked Little Game.

Q: In reference to The Dangerous Duke, why did you choose kidnapping of a sister and the contents of her diary as the catalyst to the storyline?

A: It was actually the heroine who was kidnapped—by the hero, of course, but only for her own protection! I thought the diary was a delicious hook—here is a virtuous married lady who only lives out her private fantasies in a diary… and the hero gets hold of it. The diary was a metaphor for… something. I’ll let the readers work out what.

Q: Why the name-change from Indecent Proposal to Wicked Little Game? Whose idea was it?

A: I believe there was a romance from NAL called An Indecent Proposition, or something like that and the publisher thought the titles were too close. Yes, it has caused a bit of confusion among readers who loved the teaser for Indecent Proposal in the back of The Dangerous Duke and then couldn’t find that book in the stores.

Switching gears temporarily:

A Dangerous Diary BlogQ: How did your blog, “A Dangerous Diary,” evolve?

A: It evolved from the kidnapping theme of The Dangerous Duke. I thought it would be fun to give my hero, Max, a dose of his own medicine and kidnap him to do some promotional work for me. He and Kate came along with me to blog interviews and he had a guest spot on Romance Bandits, where I blog regularly. The blog became a bit of an ‘in’ joke for the Romance Bandits. And of course, The Dangerous Duke revolves around a stolen diary, so that’s why I made the blog a diary.

Q: Why the evolution from light and humorous to dark and sexy?

A: I started writing Scandal’s Daughter in my mid twenties, having mainly read what is known in the industry as ‘traditional’ Regency romance—Heyer and Austen. Then I discovered historicals by authors like Kinsale and Mary Jo Putney and Liz Carlyle and found that dark intensity utterly compelling. It became the kind of book I loved to read. I think I’ve also matured in the intervening years. Having children does that to you! The voice is the same, but the dark, sexy tone of Wicked Little Game is where I’m heading now.

Speaking of dark and sexy,

Wicked Little GameQ: After reading the excerpts for Wicked Little Game, I just have to ask, why have Vane pay 10,000 to have Lady Sarah watch him take a bath? That’s not really all that dark and seems kind of silly really, so I am truly curious on this one (sorry, but high giggle factor for me! Of course, it could still be the Founder’s Breakfast Stout talking…).

A: Hmm, maybe you should read the whole story for the answer to your question. It doesn’t quite happen that way!  [ooh, sneaky diversionary tactics!]  If anyone wants to read the excerpt, you can find it on my website.

Q: Okay, now that I got that goofy question out of my system, what can you tell us about Wicked Little Game that readers won’t find on your site or other blog posts? (If no dark secrets to share, now would be a good time to talk some more about the book. I’d have more specific questions here, but I wasn’t able to get the book before creating these questions.)

A: Basically, Wicked Little Game is about two people who have longed for one another for years, except that one of them is married and they can’t act on that longing. Then the heroine’s blackguard husband offers the hero one night with her for ₤10,000. The temptation is very hard to resist.

The book was inspired by the premise of the movie Indecent Proposal, which I’ve always thought far more suited to the Regency era than present day. However, as you can see, I tweaked the premise quite a lot! Ultimately, I was glad that the title changed from Indecent Proposal because this is not a book about infidelity. It’s about forbidden longing, forgiveness and taking the ultimate risk on love.

One secret—this was one of the easiest books I’ve ever written. The conflict was so meaty and the characters so real to me that the words flowed better than they ever had before. Other writers will know how rare an experience that is! It’s another reason I decided to stick with the darker, sexier books. I love writing them.

Q: One last question. I realize that you are promoting Wicked Little Game right now, but readers are always curious to know: Do you have anything in the works that they can look forward to seeing in the future? If so, can you tell us a little about it?

A: Sweetest Little Sin is in the editing stage now, so that’s in the pipeline for May 2010. It’s early days but I’m working on a concept for a series that I’m very excited about. It’s not sold yet, so I can’t say any more about it, but I’m jumping out of my skin to write it, which is always a good sign. 

[Got me jumping too!]

Thank you Christine for joining us today and for your delightful and insightful answers!

Hey everyone!  Do you want a signed copy of Wicked Little Game?  Then answer this question:  What's the most outrageous thing you would do for $10,000? Christine will give the best answer a signed copy of Wicked Little Game!!!  So be sure and leave your answer in a comment! 

12 Moonbeams (comments):

Molly Daniels said...

Ooooh...I like Regencies too!

Carrie said...

Keep checking in! I have more of the interview coming! I'm getting parts of it formatted and then publishing it so that it can be enjoyed as soon as it's ready!

Molly Daniels said...

LOVE Indecent Proposal! NOW you've definitely got my interest:) Great interview!

Hmmmm...most outrageous thing for 10K...will have to think on this a bit. Can't I just sleep with Robert Redford AND Harrison Ford?

Carrie said...

Interesting idea, but not possible! Harrison Ford's mine and has been for quite some time!

Let's see only $10,000, huh? Well, I guess I'd go ride one of those sky coasters. I'll have to explain it because I couldn't find an image.

I'm not exactly sure of the name, but it's one of those really tall rides that spins like a windmill, but can only seat two people at each end of the single "propeller" Not only does the propeller arm swing you through 360 degrees, but the chair is moves as well (just forwards and backwards).

I have a fear of heights and I did ride one before (saying, "holy sh@# get me out of here," the entire time), and that's what someone would have to pay me to ride that thing again!

Molly Daniels said...

I think there's one at King's Island...

And how old are you again? Harrison's been MINE since 1977, lol:)

Nope; I would NOT get on a coaster. No way.

Get onstage and sing a little Journey?? ( Journey on the brain this am!) Appear on Oprah or Ellen and talk about my publishing efforts?? Oh wait...some of that would have to be on a cable network...I think O would pass out if she read Kenzie's work...

Carrie said...

I'm 36, will be 37 and did claim him early on....

Sheila Deeth said...

I love Regency and still have the Georgette Heyer compendium I bought to take to college. I used to imagine the characters as I walked round English towns. Having your characters reappear sounds fun - creates a whole world. I definitely need to go find your books.

Molly Daniels said...

Since you helped me on FB...I'll let you have one night with Harrison:)

Can I sleep with Jon Bon Jovi?

Carrie said...

Um, yeah Molly, Jon Bon Jovi's all yours! He's not my type.

Now, William Petersen (Gil Grissom of CSI) - Um I'll take him. I don't know what it is about him, but I've always found him sexy. Must be those eyes!

Hey Sheila - thanks for stopping by but you have to tell us the most outrageous thing you would do for $10,000 if you want to be entered into the drawing for Wicked Little Game

Tierney O'Malley said...

A Regency addict. That's me. Yep! Hmmm...what should I do with $10,000. I'll have the 10,000 in one dollar bills, write my name, website and email address on the back with a note,"email me. Subject line: One dollar." And then spread the money to pan handlers, donate some, go on a shopping spree. Just want to see how many would respond to the note. :)

Christine Wells said...

Hi all, I'm so glad I could join you today. It was touch and go. I'm at a resort in North Queensland, Australia, where the internet is chancy at best.

Thanks so much for having me here today (and the PJs thing was a joke, haha, at least now that I have to make the school run in decent clothes, it is)

I'm enjoying everyone's comments and hope to get back to answer in more detail a little later on.

Good luck to all!

Gracen Miller said...

Oooo...good choice, Molly. I loooove Jon Bon Jovi! *swoons at the mere thought of the 80s big-haired hottie* You know, I think he's like fine wine and has improved with age. :D

Thanks for being with us today, Christine! It was a huge honor! And WOW Australia...I'd love to see visit. to your question, what would I do for $10,000...even though I can't win, I'll still play along for entertainment purposes. Hmmm...well, I'm not jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. ;-) And I'd tragically injure anyone that tried to push me out of it. It'd take at least a cool million to get me to jump. lol

I thought this would be easy, but 10 minutes later I'm still stumped. I will ponder this question and get back to you, Christine...