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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Author Interview: The Heart of a Duke

The Heart of a Duke

Five friends receive a pendant from a gypsy along with a prophecy that whoever wears the necklace will win the heart of a duke. With varying expectations, each girl accepts her turn with the good luck charm—and a chance at happily ever after—secretly fearing the gypsy’s tale may be nothing more than a plot to sell a worthless piece of jewelry.



I recently had the chance to work with four amazing authors on a collaborative novel set in Regency England. Since LS Christi Caldwell is spending time with her two baby girls (Reagan Hope and Riley Faith, born January 17th) and their big brother, Rory, I jumped at the chance to take her blog day and interview her, Robin Delany, Aileen Fish, and Olivia Kelly, my partners on the project. And how perfect is this?

It’s release day for The Heart of a Duke!

Hi, ladies. Thanks so much for joining us today at Lady Scribes. Please tell readers a little about yourselves.

Olivia Kelly: I've two little boys, which keeps me running, and I'm a huge geek for movies and TV. I don't actually watch many shows, but the ones I do, I get a wee bit obsessive about! Right now I'm really into the BBC Sherlock Holmes, and in talks with a few friends to set up a podcast to watch Dr. Who collectively and discuss the episodes. I've never actually seen the show! (See? Geeky.)

Aside from writing historical romance, I've also recently branched out into Science Fiction/Fantasy and Urban Fantasy stories. I find it fun to write all over the place! I write the stories as they come, regardless of place, time, or setting.

Aileen Fish: I write sweet traditional Regency romance, and am branching into sweet contemporary romance this month. I’m a mom, grandma, quilter, and auto racing fanatic with a small menagerie of pets, all of whom think my laptop is much too important in my life.

Robin Delany: I live in a beautiful spot in the Northern California wine country with my husband and our two sweet little ones. Unfortunately the aforementioned little ones keep us from exploring said wine country. More's the pity. I love to spend time with my family, write, read, and travel. I love to letterbox, I'm a Zumba fan, and I LOVE scarves, so I wish I could knit, but I've never been able to learn.

I love reading in many genres, but historical romance holds a special place in my heart. I tend to write what I love most, sinfully sexy adventures with a dash of humor. Okay, sometimes more than a dash. :-)

Christi Caldwell: I live in southern Connecticut with my husband, five year old son, and twin baby girls who were born two weeks ago! I manage to squeeze writing in between babies nap schedule and son’s school time…and my husband has been amazingly supportive, doing double daddy duty time, so that I might pursue my dream as a writer.


I’ve read historical romance novels for almost all my life. I love tortured heroes and heroines that possess real characteristics and flaws that people can relate to. 


How did the idea for a collaborative novel develop?

Aileen Fish: Samantha Grace started the ball rolling, and I’m not sure, but I think Olivia Kelly had the idea of something like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. We all tossed ideas around until we found something that suited the stories already forming in our heads.

Robin
Robin Delany: The five of us knew we wanted to work together, but we didn’t want to do the usual anthology. We thought an interconnected work would be more enjoyable for us and the readers. It turned out to be an extremely fun process, and I feel honored to have been included in their number.


Christi Caldwell: I had worked on the Danby Christmas collection with a group of historical romance authors and truly loved the process of working collaboratively with other writers.


In terms of the Heart of a Duke project, like Robin said, the five of us knew we wanted to work together, but we didn’t want to do the usual anthology. We thought an interconnected work would be more enjoyable for us and the readers. It turned out to be great fun and I’m so very honored to be part of such a talented, group of ladies!  

Olivia Kelly: I think it was Samantha who first brought it up, in our private author critique group, and then Aileen had a good hand in shaping the idea. It sort of snowballed rather quickly. We loved the idea of a Regency era Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, as we jokingly refer to it!

What was it like working with four other authors on this collaborative story?

Robin Delany: The collaboration was awesome. We had so much fun hashing out the particulars together. Email after email flew around as we discussed our characters, the story world, and so much more. It took us a couple days of intense planning, then we worked together as we wrote our stories, running things by each other. It was a real learning experience for me.


Christi
Christi Caldwell: The process was fantastic! It was so much fun creating an interconnected story. At various hours of the evening, I’d find myself on the computer or phone, talking with the other authors and picking the brains of their heroes and heroines!

Olivia Kelly: A little difficult in the way that we all had to track each other's details and timelines, but not too hard. Sam, Aileen, Robin, and Chris are very easy to work with! They have so much enthusiasm, we had the best time working out everyone's characters' back-stories. Much of it intertwines, and some of the characters show up again and again, so we had to be consistent. It was fun.

Aileen Fish: It was hard! Seriously, think about it. Most anthologies give you a theme to write about and whatever you come up with within the theme is fine. The way our stories are laid out, they’re sections of a larger story, so we had to read each others’ chapters and clarify how our characters would have reacted. And then we had the challenge of making the duke the villain in the first four stories and redeeming him in the last, so a lot of toning-down had to take place, even at the start of Langley’s story with Charlotte. But it was a wonderful exercise for the brain!

Tell us a little about the hero and heroine in your part of the story.

Christi Caldwell: My heroine Aldora Adamson is desperate. Her father has left the family in dire financial straits. Aldora has a great sense of commitment to her younger brother and sisters and is resolved to save her family, even if it means at the expense of her own happiness.


The hero, Michael Knightly, is a man with a dark past. Banished to the country by his father, Michael is no desperate lady’s ideal hero. Unfortunately for him, Aldora has set her cap for his older brother, the distinguished Marquess St. James. 

Olivia Kelly: My heroine, Eleanore Barnaby, has been betrothed to the Duke of Langley since birth. The connection, however, is not a blissful one. Since childhood, she had trailed after him, attempting friendship or at least conversation, but he has used his cousin, Jacob Farrish as a shield to defect her each and every time. As her wedding to the duke looms, Elle decides she must use her remaining time to discover if marriage to Langley will be passionate or empty of all, save polite civility. Her chosen place and time is the upcoming house party at the duke's estate, an ideal situation to steal a kiss or two. Now, if the Langley's cousin would just get out of her way…

Jacob Farrish, London barrister and man of ambition, has been in love with Eleanore for years. He manages his inconvenient passion for his cousin's bride-to-be by needling and riling her every chance he gets. It's much safer for all if she can barely stand to be in that same room as him. But when the Duke of Langley turns to him in a desperate bid for peace from his wedding duties, and the company of his betrothed, Jacob can hardly say no...

Aileen
Aileen Fish: I had the amazing challenge of redeeming Langley, and gave him the little sister/youngest friend to work with. Charlotte had envied Elle for having the luck to be engaged to such a handsome, titled man, but when she finally has the chance to see what he’s really like, he doesn’t fit her image of him at all!

Langley was all business where marriage was concerned, and meeting Charlotte forced him to look inside himself to discover why no one wanted to marry him. I hope the readers enjoy getting to know him as he learns what he really wants from life.

Robin Delany: My hero, Jonathan, wants to make a name for himself within the scientific world to make himself worthy of marriage. My science-minded heroine, Alison, worries Jonathan’s desire for recognition might not be satisfied until they are both in their doddering age. When Alison’s father gives her an ultimatum—choose a man to marry or he will choose one for her—and they must shove aside their fears and reservations or risk losing each other forever.

If I asked your hero what he likes best about the heroine, what would he say? What would she say she likes best about him?

Olivia Kelly: Jacob likes her spark. He's drawn to Elle's vivaciousness, charm, and the little, sharp edge of temper she only shows to him. Elle would probably say she likes the fine, smooth muscles that run down his back, because who doesn't like that? But what she really loves about Jacob is his wit, and sense of honor and justice. And he makes her laugh, even when he drives her mad.

Aileen Fish: Langley likes Charlotte’s honesty, and he loves the version of himself she sees. She is able to recognize the real man, flaws and all, where others see what they imagine him to be. Charlotte doesn’t like much of anything at first! But as Langley peels away the layers of his shell, she finds a man who enjoys many of the things she does, like reading and quiet evenings at home.

Robin Delany: He likes her endearing jittery nervousness and how she can always surprise him. He also loves the fact that she understands his ideas and theories in a way most do not.

She loves the fact that, despite his handsome face and brilliant mind, there are times when he seems out of place in social events. He appreciates her scientific mind and doesn’t want her to hide it.

Christi Caldwell: He loves Aldora’s devotion to her family but also her proclivity for losing things.  


She loves the fact that, Michael does not put on airs. He is direct, honest, and does not treat her as an empty-headed miss.



What is next for you?

Olivia
Olivia Kelly: I've an Urban Fantasy short story coming out in the June issue of Fireside Fiction Good Ghoul Gone Bad, and I absolutely love my heroine Lola. A club-hopping, shop 'till you drop socialite whose life went terribly wrong, she's now struggling to find her place in the permanent night crowd. The story may be short, but it's got a sexy, backstabbing ex-boyfriend, a dangerous quest, blackmail, revenge, bullets, and a jar of dirt. I loved writing it, and can't wait to share it!
Company, which is an online genre fiction magazine. The title is

Aileen Fish: I am back at work on the next story in The Bridgethorpe Brides series! I should have a new short story soon, which will include David and Joanna’s wedding, and then will finish Lady Hannah’s love story.

Robin Delany: My agent, Deidre Knight, is currently pitching my trilogy about a group of men sworn to take down the nefarious secret society their fathers started. I also have a novella on the back burner. Details and updates can be found on my website, facebook, and twitter.

Christi Caldwell: I recently released Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride; Book 1 in my Scandalous Seasons series. I’m currently working on book 2 where Miss Sophie Winters will have her own story and…a most unexpected hero in Lord Waxham! I’ve received many questions about the Duke of Mallen’s and Lord Sinclair’s stories…yes, they too will have their happily ever after’s. J  Details and updates can be found on my website, facebook, and twitter.


Thanks again for joining us, ladies! And thanks to everyone for stopping by. To show appreciation, the authors are giving away an electronic copy of The Heart of a Duke to one reader today. For a sneak peek at the fifth friend, Miss Valera Bell, stop back tomorrow to read an excerpt.

Since this is a story about best friends, here's a question for readers. What do you like most about your best friend?

To connect with Olivia Kelly and chat her up...

Website  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest  |  Facebook  |  Google+  | Goodreads

To learn more about Aileen Fish...

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

To check out Robin Delany and join the conversation…


To find Christi Caldwell…

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Facebook Page

To connect with Samantha…

Samantha Grace Author | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Lady Scribes

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45 comments:

  1. Congratulations, ladies--what a great idea and it sounds like a terrific read. Happy release day!

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    1. Thank you, Suzanne! We had such a great time working on it together, even though it was a challenge coordinating all the stories. I like challenges, though. :)

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    2. Thanks so much. It was really fun to work on this novel. We really loved the premise and I think it shows in the story.

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    3. Thanks, Suzanne! It's hard to believe the book is finally available.

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    4. Thanks so much, Suzanne!!! I can't believe this day is here! This story got me through the earliest stages of bedrest!

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  2. What absolute fun! Pls pls pls pick me *fingers crossed*

    I like that we are on the same wavelength & I can tell her anything & she understands.

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    1. She sounds like a great person to have as a friend. It seems so rare to find someone who really listens and understands. :)

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    2. That's the best. I love the few people in my life I have that sort of relationship with.

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    3. Isn't it fun to have someone so close you can talk without saying a word?

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    4. You're so fortunate, Linda. Some people can search their whole lives and not find someone they can connect with the way you do with your friend!

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  3. We can pick up & have a conversation, even after not seeing each other for a couple of months. We both tend to run late & neither is an immaculate housekeeper, which reduces a lot of anxiety!

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    1. That is the best, Sharlene! I love when it feels like no time has passed. It's just easy. :)

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    2. It's great to have a friend you don't have to be perfect around. That's awesome!

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    3. Sharlene,
      You both sound like my kind of friends! ; ) I'm always running late and am a good deal (a GREAT deal) less than perfect in the housekeeping department. To my mom's chagrin.... : )

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    4. LOL, Christie! I learned my housekeeping "skills" from my mother. Eeek!

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  4. I just dropped my best friend off at the airport, so this is a coincidental question. I love her for so many reasons, but the biggest is that we just seem to *get* each other, even with different lives and goals. She's supportive and honest and always seems to be able to put a different spin on my life when I'm feeling like nothing is working out. And she's funny.

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    1. What a wonderful complimentary relationship! It means the world to have someone "get" me, and that's exactly how I feel about my BFF too. She would say I'm the funny one. ;)

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    2. Sense of humor is so important. I love my funny friends. Check out Louisa Cornell. She's hysterical. https://www.facebook.com/louisa.cornell?fref=ts

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    3. How wonderful to have someone who can let you be you!

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    4. You sound so very blessed! It's wonderful when you have someone who can pick you up with positive thoughts and actions!

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  5. I love that we have a lot of things in common.

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    1. It's so great to have a friend that shares interests and values. :)

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    2. Combined memories are the best part of having an old friend. I love it when really old friends visit and we're like remember that time when . . .

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  6. Congratulations, ladies! I can't wait to read all of your stories!

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    1. Thank you, Julie! I'm so excited to share our work with everyone. It was a long time in the making, but I'm very happy with the novel. :)

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  7. I can't wait to read all of the stories after having a sneak peek at a few. Congrats!

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  8. I have someone to confide in. We can share the silly things.

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    1. That's one of the things I love about my relationship with my husband. We can be so silly together. Thanks for commenting, Melody.

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    2. Someone who gets "silly" is invaluable!

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  9. Oh I love best friend reads!!! For me it's the getting to know them part. Even though I've known mine for 8 years it still surprises me when I learn something new about her. and of course I love listening to her talk about her life. :)

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    1. That is a cool experience, Kipha. I feel that way when I learn something new about my husband. We've known each other for 18 years. It seems like we should already know everything about each other. :)

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    2. I'm a huge fan of stories that come from a crush or old friends. <3 <3

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  10. My best friend is always there when I need her.

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    1. How wonderful to have someone like that. :)

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    2. That's great. I think a friend who can always be there is a friend forever. Thanks for the comment.

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  11. Hi everyone! Sorry I'm so late to the party. I think so much of what you ladies said is why that friend is your BEST friend: "getting you", being there for you, listening and not judging. I love that my best friend always takes my side, even when I'm being completely unreasonable and hardheaded, lol!
    Thank you all for the well wishes!

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  12. I like that I can be myself and not be judged, and that we have the same taste in books so we always have plenty to talk about.

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    1. And books to share! That really is fun to find someone who shares the same taste in reading. Thanks for stopping by, Barbara. :)

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