Amanda’s New Interview!

“The perilous action and the elegance of the writing…allowed me to thoroughly enjoy an unusual and fascinating story of an intriguing era” —Romance Reviews Today

Amanda (standing in as RR): Why, hello, Amanda! Such a surprise to see you here, at your own computer and all. Tell us about A Sinful Alliance! How does this fit into the “Renaissance Trilogy”?

Amanda (as herself): I’m so glad you asked! I am soooo excited about this book. The hero Nicolai (who was a KISS–Knight in Shining Silver–in the April RT, so yay him! I think he’s the first of my characters to win their very own award) was the hero’s friend in A Notorious Woman. As so often happens with these pesky secondary characters, I hadn’t actually intended to write a whole book for him (though he was a hottie). But I really fell for him, and I found a very beautiful, but troubled and lonely, heroine, who really needed his kind of magic–Marguerite Dumas, a French spy.

Trouble was, she once tried to kill him. Bit of a rocky start there. They meet up a few months after this little incident at the court of Henry VIII at Greenwich, still on opposite sides of ever-shifting political alliances. This event was a real historical happening, a meeting in early 1527 between King Henry and a French delegation seeking a marriage between young Princess Mary and King Francois’s younger son. This weeks-long meeting was filled with lavish banquets, balls, jousts, and masques, with specially built theaters and banquet halls. England’s old alliance with Spain is faltering, thanks to Henry’s new infatuation with Anne Boleyn and Katherine of Aragon’s loss of influence, so it made the perfect setting for an illicit, dangerous affair. And also some really great clothes! (Stay tuned next week for more research info on this stuff)

And it’s the second of the trilogy. The third (which I’m just finishing!) is about Balthazar Grattiano, who is now a ship’s captain in the Caribbean!

A as RR: Did you run across anything new or interesting while researching this story?

A as A: Tons! Besides the actual events of this English/French meeting (the Spanish were there, too–never count out the Spanish!), I researched Tudor clothes, tennis, jousts, hunting, Greenwich Palace (plus Fontainebleau Palace, for one scene), sword fighting, theater, fashion. It was way too much fun!

A as RR: Have you always been interested in this time period?

A as A: When I was a kid, I loved watching old movies with my grandmother. One afternoon we watched a Tudor marathon–Anne of the Thousand Days and A Man For All Seasons. I loved them, and immediately started reading all I could about the Tudors! Anne Boleyn particularly intrigued me. The juxtaposition of such splendor and luxury with such terrible danger and intrigue really interests me, and hopefully I brought all that into A Sinful Alliance.

(And hopefully, judging from the popularity of The Other Boleyn Girl and Showtime’s weird The Tudors, other people are intrigued, too!)

A as RR: What was the biggest challenge of this story?

A as A: The challenge was also the part I enjoyed the most–the history! There was so much going on in this short space of time, and I didn’t want to let it overwhelm the characters and their romance. Luckily for me, Nicolai and Marguerite were strong characters, and they basically ran with their own story. I had a clear picture of them in my head (they looked a lot like Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish, though not so modern as in this pic, of course!), and they had such complex pasts and personalities that made them perfect for each other. I just created the historical backdrop, and let them go! πŸ™‚

A as RR: Okay, we always have to ask–what’s ‘risky” about A Sinful Alliance???

A as A: Well, the setting is pretty risky! You don’t find 1527 England on the shelf everyday, but I hope there is interest in it. It’s a fantastic time period. And the fact that the hero is Russian, and the heroine is a French spy. But so far Harlequin hasn’t told me “you can’t do that” on anything, so yay!

A as RR: What’s next for you?

A as A: I’m just finishing up Balthazar’s story now! Then it’s on to the third (and last) of my Regency-set The Muses of Mayfair trilogy (watch for them next year!). Then an Elizabethan story inspired by Dancing With the Stars (which just proves inspiration can strike anywhere!). And in 2010, the first of my “Daughters of Ireland” series with Grand Central Publishing! Now, I have to go get to work…

BTW, if you don’t win the autographed copy of A Sinful Alliance here, I will be visiting a few other blogs! On April 2, I’ll be at the Romance Vagabonds; April 4 at the Romance Bandits; and on April 6 at Unusual Historicals. Please drop by and leave comments, so I won’t feel too lonely! And visit my website to read an excerpt…

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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31 Responses to Amanda’s New Interview!

  1. Ammanda, I’m excited about the release day coming closer. I’m extra thrilled to see you doing blog rounds to promote your unusual historicals. Thank goodness for Mills and Boon otherwise, we’d never see these books.

  2. Diane Gaston says:

    Ohhh. I didn’t have time to read and just finished advertising this…for SUNDAY. I’ve made corrections!
    I’m off for the day. I’ll stop in tonight.

  3. Yeah, Amanda! Great interview. I just the book in B&N yesterday while I was waiting for Helen Mirren to sign my copy of her new autobiography. I can’t wait to sit down and read it. The backdrop sounds intriguing. I too loved Anne of a Thousand Days, particulary after suffering through The Other Boleyn Girl and the first 3 episodes of The Tudors.

  4. Deb Marlowe says:

    I’ve got my copy! I can’t wait to read it! It sounds fabulous, as usual, Ammanda!

  5. “after suffering through The Other Boleyn Girl and the first 3 episodes of The Tudors.”

    Ugh, TOBG was a dreadful, muddled movie! Natalie Portman was okay as Anne Boleyn, but really nothing could save it. And I won’t watch any more of The Tudors. This is a great time period, it really needs a great movie. πŸ™‚

    Diane, no worries! I’m going to leave this up tomorrow, too. πŸ™‚

  6. BTW, Elizabeth, I am really jealous you met Helen Mirren!

  7. Amanda, I can’t wait to read this book. I am in the middle of A Notorious Woman and I love it. I have been interested in the Tudor period since reading a bio of Anne Boleyn. I saw TOBG and wasn;t to thrill with Natalie Portman as Anne.

    I did see some of the Tudors. It all right.

  8. ilona says:

    Russian Hero – French Heroinne – I am sooo going to add that to my library wishlist πŸ˜€ (I can’t affrod to buy all the books I want to so Harlequin/Mills & Boon books go on the library one.)
    BTW How difficult was it to interview yourself? I personally never have trouble talking to myself but some people find it hard to do πŸ˜€

  9. Patrica says:

    I’m very excited to hear about these books. They sound so lavish and exciting.

    That time period is definitely fresh, I’ve been reading historicals for years and haven’t seen any with your approach.

    You have a new series coming, Daughters of Ireland? Would you mind sharing a bit more about that?

    I’ve just finished a mss about 9th century Ireland during the Norse Occupation and found that Ireland’s history is rich and diverse with so many little details people don’t even think about!

  10. Elena Greene says:

    Amanda, A Sinful Alliance sounds fantastic and congrats on the KISS award!

    I am so impressed by your ability to write in different settings and time periods. How do you switch gears between them?

  11. Cara King says:

    Amanda: a historical inspired by Dancing With the Stars??? Why am I not surprised??? πŸ™‚ Looking forward to when that one comes out!

    And I think this one sounds utterly fascinating. Maybe you and M&B will bring back Renaissance romances in a big way!

    Elizabeth Kerri Mahon: you got Helen Mirren’s autograph? Way cool!

    Cara

  12. Elizabeth, I have to mention once again how envious I am of your meeting Helen Mirren in person.

    Ammanda, your book arrived!! Here’s the thing about your cover: I like it. The colors are much richer and the details much finer on the actual book than on the computer pictures you’ve posted. And it certainly is not a cry-worthy cover. I have a couple books to go before I dive in your two books, but I can hardly wait to do so.

    And Riskies, check out her author photo. Go you!! Love that hair cut and color and make-up, too.

    But what happened to shoes?? I was looking for gorgeous ones. Now that you’re headed to NYC and will meet Elizabeth, I see lots of shoe shopping in both your futures. πŸ™‚ For National of course. Every clothing purchase this year is a business expense!

  13. LOL Keira! I actually have a brand new pair of evening shoes for RWA. Plus a couple new dresses. πŸ™‚ I have weird-sized feet, so finding shoes (especially evening shoes!) is a challenge. But it’s a challenge I’m happy to tackle. πŸ™‚

  14. “You have a new series coming, Daughters of Ireland? Would you mind sharing a bit more about that?”

    Glad you asked, Patricia! My books are actually set a wee bit later than yours, in the late 18th century. The trilogy centers around 3 sisters, daughters of a wealthy Anglo-Irish family (much like the Connollys, the Kings, and the Fitzgeralds). But the sisters are each rebellious in their own ways–the eldest, Eliza, gets her story first, in 1798. She is a young widow, and a supporter of the United Irishman. But her hero is a Major in the British Army sent to quell the uprising.

    You are so right, Ireland has such a rich, tumultuous, and romantic history! I’m surprised it’s not seen more, but hopefully I can help change that. πŸ™‚

  15. “BTW How difficult was it to interview yourself? I personally never have trouble talking to myself but some people find it hard to do”

    Tee hee! Believe me, I have no problem talking to myself either. πŸ™‚ Sometimes at the day job I’m thinking of dialogue for the next scene I’m writing, and I have to restrain myself from speaking aloud!!! It’s not so easy to interview myself, I found. I have no idea what people might be interested in. Luckily, the other blogs had sent me questions I thought were pretty good, so borrowed some (with permission, LOL)

  16. “I am so impressed by your ability to write in different settings and time periods. How do you switch gears between them?”

    Good question, Elena. So far I have not had a problem–it’s actually kind of like sorbet for my imagination! It cleanses my creativity so I don’t burn out. I always have new ideas and characters! But I do worry, because each time period has its own tone and atmosphere (the Tudor period is more openly bawdy and brutal than the Regency, for instance), and I don’t want to get things wrong.

    Plus I have to restrain my insane love of period slang! πŸ™‚

  17. robynl says:

    interesting interview; I have not read anything in that time period and am very interested in it. Thanks.

  18. Diane Gaston says:

    Helen Mirren, Elizabeth? You lucky ducky!

    Amanda, you amaze me with your creativity. This book sounds wonderful!

  19. Hi Amanda,

    The book sounds wonderful. I am looking forward to reading it. Great interview!

  20. doglady says:

    Hello, Amanda! Sorry to be late to the party. The DDJ can put a real crimp in one’s online life!

    Terrific interview. All interviews should be self-questioned, don’t you think?

    ASA is on the top of my TBR stack and I cannot wait to dive into it. It sounds fabulous, just as your previous novel was. Your series sound amazing. You just aren’t writing fast enough to suit me!!

    I am curious as to which time period is the easiest to research and find research materials for and which is the hardest?

    And by the way, Elizabeth, I am beyond jealous of you meeting Helen Mirren!!

  21. janegeorge says:

    Chiming in late.

    A HUGE congratulations on this entire fabulous cavalcade of stories!

    Now get back to work. πŸ™‚

  22. andrea pickens says:

    Great interview, Amanda. I can assure everyone that ALL the books you have coming out are wonderful, and your new series for GCP is very exciting! Tell us a little more about the idea.

  23. “I am curious as to which time period is the easiest to research and find research materials for and which is the hardest?”

    Anyone who saw my house would say I have no trouble finding research materials in ANY time period! πŸ™‚ I would say the Elizabethan and Regency periods are the easiest–there are so many interesting sources out there. I’m working when I can on an historical fiction set in Revolutionary France, and have also found good sources for that. The Irish books are a little more challenging–I have “Year of Liberty” and “Rebels and Informers”, as well as books on historical houses and such, but if anyone knows of any good titles let me know.

  24. Regina Scott says:

    Fabulous book, fabulous interview! I’ve been waiting for Nicolai’s story, as you know. Go, Amanda!

  25. “Now get back to work.”

    BTW, thanks for that, Janegeorge! No time to lose, and lots to do. πŸ™‚

  26. Pam P says:

    I like this time period, Amanda, like to see more of them, and interested in a Russian hero. Great to see some different stories.

  27. Nathalie says:

    Wow… you will be doing a lot of visits on other blogs!

    Congrats on your new book πŸ™‚

  28. Lily says:

    Thanks for bloggig… I can’t wait to read this one πŸ™‚

  29. Santa says:

    This books sounds delish and so does every other book you have in the works!

    I can’t wait! See you over at the Vagabonds!

  30. flchen1 says:

    Amanda, popping in late to say VERY cool! Delightful interview, and the book sounds very exciting! I love the whole “she tries to kill him” start to the story! The story can only get better from there! And thanks for letting us know what’s coming next for you–more good stuff to come!

  31. Amanda, Stella Tillyard has an interesting book about the son of one of the Lennox Sisters, who was involved with the rebellion. I think his name was Edmund Fitzgerald. He was played by a real cutie in Aristocrats.

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