Welcome Erica Ridley

From the ravens circling its spires to the gargoyles adorning its roof, Blackberry Manor looms ominously over its rambling grounds. And behind its doors, amid the flickering shadows and secret passageways, danger lies in wait.

Evangeline Pemberton has been invited to a party at the sprawling estate of reclusive Gavin Lioncroft, who is rumored to have murdered his parents. Initially, Gavin’s towering presence and brusque manner instill fear in Evangeline…until his rakish features and seductive attentions profoundly arouse her. But when a guest is murdered, Evangeline is torn. Could the man to whom she is so powerfully drawn also be a ruthless killer?


A big welcome to the Riskies, Erica. Tell us how you made your sale.

As luck would have it, I got The Call while I was in Costa Rica for a month. More accurately, I missed the call while I was in Costa Rica, because the last time I’d traveled, I’d managed to rack up a $600 bill in roaming charges, and had decided not to use my cell phone. One day, I’m checking my email in an internet cafe, and I open one from my agent that says, “What do I have to do to get you to call me back??? I’ve been leaving you messages for days. We have an offer for your book!!!” (After I picked myself up off the floor, I decided that this phone call would have been worth the long distance roaming!)
What was the inspiration for your book?

I was sitting in a conference workshop where the speaker explained the term “High Concept” as the juxtaposition of two disparate things, such as a cross between Movie A and Movie B, or two things that don’t normally go together, such as “killer dinosaurs in Disney World” (Jurassic Park). I immediately began daydreaming unusual elements to bring into the world of Regency-set historicals, and ran with a “Dead Zone” style heroine caught up in a house party murder. The first draft was okay, but when I blank-page rewrote it in a more Gothic voice, I fell in love.

What do you love about the Regency–and what do you dislike about the period?

What I love about the Regency could fill pages! I love the fashion, the attitudes, the parties, the various coping mechanisms used to deal with the political instability in England and the reality (and aftermath) of the Napoleonic wars. I love the attention to detail, from the letters discussing sandwiches with ham sliced whisper-thin to the fashion plates with every button and flounce done just so. Above all, I love the many, many rules–from the unwritten societal norms to the laws regarding rights and inheritances–and I love characters who try and bend them. The only thing I dislike about the period is the unfortunate lack of methods to record more details. How I would love to see video footage of a ball, or listen to a taped conversation between unsavories using true canting slang!

What do you like to read and who has influenced your writing?

The very first romance I ever read was a historical (Johanna Lindsey) and from that moment, I was hooked. I inhaled Julie Garwood, Jude Devereaux, Judith McNaught (er… apparently only people whose first name begins with J. I knew I should’ve taken a pen name!) From there, it was an addiction, and I read every Regency author I could get my hands on. Before I discovered romance, however, my shelves were mostly filled with thrillers, mysteries, and paranormal horror novels by authors like Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Those roots are definitely where I get my love of a strong suspense element, but now that I found my home in Regency England, I cannot imagine life without an emotional love story and an HEA!

What’s risky about your book? (The Standard Risky Question!)

Some of my favorite Regencies take place in the world of the ton, where the heroine falls in love with the titled hero as they dance and swirl about a London ballroom (or seek a clandestine corner in which to steal a kiss or two.) Too Wicked To Kiss, however, features a rich but untitled hero who lives apart from Society in his remote, forbidding mansion. He’s dark, dangerous, and likes it that way–the perfect antihero for the very Gothic tone and feel of the novel. The heroine, Evangeline Pemberton, has her own risky element–she’s cursed with psychic visions that come with skin-to-skin contact. And then there’s that murder…

What’s next for you?

A connected book tentatively titled Too Sinful To Deny will be released in 2011, featuring one of the main characters from Too Wicked To Kiss. (There’s even a sneak peek chapter in the back of 2W2K!) This heroine definitely does not have her best foot forward in Too Wicked To Kiss, and will have to deal with some hard truths about herself before she can live happily ever after with the sexy (pirate!) hero of Too Sinful To Deny.

TOO WICKED TO KISS has been selected as a March book club pick for Barnes and Noble! Erica will be at the book club forum all month long, so please stop by to say hi or to talk about the book!

Get extra content and bonus features for Too Wicked To Kiss on the Unauthorized Scandal Sheet. For contest, blogs, embarrassing photos, and other fun stuff, check out Erica’s author web site . Please join Erica for lots of games and prizes on Facebook. And if you have Twitter, please come tweet with Erica.

But before you rush off all over the Blogosphere, make your comment here and enter the drawing for a signed copy of Too Wicked To Kiss.

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34 Responses to Welcome Erica Ridley

  1. jcp says:

    Great book title!

  2. Hello, Erica, my fellow FanLit alumnus!

    I just love the sound of your novel. I am a huge fan of Gothic period romance – Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, etc.

    What problems did you encounter in writing a story that takes place in a closed in venue, i.e. the hero’s mansion rather the wide open spaces of London?

    Congrats on your fabulous debut!

  3. Erica Ridley says:

    JCP: Thanks!

    Louisa: Go team FanLit! I was just talking to a friend the other day about how many of us went on to sell!

    You’re absolutely right–keeping the action in a single venue (ie Blackberry Manor) was a real challenge. Particularly after one of the guests is murdered, which as you can imagine, rather puts a damper on the festivities. I didn’t want them eating or sleeping in every scene, so I spent a lot of time brainstorming alternate activities and unusual settings within the grounds themselves. I hope readers are both entertained and pleasantly surprised!

  4. Hi Erica, welcome again.

    What research did you do for the book? (A question I forgot to ask you in the interview!) Did you read any of the Gothics of the age like Mrs. Radcliffe?

  5. Erica Ridley says:

    Ah, research! I have an entire bookcase full of reference books, which are also great fun just to flip through and browse the illustrations for inspiration.

    And of course, the internet is an invaluable resource, ranging from hunting up obscure facts to double-checking the OED to make sure a word existed (and was used the way I meant it!)

    I was also lucky enough to go to England and visit several period houses, as well as museums with costume collections and Regency-era furniture collections. Love that stuff!!

    And what I wouldn’t give to get my hands on a collection of Mrs. Radcliffe Gothics…

  6. Diane Gaston says:

    Welcome, Erica!
    This sounds like a very impressive review. You got some wonderful reviews and author quotes, too.

    Well done and way to go on writing gothic!

  7. Amber S. says:

    First story about The Call! Congrats, this book sounds wonderful!

  8. Giada says:

    I can’t wait to read this book! It seems very interesting!

  9. Amber S. says:

    Urg. I meant “cute” story about The Call. Gotta love auto-correct.

  10. Erica Ridley says:

    Diane: Thank you! (And yay Gothics!)

    Amber: LOL, auto-correct is often my enemy as well. Thank you!! =)

    Giada: Thanks! I hope you enjoy it!!

  11. Virginia says:

    Hello Erica, I am sorry to say I have never read your books before, but this one looks really good and I would love to read it. I love the cover! What types of books do you read and do you enjoy your research?


  12. Erica Ridley says:

    Hi Virginia! I read everything from romance to mysteries to suspense thrillers. Within the romance genre, my favorites are historicals (particularly Regencies!), contemporary romantic comedies, paranormals, and romantic suspense. Although, the truth is I’ll read anything that catches my eye!

    I do enjoy research, although I admit I am embarrassingly slow at it, since every new snippet of information seems to set me off on a thirty minute daydream about “what would happen if…” LOL!

  13. Barbara E. says:

    Everything I’ve heard just makes me want to read this book more and more. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on it.

  14. Candy G says:

    Once again Congrats! I can’t wait to read this book, the more I hear about it the more I want it!

  15. Amy Kathryn says:

    I love the idea of a house party. The closest I’ve come was a weekend craft getaway at a bed and breakfast. It was so fun to spend time with a group of people and play games and wander around a new town. I’m glad we did not have a murder!

    I appreciate modern technology and life but it does tend to isolate us.

  16. Kim says:

    Thank you, Janet and Erica, for the interview! It is a welcome respite from yesterday’s tension here in Hawaii (luckily the tsunami passed us).

    Erica’s cover is hot – who knew blue could be so sexy? Erica likened the book to a “Dead Zone” heroine meets a house party mystery. I have become a fan of “Medium” reruns on Lifetime TV, so I am eager to read a historical romance with a gifted heroine!

    I enjoyed reading Erica’s web page. It leads me to believe she lives near Tampa – my hometown! I will inform my friends about your upcoming book signings. And I chuckled by your comment of finding you “hopelessly getting lost in the middle of Budapest.” I embarked on an “Eastern European” tour with two UT friends after the Berlin Wall fell (and opened borders). 18 years later, my friends still tease me that I got us hopelessly lost in Budapest, too!

  17. Erica Ridley says:

    Barbara and Candy: Yay! Thank you!! =)

    Amy: Wow, a craft getaway sounds like tons of fun! I am a scrapbooker, and I’m blissfully happy whenever I can grab even a few hours to work on my pages. What kinds of crafts did you do at the B&B?

  18. Erica Ridley says:

    Kim: I do live in Tampa! (And it’s actually sunny today, for once… I was beginning to think Florida had become yet another state of frost and rain!)

    If you like Medium, then I think you’ll like Evangeline, too! And high five on getting lost in Budapest. Only the cool kids do it. (…right? Right???) LOL.

    I’m actually quite skilled at getting lost just about anywhere when I’m traveling, because I love to go exploring without paying too much attention to maps. Sometimes it works out great, and sometimes… =)

  19. Amy Kathryn says:


    The craft weekend I talked about was a quilting retreat in Nashville, Indiana. I have recently heard about a scrapbooking one at Petticoat Junction and a friend of mine just got back from a 4 day knitting cruise. It is nice to get away and be creative with likeminded friends and soon to be friends…and get at least one project completed. My unfinished object pile is almost as big as my TBR pile!

  20. Erica Ridley says:

    LOL, I so hear you. I spent the last year traveling, which was absolutely amazing, but I’m totally overwhelmed by the sheer volume of photos I now have to scrapbook. Digital cameras are both a blessing and a curse! Once upon a time, I’d only have a couple dozen photos of a trip. Now I have a couple dozen… gigabytes. Ack!

  21. Jane says:

    Congrats on your debut release, Erica. I love historicals with paranormal elements and look forward to reading “Too Wicked to Kiss.”

  22. Jane George says:

    Welcome Erica!
    Congratulations. Too Wicked to Kiss sounds like a great Gothic.

  23. Jane Austen says:

    I really like the idea behind this novel. It gives people that paranormal aspect they like with the psychic visions, but it’s a twist from the vampires and werewolves that are so popular. Congratulations.

  24. librarypat says:

    I’ve seen this book on other sites and like the sound of it. I read a lot of gothic novels before getting interested interested in historical romances.
    Congratulations on the release of your book. I hope it does well.

  25. mariska says:

    Hi Erica,
    A new for Me Author 🙂

    – what’s your favorite scene(s) on this book ?

  26. Alison says:

    Love the whole idea of this book and desperately hope I win a copy!

  27. Erica Ridley says:

    Wow, three Janes in a row!

    Jane 1: Thanks!! I hope you love Too Wicked To Kiss!

    Jane G: Thank you! I definitely fell in love with the Gothic style, and hope to write many many more!

    Jane A: And unlike vamps and weres, there are those who would argue whether psychic abilities are fact or fiction. I really enjoyed that element, too!

  28. Erica Ridley says:

    LibraryPat: Yay, team Gothic! What are some of your favorites that you’ve read?

    Mariska: I have so many… I love the scene where Gavin first witnesses Evangeline having a vision that goes horribly awry–that one was fun to write because it’s so spooky. I love the picnic scene because it encapsulates the pivotal moment where each realizes how they feel about the other, to much awkwardness and hilarity. And I love Evangeline’s reaction to the pot of dirt… both when she first receives it, as well as when she finally understands it.

  29. Erica Ridley says:

    Thanks, Alison–and good luck!!! =)

  30. CrystalGB says:

    Hi Erica. Great interview. To Wicked To Kiss sounds good. 🙂

  31. Maureen says:

    I like those spooky gothic type stories.

  32. M. says:

    Hmm. Costa Rica trips, debut releases, Book of the month selection – it would not be surprising to hear you are running for president next!

    I am a new convert to gothics and think this sounds delicious. Closed venue settings can help those of us readers who are not very skillful at figuring out the clues vs. red herrings (ahem) think that maybe we have a chance to be smarter than usual before the big reveal! Congratulations on your first release.

  33. M. says:

    Hmm. Costa Rica trips, debut releases, Book of the month selection – it would not be surprising to hear you are running for president next!

    I am a new convert to gothics and think this sounds delicious. Closed venue settings can help those of us readers who are not very skillful at figuring out the clues vs. red herrings (ahem) think that maybe we have a chance to be smarter than usual before the big reveal! Congratulations on your first release.

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