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Liz Carlyle and her BFF

A big Riskies welcome today to Liz Carlyle and her Best Furred Friends.

Today your comments and questions are very important. Not only will you have fun and enter to win the drawing for a copy of Liz’s book, but Avon has very generously agreed to donate $1 per comment to Cat Angels, Liz’s favorite animal rescue organization. HarperCollins will donate up to $3,000, but you will only be counted once in the entire blog tour, not by the number of comments you make. But please don’t let that inhibit you today!
Get talking and become a furry godmother.

Grace’s tenacity, wit, and compassion make her a very believable, multidimensional character and the perfect match for Ruthveyn’s brooding and dark secrets. The romance sizzles, its unpredictability propelling this complex story far beyond its contemporaries. Starred review, Publishers Weekly.

First, let’s talk cats. Are there any cats in the book?

I do love to have animal characters in my books, and Lord Ruthveyn is definitely a cat person. So I gave him a pair of solid silver tabbies, in honor of Pelham and Mary, two of our rescue cats. Ruthveyn’s silver cats are named Silk and Satin. They sleep on his bed, and love only him — isn’t that so cat-typical? Here’s a picture of Pel and Mary just a few days after they came to us as terrified feral kittens. They have really blossomed since, but I think they will always be a little more shy than most cats.

(Aaaw) And these other adorable critters belong to Liz. What are they gazing at so intently? But let’s get to the book: Tell us the story behind the story of ONE TOUCH OF SCANDAL. What sparked the original idea for the trilogy?

I think the spark came from spending too much time in the British Museum, and reading too many books. But I’ve always been fascinated by psychic gifts, and the many forms such talents can take across the broad sweep of world cultures. One of my older novels—THREE LITTLE SECRETS—was about a young boy who had inherited “the Gift” from his Scottish ancestors, and he is the character around whom this new series is very loosely built. His book is the second in the series, ONE WICKED GLANCE, which will be out in late May, I believe.

What’s your favorite scene in the book?

Strangely, I think it’s a quiet little scene in Hyde Park where Grace and Ruthveyn must confront their mutual doubt and distrust. For the first time in his life, Ruthveyn has found himself in a relationship in which he is “blind”—he cannot read Grace, which is at once a relief to him, and a bit unsettling. He realizes he has reached a turning point in his life; that he must learn to trust his ordinary human instincts, which tell him that Grace is a woman he can believe in. A woman he can love. This is all very new for him. It makes for a very emotional scene; a moment of bonding, if you will.

What’s the appeal of the Victorian age for you?

It is the Age of Empire, so we still have the elegant society of the Regency with dashes of expansionism and intellectualism. Science was becoming fashionable, India was exploding, steam and train travel were shrinking the world, we had a woman on the throne again, the Continent was in constant political turmoil—and then, oh my!—the clothes! Crinolines, corsets, bustles—and then there’s the incredible jewelry! Really, what’s not to like?

What do you find particularly challenging about the Victorian age?

I’m not quite as well-versed in the history of the era as I was the earlier third of the 19th century, so my research takes a little longer. The Victorian era spanned over six decades, a period of time during which almost everything we knew—society, science, literature, the role of women, the primacy of the aristocracy, even our cultural mores—was in flux. The phrase “it’s complicated” was probably coined in the Victorian era. It really is a lot to take on!

Tell us about your research and any favorite research books you use.

My fall-back source is always the good old Encyclopedia Britannica, but a fairly old edition, one which leaves out all the unnecessary stuff—like most of the twentieth century. My mother-in-law was a professor of European History, so I inherited a vast library from her. Over the years I’ve bought a lot of reference books from the National Trust—particularly in their shops around the UK, and I keep a membership with them which includes some wonderful periodicals that are always chock-full of inspiration. But there’s nothing like seeing something firsthand, so I travel as much as possible.

What the buildings are on your website banner–they’re gorgeous!

That is a sort of mini-montage of photographs I shot several years ago in Castle Combe, an absolutely breathtaking village in Wiltshire on the edge of the Cotswolds. (I used to be quite the photographer, but digital has thrown me a bit.) Castle Combe is a little off the beaten path, but well worth the drive. It really is like visiting another century—which is just the sort of experience I aspire to give my readers. If you don’t like driving on the left, you can visit Castle Combe here!

What’s next for you?

Oh, I’m so excited! Next I’ll be finishing the third book in the Fraternitas series, which will feature the impenitent scoundrel of the bunch—Lord Lazonby, a man who takes very little of life seriously. He’s served a long tour of duty in the French Foreign Legion, and spent several years in prison for murder. He also has a nasty—and somewhat undeserved—reputation as a bit of a card sharp. My critique partner Deb Marlow says Lazonby is the most unrepentant bad boy she’s seen in a while. But I’ve got just the character to flog Lazonby into shape—perhaps literally, if that’s what it takes. It’s too soon to tell yet, but I’ve got the whip to hand.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to visit with the Riskies!

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Megan Frampton
12 years ago

Thanks for visiting, Liz! I think I’ve read–hm, all of your books, so I’ll be picking this new one up, too.

I wish I could have cats, but alas, I am allergic. My best friend has three, one of whom likes to go into the cupboards and remove the Power Bars. Just the Power Bars, nothing else. No idea why.

Yay for cat rescue!

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

I can’t wait for the new Liz book! She NEVER lets me down. What a great idea for cat rescue….

May
May
12 years ago

I am lucky enough to get my hand on this book early. You never disappoint me. Absolutely love your writing.

Deb Marlowe
12 years ago

Yay! I’m so glad the day is here, this series is finally coming out and I can TALK to someone about them!

I love, love love the new time period and the new world that you are building with these books, Liz. It’s rich and interesting and full of men I want to read more about. 🙂 They will have a hard time beating Ruthveyn, though! He is dark and mysterious, the perfect brooding hero!

BTW–I can’t stop looking at the pic of Mary–I had no idea she could actually hold still. 🙂

Liz Carlyle
12 years ago

Thank you, ladies, so much! Isn’t this a great thing Avon is doing?

Megan, Stuart as a carboholic. (I’ll be blogging about that next week . . . ) We have to hide the bread, or he’ll chew a hole in the wrapper and eat it. ???? We feed him gourmet cat food, and he’d rather eat whole wheat bread? He used to tip over the kitchen can, and eat garbage. A week after we got him, I had to buy a hundred-dollar Simple Human trash can. Ouch. We call him the hundred-dollar cat now . . .

Karen H in NC
12 years ago

Hi Liz,

Glad to have the opportunity to talk with you again! Hope you are enjoying your vacation in the Blue Ridge.

You know me as an avid fan of your work and I am so looking forward to this new series. Also glad to see another of your characters recycled as it were, in this new series. This step into the Victorian age is a giant step for you so it should be doubly interesting to read.

There are so few historical romances written today that are set in the USA. Have you ever considered setting a book in 19th century America or even into early 20th century?

Beth Caudill
12 years ago

Congrats on the new release Liz.

I have to say I am a dog person. My husband and a cat when we first moved in with each other. The cat did not like me and I did not like the dead bird gifts on the front steps.

But we managed to share my husband. Although, I have to say I’m happier having a dog.

Can’t wait to read the new series. I love secret society plots.

Angel Barbin
12 years ago

Liz, you’re an awesome writer and you help cats? You are my hero.
On another note, my English Heritage guidebooks are a bit old but I have found them to be wonderful research sources.

Jenny Brown
12 years ago

Congrats on the new book–and what a great way to make a blog tour even more meaningful!

Lucie J. Charles
12 years ago

Hi, Liz.

I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve yet to read one of your books, and I’ve been a HCRW chapter member for a while now. Really, really pink faced here. The best thing is I now have an entire library of Liz books awaiting me, which means a trip to B and N today.

My feline, Oliver Biscuit, is curled up next to me as I’m writing this. We thank you and Avon for this opportunity to help our furry companions.

Going to get your new release…Now!

Liz Carlyle
12 years ago

Karen, if I wrote about the US how would I deduct my travel on my income tax return????

Sonja Foust
12 years ago

Sounds great! I can’t wait to read it. And your kitties are beautiful. 🙂

Liz Carlyle
12 years ago

Beth, my mom always said you should marry a man who loves cats because they will respect your independence and never expect obedience. Her theory was that if a man loved dogs and hated cats, it was a baaaad sign. So you probably got a keeper there. I think you’d better let him head over to Cat Angels (www.catangelsnc.omc, BTW) and get another cat soon.

Liz Carlyle
12 years ago

Angel, one of the coolest resources I ever found was an old Baedeker’s travel guide to London — but one that was written in the late Victorian era. It was just amazing, even down to the opening hours of the museums, etc. I loved it so much I lurked on eBay until I got another for Deb Marlowe for her Christmas gift.

Liz Carlyle
12 years ago

That’s okay, Lucie. Cat Angels just got a dollar for your post, and they NEED it. Thanks.

Miranda Neville
12 years ago

A new Liz Carlyle is always a big occasional for me so I can’t wait for this one.

I’m catless for the first time in many years, since my last old lady died. I’ve been traveling a lot so I’m loath to replace her. But my neighbor has an adorable kitten who comes to visit and I am very, very tempted…

Liz Carlyle
12 years ago

OMG, guys. We have $10 and it isn’t even 10 am. How can we stir up more business? LOL.

Also, can I just comment this site by saying this is the only capcha-word verification system I’ve ever been able to read? Usually I have to try about 6 times to pass the test. Is that just me?

Lydia Dare
12 years ago

Liz!!

I am such a fan and soo excited about the new series. I cannot wait. AND…even though I’m under deadline, I’m sure I won’t be able to stop myself from devouring this latest book. Nobody tell my editor. 😉

What a wonderful charity I hope you get more comments than you can reply to.

Liz Carlyle
12 years ago

Miranda, I always say TAKE TWO, ’cause their small. And two cats will play, and stay healthier. I was very daunted taking three cats from one litter, but my husband said, “Honey, how can we split up a family?” And he said it with a straight face, too.

Virginia C
12 years ago

Hi, Liz! “One Touch of Scandal” sounds delightful–a unique and very appealing love story! My seven cats were all rescue/abuse cases. Even though I resuced them, they have stuck by me through thick and thin, so I think they have “saved” me. My cats have never been aloof, and we are a very close family unit. They bring me much joy and make me laugh. I can’t imagine my life without them.

Kirsten
12 years ago

Hi Liz, your book looks awesome.
So great to have cats in it and Lord Ruthveyn being a cat person.

I never was a cat person until I decided to adopt a pet a good 15 years ago. I went to the shelter and a large cat with a combination of grey and white fur stared at me. His eyes a deep amber, black outlined quietly observing me. I stepped closer and he got to his feet and, until this day I swear, a huge smile alit his face! My heart melted and I knew he picked me as his new owner not the other way round. We had an amazing time together. He was the cat that never scratched or hissed but always smiled and blinked his eyes. Wanting to sit on my lap rather then any place else. I’ve had and have other cats after his early passing, all wonderful in their own right, but you’ll always remeber your first cat.

Alyssia Kirkhart
12 years ago

Thanks for stopping by and talking to us, Liz! The new series sounds amazing!!

Jerrica Knight-Catania
12 years ago

Wonderful interview! I just love kitties, and yours are adorable, Liz! I’m excited to read the book, especially knowing the hero is a cat lover 🙂

Louisa Cornell
12 years ago

I am so looking forward to this series, Liz. Love, love, love your books. Anna Campbell and I are always talking about “Have you read this Liz Carlyle or that Liz Carlyle?”

And you could not be supporting a cause more dear to my heart. As the maid, chef and litter box attendant to four rescued cats I am thrilled Avon is supporting you in this cause. My rescued dogs thank you as well because strange as it seems they love their feline brothers and sister.

Your cats are GORGEOUS, by the way.

Was it easier to write about psychic events and abilities in the Victorian age? In my limited historical research in this area (I write Regency so I haven’t studied the Victorian era as much.) it is my understanding that the Victorians were far more open to the supernatural. Were there any resources available about psychic phenomena during this era that you found particularly helpful?

I am off to round up my cat loving friends to send them this way!

Becky Moore
12 years ago

I was so happy to read your perspective of why you like the Victorian era. My thoughts in pursuing my degree in literature years ago was that it was a dark, dirty time preoccupied with Dickens. Yuck! I may have to think with a different mindset … And I’ll definitely be reading this story. Thanks!

MJFredrick
12 years ago

Congratulations on the new release!

Mary Ellen
12 years ago

Oohh . . . temptation! I think I’m going to have to add this one to my Amazon shopping list ASAP!

As for cat-loving “characters,” in real life or fiction, I’ve been researching the life and career of David Belasco (1854-1931), the legendary American theatrical director/producer/playwright, and it turns out he was QUITE a cat lover! He especially liked black cats, as he tended to dress in black. He even gave the occasional interview with a cat perched on his shoulder and peering intently at the reporter. Belasco also collected little cat figures, mostly in the classic arched-back position. They can be seen displayed on the mantelpiece in some photos of his opulent office/studio.

Alleyne Dickens
Alleyne Dickens
12 years ago

Love your books, Liz, and am a big fan of rescue!

Lynda K. Scott
12 years ago

The book sounds terrific, I’ll definitely be looking for it on my next bookstore visit.

And Cat Rescue is so great. When I found my fluffy cat, Wookie, she was only 3 weeks old. Luckily all the kitten rescue places were full…so Wookie made herself at home in my house…er, I guess that’s HER house, lol.

Diana Cosby
12 years ago

Hi Liz,
I enjoyed your interview and loved how you incorporated your passion into a great cause. ^5 Thank you for sharing the pictures, your work toward helping rescue cats, and I wish you continued success on all fronts!

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

Welcome to the Riskies, Liz! We’re so delighted to have you here, not only to talk about your wonderful new book, but to help cats!!! (Thank Avon for us, too)

I only have 4 cats at home…

Re: Victorian age…How to you handle the fashions for men? Because they were truly awful in that age.

Janet Mullany
12 years ago

Liz, welcome to the Riskies and what a great response we’re getting! (I’ve only just woken up and my cat is doing the leg gnawing thing so I must go and feed her.)

Robin Kaye
12 years ago

The book sounds fabulous Liz and I adore your cats! What beautiful furbabys! I have a three-legged Bengal who made it into one of my books–a true character. I think pets can tell us so much about their humans. Thanks to Avon for supporting Cat Rescue.

Megan, the whole powerbar thing is the crinkly wrapping. I had a cat who had a thing for Tampons-the kind with the plastic wrappers–they were perfect cat toys. He would find them (he could also open drawers) and carry them around. Sigh…it was quite embarrassing!

Theresa Ragan
12 years ago

Hi Liz. Your book sounds wonderful and your cats are beautiful. Yay for Avon!

Tess
12 years ago

Great cause! Your books sound fascinating…I must pick one up!

Miriam Newman
12 years ago

My beautiful tuxedo cat, Jack, is my constant companion in my office when I am writing. He would approve of this post and your worthy cause, I’m sure!

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

Love your books, and love the kitties! Thanks for helping them out…

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills)

Hi, Liz. What a wonderful effort to help the kitties. And the pictures of your cats are just adorable.

All of the stories sound wonderful, and I have to say I’m intrigued by Lord Lazonby. 🙂

liz Carlyle
12 years ago

Virginia, I know how you feel. I can’t imagine a life without a cat. A house without a cat feels . . . soulless to me.

Liz Carlyle
12 years ago

Kirsten, I love your cat story. What was your first cat’s name?

There is nothing like a shelter cat. They seem to know that they are lucky. Ours seem so happy.

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe

Liz, you’ve been an auto-buy for me for ages and I absolutely can’t wait to read this!

Megan, I had a cat who used to eat Hostess Sno-balls (really, who doesn’t like them?).

Liz Carlyle
12 years ago

Louisa, you and Anna are a hoot. Is Anna a Cat Person? I’m guessing yes.

I do know that there was a lot of supernatural experimentation going on in the Victorian era. I think back then, science was really coming to the forefront and they were still sorting out what was and wasn’t science. But no, I mostly used my imagination.

Connie
12 years ago

Liz I love your books and am looking forward to the new one! I am a major cat person (2 15 yr old black cats named Picabo and Moe). Moe loves carbs…..can’t leave bread on the counter…..and Picabo has a sweet tooth for ice cream and pudding!

Cat rescue is a wonderful cause and we have a total of 9 cats in our family, all rescued.

Liz Carlyle
12 years ago

Mary Ellen, I LOVE black cats. Did you know that they are the hardest cats for shelters to place in new homes? For some reason, people resist them. It might be superstition. Or the fear of black cat hair on furniture? Not sure what it is, but I can tell you it is TOUGH. So everyone, next time you are thinking about a cat, do consider the black ones. Almost all black cats have exceptional personalities.

liz Carlyle
12 years ago

Diane, so true about the fashions. I am just fluffing over the details, frankly. And another thing I dislike is the facial hair. It was so prevalent. Ugh. I am generally NOT a fan of facial hair.

liz Carlyle
12 years ago

Hi, Trish!!!!! What have you been up to? And more importantly, are YOU writing about cats? LOL. I recommend it.

Cynthia Cooke
Cynthia Cooke
12 years ago

Liz, what a fab idea! I am definitely a cat person, and wish I could have more. 😉 Your new series sounds awesome. I love books with a touch of something mystical. Can’t wait to read it.

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

I love all your books and I adore cats too so this collaboration with Avon and Cat Angels is fantastic news to me. Can’t wait to read the new book!

Merry Simmons
Merry Simmons
12 years ago

What a terrific deal! I get to read a great interview with one of my favorite authors and help cat resue as well. Thanks for doing this.

Merry

Emma
12 years ago

Liz, I really appreciate what you’re doing and I really appreciate your comment on the black cats. My black cat was Quinn. He was big boy, 19 lbs of pure muscle with claws to match. He never scratched me, though, not even by accident. Talk about sweet. And funny. He loved his dry food and, if we moved the dish, he had this wierd dance he’d do until we moved it back. (Sort of like what Al Gore would look like if he tried to do ‘Riverdance.’) We lost him to renal failure but I’m so grateful he was a part of my life. He was a great boy!

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