Lady Wicked is not only a wonderful romance, it’s also a fantastic mystery. As this compelling novel goes on from hysterical scenes to dramatic ones, all while developing a captivating romance, readers may well wonder if Jacobs has created a Mr. Darcy for this generation. RT Book Reviews, four and a half starred review.
Welcome, Delle! Tell us about Lady Wicked.
Thanks, Janet and all you Riskies for inviting me! I love dropping by one of my favorite blog sites. I think the easiest way to describe LADY WICKED in with a short blurb:
Returning home to redeem his wasted life, Viscount Savoury rescues a lady in distress, only to learn she is the abandoned wife of his worst enemy. Despite the mutual enmity, need and attraction turn into friendship and trust. Then Davina discovers she must make a horrible choice: Savoury’s destruction, or hers. How can she choose?
I think we tend to forget how powerless women could be when a marriage went wrong in the Regency. Why did you choose this theme?
I love a story that’s full of drama, danger and adventure, and I love strong heroines. While for most heroines of Regencies, marriage to the love of their life is the desired outcome, that wasn’t always the way it worked out in real life. The plight of a woman caught in a disastrous marriage in the early 19th century is only rarely mentioned in romance fiction, but there are few situations in that period of time that could potentially present so much danger to a woman.
My favorite question is always, “But, what if…?” What is the supposed, ordinary, logical, even fairy-tale outcome? “But- what if that expected Happily Ever After- isn’t happy? What if something goes wrong? From that point on Davina surfaced and told me her story. She is a woman who would never see herself as strong, only as putting on a strong, willful face that keeps the predators at bay. She knows how scared and lonely she really is, but knows she can’t let her secret out. Lord Savoury, a total rascal who is down on his luck, is the last man she should ever trust. But he’s all she’s got. And he has to find the man he really is in order to be the man she needs.
Was this a hard book to sell?
Many risky stories don’t succeed, and that’s kind of sad. But a story that must reach beyond the ordinary cannot play it safe. If you take a big risk and it pays off, that’s great. But if it takes ten years of rejections, near misses and disappointments, yet it’s still the one story you just can’t give up on, that’s something else again.
Some stories are just that compelling for their authors, and LADY WICKED was that way for me. I think its biggest risk is in the hero and heroine, who are not standard fare for most successful Regency stories. Both of them are Beyond the Pale for the Ton in general, and Davina is considered an adulteress who has been cast aside by her husband, despite her innocence. Heroes can be rakes, but they really need to be successful ones, and Lord Savoury has, shall we say, not found his true self. He believes himself to have no morals, but in fact what he has are so deeply ingrained that they consistently surface in spite of himself. He is, as Davina characterizes him, a knight in tarnished armor. For bot h of them, outcasts of society, their ballroom days are over. But to me, this is what makes them so beautiful. When it comes to triumphing over adversity and growth of character, those who must struggle hardest for it are the heroes and heroines I love most.
The book has such a vivid sense of place. What locations inspired you?
Ah! An easy question! When I was looking for a walled manor of medieval age, a friend suggested Haddon Hall, so I checked it out. Other than the lack of a portcullis, it fit almost perfectly, so I began research that expanded into a total fascination with the place. I collected books, engravings and photos. I read about its history and studied its layout. Then in 2004, I made my first trip to England, with Haddon Hall as my top priority. I can’t express adequately what a thrill it was to walk over the stones of the courtyard, up the worn stone steps in the hall, seeing what I had written, feeling the ambience I was sure was there. I think it was when I saw a small leather child’s shoe that had been found on the grounds and knew it was the very one I had transformed into the one my hero found while going through ancient rubbish that I felt I had been there before. My research had indeed become real to me.
Who would you cast in the movie version?
It took me a bit to cast this one. Most of the actors I usually love to watch are either too old now or are not a good fit for my two unusual characters. But then I remembered Henry Cavill, who played Henry VII’s best friend Charles Brandon in The Tudors. I think it’s his way of showing humor, but also his ability to portray a man such as my Viscount Savoury, who discovers a depth of courage he never knew he had.
Both Natalie Portman and Penelope Cruz could play Davina well. Davina is a very strong woman, extremely independent, and has a hard edge to her public face that keeps people at bay and protects her frightened, soft inner person. She is very complex and contradictory, and I think it would take an actress of unusual skill to really capture her. It would be so easy to simply play her according to the stereotype she attempts to show to the world, and never catch her in the lies that hide her true essence.
What are you working on now?
I have too many projects! I’m doing a lot of cover art these days, and it really keeps me busy. I’m planning on indie-publishing two paranormal historicals this summer, and one Regency Historical. I’ve had such great success with the backlist I’ve published on Amazon and Smashwords, I’m going to try two original, unpublished works. The first, SIREN, is a novella length sea fantasy, told entirely from the hero’s point of view. The second, FAERIE, is a paranormal with a real kick-ass heroine in a medieval world where the beliefs and superstitions of the age are real. I’m probably going to release two more Regency historicals in the fall, one a backlist and the other an original unpublished story.
I’ve also been invited to do a novella length Regency romance based on a letter that is life-changing for one of the characters. Since I already had the perfect story half-finished, I’ll be working to meet that deadline too.
Delle will drop by to chat and answer questions; your comment or question today will enter you into the drawing for a prize of a free download of LADY WICKED.