Deb Marlowe Talks About Tall, Dark and Disreputable

I’m excited. Our guest today is Harlequin Historical author and pal Deb Marlowe, talking about her March release, Tall, Dark and Disreputable. Deb, Amanda, and I have known each other for years, even before Deb and I had books out, but we became especially good friends after the 2003 Regency Tour to England. When Harlequin gave the three of us an anthology, The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor was born, complete with its spin-off books and short stories. (the last of the Welbourne Manor books, A Not So Respectable Gentleman? is mine, coming out in August, by the way)

Deb will be giving away one signed copy of Tall, Dark and Disreputable to one lucky commenter, chosen at random.

In Tall, Dark and Disreputable, Deb again brings her unique characters, a mystery to be solved, and rich historical detail to a great story, but don’t just take my word for it. Look at what the reviews say:

Marlowe pens another winner full of memorable characters, authentic historical details and lots of action, mystery and passion. Regency historical fans are in for a treat–RTBook Reviews.

A beautifully written tale of two people’s struggle for independence and freedom of choice, Tall, Dark and Disreputable turns into so much more–Cataromance

I didn’t want to put this book down. The pace is fast and the chemistry between Portia and Mateo sizzles off the page–Rakehell

Welcome back to Risky Regencies, Deb. Tell us about Tall, Dark and Disreputable.
Tall, Dark and Disreputable started because I fell in love with a character in my first book.  Mateo Cardea is a charmer!  He’s an American of Sicilian descent, a former privateer, and the  smooth talking Captain of a merchant ship.  I couldn’t wait to set him loose on Regency England!  At the start of TDD he’s returned to England because he’s found that his family legacy–the shipping company he’s prepared his whole life to take over–has been willed to someone else.  And not just anyone else, but to the woman he refused to marry long ago!  He arrives in England furious, but he finds Portia Tofton is in trouble too.  She needs his help to save the estate that her late husband gambled away  They find that they have to work together to unravel a family legend–and their feelings for each other.
How did you come up with the idea for Tall, Dark, and Disreputable?
I wanted to explore the idea of a family curse or legend and how it might affect the lives of the people who came after.  It’s hardly fair, is it, that they would have to deal with a situation brought on by others?  But isn’t that what we do?  We thrust our characters into difficult and unfair situations that they must make the best of, then sit back and watch!
What is risky about the book?
I suppose it is risky because Mateo is not a Duke, a Lord, or even an Englishman.  And Portia is the daughter of an Earl, but she’s turned her back on her early life.  It’s a story of two people who want to live according to their own dictates in a time that it was difficult to do so.
Did you come across any interesting research when you were writing the book?
Portia is a gardener and a lover of landscape design.  I had a grand time researching all of the rich history associated with gardening in the period.  So many estates had such lovely grounds and gardens and I immersed myself in the world of Capability Brown and Humpry Repton.  In fact, I have an article about Regency Gardens on my website.  You can check it out at
Tall, Dark, and Disreputable was released in the UK in 2010. What is it like to promote a book that you probably moved on from two years ago? Did you have to reread the book to remember it? (I would have)
Well, I did get it out to revisit, but it didn’t take long to bring it all back!  I absolutely adore the cover for the NA release–it really lives up to the title!  I’m so thrilled that it has come to North America at last–I really loved writing Portia and Mateo’s story and I’m having a blast reliving it again!
What’s next for you?

In June I have a new release:  Unbuttoning Miss Hardwick.  It’s the tale of a reclusive nobleman and the woman he hires to help him organize and display his incredible weapons collection. It’s a rollicking story with such disparate elements as a mysterious Hindu spear, party planning, an obsession with men in boots and the very difficult feat of dropping the masks we hide behind in order to embrace love.

Question for Readers:  Portia and Mateo both have pressing needs that seem to preclude any chance at them having a real relationship.  They are not sure they can trust each other, let alone give up their most important dreams for a chance at love.  What about you?  Have you ever made a sacrifice in the name of love?  Or known anyone who did?  Did it work out?Comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Tall, Dark and Disreputable. Winner will be announced Monday night.

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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28 Responses to Deb Marlowe Talks About Tall, Dark and Disreputable

  1. Deb, I just picked this book up today at the store, and I’m anxious to read it. Best wishes for your continued success…

  2. Deb Marlowe says:

    Thank you so much, Regina! I hope you will enjoy Portia and Mateo!

  3. Diane Gaston says:

    Welcome Deb. It is wonderful to have you back at Risky Regencies!

  4. jcp says:

    Great pictures!

  5. Hello Yankee Lady !! Looks like you have ANOTHER hit on your hands. Can’t wait to read Mateo’s story!

    I’ve known a number of people who have made great sacrifices for love. Sometimes it works out. Sometimes it doesn’t.

    Emotionally I think the key is to make sure what you are giving up is not an inviolate part of who you are. The things you give up for love are often those things you needed to give up all along. You just didn’t know it until the right reason – the right person came along.

  6. Deb Marlowe says:

    Thank you, Diane–and thank you for inviting me–it’s lovely to be back!

  7. Deb Marlowe says:

    Hi jcp–Those are two great covers, aren’t they! I’m so thankful!

  8. Deb Marlowe says:

    Louisa! Your ears must have been burning! I was just saying last night that it had been forever since I’ve seen you about in cyberspace! Probably my fault, since I’ve had my head down, working–but I’m glad to ‘see’ you again!

    I think that you are right–and sometimes the things you are holding onto the hardest, you’re holding onto in place of love. So when you find the real thing, suddenly it’s not so hard to give up!

  9. Hey, Deb! Yes, I have been hunkered down in my writing cave trying to get this latest manuscript finished as I have some requests for it. I do come up for air occasionally! I hope

  10. Susan/DC says:

    The idea of a non-ducal, non-English hero is very appealing right now, as I’m feeling a bit overdosed on dukes. I also like stories about lovers reunited when they are older and, one hopes, wiser.

    I think that Louisa Cornell’s statement is quite wise about what we can (and maybe even should) give up versus what we need to hold on to as tightly as we can. I’m rereading “Jane Eyre” for a book group, and one of the reasons I find her so appealing is that even as a child she knew what was essential to her sense of self.

  11. Deb Marlowe says:

    Ooh, fingers crossed for your submission, Louisa! When you have some breathing room, shoot me an email and let me know how you are doing!

  12. Deb Marlowe says:

    Hi Susan!

    I’m with you. I love imagining our fictitious Regency world fully populated with all sorts of people, right along with the nobility. I like reading about characters that are historical, but facing different sorts of challenges besides begetting an heir, etc. It makes for a fresh breath of air!

    And yes, Jane must be the most ‘together’ historical character ever!

  13. CrystalGB says:

    Hi Deb. Your book sounds wonderful. I love the cover.

  14. Deb Marlowe says:

    Hi Crystal! Thank you–I love the cover too! 🙂

  15. chey says:

    I like the sound of this book!

  16. Deb Marlowe says:

    Hi chey! I’m glad it interests you!

  17. It’s so good to ‘see” you here today, Deb!!!

  18. My husband and I are high-school sweethearts. Despite both growing up north, he chose to move down here to be with me when my family relocated. As for me–I chose not to do a fourth year of college so that we could start our life together earlier.

  19. librarypat says:

    Welcome, Deb. I have enjoyed your books and look forward to reading this one.

    I guess we have all lived pretty boring lives around here. I don’t personally know anyone who had to make such a choice. I think any parent makes little sacrifices for their children or spouse, but usually nothing too earth shattering.

    I hope TALL, DARK AND DISREPUTABLE does well. I’ll be looking forward to your next books.

  20. Barbara E. says:

    I enjoyed the post and loved the chance to learn more about Tall, Dark and Disreputable. I haven’t made a sacrifice in the name of love, nor have I known anyone else that did that I can recall, but it sounds like a great basis for a story.

  21. Deb Marlowe says:

    Hi Amanda! Thanks so much for having me! I saw your post about looming deadline–best of luck and thanks for sticking your head up to say Hi!

  22. Deb Marlowe says:

    Hi Erica–so nice to see you here!

    Aw, thanks for sharing the things you and your husband have done in the name of love. Just from having chatted with you, I feel sure that neither of you regret a thing!

    Wishing you much happiness together…maybe even in NC! 🙂

  23. Deb Marlowe says:

    Thank you so very much, library pat!

    You know, your post, and Barbara E’s, makes me think about the everyday sacrifices we make for love. Every loving relationship has them–from choosing whose family to visit at the holidays to making French Toast for breakfast even though you don’t like it. (That one’s mine 🙂 Hubby loves French Toast!)

    It’s those little things that really add up to a loving environment!

  24. Deb Marlowe says:

    Hi Barbara E! See above response–I think you are right that the big, dramatic sacrifices might be the stuff of books and movies, while the little, everyday choices we make are important in real life!

  25. Congratulations on the U.S. release, Deb. What a fun concept for your story! American,of Sicilian descent, a former privateer, and the story’s set in Regency England! Gosh, so many goodies in just those few words, and then there’s the additional ‘saving the heroine’s estate’ bit and the delicious ‘his future in shipping was owned by the woman he’d refused to marry.’ I’m so totally sold on this!!

  26. Deb Marlowe says:

    Hey Keira! So nice to see you! I hope you and your family are well.

    Thank you! I think it sounds more complicated than it it is! At it’s heart it’s a story of former friends who have to learn to trust each other again, and find that everything they think they ‘have to have’ is really a poor substitute for love.

  27. Stephanie J says:

    It sounds like a fantastic read! I really love the non-traditional roots of this hero. As far as taking a chance or making a sacrifice for love? Huh. Not sure that I have? I know, I know, it sounds crazy but nothing is coming to mind! Perhaps I tend to think of a sacrifice as something a bit more sweeping, but overlook the smaller sacrifices people make everyday.

  28. Deb Marlowe says:

    Hi Stephanie–it turned out to be a harder question than I thought!

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