Vanessa Kelly pays a visit with a contest!

Lost In A Royal Kiss (eBook)I’m delighted to welcome Vanessa Kelly to the Riskies today, with a contest to win an ARC of the first book in her Renegade Royals series, Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard. The novella Lost in A Royal Kiss–just released introduces the series, in which readers are transported to the court of King George III, where a London street urchin unwittingly plays Cupid, ushering in a new era—and ultimately a new kind of royal…

Welcome, Vanessa! What’s the premise of the Renegade Royals series?

vanessaThank you for hosting me on Risky Regencies, Janet.  I’m very happy to be here!

The basis for the series was a tidbit of information in a book about the daughters of King George III.  Queen Charlotte had taken in a boy as charity case to be raised as a companion to the royal princes.  It was a misguided impulse since the Prince of Wales, for one, resented the unfortunate child.  I found that historical snippet intriguing.  What would life be like for a boy of humble origins raised with royalty and yet never truly a part of their world?  And where in life did he end up?

In my series, this boy became Dominic Hunter, who grows up to be a magistrate, a spymaster, and a trusted liaison to the Court of St. James.  But Dominic has never forgotten the ill-usage he suffered in his youth, and the bad behavior of the royal princes continues to irk him. For one thing, they tend to scatter the landscape with illegitimate children, some lacking a proper name or place in the world.  So Dominic decides to track down these offspring who are royal in everything but name.  He does everything he can to help them find their rightful places in society and make good marriages.

SECRETS, SEDUCING,BODYGUARDLost in a Royal Kiss is set in 1786, but the first of the Renegade Royals series, Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard (January 2014), is set in 1814. What do you find most interesting in the differences between these two periods almost thirty years apart?

One interesting difference was in the way the royal court conducted itself.  King George III and Queen Charlotte lived modestly, by royal standards, preferring a simple life and a more relaxed protocol at Windsor or Kew to a grand court scene in London.  They enjoyed country pursuits and a life that revolved around family entertainments.  This dismayed many courtiers, who found life at Kew Palace or Windsor to be boring and lacking in grandeur.  Of course when the king fell ill there were even more restrictions, since the queen and her daughters all but lived in seclusion at Kew Palace.

Under the Prince Regent, however, court life was a great deal more extravagant and lively, often to the point of dissipation.  But for all his faults, the Regent was a great patron of the arts and architecture, a legacy we see today in structures like the Royal Pavilion at Brighton.  George III, often referred to as Farmer George, would not have approved.

Another significant change was with clothing.  Georgian attire was quite different from Regency attire:   more ornately decorated and with rich materials, particularly for the men.  Long hair, wigs, powder…styles changed dramatically under the influence of men like Beau Brummel.

I too was introduced to the Regency by the books of Georgette Heyer, and you and I both read Regency Buck as our first. Do you still like to read/re-read Heyer and do you think she’s stood the test of time? What’s your favorite?

I re-read Georgette Heyer on a regular basis.  She’s my go-to author when I’m sick or in need of a little comfort reading.  I absolutely think her books stand the test of time, although I laugh now at all the exclamation points she uses—I never thought about things like that until I started writing my own books.  My favorites are The Grand Sophy and Arabella.  Such witty, entertaining books!

What do you love about the Regency?

The clothing, the architecture, and the absolute gusto for life in that era—Regency folk really knew how to have a good time, sometimes to an insane degree.

Hate about the Regency?

The profoundly disturbing levels of poverty, especially in the cities, and the crime rate.  Life for the poor was incredibly grim, and their treatment by the middle and upper classes was often callous beyond belief.  The way the Irish were treated was also horrible, although that had been going on for a very long time.

You have an alterego, V.K. Sykes, the combined writing genius of you and your husband. What’s your writing process? Do you find it difficult to switch gears?

Thank you for calling us geniuses!  The V.K. Sykes books are contemporary romance or romantic suspense so it can be a bit of a challenge to get into the headspace.  Fortunately, I don’t write the first drafts for those books.  I do the revisions and the editing, and I write all the sex scenes (hubby just can’t seem to bring himself to do that).  We rarely work on the same book at the same time, which is a good way to avoid wrangling over specific elements.  Whoever is working on the book has ownership over it.  It’s a process that is surprisingly stress-free.

What’s the last great book you read?

The Ape Who Guards the Balance, by Elizabeth Peters.  I had read the first few books in the Amelia Peabody mystery series back in college, but I re-discovered them a few months ago.  I’ve been tearing through them—they’re so skillfully written and the characters are fabulous.  The books are witty and smart, and I love the setting and the archaeological background.  Amelia Peabody and her family are the best kind of brain candy.

What’s next for you?

I’m finishing up the second novella in The Renegade Royals before moving on to book three in the series.  My husband and I are also working on a new contemporary romance series for Grand Central—small town romances set on an island off the coast of Maine.  That will be out in 2015.

Vanessa is giving away an ARC of Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard as a prize today. She’s told us what she loves and hates about the Regency–to enter the contest, share what you love and hate about the period, and help spread the word!

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30 Responses to Vanessa Kelly pays a visit with a contest!

  1. HJ says:

    This sounds very interesting, with the initial focus on the progeny of George III at an earlier age than usual. I also look forward to the books set thirty years later.

    Glad to see that Georgette Heyer is still honoured by her successors!

  2. alisha woods says:

    I was lucky enough to get an ARC of the first book so I would really like to read the prequel

  3. Kristie says:

    Why I would love to read this? I GOTTA’ KNOW!!!! I’ve never heard from my history classes (and why don’t they teach about this juicy stuff?) about the Queen taking in an orphan boy to be “used” as a companion, then just forgotten!? And how Dominic Hunter wants to turn those wrongs into rights will be a fantastic read!

    • Thanks, Kristie! It was only a few paragraphs in a book about the royal princesses, and I couldn’t find any more info about this boy. If I dug through royal archives, I probably could – which sounds like fun!

  4. What a great premise for a series! I had no idea, with as many children as they had, that George III and his queen took in an orphan.

    I love the manners, the etiquette and the clothes of the Regency. I love the gentility and the spice combination of life during this era.

    I don’t like the seamier side of life during the Regency – the drugs, the alcohol, the gambling fortunes away, the poverty which forced so many women into prostitution and so many men into lives of crime. And I really hate the way returning soldiers were treated after the defeat(s) of Napoleon.

  5. erinf1 says:

    looks and sounds fabulous! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Melissa Terry says:

    I am looking forward to reading this book.

    I like the clothes, parties and general fun of regency. I dislike the seedier side. The poverty, the need of many to marry for money as opposed to love. Though I will admit the marrying because you need money makes for a great romance story. 🙂

  7. Hi everyone, and thanks to Vanessa for visiting us and being far more entertaining than I could be! I love the clothes of the Regency, although I really prefer the 1790s fashions to the Regency proper, when the gowns got froofy stuff around the hems. I love the diversity of the population and the hidden facts–like the one that inspired Vanessa’s series.

    There’s so much not to like about the period, sadly–the huge discrepancies between the haves and have nots, the wars that exploited ordinary people for decades. Doesn’t that all sound familiar.

  8. Diane Patricia Diamond says:

    The reason that I would love to read this book, is because I’m a huge fan of Vanessa’s. She is one of my “must read” Authors, whose books always keep me entertained for hours. I love going back in time to the Regency era, and attending the balls, soirees, and house parties etc. with them. 😉

  9. Jane says:

    I’m a fan of Vanessa’s sports and historical romances, so I’m super excited about this new series.

  10. bn100 says:

    It sounds interesting

  11. Molly R. Moody says:

    I think what I love the most about the Regency era is the clothing worn my the middle class and the aristocracy especially the fact that many woman passed on the clothing that they no longer wore or that was out of style to their maid who many times would sell the clothing and add the money they maid to their life savings or use it to assist their family.

    I hate the same thing, the horrid poverty that so many people suffered from. It was so wrong to consider the Irish and the Scottish to be not as good as the English were even though there was a great deal of intermarriage between them.

  12. may says:

    Sounds like a fun book! I love HEAs!

  13. Judy Goodnight says:

    I’ve been a fan of Regencies forever it seems. I liked Vanessa Kelly’s previous books so I look forward to reading the new series.

  14. Barbara Elness says:

    I’m looking forward to reading Vanessa Kelly’s book because I love her writing and I can always count on it being a great read. I love the clothes and the manners of the Regency, but don’t like the excesses of the Prince Regent and aristocracy.

  15. Yes, the Prince Regent and his brothers were really something, Barbara.

  16. I think I remember from somewhere that Prinny and his brothers collectively racked up 46 illegitimate children. Pretty mindboggling.

  17. Pingback: Lost in a Royal Kiss Facebook Celebration Tonight! | Vanessa Kelly

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