Kelley reinforces her deserved reputation for page-turning, exciting, humorous plots filled with sexual tension and populated by unforgettable characters readers can’t help but fall in love with.
— Romantic Times Reviews
Today we’re thrilled to have a return visit from Kensington author Christie Kelley who’s here to talk about her April release Something Scandalous and give away a signed copy! So please jump in and ask questions to be eligible for the drawing.
Raised as the youngest daughter of the Duke of Kendal, Elizabeth learns a devastating truth on his deathbed: he wasn’t her father at all. And because the Duke had no sons, his title and fortune must go to his only male heir: a distant cousin who left England for America long ago. Anticipating the man’s imminent occupation of her home, Elizabeth anxiously searches for her mother’s diary, and the secret of her paternity…
Arriving in London with his seven siblings, William Atherton intends to sell everything and return to his beloved Virginia farm, and his fiancée, as quickly as possible. But as Elizabeth shows William an England he never knew, and graciously introduces his siblings to London society, it becomes clear the two are meant for each other. Soon, Elizabeth finds herself determined to seduce the man who can save not only her family name, but her heart…
Christie, welcome back to the Riskies! Tell us about your new book.
Something Scandalous is the third book in the Spinster Club series. The Spinster Club series revolves around the lives of five Regency women who have all made up their minds not to marry. But one of the women is playing matchmaker without the others noticing.
When did we first meet the heroine in the series and did you find your ideas about her had changed when it actually came to writing the book?
Elizabeth is introduced to the readers in my debut novel, Every Night I’m Yours. I knew even when I introduced her that she was hiding a secret about her parentage. So my ideas for her didn’t change that much when it came time to write her book.
How do you keep track of characters throughout the series?
I wrote a character sheet that I keep in a MS Word document so I remember the basics of their coloring and characteristics. I’ve added to that as the heroes are introduced.
I love the idea of the culture clash between h/h. What research did you do for an American visiting 1817 London?
Actually, the biggest research I had to do was on immigration and laws of succession during this period. I had originally wanted William to spend most of his years in the US, but I discovered this wasn’t possible. In order for him (and his father before him) to continue to be the heir presumptive for the dukedom, I had to send his father to the US as an emissary for the British government. Unfortunately, a pesky little war popped up in 1812. So I had to move Will’s family to Canada.
Did you find it challenging that your hero might own slaves? How did you handle that?
Actually, my hero wouldn’t have had enough money to own slaves so it wasn’t an issue that came up in the story. Had he decided to sell all his properties in England and move back to the US, it might have become an issue.
Your heroine’s journey hangs on a family secret. Was there a particular event or character that inspired this, fictional or real life?
There was nothing but my crazy imagination that inspired this part of the story. I wanted to write a story such that my heroine, Elizabeth discovers something scandalous about her mother. Up until Elizabeth discovers she is not her father’s daughter, she had always believed her mother to be the perfect lady. Discovering this secret turns Elizabeth’s life upside down and makes her examine her own transgressions.
What’s your favorite scene in the book?
I don’t want to give too much away but the scene where Elizabeth finally finds her mother diary always makes me giggle.
What in the book gave you the most trouble?
Writing for Zebra, I wasn’t sure how my editor was going to react to the diary entries the hero and heroine read. I didn’t give him a heads up on the scenes because I really wanted him to read them first and then tell me if I’d gone too far. Thankfully, he only said “Wow.”
You have that rarity in romance publishing, a male editor. Does he give you any particular insights into the male mind (or whatever)?
I love my editor! He totally gets my voice and is enthusiastic about my writing. I can’t say he gives me any particular insight into the male mind but having five brothers and now a husband and two boys, I think I sort of understand their minds. I’m not sure any woman can ever completely understand them.
What’s next for you?
I have two more novels in the Spinster Club series coming out. Scandal of the Season will be an October release and the last book, tentatively titled Her Perfect Match, will come out in June 2011.
Christie will drop by to chat, so let’s get the conversation going!
I like the idea of the Spinster’s Club, but this is the first I’ve heard of it. I tend to like heroines who are a little older and a little wiser when I read modern day Regencies. I’m looking forward to this since I just read another book where England and America meet and enjoyed it quite a bit. It left me wanting more of that culture clash. Thanks and good luck.
Christie, when you came up with the Spinster Club series, did you outline each of the ladies’ stories right at the onset, or each in turn as you wrote them?
Congratulations on your release! 🙂
I also like older heroines.
Welcome to the Riskies, Christie! It sounds like you have a great premise. I love the American/Canadian tie-in and the mother’s diary revealing a secret.
Hello, Christie! This really is a wonderful series and each story has a great unique twist.
Great idea about keeping a running sheet on each character as they progress throughout the series.
And I DO love a fish out of water becoming a duke.
Does writing a series make it easier or harder to include character arcs that might not finish until the final The End?
The Spinter’s Club sounds intriguing. With so much research involved, are you a pantser or a planner?
I also like heroines who are a little older. I’m writing up a proposal right now where one of the heroines is only twenty-one. I need her to still have that innocence or the story just won’t work. Luckily her two sisters are older 🙂
I didn’t have complete outlines in my head. I had ideas that jelled as I wrote the proposals or as I wrote their stories. Some of the spinsters were easier than others, two of them have been most difficult!
Hi jcp, me too 🙂
Thanks, Diane. It’s funny but this story was the one I was least sure of when I submitted my proposal. I felt like there wasn’t enough plot when I wrote the synopsis. But it ended up being my fastest written ms and the most fun to write.
Hi Louisa! Thank you for the comments on the series. They have been fun books to write.
I really try to keep the character arcs to the main characters in their own books. What I’ve tried to do is have the next spinster in line for a story to get more “air” time in the book before theirs. The only exception to that is my matchmaker, Sophie and one other secondary character who is helping her.
It’s worked out well, except when I was writing the last book because all the former spinsters and their husbands wanted to be part of it 🙂
Hi Judy, believe it or not, I’m much more of a panster than a plotter. I have to plot now in order to submit my proposal. But I think my editor is getting wise to the fact that my synopses don’t always match the story I submit.
Hey Judy, is that an osprey in your picture?
Hi Christie! Hi Riskies! Popping over from the Romance Bandits to say howdy and WOOT! on this new book. I cannot WAIT to read it. Love the series and love the premise.
Oh, and did I mention that the cover is SMOKIN’? Grins.
These sound like great reads. I can’t wait to check out your books!
I’m in awe of how far in advance you have to work. Am I right that you’ve finished the next two, and are putting forward a proposal for a new series? Will you wait until the proposal sells, or start writing it regardless because you want to tell the story?
Waving to my bandita buddy, Jeanne! Thanks for popping in. I’m glad you love the cover as much as I do!
Hi Anna G. Thanks for coming by!
I am writing a proposal for a new series right now. I’ll write the proposal and depending on what else is going on in my life, I may start writing the rest of the first book. If not, I’ll start a new proposal for something different.
Christie, I’m impressed! Yes, it is an osprey. My sister took the picture on one of our walks.
Nice to read about your new book – it sounds fun!
Judy, I live near a river that feeds the Chesapeake Bay and love to watch the ospreys. They are all over around here.
Hi Laura! Thanks for stopping by!
Christie~ great interview. I love the premise of the series. I look forward to reading them!
Christie, I loved this book, especially your use of family secrets. Congrats on another terrific release!
Hi Robin! I haven’t seen you in ages! Thanks for stopping in.
Hi Nancy, another bandita buddy. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book! I loved the family secret aspect of this book, too. I think that’s why it was so much fun to write.
Hi to the Banditas, Jeanne, Nancy and Robin!!!!
Pretty area. Funnily enough, I live in the desert, but there’s an osprey pair that hunts in the man-made pond not far from me. It’s regularly stocked, so folks can go fishing. We’ve had the pleasure of watching a few successful fish grabs, and my sister has even managed to capture several great shots. They even had a hatchling this past year. Gorgeous birds.
Judy, they nest all over around here, including the big lights at the baseball fields and the high school football field. They are so cool to watch as they grab fish.
Hi Christie, Your book sounds great. I’m interested in her mother’s diary. That must make for some good reading!
Hello, I just finished the book, Something Scandalous. Really enjoyed it, but, I have a question. When Sophie tells Somerton, “Anne Smith”, who is that? I keep re-reading that part and I can’t figure it out. Help, please!