Join the Risky Regencies today as Amanda and Deb Marlowe chat about their March UK releases, The Improper Aristocrat and To Catch a Rogue! Comment on the post to win a copy of each, or if you can’t wait you can buy them at Amazon.uk! Besides being a fellow Harlequin author and fun friend, Deb is another Project Runway fanatic…
Amanda: So, Deb, tell me all about your new book!
Deb: The Improper Aristocrat is my adventure book! A deathbed pledge brings Niall Stafford, Earl of Treyford, out of Egypt and back to England. He’s promised to deliver an ancient artifact to a colleague’s sister, but Chione Lattimer is not what he expects. Instead of an aging spinster, Chione is a lovely, half-Egyptian girl caught up in chaos. Though all he wants to do is get back to his adventures and antiquities, Trey finds himself in the role of protector, and smack dab in the midst of a villainous plot to recover a Pharaoh’s lost treasure.
A: Oooh, I love adventures and lost treasure! What’s your favorite part of the book?
D: Now that is a hard question. I love so much about this book! Chione was a joy to write. She’s had a hard life, and really has to find her own strength. And she has to pound a few hard lessons into Trey’s head along the way! I had a great time coming up with the clues that lead these two on their path to adventure, too.
A: Any good research tidbits you found?
D: The research was the best part! I really enjoyed exploring the Valley of the Kings, the Devon coast, and Belzoni’s Exhibition in London.
A: Tell us about Belzoni!
D: You mean my historical figure crush? Hee hee! I love this guy. One of 13 children of a Padua barber, he was a giant of a man, reportedly 6 feet 6 inches. Run from home by Napoleon’s forces, he traveled England as a strong man and magician before traveling to Egypt to uncover some of her greatest treasures, including Seti I’s tomb, the entrance to the second pyramid of Giza, and the lost city of Berenice. He procured a huge collection of antiquities for the British Museum before he died trying to reach the mysterious city of Timbuktu.
A: And what is the treasure in your story? Or is that a secret??
D: It’s a mystery! The legend of the Pharaoh’s Lost Jewel is thousands of years old. It came back to Europe with Nelson’s army and team of surveyors and architects. Chione’s family has chased the legend for years, but it will take the adventuresome Earl to help her discover the truth.
A: It’s kind of funny, my book also involves ancient treasure! Though Greek, not Egyptian. There must be something archeological in the air this month…
D: Oh, Greek! Where did the idea for your story come from?
A: From a terrific book I read, Peter Watson’s The Medici Conspiracy, about the terrible problem of illegal antiquities. His tale involves modern-day looting and illegal objects in museums, but of course this is not a new problem at all. It was also inspired by a trip to the British Museum to see the Elgin Marbles!
D: Was that on the Splendors of the Regency tour???
A: Yes!! Everyone here will be sick of me saying “On the Regency tour…”, but it really was the most inspiring thing I could have done for my writing. We learned lots about carpets and doorknobs there, didn’t we, Deb?
D: Yes, we did, although we have to thank Diane for that! Riskies, Diane became famous for grilling all the guides on the make and origins of the carpets everywhere we went. Everyone teased her unmercifully!
A: LOL! We learned a lot about paint colors, too…
Anyway, To Catch a Rogue is the first of the “Muses of Mayfair” series, stories of the 3 Chase sisters (Calliope, Clio, and Thalia) whose father is a famous scholar of ancient Greek art and myth. So, naturally the daughters are into ancient Greece, too–though their interest always seems to lead them into trouble. And romance with some unlikely heroes!
D: It feels like I’ve been waiting so long to read about your “Muses”! I can’t wait! But how are their heroes unlikely?
A: Calliope, the heroine of TCAR, thinks that Cameron de Vere, the Earl of Westwood, is the infamous Lily Thief! The Lily Thief has been plaguing London collectors for months, stealing artifacts from their collections and leaving a lily bouquet in their place. Cal thinks Cameron is the thief, and is determined to catch him in the act of stealing the Alabaster Goddess (a beautiful statue of Artemis that has started a craze for hairstyles and sandals in London fashion!). But Cameron isn’t what he appears, either. He decides to turn the tables on Cal…
D: Sounds like another fun mystery! And what about Clio and Thalia?
A: They get their stories, too, of course! In To Deceive a Duke, Clio meets up again with the mysterious Duke of Averton in sunny Sicily (which, of course, is plagued with tomb raiders!). I call Averton my “rock star” duke, because everyone follows him around and gossips about him! And in To Kiss a Count, Thalia finds love with a dangerous Italian count–in Bath! Passion in the Pump Room (also seen on the Regency tour. The Pump Room, that is. Not the passion).
Oh, one quick note! Next year you can buy these 3 stories in consecutive months in the US. But just in case you can’t wait…
Tell us what’s next for you, Deb?
D: The Improper Aristocrat come to the US late in 2008. In October I have another UK release, Her Cinderella Season. In that one, Jack Alden, brother to the hero of my first book Scandalous Lord, Rebellious Miss, locks horns with a girl who has been raised in the Reformer and Evangelical circles of Regency England.
A: Can’t wait!
BTW, gentle readers, take a look at the two covers in the header. We believe somehow Mr. Brad Pitt snuck onto Deb’s, highlights and all. And my cover is also the inside image of Diane’s Innocence and Impropriety! Who knew people so resembled each other in Regency England???
Let us know any comments, questions, whatever! Early next week we’ll announce a winner for copies of both books.
Well, now if you read of one of my characters gazing down at the carpet, you’ll know I got my details correct!
You can also get Deb’s book on Amazon.ca (not sure why Amanda’s isn’t there) and both at millsandboon.co.uk
I’m delighted Amanda got the inside cover of Innocence and Impropriety! I love that image. You’ll discover, if you hang around us Harlequin Historical/Mills and Boon Historical ladies that they reuse the images, one of the ways of keep ing costs down. You’ll also see the same dress…..
First of, this is SOOOOO exciting to have friend’s book releases in the same month. Love that photo in the arbor.
OK, now to go back and actually read the interview so I can comment intelligently…
These books sound fantastic! Such a fun diversion from the normal London-set Regencies…hey,”risky” Regencies…now I get it! LOL
No, really, both of these stories sound mesmerizing. I can’t wait!
A Q for both of you: do you find the unusual settings and backstory an exciting jolt when figuring out your characters and plot? Do a thousand doorways of opportunity seem available?
Diane, I know your smart and sexy heroes can think of ‘something’ to do on those correctly detailed carpets. Hee hee.
The cover thing is sort of fun. I know there is a famous pink dress that people watch for. The UK cover of my first book, Scandalous Lord, Rebellious Miss, was the inside art of a Juliet Landon book, I heard.
Hi Claudia! I like unusual settings precisely because they are inspiring. It’s fun to research a new place or figure and imagine my characters interacting in that space or with that person. I actually did use Belzoni in An Improper Aristocrat, and though it was a very small scene, I had a lot of fun with it.
Y’all are in for a treat with Deb’s book. I’m just saying (I get to read them all first, tee hee).
Amanda, I LOVE the To Catch a Thief style plot! That’s one of my favorite angles–thieves and thief-taking. Not sure what that says about me (I DID always think it would be cool to be a cat burglar), but I can’t wait to read your take on it!
Amanda and Deb, congrats on your upcoming releases! They both sound exciting and fun–like Sabrina, I agree that the catch-a-thief kind of plot is always fun to read! And I do enjoy connected stories–looking forward to all of yours!
Do you have other non-London setting stories planned?
Hi Deb and Amanda,
One of my favorites, “Mr. Impossible” by Loretta Chase is also set in Egypt. I love reading a romance set in Egypt but they’re rare. Did you visit the temples at Abu Simbel? I hope to see the Elgin marbles someday. Do you have an opinion in regards to the controversy of whether the marbles should be returned to Greece?
Congratulations to you both and very nice interview.
As others have said I love Egyptian themed books, or those dealing with antiquity.
Pardon me for asking but what determines when the books will be released in the UK vs US. Is there a reason they aren’t being released at the same time?
You’re making me blush, Sabrina– Thank you!
I know what you mean about Amanda’s book. I remember when she first told me about her “Muses” and I was so excited! And combine it with a “Catch a Thief” plot–I’m all over that!
I’m going to have to watch The Thomas Crowne Affair or something similar to tide me over until the book gets here…
My next book is set in London–which is a dream come true for the heroine! The book I’m working on now, though is more of a road book through the South of England.
Both books sound absolutely divine and I can’t wait to read them. Lovely covers too.
Congratulations to both of you! The books sound fascinating.
And golly, I wish I’d been on that regency trip. Inquiring minds want to know all about the carpet. LOL. 🙂
Boy would I love to visit Abu Simbel! Belzoni did however, become the first ‘modern’ archaeologist to excavate and enter the temple. And considering it was buried under the sand, it was no easy feat!
I love Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible! I was actually writing AIA when it came out, so I waited to read it until I was done. Funny though, when I was pitching AIA to editors and agents, every single one asked “It’s not all set in Egypt is it?” in a tone of alarm. Maybe someday I’ll have the clout to do a whole book there! As it stands, only the prologue is set in the Valley of the Kings, the rest takes place throughout England.
AS for the Elgin Marbles, I believe Elgin thought he was preserving them, considering the damage that had been done to them–wasn’t the Parthenon being used as a munitions dump then? The same arguments can be made for the Egyptian antiquities that were removed over the years. I admit to sympathy for both sides!
Hi Deb and Amanda!
Wow, your books sound to have it all – exotic locations, treasure, mystery and danger – and of course, romance. Interesting blog and I can’t wait to get my hands on them,
I admit to being too new to understand all the complexities of scheduling for Harlequin Historicals and Harlequin Mills and Boon! I just happily accept what my editor tells me! Hee hee.
Maybe Diane and Ammanda have some insight?
Michelle W–you would have loved that trip! Maybe we can set up Risky/HH tour! What a blast that would be!
Your Novice Bride is out in March, too, is it not? Yay! I’m looking forward to it! Can you share a little about it?
Right I am looking forward to buying both books in Tescos with my weekly shop.
I would point that http://www.millsandboon.co.uk do flat rate shipping everywhere in the world. So you will not pay anymore by ordering both. Amazon.ca should have both though…
Several questions were asked about scheduling and the reuse of cover images.
First of all scheduling is a Black Art. It really depends on the sort of the novel, and the theme. The editors do not dicate to us the authors what sort of themes to write about, but for example, they do not want several stories on Marriage of Convenience in one month. they are trying to balance things. It can be quite difficult. I had a long talk with Linda Fildew on the subject last year at the RNA award lunch. And I am very pleased that it is beyond author’s pay grades. There are SO many factors to take into consideration.
With covers, they do get reused (and not only with HH — Avon is quite bad). The editors are looking a certain feel or mood. And it is that feel is that most important. Authors are responsible for content; they can suggest things on covers and titles but really it is up to marketing…
Michelle Styles who also writes for M&B…
I know that the scheduling of the books in the UK vs North America is a marketing decision made at Mills and Boon, now that M&B acquires for both lines. Not all books are released in both markets and not all the books are released at separate times. My last two books have been scheduled for the same month in both markets.
I know Amanda’s were delayed so that the three connected books could be released in three consecutive months in NA, a ploy I’ve heard of used by other publishers lately, Tracy Anne Warren, for example.
Well hello to two of my favorite ladies! Hello Yankee Lady (you know who you are!) and Hello Amanda! (now everyone knows!)
Your books sound like pure reading fun! Amanda, I love to read books in a series as they give you the chance to meet new friends and revisit old ones. And of course the mystery and the who’s watching whom aspect of it is just full of possibilities. Was it as much fun to write as it sounds?
I too am a fan of Loretta Chase’s books. That Egyptian backdrop always adds to the read. It is one of the reasons I read historical romances – you get to travel to exotic lands AND exotic times!
You ladies are going gangbusters and I have to say it could not happen to two nicer people!
Now, when are we all taking that Regency Tour together so that Diana can regale us with her carpet acumen? And yes, her heroines can definitely figure out new and creative uses for carpets – antique or otherwise. They are always very smart ladies!
Hey Ammanda and Deb,
First of all, congrats on your books. They both sound absolutely wonderful (and having had the treat of reading Ammanda’s ms. in advance, I can assure everyone it’s not to be missed!)
As a history fanatic, I love that both of you have combined fascinating facts from other eras with our beloved Regency time. It’s so much fun to discover new tidbits of real life, like the story about Belzoni, while enjoying a great romantic tale as well. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Deb, did you discover any interesting Egyptian historical figures in the course of your research? And Ammanda, any real-life Italians or Sicilians?
Michelle Styles is our author expert about all things in the mysterious world of publishing Mills & Boon and Harlequin Historical. (Hi, Michelle!!!) Michelle amazes me. There is NOTHING she doesn’t know!!!
Plus she writes in a mind-boggling assortment of time periods: Regency, Viking, Roman…
See more here
Hi Everyone! Sorry I am so late to the party today–have been dealing with car troubles all morning. 🙂 But I’m so happy to “see” so many friendly faces!
Claudia, I do love unusual settings! To the point where my first editor asked me once if I could do a story WITHOUT a foreigner. 🙂 I just love seeing Society from the POV of an outsider, or conversely taking the “insider” into a setting where they’re out of their depth. Plus the research is major fun! But this particular book does happen to be happen to be set in London. I tried to figure out where an intellectual, antiquarian family would go, so they attend lectures and museums and masked balls with “Grecian” themes.
Flechen1, the next “Muses” book is set in Sicily (where everyone is after a set of Hellenistic silver)! And my WIP is set in the Caribbean, but that’s in the 1530s. I’m playing with an idea for 1820s France.
Sabrina, I also love “To Catch a Thief”! And I’m a sucker for stories that feature ancient objects or fabulous jewels.
The question of sending the Marbles back to Athens (or really repatriating any antiquities to their places of origin, like the Euphronios Krater) is complicated and very interesting. I try to address that in TCAR, since Calliope and her sister Clio have very different viewpoints on the subject! In the case of the marbles, I think it’s true that Elgin probably saved them from complete destruction. And there is the argument now that Greece doesn’t have the proper facilities for them (I hear this concerning many Egyptian objects, too). But they are part of their heritage, and they should probably go back at some point. (a VERY brief paragraph on a very complex situation, LOL)
Thanks for sharing you insight, Michelle! I am always blown away with how well you understand the industry–I really appreciate your point of view!
I love the idea of the back to back series releases of Amanda’s books! I think readers enjoy that too–it gives you the chance to really immerse yourself in the writer’s world.
But no way I’m waiting for To Catch a Rogue–I’ll just buy both versions!
I’ve been meaning to ask you how you like the Cary Atlas? It can be a challenge to navigate but the detail is amazing.
Oh, so many fascinating figures were in Egypt at this time. The Pasha of Egypt, Muhammad Ali, was a larger than life character. Henry Salt, the English consul general got involved in huge rivalry with the French consul, Drovetti, as they raced to obtain antiquities for their respective countries. There were all sorts of characters traveling through the mid East at this time. Even Belzoni’s wife was an amazing example of a strong woman well beyond her time.
I’ll be quiet now, I could go on and on!
Hey, Deb! The Cary Atlas is a bit difficult at first, but now that I have the hang of it, it has been a really fascinating resource!
Congratulations Amanda & Deb!
Belzoni deserves his own book.
Oh, no! Don’t be quiet. There’s nothing I like better than hearing all the details the research brings up.
I think the covers on these books are marvelous! I can’t wait to read them both!
Great interview, ladies!
I do wish I’d gone on that trip, too! I’ve heard so many good things about it. 🙂
And both your books sound so interesting!
“Passion in the Pump Room” — I’m there! 😉
Congratulations to both Amanda and Deb on your books coming out! They both sound like a lot of fun. I love stories involving antiquities–both Egyptian and Greek, as it happens! And I’ve always had a soft spot for the Muses. 🙂
Hey! You could have it turn out that Clio, Calliope and Thalia secretly have six half-sisters that they didn’t know about! Then your series of three books could become a series of nine!
Well, it worked on Charmed. Sort of.
Of course, then you have to come up with more titles. Hmm. To Marry a Marquess…To Badger a Baronet…To Canoodle with a Commoner…
The Egyptian setting sounds wonderfully interesting as well. This was the time, after all, when Western knowledge about Egypt really began to explode–there must have been so many possibilities to draw on for your book!
Thanks Amanda, and all the Riskies, for having me as a guest!
Congrats on your books, Amanda and Deb. I love exotic elements and locales and hope publishers start doing more of them!
Both books sound wonderful with mysteries and artifacts involved.
I’d love to meet Niall and Chione and Caliope and Cameron de Vere. I like stories about lost treasures, artifacts and adventure.
Congrats to both on the release!!