When I was a kid, my parents had a beautiful coffee table book about Great Archaeological Sites of the World. I was totally fascinated by it, spent hours poring over photos of the Valley of the Kings, the Parthenon, Newgrange, Scandinavian bog bodies, etc. Somehow I became convinced there was Viking treasure in our backyard (because the Vikings could have sailed a longship into the desert of Albuquerque, right?), and set up my own dig in our backyard. My parents weren’t too happy I tore up our precious patch of grass, but our dogs were able assistants in the digging process. They even unearthed some bones, though they sadly proved to be old Nylabones they themselves buried and not the remains of Viking warriors.

I’ve never quite lost that fascination with archaeology and the ancient world. So, I was very happy to meet the heroines of my new Regency series, “The Muses of Mayfair.” The Chase sisters are the daughters of a renowned scholar and antiquarian, who named his children after the Greek Muses. Calliope, Clio, and Thalia aren’t content with just inspiring people, though–they’re passionate scholars in their own right. And their romances take place against the backdrop of antiquities and archeological skullduggery.

In Book One, To Catch a Rogue, we met the eldest Muse Calliope, who suspected Cameron de Vere, Earl of Westwood, of being London’s infamous Lily Thief and determined to catch him out. A bit of a nuisance when she fell in love with him, then…

Book Two, To Deceive a Duke, is Clio’s story, and is out in the UK this month! Clio is the most fiery and independent of the Chase Muses, and her love for the mysterious Duke of Averton is just as unpredictable. They parted on, shall we say, less than amiable terms in To Catch a Rogue. Now they meet again on an archaeological dig in sun-blasted Sicily, where Clio is set on saving a fabulous collection of Hellenistic silver (based on the famous Morgantina Hoard). Is the duke on her side, allied with her against a host of dangerous villains? Or is he, too, out to steal the silver–and destroy her in the process?

Book Three, Thalia’s story To Kiss a Count (set in Bath) will be out later this year. And all 3 will be released in the US, in consecutive months, in 2010! I am so excited about that.

To win a copy of To Decieve a Duke, go to Nicola Cornick’s website and check out our joint contest! TDAD can also be ordered from Amazon.uk and Harlequin Mills and Boon.

What were some of your favorite childhood passions? Have any favorite archeological sites? And what color satin dress do you think Thalia will show up in on her cover? (I also call this series “The Bridesmaid Muses,” since they appear to have escaped from a pastel-hued wedding party! I vote for pale blue…)