Today, the Riskies are honored to welcome author Hope Tarr, a lovely person and a great writer. Hope lives in New York City, where she always looks fabulous (at least when I see her), is very involved in animal rescue projects and is one of the founders of Lady Jane’s Salon, a monthly romance novel gathering. Read the official deets at the bottom of the interview, and comment to win a signed copy of Hope’s Vanquished. Two commenters will be chosen for the prize!

Hope has two books out for your pleasure; the first is the Victorian-set The Tutor, which is out now, and the other is a reissue of her novel A Rogue’s Pleasure, out in just a few days.
What inspired you to write The Tutor?
When I concluded my “Men of Roxbury House” Victorian trilogy a few years ago, it occurred to me I’d left some loose ends dangling, two loose ends, to be exact. At the end of the final book in the series, UNTAMED, two secondary characters Lady Beatrice—Bea—Lindsey and former East London street rogue turned semi-respectable private secretary, Ralph Sylvester had begun falling for one another, landing squarely in the shadow land between lust and love. Only there hadn’t been time, or in my case, pages for me to devote to unfolding their story. And I thought that was rather a shame.

In THE TUTOR, Bea is all grown up and about to wed a decent but dull fellow whom she knows needs a map when it comes to taking a woman to bed. Determined to have decent sex if not love in her marriage, she turns to her secret crush, Ralph Sylvester for seven sexy nights of private lessons.

What intrigues you about the late Victorian period?

The short answer is: everything! If I had to focus on one aspect, I’d have to say the cultural contrasts, the glorious almost black-and-white differences between public morality and private behavior, the not always easy balance struck between innovation—the telegram, the typewriter, and even the telephone—and centuries’ old standards and conventions, and last but not least, the clothes!

We love risky writing; share some of what makes your book so unusual.
In life as well as fiction I’m a big fan of not only self-made men but also self-made people in general, so even though British set historical romance is my first love, I rarely write heroes who are members of the peerage or even middle class by birth. In THE TUTOR, Ralph has a checkered past, to say the least. He’s the son of a prostitute. After his mother abandons him, he joins a “flash house,” a thieving den for young boys, and earns his keep by picking pockets and running street scams. That he manages to better himself, to become not only respectable but self-sufficient in a society where class distinctions bordered on a caste system, isn’t just laudable to me. It’s damn sexy.
Did you come across any interesting research when you were writing the book?
Always. ☺ In this case, I had a lot of fun perusing The Kama Sutra, the original translated text by Sir Richard Burton (note: not the late actor). In THE TUTOR, Ralph uses the centuries’ old Indian sexual advice manual as a teaching…tool for his seven lessons with Bea. In keeping with that theme, I have each chapter start out by introducing the “lesson” along with a quote from Burton’s text.
You and a couple other authors founded the highly successful Lady Jane’s Salon; tell us about it, and what its purpose is.
Thank you for asking! I’m enormously proud of Lady Jane’s and so any opportunity to brag about m/our brain child is most welcome.

Launched in February 2009, Lady Jane’s Salon is New York City’s first and so far only monthly reading series for romance fiction and like most “firsts” it was born in response to a need. One night in November 2008, I was sitting in Hudson Bar and Books in the West Village with romance authors Leanna Renee Hieber and Maya Rodale and book blogger, Ron Hogan. We’d just returned from a “literary fiction” reading and were lamenting the lack of any literary forum in the city where romance writers and readers could come together and share the books we love. Amidst scotch and cigars, we mapped out the Salon, which in the sober light of the next day still seemed like a really good idea. ☺

Lady Jane’s meets on the first Monday of the month (unless otherwise noted) from 7-9 PM at Madame X (94 West Houston Street, Soho, New York). Admission is $5 or one gently-used paperback romance novel. Net proceeds support an end-of-the-year donation to a New York City women’s charity. With two articles in TIME OUT New York, a feature article in The New York Post, and author bookings through mid-2011, Lady Jane is going strong and ramping up for Her second birthday on Monday, February 7th. It promises to be quite a party.

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What are you working on next?
My very first novella, Victorian-set, of course! “Tomorrow’s Destiny” is in A HARLEQUIN CHRISTMAS CAROL (November 10, 2010), a Christmas anthology based on the Dickens’ classic, with bestselling authors Betina Krahn and Jacquie D’Alessandro. It’s a very sweet trio of stories that I think readers of the genre as well as anyone who loves the winter holidays will both really enjoy.

Thanks so much for having me as a guest at the Riskies. What an honor! I hope visitors today will enjoy VANQUISHED and perhaps try out my two single-title historical romances out this summer: A ROGUE’S PLEASURE and MY LORD JACK, both originally published with Berkley and reissued as digital-first releases with Carina Press.

Hope Tarr is the award-winning author of thirteen historical and contemporary romance novels, one novella and numerous nonfiction articles on health and relationships, fashion, travel and leisure. Visit Hope online at where you can read her weekly blog and enter her regular and special contests. Photo by