The Riskies are happy to welcome Ann Lethbridge, whose first Harlequin Historical title, The Rake’s Inherited Courtesan, hits the shelves–now! Visit her website for more info…

Riskies: Welcome to RR, Ann! I see on your website that you were born in England–do you go back often? What are some of your favorite sites there?

Ann: We try to go back at least once a year! Both my husband and I are from England and our families call us homing pigeons. One of my favorite places to visit is Bath, with its association with Jane Austen, and of course London and York for sheer grandeur. There is so much history all over the British Isles every village and town holds its own fascination. We try to see new and lesser-known places on each visit, and I write about my travels on the Regency Ramble Blog. I have developed a real “thing” for ice houses. I collect them (visually). Yes, deep chilly holes in the ground! And castles. I once got to spend the night in a castle, now transformed into a hotel. A dream come true.

Fortunately, our families are very understanding, and happily seek out new places to tempt us.

Riskies: I also see that you have a Maltese that stays close to your desk! Does he help with your writing? (I, Amanda, also have a Poodle that sits under my desk while I work–she thinks there should be more dogs in books…)

Ann: Teaser is my constant companion! He likes to sit on my papers or my lap if I work on the couch. We have some severe arguments about it. He also gets me up and out of my chair in the middle of the day for a walk around the neighborhood. Good for both of us, and I usually come home with a plot point solved, or a new line of dialogue. I think Teaser would agree that more dogs in stories are a good thing, but most of my characters seem to dash about too much to be good pet-owning material–so far at least.

Riskies: Tell us about The Rake’s Inherited Courtesan! (Lovely cover, btw). Where did you get the inspiration for this story? Did you come across any interesting research tidbits?

Ann: Thank you! I, too, love the cover.

Inspiration is an odd thing, isn’t it? It pops up in the oddest places for me. The idea for The Rake’s Inherited Courtesan came from a visit to Dover, where my father was born. The sight of a house at the edge of the White Cliffs overlooking the English Channel struck me with its loneliness. The feeling there was a woman looking out one of the windows at France wouldn’t go away, and the story of who she was and she was there began to play itself out.

Christopher was so deliciously unwilling a hero when I first met him in the library of that house on the cliffs, I couldn’t resist him. He was perfect for Sylvia, even though neither of them would have agreed with that at the beginning of the book.

The story is set in Dover, Tunbridge Wells, London, with a brief trip to Calais–lots of dashing about! I lived near Tunbridge Wells in my courting days and enjoyed a beer or two with friends at the pubs in and around the Pantiles, so was fascinated to learn the history behind the spa and to look for old maps and buildings that were around in the Regency. And of course I just had to visit again. The beer tasted just the way I remembered. The Wells, as it’s known by locals, had long passed its prime by Regency times, but there were still elderly afficionados driving down from London and taking the waters (yucky, let me tell you!)

Riskies: And tell us about your Undone, The Rake’s Intimate Encounter! Will we see more stories of this rakish ladies’ club?

Ann: The short story, The Rake’s Intimate Encounter, introduces us to the two male leads in The Rake’s Inherited Courtesan, and provides an unexpected afternoon of delight for their best friend Anthony. No one is more surprised than Tony, let me tell you.

Ah, the club. I thought it time the ladies had a club of their own that wasn’t for bluestockings! It certainly has lots of potential for more stories, and there is an idea or two glimmering in the dark recesses of my brain. Whether any will come to fruition is a crystal ball question. Suffice it to say, I hope so.

(Undone ebooks can be ordered at eharlequin)

Riskies: What are some of your favorite romance novels?

Ann: I love romances, primarily historicals, but also fantasy and paranormal. My first romances were those of Georgette Heyer, introduced to me by my military father. A romantic at heart, for sure. I still love to read her books and especially These Old Shades. Something about girls disguised as boys gets me every time. And they did do it, you know. There are lots of real examples in history. One of my favorite books of all times is Laura Kinsale’s Flowers in the Storm. More recently I have been wowed by Joanna Bourne and Elizabeth Hoyt, because they have stretched the boundaries in Regencies, as JR Ward has in her paranormals. There are lots more favorites. I am slowly building a list on my website.

Riskies: And what’s next for you?

Ann: I’ve handed in my next Regency to my editor at the Richmond office, but don’t have a date or title yet. I’ve been filling in the Art Fact Sheets in anticipation of it being popped into the schedule sometime soon. My heroine has taken to the High Toby to save her family fortune, but it all goes dreadfully wrong. I hope to see it in print either later this year or early next. I am also working on another Undone.

Riskies: Thanks so much for visiting with us today!

Ann: Thank you for the invitation! It’s been an honor and a delight to be here at Risky Regencies. I would love to give away one signed copy of The Rake’s Inherited Courtesan to one of your guests who comments!

You heard her, everyone! Comment for a chance to win a signed copy…