Here at Risky Regencies we’re thrilled to “meet” for the first time Dorchester author Emily Bryan, who is making a stop here on her blog tour! For more information on her books, be sure and visit her website–and comment here for a chance to win a signed copy of Vexing the Viscount

Riskies: Welcome, Emily! We’re so excited to see you here. Tell us about Vexing the Viscount (great title, BTW)! Where did you get the idea for this book, and how does it fit into your series (along with Pleasuring the Pirate and Distracting the Duchess)?

Emily: Honestly, the title came first! As you can see, I had a little pattern going with my XXXing the XX style titles, and my editor liked the alliteration. It was a little like solving a puzzle, trying to think of something that fit the criteria without being ridiculous. Diddling the Duke was too silly! Murdering the Marquess too grim. The idea of someone “vexing” someone else appealed to me because I believe part of the charm of romance is the concept of “gentle torture.” My heroine Daisy is bound and determined to have Lucian, Viscount Rutland, and if she has to vex the living daylights out of him to accomplish her goal, so be it!

My books aren’t really a series, though. Distracting the Duchess stands alone. It’s set in 1851, more than 100 years after the events in Pleasuring the Pirate (1720) or (1731). However, I would say my Pirate and my Viscount are related titles. Daisy Drake is the niece of Gabriel Drake (the pirate) and we first meet her in Pleasuring the Pirate as a precocious 10-year-old. Knowing her as a child made her much easier to write as an adult. And a few other characters from Pleasuring the Pirate besides Daisy return in Vexing the Viscount, most notably Isabella Wren, a former courtesan who is also Daisy’s great-aunt. It’s not necessary to read Pirate to enjoy Viscount–I think the stories stand on their own, but of course I hope readers want to dive into both!

Riskies: What are some interesting research tidbits you found for these books? (I’m especially intrigued by the mention of Roman treasure!

Emily: The Romans were everywhere in the ancient world! I’ve been blessed to travel through the UK and Europe and have visited a number of ruins of their distant outposts (haven’t made it to Rome itself yet, but I’m working on it!). It amazed me that these ancients recreated their culture wherever they went, building amphitheaters, bath houses, and elegant villas with indoor plumbing and heated floors. And they also brought along their unique taste in household ornamentation. In the opening of Vexing the Viscount, Daisy is inspecting an ancient clay lamp shaped like an erect phallus. Romans believed representations of male genitalia brought good luck. (Hmmm–I wonder if that is where the phrase “getting lucky” comes from?). The Romans used little decorative phalli as Victorians might use tassels.

I probably wouldn’t have believed this if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. When I was visiting the Romisch-Germanisches Museum in Koln, Germany, there was an entire room filled with phallus-shaped lamps and windchimes, some with wings (I kid you not!) or little legs affixed to the side like a developing tadpole. (A “kissing a lot of frogs” joke springs to mind, but…no! We will not got there). It was so surreal. I had to file it away as something to use in a book someday. It made sense for Daisy to be as fascinated as I was by that naughty Roman art, and why not let my hero be hot on the trail of a lost Roman treasure? If you’re interested in learning more about the Romans who founded Londinium. please visit my Roman forum. There’s also an excerpt from the Roman part of Vexing the Viscount!

Riskies: You also write as Diana Groe. Tell us a bit about those books!

Emily: Maidensong, my debut title, is a Viking romance set in 9th cebtury Scandinavia. Erinsong is my Irish love story, also 9th century. And Silk Dreams is a harem tale set in 11th century Byzantium. Obscure enough for you?? They didn’t take off as well as I hoped in the US market, but they’ve been translated into German, Dutch, Italian, and Russian. Diana Groe has received fan mail from all over the world! All 3 books are still in print and available at Amazon and I maintain a separate website for these tales here.

Riskies: And how do they differ from the Emily Bryan books (aside from setting!)?

Emily: My Emily Bryan books are fun, sexy romps. My Missouri writers group labels my Emily Bryan stories “ribald yet classy”–which I always thought was a pretty fine line to walk!

The Diana Groe titles are darker, grittier, as true to the times as I could make them and still be palatable to a modern audience. I’ve killed off characters I cared about. These stories are not quite “safe,” if you know what I mean.

Riskies: Your website features some great writing tips!

Emily: Yes, I have several pages dedicated to aspiring writers under Write Stuff. When I started writing, I received so much help from other writers. Now that I’ve been published multiple times, I want to give back!

Riskies: What are some of your favorite tips?

Emily: The page on Self-Editing. I need to remind myself to be ruthless with my work. I can’t afford to fall in love with my own words so much that I won’t cut in order to serve the story. Someone is going to slash my baby up–that someone should be me.

Riskies: What’s next for you?

Emily: After Vexing the Viscount hits the bookstores on February 24, I have a number of speaking engagements all across the country in 2009. Check my Events page here–I may be coming to a town near you! And my next release is a holiday novella due out at the end of October. It’s part of an anthology with USA Today best-seller Jennifer Ashley and Alissa Johnson. All our characters will be attending the same Christmas ball, and you’re invited, too! If you’d like to notified as to new releases, you can sign up at my website for the newsletter.

Thanks for letting me visit with your readers, Riskies! I’m delighted to give away a copy of Vexing the Viscount