Friday, February 25, 2011

Real History for Real People--And Always Love

If you were a time traveler, you would have no problem recognizing both versions of Delle Jacobs here.  When it comes to Delle, I really do believe she lived in Regency England, in Medieval England, and perhaps even in Norman England. Delle Jacobs is one of those authors who I could listen to all day. Why?  Because she truly loves history. Not history as in the memorize-the-dates-and-spew-it-back-to-the-teacher type, but history as it formed and changed the lives of every day people. And Delle's books frequently chronicle that history in terms of the daily struggles and passions of women--the very women who were the primary voices of change and the glue that often held the world together. Please join me in welcoming Delle Jacobs as she talks about her novel, Lady Wicked, published by The Wild Rose Press and shares with us her own author secrets.

What was the initial spark that put this story in your head?
We'd have to call it sparks, plural, I think. Most of the time my stories start when several different thoughts or ideas start to pull together. Being a member of the Beau Monde, over the years, I've been a part of many deep discussions and research sharing. A number of questions had come up about the position of women, marriage, women's inheritance, divorce, etc. It's really hard in this day and age to grasp just how restricting and often demeaning the state of women was in Regency England--and actually in this country at that time as well.

I've seen a lot of change in marital rights in my own lifetime, but it's nothing compared to how different things are from the early Nineteenth Century. A married woman, particularly one of the aristocracy, literally had no rights. She did not even legally exist, for the marriage state had made the two one- and that 'One' was the

Theoretically a man would protect the woman who by church and state is considered a part of him. But the situation was ripe for abuse, and abuse was common. And so I began to ask myself what would-and did- happen to a woman whose husband wanted to get rid of her at any cost? The documentation of such things is appalling. Divorce was always looked upon as being the wife's fault, and no matter her situation or innocence, she became a social pariah. She could not even testify in her own behalf.

I'd also thought a lot about a story using a hero and heroine who were almost anti-hero and heroine. And I began to see Davina and Lord Savoury, two outcasts who, in saving each other, save themselves.

It seems that most authors use something from their own lives, or the lives of people they know as an integral part of the story. Is there anything in this story like that? If so, what?

We have to write what we know, whether we experienced it or learned it. And our heroes and heroines are ultimately ourselves. The one question I had to answer in this book was: What would happen to someone who was wrongly accused and could do nothing about it, yet who wouldn't bend under the weight of the oppression?

I did have a bad marriage- not just an unhappy one, but an abusive one. I have learned escape was possible, and that the surest way to find the way out of a very dark place is to just keep going. I was a social worker for many years, and I learned far more from my clients than they learned from me. From them, I learned just how much the human spirit can triumph. I don't have much interest in people whose lives are always wonderful, who never have to rise above adversity. But a person who has done what others say is impossible, who perhaps didn't even believe it herself but kept on trying, is a person who intrigues me, one I admire. So these are the people I write into my books.

In Lady Wicked, I have a man who has lost his moral compass and a woman who cannot allow herself to hope. In giving her hope, he finds his path, and in lighting his way, she finds the depth of her courage and ultimately, her heart.

Is there a particular scene in this book that you really loved when you finished it? Which one and why?
I really had to think about this, because this book is full of scenes I love. My Lord Savoury and Lady Wyckham develop a deep friendship as well as love, and they have a lot of fun together. So I think- maybe-
the scene I love most is the one in which Davina discovers for the first time that she can give as good as she gets. Savoury is always needling and teasing her, and she's finally catching onto it. So when he offers her a ride as he's heading down to Matlock to market, and she discovers he has a big knot on his forehead, and he doesn't want to talk about it, she seizes her advantage and razzes him as badly as he has her. I think this is the place where Savoury glimpses for the first time he not only desires her but perhaps really loves her. And he has embarked on a path he can no longer abandon.

Does this story background relate to previous or future books? If so, in what way?
Not directly. I have thought about sequels, but I like for each story to bloom entirely on its own, not take its plot from another book. It's like my other books regardless of time period or genre, in that all my heroes and heroines face deep struggles. Ordinary people, I've discovered, are actually not all that ordinary. So I write about what's deeper than the social surface.

If someone wants to check out your backlist based on loving this story, where would you suggest they start? Or which books would be in a similar vein?
That doesn't sound like a hard question, but it is. All of my stories interlace deep dilemma and humor, which is the way I think many people deal with their deepest sorrows. Fire Dance has a lot in common with
Lady Wicked even though the time periods are so far apart. And Sins of the Heart deals with a woman hiding from a past that could bring her death. And it has a hero whose war experience has left him feeling like his soul is dead. His Majesty, Prince of Toads is a battle of wills between two people who should not have been forced into marriage. But it's not your typical marriage of convenience, for these two have deeply embedded secrets and pains.

You have found yourself a great niche in the Regency period. What is it about this period that so entrances you?
I love most historical periods. The glitter of aristocracy is not what catches my attention, though. I'm not quite the Cinderella type. But I like the pre-industrial revolution times, and the Regency period sits right at the very edge between the medieval past and the modern age of machines, speed, and mass communication. Only a few years later, locomotives are chugging across the land at impossible speeds and steamships cross oceans in half the time. Social change is on the edge. People talk about the vice of slavery, corruption in government,
even whether married women ought to be allowed to own property. Napoleon is on the Continent and revolution is in the air. The world is about to be turned upside down. It is a simpler time, in some ways
a safer one. Pasteur has not yet looked into a microscope. One in which we might see each other with clearer vision, or perhaps not truly see at all.

Do you write any books that are not Regency? If so, where can reader's find those and are they under the same name?
I have two medievals available, Fire Dance and Loki's Daughters. Both are available on Amazon. I also have some historical paranormals that will be available soon. Faerie is set in Norman England, in a world in which the superstitions and beliefs people had are real. And a completely fantasy sea myth re-told, Siren. I recently co-authored a contemporary novella with SamMarie Ashe, The Boss Word Red in the Cupid Gone Wild anthology, which will be released Jan. 28th. It's a wacky Big City Fashionista vs Cowboy story, just right for a fun Valentines Day read.

Thank you for joining us, Delle.  Remember readers, commenting and following this blog gets an automatic entry into the drawing for a book.  Say hello Delle and we will draw a name for a copy of Lady Wicked. In the meantime, run out and download a copy of Lady Wicked into your favorite e-reader or order the print copy.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Love, Family, and God Always Ring True

One of the sweetest authors I know is Lissa Manley.  She wrote for Harlequin Romance for a number of years and then stepped away from writing to concentrate on spending quality time with her children.  Now, she is back and better than ever.  She is now writing Inspirational romances for Harlequin.  Her books have the same sweet stories with the added punch of a life enhanced by a spiritual relationship with God as well as the romantic relationship.  Even better, we will see many new books from Lissa in the very near future.  Please welcome Lissa back to writing, and especially to sharing her insights with us at Behind the Book.

What was the initial spark that put this story in your head?  Please describe the event or series of events.

Well, that's a long and complicated story.  This book wasn't actually intended to be the first book in the Moonlight Cove series.  The second book, Mistletoe Matchmaker, coming out in December of 2011, was intended to be the first.  But...when I submitted MISTLETOE in an earlier iteration, I sent my editor a blurb about what I envisioned as the second book in the series to be.  She ultimately rejected MISTLETOE for a number of reasons, but she liked the sound of the blurb I'd sent for the second book and asked me to send a proposal for that book.  So I wrote THAT proposal, sent it in, and she bought it and it became Family to the Rescue.  After that book sold, I went back to MISTLETOE and rewrote it to be the second book in the series, along with a blurb for the book I envisioned as the third book.  They bought MISTLETOE, and the third book in the series, which will be out in mid-2012.

Whew.  That's a lot to take in.  Anyway, I had always wanted to write a book set on the coast in a town like Cannon Beach (see below).  I also really wanted to write a book about a single mom starting over (who became Kim in the book), and I really wanted to include an older relative who would be the heroine's mentor (who is Aunt Rose).  I liked the idea of putting a closed-off hero (Seth) into a situation with a child (Dylan) because there's nothing more romantic than a big, athletic guy being nice to a kid. 

I also wanted to show right off what kind of guy Seth was, and really wanted him to literally rescue Kim from a dangerous situation in the opening scene.  I have a cousin who almost drowned on the Oregon Coast because of an undertow, so I thought what better way to open the book than with Seth rescuing Kim from drowning.  I also really like stories that come full circle, and I like the "rescue" theme because Kim and Dylan end up rescuing Seth emotionally in the end, mirroring how Seth rescued Kim physically at the beginning of the story.         

It seems that most authors use something from their own lives, or the lives of people they know as an integral part of the story.  Is there anything in this story like that? What?

Yes, the setting.  I wanted a small town on the Pacific Northwest coast because I like to write what I know (not really a big research gal), and kind of wanted to set the book somewhere other than Oregon for variety.  I chose Washington State. I wanted a quaint tourist town that was little enough to have that small-town feel, but would have enough businesses on Main Street to provide plenty of heroes and heroines.  I immediately thought of Cannon Beach, where I spent a lot of time as a child, and it fit the bill perfectly.  So I made up a town (so I don't need to be accurate!) called Moonlight Cove and based it on Cannon Beach, but set on the Washington coast.  I included the wooden boardwalk, and based many of the businesses and stores that I've been to many times while visiting Cannon Beach.

I noticed this book is part of a series. Can you describe how this story's characters and background relate to the rest of the series.

Of course.  The series is set in Moonlight Cove, Washington, and the heroes and heroine's are owners of businesses along Main Street.  Family to the Rescue  features Seth, who owns the sporting goods store, and Kim, whom he saves from drowning and who also ends up working for him at the store.  She has moved to town after her husband walked out on her and their seven-year-old son to live with her aunt, Rose Latham. 

In the next book, Mistletoe Matchmaker, the hero is Kim's cousin, and the heroine owns the designer pet store on Main street. The third book features the owner of the ice cream parlor as the heroine, and the new sheriff in town as the hero.  Common characters will tie the series together (most significantly Aunt Rose), as does the town itself; a lot of the action takes place in and around the businesses on Main Street.  I was aiming to create a quaint small town where everyone knows everybody else and which, of course, boasts a  stunning and romantic coastal backdrop.  The tag line for the series is: Moonlight Cove.  A beachside town where love and faith blossom.  And that's exactly what I was going for.   

Is there a particular scene in this book that you really loved when you finished it?

I have two.  The first is the scene where the heroine, Kim, has coaxed the hero, Seth, out of his back office at the store where he's sequestered himself to avoid interacting with Kim (he just can't deal with being so drawn to her).  She has just settled in behind some shelving to watch him in action with a customer who's asked for him, and he sneaks up behind her and nearly scares her to death.  Kim pretends she's looking at the sock display, but Seth knows better.  She's very flustered and babbles on and on about picking out a pair of socks for her cousin.  I love the scene because it's cute and funny, and really highlights the attraction growing between the hero and heroine.  Plus it shows the heroine that maybe she'd be better off if she left him in his cave.  Yep.  Conflict is good.

The second scene is towards the end of the book.  In it, Seth, who has a rocky relationship with God because of unanswered prayers in his youth, is struggling with his attraction to Kim, and his growing attachment to her son, Dylan.  Because of a conversation he and Kim had earlier in the book about how to find faith in God, he finds himself at the local church, and ends up going inside and praying to God for guidance.  It's a touching scene, especially when he knows Kim's advice was good because, with God's help, Seth realizes he loves her.

I also have to add, I also especially like all of the scenes with Seth and Dylan.  Again, there's just something so appealing about a man's man who's kind to kids.  Seth, a former professional baseball player, ends up coaching Dylan's little league team The Sharks (with Kim as the assistant coach, of course), and the scenes with him and the boys on the team are really touching (or at least, that's the way I hope I wrote them).  In fact, his gentle way with The Sharks is one of the reasons Kim finally falls in love with him.  Who can resist a guy who can get a bunch of rowdy seven-year-olds to play baseball and looks darn good doing it?        

You were previously a Silhouette Romance (now Harlequin Romance) writer. Can you tell our readers what's different between your Romance books and your Inspirational books?

Well, in some ways they're very similar.  Both lines are sweet lines, without any graphic sensuality.  Although, I should note that I always try to have a strong, unmistakable sense of attraction between the hero and heroine from the start; I just don't think any romance is believable if the hero and heroine aren't very aware of each other in a physical way.

Both lines are 'Home and Hearth' kinds of lines, and feature plots that focus pretty much exclusively on the romance, which I like because I find writing the romance part the easiest part of the whole writing process.  The hero and heroine are together for almost every scene, and every scene is directly related to building the romance while the conflict simmers in the background.  No suspense, no secondary character POV, etc.  Again, a good thing for me because I like to be able to focus on the romance rather than a very intricate, drawn out plot.  Not to say there's no plot.  Just that the romance is the prime focus within the framework of the plot.   

As for differences, the main one is the Love Inspired books feature a faith thread and Silhouette Romances don't.  This was actually hard for me because I'd written six Silhouette Romances without a faith thread, and I wasn't used to having to come up with or think about the faith element.  I actually wrote most of Family to the Rescue without much of a faith element because that's how I was used to working, and then during second draft edits added about 65% of the faith element.  Interestingly, I was asked by my editor to add even more faith element during final revisions and copy-edits, so even my second draft wasn't strong enough in that regard.  Overall, I'm pleased with how that thread turned out in the book considering I was clueless when I started.  Kudos to my critique partner Terri Reed, who's written over 20 books for Steeple Hill in the last five years.  She helped me a lot with the execution of the faith element.  Thanks, Terri!    
The length is slightly different between the two lines, with the Love Inspired line being 55,000 to 60,000 words and the Silhouette Romances being 50,000 to 55,000. I only mention this because both lines are a bit shorter than some of the other Harlequin lines, and because I think this makes them excellent reads for the busy reader (and who isn't busy these days?)  This longer length was actually somewhat of a challenge for me because I was used to writing shorter, and found myself wanting to wind my story up at 50,000 words but, of course, I had to keep writing. Still adjusting to that one.         

If someone wants to check out your backlist based on loving this story, where would you suggest they start? Or which books would be in a similar vein?

This book is the first one I've written for Harlequin Love Inspired, so it is my first inspirational title, and my first book which features a faith thread.  But, again, all of my Silhouette Romances are like the Love Inspired books in many ways, and feature similar plots and sweeter, more traditional stories focusing almost exclusively on the romance and conflict between the hero and heroine.   So reading those books would be similar, if not exactly the same.  No matter what line I'm writing for, I always strive to write books that make the reader laugh and cry and sigh.  

For reference, my previous titles (all Silhouette Romances) are:
  • The Bachelor Chronicles
  • The Bridal Chronicles
  • The Baby Chronicles
  • In A Cowboy's Arms
  • Love Chronicles
  • The Parent Trap

Can you give us a preview of the other books in this series and their release dates?

Glad to.  The MOONLIGHT COVE series will, hopefully, feature many, many books.  I may have to add businesses or extend Main Street to come up with enough heroes and heroines! 

The kickoff title, Family to the Rescue comes out in March 2011, and will be available starting the last week in February.   

The second book, Mistletoe Matchmaker, which has a Christmas setting, will be out in December 2011.  This book is especially dear to me because the dog who brings the hero and heroine together in the book is based on my own standard poodle, Jade.  As I write the answers to these questions in February 2011, I have just finished writing the first draft of that book. 

And the third in the series, tentatively titled Her Second Chance Sheriff (this will undoubtedly change, but odds are sheriff will be in the title!), should be out sometime in mid-2012.

I already have the characters in mind for the fourth book, but have not sold that one, or any others.  Yet.  Hopefully, if everything goes to my plan to have a book out every six months, #4 should be out sometime in early 2013.

Thank you, Lissa, for joining us on Behind the Book. I'm really glad to see you writing and selling again and I'm sure your readers will gladly follow you to the Love Inspired line.  If you are interested in Lissa's books you can purchase them directly from Harlequin and at these fine retailers.  Also keep an eye out at your local bookstore.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sweet Romance to Celebrate Valentine's Week

Cindy Christiansen was referred to me by our great supporter, The Book Breeze.  I can't say I know her personally, but after reading her bio, I can see we have plenty in common with each other.  First, she must have some geek girl in her, like me, because she was a Computer major (though you'd never tell by her beautiful picture).  I've spent a lot of time in the computer industry, so I always appreciate a logical mind.  Second, she raises special needs children, which takes a very special and patient mother.  When I was at Utah State University (way back in the time machine 70's) I worked with special needs children and their families. It gave me a deep appreciation for parents who continuously work to help their children overcome challenges.

Finally, and most importantly for this blog, Cindy is a romance writer. She believes in good triumphing over evil. She believes in love conquering all.  She believes in putting her own challenges behind her to bring happiness to all her readers.  Now, that's my kind of woman. Please welcome Cindy A. Christiansen to Behind the Book.  For all you sweet romance readers, I think she'll be just your cup of tea.

What was the initial spark that put this story in your head?

When my husband and I bought our first home, we ended up buying a “money pit”.  The previous owners had put posters and paintings over the fist-holes in the walls.  They put up a shower curtain to make it look like there was a shower.  Every drawer in the house had been busted.  They used tons of air freshener to cover up the smell of dead mice.  The house was so infested with mice that they had eaten all the insulation off the wiring inside the stove.  The list goes on.  We practically had to gut the house and start over.  Mind you, the house wasn’t sold at a low price and we even paid over the appraisal price. So naturally that led to a book about house restoration—Household Repairs. 

Building houses or fixing old houses is something many people undertake at some time in their lives. Common wisdom seems to say: If you can live through remodeling together, you can live through anything.  Do your characters clash a lot during this remodeling project?

Having gone through the remodel we did and an addition to our house at a later time, I whole-heartedly agree with that statement. ((smiles))  It definitely opened up avenues for some comedic situations.  So did the fact that the heroine (Tatum), having escaped her over-protective father, wants to do a little dating in her new home and the hero (Ryan) is not only a little protective himself but also jealous.  He works vigorously at sabotaging her dates.

It seems that most authors use something from their own lives, or the lives of people they know as an integral part of the story.  Is there anything in this story like that? What?

This is positively true for me as an author.  I use little experiences from my life to give my character’s depth, and so I can more fully explain their emotions.  I am a wildlife artist like Tatum and have been a computer programmer/analyst with my own business.

Ryan is an intelligent home restoration specialist who happens to have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), a condition extremely prevalent in our society today.  Not only my husband but my two children have this disorder, and although the situation provides for many comedic scenes in the book, I also hoped to convey the frustration and self-esteem issues caused by the disorder as well as dispelling the idea that people with ADD are not intelligent.   

Does this story background or characters relate to previous or future books you've written? In what way?

Each of my books and their characters are distinctive.  I’ve been told by my readers that they can’t imagine how I can continue to make each character so unique.  They’ve complained about authors who seem to only change the characters’ names and the location and write the same book.

I like to give my characters definite character flaws—after all, they’re human too.  Whether it’s ADD, pyrophobia, anxiety disorder, fear of confrontations, or whatever, my characters are real people to which the reader can relate.  I know I don’t enjoy reading total fantasy where the hero is perfect in looks, a millionaire who doesn’t have to work for a living, and already completely devoted to the heroine.  I find it way more intriguing to see what the hero will overcome to be devoted to her.

Is there a particular scene in Household Repairs that you really loved when you finished it? 

It’s so hard to pick just one because there are different emotional aspects:
  • Romance-wise, I loved the scene where Tatum and Ryan are picking out bathroom fixtures together and her imagination gets the better of her.
  • Comedy-wise, I love the scene in the Governor’s Mansion where the two of them and the professor are tossing an expensive, gold-trimmed saucer back-and-forth because they didn’t want to have to be the one to take action.
  • Suspense-wise, I love when Tatum’s date turns out to be an imposter and Ryan defends her.
  • Character-wise, I love when Ryan confronts his father about the way his dad has treated him all his life because of his ADD.
If someone wants to check out your backlist based on loving this story, where would you suggest they start? Or which books would be in a similar vein?

Household Repairs is my first light contemporary sweet romance with suspense elements. My previous books, Legacy of Lies and The Royal Pain are both sweet romantic suspense with stronger more serious story lines but with a little humor sprinkled throughout.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?  

Household Repairs seems to be my readers’ favorite book.  I believe it’s because it has a broader range of emotions including laughter, excitement, sorrow, joy, love and caring emotions between the characters.  With the world the way it is today, I also believe people are looking for something more light-hearted.

I have another light contemporary, Caskets and Corruption, completed which is more along the same lines, but it is not yet published.  I’m currently looking for a different publisher.

Lizzie Cantrell finds herself exclusively painting portraits of deceased loved ones and decides she needs a new career out amongst the living.  Unfortunately, she ends up with Phillip Van Dyke, an uptight funeral director with issues, and smack in the middle of a drug smuggling operation involving caskets and dead soldiers.

The Cleansing Fire is another completed romantic suspense of mine.

Afraid of jeopardizing his future, a summer wildfire volunteer is reluctant to get involved with the pyrophobic woman assigned to him, especially when things start heating up between them…and someone’s out to kill her.

Right now, I’m working on another light contemporary sweet romance so look for these titles in the future.

Being an author with multiple health issues, I’m not as prolific as other writers.  I hope my fans will be patient and look forward to each book as they come out.

Cindy, Thank you so much for joining us!  Please be sure to come back again when you sell your next book. I'm definitely buying a copy of Household Repairs right now, and as usual I will give away a free copy to one lucky person who posts to this weeks blog.

Reader's you can pick up a copy of Cindy's book at these fine retailers. Click on the logo to purchase.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Royal Wedding is Perfect Timing for Book

 When I read the title of Melissa McClone's new book, I absolutely had to buy it.  With the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton scheduled in April, my immediate thought was TWINS!  So, I begged Melissa to please come to Behind the Book and share with the readers how she wrote the book and what she has planned for the future.  Though she has a very busy schedule, she agreed to squeeze in this interview.

What was the initial spark that put this story in your head?

Expecting Royal Twins had a long journey from initial spark to what was actually published. I originally pitched a story to my editor via email called Princess Nobody in November 2007. It was a Plain Jane/Cinderella romance with a royal marriage of convenience added in.

I've always loved stories where a character finds out they're not who they thought they were. Think Princess Diaries, one of my daughters' favorite movies. I was given the go-ahead, but then was offered a spot in a trilogy in February 2008. The royalty idea got put on the back burner once again in June 2008 after Harlequin Romance scheduled a royalty trilogy.

When I was at the San Francisco RWA conference in July of 2008, another royalty story popped into my head. There was still a Cinderella element and also a marriage of convenience, but with a little twist. What if they were married, but neither the hero nor heroine knew it? I quickly filled out Blake Snyder's beat sheet. I knew the line didn't want any royalty themed stories so I just played around with it whenever I had a little free time.

In late 2009, I asked if I could do a royalty book after I finished another manuscript. I told my editor I'd written about 60 rough pages and thought I'd found the story which was a combo of what I'd pitched her before and the new idea. In early 2010, my editor asked to see what I had as-is.

Talk about a worst nightmare. I'm a draft writer. Rough really doesn't begin to describe the writing at this stage of the process. But I emailed the pages anyway sure my career was over. She said she appreciated this was a draft and saw the potential for Harlequin Romance. She asked me to polish the pages into a proposal and submit them. Here's what she said about the "polished" proposal:

Melissa, this story has so much potential – it is a pure fantasy with Ellie discovering she is a real life Princess and being whisked off to a castle in a faraway land! I do have some points for revision to make sure that the characters remain sympathetic and contemporary, and the premise remains believable.

The original proposal began in Vernonia, Oregon with a heroine who was a motel maid named Elliana. (Yes, I was taking the Cinderella archetype to heart.) My then-editor Joanne Grant had written three bullet points with various ideas/questions for me to address in the revisions.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized I couldn't fix the proposal. The heroine wasn't working. She wasn't contemporary enough. I needed to start over with a brand new heroine, someone completely different. The spark of the idea was still there, but I had to rethink everything else. The royal twins remained since the book had been pushed up in the schedule to be part of February 2011 Babies and Brides promotion.

It seems that most authors use something from their own lives, or the lives of people they know as an integral part of the story.  Is there anything in this story like that? What?

I wish I could say I was a long-lost princess, but Expecting Royal Twins is a fairytale, a pure fantasy as my editor wrote. I did use my love of auto racing to come up with Izzy's dream of working on a pit crew. In my mid-to-late twenties, I worked on a pit crew, went to kart racing school and attended car races all over the country.

More integral to the story was the help I received from other people. I reconnected with a guy I knew from a rival high school via Facebook. Roger Carstens graduated from West Point, spent time in the Balkans and starred in the TV show, "The Wanted." He helped me to better understand the Balkan region and gave me a soldier's perspective, providing me with insights into my prince hero who had fought in his country's civil war. Roger introduced me to a friend of his, John Fenzel, who is not only in the Army but also the author of a novel set in the Balkans. Both of them were very helpful suggesting research materials and answering my questions.

Does this story background relate to previous or future books? In what way?

One of the secondary characters in Expecting Royal Twins, Princess Julianna from Aliestle, was also a secondary character in my Silhouette Romance April 2000 release titled, If the Ring Fits….

I've wanted to write her story for over a decade!  I finally got the chance following Expecting Royal Twins. In July 2011, Julianna gets her shot at a happily ever after in my Harlequin Romance titled Not-So-Perfect Princess.

All three stories are stand-alone books so it's not necessary to read one before the others. I hope to write Julianna's crown prince brother's story one of these days.

Is there a particular scene in this book that you really loved when you finished it? If so, which one and why?

The wedding scene! It's actually three scenes since I switch to the hero's POV in the middle. Not only are the hero and heroine getting married, but it's their first kiss, too! I had my reasons for holding off on a kiss until then. I hope that works for the readers.

As to why that scene, I love weddings. I think there's something extra special about royal weddings, too. I remember when I was a teenager lying on the couch at my aunt's house really early one morning so I could watch Diana Spencer marry Prince Charles. I'm sure I'll be doing the same thing when Kate Middleton marries Prince Williams.

If someone wants to check out your backlist based on loving this story, where would you suggest they start? Or which books would be in a similar vein?

Most, if not all, of my books are in a similar vein. The Cinderella archetype is a favorite of mine (even when the heroines have money of their own) and many of my stories could be considered modern day fairy tales. My backlist is available on my website.

Expecting Royal Twins is the only book, with the exception of my very first called Fiance For the Night, with anything resembling a love scene. My books are very traditional romance (aka sweet) reads.

If I had to pick specific titles most similar to this one, I'd say If the Ring Fits…, The Billionaire's Wedding Masquerade, Plain Jane's Prince Charming and Memo: The Billionaires Proposal. Unfortunately the Silhouette Romance titles are out of print, but can be found at used bookstores. 

Thank you, Melissa, for taking time to join us at Behind the Book! Readers, hurry to buy Expecting Royal Twins and have it read before the upcoming Royal Wedding. The combination will be dynamite.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

More Scandal from Delilah Marvelle as the Trilogy is Completed

We featured the amazing Delilah Marvelle as one of our first Behind the Book authors when she began her Scandal trilogy on January 1st.  We now have her back with her second book, Once Upon a Scandal, already out and her third book, The Perfect Scandal, being released two weeks early.  I caught up with her soon after she returned home from an exciting but exhausting book signing road tour with author Lisa Hendrix. Let's see what's going on with her now that her back to back books are almost all available.

This second book in the Scandal series, Once Upon a Scandal, has been termed more romantic than the first one.  Can you tell us a little more as to why these characters demanded a “softer” feel than the very difficult relationship between Radcliffe and Lady Justine in Prelude to a Scandal?

I wanted every book in the Scandal series to have a different feel.  From raw to emotional to intellectual.  Because in the end, I would hate for my readers to get the same read over and over from me.  It wouldn't be fun to read and it most certainly wouldn't be fun to write.  The reason Book 2, Once Upon a Scandal is more romantic is because it has to do with the hero himself.  To him, it isn't about sex but emotion and that creates that softer feel.   Of course, the subject matter within the book is anything but soft.  So while, yes, it is the more romantic of the two, it still has that edge the first book has.  In Book 1, Prelude to a Scandal, the hero is a recovering sex addict, so obviously, there is more tension and more steam because of it.  I always let my characters guide the sex and the tension and the relationship.  I don't have a quota to fill when it comes to sex, lol.  I have an obligation to ensure that my characters remain within character.

I loved your video on you tube sharing your book tour with Lisa Hendrix.  What were two of your favorite memories from that tour?

I have to say there were too many to name!  The Romance Readers Book Club at Borders in Elk Grove was AMAZING.  Mary Morgan, the romance bookseller at Borders created a book club months earlier and when she discovered we were going to be in the area for our book tour, she went above and beyond to ensure that our visit was memorable.  And it really was!  The group brought food and treats and gifts for us.  They were just so amazing.  My other favorite memory from the tour would have to be just hanging out with Lisa herself.  She's an amazing gal and has the BEST humor.  We got along beautifully.

Your third Scandal book, The Perfect Scandal, is being released even earlier than planned.  I know readers love having them available so quickly. Can you talk a little about what it’s like to write back-to-back books?   Did you do them all in one year or spread out?

Book 3, The Perfect Scandal, actually comes out February 15, the day after Valentine's Day.  The book was originally scheduled for March 1st but I guess HQN is as excited to get these books out there as I am, lol.  And yes, you're right, I've been getting tons of emails from readers telling me how much they appreciate the back to backs.  Writing back to back books takes a lot of work but the end result is well worth the months of piecing all three books together. 

I basically wrote all three books in ten months, not including revisions.  I wrote 7 days a week, 8-12 hour a day to ensure the books were the best that they could be.  It was a new experience and challenge for me altogether because I've never written back to backs.  I learned a lot about myself as an author and as a person, that's for sure.  On the last book, The Perfect Scandal, just two weeks before my deadline, I did a cut and paste I shouldn't have and ended up losing the last 75 pages of my book.  After freaking out, I sucked it up and started those 75 pages all over again. 

My attitude of 'just do it' paid off and I learned that it was the best thing to have happened to me because the story and the writing took a completely different turn.  One I absolutely love.  So I learned that I write best under pressure and when push comes to shove, I actually can step up to the plate and get things done. 

One lucky winner will get a copy of ALL THREE of the books in the Scandal series for commenting on this blog posting or following the blog.  I will draw a name on February 15th when the final book is released.