Today I would like to introduce you to a historical romance dynamite duo: Connie Mason and Mia Marlowe have once again paired up to write another one of their wonderful and sexy historical romances, Waking up with a Rake, the first book in their brand new Royal Rakes series was released this month, yay! So I was lucky to get to ask Mia a few questions regarding this new series of theirs as well as how their collaboration works, so read on to learn more about it and you could even win a copy of Waking up with a Rake!
Stella: Hi Mia, welcome back to Book Lovers Inc! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Mia: Hi Stella. Thanks for having me here today. A bit about me… I’m a wife, mother, dog lover, dreamer and always looking for the next story idea. If your readers would like to learn more, I hope they’ll pop over to my website.
Stella: Are you a planner or pantser? Can you tell us a bit about your writing process? How do your novels come to life?
Mia: I wish I could say I write out detailed synopses and plot my novels to within an inch of their lives before committing myself, but I usually write “into the mist.” I start by getting to know my characters well, where they’ve come from, what they deeply long for, and then I devise ways for them to be thwarted in their goals. Writers are a bit sadistic like that. I have a general shape in mind for my novels and know the major plot points, but how my characters get from Point A to Point B is a process of discover for me. This is sometimes a stressful process, but the plus side is that if I can’t see the end coming, my readers should be equally surprised by it.
Stella: What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?
Mia: A real book lover is a “chain reader.” She has another book ready to go as soon as she finishes the last one. A real book lover discovers favourite authors and seeks out their entire backlist while a reader flits from one writer to the next based on easy availability. A real book lover doesn’t zero in on just one sub-genre. She’s after a great story, no matter what time period it’s set in.
Stella: Your latest novel, Waking up with a Rake was published on 1 January 2013, congratulations! It is the first book in your Royal Rakes series, could you tell us a bit more about the series and especially what readers can expect of Waking up with a Rake?
Mia: The Royal Rakes series is loosely based on the real life “Hymen Race Terrific.” In 1817, Princess Charlotte died along with her stillborn son. She was the only legitimate grandchild of King George III. Prinny wasn’t likely to sire another since he and his wife had been estranged for years and she was past bearing. So the younger unmarried sons of King George realized they had an opportunity to put their offspring on the throne if they could only wed a suitable lady and get her with child quickly. The Dukes of Clarence, Cambridge and Kent went a-courting in 1818.
However, in the Royal Rakes series, not everyone wants to see the House of Hanover continue as the ruling line. What better way to thwart the dukes than to put a determined rake between them and their intended brides?
Stella: Could you introduce the hero and heroine of Waking up with a Rake to us?
Mia: I’ll let my hero and heroine introduce each other with a snippet in their POVs.
From Olivia Symon upon meeting Lord Rhys Warrington:
The man on the settee rose to greet her, and Olivia dipped in the requisite curtsey.
“Good afternoon, my—” She raised her gaze to the man’s face and her tongue cleaved to the roof of her mouth. The last emissary the Duke of Clarence sent had been a loathsome little toad of a fellow who snickered when he spoke, finishing his sentences with an upward lilt and a nervous giggle.
But this man was…magnificent.
It was more than merely flawless features. It was the balance of the individual parts that created such an arresting whole.
His strong jaw matched his firm lips and fine straight nose. The high cheekbones of a man of action were tempered with the broad forehead of a poet.
And his snapping brown eyes. They were dark wells of intelligence and…did she detect a hint of amusement glinting in their depths?
Well, of course she did. The man was looking at her, wasn’t he?
It was rare to see a human face with this kind of symmetry and pleasing proportions. Usually a nose would be outsized for the rest of the features or a person’s eyes would be too wide set. Olivia ordinarily found this sort of perfection in flora, not fauna.
The only bit of him that seemed out of place was a streak of silver marring his seal-brown hair at one temple. Judging from the lack of lines around the man’s eyes and mouth, he was young to have that shock of gray. But even what should have been an impediment to his arresting appearance instead lent him an air of mystery.
And here’s what Rhys thought immediately after meeting Olivia for the first time:
Rhys strode out the massive double doors of Barrowdell Manor and into the frosty air. He narrowly resisted the urge to swear as he mounted the deep-chested bay while his servant, Mr. Clyde, held the horse’s head for him.
“I’m going to Hell,” he muttered.
“Assuredly, my lord,” Clyde said agreeably as he hauled his wiry frame up onto his piebald cob and fell into a jolting trot beside Rhys. “If I may make so bold as to ask, why are you bound for perdition this time?”
“I warned her,” Rhys said with frustration. Why did she have to smell like alyssums? His mother lined every walkway in her garden with the sweet-smelling flower. The scent always took him home. The home that was now closed as tightly against him as the gates of Heaven. “I told the chit straight out what I was—gambler, drinker, rake, libertine—and she didn’t turn a hair.”
“Perhaps the lady is…well, less ladylike than the duke’s advisors believe.”
“No, she’s the genuine article,” Rhys said. “No one can feign a blush. Olivia Symon turned pink as a dandy’s waistcoat pretty damned convincingly several times. She’s exactly what she seems—a total innocent.”
I’m the one who’s a fraud. He’d thought he despised himself when he woke in a brothel one day with no recollection of the previous fortnight. His self-loathing then was nothing compared to the weight of guilt pressing on him now.
Olivia Symon had melted when he kissed her hand, like frost sizzling away in sunshine. If he’d pressed the issue, he could have kissed her rosebud of a mouth as well. Judging from the tremble he detected in her fingers, she was ripe for it. Rhys had an almost sixth sense when it came to feminine arousal. When the time came, he doubted she’d put up much of a protest.
Stella: Waking up with a Rake is your 4th collaboration with Connie Mason, why did you decide to co-write this series? And how does this collaboration work? Do you write a chapter and Connie writes another one, or what is your work method?
Mia: Connie chose the settings for our previous stories—LORD OF DEVIL ISLE, SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER and LORD OF FIRE AND ICE. I got to pick the Regency for our new rakes series. Our method is hard to explain. We work by email mostly and by the time we’re done revising no one remembers who wrote what.
Stella: How did the idea for the story come to you? Any specific moment/event that sparked the inspiration for it that you could share with us?
Mia: The idea for the series came from my historical research. I couldn’t believe it when I ran across some tabloid articles describing the “Hymen Race Terrific.” The paparazzi have always been with us, lampooning the lives of the rich and famous, and the gossip rags of the day gave the royal family no rest!
Stella: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read Waking up with a Rake?
1. Olivia is not usual the simpering virgin, despite Rhys’s initial impression. She’s a strong-minded heroine who meets adversity, and a rake’s advances, head on.
2. Rhys has a strong growth arc. The rake he is at the beginning of the story bears only a slight resemblance to the man he becomes by the end.
3. There’s a murder mystery to be solved along with a romance!
Stella: Could you please summarize Waking up with a Rake for us Twitter-style (in 140 characters or less)?
Mia: Rhys Warrington only plans to seduce Olivia Symon. But against his expectations, the heart he thought he left on the battlefield is about to surrender…
Stella: Based on your books it seems to me that one of your preferred eras is the Regency period. ;-) What do you like about this time period?
Mia: Actually, I like lots of different time periods. If you check my backlist on my website, you’ll find 16th century Scotland, Georgian, Victorian, and even Viking era tales. The main thing for me is the story. The setting is only the canvas I drape it over.
Stella: Do you have a favourite historical figure?
Mia: I’m really fascinated by Queen Victoria. She reigned over a massive empire through the major part of a changing century.
Stella: What is next on your schedule? Any future plans you’d like to share with us?
Mia: In June, ONE NIGHT WITH A RAKE, Book 2 in the Royal Rakes series will come out. Then in September, I’m starting my Spirit of the Highlands series with PLAID TO THE BONE. In October, my Scottish Christmas story, PLAID TIDINGS will be released. I’ll also have a couple self-pubbed ebooks out this year with the Rock*It Reads label on them. Rock*It Reads is a group of New York published authors who’ve banded together to assure readers we bring the same high standards to our self-published work that we give to our traditionally published books.
Stella: Could you share with us something, a trivia that not many people know about you?
Mia: I’m a cancer survivor. In 2008, I was diagnosed with colon cancer, but fortunately we caught it in the early stages. I had surgery and have been cancer free since then. This year, I look forward to my oncologist using the other “C” word when I have my final appointment with him—Cure!
I usually share my cancer story when I speak to writers’ groups because early detection is such an important part of surviving this disease. Several people have told me I gave them the courage to go forward with a screening. We joke at my house about colonoscopies, but they do save lives. What you don’t know can hurt you.
Staying alive is very sexy. Don’t neglect your screenings. And on that romantic note, I’ll close. Thanks, Stella!
Stella: Wow, thank you for sharing your story with us Mia and congratulations on the release of Waking up with a Rake!
About the authors:
Connie Mason is a New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 novels. She was named Storyteller of the Year in 1990 and received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews in 1994. She currently lives in Florida. Mia Marlowe is a highly acclaimed new voice in romance whose debut novel released in Spring 2011 from Kensington. She lives in Boston, MA. Together, they are working on the next book in the Royal Rakes series, Romanced By a Rake, which will be in stores in June 2013.
Book #1 in the Royal Rakes series
The Fate of England’s Monarchy Is In The Hands of Three Notorious Rakes.
To prevent three royal dukes from marrying their way onto the throne, heroic, selfless agents for the crown will be dispatched…to seduce the dukes’ intended brides. These wickedly debauched rakes will rumple sheets and cause a scandal. But they just might fall into their own trap…
After he’s blamed for a botched assignment during war, former cavalry officer Rhys Warrick turns his back on “honor.” He spends his nights in brothels doing his best to live down to the expectations of his disapproving family. But one last mission could restore the reputation he’s so thoroughly sullied. All he has to do is seduce and ruin Miss Olivia Symon and his military record will be cleared. For a man with Rhys’s reputation, ravishing the delectably innocent miss should be easy. But Olivia’s honesty and bold curiosity stir more than Rhys’s desire. Suddenly the heart he thought he left on the battlefield is about to surrender…
All you have to do is tell us: do you have a favourite time period where you like to have your historical romances set?
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Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).
This giveaway is open to all!
Giveaway ends on Saturday, 19 January 2013; we will announce the winner on Sunday.
Please state in your comment whether you are a US/CAN or International entrant!