Interview: Author Zoe Archer + Giveaway

Filed in Giveaways , Interview , The Geeky Lover , The HEA Lover , Zoe Archer Posted on September 10, 2010 @ 6:00 am 26 comments
Today, we’re happy to welcome Zoe Archer, author of the Blades of the Rose series on Book Lovers Inc. The first book in the series, the very sexy Warrior was released earlier this week. If you want a little adventure in your romance, then this series is for you! Let’s give a warm welcome to Zoe here! 
The HEA Lover: Zoe can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Zoe: Ever since I learned how to read, I wanted to write. I went through different permutations as I got older, including wanting to become an illustrator a costume designer, and an academic, but writing always had my heart. In fact, I started a PhD program in 18th century literature, but left with an MA in order to get an MFA in Fiction. A friend of mine in high school introduced me to romance, and I used to read them under my desk. The first romance novel I ever wrote was in high school, and I never stopped, even through my many evolutions. Now I’m awaiting my four-book BLADES OF THE ROSE series from Zebra!
The HEA Lover: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?
Zoe: I’m fortunate enough to be a full-time writer, but that means I set the alarm, get up and write all day (with occasional breaks to eat and exercise). And I’m firmly in the planner/plotter camp! I always write a detailed outline before I begin a novel. That doesn’t mean I can’t deviate from the outline when necessary, but I have to know where I’m going and what I need to accomplish in order to make a coherent narrative. Pantsers amaze me. I simply couldn’t work that way.
The HEA Lover: What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?
Zoe: Book Lovers are broke! Seriously, a book lover is someone whose life is incomplete without books, who has a TBR pile bigger than most people’s bookshelves, who go into withdrawal if they have nothing to read. I am definitely a book lover. My husband’s carpentry skills have been put to the test. He’s built me FOUR giant bookshelves, but they’re always filling up.
Ain’t he sexy? *drools*
The HEA Lover: Can you tell us more about your series The Blade of The Roses? What makes your world special?
Zoe: The way I’ve been pitching it to people is this: Indiana Jones with hot, hot sex. *grin* The Blades of the Rose books are classic adventure romance, complete with action, danger, magic, steampunk inventions, heroes wearing tall boots, heroines who know their way around a rifle, villains, exotic locations, oh, and hot, hot sex. They’re in the tradition of H. Rider Haggard’s “King Solomon’s Mines,” Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Lost World,” of course, Indiana Jones, “The Mummy,” “Tomb Raider,” and “Romancing the Stone.” All classic takes of adventure.
The Blades books are set in the years 1874 and 1875, just when the British Empire is starting to take control of the globe. There are men who will stop at nothing to ensure Britain’s supremacy, including finding and exploiting magical objects hidden around the world. These magical objects are known as Sources. The Blades of the Rose are a daring band of adventurers, explorers and scientists who seek out and protect Sources. Along the way, they find danger, excitement and, most suprisingly, love.
The HEA Lover: In your series each country has it’s own source, a magical object they treasure and try to keep safe. Can you explain how these magical objects influence the world?
Zoe: For example, in Mongolia, the villains are after a Source they believe helped Genghis Khan create the massive Mongolian Empire. The Heirs believe this Source will enable them to travel great distances, and conquer lands with a relatively small army. In Greece, the Source holds the secret to Greek Fire, a deadly and powerful weapon. The Blades have sworn never to use magic that isn’t theirs by gift or right, but the villains are not so honorable. They use stolen magic to create deadly supernatural storms, or summon horrible monsters to do their bidding. Don’t forget, though, that with magic, things are never quite what they seem!
The HEA Lover: What can we expect of the first novel, Warrior?
Zoe: Plenty of action, magic, adventure, an exotic location, a capable hero and an intelligent heroine. Some very spicy love scenes. WARRIOR is unlike any romance you’ve ever read before.
The HEA Lover: Your hero in Warrior, Gabriel Huntley reminded me of a young Indiana Jones *drools*, how would YOU describe him? What can you tell us about him?
Zoe: Oh, Gabriel. Yum. He has served in the British army for most of his life, in places all around the world. He enlisted, but actually rose up in the ranks to become a captain. When WARRIOR opens, Gabriel has resigned from the army and is just returning to England for the first time in over a decade. He’s very uncertain what civilian life will hold for him, but then a chance encounter on the Southampton docks leads him into an adventure he never anticipated, but definitely welcomes. Gabriel is the kind of man who prefers action over words, who hates an unfair fight, and can be a little gruff at times, but he’s honorable and tough. Definitely a warrior. If you want to picture him, imagine a mix between Sean Bean and Daniel Craig, and give him John Thornton’s (the hero from North and South) accent. Yeah–he’s delicious.
The HEA Lover: In Warrior you take us to the rather exotic setting of Mongolia. Why did you choose this setting for this book? Will you take us to other unusual places? If yes, how did you choose these places?
Zoe: When I first began thinking about the Blades of the Rose series, and the first book, specifically, I remembered the spare and beautiful Gobi desert, which is located in southern Mongolia. It seemed the perfect place for an adventure. And the more research I did on the rest of Mongolia, the more I found it gorgeous, fascinating, and exactly right for romance. Just do a Google image search for Mongolia, and you’ll see what I mean. The vast, wind-swept steppes, the harsh desert, the life of the Mongol nomads. All of it custom-made for high adventure.
In SCOUNDREL, the second Blades of the Rose novel, we’re taken to the azure seas and pristine white islands of Greece and the Aegean Sea. For REBEL, the action is set in the rugged, breathtaking Canadian Rockies. And finally, in STRANGER, we journey back to England, but there are no ballrooms or house parties here! Plus, there is a very special, secret location in STRANGER–but I won’t ruin the surprise. I actually have the four books correspond to a cardinal point on the compass, as well as one of the four elements. WARRIOR is North and sky. SCOUNDREL is South and water. REBEL is West and Earth. And STRANGER is East and Fire.
The HEA Lover: The heroine of Warrior , Thalia, grew up in Mongolia. How did this influence her?
Zoe: Thalia isn’t a Blade, yet, but she wants to be, just like her father. Growing up in Mongolia means she can ride, hunt and shoot. She doesn’t know a thing about being a typical English lady. She dresses like a Mongolian woman in trousers and a tunic. Her only dress is eight years old, and she hasn’t worn a corset in years, either. She’s British by birth, but Mongolian at heart. When things get dangerous, Thalia can take care of herself. But that doesn’t mean she can’t use a little help, especially from someone as handsome and, ahem, skilled as Gabriel.
The HEA Lover: Your heroines are all extraordinary especially for the time your novels are set in. They are all independent and kick-ass. They take their chances and seem really emancipated for that era. For example Gemma, your heroine from Stranger is an American reporter. Why did you chose heroines like this?
Zoe: It’s very important to me that my heroes and heroines are equals, that they are both intelligent and capable. I don’t believe in shrieking TSTL heroines, or worse, “feisty” heroines who charge thoughtlessly into danger, heroines who have to be constantly rescued by the heroes. Some of my heroines are themselves members of the Blades of the Rose.
My heroines aren’t anachronistic, 21st century women in disguise. They are genuine products of their time, but they chafe against restrictions against women, and so find unique and extraordinary ways to create independent identities. London, the heroine of SCOUNDREL, is very much a proper upper-class Englishwoman, but she happens to be a genius with languages. Astrid, the heroine of REBEL, was once a Blade of the Rose, though at the beginning of her story, we find her living as a self-sufficient frontierswoman. And Gemma is struggling to make a name for herself as a journalist when very few women were professional reporters.
The HEA Lover: Your books are a mix of adventure and romance. Can we still hope for a HEA in spite of all the action?
Zoe: Absolutely! The Blades of the Rose books are full of action, but never doubt that, first and foremost, these are romances. Everyone gets their HEA–even if their adventures continue after the last page.
The HEA Lover: How many books will there be in this series?
Zoe: Four books. They’re being released back-to-back, so there’s no waiting! WARRIOR comes out in September, SCOUNDREL in October, REBEL in November, and then everything wraps up in December with STRANGER. Of course, if the series is a hit, I’ve already got four more Blades books planned.
The HEA Lover: What is next on your schedule?
Zoe: I just sold a new paranormal historical series to Kensington. The series is called THE HELLRAISERS, and it’s about a group of 18th century English rakes who inadvertently free the Devil from his prison and literally raise hell. They each give up their souls in exchange for specific magical abilities. They’re the heroes, but they’re also the villains. The heroines are wildly different women with their own magic, who must help the Hellraisers gain back their souls and defeat the Devil. These books are going to be dark and sexy as…well…as hell. *grin*
The HEA Lover: Now a couple of ‘mean’ questions *wink*:
Who’s your favorite character? Why?
Zoe: Of course I love all of them, but my absolute favorite of the Blades is Catullus Graves. He and his family have been providing the Blades of the Rose with ingenious inventions for generations. Basically, he’s Q in the James Bond films. That’s where we get the steampunk element. Catullus is a brilliant inventor, a collector of waistcoats, wears glasses, is shy, kicks ass, and loves freckled women. He’s also a black British man. The history of black people in Britain has not received a lot of attention in romance, but one of the wonderful things about Britain, like the United States and Canada, is its diversity. I wanted to show that diversity. But I just adore Catullus. Who can resist the sexy nerd? Not me. And definitely not Gemma.
The HEA Lover: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?
Zoe: They are different. They are fun. They’re very sexy.
The HEA Lover: Could you summarize each book for us twitter style(140 characters tops)?

– WARRIOR: Nonstop action, adventure and romance as Thalia and Gabriel race across the steppes and deserts of Mongolia to protect a magical Source.
– SCOUNDREL: In Greece, unrepentant libertine Bennett finds that the one woman he wants the most is also the daughter of the Blades’ most hated enemy.
– REBEL: Astrid retreats into the wilderness of Canada, but trouble, magic and romance find her in the form of Nathan.
– STRANGER: The fate of the world’s magic rests in the hands of genius inventor Catullus and intrepid reporter Gemma.
The HEA Lover: Thank you again Zoe for answering all our questions =)

You can read my review of Warrior : HERE


Zoe has generously offered a signed copy of WARRIOR to one lucky commenter.

All you have to do is ask Zoe a question 
or just leave a meaningful comment about the interview.
Please leave us a way to contact you
(email in blogger profile or twitter name is okay- no way to contact you – no way to win).
This giveaway is open to US, Canadian and European residents!
Giveaway ends on Saturday, September 18th and
we will announce the winner on Sunday.

Bonne chance everyone!

About Caro The HEA Lover

Caroline is a HEA loving, yarn addicted French who's desperately hoping to get a HEA of her own. If she's not reading then she can be found knitting while listening to Audiobooks or watching Tv shows. Her secret addiction is reading websites that make fun at other people's expense (DYAC, Failbook)! Caroline also blogs at the Secret HEA Society with Susi.

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Join the Discussion
  • Blodeuedd September 10, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Have said it before, but the books sound great 🙂

    So, this is a totally nonsense questions really. How about a book set in Finland *hint hint* Though what they would do there I do not know

    blodeuedd1 at gmail dot com

  • Michelle Greathouse September 10, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Book Lovers are Broke! We just have our priorities straight.

    Do I really need that new bag, watch, pair of shoes..?

    Nah, I'll take the books. 🙂

    I am really looking forward to this series of books.

    kweenmg at yahoo dot com

  • Jami September 10, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Yes! That is a book lover! Anytime money comes in, I at least have to buy one book. My cable gets shut off before I can't buy a book. XD

    This was a very insightful interview! And thank you for doing a giveaway!

  • Scoot September 10, 2010 at 10:25 am

    I have never read The Blades of the Rose books, but I am going to have to check them out! They sound great. Thanks for a chance to win!

  • Scorpio M. September 10, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Someone summed up Warrior by saying, "think Indiana Jones with hot sex" Okay, that works for me! =) Seriously though, I am very anxious to read this one. Adventure & romance is why I love this genre.


  • tetewa September 10, 2010 at 10:54 am

    I'm always looking for new authors to read, sounds good!

  • tetewa September 10, 2010 at 10:55 am

    I'm always looking for new authors to read, sounds good!

  • Sullivan McPig September 10, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Ok! I'm in love with the cover of Stranger! Any change you're going to have coverflats or postcards available of your covers?

  • Zoe Archer September 10, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Yes, Sullivan, I have cover flats for all four books, including STRANGER!

  • Barbara E. September 10, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    I've been looking forward to The Blades of the Rose series since I first heard about it. I'm so excited about this series. The action, adventure, romance, exotic locales, steampunk inventions, and of course the hot sex – all appeal to me so much. The Hellraisers sound wonderful as well, but will there be more books in the same vein as The Blades of the Rose? More action adventure steampunky romances?


  • donnas September 10, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Sounds like a great book. I love the settings.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  • Zoe Archer September 10, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Hi Barbara,

    If there is enough reader demand (and I hope there is!), I could easily write more Blades of the Rose books. I've been thinking about the next four already!

  • ClaudiGC September 10, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    I've heard so many good things about this book now, that I just can't wait to read it any longer. Normally, I'm not much into paranormal romance but the adventure, action, the location and most of all the hot hero really make me want to read this!

    claudigc at msn dot com

  • Robin K September 10, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    These covers are so complex. What story is being told in them? Are they scenes from the book?

    robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

  • Sullivan McPig September 10, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    @Zoe: Ah, cool! I'll go stalk your website now

  • Rosie Hong September 10, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Your new series The Hellraisers sounds awesome. Will they be released in consecutive months like the Blades of the Rose?

  • Zoe Archer September 10, 2010 at 10:22 pm


    The covers aren't necessarily direct representations of scenes from the books, but they are very close analogues.


    As far as I know, the Hellraisers will not be released back-to-back. However, I think they won't be spaced very far apart, either. Maybe a couple of months between books.

  • linaramz September 11, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Hi Zoe! All your books sound awesome! I can't wait to read them, and the covers a great! I am definitely a book lover, if I happen to find even seven bucks I tried to hide from myself I snatch it and go buy a small paperback. 😉

  • linaramz September 11, 2010 at 1:44 am

    Ooops totally forgot

    linaramz at yahoo dot com

  • Dana September 11, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    I love a strong heroine. Thank you!
    Thanks for the great giveaway.

  • cories September 14, 2010 at 1:31 am

    About "Warrior", would the background music be more "Raider's March" and John Williams (Indiana Jones) or "Lawrence of Arabia"? Yes, sometimes when I read a book, I supply my own background music. 🙂



  • throuthehaze September 14, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    All these books have really pretty covers. Did they turn out how you imagined them to be?
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  • blackroze37 AT September 16, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    sounds like a good read

  • Mysteriousrose September 17, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    I did not know much about these books before I read the interview and I must say now I can not wait to get started!

    Where is your favorite spot to read?


  • booklover0226 September 18, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    I'm sure I'm too late to ask Zoe a question, but I will.

    What is your opinion on book trailers? Do you think they help in book sales?

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  • Zoe Archer September 19, 2010 at 4:15 pm


    I'd say you can use both Indiana Jones and Lawrence of Arabia as "soundtracks.' One has the adventure, the other the epic scope. I always listen to music when I write. It helps get me in a cinematic frame of mine.


    I love the covers! The art department did a fabulous job. Some of the covers deviated a little from what I had in mind, but I'm happy to see someone else's vision.


    My reading spot in a corner of my living room sofa, though I dream of one day having a sunny reading nook with a special reading chair just for me!


    The jury's still out as to whether or not book trailers help in terms of sales. A lot of them are good, but they can start to look very similar after a while. That's why I'm so happy with my trailer–I think it's a little different and helps generate interest.

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