It’s with pleasure that we welcome Madeline Hunter, today on Book Lovers Inc. Madeline is the author of The Rarest Blooms series, the 3rd book in the series Sinful in Satin will be released on September 28th. Please give Madeline a warm welcome!!
The HEA Lover: Madeline can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Madeline: I am an author of historical romances, and my first book was published ten years ago. I first set my stories in the middle ages, but have used the early 19th century for the last six years. I am also a mom, a wife, a cat owner, and a college professor of Art History.
The HEA Lover: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?
I used to be a pure pantser. The day came when I had to do some planning, because once a writer is published her contracts call for proposals that require a description of the story. I found a nice compromise, where I work up proposals and plots and describe the “what” and the “why”, but still leave the “how” for discovering as I write. So I do not plan out the whole book, scene by scene or even episode by episode, in advance, but I do plan what I call the spine of the story.
On a typical day I try to write about 5 pages, but often I don’t make it due to life happening. I am more disciplined in hitting a weekly target of about 20-25 pages. Since I have another career, I have to juggle the two to make sure that neither is neglected. I have to make sure my family is not neglected too.
The HEA Lover: I read on your website that you have a Ph.D. in Art History and that you’re also teaching in college. Were you always interested in history or did you chose this field of study more out of your interest in Arts?
Madeline: I was always interested in history. I had a teacher in grade school who taught history by telling stories, and I was enthralled and hooked for life. As for studying Art History, it combined my two main interests so it was a natural. I also discovered that it suited my learning style and my way of analyzing, so once I got involved in it I just kept going.
The HEA Lover: What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?
Madeline: That is an interesting question. I suppose the book lover is the person who haunts bookstores, browsing, choosing a wide range of books to read “just because”. She may seek out bookstores when she travels, and consider bookstore visits a little holiday and not only a means to an end. I also think the book lover finds real pleasure in the process of reading—-the rituals she develops for it. If a real book lover has the money, she will also buy lots of books even though she knows she doesn’t have to, that she can get them at the library, for example. She just wants to be around them, and they are important to her sense of identity. Some book lovers eventually become collectors of books, either by subject or by age and rarity.
The HEA Lover: In your The Rarest Blooms series we meet a bunch of woman from many different pasts. They all live together, without being forced to reveal their pasts, and together they work in a nursery hence the name of the series, The Rarest Blooms. Why did you chose this setting to bring these woman together?
Madeline: It derives from old research I did when I set my books in the middle ages. In the late middle ages there were institutions of lay women who lived together communally. Often they left the community to have jobs in the towns, and returned at night. They took no vows, and were free to leave at any time. It was a sanctuary for single women at a time when such women were vulnerable. So this idea played in my mind for a long time, and I decided I would recreate such a community in the early 19th century, and even have a “rule” of precepts for living harmoniously like they did in the original ones. In the series it is called “Daphne’s Rule” but it is actually accepted by consensus by all the women.
From the viewpoint of a writing a series, such a community gave me the opportunity to bring a variety of women, often with pasts that were obscure or scandalous, to one place in a sisterhood that serves as a sanctuary. I planned the series to be a long unfolding of their histories and secrets.
The HEA Lover: You’re new book, Sinful in Satin, is book three in your series. Could you summarize the first 2 books for us twitter style (140 characters tops)?
Oh, dear. I have trouble writing 10 pages synopses, let alone twitter condensations! Can I ask that anyone interested visit my website at www.MadelineHunter.com
and click on the Books tab
. Each book has a little blurb there that is as short as I could make it, which is more than 140 characters.
The HEA Lover: What can we expect of Sinful in Satin?
Madeline: Readers can expect emotional intensity, and a relationship that is adult from the start, with characters who are aware of the potential for eroticism. They can expect an intrigue, and a surprise ending. They can expect a heroine who is self-possessed, and trying to create a life that contradicts the life she was born and raised for, and which the world expects her to have. And they can expect a dark hero who is mysterious, with a quiet danger that is actually more lethal than one would guess. They can also expect the sisterly love of the women in the series, and the fun intereraction when the men get together and are all “guys” with each other. For past readers of the series, they may be happy to know that Castleford has a major secondary role.
The HEA Lover: We meet your heroine, Celia in Ravishing in Red, the 1st book of The Rarest Blooms series. Celia has as all the woman a rather hard burden to live with. Her mother was a famous Courtesan. How did this influence Celia? What kind of woman is she?
Madeline: The book is all about the answers to these questions, as Celia sets out to discover just what kind of woman she really is. The book opens with her mother’s funeral, and Celia is left with little inheritance except the training that her mother provided so that she could follow in her mother’s path. She has to decide whether to accept this legacy and have a life of comfort, luxury, and even fame, or continue to repudiate it as she has for the last five years. She thinks she makes her choice, but events interfere with it. As does the world, which remembers too well who she is and the woman she was supposed to become.
The HEA Lover: Jonathan Albrighton is on a secret mission in Ravishing in Red. He should investigate if Celia’s mother left any compromising evidence. What is he usually like when he isn’t investigating deceased Courtesans?
Madeline: He is closed and private, beneath an amiable exterior. He has worked as an agent for the Home Office during the war, and now still takes missions. He also has hired out as private investigator. It becomes clear quickly in the book that during the war he undertook missions of moral ambiguity, which has taken a toll on him, making his sense of his own soul murky. However, he has a dry sense of humor, and he does not go around licking his wounds. He is educated, and well read. He follows scientific discoveries closely, subscribing to journals and attending lectures. He is attracted to the solid facts of science, since he finds little else in the world true and secure.
The HEA Lover: On your website you say about these two: “These two characters have much in common to draw them together, but also much to keep them apart.” What is the most important thing they have in common and what drives them apart?
Madeline: The are both outsiders. Both bastards, both repudiated by their blood families. They have both been trained to be among the sinners of the world—she as a prostitute, and he as an assasin. One would think these commonalities would bring them together, and they do. However, both want more, want normalcy, want recognition of their true identities, and they both understand in their own ways that they will not be able to achieve that and also have each other.
The HEA Lover: Will there be more books in this series?
Madeline: There is one more planned, Dangerous in Diamonds, which I am writing right now. It will be released next May. It is Castleford’s story, and his nemesis is the cool, composed Daphne Joyes.
The HEA Lover: What is next on your schedule? Anything else we should keep our eyes open for?
Madeline: I am currently working out the next series. It is too ill formed to reveal anything yet, however. I have agreed to a new contract with my publisher, so I anticipate another book in 2011 after Dangerous in Diamonds.
The HEA Lover: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?
Madeline: Another hard question. Hmmm. Okay, first, they are not predictable. Second, there is always a strong plot. Characters don’t just go to balls and banter, but have agendas tied to a secondary plot that is a mystery or intrigue or quest. Third, I am told that the characters literally come alive, and are real and layered and not caricatures or superficial “types.”
The HEA Lover: Who’s your favorite character in The Rarest Blooms series?
Madeline: I am not sure I can answer this. It helps if readers understand that when a writer is writing a book, those characters must be her favorites. The book just does not get written otherwise, or at least not written well. So having invested totally in each character as each book is written, I can’t look back and say “this one is my favorite.” Not to mention I am now writing one of the books, so right now those two have to be my favorites.
The HEA Lover: If you were forced to only read books by ONE author for the rest of your life who’s books would it be?
Madeline: Are there readers who can answer this? I know that I can’t. However, if there are readers of this blog who can, please share with all of us!
The HEA Lover: I, for sure can’t answer that one either. *wink* Thank you again so much for taking the time to answer all our questions Madeline. It’s a real pleasure to welcome you here today =)
Madeline generously offered to send one (1) winner the first 2 books in The Rarest Bloom series. Here is what the winner will get :
– Ravishing in Red
– Provocative in Pearls.
All you have to do is leave ask Madeline a question or just leave a meaningful comment about the post.
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 International!! (thank you Madeline)
Giveaway ends on Saturday, October 2nd and we will announce the winners on Sunday.
Good Luck everyone!