I’m THRILLED to welcome the fabulous TESSA DARE to Rakes and Rascals today and she has graciously agreed to answer a few questions.
Thank you so much for having me here, Carol!
Tessa, ROMANCING THE DUKE releases today and it is the first book in your eagerly anticipated new series, Castles Ever After. Can you tell us what inspired you to write this series?
To be honest, I think this series partly originated in my addiction to HGTV! (That’s the Home and Garden television cable channel in the US.) I love watching and living vicariously through other people’s house hunts in exotic locales, or their extreme renovation projects. It struck me that inheriting a castle would be both the ultimate coup in home ownership, and at the same time, a formidable challenge.On a more serious note, however, it’s no secret that I like to write heroines who enjoy a bit more autonomy than the average Regency girl. In those times, for a young, unmarried woman to inherit property would have been a remarkable thing—with the potential to be truly life-altering. Once I’d thought of the idea, I fell in love with the many possibilities and responsibilities that could change a heroine’s life.
What research did you have to do for the series?
The research for this series was a dream! Poor me, I had to go all the way to England and traipse about the country,visiting from one castle to the next – and even staying overnight in some of them! The most memorable was one of the Northumberland castles I used as inspiration for ROMANCING THE DUKE, Chillingham Castle. It’s supposedly the “most haunted castle in Britain” – and you can stay there overnight. So I did. All by myself! It was pretty creepy, I’ll admit –but I lived to tell the tale and write the book. Of course, I did plenty of reading and researching online after coming back home, too. But poking around old turrets and torture chambers was much more fun.
Can you tell us a little about the hero and heroine of ROMANCING THE DUKE?
Absolutely! Isolde Ophelia (“Izzy”) Goodnight is the daughter of a beloved author, Sir Henry Goodnight—and in fact, as a girl, she was a character in his stories, The Goodnight Tales. Now that her father has died, Izzy has been left with nothing, and she relies on the kindness of her father’s many fans. The only problem is, they still see Izzy as the little girl from their favorite stories. It’s a role it seems she’ll be stuck playing forever, without a home of her own—until one day, she receives an inheritance from her godfather. It’s a castle. A remote, crumbling, castle in Northumberland that is possibly haunted, definitely infested, and currently occupied—by a reclusive, wounded duke.
This brings us to Ransom Vane, the Duke of Rothbury. Ransom was gravely wounded several months ago, and he has hidden away in decrepit Gostley Castle—an old family holding—ever since. Scorned and scarred, he wants nothing more to do with the world, and most especially nothing to do with an attractive, spirited young woman who claims the castle is now hers. Since neither of them is willing to leave, Ransom and Izzy agree to share the castle until they unravel the knot of legalities—but of course, in the meantime, their hearts (and limbs) get hopelessly entangled.
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now, I am working on the second book in the Castles Ever After series, called SAY YES TO THE MARQUESS. Clio, the heroine of this book, has slightly better luck than Izzy in that the property she inherits is a lovely, well-kept castle set in the picturesque, rolling countryside of Kent. What she has in common with Izzy is the problem of a stubborn, attractive man bent on upsetting all her plans.
What is the hardest part of writing a book for you?
Oh, all of it. I have yet to find the “Easy button” for this novel-writing thing. For every book you see on the shelves, I probably wrote another one (or two) that I threw away in disgust. Just ask my editor. But even though it’s never easy for me, it’s the best job I could imagine.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing.
Reading is an easy answer, of course. Also spending time with my family and friends. I like to take nice, long walks in pretty places, too, and I’m fortunate that I can do that all year round here in Southern California.
I loved the innovative book trailer for your Stud Club series. Are we likely to see any further book trailers?
Actually, on New Year’s Eve, I posted what I think will be my last video from the Dareling Room. It’s not really a book trailer – just a bit of messing around. But it was fun to make. The problem is, the darelings are getting older now and outgrowing their toys! They’re on to computers and video games and outdoor sports. Photographs of a gaming console don’t make for exciting book trailers, unfortunately. However, it was fun while it lasted, and I love knowing I’ll always have those videos as a sort of time capsule of my kids’ room.
If you were stranded on a desert island and managed to salvage three books what would they be and why?
These are the kinds of questions that give me nightmares! The pragmatist in me would probably reach for my Norton anthologies of World, English, and American literature – just for the sake of sheer volume, even though I suspect that’s cheating. The joker in me wants to bring “How to build boats” and “Wilderness Survival 101.” Strictly on sentimental value, though – I think the three books I feel most close to would be Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Little Women.
One final question Tessa. Is it possible that we might see more Spindle Cove books one day or maybe a Christmas story?
It’s entirely possible! I hesitate to make any specific promises, but I definitely have not stopped thinking about Spindle Cove and its characters. I would love to have an excuse to revisit some (or all) of them.
Tessa, I know you have a busy schedule and so thank you very much for taking the time out to answer my questions.
It was my pleasure, Carol! Thank you so much for inviting me to visit.
From Tessa’s website:
In the first in Tessa Dare’s captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love….
As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens.
She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.
And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.
Ugly duckling turned swan
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?
No, no, and… Heh.
Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales
are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?
Order the book from:
Also available in Large Print from HarperLuxe.
“Making your escape already?” he asked dryly. “Can’t even last one night?”
She turned, gathering the open neck of her nightrail with one hand. There the duke stood, not five paces away, still fully dressed. Apparently, he’d been awake. And walking. That must have been the sound she heard—his footsteps, brushing over stone.
“No, I … I’m not escaping at all.” She tried to sound breezy. “I just couldn’t sleep.”
“Too scared, I gather.” He slid a flask into his coat pocket.
“Too excited,” she lied. “I’ve inherited a whole castle, and I’ve barely seen any of it yet. I’m keen to explore.”
“In the dead of night? Return to your chamber. You can’t traipse about the place in the dark. It’s not safe for you.”
She moved to his side. “Do you mean to join me, then?”
“That’s not safe, either,” he muttered.
Nevertheless, he put a hand on the small of her back, following close as she left the great hall and began to climb the stairs. At the top of the staircase, she turned down the corridor, retreating toward her chamber. She thought.
“See?” he said. “You’ve already turned the wrong way.”
Izzy stayed quiet, determined not to admit fault. “I’m not lost. I’m exploring.”
He made a disbelieving noise.
“I’ll be fine. I’m not afraid of rats. The bats are gone for now. And I don’t believe ghosts are real.”
“Do you believe I’m real?” he asked.
If she were honest, Izzy had her doubts. He seemed so larger-than-life. Even she, with her wild imagination, had never dreamed up anyone quite like the Duke of Rothbury.
**THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED**
Tessa has a SIGNED copy of ROMANCING THE DUKE to give away to one lucky commentator.
Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of eleven historical romance novels and four novellas. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award and multiple RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Awards. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance,” and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.
Mixing wit, sensuality, and emotion, Tessa writes Regency-set romance novels that feel relatable to modern readers. With her bestselling “Spindle Cove” series, she had great fun creating a fictional seaside community populated by women who defy the conventions of their time—engaging in such unladylike pursuits as medicine, geology, and artillery. And she had even more fun dreaming up the strong-willed, unsuspecting men who find their hearts ensnared by these unlikely heroines. The strong yet quirky heroines and sexy heroes continue in her all-new “Castles Ever After” series, launching in 2014.
A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she shares a cozy, cluttered bungalow with her husband, their two children, and a big brown dog.
Visit her website to find out more about Tessa and her books: http://tessadare.com/