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Mimi Matthews Interview - Author picture

I’m delighted to welcome author of both historical non-fiction and Victorian Romance MIMI MATTHEWS to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

I’m so happy to be here, Carol! I absolutely love your historical romance reviews.

~~~~~~~


R&R:

Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Mimi:
I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. I also attended college and law school here. It’s a beautiful place to live, close to both the ocean and the mountains, and filled with lots of scenic spots. I got my first horse when I was six and some of my best memories are of riding in the foothills of Mt. Diablo or through one of our regional parks. There were also lots of trips into San Francisco to shop and eat or to visit museums or the theatre.

Mimi Matthews Interview - Young Mimi Reading in the School Library
This is me when I was in elementary school. 


R&R
:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Mimi:
As a general rule, I think I’m pretty easy-going. However, I can be quite adversarial if the occasion calls for it. I didn’t become a lawyer for nothing.


R&R
:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Mimi:
Definitely sweet. I love sugary pastries, cakes, and candies. I’m especially partial to divinity and marzipan. One of my Siamese cats is even named Marzipan!

Mimi Matthews Interview -Marzipan in his bed
My Siamese cat, Marzipan.


R&R:

What is your most treasured possession?

Mimi:
I treasure my pets and my family above all things, but they’re not technically possessions. Among inanimate objects, I suppose it would be my jewellery. I have a lot of special vintage pieces, from the Victorian era through the 1930s. For a recent birthday, I got a gorgeous Edwardian ring with an 8-carat oval citrine surrounded in seed pearls. It’s almost too beautiful to wear. Almost!

Mimi Matthews Interview -Centelleo with head turned
My Andalusian dressage horse, Centelleo.

 

R&R:
If you could afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Mimi:
I’m a total anglophile, so I’d have to say England. I would love to have a second home in the countryside with a stable, paddocks, and riding ring. Then again, since I wouldn’t ever want to leave any animals behind, this would mean hauling horses back and forth across the pond. Probably not very realistic.


R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Mimi:
Oh gosh, where to start? There have been so many—most from my childhood. Maybe things just seem more embarrassing when you’re a teenager? One moment that I can share comes from my lifelong desire to always be on time. My first semester of college, I arrived early for my first class. Or, at least, I thought I was early. Turns out, the class was already in session. I edged my way into the room, weaving through the students to find a vacant desk and generally making a spectacle of myself. No sooner had I taken my seat than the buzzer rang and everyone else in the class got up and left. It was then I realized, much to my mortification, that this wasn’t my class at all. It was the earlier class, which I had walked in on right as it was ending. Awkward!

~~~~~~~

Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Mimi.

Thank you for having me, Carol! It’s been a real pleasure.


If you would like to find out more about Mimi and her books, here are the links:

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

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I’m delighted to welcome Historical Romance author JOANNA CHAMBERS to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Thanks for inviting me! It’s a pleasure to be here!

~~~~~~~


R&R:

Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Joanna:
I was born and grew up in a working-class town in Scotland. The 1980s is stereotypically often shown in the media as a time of yuppies and wealth but it wasn’t at all like that where I lived. I was very focused on escaping, which I did both literally (when I went to university) and metaphorically (through reading).

 

R&R:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Joanna:
With anyone other than those closest to me, I’m pretty easy-going. With my husband and children, though, I’m loud and loving and demanding and a bit histrionic. In short, I find intimacy difficult but the people closest to me get everything, all the good and all the bad too, all the time.


R&R:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Joanna:
Both. Everything. Add in sour, spicy and umami. I love my food and my husband is a wonderful cook. Also, I’m on a one-woman-mission to bring Mrs Tilly’s fudge to the masses.

 

R&R:
What is your most treasured possession?

Joanna:
All the little things my children have made for me. Like this. My youngest son made this when he was about 5 or 6 for “people who can’t speak”. They put their messages inside then eject them onto the lap of the intended recipient. This message was for me 😊

Joanna Chambers Interview - picture 1


R&R:
If you could afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Joanna:
The Lake District because I love it there. It’s beautiful.

Joanna Chambers Interview - picture 2 Lake District


R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Joanna:
Probably the time I peed myself going down a slide when I was three. I don’t think anything since has felt *more* embarrassing than that – I have this theory that these seemingly tiny moments from early childhood are actually really significant because they shape our understanding of what particular emotions are. That incident encapsulated for me what embarrassment/ humiliation/ shame is.

~~~~~~~

Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Joanna.

You’re welcome, Carol 😊 You now know more than you probably ever wanted to!

 

If you would like to find out more about Joanna and her books, here are the links:

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

 

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I’m delighted to welcome USA TODAY Bestselling author of erotic historical romance JESS MICHAELS to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Thank you do much for having me! I’m excited to be here!


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R&R:

Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Jess:
I was born outside of Philadelphia, but we moved to Idaho when I was young so that’s where I grew up. It’s beautiful there, lots of outdoorsy things to do. But it was an insulated community and I didn’t belong to the predominant group, so I didn’t have many friends growing up. I’d say it had its disadvantages and its advantages. But I wouldn’t move back.

 

R&R:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Jess:
I’m definitely not easy-going. LOL But I wouldn’t say temperamental either. I’m harder on myself than anyone else. I have a high standard for myself, something I’m working on every day. I work really hard (average about 80 hours a week on writing and promoting books) and I’m a focused and driven person. But if people are in my life who don’t treat me well I tend to just move on. Life is too short to be miserable.

 

R&R:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Jess:
I’ll take both for sure. I love Salt & Vinegar chips, which are super salty and amazing. But I also love chocolate and cake and pie. See, I shouldn’t have started with food because….yum. But I’ve been working on losing weight (I’m down 25lbs as of this interview) so I’m not eating any of those wonderful things right now. And I’m sad.

 

R&R:
What is your most treasured possession?

Jess:
I think I value memories and experiences more than possessions. My husband and I travel a lot and those are the moments and times that really matter. Being on the Great Wall of China on our 11th wedding anniversary meant more to me than a thing that would commemorated the event. Or going to Florence with my parents as a special gift to them was better than a “thing”. I like things, don’t get me wrong. I love a good purse and I have a POPS! Collection, but if I had to pick, I’d take an experience over a thing any day.

 

R&R:
If you could afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Jess:
We’ve actually talked a lot about buying a second home or vacation home. But the price of doing it is really higher than just taking like ten amazing vacations. I don’t have one place I like to visit over and over again enough to justify the second permanent home. If we were to move again though, I think I’d pick a place near the ocean that was more liberally minded and had great sushi.

 

R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Jess:
As I get older, I’m starting to care less what people think of me, so I don’t really have embarrassing moments anymore. But I used to spend a lot of time wondering if I was being too loud or too passionate or too boisterous or too “me”. And then I’d just stew on that for…hmmmmm…fifteen years or so. Because why not wake up on the night thinking about “that one time” from a decade ago? It’s a slow process to be comfortable with me and just eject anyone who isn’t down for who I am, but I’m getting there.

~~~~~~~

 

Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Jess.

 Thank you so much for having me!

 

 

If you would like to find out more about Jess and her books, here are the links:

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

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Elisa Braden Interview -Author Photo

I’m delighted to welcome Historical Romance Author ELISA BRADEN to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Thank you so much for having me! It’s a delight to be here.

~~~~~~~


R&R:

Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Elisa:
I was born and raised in northeast Washington State, which many people fail to realize exists. Sounds funny, but it’s true. It’s a rural area dotted with small, snail-paced towns along the Columbia River. People unfamiliar with the region assume it’s either Washington D.C. (opposite side of the country), Seattle (opposite side of the state), Idaho (neighboring state), or southern Alaska (not even close). Public school geography instruction clearly needs improvement.

To be fair, Washington State has only a few major cities, of which Seattle is the best known. The state also boasts an astoundingly diverse landscape, ranging from sea coasts and rain forests in the west; Alp-like, jagged peaks blanketed with emerald fir forests running like a spine down the middle; rolling wheat fields and boundless vineyards and red-rock canyons at its heart; and, in the northeast, older, gentler mountains topped by remote lakes, cascading creeks, and towering pines.

Elisa Braden Interview - Cascades
The majestic Cascade Mountains separate hot-summered, long-wintered Eastern Washington from the mild, rainy, gray west side, where Elisa now lives. Because Elisa prefers rain.

Where I grew up, it was slow and sleepy, scented with pine, populated with families and churches and local watering holes (lots of those). Dry, hot summers were spent near the lake or floating the rivers. Long, snowy winters were spent finding a good hill for sledding and trying to avoid driving on black ice or in freezing fog.

Elisa Braden Interview - Me with Mom and Granny
Elisa’s mom and granny stand knee-deep in an epic Eastern Washington winter. Elisa prefers rain.

That last bit is why I ended up on the western side of the state, where snow and ice are a novelty. Who needs the stress? I like rain just fine.

 

R&R:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Elisa:
My dad once told me if I was any more laid back, I’d be dead. He was kidding (sorta), but I’d say I’m far more easy-going than not. That’s not to imply I don’t get uptight (deadlines—ugh) or that I don’t have my prickly moments (mostly before coffee or after someone pushes my last button), but generally speaking, I prefer peace and happiness over chaos and drama.

 

R&R:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Elisa:
Yes. All of the above. I love food in general and rich, bad-for-me food in particular. Except fish. Blech. Many people have tried to convince me to like fish by suggesting, “Try it. It doesn’t even taste like fish.” My answer is this: If I want to eat something that doesn’t taste like fish, I’ll eat chicken. My second answer: The problem with fish is that it smells like fish. As you might imagine, I’ve had this conversation more than once. I even incorporated the no-fish preference into one of my characters. Sneaky little writer.

Elisa Braden Interview -Little Elisa
Toddler Elisa kicks back with a plate of spaghetti, proving she has been both easygoing and a fan of food since birth.

 

R&R:
What is your most treasured possession?

Elisa:
I’ve never been overly sentimental about material things, but if my house were on fire, I’d grab my purse (replacing your driver’s license alone takes a trip to the DMV, which is like hell, only more stultifying), and my laptop. That’s my practical streak talking, of course. Okay, if you twist my arm, I do have a sentimental attachment to my new house, but reportedly, grabbing your entire house while it’s on fire defies the laws of physics.

 

R&R:
If you could afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Elisa:
Ah, now we come down to it. I mentioned how much I like rain earlier, and then I mentioned my new house, which is in a rainy location. So, I’m pretty darned pleased with my current abode. However, this time of year (winter), the daylight hours are short and the gray goes on forever. Gray. Wet. Rainy. Cold. Did I mention gray? So, if I could have a second home, it would be someplace sunny and warm and hospitable with handsome pool boys and gorgeous, bad-for-me drinks. Baja, maybe. Or Belize. Or Bora Bora. Sigh. There must be something magical about the letter B.

 

R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Elisa:
Embarrassment is the enemy, as far as I’m concerned, and I go to great lengths to avoid it. I have the deepest admiration for those who can throw caution to the wind, but there’s a huge part of me that clutches caution like a greedy toddler with a favorite doll and screams, “I love caution! You can’t throw it away!”

So, for example, I’m slower than a sloth in rigor mortis when composing my tweets or Facebook posts. My fear is that I’m going to say something stupid and be publicly embarrassed. Another way to put it is that I’m careful. Because I care. Plus, caution has saved my behind many, many times.

On the other hand, even caution is no cure. Life is embarrassing sometimes. You trip on your own feet and knock down a photography backdrop (done that). You hit send and then realize you got the recipient horribly, horribly wrong (done that). You innocently use the word “fanny” in the sentence “kiss my fanny” to a co-worker from London (done that), thinking it’s the mild equivalent of “backside” everywhere English is spoken. (Note to my fellow Americans: It’s not.)

Still, I’ve learned and grown. Gotten better. Besides, I think many readers appreciate how flubs and foibles help enrich my characters, making them seem more real. It’s hard to accurately portray embarrassment if you’re immune to it, so having plenty of red-faced moments of my own has served a purpose, I suppose. Thank goodness for silver linings, because I am far from perfect, despite what that greedy toddler would have you believe.

~~~~~~~

Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Elisa.

You’re most welcome. It’s been a genuine pleasure.

 

If you would like to find out more about Elisa and her books, here are the links:

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

 

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Alexandra Hawkins Interview - author photo

I’m delighted to welcome USA TODAY Bestselling Author ALEXANDRA HAWKINS to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Thank you for inviting me!

~~~~~~~

 

R&R:
Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Alexandra:
I was born at a hospital in Joliet, Illinois.  However, I spent the first four years of my life on a farm in Grandridge, Illinois.  The two-story white farm house belonged to my great-grandparents and I have fond memories of the place.  The farm had plenty of land for me to explore, there were feral cats in the barn, and sheep in the pasture.

My parents eventually divorced so my brother and I were raised by my mother in the rural outskirts of Ottawa, Illinois. To give you an idea how rural—there were sixteen students in my eighth-grade graduation class.  About a year later, we moved into town.  I had what most people would view as a typical small-town childhood.
Alexandra Hawkins Interview - me at 3
Me at the age of three

Alexandra Hawkins Interview - pic of me at 17, wearing my dance squad unifor
Me at 17, wearing my dance squad uniform.

 

R&R:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Alexandra:
I have my moods but most days I’d describe myself as easy-going.


R&R
:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Alexandra:
I favour both, though I’ll admit that I have a sweet tooth.


R&R:

What is your most treasured possession?

Alexandra:
After my grandmother died, my mother gave me an old woollen throw that belonged to my great-great grandmother.  It’s over a hundred years old and shows a little wear since it’s kept several generations warm.  My grandmother used to store it in a cedar-lined linen cupboard.  The throw still smells faintly of cedar and reminds me of her.

Alexandra Hawkins Interview - Great-Great Grandmother's throw
My great-great grandmother’s throw

 

R&R:
If you could afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Alexandra:
I guess it doesn’t come as any surprise to those who know me that I’d choose England.  My grandmother used to tell me family stories when I was a child, so I had developed a very romantic view of the British Isles long before I wrote my first novel.


R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Alexandra:
I mulled this question over for days.  Honestly, I can’t think of one defining incident.  Although, I confess, I have experienced numerous minor ones.  I suppose the worst of the lot occurred when I was in high school.  For a scene in a play, I thought I’d be daring and I walked out on to the stage wearing only a black full slip.  It sounds awful tame by today’s standards, but I was young.  I was quite proud of myself until my mother revealed that our pastor had watched my performance.  The news sort of sucked all the fun out of my brazenness.

~~~~~~~

 

Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Alexandra.

I’ve had a wonderful time, Carol.  Thank you!

 

 

If you would like to find out more about Alexandra and her books, here are the links:

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

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Nicole Locke Interview - author photo

I’m delighted to welcome Harlequin Historical Romance Author NICOLE LOCKE to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Thank you so much. It’s wonderful to be here today!

~~~~~~~


R&R:

Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Nicole:
I was born in Southern California, but raised in Oklahoma, and spent much of my childhood flying between the two states. In one, I lounged on the beach and dived through the waves. In the other, I was surrounded by wheat fields and blown away by the wind. I don’t know if any childhood is ideal, but mine came pretty close.


R&R
:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Nicole:
I am most definitely temperamental. But maybe I spent a lot of time in the waves and wind as a child because whatever emotion it is, I don’t hold on to it very long.


R&R:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Nicole:
Savoury. I’m a salt-aholic, and in fact, I’m eating Jalapeno crisps as I’m typing this. I also like vinegar, lemon, lime, and I often drink those with hot water. I don’t know if I’ve always been this way, but my grandmother used to drink the juice out of a pickle jar, so I’d say it’s a family trait.


R&R:
What is your most treasured possession?

Nicole:
This is a tricky question for me because it means if I lost or broke a possession, I would be heart broken. I have nothing like this. There are items I’ve inherited and acquired along the way that I find beautiful, but with the exception of my family photos, I wouldn’t mourn them.

I think it’s my family’s quirks that I treasure the most. My husband’s absolute need to get to the airport five hours before any flight leaves. My 15-year-old son’s fiddly curiousity that compels him to fix things or make them into something else. I call him my magpie.

Then there’s my 8-year-old daughter’s sheer unmitigated ability to shrug things off. Her ‘Oh well” side to her. Lose a cardigan? Oh, well! Hit the giant red button and set off airport alarms? Oh, well!

I’d say it’s those moments…and my family, that I hold most dear.


R&R:
If you could afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Nicole:
I treasured our time in London where we lived for eleven years. When the kids have flown the coop, I would love a flat somewhere in Marylebone where my husband and I could spend months out of the year.


R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Nicole:
So many! But the one that has had the most lasting effect was the time when I was on a basketball team (anyone who knows my short stature will be astounded by this).

My teammates had contests on who could dress the fastest for practice. Distracted constantly, I was almost always last. But one day, I was really going for it, and made it out (not first, but close). Yay!

Except as we all sat on the court, I realised immediately that all I had on was my top and knickers. No shorts!

I never forgot that moment and neither did anyone else. To this day, when I leave the house and especially if I’m rushing, I look down to see if I’m dressed. My mantra? “Keys, check. Clothes, check.” 

~~~~~~~

 

Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Nicole.

It’s been a pleasure, Carol.

 


If you would like to find out more about Nicole and her books, here are the links:

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

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Elisabeth Hobbes Interview - author photo

I’m delighted to welcome Harlequin Historical Romance Author ELISABETH HOBBES to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Thank you for inviting me onto the blog.  It’s great to be here.

~~~~~~~


R&R:

Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Elisabeth:
I was born and grew up in York.  It was such an interesting place to live and my love of history definitely comes from being surrounded by medieval walls, Roman remains, Viking archaeological sites, Regency crescents and ghost stories.  York is also famous for having over 360 pubs and a lively music scene so as an older teen it was a fun place to hang out with friends and see which of us looked old enough to get served (better not show this to my mum)!

As well as being close to the town we were lucky enough to be within distance of the North York Moors (which I featured in The Blacksmith’s Wife) and the coast including Whitby, famous for Dracula and the best fish and chips in the country.  My mum took my sister and I on lots of day trips to castles and stately homes, so it was inevitable I was going to end up doing something related to History.

Elisabeth Hobbes Interview - Medieval walls of York where I grew up
Medieval walls of York where I grew up


R&R
:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Elisabeth:
Definitely temperamental.  I have two children on the Autistic Spectrum and am trying to combine a writing career with 4 days a week teaching Primary Year 1 and running the house so I’m continually frazzled.  I always promise myself I’m going to spend some time each week relaxing with a face mask on and listening to something calming but I never seem to find the time.  I suffered very badly with postnatal depression after both children and one thing that is guaranteed to get me ranting is the appalling lack of funding and provision for mental health care in the UK, especially in young people.

 

R&R:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Elisabeth:
Definitely a savoury person.  I’ll always go for a starter rather than a pudding and can eat my own bodyweight in spicy chicken wings.  When I was pregnant I used to get the train into Manchester to get hot & sour soup.  I do like chocolate but I can take or leave it.  Crisps on the other hand…


R&R:
What is your most treasured possession?

Elisabeth:
I don’t think I can call my children possessions, though they are my most treasured thing, so I’ll say my laptop.  It’s the first thing I would rescue in a fire (after my children are safe of course) because as well as all my manuscripts, lesson plans and resources, it is where all of my photos of my children are stored and I’m aware how much I would lose if it ever dies.  I always mean to print them and put them in albums but as I said before, time gets away from me.

 

R&R:
If you could afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Elisabeth:
I’d have a chalet in Monetier les Bains in the French Alps.  The medieval village is beautiful, the skiing is great and there are some amazing restaurants.  My husband and I have visited the same resort for years and know it really well now and have recently started to take our children with us when we go skiing (they’d stayed with grandparents up till now).   I could ski all winter and go cycling or walking in summer and look at the view when I get writer’s block.  Maybe I’d answer your earlier question differently if I lived somewhere so relaxing!
Elisabeth Hobbes Interview - Where I would love to live
Relaxing in Monetier les Bains in the French Alps.


R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Elisabeth:
I have a very high embarrassment threshold (much to my daughter’s horror).  I’m always the mum who dresses up for Halloween and gets on stage to do karaoke first. I can’t think of anything major but given that I spend most of my week standing in front of thirty children putting on silly voices, arguing with hand puppets and pretending to be unable to understand why my sums are wrong, I hate speaking in front of adults and go bright red and speak too fast whenever I have to.

 

~~~~~~~

Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Elisabeth.

It’s been a pleasure.  Thank you for inviting me and asking such interesting questions.


If you would like to find out more about Elisabeth and her books, here are the links:

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

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