(Giveaway ends March 3, 2012.)
The winner of last week’s giveaway of Hometown Cinderella by Ruth Axtell Morren is…
Regina, welcome to FIVE QUESTIONS! Let’s talk about The Rogue’s Reform your February release through Love Inspired Historical. I love Regency era books so I can’t wait to read this one.
Jerome Everard expected to inherit his wayward uncle’s estate. Instead, all has gone to a secret daughter. Only by disproving his young cousin’s claim can Jerome regain his rightful property. But instead, he finds himself drawn to her lovely governess, Adele Walcott—a woman who holds the key to all of his uncle’s secrets.
Adele’s fortune is gone, along with her marriage prospects. Now she is devoted to securing her charge’s happiness. When she meets Jerome, she dares to dream of love again. But after learning his true motives, that love comes to a test. Can she forgive his past and reform his heart…to make it hers forever?
1. Let’s get started! In your opinion, what is it about Regency England that makes it such a captivating era?
I’m not sure if it’s the Regency period itself or the shared vision of it readers and writers have developed over the years. But I think readers expect that when they pick up a book set in Regency England, they’re going to get witty dialogue, rich historical detail, and a language that’s all their own. Gentlemen have impeccable manners and little things, like the brush of a hand and the lowering of an eyelash, can spell the difference between pleasure and social ostracism. This is a world populated by licentious rakes, self-important dandies, erudite bluestockings, independent Originals, and gorgeous Incomparables. And, hey, anything stemming from the legacy of Jane Austen and popularized by Georgette Heyer cannot be bad! Their books are still read decades after their deaths, an amazing record for an industry where bookstores generally give a paperback love story a six-week shelf life.
2. I love what you mentioned about the small, seemingly unremarkable nonverbal cues! They were perceived as so much more meaningful back then. What was your favorite scene to write and why?
I loved writing the scene where Jerome is intent on winning Adele over to his side and she is equally determined to keep her own council. He lays a trail of daffodils into the library as if he’s waiting inside, but she’s smart enough to leave the last flower laying in the doorway. But when she goes to the kitchen for a vase, he’s there with one in his hand. It’s all about move, countermove, and checkmate, and neither of them is entirely sure who’s going to win and what winning means!
3. Wow. That sounds intense. What is the first interaction between your hero and heroine like?
A bit of a sparring match! Jerome has come to Dallsten Manor in Cumberland to discover his late uncle’s secrets. He isn’t sure whether to trust the lovely Adele Walcott, who happens to be named in his uncle’s will and is the governess of young Samantha Everard who is taking over the Everard legacy unless Jerome can disprove her claims. Adele, on the other hand, cannot help but wonder why the late Lord Everard never mentioned he had nephews, especially one this handsome and charming. What is Jerome Everard hiding? How can she trust him with Samantha’s future, or her own heart?
4. Ahh, there is nothing like a hero with a mysterious past! What spiritual message do you hope to convey through this book?
Letting God take the reins. When her father died, Adele had to find a way to support herself and her mother. She’s used to taking charge. Jerome was forced into the role of adult while still a child when his parents died and he had to go live with his mercurial uncle. He feels most comfortable when he’s in charge. Both of them have to learn about having faith, in those we love and the One who can handle all things.
5. That is such and important lesson and one I’ve had to learn in my own life. Now that The Rogue’s Reform has been released, what is your next project?
The Rogue’s Reform is the first of the Everard Legacy miniseries. In July, Richard Everard must find his cousin Samantha a sponsor for the season, even if that means humbling himself before the woman who wronged him, Lady Claire Winthrop. In November, Vaughn Everard must decide how far he is willing to pursue vengeance against the man who killed his beloved uncle, especially as learning the truth may require him to woo his enemy’s daughter.
Wonderful! It looks like we’re going to be bookshelf buddies. My next release, The Runaway Bride, comes out in July too. Now, it’s my favorite part of the interview where the author get’s to ask and answer their own question!
Bonus Question: Which of the three Everard men did you enjoy writing about the most?
I have a soft spot in my heart for Vaughn, that bad boy who’s so loyal to his family, but don’t tell the others I said so!
I am excited about your new series and can’t wait to read The Rogue’s Reform! I’m sure everyone else feels the same way so how about we give them a sneak peak? Here it is, y’all! Check out this excerpt and don’t forget to comment!
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Their mysterious caller certainly had more determination than the footman. His knocks continued, each one more forceful, as Adele hurried to the door. She paused only a moment to smooth her dark hair into the bun at the nape of her neck and pat down her gray lustring skirts, then pulled back the bolt and opened the door.
Their visitor looked as surprised to see her as she was to find such a gentleman at her door. He was tall and well formed, with shoulders made broader by the capes of his greatcoat and long legs, which stood firm on the stone step.
Up close, his hair was like polished mahogany, thick and wavy, cut short in the style shown in Samantha’s fashion plates, though several locks swept down across a wide brow as if caressed by the breeze. His eyes were shadowed, set deep in a square-jawed face, and his mouth was wide and warm. His gaze locked with hers, and she felt suddenly light-headed.
She thought he might be furious, having been kept standing so long, but his smile was pleasant.
“Forgive us for startling you, madam,” he said, sweeping her a graceful bow, “but we thought it best, given our news, to come north quickly. Allow me to introduce myself. Jerome Everard, at your service.”
His baritone dripped with genteel sophistication, and she could imagine its drawl in the glittering ballrooms of London. Still, the first name meant nothing to her, and he could easily have fabricated the last to match the name of her employer.
“Welcome to Dallsten Manor, Mr. Everard,” she replied with a quick dip that might pass for a curtsey. “You will not mind if I ask for some confirmation of your identity.”
His mouth held just the hint of a smile. “I regret that my uncle, Lord Everard, did not have the opportunity to introduce us properly. However, I have a letter from him I can share.” He stepped forward as if expecting her to move aside and let him in.
Adele held her ground and her smile, bracing one foot on the inside of the door, ready to slam it shut if needed. Could she reach Mr. Linton and his gun before this man and his companions breached the house? Did it matter? Somehow she didn’t think the elderly groundskeeper would scare any of them.
As if he knew her concerns, Jerome Everard held out his arm. It was a civilized gesture, a gentleman indicating his willingness to escort a lady into the house. It spoke of kindness, of protection.
“Let me in, please,” he murmured, clear blue gaze on hers. “I swear no harm will come to you.”
She wanted to believe him. His manners, his smile, his attitude all said he was a gentleman.
And if he wasn’t, she still had the upper hand. She knew Dallsten Manor better than anyone, every crooked passage, every family secret. If Jerome Everard wanted to cause trouble, she was ready for him.
She opened the door wider. “Certainly, Mr. Everard. Come in. Perhaps we can both find answers to our questions.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I started writing novels in the third grade. Thankfully for literature as we know it, I didn’t actually sell my first novel until I’d learned a bit more about writing such as vocabulary, sentence structure, and plot. After numerous short stories and articles in magazines and trade journals, and a good kick in the backside from my husband, I got serious about writing, published 17 historical romances for adults, and then finally realized it would be a lot more interesting to write for young adults too! I make my home in the Tri-Cities of southeast Washington State with my beloved husband, a teenage son, and a hyperactive Irish terrier named Fergus.
COMMENT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN THIS GIVEAWAY!
(Ends 2.25.12 12am )
After years traveling in Europe with her musician husband, all that widow Mara Keller wants is security for her son. A half-share in her father’s Maine farmhouse is the only refuge she has left, even if her resentful stepmother treats Mara as little more than a servant. But there is one bright spot: the unexpected kindness of neighbor Gideon Jakeman.
A widowed farmer with a teenage daughter, Gideon hardly pictures himself as anyone’s Prince Charming. Especially a woman of Mara’s refinement. Yet his quiet, rugged strength makes her feel as though she’s found her rightful place by his side, if they can find faith enough to forge their own happy ending.
1. What initially inspired you to write this book?
This book grew very gradually with no big Aha! moment, unlike many of mine. I think I began having an idea about a quiet, homely sort of hero who has a big heart. My editor didn’t let him be homely, though—so I had to make him a little good looking, in a rough sort of way.
2. How much of the book is based on the fairytale of Cinderella?
I didn’t consciously set about writing the fairytale. It was my editor who discovered the association when she was brainstorming titles. But it was perfect—even with an evil stepmother!
3. What are your hero and heroine’s first impressions of each other?
What impresses Mara first and foremost is how good Gideon is with her restless 6-yr.-old son. Gideon’s first impression of Mara is how ladylike she is and from another—glamorous—world she’s from, so therefore, she’s off limits to him.
4. What was your favorite scene to write and why?
Two stand out: the first is where Gideon proves clumsy (through no fault of his own) and breaks something very precious to Mara. I could just feel his pain and chagrin. The second is when Mara finally comes to him and he shows the loving, strong, confident man he really is.
5. What made you choose the historical era in which the story takes place?
I just love late 19th century, always have. That and Regency England have always been the periods I want to read about and write about.
BONUS: Ask and answer your own question.
Does it get easier or harder to write romances after 13+ books ?
Both. I compare beginning a new story to jumping into the deep end of an Olympic size swimming pool and knowing I can’t resurface till I reach the other end. It’s going to be a long, lonely trek. But boy, is it worth it on the other side! The main thing is to focus on each story at a time, as if you’ve never written one before (some other author once said that and it’s stuck with me). Don’t worry about repeating yourself, or comparing your story with some other similar storyline. Just focus on that one man and woman and tell their own, unique journey.
That is some great writing advice, Ruth! Thank you for coming. I can’t wait to read Hometown Cinderella. Now, 5 QUESTIONS takes a step back in time with one of Ruth’s favorite scenes. Try not leave any glass slippers behind. We don’t want to clutter up the parlor.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Before Carina could reprimand him for scuffing it, Dietrich suddenly leaned forward, reaching for his mug of milk. Mr. Jakeman rose a fraction from his seat, as if to grab the boy’s plate from his knee. Instead, his own cup fell from its saucer and hit the edge of the table.
Mara watched in horror, extending a hand as if she could stop the fall, but instead, hearing the shatter of porcelain.
She rose and rushed to the sofa, seeing the puddle of tea against the floorboards and three large pieces of porcelain scattered about.
Not hearing the sounds of voices around her—“I’m sorry,” “Mama, Mr. Jakeman broke your cup—”, “I’ll get a rag—” Mara knelt down, crowded between Dietrich’s legs and the edge of the table. She picked up the largest piece of broken cup. It was true what Lizzie had said, it was like an eggshell.
The next moment, she felt the table being moved away from the sofa and Mr. Jakeman crouched down opposite her. “I’m awfully sorry, ma’am.”
Before she could think what to say, Carina stood behind him, craning to see what had broken. She broke out into a cackle. “One of the crown jewels! Serves you right!” She addressed Mr. Jakeman, “She was so proud of that set, carting it around everywhere, packing it up so carefully.” She sniffed. “Pride goeth before a fall!”
“Carina!” She shot her stepmother a look of mortification.
“That’s a shame,” Mr. Jakeman said softly. “I was clumsy.”
“Please think nothing of it. It wasn’t your fault.” She focused on the pieces on the floor. Mr. Jakeman’s large hands began to pick up the remaining pieces, making more evident how fragile they were.
“That’s all right, I can do that.”
“It didn’t break in too many pieces. Maybe you can glue it back together.”
She met his sorrow-filled eyes, not having the heart to disagree. Instead she smiled, trying to put a good face on things. “Yes. I can do that and use it as an ornament on my shelf.”
He nodded. “That’s a good idea.” He looked so hopeful her irritation and disappointment melted.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ruth knew she wanted to be a writer ever since she wrote her first story—a spy thriller—at the age of twelve. She studied comparative literature at Smith College, spending her junior year at the Sorbonne in Paris. After college, she taught English in the Canary Islands then worked in international development in Miami, Florida, before moving to the Netherlands, where for the next several years, she juggled both writing and raising her three children.
In 1994, her second manuscript was a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart competition. In 2002, her sixth manuscript took second place in the Laurie Contest of RWA’s Smoky Mountain chapter. The final judge requested her full manuscript and this became her first published book, Winter Is Past, which was spotlighted in Christian Retailing magazine. Since then, Ruth has gone on to publish thirteen historical romances and one novella. Her books have been translated into Dutch, Italian, Polish and Afrikaans . Her second historical, Wild Rose, was chosen by Booklist as a “Top Ten Christian Fiction” selection in 2005.
Ruth lives on the coast of Maine where she enjoys gardening, walking, reading romances and gazing at the ocean plotting her next romance.
Find out more about Ruth at www.ruthaxtellmorren.com!
Thank you all for joining me for 14 Days of Love. I had a blast and I hope you did, too. Here is a list of all of the winners some of which have been previously announced. Congratulations to those of you who won!
Join me this Saturday for 5 QUESTIONS with Ruth Axtell Morren. She will bring an excerpt of her latest release, Hometown Cinderella, along with one FREE copy to give away. The week after that will be Regina Scott’s turn to step into the spotlight with The Rogue’s Reform.
Now, without further delay, here are the 14 Days of Love winners…