Thank you for the welcome Tiffany! And thank you all at Vauxhall Vixens for having me today.
In HEIRESS IN LOVE, the newly widowed Jane, Lady Roxdale, is horrified to learn that while her late husband left his fortune to her, his property and custody of his six-year-old cousin go to the new Lord Roxdale, the scandalous Constantine Black. Constantine wants to marry Jane and reunite the two halves of the Roxdale estate. While Jane is terrified of another unhappy match, she longs to keep the little boy she loves, and Constantine ’s seductive powers of persuasion prove impossible to resist. She must trust this scoundrel with her hand, but can she trust him with her heart?
What would you like readers to know about your hero and heroine? Did you base Jane and Constantine on anyone in particular?
Constantine is one of your charming, wicked rakes but at the same time, he is very perceptive. At first, he loves to ruffle the staid Jane's feathers but he soon sees beyond Jane's starched up appearance to the passionate, sensual creature beneath. For her part, Jane discovers the true heroic qualities of this unrepentant bad boy, in spite of his refusal to admit he is anything but an utter scoundrel. And against her better judgment, she finds herself championing rather than condemning him.
In looks, I based Constantine on the actor, Rufus Sewell who has black hair, swarthy skin and the most amazing sleepy green eyes. Sewell can play a charming rogue but there's a lovely intensity about him, especially in romantic roles.
The story sounds fabulous! What’s your writing process like? Are you a plotter or pantser?
Oh, thank you! That means a lot because I love your books, Tiffany.
As for process, I'm a pantser, kicking and screaming all the way. I hate being a pantser now that I have deadlines and proposals to hand in before the book is written. Sometimes the end product bears only the smallest resemblance to the original synopsis, but of course my editor is smart and experienced and she doesn't care how much I deviate from the outline if the end product is good. But I really wish I could plot. I've tried. I made my CPs roll on the floor laughing when I showed them my 4 act 8 sequence structure chart with tiny, tiny writing all over it. They were right to laugh. After I made the chart, I never looked at it again. If I follow an outline it feels like paint by numbers and I get bored. I keep hoping the plotting fairy will visit me one day...
What was your favorite scene to write in the book?
To avoid spoilers I'll go with one early in the book--the first meeting between Constantine and Jane, where Jane doesn't yet know who Constantine is. The clash of personalities is evident from the outset and it's one of those scenes that came to life vividly in my mind as I wrote it. Oh, and I don't know if I should say this--I'll get funny looks--but I *love* the love scenes. Each one is special and emotional in its own way.
How did you come up with the concept: Ministry of Marriage?
Historically, important marriages between nobles were approved by the king or queen of the day but by the Regency period, this practice had waned along with the waning power of the monarchy. I dreamed up a formalized way of arranging marriages that flourished in that vacuum. The Ministry of Marriage operates as a cross between the board of a corporation and the NFL draft.*G* Family representatives must present a case for a betrothal to be approved and no one family is allowed to have too great a share of that season's matrimonial prizes. It is not an official ministry and it would never have happened that way, of course, but it's fun to imagine.
It's difficult to pinpoint how an idea grows, isn't it? WIth the Ministry of Marriage, it seemed like an interesting way to incorporate many elements about Regency historicals that I love into the one series. One of my favorite tropes is the marriage of convenience story, so an organization that arranges marriages fits perfectly. I also knew that I wanted to create my own Regency world, the way fantasy and paranormal writers create theirs. I like the feeling that my characters are not just plonked down in Regency England; there's an entire history behind each family. If you visit my website http://www.christina-brooke.com you'll see I had fun creating family histories, mottos and crests for my characters. In the members only "Brooke-Club" on my site, I even have a fun quiz you can take about which family you belong to as well as a silly title generator. Lady Buckfastleigh is one of my favorites!
What’s next for you?
MAD ABOUT THE EARL will be out in January 2012. It's about the arranged marriage between the beauty of the family and the beastly man her guardian betrothed her to when she was a teenager. The classic beauty and the beast story... with a twist:) And of course, the Ministry of Marriage will be back, meddlesome as ever!
Thank you so much, Christina!
Thank you Tiffany! Thanks Vauxhall Vixens. Now, a question for your readers!
Do you like marriage of convenience stories? What is your favorite romance trope to read or write? I'll give away a signed copy of HEIRESS IN LOVE to one lucky commenter.