One of our favorite guests is back in the Bandit Lair with us today, NYT Bestselling author, Lorraine Heath. Lorraine, pull up a barstool and let's talk about your newest release. (By the way there's Tim Tam's in the Lair today!)
Suz: BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND DESIRE is the second in the Scoundrels of St. James series. Can you tell us about the story?
Lorraine, nibbling on a TimTam while giving a quick wave to the Bandits: The story involves Jack Dodger, the owner of a notorious gentleman's club. One of his patrons-the Duke of Lovingdon-bequeaths Jack his London residence in exchange for which Jack is to serve as guardian of the duke's 5-year-old son. Needless to say, the young widow is outraged that this scoundrel is charged with leading her son into manhood. And Jack, who trusts no good fortune, is working hard to discover why the duke would want him to be guardian. Yet, he can't deny that he's intrigued by the young widow.
Suz, eyes twinkling: Mmmm, we met Jack Dodger in your last book, IN BED WITH THE DEVIL. Jack's a scoundrel of the first order and quite happy in that state. What made you want to bring him change? And how did you achieve that?
Lorraine: Jack has had a very rough life. All of his role models have been the dregs of society, quite honestly, and yet there is a core element of goodness in him that he doesn't want to acknowledge and that few see. He's had to fight to survive and on the surface he always puts himself first. In IN BED WITH THE DEVIL, Jim tells Luke that he would follow him into hell without ever asking him why they were going. None of the scoundrels would do that for Jack because they'd think he was going for his own gain. Yet, in truth, there isn't anything that he wouldn't do for them. He might grumble about it, be unhappy about it, but he'd do it.
So in BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND DESIRE I matched Jack against a woman who has never even fantasized about doing anything improper. I put him in a situation where he has to behave. Suddenly a 5-year-old boy is looking to him for guidance, and all Jack knows is how to be a scoundrel. He doesn't want this lad to grow up to be like him and he has to change his ways in order to be what the boy-and eventually his mother-deserve.
There is nothing Jack won't do to earn a coin. To earn what Lovingdon has left, he must change. And in the changing, he acquires more than he ever thought possible.
Suz: What is it about the heroine, Olivia, the Duchess of Lovingdon, that intrigues Jack the most in your mind?
Lorraine: Good question. What intrigues him the most, I think, is the very thing that irritates him the most: she's so blasted proper. She believes in following rules, honoring duty, and never straying from the righteous path. She represents everything he abhors, but her conviction in what she believes to be right fascinates him.
Suz: There are at least three more members of Feagan's kids who have been featured in the first two books in this series. Any plans for them?
Lorraine: Oh, yes. Frannie's book, Surrender to the Devil, will be released in July 2009. The one thing Frannie never wanted was to be part of the aristocracy so, naturally, there is a duke in her future. Jim's story, Midnight Pleasures with a Scoundrel, will be released January 2010. Jim's story has been the most challenging to write so far.
Suz, leaning in to whisper: Which of the scoundrels do you like the best?
Lorraine, laughs: Whichever one I'm writing a story about. I like them all for different reasons. Luke was so tormented; Jack is such a scamp; Frannie is the glue that holds them all together; Jim is the one who truly loved Frannie; and Bill . . . well, he's a bit of a mystery.
Suz: I'm not sure if our readers are all aware, but you also write YA under two different names, Rachel Hawthorne and Jade Parker. Care to tell us what's going on in that world?
Lorraine: After 3 consecutive months of releases in the summer of 2008, Making a Splash: Robyn; Making A Splash: Caitlin; Making a Splash: Whitney; Jade doesn't have anything on the horizon. Rachel, however, has been a very busy girl. Suite Dreams hit the bookstores Dec. 23. It's the story of an Aussie who comes to the States for holiday and ends up sleeping on the couch in the heroine's dorm room and sweet dreams ensue. Bandit Anna Campbell (hi, Anna!) was a tremendous help with the story, helping me to create a character who didn't sound quite so American. It was a lot of fun having Anna answer my questions, because she has such a lovely accent even when she's writing. (And I can't wait to get my little fingers on Tempt the Devil. You, Bandits, are all on my "to read" list-you are quite a talented group.)
Then beginning in March, the Dark Guardian series-which involves werewolves who live among us, unknown to us-will begin hitting the stores. Moonlight in March, Full Moon in May, Dark of the Moon in July. They were very different from anything I've written before. A little darker, and just a bit sexier (how can shapeshifters not be sexy?) than the beach and winter reads I've written for teens up until now. Each story involves a different girl striving to find her place within the pack and with her destined mate while their existence is threatened by a research company who wants to discover what makes them a unique species (and somehow market it). My personal tagline for the series is-Each girl will be asked: What price will you pay for love?
Lorraine: And while that would be a great question to leave you with-what price would you pay-we're so close to New Year's Eve and since my New Year's resolution is to read more in 2009 what reads do you recommend?
Lorraine will be giving away a gift card to the one lucky winner's choice of Borders, Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com!!