Suz: Claire is Westcliff's wife. She made a mistake years ago and now needs to find a way to deal with her errant husband. Why?
Lorraine: She's matured. She's no longer a naïve, foolish girl, and she wants to step up and be a true wife to her husband. But he has decided he no longer wants her. Rather than face the scandal of being set aside, she decides to put her efforts into making him desire her. In doing so, she comes to know the man he hides from everyone and falls deeply in love with him.
Suz: One of my favorite parts of reading a Lorraine Heath novel is the depth in which you take the reader into the pathos behind the heroes/heroines lives. How are you able to make Westcliffe a man worthy of finding love and Claire a woman able to teach him about love?
Lorraine: Magic...? You know, I love delving into characters' personalities and motivations. Must come from all those hours of psych courses I took in college. I felt like a man who guarded his heart as closely as Westcliffe does would have a wellspring of love to give if he ever trusted someone not to hurt him. Claire knows what it is to love, longs for love. With her initial betrayal of Westcliffe, she comes to understand the power of her actions so she knows she must demonstrate her love, reveal her heart in order to lure him into revealing his heart.
Suz: In the second book coming out in December (November 30 is the exact release date), PLEASURES Of A NOTORIOUS GENTLEMAN we meet the rakish, badboy second brother, Stephen. (Boy do I love a good badboy!) He is heading off to war in the Crimea. Why is he headed to such a dangerous place with few women for him to pursue and how does the war affect him?
Lorraine: When the Crimean War began, people expected it to be over quickly and for Britain to be victorious. For Stephen, it was simply another ad2venture. One sure to involve Russian women. While readers might expect the war to have a significant impact on Stephen, he is wounded and loses two years of memories-so he doesn't remember fighting, being in a war, being a hero. Therefore, he doubts himself. Was he really a coward? Why else would he not remember what happened?
Suz: Stephen's tomcatting ways come back to haunt him after his return to England, doesn't it?
Lorraine: It certainly does. Mercy shows up on his doorstep with a babe in arms-a babe she claims is his. Stephen, doubting there is any goodness in him at all, seeks to prove himself by marrying her. Mercy was one of Miss Nightingale's nurses. Here is a bit of dichotomy: Stephen desperately wants to remember what happened when he was in the Crimea and Mercy desperately wants to forget what she witnessed there.
Suz: I was rather impressed with the details you gave of the nurses and their roles and duties during the Crimea War. As my friend Anna S. would say, you were "spot-on". What research, other than channeling Florence Nightingale, did you do to get this right?
Lorraine: I read Mark Bostrich's biography on Florence Nightingale. It included information on many of the nurses who traveled with F.N. I also read Thin Red Line which had personal accounts from soldiers and what it was like from their end, waiting for medical help. Then, of course, I have a friend who is a nurse
5,000 British soldiers are buried near the hospital where F.N. worked. It was a horrendous situation. I don't know that I did it justice and it's always a challenge when writing a romance novel not to totally depress the reader with the gruesome realities.
Suz: So the third brother is actually the higher on the nobility food-chain, a duke. When is his story coming out and what is it titled? How do you plan to bring him his HEA?
Lorraine: WAKING UP WITH A DUKE will be out in July 2011. Yes, Ainsley is higher up on the nobility ladder. He has always taken his responsibilities so seriously. He's always acted as though he were the oldest brother, although he's not. But one night, he is terribly irresponsible and it ruins the lives of his long-time friend and his friend's wife. His story involves his efforts to make amends. His devotion to duty and responsibility will motivate his actions-and unfortunately plunge them all deeper into hell. ? Getting them all out is proving quite challenging.
Suz: So, there is a recurring love story going on through these books involving the men's mother and her artist lover, Leo, who I personally think is yummy. Do you have plans for them?
Lorraine:Yes, actually. I had always planned to resolve her story in the third book. Quite honestly, not to ruin anything, I had expected Tessa, the duchess, to end up with the lover of her youth-but like you, Suz, I find Leo so yummy that I'm not quite sure she's going to be able to toss him aside as easily as I'd originally envisioned.
Which brings me to a question for the bandits and your followers: do you prefer a love story where it's clear from the beginning who is destined for a HEA or do you prefer to be left guessing which characters come together until the end?
Drawing prize: $20 giftcard to Borders, B&N, or amazon - winner's choice.
**For those of you who are new to Lorraine, her earlier works, wonderful historicals set in Texas, will be released soon as ebooks. Check out the covers at http://lorraineheath.com/ **