by Anna Campbell
It's my great pleasure to introduce a debut author who is no stranger to regular visitors to the lair (because she IS one! We love it when Bandita Buddies make good!).
Tiffany Clare's debut historical romance THE SURRENDER OF A LADY is a scorching hot, clever, intensely sensual, emotional rollercoaster of a story. I read the tempestuous, dramatic story of Lady Elena Ravenscliffe and the man who has never forgotten her, Griffin, Lord Rothburn, in one sitting and then said:
Dazzling, daring and different! Exotic and erotic! THE SURRENDER OF A LADYwill have you turning the pages until you finish, no matter how late it gets. Tiffany Clare is a brilliant new talent in historical romance.
I wasn't the only person bowled over by Tiffany's debut. The reviews have been amazing, including a Top Pick from Romantic Times Book Reviews!
Debut author Clare bursts onto the scene with a unique, unforgettable, sensual love story sweeping from the harems of the east to staid Victorian ballrooms. Watch out for this sizzling new talent to rise to the top.
You can find out more about Tiffany and read excerpts from her books at her website: www.tiffanyclare.com
Because Tiffany loves us (she must!), she's very generously giving away...wait for it...FIVE BOOKS TODAY!!! And I'm throwing in a bonus Anna Campbell opus for good measure! So make sure you comment! And don't forget that if you click on the book covers, you can go straight to Amazon and order this fantastic debut!
So without more ado, HERE'S TIFFANY!
Tiffany, huge congratulations on the release of your brilliant debut THE SURRENDER OF A LADY. Can you tell us about this story?
I can’t thank you enough for having me here! It’s very exciting to be blogging with you wonderful gals! THE SURRENDER OF A LADY is about a woman, who’s sold into slavery by her no good husband, to pay off his debts. To be reunited with her infant son, she agrees to become part of a harem where her favors will be sold to the highest paying bidders. She reinvents herself as Jinan, a Turkish princess, and never expects the only man she ever loved to find her in the harem. Nor does she ever expect him to bid for her favors for three months. Rothburn is a man broken and learning to live life one day at a time. His fall started when the one woman he loved married another. It’s been ten years since Elena slipped from his grasp and he’s been on a long road to recovery from opium addiction. When he sees her on auction, he knows he can’t walk away from her again, and he knows he’ll never be able to walk away again, despite the end of their contract looming.
Back cover blurb:
THE PRICE OF PASSION…
Sold. With one word, Lady Elena Ravenscliffe’s destiny changes forever. Forced into Constantinople’s slave market to pay off her late husband’s debts and save her son, Elena reinvents herself as Jinan—a harem girl adored by the rich lords who bid on her favors. But one man instantly sees through her façade.
…IS COMPLETE SURRENDER
Griffin Summerfield, Marquess of Rothburn, let Elena slip through his fingers years ago. When he recognizes her on the auction block, he pays an outrageous sum to possess her even if it is for a short period of time. But when his deadline looms, Griffin will risk all in a desperate bid to make her his—and his alone…
The research for this story must have been fun – I speak from experience because of my courtesan books! Can you tell us some of the surprising and interesting things you unearthed and what resources you found particularly inspirational?
Oh, there was a lot of reading and research for this book. I knew nothing of the time period, the setting I had chosen, and the cultures of the Middle East and East. There was a lot of surprising information I uncovered . . . One thing in particular: Women of all cultures were sold into harems. Fathers with beautiful, nubile daughters, rich men who seized women in wars, pirates who stole women on the high seas, all seeking the a sultan or emperors favor. That was a major source of inspiration for the story. I thought to myself, why not sell my English beauty into a harem? She could be well sought after if this wasn’t your typical harem.
And yes, that was something I had to change. In the harems of the Ottoman Empire, the only man allowed inside the harem women’s quarters was the Sultan or his eunuchs (who were de-manned, so to speak). So I needed a reason for Amir (Jinan’s owner) to not follow this ‘rule.’
I uncovered that the sons born to sultans did not have an easy life. There were often death plots and attempted murders towards those in line for the ‘throne.’ Those not directly in line for the ‘throne’ were kept like prisoners in the dark and survival was slim, and madness common. I mention it very briefly in my book that Amir did not have an easy life growing up and despises how harems work. This is why he won’t impregnate (and thereby be forced to marry) his harem girls. I made his mother English, so he would ‘understand’ Jinan/Elena ‘culturally.’
I also did a lot of research on the opium trade. In the mid-Victorian era, England controlled much of China, and subjugated the population by giving them easy access to addiction—opium (it was banned in England at this time). It took me a long time to figure out Rothburn’s character because I was so focused on Jinan.
One thing I knew was that he had fallen into a dark life. Just think of the type of man he would have had to be to slowly kill off another nation. It’s justifying in a sense that he fell victim to the drug. With the life he led, there is nothing that can shock him (including seeing an English woman on auction in an Ottoman Prince’s harem), nothing that can intimidate him, and most certainly nothing that he won’t take if he wanted it bad enough. He admits freely that he is a man driven by one addiction or another.
Oh dang, this was a question about research, not the psychoanalysis of my characters!
Anyway, that’s just a few of the things I found out. There were many, many more. But I don’t want to bore anyone.
Tiff, I found all that absolutely fascinating! Thank you for sharing it. Here in the lair, we love call stories. Can you tell us yours?
It started with an email. My agent thought she’d tease me with a message that said something like, ‘today is going to be fun,’ then make me suffer a few hours before she called to give me the news that we had an offer! The best part of that was that no one else had offered, which meant drawing up interest to get other editors to respond with either a rejection or another offer. There was bidding for the book. It was full of much tenseness and silent squeeing for a few weeks. Actually, it was the most intense two weeks of my life, but it was totally awesome when St. Martin’s came in with a final offer! I’ve been very blessed with an awesome house, awesome covers, and awesomeness all around. You’d think, as a writer, I could find another adjective! :) But, really, it was totally awesome!
You’re an active blogger with the Vauxhall Vixens (and a regular visitor to the Bandits where we love to see you!). Do you think your web presence has helped your writing career?
I have no idea. I feel a little more connected to the internet romance community as a whole because there are a number of people I’ve met and gotten to know over the years online, but I’m not sure how that translates into helping my career (aside from meeting my amazing critique partners who kick my ass when needed). I’m still a baby in the industry; maybe I’ll have an answer in a few years :)
Can you tell us about your writing journey?
There were lots of ups and downs. It’s not an easy path; you have to really, really want it to help you get past the rejection and deal with the slow pace the industry moves at. For me, I needed writing partners. People—and now my dearest friends—who I was accountable to daily for word counts and finishing the next scene, chapter, and finally the book! I always wanted to publish my first book, but once I got over that (I thank God every day that it wasn’t published), I continued to write, and a few books later… Jinan came along!
What’s coming up next?
THE SEDUCTION OF HIS WIFE. A marriage of convenience and reconciliation story. Emma and Asbury married 12 years ago when they were both incredibly young, she 15 Richard only 19. Richard felt stifled and longed to explore the world and make riches of his own, so he left after their wedding night. Emma grew up, found her passion in life (her art) and she doesn’t really know what to think of her husband’s return…
Back cover blurb:
AN INCONVENIENT SCANDAL...
Emma Hallaway has not seen her husband in twelve years—and that’s fine with her. As a young girl, she’d agreed to a simple marriage of convenience, allowing her to pursue her private passion for painting. And though unknown to the rest of polite society, Emma is now one of the most daring and sought-after artists in London. However, when her secret is threatened to be exposed, Emma is forced to open her heart—and her home—to a total stranger: her husband…
AN UNEXPECTED SURPRISE...
Richard Mansfield, Earl of Asbury, is all too familiar with danger. As a matter of fact, it is hard on his heels when he returns to England. Still, even he is shocked to learn of his wife’s scandalous double life as an artist. But once he sees the vibrant grown woman she has become—so passionate, so strong, and so alluring—his undeniable attraction to Emma stuns him. Suddenly Richard is determined to turn their sham of a marriage into a true and lasting love. But how exactly does a gentleman seduce his own wife?
Wow, Tiff, that sounds fantastic! I can't wait to read it! Thanks so much for giving us some insight into your work! Do you have anything you'd like to ask the Bandits and Bandit Buddies to get conversation started?
What are your favorite tropes in romance? I’m giving away THREE copies of THE SURRENDER OF A LADY, ONE copy of Maggie Robinson’s MISTRESS BY MISTAKE and ONE copy of Courtney Milan’s TRIAL BY DESIRE (North America only).
For our faithful non-American visitors ONLY, I'm giving away a signed copy of the Australian edition of CAPTIVE OF SIN with that wonderfully over the top cover!
So it's a positive plethora of giveaways today! How can you resist? Get commenting people - oh, and please tell us when you comment where you're from so we know which section of the draw to put you in. Remember that's FIVE books to share among North American readers and a bonus CAPTIVE OF SIN for non-American readers! Good luck!