It's my great pleasure to welcome Stefanie Sloane to the lair. Stefanie has burst onto the historical romance scene with three wonderful stories set in the Regency period. Romantic Times gave Stefanie's second release, The Angel in My Arms, a 4.5 Top Choice review calling it "
Welcome, Stefanie! We love call stories in the Lair. Would you like to share yours?
First, a friendly hello to the Romance Bandits and buddies! And thanks so much for inviting me to chat. My call story involves mutli-tasking. And barking dogs. And my mom. And IM. Oh my! I was busily and quite effectively procrastinating—cleaning the kitchen sink, if I remember correctly—when my agent called with the offer. As she filled me in on the specifics, I dashed off an email to my mom with the exciting news. I mean, you can’t expect a writer to keep such news to herself! Then, just for good measure, I sent an instant message to my husband.
He responded, you know, instantly, with big, smoochie congratulations and questions about where to go for dinner and when and... Then my mom’s congratulatory email popped into my in-box. She wanted to know EVERYTHING! All the while, my agent is talking about important stuff and I’m trying really hard to concentrate. And write an email. And an instant message. And then my darling, adorable dogs start barking--for no apparent reason.
Thank God my agent sent a follow-up email outlining everything I needed to know about the deal, because I’m pretty sure I would have agreed to be paid in Monopoly money without ever knowing it!
Who are the Young Corinthians, and how does this story fit within the Regency Rogues series?
The Young Corinthians are an elite spy organization that operates within the English government. Made up almost entirely of the titled, the group is known to only a handful of officials, and the agents undertake their life-threatening missions to defend country and crown in absolute anonymity. No one, not even their loved ones, are aware of the danger that these men face on a day to day basis.
THE ANGEL IN MY ARMS continues the mystery introduced in my debut book, THE DEVIL IN DISGUISE, but instead of the glamorous ballrooms and glittering ton of London, this intriguing and adventurous story takes place in the wilds of Dorset, on the Weymouth coast.
Tell us about the hero and heroine in The Angel in My Arms.
Marcus MacInnes, the Earl of Weston, is a man without a home. Half Scottish, half English, he’s searched for his place in the world with little luck. The Young Corinthians provide him with the only sense of comfort he’s ever known, until he meets Lady Sarah Tisdale. She’s everything he’s not looking for—an unconventional beauty whose lust for life is rivaled only by her ability to drive Marcus to distraction. When Sarah’s life is in jeopardy, Marcus discovers that the passion between them can no longer be denied—and he’ll do anything to keep her in his arms.
Did you encounter anything interesting writing-wise while working on your second book?
Actually, yes! When my dear friend, Julia Quinn, read through the first draft, she suggested moving the “cute meet” scene which takes place late in the first chapter to be the opening scene of the book. I completely understood why—after all, it is one of my favorite scenes in the book—but I had my reasons for ordering the scenes in such a way and I stuck to my guns. I’m very much a linear writer, so the thought of moving scenes about was a new one—and, honestly, interesting. Even though I didn’t decide to go with JQ’s suggestion, it was a fascinating exercise and one that I’ll make use of in the future.
Brave you! May we see an excerpt?
Of course! This is from the scene that JQ thought should be moved to the very beginning of the book. See if you agree!
A high-pitched scream shattered the quiet and stopped Marcus in his tracks. A second scream followed and Marcus ran, willing his wounded leg to keep pace with the rest of his body as he crashed through a bank of quickthorn bushes.
He fought his way through the thicket, the branches lashing his arms and legs until he broke into the open. The castle lake lay before him, sparkling in the sunlight.
He scanned the water’s surface, then the shore from left to right, but failed to find the source of the screams. Something moved suddenly in his peripheral vision. He narrowed his eyes and once more, searching the lake. Water rippled in a circle too large to have been caused by a jumping trout.
He stripped off his coat and prepared to dive in. Two figures broke the surface of the water. A peal of feminine laughter filled the air.
“You promised!” a young male voice whined indignantly.
Marcus squinted against the sun and made out a boy, sodden hair plastered to his skull.
“I never promised, Nigel,” a woman’s voice answered teasingly, “and it’s very poor form of you to lie.”
Marcus shielded his eyes with one hand to see the woman better. She bobbed up and down in the water, clearly amused with whatever had transpired between her and the boy. She looked straight at him, her eyes widening in surprise.
And then she smiled. A brilliant, wide smile that seemed to light up the entire world. She was soaking wet, auburn curls in damp corkscrews atop her head and hanging to her shoulders. Her ivory skin flushed under the hot sun, a trailing frond of green water weed peeking out above the neckline of her dress.
And Marcus could not imagine a more bonny sight.
She seemed about to speak to him when her gaze shifted past him and over his shoulder. Shock and dismay filled her expression. “No, Titus!” She cried out. “No!”
Marcus turned his head just in time to make out a massive dog galloping toward him. The fawn-colored animal launched himself into the air, toppling Marcus backward onto the clay of the lake bank.
The weight of the beast’s body settled on Marcus’s chest and he planted a dinner-plate-sized paw on either side of Marcus’s head. Then the dog lowered his massive face, the drool from his sharp-fanged mouth threatening to drop at any moment.
Marcus held himself completely still, knowing full well the animal had the upper hand. The dog sniffed carefully, his noxious breath hitting Marcus’s nostrils with pungent force.
“Titus, get off that gentleman now. This! Very! Instant!”
The dog offered Marcus a sheepish, apologetic look before swiping his lolling tongue in friendly salute across Marcus’s face.
“Now! Get off him. You bad, bad boy!”
Another apologetic look and the dog rose, allowing Marcus to sit up.
The woman leaned down to peer anxiously into Marcus’s face.
“I must apologize for my dog’s behavior,” she began, now standing so close that Marcus felt tiny droplets of lake water hit his skin when she moved.
So what's next?
I recently finished book four in the Regency Rogues series, tentatively titled THE SAINT WHO STOLE MY HEART. I’m really excited about this one as it introduces a whole new mystery thread that will carry through to book six in the series. While I wait to hear back from my editor, I’ll write the synopsis for book five, THE SCOUNDREL TAKES A BRIDE. This is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job—just letting my imagine loose on unsuspecting characters! He he he.
Now you know all about how Marcus and Sarah meet. So tell me all about when you met your sweetie. First date or fender-bender? Love at first sight or it took time to realize that they were the one? Comment and you’ll automatically be entered to win a signed copy of THE ANGEL IN MY ARMS. Good luck!