by Anna Campbell
Who are those two women putting their heads together and plotting mischief?
Why, it's moi, Anna Campbell Esq, and...
Well, the identity of the gorgeous creature on my right has recently been revealed as:
This international woman of mystery was revealed in all her glory (although thank goodness, she kept her clothes on despite the best efforts of the cabana boys!) late last month as the author of the brilliant HEIRESS IN LOVE, the first instalment in the "Ministry of Marriage" series.
I'm not alone in lauding this wonderful book. Publishers Weekly gave HEIRESS IN LOVE a starred review. Fresh Fiction called it "a riveting tale of life, loss, convenience, and heart-wrenching love. Superbly writtten."
So without more ado, here's our Christine...uh, Christina!
Thank you, dearest, Foanna, it is lovely to be here as a guest! Now I know why people send their publicists to the lair with siege equipment so they can blog with us. I had the star treatment in the green room just now.
As you know (because I've been all over the net telling people!), I adored the first instalment in your "Ministry of Marriage" series. HEIRESS IN LOVE is a fantastic read and I was madly in love with Constantine, the hero. Can you tell us about this story?
Why, yes, I'd love to! And thank you so much for your kind words about HEIRESS IN LOVE and Constantine. You were good enough (or foolhardy enough!) to read an early draft and I still mention you in my prayers for making me take out that subplot. I don't know what I'd do without you!
HEIRESS IN LOVE is the classic marriage of convenience between a bad boy and a straitlaced lady. Sparks fly, as you can imagine, particularly when the straitlaced lady realizes she must marry the said bad boy to get what she most desires! Here is the blurb:
When the Ministry of Marriage arranges a match, all that matters is power, wealth and prestige. In the business of marriage, there is no room for love. But even the most prudent plans can go awry…
A Convenient Marriage
Jane, Lady Roxdale, has endured one marriage of convenience decreed by the Ministry of Marriage. While she deeply regrets her late husband’s death, she is relieved to be free at last. But when a dissolute rake threatens everything Jane holds dear, she must contemplate marrying a second time…
An Inconvenient Passion
Disgraced libertine Constantine Black inherits his cousin Roxdale’s land and title–while Roxdale’s prim widow is left all the wealth. Constantine is not a marrying man, but wedding Jane is the only way to save the estate from ruin. Jane resists the smoldering heat between them, desperate not to fall in love with an unrepentant rake. But for the first time ever, Constantine wants more than seduction. He wants all of her–body, heart, and soul…
Constantine was such a delight to write. I'm still half in love with him myself. Jane is outspoken and awkward and she doesn't know what the heck she is doing trying to handle this wicked rake or how she's supposed to persuade him to marry her. But she does see him quite clearly in many ways and manages to take him at a disadvantage sometimes, too. It was an interesting dynamic to write.
Can you tell us about the Ministry of Marriage? Sounds intriguing!
The Ministry of Marriage is a group of nobles who have banded together to approve and negotiate aristocratic alliances. It operates as a cross between a corporate board and the NFL draft! The body is not actually a government ministry, of course--that's just the nickname the group has given themselves.
I had a lot of fun with the M.O.M. because I get to play with the slightly older generation who are arranging these matches. The Duke of Montford, the head of Jane's family, appears very cold and ruthless but as the series goes on we see more of the real man. And there is ongoing speculation about his relationship with another member of the Ministry, Lady Arden.
However, the main job of the Ministry is to interfere in the central romance, which is very trying for my poor hero and heroine!
I've also been lucky enough (yeah, I know, I'm gloating!) to read the second book in the series, MAD ABOUT THE EARL (cute title!). Equally wonderful story but you know I'm a sucker for Beauty and the Beast tales. Can you tell us about book two in the Ministry of Marriage series?
Gloat away, Anna! I love gloating about the sneak peeks I get at your books! But seriously, thank you. I know you have a soft spot for this story.
MAD ABOUT THE EARL (aka MATE) is Rosamund's story and it will be released on January 3, 2012. I'm touting it as a great New Year's hangover cure! Rosamund is cousin to Jane, also brought up under the guardianship of the Duke of Montford. The beauty of the family, Rosamund has been betrothed to the beastly Griffin deVere for years but he won't claim her as his wife. When circumstances force Griffin to go through with the marriage he has avoided so long, Rosamund refuses to marry him unless he does the London Season and courts her properly. Rosamund tames her beast (a little) but she must also face her own demons before she can have her happy ending.
Can you give us any hints about the third book in the series?
I won't go into too much detail as the book isn't written yet, but A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER will be Cecily's story, out in July 2012. She's a bit of a handful and it's going to take a very strong man to match her. Luckily, I've found one in Cecily's duke!
I've been dying for Cecily's story. Sounds delicious! You have a very beautiful collage (all right, it's just the pics of Rufus Sewell, call me shallow!) for HEIRESS IN LOVE on your website. Can you take us through the way these pictures inspired you when you were writing the story?
LOL, you and I must both be shallow, then, because they're my faves, too! I made a collage physically on a carboard chart but I couldn't seem to get a good photo of it so I reproduced it as well as I could on photoshop.
What seems to happen when I collage is that I track through the moods of the story from top (beginning) to bottom (end). Usually the characters are separate at the top and surrounded by their allies and enemies, then, they seem to clash, then come together more on the way down to the foot of the page. I like to get pieces of setting here and there. I really love that black and white photo of Rufus Sewell (my inspiration for Constantine) looking as if he's been destroyed. There's a scene toward the end of HEIRESS IN LOVE where Constantine is all but broken and that helped me get the feeling into the book.
Here is a very cool fan video of Rufus Sewell. You can see two sides to him--he can be a charmer but there's that amazing intensity to him as well. *Fans self!*
And now I'd like to ask all of you lovely people--what real life person would you choose as the inspiration for the hero of a romance and why? Links to pictures encouraged and appreciated, particularly in Regency dress!:) A signed copy of HEIRESS IN LOVE will go to one lucky commenter!