Happy Friday to you all! If you're looking for a great read for this weekend, check out Jeannie's book CLOAKED IN DANGER, which I reviewed yesterday. LOVED IT!
Now, I'd love to introduce you to Jeannie Ruesch! An amazing, historical romance author, and my friend. Her and I met years ago when we worked on a blog together--MAMAWRITERS. We had a blast and I'm so pleased for you to meet her and get to know her work.
***GIVEAWAY ALERT!!! Leave a COMMENT and SHARE this blog if you can, for your chance to win an e-copy of CLOAKED IN DANGER!***
1. What do you love most about writing historical romantic suspense?
Hi Eliza! Thanks for hanging out with me today! :) Wow, where to start with this answer? All three elements, historical, romance and suspense, I truly love and enjoy writing. I love delving into historical times and finding out how people then are similar and different from us. I love the hope that romance provides, the way that a good love story can fill us with joy. And I admit to being fascinated by the darkness, the shadows, the blurring of lines between right and wrong and why people do what they do. Combine the three, and I’m in heaven. :)
2. Do you plan to write in other genres?
Suspense in any time period fascinates me, so I might be included to try contemporary suspense. But I love history and I love bringing the world of today's romantic suspense into historical settings, so I'll probably stick with that for a while. After the Willoughby siblings have had their say, the next series I'm planning will have books set in multiple eras, all connected by one town full of tragedy, mystery and secrets. I can't wait to dig into that!
3. I loved Something About Her and Cloaked in Danger was icing on the cake! Do you have more books planned for the series?
Yes, two more planned. Lily and Cordelia have staked their claim on having their own books, and I'm working on those now. Lily's book is set 3 years after Cloaked in Danger ends, and suffice it to say that her life has not turned out as planned and she's ready to fight for the life she wants. Cordelia hasn't exactly been a typical heroine, she's somewhat bratty, and I'm enjoying delving into the whys and hows of who she is and what she really wants out of life.
4. What was the most interesting fact you found while researching your book?
Aria's father is an antiquarian (archeologist), and when I was trying to decide what treasure he was on the hunt for, I discovered that much of Cleopatra's treasures were destroyed after her death. Octavian ordered all likenesses destroyed — it was as if he wanted to wipe her off the map. I love the irony in that. He wanted her to fade into history, and in fact, she became one of the most famous, honored women of all time. Just makes you want to stick out your tongue and say, "So there!" to him.
But it left the door open for Gideon Whitney to be searching for something that, at that time, had not been discovered -- any artifacts of Cleopatra. It was fun to imagine what her jewelry must have looked like, what it would have felt like.
5. Did you come across anything in your research unintentionally that you HAD to put in your book because it was so fascinating?
I like finding small details that characters can interact with, something of the times that would be considered like how we see Coca Cola cans in people's hands today. One of the scenes in my book is set in Vauxhall Gardens, and when I was researching the layout of the gardens, I read about the paintings that decorated the supper boxes. I though, here is a perfect detail that my characters can interact with. Something that was normal in the time period, taken for granted, an every day item to anyone who visited the Gardens regularly. In the scene, my heroine is dealing with a friend/suitor and I thought showing their opinions about the paintings was a great way to illustrate aspects of their relationship. The painting in question was See Saw by Frances Hayman (below).
6. What do you think is an essential character trait to have in a hero/heroine?
Flaws. I think the most fascinating characters are the ones who don't always know the right thing, do the right thing. They need to be human, and we all have our strengths and weaknesses. And the very nature of a novel means that we're going to test the heck out of those strengths and weaknesses, so they'd better appear real and leap from the page. For the romance aspect of things, it's not about finding the "perfect" person, it's about finding the perfect person for YOU. And a book is no different. Our flaws and best features match up with our significant others, and hopefully compliment and balance each other. I hope that I did a good enough job in showing that Aria and Adam do balance each other.
7. The history/setting in your books are more like a secondary character, when did you first fall in love with historical fiction?
One of the first experiences I had with historical fiction was in reading Bertrice Small's book Beloved about Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra. I was fascinated and I remember thinking, how much of this if fact and how much is fiction? So I went searching to find out and I was enthralled to learn that Zenobia was a historical figure, who led a revolt against the Roman Empire and was delivered to Aurelius in golden chains. The weaving of the history and the love story Small created was so amazing to me, and I was hooked.
8. Is there anything you'd like to share with or ask readers?
I'd love to give my thanks to our historical romance readers out there! There are so many fascinating authors with great stories to tell (including Eliza's!) and we truly appreciate you and your love of the genre.
About Cloaked in Danger
Publication Date: January 27, 2014
Aria Whitney has little in common with the delicate ladies of London society. Her famous father made his fortune hunting archaeological treasures, and her rustic upbringing has left her ill prepared for a life of parties and frippery. But when Gideon Whitney goes missing in Egypt, Aria must embrace the unknown. Armed with only the short list of highborn men who’d backed her father’s venture, she poses as a woman looking for a husband. She doesn’t intend to find one.
Adam Willoughby, Earl of Merewood, finds London’s strangest new debutante fascinating, but when he catches her investigating his family’s secrets, he threatens to ruin her reputation. He doesn’t intend to enjoy it so much.
When their lustful indiscretion is discovered, Adam finds that he regrets nothing. But now, as Aria’s father’s enemy draws near, Adam must convince his betrothed that she can trust him with her own secrets…before it’s too late.
Praise for Cloaked in Danger
“Cloaked in Danger has all the elements readers crave— larger-than-life characters, a vivid and believable setting, heart-pounding romance and just the right amount of mystery. Don’t miss it! It kept me reading deep into the night.” — New York Times Bestselling Author Brenda Novak
“In ‘Cloaked in Danger’ Jeannie Ruesch has crafted a taut, emotional thrill-ride through the streets of Regency London. Archaeological adventure and drawing room intrigue are combined in a story that will keep you reading late into the night. Jeannie Ruesch is an author to watch.” — RITA Award Nominated Author Elizabeth Essex
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About the Author
Jeannie Ruesch wrote her first story at the age of the six, prompting her to give up an illustrious, hours-long ambition of becoming a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader and declare that writing was her destiny. That journey to destiny took a few detours along the way, including a career in marketing and design.
Her first novel, a fairy-tale like historical romance, was published in 2009, but the darker side of life had always captivated her. So after a dinner conversation with friends about the best way to hide a dead body, she knew she had to find a way to incorporate suspense into her writing. (The legal outlet for her fascination.) Today, she continues writing what she loves to read – stories of history, romance and suspense. She lives in Northern California with her husband, their son and an 80 pound lapdog lab named Cooper.