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Why Austria? By Carrie Lofty

It started out so simply. For my historical romance titled SONG OF SEDUCTION ( http://www.carrielofty.com/Song.html ), available on June 7 from Carina Press, I began with two musicians. He was a renowned composer and piano player with a dark secret. She was a violin virtuosos whose scandalous birth compelled her to hide her talent.

Where in the world should such a story be set?

I’ve been a fan of the 1984 masterpiece Amadeus for such a long time. Greed, jealousy, brilliance–all there. Tom Hulce’s unmistakable laugh. F. Murray Abraham’s painful-to-watch despair. Throw in costumes and gorgeous sets and Mozart’s incredible, undeniable music, and you have one of my favorite movies of all time.

Perhaps it was no surprise, then, that I chose Mozart’s birthplace of Salzburg, Austria, for SONG OF SEDUCTION’s setting.

Part of the appeal had to be how completely unknown Salzburg was to me at the time. Beyond that tidbit about Mozart, I knew nothing else. I’d just come off about 15 years studying the American Old West, which had culminated in my master’s thesis on Jesse James and Wild Bill Hickok. To say I needed a change of pace is an understatement.

The more I learned, the more I became enamored of this faraway city. Its customs and people were so very different from the rough-n-ready frontier towns I’d studied for years. Salzburg had history going back to Roman times. It had culture and art and war and a tremendous sense of independence. And of course it remains a simply gorgeous city.

But to find the right publisher to take a chance on Austria…that took a little while. While many editors agreed that the story was worth publishing, they didn’t necessarily share my faith in the idea that readers would grow to love Salzburg too. Some suggested that they’d take a second look if I changed the book’s setting to England, a suggestion that made my heart sick. To my thinking, such a drastic change would’ve sucked all the personality out of it.

Hmmm…so what’s a girl to do?

I trunked SONG OF SEDUCTION and moved on to other projects, such as my medieval adventure romances from Kensington. But then came Carina Press, “where no great story goes untold.” The rest, as I frequently think, is history!

Knowing what I know now, I might think twice about setting a romance in Austria. But then I’d proceed along on my merry way and write it how anyhow. I’m stubborn, maybe, but I’m also having a great time indulging in the whims of my imagination.

If you could read a romance novel set in any time or place–someplace daring and unconventional–where and when would it be?

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The girls at WGR are thrilled to welcome author Carrie Lofty to our site today. Carrie, thanks so much for granting us an interview.

1.) Please tell us a little bit about your upcoming release, Scoundrel’s Kiss.

Scoundrel’s Kiss is the stand-alone sequel to my Robin Hood-themed debut, What a Scoundrel Wants. When last we saw Ada of Keyworth, she’d just been rescued from the Sheriff of Nottingham and had seriously burnt bridges with her family. She and a young admirer, Jacob ben Asher, head off to Spain together. But she’s haunted by the unlawful and sickening torture she endured and turns to opium for relief…

Gavriel de Marqueda is a warrior on the verge of taking his vows with the Order of Santiago. Before he can do so, he must pass one final test: save Ada from herself. He’s vowed obedience, nonviolence, and chastity, but Ada refuses to be held against her will, even for her own good, and vows to use every possible resource to thwart Gavriel’s offer of aid.

2.) Tell us, do you ever base your characters on real people?

My inspiration for the villainous characters is Scoundrel’s Kiss was Pedro Fernandez de Castro, a Leonese nobleman who, because of a grudge against his two royal cousins—both of whom were kings—sided with the Moors at a pivotal battle called Alarcos. He was exiled to North Africa and died there in 1214. But everyone else in this particular romance came from my own imagination!

3.) When writing a novel, what comes first for you, characters, setting, or plot?

I always begin with the setting. I get an idea of where I want the tale to take place—somewhere cold, warm, exotic, familiar. From there I learn my characters. Are the foreigners to this setting I’ve chosen? Raised there? Just passing through? Once I feel that I know them inside and out, the plot comes last. When I arrive at that stage in the process of telling the story, I’m a complete panster!

4.) What is the most challenging part of novel writing? The most rewarding part?

The most challenging part for me is the first draft. I have to get the characters and their romance out of my head and onto the page. The stamina required to trudge through the messy, hideous first attempt is immense. After that, it’s all about revisions and making it shiny and pretty. I love that part! Revisions are very rewarding because it’s the time when I really get to see—on the page—the story that’s been in my head for ages!

5.) Describe for us your favorite place to write.

It changes, actually. I wrote Scoundrel’s Kiss in a local coffee shop that has since closed. I’m also quite fond of my local library’s upstairs reading section, which overlooks a lovely park. And after a recent procedure on my foot, I’ve spent a great deal of time working from my couch. The only place I rarely sit down to write is my computer! Too many distractions!

6.) Say Scoundrel’s Kiss was scheduled to be made into a major motion picture. Who would play the parts of Ada and Gavriel?

I don’t know his name, but Gavriel has always been the model I used in my web trailer–and he sounds like Richard Armitage from “North and South”! Ada would definitely be played by Eva Green, who played Vespa Lind in Casino Royale. She’s smart, brittle, aggressive, sexy, and a little unhinged.

7.) What is your favorite season and why?

Winter. Absolutely. I love the days growing shorter, the holidays, and even the snow. That probably has something to do with the fact that I live in a condo and someone else shovels the snow!

8.) I noticed on your website that you have two small daughters. How do you balance motherhood and writing?

It was harder a few years ago when they were at home or in pre-school. Now that they’re both in school fulltime, I have a good 5-6 hours a day to work. Funny, though, that I still have trouble finding time for mopping…

9.) I also noticed you spent some time in England. What was that like?

I lived in England for roughly ten months, during my junior year of college. It was a fantastic, transformative experience. Not only did I get to really dig deep into English culture by spending so many months there, visiting everything from tourist attractions and historical landmarks to nightclubs and family-run pubs, but I met my husband too. His family took me in as one of their own, and now we return every other year with our daughters.

10.) Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

I recently had some fantastic news. The trilogy of apocalyptic paranormal romances I’ve co-written with Ann Aguirre will be published by Penguin. We’re writing under the pseudonym Ellen Connor, and you can read more about our books here: http://ellenconnor.com

11.) Thanks again for joining us today, Carrie. Before we let you go, please tell our readers where they can find out all the latest CL news! 

Website: http://www.carrielofty.com

Blog: http://lovelysalome.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/carrielofty

Unusual Historicals, the blog I founded in 2006 and managed: http://unusualhistoricals.blogspot.com

 

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scoundrels-kissScoundrel’s Kiss

Carrie Lofty

Kensington Publishing – January 5, 2010

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Scoundrels-Kiss-Carrie-Lofty/dp/1420104764

Author site: http://www.carrielofty.com

 

When I read the synopsis for Carrie Lofty’s ‘Scoundrel’s Kiss’ and saw that the story was set in the year 1201 I questioned whether I was the right reviewer for the book. I have long been a fan of the Historical Romance genre, but since this was a completely new time period for me, I’ll admit to being afraid I’d have to wade through pages of unfamiliar dialects and customs, hence detracting from my enjoyment of the story. I needn’t have worried. From its opening scenes I was completely swept away by this 13th Century tale of addiction and deception, of love and abuse.

In a life she can barely remember, beautiful and intelligent Ada worked as a foreign languages translator for noblewoman, Dona Valdedrona. Due to a case of mistaken identity, she was kidnapped and tortured. She turned to opium as a means of coping with the horrors she endured and the nightmares that would seemingly plague her for the rest of her life. Her need for the drug soon consumed her, and there was nothing she wouldn’t do to satisfy her addiction. In her new life, she lies and steals to obtain what she cannot beg or borrow.

Gavriel, a novice monk in the prestigious Order of Santiago, hides within the hallowed halls of a monastery in Ucles to try and escape some nightmares of his own. A former slave warrior, he took vows of chastity and nonviolence in the hope of atoning for the sins of his past. Healing Ada of her addiction remains his final test before he can become a full-fledged member of the order. What is at first merely a mutual temptation of the flesh soon becomes a battle of wills, but the pair discovers they must unite if they are to survive danger that lurks in unexpected places and defeat enemies neither knew they had.

Reading this extremely well plotted novel was much like watching a really great action adventure movie. Ada and Gavriel find themselves in danger from their first encounter, and things go from bad to worse for them as the story progresses, leaving the reader on the edge of her seat. Add to that elements of betrayal and deception, a few well placed love scenes, and political intrigue and you have a genuine nail-biting, can’t-put-downable reading experience. 

Though the characters are well drawn, I’ll admit it took me awhile to warm up to Ada. Headstrong and tough as nails, she seemed overly nasty at first. But as I journeyed deeper into her past I was able to understand her flaws better and I so loved watching her evolve into the character she became in the end. The equally flawed Gavriel, with his endearing blend of strength and self-doubt, came alive for me from the start. He is one of the hottest heroes I’ve come across in quite some time and I must admit Ada’s was not the only heart he captured! The story is populated with a cast of secondary characters that are no less lifelike than the hero and heroine, and the reader gets a sense of real people with very real struggles and triumphs.

In short, Carrie Lofty has created a dynamite story with interesting, likeable characters and a richly layered plot. By turns scorchingly sexy and tantalizingly tender, Scoundrel’s Kiss not only sizzles, it sparkles.

Honeybee

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In no certain order these are the books up next for review:

CHILDPROOFED by Reese Reed

MUD AND GOLD  by Shayne Parkinson

SCOUNDREL’S KISS  by Carrie Lofty

BUNCO BABES TELL ALL  by Maria Geraci

SOCIAL LIVES  by Wendy Walker

PROMISE ME TONIGHT  by Sara Lindsey

BECOMING  by Mark Lichterman

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