Hi, Darcy! Welcome to my blog, I am so happy to be a part of your ongoing tour. I have to first of all say how much I love your covers - if a cover is ever going to entice a reader to pick up a book, yours will! They're fabulous :)
You look so young in your author pic! I'm intrigued by your success - I'm assuming your journey has been quick and painless...but I may well be wrong!
Let's start the interview...
1) Who is your favourite author and why?
I’m not sure I have a clear cut favorite, but I love Judith McNaught’s historicals, particularly Almost Heaven (full disclosure: as much as I love most of her books, I absolutely loathe Whitney, My Love). I love the setup of the heroine ruined by the hero, and the way they come back into each other’s lives. There’s a great scene where the hero allies himself with someone he hates in order to swoop in and “save” the heroine. Love it! I’m also a huge Elizabeth Hoyt fan. The Serpent Prince is probably my favorite of her books, but I’m really enjoying her Maiden Lane series. I love the historical ambience of her books. Everything feels so authentic, especially the language.
2) When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’m guessing you mean romance writer. I started writing seriously for publication about six years ago, but I have a lot of unfinished stuff I started in my teens, including a screenplay I was going to write for one of my favorite books back then—Seaflame by Valerie Vayle. Think anyone wants to make a movie about a female pirate and her sister? (Let’s make a pact not to discuss Geena Davis’ Cutthroat Island, k?)
3) Describe your writing space?
I have an office at home. It has a decent view of our neighbor’s two acre yard (we literally live at the edge of the urban growth boundary so our view is largely country). I especially enjoy the fountain in front of my window, which is quite the meeting spot for all sorts of birds. My desk is covered in a variety of things: several spiral notebooks pertaining to my various projects and one for general publishing production, pictures, a few craft books (I like Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King a lot), a few of my favorite romance books that provide inspiration just by sitting there, research books (currently they are: London, the Wicked City, An Illustrated Guide to London, 1800, and The Regency Underworld), and the usual mail, bills, and other household detritus.
4) What are you reading now?
I’m actually reading an advanced copy of Elisabeth Naughton’s Slave to Passion, the second novella in her Firebrand series about three djinn brothers. It’s unbelievably awesome.
5) How many books have your written? Which is your favourite?
I’ve written six novels. It’s hard to pick a favorite, I love them all for various reasons.
6) What comes first, plot or characters?
In the beginning, plot came first, but now characters do. I write primarily character-driven stories so getting that right is most important. I really try to focus on character first and dream up a plot around them.
7) Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
All the time! I’m a plantser, meaning I plot to a certain extent, but I also go by the seat of my pants as I’m writing from turning point to turning point. I try to plot out the turning points, but I think I’m 0/6 for actually having them remain static. I can write much faster if I can at least plot to my next turning point so I know where the characters and story are going. Having to take time away for several days is an almost certain path to writer’s block for me. I do much better if I can stay immersed in a story.
8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like to spend time with my family. I enjoy watching movies, wine tasting, running (which I never, ever thought I’d hear myself say), and taking off somewhere at a moment’s notice. Wish I could do that last one a little bit more. J
9) Tell us about your latest book?
To Seduce a Scoundrel is the third book in the Secrets and Scandals series and the second “fight club” book. The hero, Lord Ambrose Sevrin, runs a fight club for working class men (save himself and the one other nobleman, the Earl of Saxton, who joined in the previous book, His Wicked Heart). I like to call the opening of this book Regency Date Night, like the movie starring Steve Carrell and Tina Fey. Ambrose and Philippa experience a truly wild night of misadventure after misadventure starting with Ambrose saving Philippa from discovery at a scandalous vice party. And how does a scoundrel keep a debutante from being seen in that instance? By sweeping her into a dark corner and kissing her, of course. It’s quite a move for Ambrose given the fact he’s chosen to be celibate the past five years, but then Ambrose is not your typical scoundrel. Philippa is a great foil for him because she won’t let him retreat into himself and keep the world at bay. She demands his attention, and the attraction that flies between them is really fun.
10) What’s next for you?
Next up is a novella, the fourth installment of the Secrets and Scandals series. To Love a Thief features a character readers met very briefly in Her Wicked Ways, Lord Kersey. A former constable, he’s recently inherited a viscountcy—a position he’s wholly unprepared for. Fortunately for him, a prominent earl takes him under his wing and guides him through Society. Kersey is eager to use his new role to further his efforts regarding police reform, and to that end, he’d like a viscountess by his side to help with the social aspects. He sets his sights on Jocelyn Renwick, until he catches her stealing from his mentor. Jocelyn saw the earl with one of her family’s prized heirlooms which had been stolen two years prior. When she asked for its return, the earl declared the item had been in his family for generations. Because it’s her word against his, she realizes her only recourse is to recover the items by stealing them. And the plan would’ve worked too if it wasn’t for that meddling Lord Kersey! The two will have to team up to get to the bottom of things and sparks will fly.
Following To Love a Thief, two more full-length novels will round out the series. Never Love a Scoundrel will be out in December and features the mysterious Lord Lockwood and the gossipy Lady Lydia Prewitt, who readers met in To Seduce a Scoundrel. Readers also met the dangerous criminal Jagger and the wallflower Audrey Cheswick, who will get their story in Scoundrel Ever After, which is due in March 2013.
Secrets and Scandals Series
Book 1: Her Wicked Ways
SHE WAS HIS SAVIOR
Banished from London for her reckless behavior, Lady Miranda Sinclair is robbed by a dashing highwayman en route to the country. By offering him a kiss in lieu of the jewels she had to leave behind, she commits the very type of act that caused her exile. When her dour guardians extend her punishment to performing charitable work at the local orphanage, she’s further tempted by the home’s owner, a provincial gentleman who stirs her passion in a most wicked way.
HE WAS HER DOWNFALL
Desperate to save his orphanage from financial catastrophe, Montgomery "Fox" Foxcroft leads a double life as a highwayman. The arrival of wealthy, well-connected Miranda, whose kiss he can’t forget, presents a lawful opportunity to increase his coffers. His problems seem solved—until she rejects his suit. Out of options and falling for the heiress, Fox must risk what principles he has left and take advantage of her wicked ways—even if it ruins them both.
Book 2: His Wicked Heart
IT’S HARD TO BE RESPECTABLE
Jasper Sinclair, Earl of Saxton, made a bargain with his devil of a father to marry in one month’s time. But instead of shackling himself to an acceptable debutante, he indulges his baser needs. He joins a fighting club and pursues a delectable woman who may not be what she seems. Soon he finds himself battling addictions that threaten his already wicked heart.
WHEN YOU’D RATHER BE WICKED
Orphaned seamstress Olivia West wants the chance to lead an honest, respectable life, but the arrogant Earl of Saxton launches a daunting campaign to make her his mistress. Destitute and desperate, she agrees to one night with the dangerous lord, hatching a scheme to take his money and keep her virtue. However, Jasper uncovers her deception and vows to claim what he's owed—not his money, her.
Book 3: To Seduce a Scoundrel
A LADY ON THE BRINK OF DISASTER
Quintessential debutante Lady Philippa Latham is determined to avoid scandal at all costs so that she may marry well. When her mother’s outrageous behavior threatens their family’s reputation, Philippa unwittingly follows her to a party no unmarried Society girl would risk attending. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Philippa is “rescued” from disaster by England’s most notorious scoundrel, which sets them both on a path to public and personal ruin.
A SCOUNDREL IN NEED OF SEDUCTION
Lord Ambrose Sevrin is infamous for ruining his brother’s fiancée and refusing to marry her. Content to remain among the fringe of the upper ten thousand, he is an intriguing enigma to London’s elite. Philippa thinks she’s met the true Ambrose—a gentleman who would fight to defend her and help her secure a husband before it’s too late. But he can’t be that husband, even for her. He won’t tolerate redemption—or love—for his crimes are far worse than anyone can imagine.
Her Wicked Ways
She sighed, a sound of deep regret. “I told you, I have no money.”
“You’re lying. You reek of wealth.” Fox sniffed loudly to punctuate his statement and got a nose full of her alluring scent for his trouble.
“I know.” Her lips curved into a small, almost seductive smile. It stole his breath. Literally. When he finally remembered to take air, he did so quite audibly. Her mouth widened then, and her face shone like the sun on the brightest summer day.
What the hell kind of highwayman fixated on some chit like a cheap Byron impostor?
Fox reined in his wayward lust. “You must have something of value. A piece of jewelry? A quizzing glass?”
She arched a brow. “What do you take me for? A doddering dowager?”
Good God, no. Never that. If they’d been anywhere else, he would’ve laughed.
Instead, he called out to Rob, as much to distract himself from her as to determine his steward’s progress. “How are you doing over there?” He was careful to lower his voice lest Carmody determine his identity. Highway robbery shouldn’t be this bloody complicated.
“Coming along. Gent’s being quite accommodating.”
He returned his attention to the girl, disappointed she hadn’t sprouted a wart in the last few seconds. “I don’t have time to discuss the finer points of your doddering or lack thereof. Return to the carriage and retrieve whatever it is you have of value. I’d hate to have to use my pistol.”
Her gaze flicked downward. “Your pistol?”
Hell’s teeth, had she just looked at his crotch?
“You’re not even pointing it at me.”
She was quite maddeningly correct.
His Wicked Heart
Olivia stood taller and thrust her chin at him. “I came from Devon several months ago and took a position at the theatre as a seamstress. I only filled in onstage for an actress who left temporarily to care for a sick relative. It was then I had the misfortune of encountering—and being bedeviled—by you.”
Bedeviled? He’d show her bedeviled. Jasper closed the gap between them until they nearly touched. “And when is it exactly that you came from Devon?”
She tipped her head back, but didn’t shrink from him. An auburn curl loosened and grazed her ivory cheek. “March.”
He took in the graceful sweep of her neck, partially covered from his hungry gaze by the starched collar of her shirt beneath the deep sage green of her riding habit. His lust threatened to destroy any semblance of propriety, which, alone as they were in the gallery, was nonexistent. “So you really are from Devon.”
“Yes.” Her voice deepened, stirring his desire further.
He tucked the stray lock of hair behind her ear. “And your parents died last year. Were they ill?”
Her breathing hitched as his fingers skimmed the outer shell, and he felt a surge of triumph. “A coaching accident.”
“You said you didn’t own any horses.”
The flash of disquiet in her eyes confirmed the lie. She drew back, and his body regretted that his mind had pursued this course instead of kissing her senseless. “They’d borrowed someone else’s carriage.” A plausible excuse, but he still didn’t believe her.
So disappointing—both her dishonesty and his unquenched lust. “Ah, and therein lies the tragedy.”
She turned, quickly, before she showed him any emotion.
To Seduce a Scoundrel
“Is that what you’ve been doing with your dance partners tonight? Husband hunting?” The notion filled Ambrose with a disturbing sense of nausea.
They danced apart again and Ambrose took the opportunity to mentally review the men he’d watched her with. When they came together, he said, “That foreign boy…you danced with him out of obligation, not because you’re considering his suit?”
Philippa smiled up at him, her ale-colored eyes sparkling beneath the glow of hundreds of candles. “Oh, stop. I’m not considering his suit, but he’s perfectly charming.”
“Charm is your chief requirement in a husband?”
Her body moved with precision and grace. “Along with honor and kindness.”
“You might do better with a dog.”
She laughed as they danced apart again. Such a warm, lovely sound. He would miss it.
When they came together, she gave him a contemplative look. “Is there a breed you recommend?”
“Something loyal who’s ready to defend you.”
“Like you?” She gazed at him alluringly and he had to work to focus on the dance steps.
“That is not how I’d describe myself.” Unfaithful, selfish, arrogant…these were far more accurate adjectives.
“But your ability to defend me and my honor is well-established. And here you are with me again tonight.” She shook her head, her lips set firmly together. “I’m dubbing you loyal.”
He leaned forward slightly and lowered his voice to just above a whisper. “Please, stop. You’re going to reverse my black reputation. I can’t have that.”
AUTHOR INFORMATION: Darcy Burke wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. An RWA Golden Heart® Finalist, Darcy loves all things British (except tomatoes for breakfast, or any other time of day, actually) and happy ever afters.
A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her devoted husband, their two great kids, and three cats. In her “spare” time Darcy is a serial volunteer enrolled in a 12-step program where one learns to say “no,” but she keeps having to start over. She’s also a fair-weather runner, and her happy places are Disneyland and Labor Day weekend at the Gorge. Visit Darcy online at http://www.darcy-burke.com, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/darcyburke, or like her Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/darcyburkefans.
Darcy will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card, a copy of the anthology Born to Bite (out in August), an ebook of The Runaway Countess by Leigh LaValle, and a Sara Ramsey ebook. She is also running a contest on her website: sign up for her newsletter during the tour and you might win a $10 Amazon gift card.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2012/06/virtual-book-tour-scandals-and-secrets.html.