I’m so happy to welcome this author. Her books just make me so very happy. Have you been lucky to read any of them? If not, I’m hoping you’ll take my word when I tell you that she knows her craft inside-out and once you read her stories, you’ll be hooked for life! Trust me.
Bookworms, please help me welcome Cara Elliott.
Cara, before I start with the questions, how about you tell us a bit about your writing career?
Cara Elliott: Well, my mother would tell you that I started my writing career when I was five years old—and she actually saved the book! It’s a Western, complete with colorful crayon drawings of cowboys and horses (and lots of misspelling, which I still make!) I loved art as well as writing throughout school, and got my Master’s degree in Graphic Design, which led me to work as a Creative Director in magazine design for a number of years.
So it took me a while to return to writing . . . and by that time my interest had switched from the Wild West to Regency England. (I guess I have a thing for Men in Boots!) It’s very exciting to be back working at my first love, and I’m now lucky enough to write full time.
Titles are also very important. I wondered if you have help in coming up with them.
CE: It’s definitely a collaborative effort with my editor and the whole editorial department. Titles are definitely very important, and it’s fun to toss around ideas. That’s when the fun starts to happen and the creative energy starts crackling as we all start making suggestions. And then, something will just click that all of us love.
Do you let someone read your work during your writing process? Who and why? Or do you wait ‘till it’s finished, then you let someone read it…and who?
CE: It must be my introvert nature because, no I’m not one of those writers who likes critiques or critique groups. For better or for worse, I like to craft and work through the creative process by myself. It’s how I get to know my characters and develop a feel for how they react to situations. I do have a few Beta readers who occasionally see a finished manuscript before I give it to my editor, but for the most part, it’s a solitary effort up to that point.
How have your characters and their stories come to you and which one/s whispered the loudest for their story to be told?
CE: Oh, inspiration comes to me in all sorts of odd ways. I see a snippet in a history book or see a portrait in a museum with a caption about the real-life person, and think, “Hmmm, that could turn into a really fun story.” Or take my current release, SCANDALOUSLY YOURS. I began thinking on how “Sleepless in Seattle” could make such a delightful Regency plotline, what with all the letter writing . . . so I just started letting my imagination run wild. That’s the great thing about writing for me—just letting my mind run off on its own!
As a writer, I’m sure you read a lot, that is when you get some time to yourself. What do you read the most, genre included, and what’s on your TBR right now?
CE: I’m an avid reader, and love lots of different genres in addition to romance. Non-fiction history and historical mystery are a few favorites. Right now I’m reading Empty Mansions, a fascinating look at the life of reclusive heiress Huguette Clark and the history of her fabulously wealthy family. It’s an amazing American story from the Gilded Age. And then I have two historical mysteries on the TBR pile from authors I love: An Old Betrayal, a Victorian mystery by Charles Finch, and Murder at Hatfield House, an Elizabethan mystery by Amanda Carmack.
What’s your favorite meal of the day (food)?
CE: Does chocolate count? (Ha, ha, ha,)
During a thunderstorm – stay inside or sit on porch watching the show?
CE: I like watching the show . . . or even rolling up my yoga pants and taking a barefooted walk in the rain.
Flannels or Silk? Sports car or SUV? Cats or Dogs? Champagne or Beer? Movies or TV? What’s your favorite TV show or movie?
CE: Flannels AND silk. Sports car. Dogs. Champagne. Movies. I confess to being a great fan of the old Cary Grant screwball comedies of the 30s and 40s. I love the witty dialogue and the chic clothes.
Do you like to cook? What’s your favorite spot in the house? Your favorite time of the year?
CE: Yes, I do love to cook, and my friends and family will tell you that I make some killer risottos and desserts. My favorite room is my writing room, which looks out on a grove of pine trees. It’s very cozy because I’m surrounded by floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with books and various quirky little mementos I’ve picked up during my various travels. As for seasons, I love autumn with the changing colors and the crispness to the air here in New England . . . but it’s way too short!
Cara, thanks so much for stopping by b2b and we wish you great success with this new series, I just loved this first story and am looking forward to the next two.
GIVEAWAY! 1 commenter / 1 eBook! International!
‘SCANDALOUSLY YOURS’ by Cara Elliott
BOOK BLURB: The eldest of the three Sloane sisters, Olivia is unafraid to question the boundaries of Society-even if it does frequently land her in trouble. Disdaining the glittery world of balls and courtship, Olivia prefers to spend her time writing fiery political essays under a pseudonym for London’s leading newspaper.
But when her columns attract the attention of the oh-so-proper Earl of Wrexham, Olivia suddenly finds herself dancing on the razor’s edge of scandal. With the help of her sisters, she tries to stay one step ahead of trouble . . .
However, after a series of madcap misadventures, Wrexham, a former military hero who is fighting for social reform in Parliament, discovers Olivia’s secret. To her surprise, he proposes a temporary alliance to help win passage of his bill. Passion flares between them, but when a political enemy kidnaps the earl’s young son, they must make some dangerous decisions . . .and trust that love will conquer all.
“How dare you spy on me, sir!” demanded Olivia, once she had mastered her emotions enough to speak.
He fixed her with a commanding stare, the one that had set many a seasoned soldiers to quaking in their boots. “I would not have had to resort to such tactics if you had shown me the courtesy of answering my letters.”
Olivia refused to be intimidated. Lifting her chin, she scowled back at him. “I did answer them.”
“With a single word—no.”
“And what,” she asked with excruciating politeness, “did you not understand about such a simple syllable?”
John couldn’t help but admire her grit. It took courage and resourcefulness to play in a man’s world. And she played well, he conceded.
Expelling a harried sigh, he felt his anger dissipate just as quickly as it had come. She had no choice but to guard her secret very carefully. “Look, at least hear me out, Miss Sloane. Tracking down The Beacon has led me on a merry dance throughout Town.”
Olivia paled at the mention of the nom de plume. Turning abruptly, she plunged off the path and darted around a tangle of holly.
“Wait!” John ducked under the prickly branches, losing his hat in the process.
“Go away!” Her voice was muffled by the overhanging leaves.
“Not until we talk!”
“I’ve nothing to say to you.”
The Devil take it. All but a last little flutter of her skirts disappeared behind a shaggy yew hedge. Swearing under his breath, John cut through a patch of lavender. He hadn’t come this far to be rebuffed. She would damn well listen. Or else…
Several long strides brought him within arm’s reach of her. “Confound it, Miss Sloane, stop and listen,” he called, lunging for her sleeve.
As his fingers seized the fabric, his boot snagged on a twist of morning glory. Pitched off-balance, he stumbled and fell, taking her with him. Tangled together, they hit the ground hard, their momentum rolling them into a patch of pachysandra.
“Ooof!” Olivia’s flailing kick caught him square in the shin.
Flat on his back, John got a momentary glimpse of Olivia’s irrepressible curls dancing in the breeze before another half turn landed him on his stomach. Burning with embarrassment, he tried to right himself, only to find that she was sprawled across his…posterior.
Bloody hell, he had never felt like a bigger arse in all his life.
They both started wriggling at the same time. He managed to twist face-up just as she slipped on the glossy leaves and fell back down atop him.
“Miss Sloane,” he gasped.
“Lord Wrexham,” wheezed Olivia, an odd little burr roughening her already throaty voice.
For an instant, he feared she was going to burst into tears.
Instead, she began to laugh.
Scottie was right. It was a delightful sound, its top notes shaded with a rich, sensual echo that seemed to stroke over his skin like a moon-dappled midnight breeze.
A twitch tugged at his lips. His dignity—as well as his coat—was in tatters, his pride was bruised, and though he should not find it at all funny, John felt a rumble vibrate deep in his throat.
Olivia tried to get up again, but her limbs were too weak with mirth. “Good Lord, what a ridiculous picture we must make!” she wheezed in between burbles of laughter.
“Here, let me help you.” Levering to his feet, John lifted her up and as she seemed a bit shaky, he kept his hands on her waist.
“Well, it’s not every day I take a tumble in the hay with an earl,” she quipped.
“Please don’t think that I make a habit of ruining a young lady’s reputation,” he answered.
Her cheeks, already pink from the breeze, turned a lusher shade of red as she looked up and wet her lips.
John felt his body clench. His legendary sang froid began to bubble…His steely self-control went up in smoke…
Olivia flinched as his mouth possessed hers. She was like summer rain against his tongue. So soft, so sweet.
Her hands came up around his neck.
Hell, it would serve him right if she throttled him on the spot.
But then, all of a sudden, she was kissing him back.
In a daze, John twisted around and braced her back against the ivy-covered wall, the glossy leaves crackling under the crush of silk. He was dimly aware of a roaring like cannonfire in his ears, and as his hands slid down to cup her breasts he realized it was the pounding of his own heart.
Knocking all reason to flinders.
A gust of air ruffled his hair, stirring wild, wicked thoughts of her waltzing naked through the trees. In response, his own privy parts began dancing to their own drummer. Thump. Thump. Thump. His pulse was pounding a military tattoo, commanding all soldiers to stand erect.
And Dear God, his Major Organ was responding with unabashed enthusiasm.
Olivia didn’t seem disgusted by his display of primitive lust. With a tiny moan, she tightened her hold and hitched her hips into him.
Lud, it felt good. No, better than good.