Fan2Author Interview with Jane Lark!

jl tlloas

b2bMelanie: I’m so happy to welcome this author! Just love her books! Without further adieu, here she is! Jane Lark! Jane, before I start with the questions, how about you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing career?

Jane Lark: Well so far my writing ‘career’ has been very brief… my first book was published in May 2013, and then republished by Harper Collins in October 2015 as The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, but I have been writing since 2006 so since October 2015 Harper Collins have been pouring out my backlog, and I now have seven books released and three more are due out in the autumn. But I have always loved writing and wanted to write novels for as long as I can remember.

b2b: Can you tell us more about ‘The Lost Love of a Soldier’ and why you chose to write this prequel to ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’?

The Illicit Love of a CourtesanJL: To be honest the only reason I wrote this was because readers asked for it. When I published the first edition of The Illicit Love of a Courtesan I immediately afterwards self-published a short story ‘Capturing the Earl’s Love’ (which was then taken off the market as Harper Collins contracted that too but it was not re-released until May this year). The short story shares the stories of two of the sub characters from the first book but at the time people kept thinking this would be the prequel and were looking for a prequel. 

b2b: How have your characters and their stories come to you and which one/s whispered the loudest for their story to be told?

JL: My characters generally come to me from elements of real people who lived out true stories at some point in history. From these true stories my imagination picks out elements and builds a patchwork of fictional Regency life. Initially I was not sure about writing the prequel, because obviously The Illicit Love of a Courtesan is about Ellen and Edward, and Edward would have no part in the prequel, and yet at the time people began talking about a prequel I was working on The Scandalous Love of a Duke, the story of Ellen’s son, John. The more I worked on that I felt Paul, who appears as a past character in two books, developing a personality of his own, and then because John was having such a difficult time accepting the fact he had never known his father, I felt as though I needed to write him, because then John could have access to him. I know crazy writers…

b2b: Which book you wrote might we be surprised to learn that you had the hardest TPLOAR JLtime writing?

JL: The Lost Love of a Soldier is definitely the hardest, initially it was only intended to be 15,000 to 30,000 words and just a fleeting visit to Ellen eloping, then following Paul into battle, like Capturing the Earl’s Love, which has gathered interest like a snowball on Amazon, but is really a very fleeting storyline, just to give people a bit of light historical entertainment. BUT then––I had to make The Lost Love of a Soldier far more true to fact than the other books because a) it had to follow what really happened in the build up to battle of Waterloo b) I had chosen an actual regiment for Paul to serve under in The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, and so I had to find out where they were when, to ensure the story was realistic. AND then––while I was working on those things, and discovering what the real soldiers and those that travelled with them experienced I knew the story had to be more than a shallow visit with a young Ellen.

2015 is the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, in the summer of 2014 the real 52nd Oxfordshire Regiment of Foot were in England, taking a break from war, before they were due to sail to America. I have worked with the military for about ten years of my life. I know what soldiers endure. I could not then write this book without respect for the real people who made the journey back to the battlefields of Europe which they had only left the summer before and where they had endured many incidents that would have left them with nightmares, and I could not make it a hurried tale, because by hurrying it, it would have become unrealistic and a bit bizarre to just dive into them in Brussels, the battle… and then..

jl ctelPlus it was also hard, because Paul is not the love of Ellen’s life. So the book could not center on the intense Romantic relationships I prefer to write. I have been married twice myself, and my second marriage is very different to my first. Ellen loves Paul, she is a seventeen year old girl in the 18th century who has never left her father’s estate, and never even been to a ball. She is entirely innocent, as many young women were in her day… And I wanted to honor all of that…

b2b: Is there a book you’re never tired of reading over and over?

JL: Katherine by Anya Seton. I just love that story. It also really moves me whenever I go anywhere the real John and Katherine lived…  Even though I know that Katherine is 95% fiction.

b2b: Do you like reading classics and is there one that you’re embarrassed to say you’ve never read?

JL: I like having classics on my bookshelf ;) I read them very rarely and general in short doses, the language in them is generally not all that flowing, let’s remember they were written for a very different generation of people. So while the stories are still great, the writing styles––not necessarily. But I did reread Vanity Fair while writing The Lost Love of a Soldier. There isn’t anything I would be embarrassed to say I have not read but youjl tsload may think it is a sin to say I prefer Vanity Fair, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Mill on the Floss to Pride and Prejudice.

b2b: Is there a book that you recently read that you wish you had written?

JL: Probably the wrong answer, but no. I enjoy the things I write, I always want to write for pleasure. Especially as I still have to work and writing is an escape for me. Even The Lost Love of a Soldier was awesome being able to connect with people who took part in Waterloo through imagination.

b2b: What’s a movie adaptation of a book that you loved or that you wish it is made?

JL: There are two movie adaptations of books that I’ve read that I think are good ‘Troy’ is one. I bet that is not what you were expecting. LOL. But I love the film Troy! The other one was the recent adaptation of Jane Eyre, it is the only time I have seen Rochester portrayed in a way that makes you actually believe he could have caught Jane’s interest.

b2b: If you were given only one genre to read for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Just YouJL: Historical… Sigh… I love writing love stories, but I love being in historical settings and discovering things about the people who lived in the past.

b2b: What was the last book that made you laugh out loud, and what was the last one that made you cry?

JL: I don’t tend to buy books that make me laugh, I can’t remember one that ever has, and cry… I think One Day was the last book that made me cry.

b2b: What was your favorite book as a child?

JL: LOL Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree series…. But by eleven I was reading Mill on the Floss and the Iliad. I was a strange child. I think I first read Katherine at the age of twelve.

b2b: What’s your favorite TV show or movie?

JL: My favorite TV show… ever… Time Team – covered so much. My favorite TV series, would be a toss of a coin between the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice and the 1998 version of Vanity Fair, neither stories make good films because too much has to be left out. My favorite film currently Tangled, by Disney ;) Random!

b2b: During a thunderstorm – stay inside or sit on porch watching the show?

JL: Sit on a porch 100% I swam in an outside swimming pool in a thunderstorm once,jl ify my mum didn’t know at the time, and I was only 8. I loved it! (P.S. don’t do it, bad idea for health and safety you’d fry if it hit).

b2b: Flannels or Silk?

JL: Oh my goodness SILK!

b2b: Sports car or SUV?

JL: Sports car all the way.

b2b: Cats or Dogs?

JL: DOGS!

b2b: Champagne or Beer?

JL: Beer, I am not a champagne girl. A good hearty locally brewed beer for me. Or even better a pale ale…

b2b: Movies or TV?

JL: Movies!!!!!!!!! <3 But like I say to my daughter reading a book is even better it’s like watching a movie for hours…. :D and while writing I get to be in the movie for weeks!

jl tdloal

‘The Desperate Love of a Lord’

FREE for PRE ORDER on AMAZON

Jane! I am so happy you had the time to visit with us! It was a blast to get to know you a bit better!

Bookworms, have any questions for our guest author? One of you will end up with a signed print copy of the gorgeous soldier on this cover!

Jane

AUTHOR BIO: Jane is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance, and a Kindle top 25 bestselling author.

She began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis. When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write.

Now Jane is writing a Regency series and contemporary, new adult, stories and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others’ imaginations at last.

Jane is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development in the United Kingdom, and uses this specialist understanding of people to bring her characters to life.

Social Media:  Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

‘The Lost Love of a Soldier’ by Jane Lark

jl tlloasSTORY: The stunning prequel to Kindle bestseller The Illicit Love of a Courtesan!
Life is for grasping and living…

Naïve and innocent, Lady Ellen Pembroke falls for a dashing young army officer. Captain Paul Harding has such an easy, enchanting smile and his blue eyes glow; vibrancy and warmth emanating from him. She is in love.

In turn, the Captain finds his attention captured by the beautiful young daughter of the Duke of Pembroke at a house party in the summer. Finding Ellen is like finding treasure on the battle field. His sanity clings to her – something beautiful to remind him that not all in the world is ugly.

Ellen is someone to fight for and someone to survive for when he is inevitably called to arms in the battle of Waterloo…

REVIEW: Let me preface this review with letting you all know how much I love reading this author’s work. I was left an emotional wreck each time I finished one of her books, and this one more so than the others and that is because this one is a prequel to Ellen’s romance with Edward in ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’.

My advice, to all that have not read this author, is to read this story before you go on to ‘TILOAC’. Take my word for it. It will help you understand the heroine Ellen much better.

Having read ‘TILOAC’ first, I knew the outcome of this story and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it. I’m one of those that do not read the ending before I start the book. I can deal with the spoilers, but I can’t deal with someone letting me know what the ending is. It just ruins the story, don’t you think? Well, at least that’s what I think …thought, I should say. Because, in the end, my knowledge of this authors wonderful storytelling won me over and I went for it.

By the time the story was done, I felt sorrow, anger and a relief. That last one was only because I knew that Ellen’s story does not end with this book.

Ms. Jane Lark did an outstanding job at writing a heartbreaking ‘first love’ story of two young and disillusioned people. Both characters were well developed and the emotional turmoil and internal struggle they went through as they slowly came to terms with the choices they made in order to be together. The steady pace of the story helps a reader connect with and understand these two as they embark on the journey of discovery of each other and their environment. Especially the historical part and the era this takes place in. If you loved ‘War and Peace’ than you’ll appreciate the reality Ms. Lark gives to this story and its locations from Brussels at Lady Richmond’s ball, the Battle of Quatre-Bras and on to Waterloo. We are in awe as much as our teenaged bride is, of the life a soldier and his wife are forced to endure, from slow and muddy marches to making silent love in the cot among sleeping soldiers.

Even though I thought the story well written and plotted, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would have been better off not knowing Paul at all. I found myself questioning his choices and accusing him of selfishness while at the same time making allowances for them because of his age. He was so very young and all he wanted to do is love and be loved.

In the end I have concluded that if I’ve read this story before book one, my appreciation and understanding of what Ellen went through would have been ten times of what it really was.

Do I recommend it? Hell yes. The prose alone is worth the read, not to mention the historical detail included. Be warned though. The emotional rollercoaster of this story is ever present and doesn’t let go until the very end, or the next book, I should say.
If you’d like to read of Ellen’s son John Harding, the Duke of Pembroke, his story is in ‘The Scandalous Love of a Duke’.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

‘Enticing Miss Eugenie Villaret’ by Ella Quinn

eq emevSTORY: William, Viscount Wivenly, plans to remain the most eligible of bachelors. He refuses to surrender to the schemes of husband-hunting ladies and matchmaking mamas. Fleeing the pressure of the ton, he’s bent on finding refuge in the West Indies. What he finds instead is a fascinating stranger, a woman so unlike those of his society that he can’t resist such a beguiling distraction…

Determined to let nothing complicate her mission to protect her family’s livelihood while covertly rescuing orphaned slave children, Miss Eugénie Villaret does her best to evade suitors. But when dashing William lures her down a path of forbidden adventure and delicious danger, she may be convinced that business can indeed be mixed with pleasure—and persuaded to add passion to her priorities…

REVIEW: This is the fifth book in Ella Quinn’s The Marriage Game series [The Seduction of Lady Phoebe; The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh; The Temptation of Lady Serena; Desiring Lady Caro; Enticing Miss Eugenie Villaret] and out of all five, my least favorite.

I really wanted to love this story as much as I loved the one right before it [Desiring Lady Caro], but something just didn’t click with me in this one.

William was someone I didn’t like from the start, but I didn’t hate him. He just struck me as someone who was too dense and uncaring, and once I formed that opinion, it was hard for me to get on board of his ‘redemption’ to being a hero.

Eugenie, our heroine who is supposed to be an innocent when it came to relationships with men and sophisticated enough to be someone who is fighting for a worthy cause of enslaved children was a contradiction, and I never connected with her.

That said, I love this author and her work and even in this story she manages, through her wonderful prose, to take me back in time and enjoy the beauty of the setting, the Caribbean. I actually found the subplot of the hero and heroine’s friends’ love story more appealing and despite its pace, more believing.

In the end, I do recommend it to all of those that have already read the other four books in this series, if for nothing else but for Ms. Quinn’s writing and research alone. She did an outstanding job of transporting me to and letting me experience not just history but a culture of the Dutch West Indies during Regency of which I knew nothing about. I so wish the characterization of the main characters was given just a tad more time and thought.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Through the Smoke’ by Brenda Novak

bn ttsSTORY: A shocking betrayal…

Riches. Power. An ancient heritage of pride. The Earl of Druridge wanted only for an heir. So when he learned that his wife was carrying another man’s child, he was filled with a thirst for vengeance.

But he wasn’t the one who caused Katherine’s death. Or was he? To his horror, he remembers nothing of that dreadful night, when their last confrontation ended in scorching flame and cold blood.

A forbidden love…

Rachel McTavish, the beautiful daughter of a coal miner, knows something about the fire that took Lady Katherine’s life. In secret, the strong-willed girl strikes a bargain with the desperate earl: he must send his physician to help her dying mother or he may go to the devil—and the scaffold. He agrees, but she is still unsure that her revelation will be enough to save him when so many wish him dead.

Passionately drawn to the nobleman, despite all the doubt and mystery that shrouds him, Rachel wonders if he can really be a murderer. Or if he is the only man who will ever own her heart…

REVIEW: I love ‘Jane Eyre’ so once I read the blurb of this novel, I knew I had to read it. To me, this only had shades of that classic story, but in no way was anything like it. And that is a very good thing. I may have even liked it better!

This is a story of a Truman Stanhope, Earl of Druridge, man who lost his wife in a mysterious fire and almost everyone thinks he murdered her, but being a peer of the realm, no one’s really ready to publicly accuse him of the crime.

It’s also a romance with flawed and complex characters who are trying hard to fit in within the community they both in some way value.

As for the mystery of who killed our hero’s wife, that wasn’t that difficult to figure out, yet in no way did that spoil this story for me.

I enjoyed Truman’s journey as he’s trying to figure out who would murder his wife. For the longest time he believed that someone paid off our heroine Rachel McTavish’s father to do it, but as he comes to know her, he now doubts that theory.

This wasn’t an easy read because of its gothic theme, but everything about it is easy to follow and the characters are a bit on the dark side and yet I still loved their journey to each other.

I’ve now read a few books from Ms. Novak and I’m honestly gob smacked as to when does she find the time to write, with all her philanthropic endeavors. If you’ve never heard of her annual online auction for diabetes research, then you’re missing out on some great auction stuff and a ‘feel good’ vibes after donating to such a great cause. Please check her website and find out more about how you can give, here.

As for her writing, she’s someone that’s good at telling a tale, be it set in 2014 or 1800.

This one’s for all you bookworms that like your romances to have that goth feel, so I dare you to pick it up!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Once and Future Duchess’ by Sophia Nash

sn toafdSTORY: A duchess in time saves a noble line…

In theory, the Duke of Candover is the most eligible peer in the realm. But in truth, he has a deep aversion to the merest hint of marriage, not to mention two botched engagements which have marked his jaded soul. Now, after a debauched bachelor party that causes public outcry, the Prince Regent is demanding that it’s Candover’s turn to be brought to heel. And Prinny secretly believes that Isabelle Tremont, the Duchess of March, is precisely the lady up to the challenge.

Isabelle must marry, but a day of reckoning with the man she’s loved for years is her greatest fear. If Candover insists she’s too young and innocent for a seasoned world-weary man like him, there’s no shortage of other candidates. Gentlemen of prestige and position. Gentlemen whose attentions are driving Candover to jealous distraction. Yet one abandoned moment under the stars hints that if they can put aside pride and duty, then a love once denied might just be their destiny.

REVIEW: Isabelle Tremont, the Duchess of March, lost her parents some years before leaving no other heir but her.  While only 18-years-old, she is a very intelligent and self-assured young woman with every ability to run her estate.

James is the Duke of Candover is a handsome, wealthy and extremely confident man running his estate with utter perfection.  At age 31, he is not interested in getting married. He was engaged twice, both with disastrous results.  
The Prince Regent has decided that it is time that both James and Isabelle find spouses. While James tends to somewhat ignore this directive, Isabelle is certainly feeling the pressure.  She decides to propose to James only to be rebuffed due to her young age. Little did she know that James was also following her father’s request that he never marry her.  Hurt, but still determined to accept the Prince’s edict, she continues with her search for a husband.
The romance is sweet even though it’s hard to believe that an 18-year-old can be as mature as Isabelle is portrayed.  In addition, James needed a swift kick to crack his too-cool and too-perfect exterior.
This was the fourth book in the Irresistible Royal Entourage Series and, unfortunately, I often find myself grabbing a book in the middle of a series with which I am unfamiliar.  I understand that many authors like to write series, however, I wish each book was clearly designated as such so the reader doesn’t end up jumping into confusion.  I would suggest readers start this series with the books in succession, which an be found on the author’s website here.
Connie for b2b
Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘A Most Naked Solution’ by Anna Randol

ar amnsSTORY: Sometimes the best solution is found in bed…

Lady Sophia Harding: beautiful, blond, and…capable of murder? That’s what Lord Camden Grey intends to find out. It is Camden’s duty to uphold the laws of the land. His neighbor’s pale beauty and winsome grace don’t make her the most likely suspect, but is the innocent and altogether beguiling look in her eyes the truth, or is she secretly a scheming seductress?

Lord Camden Grey is entirely too distracting and too smart. Sophia knows that to keep her family’s secrets, she must avoid any entanglements with the powerful and brutally handsome man. But the pull of their mutual desire is all-consuming. Can Sophia trust Camden with the truth when she knows it might kill the love that has grown between them?

REVIEW: This short novella is a sequel to ‘A Secret in Her Kiss’ which I really liked. The hero of that novel has a sister, and this is her story.

I liked the leads, and the plot was good. The pace was perfect, considering that this is a short story, but then something just went wrong.

How does one explain and reconcile a great premise with a decent plot and good, solid characterization of the characters, with the story told?

What in tarnation happened?

To someone that reads a lot, this was fairly obvious. I blame not the author. She can tell a tale. I read all of her books, and after her début, which I loved [here], I keep bumping into this obstacle of enjoying her work to the fullest in all of her other books. What went wrong? I know that it takes a village to produce a product, but are the villagers still the same ones who helped her produce that first book I liked so much? Or does she need to repopulate her village with new editors and beta readers [I’m free!].

Am I recommending it?! Yes, to all of you that read the first book, only because you’ll get some answers about Sophia. To everyone else?! Yes again, because you might want to ‘sample’ this author and little novellas are best for that purpose.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Sins of a Virgin’ by Anna Randol

ar soavSTORY: There is improper, there is scandalous… and then there is Madeline Valdan.

To the world, Madeline Valdan is a scandalous courtesan, with society’s most eligible gentlemen at her feet. But no one knows her shocking secret: she has never experienced the most intimate touch of any man. So she astonishes the ton by telling them the truth . . . and by announcing the auction of her virginity to the highest bidder.

Handsome and disciplined, Gabriel Huntford knows his time is best spent hunting down criminals from the darkest corners of London. As a Bow Street Runner investigating his sister’s death, he has no desire to join London’s strutting peacocks in this competition when there are more important tasks at hand.

Now, his quest leads him to one of Madeline’s “suitors,” so he agrees to help this sinful woman. But what begins as a business arrangement quickly turns into something more . . . and love blooms with a passion neither one expected.

REVIEW: This book has been on my TBR for a long time and I finally got around to reading it. This is a beginning of the Sinners Trio, about three ex-spies: Cipher, Wrath and La Petit and first up we have La Petit’s story or Madeline, as she is called outside of her spy world.

I did like the hero Gabriel Huntford, a Bow Street Runner turned our heroine’s bodyguard. He was flawed and yet I found him likable. Both characters carry some interesting baggage from their background and that made the story a somewhat interesting for me.

Here’s a story for you, if you can believe it: an ex-spy turned most alluring courtesan decides to auction her most prized possession. Her virginity. Are you buying it? I tried, but in the end, it was really hard to suspend my imagination that far up.

Most of the story focused on the mystery of who wants our heroine dead and is that the same villain that killed our hero’s sister some years ago, pushing the romance to the background. Don’t despair though, you still have some nice tension between the leads, albeit they don’t end up ‘canoodling’ until later in the book.

So if you’re leaning more toward a good mystery and suspense with some romance thrown in, I think you’ll like it. Me? It was okay …

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher