When Melanie contacted me to blog, she mentioned that WHAT A WICKED EARL WANTS differs from many Regency historical romances in that the story features two mature adults. To be honest, I never thought about it that way. However, I realized that Melanie was right. Since I love to discuss the behind the scenes aspects of my books, I’m thrilled to blog about the book.
The first thing I must confess is that I did not plan Andrew Carrington, the Earl of Bellingham. He first showed up as a minor character in HOW TO RAVISH A RAKE. When he stepped on the metaphorical stage, my arms actually tingled. Bellingham had so much presence that I knew immediately that he would star in my next book. Interestingly, my editor had the same reaction. Some characters just leap to life immediately, and he certainly did.
But, there is another interesting tidbit that goes all the way back to 1996, when I wrote a Regency historical romance that actually won a lot of contests and finaled in the Golden Heart. Alas, that book, THE DUKE BY DEFAULT, didn’t sell (I was heartbroken). But I salvaged something from that buried treasure: a name. Yes, I decided to metaphorically recycle the name ‘Bellingham.’
Something else you might find interesting is that I am a pantser. That means I do very little plotting. It’s a bit scary to write that way, but it also energizes you, because you’re learning about the characters and the story as you write. I knew Bellingham was a total rake, and I also knew a little bit about his background. He had an early tragedy in his life, one that he buried deep inside. Bellingham is a wounded hero who, to use a modern term, compensates for what he refuses to acknowledge and overcome—that he’s never properly mourned. I knew that an alpha male with these issues would need a special heroine who would stand up to him. That meant the heroine not only had to be mature (age 28), but she also needed wisdom gained from her own experiences with grief.
So I created Laura Davenport, a widow and vicar’s daughter with a rebellious teenage son. Why a widow and teenage son? Well, all of these characteristics add built-in conflict between Bell and Laura. His values as a rake and ruthless politician are miles apart from Laura’s values. Yet, in so many ways, she is the perfect woman for him, because she had to overcome her own grief after her husband’s death.
Her son, however, is a source of worry and conflict for Laura. She’s in the sprawling metropolis of London for the first time, and her son is associating with wild young men. I thought that many readers would identify with a mother who was having difficulties with her son.
Justin’s character is something of a catalyst in the book in that his rebellious actions actually lead Bellingham to Laura’s townhouse for the first time. I won’t spoil what happens for readers, but I will say that I had an enormous amount of fun writing that scene and many others in the book.
Bellingham has a keen sense about others, but like many of us, not necessarily about himself. That makes sense, given his issues. He’s an über alpha male who takes over any situation, because he’s so confident of how to resolve problems—for everyone else. Bell was a fascinating character to write, but he and his friends were also a great source of hilarity. The second book in The Sinful Scoundrels series features Bellingham’s friend, Colin Brockhurst, Earl of Ravenshire and Lady Angeline Brenham. Their story is loads of fun and is set to publish in March 2014. Cheers!
AUTHOR BIO: Triple Rita®-finalist Vick Dreiling is a confirmed historical romance junkie and Anglophile. Frequent business trips to the UK allowed her to indulge her passion for all things Regency England. Bath, Stonehenge, and Spencer House are among her favorite places. She is, however, truly sorry for accidentally setting off a security alarm in Windsor Castle. That unfortunate incident led her British colleagues to nickname her “Trouble”. A native Texan, she holds degrees in English literature and marketing.