I am SO excited to present to you guys this interview with dynamo author Eileen Dreyer. She is truly a woman and author we call can learn so much from. Her life experiences thus far are the kind that make small girls in big towns like me lust for adventure and look on enviously. Today, she's here to talk about her latest release, 'Never A Gentleman',
and her life as an author.
So without further adieu, let's get to chatting with my special guest :
and her life as an author.
So without further adieu, let's get to chatting with my special guest :
“New York Times bestselling, award-winning author Eileen Dreyer, known as Kathleen Korbel to her Silhouette readers, has published 28 romance novels, 8 medico-forensic suspenses, and 7 short stories.
2010 saw Eileen extend her range into historical romance. BARELY A LADY, the first book in her DRAKE'S RAKES series for Grand Central, garnered a place on multiple 'best of' lists. With 2011's NEVER A GENTLEMAN, she continues to follow the lives of a group of British aristocrats who are willing to sacrifice everything to keep their country safe. Eileen spent time not only in England and Italy, but India to research the series (it's a filthy job, but somebody has to do it).
Dreyer won her first publishing award in 1987, being named the best new Contemporary Romance Author by RT Bookclub. Since that time she has also garnered not only five other writing awards from RT, but five RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, which secures her only the fourth place in the Romance Writers of America prestigious Hall of Fame. Since extending her reach to suspense, she has also garnered a coveted Anthony Award nomination."Read more on the bio page of Eileen's Website
Eileen's Latest Release:
'Never A Gentleman'
"HE HIDES HIS TRUE COLORS . . .Miss Grace Fairchild is under no illusions about her charms. Painfully plain, she is a soldier's daughter who has spent her life being useful, not learning the treacherous ways of the ton. She may have been caught in a scandal with society's favorite rogue, but how can she marry him when it means losing herself?
WHILE SHE HIDES HER TRUE SELF . . .
Diccan Hilliard doesn't know which of his enemies drugged him and dumped him in Grace's bed, but he does know the outcome. He and Grace must marry. To his surprise, a wild, heady passion flares between them. Yet Diccan is trapped in a deadly game of intrigue Grace knows nothing about. Will his lies destroy Grace just as he realizes how desperately he needs her? And how can he hope for a future with her, when an old enemy has set his murderous sights on them both?"Source
*Read an Excerpt from 'Never A Gentleman': here
*Read My Review of 'Never A Gentleman': here
*Read My Review of 'Never A Gentleman': here
Get Your Copy Today:
It's Q&A Time!!!RJ: Hey Eileen! Thanks so much for stopping by for some book talk! Congrats on the release of your second historical romance, ‘Never A Gentleman’!
ED: Thanks. It’s great to be here.RJ: Readers really digged your first historical, ‘Barley A Lady’, which made it to several ‘best of’ lists (including Publisher Weekly’s Top 100 books of 2010). What has the success of your first historical romance meant to you? Did you learn anything helpful after releasing your first historical that you used while writing this second one?
ED: This was such a leap of faith for me and my publisher. I think I literally held my breath for a year. The fact that it garnered such lovely reviews has been a bit overwhelming. I was just hoping people didn’t say to burn it before it bored another person to death. What I learned from the first historical is that you can get a bit too arrogant. I’d already written 35 books. I’d done romance. I’d done suspense. How much harder could it be to write historical romantic suspense? (if you listen closely, you’ll hear Jo Beverly laughing uproariously). Every one of my books is a house of cards, each carefully balanced on the others. Writing in a historical period just adds more cards in more precarious positions. I felt like a juggler in a circus. And to make it worse, I’m absolutely obsessive about anachronisms. It drives me nuts to read lines like, “Get with it,” in a historical. I would be stopped in my tracks by putting a word or event in and then have to make sure it was historically accurate(thank heavens for the OED and Merriam-Webster dictionary).RJ: What is ‘Never A Gentleman’ about?
ED: My favorite historical plot is the marriage-of-convenience. NEVER A GENTLEMAN is a classic marriage of convenience story, in which over-tall, over-plain Grace Fairchild finds herself wed to Diccan Hilliard, the man the ton calls The Perfection. But I’m never comfortable with a predictable plot, so I turned it and turned it, so that in the end nothing was as it seemed. And, of course, there is danger from nefarious spies, and oh my, a lot of chemistry.RJ: Where did the inspiration for your plot, characters and setting come from?
ED: My first inspiration for Grace happened as long ago as the first historical romance I ever read, Bitterleaf by Lisa Gregory, about a plain, tall woman who didn’t understand her own worth. I love the idea that the heroine is simply plain. She isn’t just under-made-up plain, or in need of a good wardrobe to bring out her beautiful cheekbones plain. She is plain. She will always be plain. I want to see how a man with notoriously finicky tastes comes to uncover her real beauty.RJ: Now (when it’s done right) I can really enjoy a spy plot in my historical reads, but for a time, I could never find novels with a balance of romance and mystery that worked for me. In your latest release, do you feel that you put more emphasize on the romance, the spy/mystery plot, or equally gave both their due?
ED: Elizabeth George once said that she doesn’t write mysteries. She hangs a family on a murder and sees what happens. That’s kind of how I use the spies in my books. There is constant danger, and the threat to the crown arcs across all my books. The suspense forces the couple into situations that brings them closer at the same time it strains their relationship. (I love suspense as a plot device. I’m always afraid that people will be bored with my plain romances. But put a bullet through the window and you’re busy for three good chapters). I think the primary focus is on the romance, but there is certainly a strong suspense base.RJ: The first 3 adjectives that come to mind when describing your Hero and Heroine, Diccan & Grace, are?
ED: Diccan is brilliant, witty, urbane. Grace is honorable, loyal and indomitable.RJ: ‘Never A Gentleman’ is the second installment to your Drake’s Rakes series. What is the premise of the series and how did the idea for it come about?
ED: The idea actually began as The Three Graces, in which three completely different heroines of my trilogy meet at the medical tents in Brussels during the battle of Waterloo and bond. Well, then I added the heroes and realized that what I really had was a secret group of aristocrats nicknamed Drake’s Rakes for their rather free-wheeling lives, who weren’t able to go fight with the army because of their status as heirs, so do clandestine work for the government. It wasn’t a great leap to realize that they are working to bring down a cabal of nefarious spies called the Lions, fellow aristocrats who believe they need to bring down the king and put themselves in his place. I love a good rake, and I love secrets, and I love danger, so it was a natural. As for the Lions, many of them consider themselves honorable men. They just think that the ends justify the means. And I don’t think you have to go far in current politics to find people like that.RJ: I've always been more than a little fascinated by forensic science (I just don’t have the stomach to make a career of it). You have training in forensic nursing and death investigation. Just to extinguish my curiosity, what was it like studying that particular field and can you recall any real intriguing facts you picked up during your studies?
ED: Forensics is absolutely fascinating. I’ve always been involved in forensics in my capacity as a trauma nurse. We were the ones who evaluated any of our patients who became medical examiner’s cases. I have no idea how intricate and specific the science is, though, until I trained as a death investigator(I have never practiced as one). It’s a field of a million interesting little curiosities that properly interpreted can lead the investigator right to the perpetrator. Interesting facts? Hmmm. Well, one of the mistakes that often happens when digging up a skeleton that is lying face-down, is that the investigator things the victim has been in a fight, because the front two teeth are missing. What actually usually happens is that those teeth are only held in with thin ligaments. Those decay, the teeth fall into the dirt. The body leaks fluids, which draw bugs, who burrow, taking the teeth down with them. So if the teeth are missing, never assume until you dig through loose soil and make sure they haven’t just followed the bugs. Another good one is that when maggots are mature enough to crawl, they always follow the sun. I always have this picture of tiny sunglasses and Beach Boy songs.RJ: On your homepage, you invite readers to “share my love for research and for travel”. What role have the two played in your writing? What is the most interesting thing you’ve ever discovered while researching and where is the most amazing place you’ve ever traveled to?
RJ: Let’s talk about your Evil Twin sister for a sec, lol! You’ve written some amazing romantic suspense and paranormal titles under the pen name, Kathleen Korbel. In regards to writing, why those genres? What is your favorite book written in those genres?
ED: I admit that I was a late bloomer in the research category, but I’m now addicted. I’ve never had any problem traveling. The thing is, I believe that as an author, I invite you into a world you aren’t familiar with, be it forensics or the battle of Waterloo or a fort in India. To make it real for you, I want to use all the senses. I want the little interesting tidbits, the slang and customs that make a place and time come to life. Well, I’m a global learner. I do my best work when I can see, touch, smell, hear and play with. Okay, and I’m also insatiably curious. I want to do and learn everything. I want to go everywhere and mingle with every kind of person on the planet. I think the most interesting research I’ve ever done was to train as a medic on a SWAT team. I was extremely lucky, as the only reason they let me participate was because I was already a trauma nurse. The training was intense, with us having to simulate doing tracheotomies and lung decompression under fire, or crawling through a smoke-filled building post-bomb to find victims. High heart rate factor, I’ll tell you. In fact, I can’t hear AC/DC’s Back in Black without my pulse spiking, because that was the signal for the exercise to commence. AC/DC is the perfect soundtrack for chaos. I’ve been really lucky traveling, too. I’d have to say the most incredible place I’ve traveled was for [Never A] Gentleman. I got to travel to India for three weeks. I not only traced Grace’s steps as a young girl (there really was a siege of the Lohagarth Fort in Bharatpur, and I got to walk around inside the fort), but I was lucky enough to attend a 3 day wedding while wearing my very own sari(the pic’s on my blog). I truly hope I communicated the sensual bouquet that is India. It really is overwhelming, so many people, so much noise in the cities, so many smells—and not just bad ones. Delicious smells of the markets as you walk the streets; open burlap bags packed with spices and coffees and tea, incense curling up into the air, jasmine chrysanthemum and frangipani, the colors of hibiscus and crysanthamum, of hot orange and green and pink saris and the startling white of buildings against the dusty blue sky. The ornate filigree of Hindu architecture and the elegant symmetry of the Muslim gardens. The screech of peacocks and the chatter of monkeys…..see what I mean? It’s a veritable flood of sensation.
ED: Kathleen came about because romance was the first genre I wrote in, and my daddy just didn’t understand that his daughter knew about those things (when I told him his daughter DID those things, he almost had a heart attack). I read everything except maybe science fiction, simply because the science gets past me. So I’ve always wanted to write every genre I read(in the cause of fair disclosure, I will also tell you that trauma nurses are notoriously restless. I can’t stay in a genre too long before I get itchy. I don’t leave. I just add something else). I’ve been really lucky to be able to try my hand at so many. As for favorites, I have sentimental favorites because of subject or what was going on when I wrote the book. For instance, A Rose for Maggie, one of my Silhouettes, will always be a favorite because it’s basically the story of one of my dear friends and her son, and because I think of it as a gift. I swear there were days I had no idea how those words got on the page. My suspense Head Games is a favorite because I fought so hard for it. I knew it was good, but for five years nobody would take a chance on it(and if I told you why, I’d give away the plot). Finally Carolyn Marino at Harper took a chance on it. And I’m proud to say it was mandatory reading for a university level class on the Psychology of Violence and Aggression.RJ: On the flip side, why historicals? It’s a recent switch from the romances you were writing before, so what is it about the genre that made you want to give it a go? Also, what is your favorite Historical Romance novel?
ED: I’ve always loved reading historical. Historical romances (and one musical 1776) gave me my love for history. They certainly taught me more than any school course, and inspired me to search further. I enjoy the fact that there are certain social restrictions you have to work around to tell your story that no longer exist. For instance, I know I said how much I enjoy Marriage of Convenience books. To me they’re like locked door mysteries. Your couple is stuck together whether they like it or not, and they have to (and you, of course, as the author) figure out how to work it out. But Marriage of Convenience just doesn’t work in contemporaries. What’s really at risk when you can just get a divorce the next day? I can’t say my favorite. I’m too eclectic a reader. I know the one book that first ignited my love of the historical romance. It still holds a special place in my heart. THE FAR PAVILLIONS by M.M. Kaye. It was a banquet, and the first time I understood how exotic the world really was. And how fascinating. It was also a rip-roaring romance set during the Sepoy Rebellion(or as the people of India call it, the First War of Independence), which heightened the danger, the desperation, and the intensity of the relationship.RJ: What are some of your author/writing quirks?
ED: Alphabetically or chronologically? I’m what my friends call a ‘binge-and-purge’ writer. I’ll spend days just wandering around in a ratty bathrobe imagining scenes in my head until one day I just sit down and spit them out. My husband is so charmed by this behavior that at least once a book, he packs up my work, my music, a vat of iced tea, and sends me to a local hotel (close to a Chinese restaurant) for four days so I can cram. Works every time.
RJ: It's always interesting to hear about the reactions author's families have to their writing romances. You mentioned your father was a bit shocked that his daughter even knew what romance was, much less wrote about it. Is your family supportive and do you draw inspiration for plots and characters from them?
ED: If it weren't for my husband, I never would have written my first book. He's encouraged me and badgered me and been my greatest cheerleader all along. My kids have always kind of shrugged and asked when dinner was.(remembering that I've been writing since they've been very small. Their view of my career is the sign on the office door that says, DOES THIS INVOLVE BLOOD, SMOKE OR A BADGE? THEN DON'T BOTHER ME). As for my siblings(six in all),the wonderful thing about a big, noisy Irish family is that they never let you take yourself too seriously. I'd say yes I get inspiration from them, but the stories I get from them I can't tell until they're all dead. It's just safer that way. I don't know why I worry about how they'd react though. They don't read my romances. As my brother once said, "I"ve listened to you talk for fifty years. I don't need to read it too")
RJ: What are some writing projects you’re working on now, and what can we expect in bookstores next from you (or your evil twin sister)?
ED: Well, I’m just finishing revisions for the third book of the Rakes series, ALWAYS THE TEMPTRESS. If you’ve read BARELY A LADY, it’s the story of Lady Kate. And there is a lot of action. Kate really gets into trouble in this one. But I love her, and I think the hero I found for her, Major Sir Harry Lidge, matches her toe-to-toe, a bit like John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. I’m also putting together the next trilogy in the series, which will travel from Devon to Italy to Ireland(there’s that traveling again) I’m also working on a non-fiction book about the experiences my husband and I have had taking the ashes of my friend Dave around on our travels. Dave was a firefighter, paramedic, engineer, sailor pilot(who designed his own planes), nature photographer, classic music scholar….a true Renaissance man. When he suddenly died, his wife felt that he was just too large a personality to be contained in one place. So she divided his ashes into pill bottles, and anyone who loved him is taking him with us when they go anywhere he loved or would love to go. It’s been quite a surprising and amazing experience that has taught me some amazing lessons. Dave’s had a great time, too.RJ: Final Question: What is something shocking or interesting about you that the readers may not know?
ED: When I took the FBI Citizens Academy, we had a competition at the firing range with the class and FBI marksmen. I came away with the blue ribbon for the MP-5 assault weapon. And yes. I’m very proud(and my children appropriately nervous). This believer in gun control(remember. I only saw the bad side of guns. It colors your perceptions. I believe a gun is a responsibility, not just a right….but that’s a different discussion completely) also realized that there are few things more sensual than firing a top line sniper rifle. QUITE a surprise to me.RJ: Thanks so much for stopping by, Eileen! This has been a truly intriguing and wonderful interview. Best of luck with your release! I've read and it's a winner, for sure!
ED: Thank you so much. It’s been a real pleasure. And these were great questions. I really had to think.
I hope all of you have enjoyed this interview as much as I had conducting it. Please be sure to check out the on the web links and find out more about Eileen and her books. Also, make sure you pick up your copy of Never A Gentleman. I've read it and it's one you won't want to miss!