Welcome, welcome, to another interview at Not Another Romance Blog! (Channeling my inner Dumbledore) today as I introduce to the blog a debut author I am very excited about! This climatologist turned romance author mixes romance letters and older brothers' hot guy friends to create her sizzling June 5th debut! So without further adieu:
About the Author:
Despite being an avid reader and closet writer her whole life, Erin Knightley decided to pursue a sensible career in science. It was only after earning her B.S. and working in the field for years that she realized doing the sensible thing wasn't any fun at all. Following her dreams, Erin left her practical side behind and now spends her days writing. Together with her tall, dark, and handsome husband and their three spoiled mutts, she is living her own Happily Ever After in North Carolina.
About the Book:
AN UNCOVERED BETRAYAL
When his family abandoned him at Eton, Benedict Hastings found an unexpected ally in his best friend’s sister. Her letters kept him going—until the day he had to leave everything behind. Years later, Benedict has seen his share of betrayal, but when treachery hits close to home, he turns to his old friend for safe haven….
AN UNWANTED ATTRACTION
After five torturous years on the marriage circuit, Lady Evelyn Moore is finally free to live her life as she wishes. So when her brother shows up with a dashing stranger, she finds herself torn between her dreams...and newfound desires.
AN UNSTOPPABLE INTRIGUE
Despite his determination to keep Evie at a distance, Benedict cannot deny the attraction that began with a secret correspondence. Yet as they begin to discover one another, the dangers of Benedict’s world find them, threatening their lives, their love, and everything they thought they could never have…
RJ: Hello Erin! Welcome to Not Another Romance Blog and congrats on your DEBUT novel- MORE THAN A STRANGER (Historical Romance, June 5th, pub: Signet Eclipse)! What does it feel like to be a published author and do you have a fun story of when you found out about your deal from Signet?
EK: Hi Rita! Thanks so much for inviting me to join you today, as well as for the congrats! The whole ‘published author’ thing is still so unreal – I never get tired of hearing it J It’s one of those pie-in-the-sky dreams that you work for, sigh about, and hope for, but that day that the phone actually rings? Unbelievable.
The funny thing about that day is that my husband was out of town, and my agent had told me to keep mum since it ended up being an auction situation. For two days I ran around the house like a woman possessed, scaring the dogs and probably the neighbors, too. I was coming out of my skin with the excitement of it all, especially when the dust settled and I ended up at one of my dream publishers. It’s been an exciting ride, and I’m doing my best to enjoy every second.
RJ: How did you begin your writing journey? What inspired you? And can you recall a difficult time along the journey to publication where you thought about giving up- and what motivated you to keep pursuing your dream?
EK: I have been a devout romance fan for years, since I was seventeen and discovered a cache of them at the clubhouse where I was a lifeguard. I always secretly thought I could do it, but it wasn’t until about four years ago that I finally sat down and started typing. It took me about two years to finish that first novel. I had a very intense job at the time that involved traveling 2 weeks of the month, so I have very little time when I wasn’t exhausted or trying to spend quality time with the hubby.
After I finished, I did a little research and found RWA. I had no idea how much that organization would change my life! The friendships, advice, guidance, and commiseration were invaluable, and I will never stop being grateful for it. When I started querying, those first rejections were definitely the hardest, and I’m so glad that I had my chapter mates and critique partners to not only help me get over it, but to come back stronger. They helped me to see that rejection was only one person’s opinion, and it only takes ONE who loves you to get that foot in the door. Amazingly, it was only a year and a half from when I joined to when I sold!
RJ: Let’s jump right in and talk all about your new debut novel! Tell us about MORE THAN A STRANGER from the author’s point of view (something we won’t find in the blurb) and where’d your inspiration for the characters, setting, and plot come from.
EK: I have always been fascinated with letter writing. Just ask my husband – we have a whole box of notes I penned to him when we were dating! There is something magical about the power of the written word, and I wanted to incorporate that into the book. I’m also a younger sister to a brother only two years older than me, so I could easily relate to the lure of the brother’s hot friend. I loved that Evie’s first letter to Benedict was indignant and sassy—exactly the sort of thing I might have done.
Now the setting is based on my time in England a few years ago. My sister and I spend plenty of time gallivanting around the English countryside near Bath, and it was the most gorgeous and inspiring land ever. I defy you to visit and not want to buy a little summer cottage there!
RJ: Can you share any interesting tid-bits you pick up while researching for the book?
EK: My favorite scene in the book takes place outside beneath a blanket of stars. Evie’s love of the stars is a nod to my father, who loved to drag out the telescope on clear nights and point out all the constellations and planets. I loved those nights – and I even went to Space Camp when I was thirteen! I made sure while writing this scene that the constellations mentioned would have been ones visible during the spring of 1816.
Another thing that I learned about was drag-hunting, which is mentioned in the book. I didn’t want them to have a full-fledged fox-hunt, which was quite an ordeal, and this was a handy substitute. It basically involves dragging a scented cloth through the woods, and is sometimes used to help train the dogs. Also, my sister-in-law actually does fox-hunting, so it was interesting to hear about it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.
RJ: Tell us a little more about your main characters, Benedict and Evie, and their unique relationship together.
EK: I can’t tell you how much I love Benedict – I think he has such a strong sense of duty, as well as right and wrong. It was very interesting for me to watch him grapple with the decisions he had to make. He was the kind of hero I could fall in love with, if for no other reason than he was a damn good man.
Evie, on the other hand, was very relatable to me. She wanted to rise above the path laid for her by others, and she wasn’t afraid to take the bull by the horns.
When the two of them got together, I loved that they had a history between them—and Evie didn’t even know it! When Benedict comes into Evie’s life after their five year correspondence ended in heartbreak, she has no idea that it’s him—but will her heart? For me, it took a historical premise—letter writing—and made it relevant. How many people do we ‘know’ through social media that we have never actually met? What would it be like to meet that person in real life? Would we somehow feel the connection that had been there for years?
EK: Oh, for me Evie’s brother, Richard, was my favorite secondary character. Several times I had to cut back on his scenes because his charm and humor seemed to steal the show. Of course, I couldn’t resist making him the hero in book 2 – A TASTE FOR SCANDAL J
RJ: Who are some of your favorite authors and what’s your favorite romance novel?
EK: Sabrina Jeffries, Lisa Kleypas, and Julia Quinn are some of my longest standing favorites. Some of my more recent finds are Heather Snow, Catherine Gayle, Lydia Dare, and Samantha Grace. My all-time favorite novel? Oh my, let me see . . . I think it would have to be either London’s Perfect Hero by Suzanne Enoch, or The Bargain by Mary Jo Putney.
RJ: There’s a beautiful piano composition inspired by your book on your website (click here to listen). Does music influence you as you write? Who are some of your favorite musical artist and what are some of your favorite songs?
EK: Surprisingly, I have to have silence when I’m writing. That’s why it was so amazing to me that my brother could take that scene—which was Evie and Benedict’s first kiss—and somehow perfectly transform it to music notes. Every time I hear it, I can picture the scene with utter clarity. It always makes me smile J
As for music taste, man I am all over the board! I do think Brian Adams ‘Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman’ is fantastic. I also love the entire Love Actually soundtrack, and could listen to anything Jack Johnson any day of the week. My favorite band, though, is a toss up between Pearl Jam and Nirvana. Yep – child of the nineties here! And if you haven’t heard Eddie Vedder’s Into The Wild soundtrack, you are missing out.
RJ: What’s coming up next for you as far as books, conference appearances, book signings and the like?
EK: My very first signing is actually tomorrow!! I’ll be at the Barnes & Nobles in Cary, NC at 7pm on June 7. On June 9th I’ll be at the B&N in the Summit in Louisville, KY at noon, and then I’ll be at RWA Nationals in July in Anaheim. I’m looking forward to meeting those online friends in person!
My upcoming releases are a novella in November, and Book 2 of the Sealed with a Kiss Series, A TASTE FOR SCANDAL, will be out in December of this year.
RJ: Picture this: PBS buys the film rights to MORE THAN A STRANGER and want to make it into a Masterpiece Classic's movie. They bring you in as a consultant (since you wrote the book and everything-LOL) and ask you to come up with an ‘ideal’ cast list. Which actors would make that list and for which roles?
First of all, if anyone writes the movie version, it will HAVE to be my screen-writer sister, Kara Holden J As for the cast… hmm. Perhaps Henry Cavill for Benedict, and maybe a blonde Emma Watson for Evie? If we could give Paul Walker an English accent, he’s how I picture Richard to look. As for Beatrice, who is Evie and Richard’s next youngest sibling, I think Anna Sophia Robb might be a good pick. Although I’m not sure if any actor could ever be as fabulous as the characters in our heads!
Erin's Question: So I want to know… who would be your dream cast for your favorite novel? Leave a comment for one of TWO chances to win! Here’s how it works:
- Everyone who comments will be entered in my Sealed with a Kiss blog tour giveaway! Prizes include signed books, lots of fun swag, stationery, a custom iPhone case, and gift cards from Starbucks and Amazon! For details, click HERE. Drawings will be made June 15th!
- You’re already a winner! If you’d like a signed bookmark (or more – just let me know how many!), simply say so in the comments section, and I’ll send post haste! Offer good for the first 40 requests per blog.
* I’ll ship anywhere in the US, Canada, or Mexico