The Jaunty Quills are excited to bring back veteran author Vanessa Kelly. Vanessa’s new book is His Mistletoe Bride.
Shana: Welcome back, Vanessa. Tell us about His Mistletoe Bride. It features an American heroine. I love that!
Vanessa Kelly: Hi Shana! Thanks so much to you and the rest of the Quills for having me visit. His Mistletoe Bride is a bit of High Noon meets the Regency. My heroine is, indeed, an American – a Quaker from Philadelphia. I grew up in a very historic Quaker town in New Jersey, and I’ve always been fascinated by Quaker history. I thought it might be fun to take a young woman from that setting and throw her smack-dab into the aristocratic world of the Regency ton. My hero, by contrast, is a soldier and a war hero. Lucas is smitten with Phoebe, but he doesn’t quite understand her view of the world. His world view and her world view really collide after their precipitous marriage—they’re caught in a compromising situation—when they encounter a gang of smugglers on their country estate. Naturally, Phoebe wants to help the gang while Lucas is inclined to turn them over to the law. Add in a Christmas holiday with a lot of parties and festivities and you’ve got what I hope is a very fun and sexy story.
Shana: Is His Mistletoe Bride set in the Regency or later? What are some of the historical Christmas traditions you included in the book?
Vanessa Kelly: It’s a bit later in the Regency period, in 1817. Although it’s true that many of the customs we take for granted didn’t really bloom until the Victorian era, the Regency folk did enjoy celebrating the holiday. They decorated their houses with greenery, hung mistletoe, burned the Yule log, and of course they loved the Wassail Bowl—a really strong sort of punch or ale that was usually mixed up by the master of the house from an old family recipe. Carol singing and games were a big part of the festivities, which concluded on Twelfth Night with a grand party. Eating Twelfth Night cake and appointing a holiday king and queen were just a few of the traditions observed for that end-of-the-season party. I’ll say one thing for those Regency folks—they knew how to have a good time, and I brought a lot of that merry-making into His Mistletoe Bride.
Shana: You are also a part of Rock *It Reads. What’s RiR and how can we get your RiR books?
Vanessa Kelly: Rock*It Reads is a collective or “brand” of traditionally published authors committed to bringing high standards and professional quality to their self-published works. Whenever readers see the RIR logo, they can be sure they’re purchasing a book that is held to an excellent standard of quality. Members include Monica Burns, Kris Kennedy, Mia Marlowe and Pamela Clare. Right now there are twelve of us, and we intend to keep growing. Readers can find our books on the web at:www.rockitreads.com
Shana: What’s it like writing with your husband? What’s your process when working with a partner, and how is it different from when you’re working alone?
Vanessa Kelly: Those are the contemporary romances and romantic suspense books I write with hubby as VK Sykes. It’s actually not that different from writing alone, to tell you the truth. Although we do brainstorm plots and characters in the beginning of the process, we tend to work separately. Randy always writes the first draft and then I go in and revise—he leaves most of the love scenes and emotional stuff to me! We keep passing the manuscript back and forth until we’re satisfied with it. The process really works well for us. Randy is great at plotting and characterization, and I enjoy writing the more emotional parts of the story.
Shana: Finally, tell us what you have coming next.
Vanessa Kelly: Starting in December of 2013, I’ll be releasing a new historical series with Kensington Zebra called The Renegade Royals. The heroes are the illegitimate, bad-boy offspring of the sons of King George III. The stories will be released in two back-to-back trilogies, which I think is great for readers. I’m really having fun working on this project, and the first book is essentially completed.
Readers, now it’s your turn. Do you enjoy picking up Christmas-themed books this time of year? Do they put you in the holiday spirit? What are some of your favorite holiday books? One reader who comments will be randomly chosen to win a copy of Vanessa’s last book, My Favorite Countess, and another reader will receive a digital copy of her VK Sykes book, Fastball.
BLAME IT ON THE MISTLETOE…
When Major Lucas Stanton inherited his earldom, he never dreamed his property would include the previous earl’s granddaughter. Phoebe Linville is a sparkling American beauty, yes, but with a talent for getting into trouble. Witness the compromising position that forced them into wedlock. Whisked away to Mistletoe Manor, his country estate, it isn’t long before she is challenging his rules—and surprising him in and out of bed…
Phoebe has no intention of bowing to Lucas’s stubbornness even though he offers all that she wants. His kisses and unexpected warmth are enticing, but Phoebe is determined to show the Earl of Merritt what real love is all about. And if that takes twelve nights of delicious seduction by a roaring fire, she’s more than willing to reveal her gifts very slowly…
Vanessa Kelly was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. You can find her on the web at www.vanessakellyauthor.com