Yesterday, I reviewed Carrie’s newest book, Scoundrel’s Kiss. I also had the pleasure of interviewing her recently and I hope you all enjoy the answers as much as I did!
1. I loved that Scoundrel’s Kiss was set outside the typical locations for a historical romance. Why did you choose to set it in medieval Spain?
It’s set in the Kingdom of Castile, which comprises part of modern-day Spain. Thinking back, I don’t remember exactly what first started me thinking about Spain as a setting, but I knew I wanted to feature two elements to this story: a warrior monk and an opium addict. That meant I needed to find a place where their love could blossom. Spain was not only a hotbed of religious and military activity in the 13th century, but it was also along Arab trade routes. The Arabs traded with the Chinese, which mean that opium was available for purchase in Spain. Ta-dah! I’d found my setting.
2. Ada is a far cry from the average blushing virgin heroine. Was it a difficult task for you to make an opium addict a sympathetic character?
Yes, Ada is…trying. It was difficult making her sympathetic, in that I disliked how Ada behaved toward the finale of my Robin Hood-themed debut, WHAT A SCOUNDREL WANTS. She makes her sister, Meg, make a really unfair choice, and her behavior is downright selfish. So I wasn’t in a sympathetic place when I sat down to write her love story. But then I remembered an old saying about villains: the villain is the hero of his own story. That jolted me into taking Ada’s side, so to speak, and learning where she was vulnerable, why she was hurting so desperately, and how I could help redeem her. In the end, I think her happily ever after is justly deserved, if only for how hard she works at earning it.
3. When it comes to writing, do you plot out your books carefully or does the story come to you as you go?
I start with the setting. Always. Then I research and brainstorm in tandem, trying to find my characters. What sort of people *could* have lived in this time and place? Are they native? Just passing through? There for the long haul? Bored and desperate to get out? Once I have the setting and the characters very firm in my mind, then I start writing and never look back. You could call me a prepared pantser!
4. Do you have a particular favorite time period in history?
I’ll always have a fondness for the American Old West. I did my master’s thesis on the lives and legends of Jesse James and Wild Bill Hickok, and how their stories helped shape American culture after the Civil War. Plus I was a sucker for western-set romances when I was a teenager, back when they were *everywhere*. I haven’t yet tried my hand at a western of my own, but I can’t help but think that I will someday. That period of history has been such a part of my life!
5. Are you planning on returning to any of the characters in Scoundrel’s Kiss for another book? What’s next for you?
I’d like to continue with Jacob’s story, and then to find a partner for Blanca, but that remains to be seen. Otherwise, my historical romance set in Napoleonic Austria will help launch Carina Press, Harlequin’s new all-digital venture, in June. In it, a widowed violin prodigy begins a steamy affair with the renowned composer she’s always idolized, only to learn that he stole the symphony he’s most famous for. In addition, I’m co-writing with Ann Aguirre under the name Ellen Connor (http://EllenConnor.com). We write hot-n-dirty apocalyptic paranormal romances, and our “Dark Age Dawning” trilogy will be coming soon from Penguin.
6. What do you suggest we read while waiting for your next book? Any favorites you’d like to share with us?
I love lush, beautiful writing, so my favorite romance authors are Candice Procter, Penelope Williamson, Laura Kinsale, and Patricia Gaffney. They all craft such amazing stories, not simply packed with emotion and fascinating characters, but with poetic language to describe every aspect of the hero and heroine’s lives. I read those books and knew that’s what I wanted to write. Those are the kinds of stories I love to read, so why not give them a try in my own style with my own unique voice? I’d unabashedly recommend any of their books to those who haven’t yet read them!
Thanks for stopping by, Carrie!
To win a copy of Scoundrel’s Kiss for your very own, just leave a comment. There is one up for grabs. Readers in the US and Canada will receive a signed copy, whereas international readers will receive an unsigned copy from the Book Depository. Make sure you leave a valid email address in the “email” field of the comment form to win. This contest will be open until January 26th. Good luck! The winner of this contest is Lana.