AC: I’m one of those people who could never read enough Regencies—if you are familiar with Jane Austen, that’s the Regency period in England. I also love adventure stories, so it seemed natural to incorporate the on-going war with Napoleon as a backdrop to each of the stories in this series. Tainted Angel is essentially a Regency version of Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
My favorite stories are about ordinary women swept up in extraordinary events, so that’s what I like to write. The heroine is an agent for the Crown, but her spymaster suspects she is “tainted”—a double agent working for Napoleon. Her love interest has his own dark secrets—unless his affection is feigned and he is actually setting a trap to reveal her own treason. There are twists and double-crosses as the attraction between the two spies becomes more powerful than their mutual distrust—and England’s future hangs in the balance.
LCR: Yes, I loved those twists! Vidia Swanson is such an interesting character. She is an intelligent woman with nerves of steel, but she's still kind and subconsciously yearns for normalcy. Is she based on anyone you know, or purely a creation of your imagination?
AC: No—none of the characters are based on anyone else because of a secret that other writers understand but that sounds a little crazy to non-writers. (Leans closer.) The secret is the characters seem like real people to me. They run around and say things and I have to type as fast as I can just to keep up with them. It’s true!
In this story, the heroine hides behind a languid and elegant façade, but she’s had some terrible experiences in the last war and in her moment of truth, she has to decide whether to trust someone else at the risk of her life. She’s clever and funny and tragic, all at the same time—you nailed it, saying that she subconsciously yearns for normalcy.
I have a contemporary British detective series coming out in August, and the first book is called Murder in Thrall, if any of your readers like mysteries.
In November, the second historical in this Regency series will come out; Daughter of the God-King. It is about a heroine who travels to Egypt after her famous archaeologist parents disappear, only to discover that various factions from the last war are desperate to find her—for reasons that are unclear. She begins to suspect that her love interest is not what he seems, and she doesn’t know whether she can trust him, or trust anyone as she uncovers one devastating secret after the other, all while the next war looms on the horizon.
AC: You know, I’ve lead a remarkably strange-free life, but I think nothing beats strange like childbirth. (Am I right, moms?) One moment you are the center of the universe, and the next moment you are looking into the eyes of the new center of the universe.
LCR: So true.... If you could travel back in time, where would you go?
AC: I would like to have been with the shepherds in the hills outside Bethlehem on the first Christmas. That must have been really something.
LCR: Especially seeing those magnificent angels. Favorite dessert?
AC: I love a good chocolate cake. Not too chocolate-y, and not too fancy—and no fruit fillings or other distractions. Instead, I love the kind they make in the grocery store bakery for kids’ parties. Yum.
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