This duchess is incredibly honored to be interviewing Vanessa Kelly on her latest novel Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard. Is that not just an absolutely enticing title? It’s the first book of her Renegade Royal series. And trust me, it is delicious!
Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author of Regency-set historical romance. Her books 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. Vanessa’s new series, The Renegade Royals, hit the shelves on Nov. 26 with the introductory novella, Lost in a Royal Kiss. Book one in the series, Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and releases on January 7, 2014.
Welcome, Vanessa. We are so excited to have you here with us today. Please, tell us a little bit about Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard. And if you can sneak in a little secret about Vivien Shaw or the incredibly swoon-worthy Aden St. George, all the better!
Hi Madeline! Thanks for hosting me today.
Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard is book one in my new series, The Renegade Royals, which features four heroes who are the illegitimate sons of the princes of England. Their leader, Sir Dominic Hunter (introduced in the novella, Lost in a Royal Kiss), is determined to see them all make a proper marriage and claim their rightful places in society.
Unfortunately, Aden is a bit of a hard case—he’s estranged from his family and he hates the fact that he’s the bastard son of the Prince Regent. He channels his frustrations into his work as one of England’s most lethal spies. And there’s one thing Aden vows he will never, ever do—fall in love and get married.
We all know how that’s going to end!
As for secrets, the big one is Aden’s parentage. Some people do know about it, of course, but Vivien doesn’t. Once she finds out, she’s not about to let Aden’s stubbornness stand in the way of finding true love. So I guess her big secret is that she’s much stronger than she looks—and she needs to be in order to corral big, brooding Aden!
I do love a good kidnapper rescue story and this one is fabulous! What inspired this story?
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I love that kind of story, too, especially since I’m a big reader of romantic suspense. One of my fictional inspirations was When You Dare, by Lori Foster, which features a wonderful hero who rescues a kidnapped woman and falls in love with her. This particular kind of plot always generates heightened emotions, and I wanted to explore how two people could fall into genuine, lasting love under such dangerous and unusual circumstances. Besides, I love alphas, and a kidnap/rescue story is a great setting for a strong, good guy hero.
It really is! A strong alpha is a wonderful thing indeed. What was an interesting tid bit of research you discovered while working on Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard (or any of your Renegade Royals series)?
The most interesting tid-bit I came upon led to the basis for the series. Queen Charlotte, George III’s wife, took in a poor boy as charity case to be raised as a companion to the royal princes. It was, apparently, a misguided impulse since the Prince of Wales, for one, resented the unfortunate child. I found that historical snippet intriguing. What would life be like for a boy of humble origins raised with royalty and yet never truly a part of their world? And where in life did he end up?
In my series, this boy morphed into Dominic Hunter, who grows up to be a spymaster and trusted liaison to the Court of St. James. But Dominic has never forgotten the ill-usage he suffered in his youth, and the bad behavior of the royal princes continues to irk him. For one thing, they tend to scatter the landscape with illegitimate children, some lacking a proper name or place in the world. Dominic decides to track down those offspring royal in everything but name, and help them in any way he can.
That is very interesting! I like the twist you’ve added to it. Was there anything particularly challenging you ran into as you wrote this novel?
Keeping straight the dates and personal histories of the royal princes. In creating their fictional sons, I had to make sure that imaginary details matched real world details. I couldn’t, for instance, have one of the princes fathering a child in England when he was actually in Germany for military training. There was a certain amount of hair-pulling over that sort of detail.
Or if he could, those would be some admirable skills. You used to write non-fiction and now you craft beautifully written novels. What was your biggest challenge in switching from non-fiction writing to fiction?
Thank you for that lovely complement! The biggest challenge was in understanding when to use research info and when not to. Many non-fiction writers who switch to fiction initially tend to load up on the historical or factual detail, often at the expense of the story. I had to learn that story and character always come first in genre fiction.
I can imagine how hard it is to cut back when you’ve gathered such extensive data on a subject. I’m curious – what is your most interesting writing quirk?
It’s more like an annoying writing quirk! I find it very difficult to write a first draft on a computer. I see too much on the screen, and I constantly want to revise as I go along. So I write on an Alphasmart tablet, which shows about three or four lines of script at a time; it’s also difficult to revise on an Alphasmart, which keeps me moving forward until I have a completed first draft.
I also need silence when I write. I’m always amazed by writers who write to music. That would make me go bonkers.
Thank you so much for taking the time to come to tea with us, it’s been a pleasure! Would you mind sharing a teaser with us?
My pleasure! In this teaser, Aden is spiriting Vivien away from London and out of danger. They’re overnighting at an inn, where Aden is doing his best to keep his distance—even though they’re forced to share a room. But when Vivien has a nightmare, his best intentions go out the window!
He tipped her chin up, giving her a somber inspection. “Did you have a nightmare?”
How could a tone so gentle hit her with such blistering force? Swallowing a rush of tears, she gave a miserable nod. On top of everything else, now the poor man had to deal with a woman on the verge of hysteria.
“Did you hurt yourself when you fell out of bed?”
She had, but not in anyplace she felt comfortable discussing.
“A . . . a bit, yes,” she stuttered. “But I’ll be fine.”
He frowned. “Did you get a splinter in your leg? These floors are rough. If you caught a splinter, we should get it out.”
He leaned down, bringing the candle with him. “Let me see.” He began to carefully lift up her hem.
Shocked, Vivien clutched the fabric tightly around her knees. “It wasn’t my knee or my leg that got hurt,” she blurted out.
He frowned. “You made a hell of a thump when you fell. Where exactly do you hurt?”
She stifled a groan. “Never mind,” she said through clenched teeth. “I’ll be fine.”
He stared blankly for a second, then amused understanding lit up his eyes. “I see. Do you want me to rub it for you?”
Her mouth dropped open at the scandalous suggestion. Even more scandalous, the notion darted into her head that she might very well like Aden to, ah, soothe her bottom.
“I hardly think that would be proper,” she said in a breathless voice.
“Well, if you’re sure,” he said.
Blast him. She could hear the laugh in his voice. “Quite, thank you.” There. Not even her old governess could have sounded as prim.
Blurb for Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard:
Accomplished spy Aden St. George prefers to stay away from the frivolous ton, especially after the way his mother was used by the Prince Regent. But his latest mission compels him to guard unconventional, vibrant Lady Vivien Shaw. Rescuing her from kidnappers was easy. Resisting her beauty is not. Duty demands he keep an eye on her—and naturally, his lips soon follow. For someone who views entanglements as a weakness, this is pure, delicious folly…
Though grateful for Aden’s help, Vivien has secrets she must keep hidden. Yet with her abductors still at large, she needs Aden’s protection almost as much as she craves his touch…
I’ll be happy to give away an ARC of book two in The Renegade Royals, Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom, to one person who comments on the following question: what are some of your favorite plots or themes in historical romance?