My darling duchesses, today I am especially delighted to sit down to tea with fabulous historical romance author, Zoe Archer. Her grace and I happen to share the same agent and editor so I can personally vouch for her good taste. Ms. Archer is visiting us to discuss her latest release, Sweet Revenge, and to answer a rousing round of questions.
Sweet Revenge is the first book in her new NEMESIS, UNLIMITED series, and it came out this week! Zoe calls the new series “gritty historical romance that’s like Burn Notice/Leverage in Victorian England.” Ooh, it does sound delightful, does it not? So please gather round and grab a teacake.
One lucky commenter will win a copy of Sweet Revenge!
Duchess Valerie: Thank you so much for joining us today, Duchess Zoe.
Her grace, Zoe Archer: My pleasure.
Duchess Valerie: Let’s begin with a bit of writerly fun! Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?
Her grace, Zoe Archer: Selling a four-book series to Kensington was pretty amazing (The Blades of the Rose), and then getting a RITA nomination for Rebel was also incredible. When I got the call, my heart was pounding and I thought I was going to pass out…in a good way.
Duchess Valerie: Yes, the good kind of passing out. I completely understand. Now, on to food. (This teacake is distracting me.) If you could choose one dessert or snack food that you could eat as much as you want of (and never gain an ounce!) what would it be?
Her grace, Zoe Archer: Baking is one of my favorite non-writing activities. And of all the different kinds of desserts and baked goods I’ve made over the years, my favorite is a blondie—preferably with toffee bits and chocolate chips.
Duchess Valerie: Hmm. I want one right now. Where is the butler? Speaking of sweet, how did you get the idea for Sweet Revenge?
Her grace, Zoe Archer: My husband is Nico Rosso, who’s also a romance novelist, and we’d been talking about a secret organization in Victorian England. This organization would right wrongs perpetrated against those without power, like women, and those in the middle and lower classes. We started thinking more and more about this idea, and it really intrigued me. Victorian society was so stratified, and geared toward privileging men, especially men of wealth. It seemed like the perfect setting for gritty, exciting stories that could also be deeply romantic. And so Nemesis, Unlimited was born. Sweet Revenge is the first book in the series.
Duchess Valerie: Ooh, I do adore that idea. Power to the people! What kind of research did you have to
do to bring this story to life on the page?
Her grace, Zoe Archer: It’s not a spoiler to say that Sweet Revenge opens with the hero, Jack Dalton, breaking out of prison. And he’s been in prison for five years. So I did a lot of research into Victorian prisons, and based Dunmoor Prison on Dartmoor Prison. That was some pretty grim stuff. And then I just researched a lot about the structure of Victorian society, especially in London, and the ways in which women and the poor were disenfranchised. Victorian England may have worn a very proper face, but it was also quite brutal, and it took a tremendous amount of
strength to survive within it.
Duchess Valerie: I think that same thing every time I read a Dickens novels. Tell me, your characters seem so alive and real…what’s your secret?
Her grace, Zoe Archer: I try to think of them as people, rather than characters in a romance. So their responses and thoughts don’t necessarily have to adhere to romance conventions. They can be rude, angry, melancholy, afraid of their needs. I think that helps keep my characters rounded and real.
Duchess Valerie: On that note, who’s your favorite character in the book and why? Who was the most fun to write?
Her grace, Zoe Archer: I do love the heroine, Eva Warrick. She’s a woman who won’t tolerate any foolishness, and has a backbone of steel—though that isn’t to say she doesn’t have a softer side. But I absolutely loved writing Jack. He’s rough, tough, a little crude, and driven. Jack grew up in Bethnal Green, one of London’s toughest slums, and did some thieving before he became a bare knuckle brawler in underground boxing matches. Then he became a bodyguard to a wealthy peer. There’s nothing genteel or refined about Jack. He’s not a gentleman. And there’s nothing more fun to write than a character who’ll say or do anything.
But, in truth, it was fun to write the crew of Nemesis, Unlimited, from Simon, the well-bred gentleman to Marco, the spy, and the squabbling (but secretly intrigued) Harriet and Lazarus. I liked creating the dynamic between them, and that, even though they all work together for the same goals, they don’t always have to get along. Kind of like the Avengers. *wink*
Duchess Valerie: I’m loving this already, especially Marco, the spy. If your book were to be turned into a movie, would your dream cast be?
Duchess Valerie: I can’t stand it any longer! Tell us a bit about the book itself.
Sweet Revenge: A Nemesis, Unlimited Novel
The first in a breathtaking new series about the dangerous business of undercover revenge—and the undeniable pleasure of passion…
In the business of vengeance
When Jack Dalton escapes from Dunmoor Prison, he has only one thing in mind—finding the nobleman who murdered his sister and making him pay. But when he reaches the inn where the Lord Rockley is rumored to be staying, three well-dressed strangers are there to meet him instead. And the pretty blonde is aiming a pistol right at his head …
Desire is always dangerous
Joining Nemesis, Unlimited has made Eva Warrick much more than the well-mannered lady she appears to be—one who can shoot, fight, and outsmart any man in the quest to right the injustices so often suffered by the innocent. She’s not afraid of the burly escaped convict, but she is startled by their shared attraction. She and her partners need Jack’s help to get to Rockley, but Eva finds she wants Jack for scandalous reasons all her own…
Zoë Archer is an award-winning romance author who thinks there’s nothing sexier than a man in tall boots and a waistcoat. As a child, she never dreamed about being the rescued princess, but wanted to kick butt right beside the hero. She now applies her master’s degrees in Literature and Fiction to creating butt-kicking heroines and heroes in tall boots. She is the author of the acclaimed BLADES OF THE ROSE series and the paranormal historical romance series, THE HELLRAISERS. She and her husband, fellow romance author Nico Rosso, created the steampunk world of THE ETHER CHRONICLES together. Her new gritty Victorian romance series, NEMESIS, UNLIMITED, launches this Spring. Zoë and Nico live in Los Angeles.
Take a look at the tantalizing trailer!
Have any burning questions about Victorian prisons? (I know I do!) Leave a thoughtful question for Zoe for a chance to win a copy of Sweet Revenge! (US and Canada only)