Today I'd like to welcome one of my talented and wonderful critique partners, Erin Knightley. Her sweet historical romances are full of charming characters and beautiful prose. Her newest novel, A Taste For Scandal, is not only fabulous, but a book I am proud to say I had a hand in (however few my suggestions were. Lol) Though I have to say, I was sorry to see the howling monkeys and stampeding elephants go. ;)
A TEMPTING DIVERSION
Things have always fallen into place for Richard Moore, Earl of Raleigh. His good looks, abundance of charm, and the small matter of being heir to a marquisate make him quite the catch. So when a delectable young woman wants nothing to do with him, he can’t help but seize the irresistible challenge.
AN UNLIKELY COURTSHIP
Jane Bunting knows all about responsibility—she has managed to support herself and her brother with their bakery—but she knows nothing of excitement or passion. When dashing Lord Raleigh crosses the threshold of her shop, she has no idea of the potential danger to her reputation…or to her heart.
AN IMPOSSIBLE MATCH
Neither imagined things would go so far—until the night their worlds collide, irrevocably changing both their lives. But when duty calls for Richard, and with everything Jane's worked for suddenly at stake, will their taste for scandal be their downfall?
Tell us about you're most recent release
Since your story is about a baker, please tantalize us with a taste of your story. (AKA an Excerpt)
First of all, I can’t believe you still remember the stampeding elephants, lol (aka, Richard’s sisters). Secondly, thanks so much for letting me join you today :)
Below is one of my favorite scenes, where they’ve already had their disastrous introduction. Jane is gritting her teeth at the need to apologize to the arrogant Lord Raleigh, while Richard is still smarting from being humiliated by a lowly baker:
It was time to discover what the girl wanted. Richard didn’t believe her Little Miss Meek act one bit. Had she discovered his family’s wealth and decided to try to get a piece of the pie, so to speak? It wouldn’t be the first time someone tried to take advantage of his family. He cleared his throat and stepped forward. “Yes, what brings you to our home, Miss Bunting?”She glanced up from the basket she had lifted from the floor and set on a side table. “A guilty conscience, my lord.”He might have been encouraged had it not been for the clear reluctance coloring her tone. One would think someone held a pistol to her back, for heaven’s sake. He already knew how she truly felt about him; there was no call for her to come to his home and further demonstrate the fact. “Is that so? I can’t imagine what you would have to feel guilty about. Surely you are not referring to the small matter of attempting to have a well-intentioned, innocent man arrested and thrown in gaol.”His sister pressed her lips together and glared icy blue daggers at him, but Jane simply lifted her chin and replied briskly, “Actually, I believe that is precisely the cause. Despite the utter havoc you wreaked in my shop and the pain you caused my cousin, I realize now it was your intention to help. I apologize for misconstruing your intentions.”If this was her apology, he’d hate to see her insults. “I can’t imagine why it would be hard to believe someone would try to help you, what with your sunny disposition and forgiving nature. Your mother must be very proud, I’m sure.”Fire flashed in her eyes, fierce and nearly instantaneous. Her nostrils flared like a riled stallion, and she pinned him with her almost emerald glare. “How dare you? You can hardly attest to my disposition as the very moment we first met, you were destroying my entire morning’s work, not to mention all the broken dishes and damaged cabinetry—none of which, I should point out, you have apologized for.”He had no doubt “apologizing” in her mind meant offering compensation. It may not have been spoken, but it hung in the air between them. “Perhaps I would have been more inclined to apologize for the mess in your store if you had been less inclined to call me a lunatic and besmirch my character.”“Perhaps if I had not been so shocked at the violent intrusion, I would have been in a more reasonable state of mind. As it was, you can hardly blame me for becoming upset.”How was it she possessed the unique ability to look at him as though he were a steaming pile of horse dung on the street? Benedict and Evie, who had observed the exchange much as one observed a tennis match, stood with identical looks of wide-eyed, surprised interest. This was not the time or place for any of this—they had a ball to prepare for, for God’s sake. “Did you really come all the way to St. James merely to argue with me, Miss Bunting?”She pressed her eyes closed and breathed out a long breath. Setting her flashing green gaze on him once more, she lifted the top of the basket, pulled out a napkin-wrapped bundle, and shoved them toward him. “These are for you. Please accept my sincere apology for the misunderstanding this morning.”Sincere apology his arse. If not for the sweet, rich aroma of chocolate making his mouth water, he wouldn’t be surprised if the bundle contained a coiled snake. “Arsenic laced biscuits, I presume?”“A baker never reveals her secret ingredients,” she replied with a straight face, looking him right in the eye. “However, I would never ruin a perfectly delicious chocolate biscuit.”Richard was caught off guard by her response and surprised himself by almost laughing. He had not expected a sense of humor from the shrew. “Well, that’s a relief.”
That's a tasty tidbit. Thanks. If you can't tell by my chosen vernacular, I'm on a diet. Since all I can do is imagine chocolaty treats right now, can you share some of the delicious foods she makes in the story?
Speaking of diets, I gained almost 10 pounds writing this novel! All the yummy foods she makes and all the smells I describe – it all had me reaching for the sweets again and again! Plus I made every recipe Jane does in the book, so of course I couldn’t let the final product go to waste!
Let’s see—you’ll find chocolate puffs, chocolate biscuits, scones (honey walnut, orange poppy seed) tea biscuits, shortbread…. The list goes one if you include all the items actually in the bakery! For a tongue-in-cheek video of me demonstrating how to make the chocolate puffs, click here
Okay, that looks too delicious, I'd best change the subject. Tell me, what was the funnest part of writing this novel?
Letting Richard make a fool of himself was great fun, and even better when he redeems himself toward the end. The scene with the shortbread? I fell in love with him all over again!
Love it! There's nothing better than when a hero makes the reader fall in love, but writing can't be all beauty. Share . . . What was the hardest thing about writing in this novel?
Ensuring that the reader could suspend their of disbelief that a baker could be matched with an earl. I hope that I accomplished it!
You certainly did. A Taste for Scandal is excellent.
Writing historical romance
Why did you choose to write historical romance?
Write what you love, right? Historical romance has always been my favorite, and I read it almost exclusively for a decade. For me, that world is the ultimate escape, one that makes my heart flutter each time I enter it.
I agree. There's something about historical romance that can't be matched, and the research is just plain fun. What is the most interesting or obscure historical fact you've ever come across while researching?
Hmm – good question! When I researched recipes and cookbooks, I stumbled across Elizabeth Raffald. What a woman! She wrote one of the most successful cookbooks ever written at the time, was an entrepreneur, supported a spendthrift husband, and still found the time to have something like 16 daughters!
Wow. That's a heck of a woman. I love reading about amazing women in history.
Now for a little fun
Ginger Ale – but it is a very rare treat since oft drinks are a big no-no in my mind.
Colorful by The Verve. It’s the song Mark Walberg sings at the end of ROCKSTAR, and he reminds me so powerfully of my husband when we were in college—his hair and clothes—that it gives me butterflies :)
Love, Actually – hands down!
To be fair to everyone, I'll ask what is your favorite classic novel?
Oh Lord, don’t lynch me, but I don’t have one. I like the movie interpretations of many—particularly Pride and Prejudice—but I find reading the old classics dreadfully tedious. *ducks to avoid rotten vegetables*
That's okay. No lynching today or I'd be ducking too. I haven't read nearly enough of the classics myself.
Tell us what's coming next
You've just signed on for two new books, can you give us a taste of what's in store for us?
Sure! I signed for 2 books, but they are only the first 2 of a 3 book series set in Bath during a summer music festival. All three of the heroines will be talented musicians (anyone remember Charity from A TASTE FOR SCANDAL?) who meet and decide to form an unusual trio. One character I am particularly excited about is the daughter of an Englishman, but was raised in the Far East. She is so richly formed in my imagination, I can’t wait to flesh her out on the page!
Ooh, sounds like a lot of fun and excitement. Is there anything else you'd like to share with readers?
I always love hearing from and interacting with readers. I hope you’ll ‘friend’ me, ‘like’ me, and/or ‘follow’ me!
Where can readers find you?
Thank you for having me!!