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Melanie_Murray
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Registered: ‎11-16-2007

February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter

 

Ravishing in Red

  

 

 

Armed with her cousin’s pistol, Audrianna travels to a coaching inn, to meet with a man who may have information that will clear her dead father’s name. She does not realize that the handsome man of commanding sensuality who shows up is not the person she expected, but instead Lord Sebastian Summerhays, one of her father’s persecutors, lured to the inn by the same advertisement that brought her there.


When the pistol accidentally fires, the situation becomes mortifyingly public, and thoroughly misunderstood. Audrianna is prepared to live with the scandal. Lord Sebastian has other ideas. . .

 

 


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Melanie_Murray
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Re: February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter

I am beyond thrilled to welcome Madeline Hunter to Romantic Reads to discuss her astoundingly good new book, Ravishing in Red. This is the first in a new quartet, and having read the second book, too,

 

Provocative in Pearls, I can attest to the fact that these are must-reads of the year.

 

I'll let Madeline tell us more about the story of Ravishing, and a little bit about the premise for the quartet.

 

In the meantime, head on over to Madeline's website for a great Ravishing in Red trailer.

 

Welcome, Madeline!

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Madeline_Hunter20
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Re: February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter

Hi, Melanie! I'm honored to be here.

 

Ravishing in Red starts a new series called The Rarest Blooms. At her property outside London, Daphne Joyes grows flowers and plants that decorate the finest houses in Mayfair. She also collects stray women of ambiguous histories and respectability. Readers of the series will watch each of those women find love with men they least expect, and learn the secrets that each harbors in her heart and which led her to seek sanctuary at this house.

 

Audrianna is the most recent addition and has the first story. Her proper, predictable life was unended by two events. Her father became the target of an investigation into bad gunpowder that caused the death of soldiers during the war, and the scandal hounds him to his grave. As a result, the officer to whom she was engaged throws her over. She has moved in with Daphne to escape the "spotlight" that has ended the future she expected. But she is determined to clear her father's name. In the course of doing so she is thrown together with Lord Sebastian Summerhays, one of the men who had spearheaded that investigation.

 

There is a mystery in this story, but the emphasis is on the romance between the two as they first meet as enemies, then are forced to find some common ground despite their conflict. And readers will be meeting the other men and women who will be active in the series, and be introduced to this world.

 

I will be around today and all week to talk about the book and series, and anything anyone wants!

Madeline Hunter
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Melanie_Murray
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Re: February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter

Well, Madeline, I just loved this book. Sebastian was such an upright, clever, and dominating hero. He's the kind of character who can handle any situation, but I loved how you showed his softer side, too, with his brother and his affinity with astronomy.

 

What drew you to the idea of the Rarest Blooms? Have you always wanted to write about flowers and gardens in some capacity? How much research did you have to do?

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Madeline_Hunter20
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Re: February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter

Melanie, the inspiration for the series came from a research I had done years ago when I wrote medieval romances. I came upon references to communities of lay women, not nuns, who lived together, often held jobs in the towns, and never took vows. It was one of those factoids I filed away. So I sort of based Daphne's house on that, and they even have a set of rules that they live by, that ensures their safety from their pasts.

 

For the gardening, I had a wonderful time researching the plants and flowers of the period, and made good use of the free downloads available here at B & N of old books. I have a little virtual library of gardening manuels from the early 19th century. I don't get heavily into the details of gardening in the books, however. It isa romance, not a horticultural study :smileyhappy: and I had to keep that in mind, much as I wanted to stick a lot of that in just because I thought it was cool.

Madeline Hunter
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becke_davis
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Re: February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter

[ Edited ]

 


Madeline_Hunter20 wrote:

Melanie, the inspiration for the series came from a research I had done years ago when I wrote medieval romances. I came upon references to communities of lay women, not nuns, who lived together, often held jobs in the towns, and never took vows. It was one of those factoids I filed away. So I sort of based Daphne's house on that, and they even have a set of rules that they live by, that ensures their safety from their pasts.

 

For the gardening, I had a wonderful time researching the plants and flowers of the period, and made good use of the free downloads available here at B & N of old books. I have a little virtual library of gardening manuels from the early 19th century. I don't get heavily into the details of gardening in the books, however. It isa romance, not a horticultural study :smileyhappy: and I had to keep that in mind, much as I wanted to stick a lot of that in just because I thought it was cool.

I want to blog about these books at B&N's Garden Variety. I've got the first two books in this series, but have been swamped with preparations for the romantic suspense party over at the Mystery board. As soon as I finish them both, I'll write a blog focusing on the garden connection. I'll let you know when it goes up.
I love your books, BTW! You can thank Melanie for introducing me to historicals -- I was adamant about sticking in the contemporary world until Melanie and Anna Campbell took me in hand and put me straight.

 

 

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Melanie_Murray
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Re: February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter

I loved the Rules and the camaraderie of the women. Celia's back-story is heavily hinted at, and her character promises a story with spark. I'm also very interested in Daphne's back-story, how she came to have that house and whatever past she has with the gentlemen of society - I suspect there's something. And I have to say that I never once guessed Lizzie's secret, or that one of the women might be connected to a character we meet in RIR - I don't want to say too much because I don't want to give anything away.

 

Can you talk a little bit about the story of brothers that RIR tells? I found this to be a very moving part of the book.

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Melanie_Murray
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Re: February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter

Becke, I enjoy that you give me credit for showing you the historical light, but the truth is that you read everything and would've found your way to the true path eventually.

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becke_davis
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Re: February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter

Well, it's true I read everything, but I get upset if there is no HEA. So I'm not reading as much women's fiction these days, because I go nuts if there isn't a happy ending.

 

I would have found historicals eventually, but I'm so glad I didn't have to wait!

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EloisaJames
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Re: February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter

HI Madeline!

 

I loved the book -- as anyone can tell from its featured status in my column!  I'm curious about the series.  You set yourself quite a task to stay within historical boundaries regarding propriety and marriage, given the community of women you gathered together.  I'm really curious to see how it will work out.  Are you finding it difficult to provide titled gentlemen for each of your heroines, or will you branch out into the middle classes?

 

cheers,

Eloisa


Learn more about A Duke of Her Own.

Discover all Eloisa James titles.


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Madeline_Hunter20
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Re: February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter

I was fascinated  to learn all the things they grew in those gardens and greenhouses. Fruits out of season were common. And they created little eco-zones that were warmer than England could provide. They would build walls with little fireplaces in them to keep the wall warm, or else mound manure against one side to do the same thing.

In Ravishing in Red there is a grape vine growing in the greenhouse. I took that right out of one of the books from the period, complete with instructions (I had to leave out all the instructions, but snuck some in anyway.)

Madeline Hunter
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Madeline_Hunter20
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Re: February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter

Becke, I am glad I found historicals as soon as I found romances. I like knowing there will be a HEA too. It gives me permission to really get involved with the characters, I think. I might hold back, otherwise, if I thought things might end up badly for them and the book would end on a down note.

Madeline Hunter
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Madeline_Hunter20
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Re: February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter


 

Can you talk a little bit about the story of brothers that RIR tells? I found this to be a very moving part of the book.

 

Well, the hero, Sebastian, is a second son. His brother is a marquess, who impulsively joined the war at its end, only to come home paralyzed. So Sebastian's life changes radically along with his brother's. He moves back into the family home (in part to protect his brother from their overbearing mother and her inclination to treat her disabled son as a child.) Sebastian also is using the family influence in the House of Commons, and has curtailed his carefree life in other ways. He shows great sensitivity to his brother, and is painfully aware that his brother is watching the second son live the life the first son was supposed to have. So this whole situation is a darkness in Sebastian's life, as well as his brother's, and how they treat each other, and how that works into the character development and the plot, was really important to me. It is not a situation without tension, of course. But it shows us a lot about Sebastian, in all his facets.


 

Madeline Hunter
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Madeline_Hunter20
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Re: February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter


EloisaJames wrote:

HI Madeline!

 

I loved the book -- as anyone can tell from its featured status in my column!  I'm curious about the series.  You set yourself quite a task to stay within historical boundaries regarding propriety and marriage, given the community of women you gathered together.  I'm really curious to see how it will work out.  Are you finding it difficult to provide titled gentlemen for each of your heroines, or will you branch out into the middle classes?

 

cheers,

Eloisa


Hi, Eloisa! Thanks for the column.

   Audrianna's story opens some doors to those titled gentlemen, so it hasn't been a big stretch. One of the heroes is not titled, and has made his own way. He is the unacknowledged bastard son of a peer, though, so while he is financially middle class, and rubs shoulder with some of the ton due to his education and some other reasons revealed in the book, he is not really middle class as such, nor is he in that elevated world on a regular basis.

   I did make some decisions on the series in the interests of being historically plausible--decisions that may or may not be how other writers, or some readers, would have done it. We will see.

   The living arrangement of the women raises some eyebrows. It is alluded to, and handled in passing. Sebastian's mother finds it all very suspect. Sebastian thinks the ambiguous backgrounds could even be dangerous. And when he first talks to someone in the nearby town, the man makes reference to some general gossip about this collection of single women. There is no cause for it, but some in the town just find the situation a tad peculiar. If the women were relatives it would be different.

  

Madeline Hunter
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Melanie_Murray
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Re: February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter

Is Castleford going to be one of the heroes? Can you give that away? I found him exceptionally interesting, especially in PIP.

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Madeline_Hunter20
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Re: February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter


Melanie_Murray wrote:

Is Castleford going to be one of the heroes? Can you give that away? I found him exceptionally interesting, especially in PIP.


 

I am already getting emails from readers about Castleford. His character is an example of the best fun I have as a writer. He just showed up like he is, without any planning. Everything about him just flowed out as I wrote. So of course he has to have his own story! Until he does, he will remain an important secondary character, as you noticed in Provocative in Pearls. He is a lot of fun to write, but he is a challenge too. Characters like that really want to take over a book as soon as they appear in it. I had intended his character to be very different, but he is what he is and I did not have much say in it.

Madeline Hunter
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Melanie_Murray
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Re: February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter

 


Madeline_Hunter20 wrote:

Melanie_Murray wrote:

Is Castleford going to be one of the heroes? Can you give that away? I found him exceptionally interesting, especially in PIP.


 

I am already getting emails from readers about Castleford. His character is an example of the best fun I have as a writer. He just showed up like he is, without any planning. Everything about him just flowed out as I wrote. So of course he has to have his own story! Until he does, he will remain an important secondary character, as you noticed in Provocative in Pearls. He is a lot of fun to write, but he is a challenge too. Characters like that really want to take over a book as soon as they appear in it. I had intended his character to be very different, but he is what he is and I did not have much say in it.


 

 

I am not surprised you're getting feedback about him, because he really, and I mean really, transcends the page. He's just so deliciously and unapologetically dissolute! He caught my eye in RIR, but really came thoroughly entertaining in Pearls. I've had that experience in writing where a character just pops out with very little effort and it's great fun and quite overwhelming, too.

 

I would be first in line for Castleford's story.

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Irish
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Re: February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter

Hi Madeline -

 

No questions - I haven't read RIR yet but purchased it yesterday so I'm on my way.  Just wanted to say hi and that I really love your writing.  Your medievals are amazing and a few in the The Seducer series are regular re-reads for me.  I love to read your books because I feel as if I'm getting a little history lesson but not hit over the head with tons and tons of info.  I like that the romances remain center stage, yet your stories are always intelligent and well thought out. 

 

I also love your characters.  Your heroes are alphas without being jerks (Daniel and Vergil) or betas without being wimpy (Julian and Rhys).  Your heroines are victims without being weak and whiney (Penelope and Joan) and you showcase their strengths without turning them into 21st century superwomen.  I am a real sucker for a heroine who has been put through the ringer and the hero who helps her heal.  You've given me this scenario so many times I've lost count and I want to say Thank You.

 

I can't wait to dive into RIR and am so excited that it is only the first in a wonderful new series. 

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Madeline_Hunter20
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Re: February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter


Irish wrote:

Hi Madeline -

 

No questions - I haven't read RIR yet but purchased it yesterday so I'm on my way.  Just wanted to say hi and that I really love your writing.  

Hi, Irish! Thank you for joining us. And thanks for the really nice words about my books. <blushing> I try to have my characters act realistically, because I think people haven't changed all that much in how they handle the things thrown at them. I guess maybe I have met some two-dimensional people in my life, but I wouldn't want to read about them, and I sure don't want to spend months writing a book with them. So it is nice to hear that you find my characters believable and appealing.

I hope that you enjoy Ravishing in Red!

Madeline Hunter
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Melanie_Murray
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Re: February Feature #1: RAVISHING IN RED by Madeline Hunter

Madeline, do you think you'll ever return to the medieval time period?