01-17-2012 11:44 AM
01-17-2012 11:49 AM
For readers who are new to this series, can you give some background on The Inferno Club and how its members have evolved over the course of the books?
Sure! The Inferno Club is a series of Regency historical romantic adventures about a group of warrior aristocrats who are known to London Society as wealthy libertines and highborn rakehells. In actuality, they are the members of a secret chivalric Order sworn to the fight against a very specific evil looming over England (more on that below).
Recruited as lads from noble families, trained in an array of deadly arts, and sent into various countries throughout Europe to hunt down and destroy their targets, they are the operatives of an agency so secret that few beyond the Crown and a few top officials even know it exists.
There are four books available in the series so far, with three more to come. The titles available to date are: 1) My Wicked Marquess (Inferno Club Series #1) , 2) My Dangerous Duke (Inferno Club Series #2) , 3) My Irresistible Earl (Inferno Club Series #3) , and 4) the current release, My Ruthless Prince (Inferno Club Series #4) (which, yay, hit the New York Times and the USA Today bestseller lists its first week out).
Here’s a trailer for the series if you’d like to watch:
01-17-2012 11:51 AM
What inspired you to create The Inferno Club?
One of the maxims of good storytelling is that your protagonist can only be as be as strong as the villain he or she is up against. It’s not very impressive to defeat a wimpy villain, in other words.
But when you’re writing about Regency warrior-aristocrat alpha males who are already at the top of the food chain in society—smart, rich, physically strong, highly educated, drop dead sexy—it’s hard to find a villain that can give a guy like that a serious challenge. A good villain is hard to find!
At the same time, I’ve always been fascinated by those horrifying conspiracy theories that say there are like three hundred people who rule the entire world. Not presidents and prime ministers, not the faces you see in the news, but the uber-rich power brokers who are the real rulers from the shadows. Powerful, shadowy groups like the Illuminati.
Ok, everybody, tin hats ON. Ha, ha. I started wondering if I could build a network of super scary villains out of this idea to give my heroes some worthy adversaries. I read lots more books about conspiracy theories, especially those about the Illuminati, with their connections to the Knights Templars, and certain aristocratic families in Europe, and also groups like the Freemasons, that have certain (alleged) occult connections. (By the way, did you know there are people in this world today who literally believe not only that this Power Elite exists, but that it was founded on Planet Earth by reptilian aliens? I kid you not.) Anyway, that is how my “Prometheans” were born.
At the start of the series, they have infiltrated every court in Europe. They’re international, like the One World Order crowd. They think they’re beneficent, but they are all about tyranny because they arrogantly view the “mass of men” as sheep, too stupid to rule their own lives. The Prometheans are as secretive as the Freemasons; they’re aristocratic, ancient in their founding, and vaguely satanic like the Illuminati. However, I promise you, they are neither alien nor reptile, LOL. So, there you go. Ack, now I’ve exposed them! I think I hear the black helicopters now above my house… If I disappear, you’ll know why. *grin*
01-17-2012 11:55 AM
My Ruthless Prince (Inferno Club Series #4) is where the war between the Order and the Prometheans reaches its shattering crescendo! The hero is Drake Parry, the Earl of Westwood. He was a team leader for the Order, but in the backstory, his men got killed and he was captured, tortured to the point where the bad guys conclude his mind is broken. He never really told them anything, but he loses his memory for a while due to the trauma. Finally, one old Promethean power broker, James Falkirk, steps in and makes the torture stop in the hopes of Drake recovering his wits enough to become a useful asset and tell them what he knows. James takes the broken man Drake has become and starts to rebuild him…as a Promethean.
He is convinced he has turned Drake. In time, Drake becomes old James’s bodyguard and gains the Prometheans’ trust by saving the old man’s life a few times. Drake starts to rise in the ranks of the Prometheans.
His former buddies in the Order can’t tell if he is still one of them or not, if this is just a ruse, or if he really has turned traitor.
Into the mix comes Emily Harper, who has been in love with Drake all her life. When she realizes the Order is either going to bring Drake back or send snipers to kill him, she rushes off to save him. She ends up finding the truth about what he’s got planned, and becomes a key ally.
In the meanwhile, now on this dangerous mission together, they finally get the chance to explore the attraction that has always existed between them.
01-17-2012 11:56 AM
Drake takes the role of tortured hero to another level entirely. As I read this, it struck me how brave it was of you as an author to write a true anti-hero, a character that straddles the line of good and evil so expertly that we really question what is going on with him. Tell us readers a little bit about him.
Well, thank you for that. I give a lot of credit to Emily, the heroine! What I said about villains applies to heroines in terms of balancing out the hero with equal strength. Emily’s got the strength to give Drake a run for his money. Another woman might’ve said: “I’m out of here, enough’s enough, he’s either evil or crazy!” But no matter what he throws at her, what emotional defenses he tries to put between them, she refuses to give up on him—even when Drake has largely given up on himself.
Despair is what’s really motivating him, at least until she captures his heart. He feels so damaged by all he’s been through that he just wants to die, but he figures he’ll take as many of them down with him as he can. When she shows up, it throws a major monkey wrench into his plans. She offers hope for the first time since he was captured. Now he’s torn, faced with a stark choice between annihilation and an end to pain in death on the one hand, and on the other, life, which offers both the beauty of love but also the certainty of some degree of suffering.
01-17-2012 11:57 AM
Then there's Emily, a determined, capable, loving, loyal heroine. I am usually a hero-focused reader, but I have to say how much Emily really won me over. I was rooting for Drake to come through for her because she deserved it. What was your thinking in creating this character?
What’s really interesting about Emily is she is not really a talker. She’s a quiet, soulful, “free spirit” associated with the forest and wild animals. She was the woodsman’s daughter from Drake’s family estate, so they have known each other since childhood.
Emily’s very different from what we usually associate with Regency heroines. She couldn’t care less about convention, neither trying to fit in nor fretting over the fact that she doesn’t. She is at peace with who she is. As a nature-oriented character, she’s kind of timeless and detached from the world.
Most of all, she’s an outsider. I think that’s what helps her connect with Drake. Like him, she’s brave, tough, resilient, self-sufficient, and just quietly does what she has to do. I guess she’s an alpha female, a fitting mate for him.
01-17-2012 11:58 AM
Tell us about the setting; taking a book out of England always instantly transforms the mood of a book. How much research did you do into your locale, how to travel there, what the surrounding folk are like, etc.
This book takes place at a castle in the Bavarian Alps, a place where I have always wanted to go and which remains on my dream travel destination list. I still haven’t been there. But I have found that when you can’t travel to research a new location on-site, it’s much more feasible to render the setting if you keep your research tightly focused. That way, you can worry about at least getting everything that’s in the frame right.
That’s why I pretty much limited my story to the castle and the surrounding countryside. Germany is one of my strongest audiences, and I did not want to insult my dear German readers by messing up my rendition of their home country!
Another reason to focus on the castle was that we hear a lot in historical romance that readers don’t want to read something that doesn’t take place in England. But everyone loves a castle, so I concentrated on that, including some interesting bits about how German castles are different from English castles. My “Waldfort Castle” is a composite setting based on a few Bavarian castles that I researched for this book.
01-17-2012 11:59 AM
Why do you think cross-class love stories are so romantic?
When a person defies convention for the one they love, they are making a large sacrifice because they are giving up “belonging” in their group. But for their beloved, they will be alone. They are aware their group is going to disapprove of their choice and make them an outcast, but the lover is not daunted by this very high price the relationship will cost. It shows that any price would be worth it, even getting kicked out of your family, clan, or class for the other person. Sacrifice is at the heart of any love story, so that is why I’d say it probably seems so romantic to us.
What are you working on next?
Book 5 of the Inferno Club series, My Scandalous Viscount, will be out in Autumn 2012 (exact release month yet to be determined). Book 5 will be a bridge book into the final trilogy about Beau’s team. Sebastian Walker, Lord Beauchamp, is the team leader of a slightly younger trio of guys who promise to be even more “fiery” than the previous Inferno lords. The Prometheans have been mightily defeated, and now the remaining guys have to get on with life, love, and the aftermath of war.
01-17-2012 12:00 PM
01-19-2012 04:24 PM
I've just started my ruthless prince, and i already love it! 'Ive read over half of Foley's books and they always amaze me. They just suck me in and the plot and characters are wonderfully developed!
This Q&A was a lot of fun to read. Thanks Melanie and Gaelen
01-26-2012 08:54 PM
I just finished my ruthless prince last night, and it is the best inferno club book so far! i have said that about each book, but wow! the two action scenes had me turning the pages as fast as I could. I can't wait for beau's and carissa's book
Seriously, sooo great!