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Melanie_Murray
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Registered: ‎11-16-2007
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September Feature: A Lady by Midnight, and a Q&A from Tessa Dare!

For the second year in a row, Avon is conducting their K.I.S.S & Teal campaign, in association with the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, to raise awareness (and funds) about this killer disease. Their aim is to educate women about symptoms of ovarian cancer, and all their September releases have the seal on the front and information about the tell-tale signs to be aware of.

 

A worthy cause, and lucky for us, all the books are great. My love for Eloisa James's The Ugly Duchess   is probably well known by now, but there's another favorite among this batch: Tessa Dare's A Lady by Midnight.

A temporary engagement, a lifetime in the making . . .

After years of fending for herself, Kate Taylor found friendship and acceptance in Spindle Cove—but she never stopped yearning for love. The very last place she'd look for it is in the arms of Corporal Thorne. The militia commander is as stone cold as he is brutally handsome. But when mysterious strangers come searching for Kate, Thorne steps forward as her fiancee. He claims to have only Kate's safety in mind. So why is there smoldering passion in his kiss?

 

Long ago, Samuel Thorne devoted his life to guarding Kate's happiness. He wants what's best for her, and he knows it's not marriage to a man like him. To outlast their temporary engagement, he must keep his hands off her tempting body and lock her warm smiles out of his withered heart. It's the toughest battle of this hardened warrior's life . . . and the first he seems destined to lose.

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Melanie_Murray
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Re: September Feature: A Lady by Midnight, and a Q&A from Tessa Dare!

Part of my post got swallowed up!

 

Here's the rest:

 

I really liked this book; Kate is sweet-natured and industrious, longing for a family but content with the small happinesses in her life. She's got an impetuous streak that tends to come out around Corporal Samuel Thorne, who is taciturn and cold and seemingly turned off by Kate's personality. Of course, his exterior belies his inner-most thoughts: he's been looking out for Kate for years...

 

See below for a lovely dialogue with Tessa!

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Melanie_Murray
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Re: September Feature: A Lady by Midnight, and a Q&A from Tessa Dare!

Welcome, Tessa! A Lady by Midnight is the fourth book set in Spindle Cove. Tell us a bit about this place, and what your inspiration for it was.
Spindle Cove is a fictional holiday village by the sea, during the Regency period in England.  The young ladies who flock to Spindle Cove don't quite fit in with English high society.  Some are shy, some are sickly, some are interested in "unladylike" pursuits...and a few, like Kate, simply have nowhere else to call home.

What could you tell us about Kate Taylor?
Kate's had a hard life--she was orphaned and has few memories of her life before the austere girls' school where she was raised--but she remains a natural optimist with a sunny disposition.  She's found a way to make a living teaching music in Spindle Cove.  She has a home, lots of friends, and a career she enjoys--but she can't stop yearning for the love of a family.  She's never thought to yearn for the attention of a certain taciturn, fiercely protective soldier--but she's about to discover it's the one thing she can't live without.

Taciturn heroes are irresistible to me, and Coroporal Thorne is so impenetrable I was dying to know all about him. Did you model him on any kind of character or type, and what do you think is so appealing about reformed bad boy heroes?
Thorne is the epitome of the strong, silent hero.  He struggles to express himself in words, but his protective actions toward Kate speak volumes.  He's a bad boy, but not in the sense of the rakish playboys that so often populate historical romance.  He's more of the guy from the other side of the tracks--the loner who came from rough beginnings and fell on even rougher times.  He's known so little affection in his life, it's hard for him to believe he has anything to offer Kate--but once he begins to soften up, there's such a hidden reserve of emotion in his heart.  Writing Thorne wasn't easy, but he was definitely worth the struggle.

This is a serious book, full of sad questions and heart-breaking moments, and yet there are these truly funny characters and happenings that weave through the piece and bring much-needed levity: I'm thinking of watermelons and the Gramercy family. Probably best to not give away the "watermelon" incident - readers will have to read! - but tell us about creating quirky characters like the Gramercys, and what - if any - plans you have for them in future books.
Well, I'm so glad the book made you laugh AND feel heart-broken!  My own favorite books are always a combination of humor, passion, and tenderness, so I strive to include all three.   As for the Gramercys...I love nothing more than a roomful of quirky characters, so creating Aunt Marmoset and her brood was great fun.  I've had several people ask if I have a Gramercy series planned.  I don't, although I haven't ruled out revisiting those characters in the future.  Mostly, I just wanted them to feel like a well-rounded family with plenty of eccentricities and flaws, so that it would feel believable that they'd eagerly accept Kate as one of their own.

Did you research what happened to prisoners during this time period? Or was some of Corporal Thorne's backstory creative license?
I did research prison treatment. In 1777, English prison reformer John Howard published The State of the Prisons, a comprehensive look at dire conditions in jails all over England.  Much of Thorne's fictional experience has its roots in that historical document--the shackles, the insufficient provisions, and the practice of charging fees for simple comforts such as meat rations and blankets.  

I'm curious about this in general and have resolved to starting asking it when I can: what authors do you make it a point to read?
I have so many authors I love, and hate I to leave any out!  So this will be an incomplete list. But in historical romance, some of my favorites include Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas, Eloisa James, Loretta Chase, Courtney Milan, and Julie Anne Long.  I also love to read other genres of fiction, as well as nonfiction.  

How many Spindle Cove books do you think there will be in the series?
There will be another Spindle Cove novella--Diana Highwood's story--and then the fourth full-length novel, ANY DUCHESS WILL DO, which comes out in June 2013.   I think I will move on to another series from there, but I hope that Spindle Cove will continue to exist in my Regency world, and some of its characters may find their way to other books.  Thanks for asking!