Hello everyone! Today I have with us Amelia Grey, author of the upcoming historical romance Last Night with the Duke, out March 7th from St. Martin’s Paperbacks! Keep reading to hear Amelia’s tips for writers, which one of her characters would win in the Hunger Games, and what her favorite ice cream flavor is (among other things)!
All About Amelia
You wrote a book! That’s pretty awesome. Why don’t you tell us a bit about what inspired Last Night with the Duke?
Thank you for having me on your blog!
I wanted to write a trilogy and I wanted each book to center around the heroes. I needed something to connect them together so I started with this paragraph which I sent to my editor.
The Rakes of St. James
It’s never a good thing when a young rake’s wicked ways come back to haunt him. Just ask Benedict Mercer, the Duke of Griffen, Sloane Knox, the Duke of Hawksthorn, and Rust Rathboune, the Duke of Stoneblade. The trio made an ill-fated wager years ago that they are still trying to live down. But there is little hope of accomplishing that since an anonymous writer of a weekly scandal sheet keeps the fiasco very much alive. And, rumor has it some members of Society are determined to go to great lengths to make sure the chickens have come home to roost for the three gentlemen notoriously known as The Rakes of St. James.
Introduce us to your main characters!
The Duke of Hawksthorn is guardian of his younger sister. He knew that more than a few of his ilk were thinking this was his just punishment, now that it was his eighteen-year-old sister who was set to make her debut in the spring.
However due to circumstances involving his misguided past as one of London’s most notorious rakes he’s hoping to avoid the Season by securing a match for her before it begins. He has the perfect man in mind, a gentle soul he feels certain will be a good match for his sweet sister.
When Hawk goes to see the chap, he encounters Miss Loretta Quick instead. She’s witty, gorgeous, and clearly not the least bit enchanted by him. Had he not been so intrigued he might have been insulted. He’s even more surprised when he learns that the fiery female is that “gentle soul’s” sister.
The more he gets to know Miss Quick, the more he is determined to make her his. But Hawk soon discovers the miss has a mind of her own as she manages to undermine his every tactic to arrange a match between their siblings. She also makes it clear she will do everything in her power to challenge his attempts to win her affection.
Though not without a blemish to her reputation, Miss Loretta Quick barely escaped an arranged marriage to Viscount by her tyrannical uncle. Though no sooner had she begun to savor her victory, the irritatingly and captivating Duke of Hawksthorn shows up at her door seeking out another sort of arranged union – this time between her beloved brother and the duke’s sister.
Determined to see to it that her brother should be able to marry for love or not at all, she promises the duke she will do everything within her power to protect her brother from a marriage arranged by a scoundrel duke waving money and prestige in front of him. She also learns that she must protect more than just her brother when she realizes she’s losing her own heart to the devilish duke.
Walk us through a day in the life of Amelia Grey.
Every other morning the first thing I do is a series of stretching exercises, walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes, and lift 5 and 10 pound weights. On the other days I go straight to the shower and start my day. I have about 2 cups of coffee and toast with peanut butter and jelly (love it) or eat a granola bar. I don’t like to eat much during the day. I will then do household chores before heading to my computer. Sometimes I work at my home office and sometimes at the office I have in my husband’s office building. I will do emails, snail mail, family stuff, etc before I get started writing. That is usually between 10:30 and 11:00. I stop for a light, easy to fix lunch such as turkey and cheese rollups or leftovers. I work until about 5:00 or 5:30 when it’s time think about dinner and family life.
Lots of aspiring authors out there. Any advice for them?
During my early writing years I attended a lot of conferences, and I had mountains of notes. One day I sat down with all the pieces of paper them and made a tip sheet of the most important tidbits I picked up from authors giving workshops. I’m happy to share my notes:
- Every writer has their own way to write a book
- Think about your story for a long time
- Collect all your research
- Know your characters
- Establish a character on first page
- Don’t under estimate your first page or your first chapter
- First page sets the pace
- Study your first page – Did you tell who, what, when, where?
- Best first lines are drama
- Good first lines plunge hero or heroine into dire straits
- The better you use your opening chapter, the better your book will be
- Plunge your reader into conflict immediately
- Reader involvement is the most important thing you can do
- Get your reader early and you’ll keep them to the end of the book
- Give the hero and heroine the promise of romance early in the book
- But readers get bored with too much happiness
- Write in a little misery, then resolve it
- If you don’t pace yourself, you’re headed for trouble
- But don’t be slow
- No two people talk alike – remember your characters’ personalities
- Never assume your readers know your characters just because you do
- Don’t let your characters sit around and do nothing
- Watch for uneven characters
- Secondary characters should never take away from the hero and heroine
- Go directly to action – Don’t stop for background
- Give background in small segments
- A sense of urgency is a must
- Don’t make emotional scenes long or chatty
- Don’t let your story lack life or excitement
- There has to be a strong emotional concept
- Motivation must be made clear
- Don’t throw logic out of the window for the sake of drama.
Alright, the ultimate question: why should we read your book?
I like to tell everyone that I write what I love and I love what I write. I write fun, sensual, and emotional Regency Historicals. I don’t try to teach you anything, but if you learn something new while reading my book that’s great. All want to do is entertain you and leave you with the feeling that you just read a wonderful story with a happy ending.
The Fun Stuff
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Feminine, happy, romantic.
Your characters are sent into the Hunger Games. Who wins?
My heroines always win: Miss Esmeralda Swift wins the love of her life in Last Night with the Duke.
This morning you woke up with the ability to time travel to only one time period. Where (or more accurately “when”) would you go?
The Regency era—1811-1821
This is where a gentleman dressed in buff-colored trousers, black Hessian knee boots, and a white shirt. His honor was more important than his life, and he wanted to make a lady feel beautiful, desired, and treasured. Regency ladies were strong and spirited even though they were pampered. They wore beaded and brocaded gowns trimmed with wispy bits of lace that fell softly over fine cotton chemises, silky smooth stockings and stylish satin slippers. She carried fancy embroidered handkerchief peeking out of a velvet reticule. Jewels or pearls hung delicately around her neck, and ribbons, flowers, or alabaster combs adorned her hair. The Regency countryside has green, gently rolling hills, dotted with stately manor homes surrounded by fabulous gardens that go on forever with vistas, waterfalls, and neatly trimmed yew. London streets are busy with hustle and bustle, and all the secrets and mysteries that are hidden within the boundaries of Mayfair, and Hyde and St. James’ Parks.
Coffee or tea?
Best ice cream flavor ever?
Toasted Almond Fudge
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”
What is one piece of advice you would tell everyone?
Don’t let anyone or anything steal joy from you. You only get one life. Let it be a happy one.
Thank you so much to Amelia Grey for answering a few of our questions! You can get her latest book, Last Night with the Duke in just a few days so make sure to go out and grab a copy!
Last Night with the Dukeby Amelia Grey
Series: The Rakes of St. James #1
Published on March 7, 2017 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Book Depository / Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Could finding love be his greatest scandal of all?
The Duke of Griffin has never lived down his reputation as one of the Rakes of St. James. Now rumors are swirling that his twin sisters may bear the brunt of his past follies. Hiring a competent chaperone is the only thing Griffin has on his mind--until he meets the lovely and intriguing Miss Esmeralda Swift. In ways he could never have expected, she arouses more than just his curiosity.
Esmeralda Swift considered herself too sensible to ever fall for a scoundrel, but that was before she met the irresistibly seductive Duke of Griffin. His employment offer proves too tempting for her to resist. She can’t afford to be distracted by his devilish charms because the stakes are so high for his sisters’ debut Season. . .unless one of London’s most notorious rakes has had a change of heart and is ready to make Esmeralda his bride?