Amara’s first foray into writing romance was in high school, when she wrote a variety of “meet-cute” scenarios about her best friends. One would run into her true love while horseback riding through the French countryside. Another would meet her match auditioning on Broadway.
It’s been a long time since those little snippets, which have probably disintegrated in a landfill somewhere, but Amara has never stopped believing in true love, first kisses, and happily ever afters.
And so, when she’s not grading papers and teaching classes on literature and composition, she delves into Victorian history to weave stories of love and trust set in a world that faced tremendous shifts in men’s and women’s roles, economics, science, medicine, law, politics, technology...you name it, it was changing…yet love was, and is, a human constant. And love is always worth celebrating.
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Jamie and Kati: Hi Amara! Welcome to Romancing Rakes For The Love of Romance.
Amara Royce: Thanks so much for having me here! It’s a pleasure and an honor! You have such a wonderful site and community here!
J&K: Share some fun facts about yourself.
- I love chocolate. It’s my kryptonite.
- I’m a Sagittarius, for better and worse.
- I’m a rabid Disney fan. (Yes, I know some people think it’s the Evil Empire, and I can’t help loving it anyway.)
- My favorite color is purple.
AR: Well, it’s a classic “irresistible force meets old immovable object” story. In this case, “old” is extremely relative. I wouldn’t consider heroine Honoria old at age 40, but in historical romance, particularly Regency and Victorian, it’s somewhat rare to have a romance heroine over, say, 26. 28 is “firmly on the shelf.” Yet when the mature social do-gooder Honoria clamored for my attention, who was I to silence her?
The younger Alex is likewise staid and responsible, and so it galls him to find himself being blackmailed to protect his brother’s reputation…and especially to be forced to try to discredit Honoria professionally. Such May-December relationships weren’t unheard of at the time, and the reverse (much older male/young woman) was generally the norm.
Both Honoria and Alex have secrets, but they have to own up to each other as they face more menacing threats together.
J&K: What is it that makes your hero and heroine perfect for each other?
AR: As different as they are on the surface (in age, in social status, in family history, etc.), they are both deeply and fundamentally closed off emotionally. With all the love and friendship and goodness that surround them, they’re both so focused on duty and responsibility that they don’t recognize all this wonderfulness embracing them. But they can see it for each other’s sake.
J&K: If your book had a theme song, what would it be?
AR: Based on my response to question 2 above, you might think it’s the old standard “Something’s Gotta Give,” but really it’s Florence + the Machine’s “The Dog Days Are Over.” Lines like “Happiness hit her / like a train on a track” capture how resistant Honoria is to the happiness around her, as well as how forcibly the opportunities for happiness wash over her when Alex enters her world.
J&K: In one word, tell us how you felt when you got “The Call”?
J&K: What book is at the top of your TBR pile?
AR: It’s more like a mountain or an entire library…I was able to narrow it down to four: Sinner’s Heart by Zoe Archer, Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare (release date: May 28), Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and Painted Hands by Jennifer Zobair (release date: June 11).
J&K: What are you writing at the moment? Can you give us a sneak peek into your current WIP?
AR: I’m currently writing Book 2 in this series, tentatively called Always a Stranger.
In Never Too Late, we visit the Great Exhibition of 1851. In Always a Stranger, Devin’s cousin Lord Ridgemont, a member of the Royal Commission for the Great Exhibition, is responsible for verifying that the performers at the Exhibition are all properly contracted and legitimate.
Investigating an unapproved Asian troupe performing in the Chinese alcove, Ridgemont is awestruck by their beautiful and mysterious star performer, Miss Hanako Sumaki. He eventually finds out the manager’s true nefarious intentions for employing Miss Sumaki and other women who are kept out of sight.
For her part, Miss Sumaki can’t just abandon the other women, including her own little sister, as strangers in a strange land. She has to do what her employer requires in order to protect them all from his wrath and whims. There’s no way for her to support them all by herself and no way to obtain a respectable place in London society.
Ridgemont wants to woo her and have her employer brought up on charges, but she doesn’t want the women set adrift helpless in London and refuses to use his affections or be beholden to him. Still, she can’t deny his pull.
When he made his way back into the alcove, the child was gone as well.
Damn and blast. Who were these performers? And where was their manager? He wandered around the small chamber, picking up and inspecting bits and pieces along the way. Figurines, presumably from the Orient, were scattered about. The silk robe lay draped over some crates, and the wardrobe doors stood ajar. This was quite a haphazard group. Unprofessional. As entrancing as the fan performance had been, the Royal Commission would not want to be associated with such shoddiness. As if pulled to it without conscious volition, he picked up the robe. The red silk confounded his senses, the fiery color confronting his vision while the cool touch of the silk flowed like water through his fingers. And the scent that wafted from it, warm jasmine on a hot summer evening—he found himself drawing deep breaths and had to stop from burying his face in the material. Don’t be an idiot over a bit of fabric. You haven’t been a fool for a pretty face yet. No need to start now. Shaking his head with a self-effacing chuckle, he laid the robe out gently, careful to avoid snagging the delicate fabric.
Alpha or Beta? Alpha with an underlying Beta streak---or a Beta whose love for the right person brings out his inner Alpha
Wallflower or Belle of the Ball? Wallflower
Debutante or Spinster? Spinster
Virgin widow or Secret baby? Virgin widow (*cough*)
Titled peer or Working man? Titled peer (*cough*)
Love at first sight or Second chances? Love at first sight, although I have a soft spot for Second Chances (which will be featured in Book 3 or 4).
Naval officer or Swashbuckling pirate? Hmm...”disgraced” naval officer masquerading as a swashbuckling pirate!
Vampires or Shifters? Um, neither? Okay, okay…when push comes to shove, shifters. Not vampires. Please, not vampires.
Western Historicals or Western Contemporaries? Western contemporaries
Writing or Reading? I can’t choose! When there aren’t enough hours in the day, I suppose I’d rather spend the time writing.
Paperbacks or e-books? E-books. I love being able to carry around an entirely library in my purse—or even in my pocket on my smartphone!
Plotter or Pantser? Well, these days I definitely do my plotting first, but I still don’t write linearly. Even though I have the general plot laid out, I end up jumping around and writing scenes out of order, based on whatever scene is most vivid to me at the moment.
Author’s choice: Hmm…so many questions I could ask, but, considering Never Too Late’s premise, I’ll ask this…How do you feel about older woman/younger man stories?
Expect the unexpected, especially in a room filled with books…Get Your Own Copy: Kindle | Nook | Kobo | ARe
Honoria Duchamp is well aware that men often consider widows easy prey for the role of mistress. What else could explain the attentions of handsome Lord Devin, and his visits to her bookshop? The much younger Viscount has even shown interest in the printing press with which she creates pamphlets on London’s basest injustices. Yet his chief interest appears to be in her…
Coerced to investigate Nora’s controversial pamphlets, Devin expected to find a bookish matron. Instead, he is taken with Nora’s womanly beauty, sharp intellect, and quick wit. Soon, what begins as an unwelcome task becomes a pleasure, and Devin’s job becomes more dangerous—for them both. For Nora has no idea of the vicious element she’s crossed. Now Devin will risk his reputation to protect her—and much more to win her love…
Amara is giving away an e-book copy of Never Too Late from Amazon or Barnes & Noble (your choice). Here's how to enter:
- Leave a comment answering Amara's question: How do you feel about older woman/younger man stories?
- Fill out the rafflecopter form below. You must leave a comment. All other entries are optional.
Thanks to Amara!
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