I’ve had a good run of reissues this year. The latest is Angel Rogue, which is the last of my Fallen Angels series to be reissued, (though not the last book in the series.) So everyone who has emailed plaintively over the years can now find a nice, clean copy of a book with one of my favorite heroes.
Some characters take shape slowly, over months or years. Others are created in an eyeblink. Lord Robert Andreville was in the latter category. Originally, Robin was invented as wallpaper when I began writing The Controversial Countess, a traditional Regency. That story was set amidst the swirling politic currents of the Paris peace conference that took place after Waterloo.
The powers of Europe had already gathered once at the Congress of Vienna to decide what to do with that upstart, Bonaparte. Their conclusions had been kicked to the curb when the sneaky Corsican escaped from Elba and declared war on Europe once again in the spring of 1815. Napoleon’s return was stopped at Waterloo, at the cost of tens of thousands of lives, and now the great powers of Europe were distinctly peeved. Hence the Paris peace conference that ended with Napoleon being shipped off to St. Helena in the southern Atlantic.
This turmoil created a great background for the lost-love-regained story of Rafe, the Duke of Candover, and Margot, his first love, who has been working as a spy on the continent for years. Now she is masquerading as a Hungarian countess and swanning around the high society of the conference.
When we first meet Maggie, she’s fuming over being told that she has to work with the beastly duke, whom she has neither forgotten nor forgiven. I figured that she needed a foil—someone to fume to. Thus was born Robin, enigmatic Englishman, friend, spymaster, and former lover. Maggie has always trusted him, though by the end of the book she had justifiable doubts. Like a cat, Robin wound in and out of the story, and by the end it was clear that he needed a book of his own.
His story in Signet Regency form was called The Rogue and the Runaway. After The Controversial Countess was revised into the historical, Petals in the Storm, of course Robin’s story also had to be edited and lengthened into Angel Rogue. The book starts when Robin returns to his ancestral home in Yorkshire because he can’t think of anywhere else to go. Turns out he’s the younger son of a marquess, and clearly he’s suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome after too many years of selling his soul, piece by piece, while spying for Britian. He and his older brother, Giles, have a fond but somewhat awkward relationship. One of the things I enjoyed most when I revised the book from a Regency was adding depth and complexity to the relationship between Robin and Giles.
Robin drifts aimlessly until a very determined young lady trips over him when he’s napping in the woods. Maxima Collins is ‘half Mohawk and all-American,” and she’s hiking from Northern England to London to discover the truth of her wastrel but beloved father’s death. One reason for Maxie’s mixed heritage is that romances with native Americans usually feature Plains tribes. Plus, it’s almost always the hero who has Indian blood.
Naturally, I thought this needed changing. <g> I grew up in Western New York State, where the tribes of the Iroquois Confederation once held sway. The reservation of the Senecas, keepers of the western gate, was only a few miles away. My mother had a Mohawk friend who lived nearby, having married a Seneca. I interviewed Theresa Jemison before writing the book, and with her permission, I used her Mohawk name, Kanawiosta, for Maxie.
I must admit that a major reason for my heroine’s name was so that when Robin first met her and she said her name was Maxima, he could survey her very petite figure and say that she looked more like a Minima than a Maxima. Robin never could resist a bad pun. <g>
It isn’t easy writing about a depressed hero, but once Robin and Maxie meet and he insists on escorting her to London, the story took off like a rocket. Maxie finds Robin baffling and probably useless, but it’s hard to resist his sense of humor. As for Robin—well, Maxie and her determination remind him why life is worth living.
As they become acquainted, they are pursued by a worried marquess, a parasol wielding aunt, a Bow Street Runner, and a controlling uncle. This is as close to a romp as I’ve ever written, and I still adore Robin, who is “every other inch a gentleman.” (I stole quips from all over to put in his mouth!) Angel Rogue is hitting the stores just about now, and I hope new readers as well as ones who have been waiting will enjoy the story. Click here for an excerpt: http://maryjoputney.com/angelrogueexc.htm
As always when I have a new book, I’ll do a giveaway. Anyone signed up for our Word Wench newsletter by Sunday, midnight EDT, will be eligible for the drawing. And note that we actually did send out a newsletter to announce Teresa Medeiros’s visit! Now that we’ve done it once, we might make it a habit. <g>