Blatant Promotional Spotlight Presents:
Word Wenches Interview with Jo Beverley!
Lord Darius Debenham, reported as perished at Waterloo, is in fact alive–yet frail from his wounds and ill-treatment, and addicted to opium. His rescuer is Lady Mara St. Bride, sister to Simon St. Bride of The Rogue’s Return–with the family need to champion causes, she plunges into action. Dare Debenham has always been like a brother to her, and Mara cannot let a beloved brother suffer. She soon finds, however, that he is simply beloved….
"Lighthearted and serious, sexy and sweet, this exquisitely rendered story is a perfect finale to this classic series." ~Library Journal
"With her usual beautifully nuanced characters and lyrical writing…Beverley brings her popular Company of Rogues Regency historical series to a triumphant conclusion." ~Booklist
WW: TO RESCUE A ROGUE brings back Lord Darius, listed as killed at Waterloo. Did you know then that he would turn up alive later, with such a powerful story?
JB: As best I remember, no. I do remember thinking that it would undermine the seriousness of the situation if no one the reader knew died in such a bloodbath. I think I picked Dare because he was the Rogue there who was most well liked by readers. I’m a cruel goddess. But as his body wasn’t found, I think I was backtracking pretty early on.
I didn’t have a clue where he was if alive. I ruled out amnesia immediately because it seemed too obvious. I have a strong contrarian streak, as my readers know. As time passed in the Rogues’ world, however, any explanation became less and less likely. As I wrote yesterday, I even played with abduction by aliens!
In more normal form, I discovered Dare in the process of writing Devil’s Heiress and then his prolonged absence made sense and even wove back into ongoing plot elements.
WW: When you wrote the first of your Rogue books, did you ever imagine how long the series would continue?
JB: In books, sort of. I’d always thought it strange that Heyer didn’t link her books more, given that her people were often buzzing around the same Regency London, Bath etc. Of course I realized later that she was smart. It’s a lot more work to keep track of a host of characters. So I hoped to write stories about the surviving men.
One little known fact, however, is that Lucien, Marquess of Arden wasn’t a Rogue in the original. I was writing his book, and trying my hand at a true sporting, physical Regency buck, when I discovered the manuscript of Nicholas’s story and started to brush it up. I realized I could make Lucien a Rogue, which created interesting dynamics in the Rogues and in Luce’s story, An Unwilling Bride. As the heir to a dukedom, Lucien is way higher in status to the rest, but especially to Nicholas, who is a commoner. Yet Nicholas is undisputed King Rogue.
Along the way I’ve taken some side paths, to the Duke of St. Raven, for example, and to the Three Georges. As I fly into the mist — which means not pre-plotting my books, and certainly not my series — it’s been a magical mystery tour. (They’re coming to take me away….*G*)
But I never would have imagined that I’d write the story of the last Rogue to marry in the 21st century, nor that I’d be looking forward to more books in the Rogues’ World.
WW: Your books often follow different members of the same family. What are the advantages, and the challenges, of linking several stories together?
JB: Families are naturally linked, even if deeply divided, and often even live in the same house, especially in historicals. This makes connections easy and also increases stress. Even loving families create some stress for each other. For example in To Rescue A Rogue, Simon St. Bride is both Mara’s loving and protective brother and Dare’s closest and best friend. This sometimes puts him in a difficult situation, but it also enabled me to get Simon and his wife and Mara into Dare’s family home, which was excellent.
The main family I’ve done is, of course, the Mallorens, with stories set in the 1760s. I think the thing I like best is the interconnectedness. With a family, especially a close one, everything in one book has effect on the lives of the others. This is also a challenge. I don’t think families are clones, however, so family series where all the brothers, for example, are the same type, don’t work for me.
WW: You have written Regency, Georgian, and medieval romances. What fascinates you about these eras? Do you think you would write another medieval?
JB: I dearly want to write more medievals. To me the three periods create completely different types of stories and I love writing all three. The medieval, especially the early 12th century, is really a frontier society. There’s no comfort zone, no complacency. If the political situation isn’t making your life hell — and if you were a noble you had to be involved in politics for the survival of yourself and your family — the practicalities of life probably were. Climate, disease and lawlessness were eternal hazards.
It was not, however, universally grim, especially to the people living then. They had music, dancing and many feast days and festivals. Castle ruins look gray and forbidding, but they were painted in bright colors and hung with patterned cloths. If they could afford to, they embroidered and trimmed their clothes. We have to remember medieval music, cathedrals, miniatures, manuscripts etc. I try to see the period as they did and remember that 900 years from now people might be pitying us for the horrible way we had to live.
By the 1760s the elemental forces are mostly tamed and there’s time to play. At that time, they were exuberant with innovation — the industrial and agricultural revolutions and the Enlightenment. Something new every day and no limits to possibilities. It was an "anything goes" sort of time, and being educated, well-read and clever was not thought of as sissy. Besides, I adore lethal men in fine plumage. They lead to high-octane, hands-on dangerous times.
The Regency is much more tame, in part because the French Revolution had been a shock to the anything-goes mentality. It has charm, increasingly efficient law and order, good roads and more modern conveniences, but also caution and a pull toward, as Jane Austen writes approvingly, thinking as one ought. It truly is more suited to the drawing room drama and to subtlety in confrontation and expression. It’s great for constrained passion conveyed through words and looks, though behind the scenes, some hotter expression is fun, too.
I am planning some medievals set during the Baron’s War in the 13th century, but apart from that, I don’t think I’ll expand into new historical periods. I have plenty still to mine in the three I’m using, and if I have time to do other things, I will do more fantasy and science fiction. For example, having dug out the old snippet I wrote about Dare and Rorcha, I need to pull that fantasy novel together, because I love it, weird though it is.
WW: What are you working on now?
JB: 1. A spin-off story from To Rescue A Rogue about Dare’s sister, Thea, and a man who makes a brief appearance at the end of the book, Viscount Darien. 2. I’m also playing a little with one of my old traditional romances, The Stolen Bride, because I remembered that it’s the one book I didn’t write as I wanted to. My editor insisted on a major change and deep in my heart it’s never been true. Mind you, if I write the right version, it won’t fit with subsequent events, but I’ll worry about that later. 3. There’s those medievals. A trilogy, I think. 4. Now Ztreng-ali and Quiriniac are trying to get my attention. Good thing I’m happiest with a few projects on the go at once.
WW: Thank you, Jo! Best of luck with TO RESCUE A ROGUE!
Available now! Signet, September 2006/ ISBN 0451220110
Read an excerpt at: http://www.jobev.com/reghist.html#TRAR