The Write Stuff

here, interviewing Cara/Andrea about her upcoming release, TOO DANGEROUS TO DESIRE.

Anne: Cara, this is the third and final book in your Lords Of Midnight series. What’s the best and worst thing about writing a series?

The Best? I find it fascinating to create a series of relationships that, like real friendships, grow and evolve over the course of three stories. I am a total “pantser, so I don’t have really
Teddy-and-TDTDhave personalities, and all their strengths and weaknesses, planned ahead of time. Part of the fun is watching the secondary characters take on a life of their own. (Trust me, they often surprise me! There are days I lean back after a few hours of writing and say, Whoa, I had NO idea they were going to do that.)

The-EndThe Worst? I confess to shedding a few tears when a series come to end. All of the characters have become such dear friends, so it’s hard not to feel sad as they move away from the cozy little neighborhood of my desk to live in far-flung places all around the world. (I’m happy to report that the Norwegian foreign rights for the Lords of Midnight were just sold last month.) I’ll miss their wonderful company—we had coffee together most every day for so long! However, it’s time to let them go off and have their own future adventures, so I’m looking forward to making new friends who will share my morning jolts of caffeine (along with those afternoon nibbles of chocolate.)

CoffeeAnne:  Congratulations on the Norwegian release. And you haven’t quite left the world of the Lords of Midnight yet — tell us about TOO DANGEROUS TO DESIRE.

Cara: It’s all about past hurts, lingering regrets, and getting a second chance at love . . .

Long ago, Sophie Lawrance chose prudence over passion, rejecting a rebellious young rogue for the sake of her family—no matter the ache it left in her heart. But when a specter from her father’s past appears and threatens to destroy all she holds dear, the desperate beauty knows there is only one man whose shadowy skills can save her.

Cam's-inspiartionCameron Daggett is a man of many secrets . . . and many sins. He’s never forgotten the pain of losing Sophie. But now, with a chance to win her back, Cameron sets aside his anger and agrees to help Sophie save her family’s honor. Together they embark on a perilous game of intrigue and deception . . . You can read an excerpt here

Anne: The tag-line for the Lords Of Midnight series says: ‘rogues, revelations and redemption.’  I’m rather partial to a redemption story, I admit. In what way is Cameron in TOO DANGEROUS TO DESIRE in need of redemption?

Cara: Cameron is one of the darker, more complex heroes I’ve ever written. And I have to say, I found it a really interesting process to develop him over the course of three books. Of the three “Hellhounds,” he’s the snarly cynic.  He uses his barbed tongue to keep people at bay. Even his two closest friends know little about his background or his inner demons. As men are wont to do, they simply accept for who he is. But we women tend to like to know what makes a man tick (Am I right?) so I kept delving deeper and deeper into his head  . . . and his heart. And I discovered some very intriguing things. Suffice it to say, Cameron is not what he seems, in more ways than one.

Reading-group-TDTDAs for why he needs redemption, the fact is that anger and resentment have ruled much of his life. Cameron has locked away his better nature, choosing instead to dance on the razor’s edge of danger. He’s a man on the brink of self-destruction and only love can release all the complicated little gears and levers that will free him from the darkness and let him move back into the light. (Be advised that opening locks is not as easy as it might seem. Sometimes it takes some very deft and clever manipulations—as several scenes in the book show. But luckily, Sophie is equal to the task.

Anne: Can you give us a little taste, please?

Boat-2Moving silently as a stalking panther, Cameron darted out of his hiding place and approached the parlor.

What reason, he wondered, had brought saintly Sophie Lawrance to one of London’s most notorious dens of iniquity? Set deep in the dangerous slums of Southwark, The Wolf’s Lair was a high-stakes gaming house and brothel that catered to rakehells and rogues who played fast and loose with the rules of Society.
    And why, after all these years, should he care?
    Because I am a god-benighted fool, thought Cameron with a shiver of self-loathing.
    The door was shut tightly with the lock engaged. Drawing a thin shaft of steel from his boot, Cameron expertly eased the latch open. A touch of his gloved fingertips coaxed the paneled wood to shift just a fraction.
    Sophie was heavily veiled, the dark mesh muffling her already low whisper. Her companion was speaking in equally low tones, making it impossible to hear their words. However, he saw a small package change hands.
    The gentleman let out a low brandy-fuzzed laugh as he tucked it into his pocket.
    Sliding back into hiding, Cameron watched Sophie hurry away down the corridor, her indigo cloak skirling with the shadows, until she was swallowed in the darkness. A moment later, the gentleman emerged from the parlor, still chuckling softly. He turned for the gaming rooms, a flicker of lamplight catching the curl of his mouth and the slight swaying of his steps.
    Cameron recognized him as Lord Dudley, a dissolute viscount with an appetite for reckless pleasures.
Dudley and Sophie? An odd couple, if ever there was one. The Sophie Lawrance he knew was anything but reckless. She was sensible—too damnably sensible to ever throw caution to the wind.
    But people change, thought Cameron sardonically. He had only to look at himself—there wasn’t the least resemblance between his present persona and the callow youth of . . .
    Shaking off mordant memories, he followed Dudley into the card room.

German-masterpiece-lockAnne:  Sounds fab — I can’t wait to read it. Did you have to do any specific or unusual research for this particular story?

Cara: I knew that I wanted to have a few lock-picking scenes in the book (Cameron is a thief, among other things) so when I was on a research trip to London, I spent an afternoon in the V&A Museum in London, where they have a whole gallery of historical locks. It’s there that I learned all about puzzle locks, which are amazingly beautiful as well as functional.

Anne:  Yes, antique locks and keys tend to be elegant as well as functional, more so than today. So, what are you working on now?

Cara: Well, speaking of making new friends to share my morning coffee, it turns out that I’ve already met a delightfully unconventional trio of sisters with a passion for writing. Olivia, the eldest, pens fiery political essays, Anna, middle sister, writes racy romance novels, and Caro, who is not quite out of the schoolroom, is a budding poet. Of course, proper young Regency ladies of the ton—especially ones who have very small dowries—are not encouraged to have an interest in intellectual pursuits. Indeed, the only thing they are encouraged to pursue is an eligible bachelor. Preferably one with both a title and a fortune. So, the headstrong, opinionated Sloane sisters must keep their passions a secret. But as we all know, secret passions are wont to lead a lady into trouble . . .

Cara-Elliott-at-signingI’ll be talking more about my new series soon—right now, I’ll just say that the working title is The Hellions of Half Moon Street, and I turned the first book in three days after Hurricane Sandy hit. (Hey, I take my deadlines seriously! I was doing final edits by kerosene lamplight on my laptop, which I had charged on the emergency generator that was running my sump pump.)

Anne: Wow, that’s true dedication! I’m fond of sister series and I love the tag-line ‘The Hellions of Half Moon Street. But I’ll be good and not ask you about them. . . yet.

So here’s a question for readers: do you prefer a hero or heroine-centered series? And what’s a favorite series of yours? Cara is giving away a copy of TOO DANGEROUS TO DESIRE to someone who leaves a comment here between now and Tuesday evening.