01 November 2009

Guest Author: Anthea Lawson

Welcome to our weekly author spotlight on Unusual Historicals! Anthea Lawson is the pseudonym of a husband-wife writing team whose romances are set in the early-Victorian period and feature travel to exotic locales. Their first book, PASSIONATE, centered on a botanical expedition to Tunisia, and was nominated for a Best First Book RITA in 2009. Their November 3rd release, ALL HE DESIRES, returns to the Mediterranean for more romance and adventure.

Far from home and her noble relatives, Miss Caroline Huntington has been injured in a fall from her horse. Called to her side, Alex Trentham knows he must assist her, though he has not practiced as a physician for a long while. Just to see so lovely a woman in a state of undress is a hard test of his self-control. Caroline is all that is warm and feminine, beautiful and pure.

Brave to a fault, she does not flinch under his hands, and soon she is on the mend. Alex struggles to hide his feelings, knowing that his dark past shadows any hope of a future. But Caroline's radiant innocence is dangerous to a worldly man, and she seems achingly eager to experience all the pleasure he could show her...

Your new release, ALL HE DESIRES, opens on the Isle of Crete. Tell us more!

The British were such travelers, and their empire spanned the globe. What were these people doing when they weren't going to balls and riding around Hyde park in carriages? They were off seeing the world. We picked Crete because it was rich in mythology, a site of major archaeological discoveries, and also because it had a sunny climate with sparkling oceans. We started the novel while on vacation (a five-day downpour on the Oregon coast), and the setting reflects our own wish for clear skies and warm sunshine. We also did a lot of research on the Mediterranean basin for our first book, so Crete was "on the map" so to speak.

Originally, we thought we'd have an archaeologist hero, but characters don't care what the author plans for them. They often have their own history and personality that the writer discovers as the story is unfolding. It turned out that our hero, Alex Trentham, is not an archaeologist; he is a handsome, passionate and most unwilling doctor with a mysterious past. We still have an archaeological dig, but it is not the focal-point in the story we had originally imagined.

Your first book, the RITA-nominated PASSIONATE, also featured an unusual setting: Tunisia. What draws you to these exotic locales?

The rain-drenched winters of the Pacific NW! Seriously, we take any chance to dive into research about warm, dry climes. The sound of the drizzle outside transmutes to rustling branches in an olive grove, glints of sunlight off the sea, the scent of oranges. For those who prefer London, much of PASSIONATE and half of ALL HE DESIRES is set firmly to the world of the ton. After all, we can't abandon the balls and teas entirely.

In addition to your interesting locales, you've chosen a less-usual time period. What draws you to the Victorian era?

It's a time of great change and energy, where the British were fanning out all across the globe as amateur scientists and observers as well as simply traveling for pleasure. There's an endless wealth of wonderful, exciting stories to be told against that backdrop.

What's one of the most unusual scenes in ALL HE DESIRES?

Definitely the love scene that's completely in the dark. No light at all. That was a fun challenge to write, and all the hotter for it. You'll have to read the book to find out why!

What are you working on now?

We're musicians as well as writers, and are having a great time with our new series which is set against the glittering backdrop of 19th century musical celebrity. Musical stars have been bad-boys in every era, and the 1800s are no exception. We are excited about the concept, and the first book is turning out to be everything we hoped and more.

Finally, tell us a little bit about writing together.

It's both satisfying and challenging and we'd have it no other way. Both of us bring our strengths and weaknesses to the process, and together we do better work then either of us could do alone. It's great to have your life-partner also be a creative partner, and when a new book comes out and readers respond positively to the story, our joy is even greater because it is a shared joy. We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to create together in this way.

Thanks for having us here at Unusual Historicals! Please come visit us at our website, follow us on Twitter, and friend us on Facebook. ALL HE DESIRES hits the shelves November 3rd. Pick up a copy and let us know what you think!



"This husband-and-wife team's second novel sweeps from the shores of Crete to the streets of London...readers will enjoy the characters and the beautiful descriptions in this nice tale." -- Romantic Times

"I find this to be a wonderful example of historical romance. Ms. Lawson tells a powerful love story and draws the reader in within the first chapter. This tale comes with a high recommendation from this reviewer." -- Coffee Time Romance

"This entertaining Victorian romance stars an intriguing lead male and an intrepid heroine...fans will enjoy Anthea Lawson's exciting mid nineteenth century tale, as Caroline and Alex make for a wonderful historical." -- Harriet Klausner


Yay for Mediterranean adventure! If you'd like to secure your chance to win a copy, leave Anthea and Lawson a comment or question. I'll draw a winner of one signed book in one week. Void where prohibited. Good luck!