25 October 2009

Guest Author: Isabel Roman

Today we're helping one of our long-time contributors, Isabel Roman, celebrate the release of her latest historical romance. KISS OF SCANDAL is set in mid-19th century St. Petersburg. Although release by Ravenous Romance, the print version is available exclusively through Home Shopping Network.

Isabel has stopped by to answer a few questions about this very unusual romance! Here's the blurb:

In the wreckage of a friend's death, Countess Katria Markova finds her perfectly ordered life irrevocably altered. Russian politics proves more dangerous than the front lines of war, and when her fiancé's future is threatened by rumors of treason, their cat-and-mouse game ends. In its place, a political game, one that puts their very lives at stake, begins.

Count Nikolai Orlov will do anything to clear his brother's name. Anything but put Katria in harm's way. Attracted to her from the moment they met, he's spent their time together breaking the wall that surrounds her heart. He wants the passionate woman beneath, wants to shatter her cool exterior.

With her life in danger, Nikolai's only course of action is to exact revenge. From the snowy streets of St. Petersburg to the River Neva's icy depths, they search for the answers to clear Nikolai. But in their search, will they lose each other?

What made you pick 1855 Russia?

It's a little known time period and yet offers an enormous amount of history and intrigue. Who isn't curious about the life of the tsars? The Russian Royal Court? The glamour and gilt of the era? I wanted to take a peek into court life, and since Tsar Nicholas II has been done a bunch of times, I went further back to his great-grandfather, Tsar Nicholas I.

Did you have to make any adjustments with your characters living in Russia as opposed to England or America, where most romances of this time period take place in?

Absolutely! Russian culture is very different than Western culture. They have a different way of viewing life and life experiences. And I did my best to ensure my characters were in the Russian head space. I took my examples from Russian friends, history, and lots and lots of research. Lots of research.

How do you view the Western characterization verses Russian characterization?

Tsarist Russians are more pragmatic in their actions, they seem to take action faster when it came to their own personal intrigue. And there are many intrigues, personal, political, a combination thereof. It's what their life--or the lives of the upper classes---revolved around. I found there are two distinct styles of Russians--those who will manipulate you around and around, and those who will simply shoot you between the eyes. Many in between, as with all cultures, but those are the main two.

What are some themes in KISS OF SCANDAL?

Murder, betrayal, the sharp knife of scandal, control and love, romance, and sex. What more could you ask for?

For an historical romance suspense, you kept a lot of action through the story. How do you accomplish this in an historical setting?

The first thing I have to say about that is that it isn't easy! I'm all about the car chases and shootouts, the contemporary action movie. But to move all that to the carriages and sleighs and six-shooters of 1855 is tricky. Still, it's not like they didn't have all that 150+ years ago, you just have to be careful how and when you use it. I often take a potential action scene and see how it plays out in a contemporary movie (I see movie scenes in my head). Then I go further and see how it fits in whenever I'm writing. It's harder, I don't have the luxury of a lot of today's sequences, but it makes for a more challenging scene, and (I think!) a better and more well-rounded one.

The bottom line is that whether you're writing contemporary or historical, the action scene needs to transport the reader through and into the adrenaline rush.


4 Cups from Coffee Time Romance

"This remarkable story paints a vivid picture of life in the Russian court with all its intrigues and dangers. The characters are well written and their emotions are brought to life. The action is fast paced and believable. You will enjoy this story."


Thanks, Isabel! We were happy to have you stop by today! Leave a comment or question for Isabel and be entered into a drawing for a PDF version of KISS OF SCANDAL. We'll draw a winner one week from today. Void where prohibited. Good luck!