12 September 2010

Guest Author: Lila DiPasqua

This week here at Unusual Historicals we're welcoming contributor Lila DiPasqua as she celebrates the release of her debut, AWAKENED BY A KISS, available now from Berkley Sensation. This collection of re-imagined romantic, erotic fairy tales is set in 17th century France!

Sleeping Beau: Five years ago, the notorious rake, Adrien d'Aspe, Marquis de Beaulain, was awakened by a sensuous kiss--and experienced a night of raw ecstasy that was branded into his memory. Years later, he spots his mysterious seductress--and this time, he has no intention of letting her go...

Little Red Writing: Nicolas de Savignac, Comte de Lambelle, has been assigned by the King to uncover the secret identity of the author writing scandalous stories about powerful courtiers. He never expected his investigation would lead to his grandmother's house, or to a ravishing woman who would stir his deepest hunger...

Bewitching in Boots: Elisabeth de Roussel, daughter of the King, is accustomed to getting what she wants--and she wants Tristan de Tiersonnier, Comte de Saint-Marcel, an ex-commander of the King's private Guard. A recent injury has forced Tristan to leave his distinguished position, but Elisabeth is determined to make him see he's every bit the man he once was--and more than man enough for her...

"Lila DiPasqua brilliantly pens three unique stories filled with mirth, passion and sinfully charming heroes." ~ Romance Junkies

"AWAKENED BY A KISS is a magnificent debut! Not only was I enchanted by each of the three classic tales which Ms DiPasqua has turned into delectable fiery tales, but it was so refreshing to have the setting of each of these stories in France." ~ The Romance Dish

"Lila DiPasqua puts a steamy erotic twist on classic fairy tales that will make you rethink the purpose of a bedtime story. I most certainly look forward to more from this author." ~ Fiction Vixen


Can you tell us a little bit about your debut historical romance novel, AWAKENED BY A KISS?

AWAKENED BY A KISS is the first in my "Fiery Tales" series. It's a collection of three classic fairy tales, wickedly retold. I've taken "Sleeping Beauty," "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Puss in Boots" and have given them my own romantic and sexy twists. This steamy historical romance anthology was inspired by Charles Perrault's fairy tales. He was the first to write down folklore that had been retold verbally for generations and add morals to his stories--long before the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. Perrault was the creator of The Tales of Mother Goose, and I set this book in his lifetime--when the genre of fairy tales was born--the majestic kingdom of 17TH century France.

Where did the term "Fiery Tales" come from?

It was actually my husband who came up with "fiery tales." I was trying to think of a title that would best describe my fairy tale re-tellings, and I thought my husband's suggestion was brilliant. It put a big grin on his face when he learned Berkley was keeping it.

Can you give some interesting tidbits you discovered while researching the time period AWAKENED BY A KISS is set in?

There was so much that's fascinating about this time period! It was deliciously decadent, full of elegance and excesses. The king, after all, was Louis XIV, the Sun King. He did everything on a grand scale and was full of interesting habits and quirks.

He spent his days strolling about the vast gardens at Versailles--his throng of courtiers and violinists following him around--because he felt it was unhealthy to be indoors. He adored women and LOVED sex. It's been said that he had sex up to twice a day into his seventies! He felt as king, he had the right to have any woman he wanted, married or not. He hated convents because he felt that a woman shouldn't be shut away like that. After all, women were placed on earth for a man's pleasure, right? With a number of mistresses, he had a brood of illegitimate children, most of whom he legitimized.

It was his second wife, Madame de Maintenon, who managed to curb his vice-ridden ways. She convinced the aging King to stop his womanizing and live a more pious life. The problem was, this pious woman's plan to make the King Louis a better man backfired on her. He may have given up his womanizing, but he still had a libido that wouldn't quit. As his wife, she was now the sole focus of his carnal attention. She was to take care of all his sexual needs.

Whenever the urge would hit him, King Louis would have his wife (who was two years older than him) summoned outdoors. Image how thrilled she must have been, in her sixties, being summoned out of prayer, once or twice a day, out to the gardens--only to be asked to step around the bushes for His Majesty's pleasure.

While courtiers stood nearby.

A red-faced Madame de Maintenon would have to walk back to the palace past a mass of softly snickering courtiers.

There are actual letters that have survived where Madame de Maintenon wrote to her confessor, asking for the Church's permission to deny King Louis sex. She felt that since the Church considered sex to be for the purpose of procreation, and she was well past the age to provide the king with any children, she and Louis shouldn't be having sex any longer. Unfortunately for her, she didn't get the Church's blessing to refuse him. Rather, the letter in response encouraged her to attend to her husband's needs as it kept the king from indulging in extra-marital affairs, keeping him from sin.

When Louis died at age 76, she wrote a letter to her cousin stating, "Oh what a martyrdom I have endured!"

What's next in the Fiery Tales series?

In November 2010, my next "Fiery Tales" collection, THE PRINCESS IN HIS BED, will hit the shelves with three more sinfully seductive historical heroes who find their perfect match. Inspired by "The Emperor's New Clothes," "The Ugly Duckling" and "The Princess and the Pea," I put my own sensual spin on these classic fairy tales written by Hans Christian Andersen. They are scandalously retold and renamed "The Marquis' New Clothes," "The Lovely Duckling" and "The Princess and the Diamonds."

In 2011 I'm excited to bring readers a full-length "Fiery Tales" novel based on one classic fairy tale! Which one, you ask? One of the most beloved fairy tales of all time, Cinderella, as it's never been done before! It will be just as romantic and steamy as AWAKENED BY A KISS and THE PRINCESS IN HIS BED. This Cinderella tale has a sinfully delicious hero and a strong quick-witted heroine. And yes, there is a ball, a lovable yet highly opinionated fairy godmother and a cast of eccentric secondary characters to keep the hero and heroine on their toes.

In the meantime, be sure to check out a juicy excerpt of AWAKENED BY A KISS.

About Lila:

At age fourteen, Lila's best friend sneaked a romance novel out of her grandmother's house. After devouring it, Lila was hooked on romance novels for life. Today she lives with her real-life hero husband and three children and is a firm believer in the happily-ever-after. She loves history and enjoys traveling. She has been to four continents so far. Weaving in interesting historical facts she discovers during her travels, Lila writes stories about historical alpha-heroes and the heroines who make them lose their hearts. Her debut novel, AWAKENED BY A KISS is featured in Doubleday as well as Rhapsody Book Club.


Would you like to win a copy of Lila's sexy, exciting debut? Just leave a comment or question for your chance to win. I'll draw the winner at random next Sunday. Void where prohibited. Best of luck, readers, and thanks to Lila for stopping by!