28 November 2010

Guest Author: Zoe Archer

This week on Unusual Historicals, we're welcoming back one of our fabulous contributors, Zoe Archer, as she celebrates the release of the third and fourth installments of her "Blades of the Rose" series. REBEL is available now, and STRANGER will hit the shelves on December 7. Both take place in an alternative Victorian era where magic thrives.

Here's the cover copy for STRANGER:

He protects the world's magic--with his science. But even the best scientists can fall prey to the right chemistry...


Gemma Murphy has a nose for a story--even if the boys in Chicago's newsrooms would rather focus on her chest. So when she runs into a handsome man of mystery discussing how to save the world from fancy-pants Brit conspirators, she's sensing a scoop. Especially when he mentions there's magic involved. Of course, getting him on the record would be easier if he hadn't caught her eavesdropping...


Catullus Graves knows what it's like to be shut out: his ancestors were slaves. And he's a genius inventor with appropriately eccentric habits, so even people who love him find him a little odd. But after meeting a certain red-headed scribbler, he's thinking of other types of science. Inconvenient, given that he needs to focus on preventing the end of the world as we know it. But with Gemma's insatiable curiosity sparking Catullus's inventive impulses, they might set off something explosive anyway....

"Set in 1875 England, the final volume in the Blades of the Rose quartet is a thrilling installment in the series as past characters join forces to save the world. There's action, adventure and love... Archer has proven herself to be a grand mistress of the historical paranormal who knows how to blend history and fantasy without one overshadowing the other, a feat worthy of her Blades." ~ RT Book Reviews on STRANGER.


Who are the Blades of the Rose?

The Blades of the Rose is a secret organization of men and women who travel the globe to find and protect the world's magic from exploitation. And when I say they travel the globe, I mean it. If they had frequent flier miles back in the 1870s, the Blades would have earned a lot of points.

You were here in October to talk about books one and two in the series. Tell us about books three and four.

REBEL is the story of Astrid Bramfield and Nathan Lesperance. Astrid was once a Blade, as was her husband, but whilst on a mission together, he was killed by the Blades' enemy, the Heirs of Albion. Her husband actually died in her arms. Deeply scarred, Astrid severed her ties with the Blades and retreated to the depths of the Canadian Rockies. When fate has her path cross with Native attorney Nathan Lesperance, neither Astrid nor Nathan are prepared for the immediate attraction between them, nor the danger that threatens them from every side.

Canadian Rockies? Sounds like an unusual setting.

Unusual, as well as gorgeous, dangerous and rich with folklore. Perfect for a Blades of the Rose adventure.

What about book four in the series, STRANGER?

STRANGER is the final book in this initial four-book series, and it features my absolute favorite character, Catullus Graves.

Tell us about Catullus.

He's the Blades' scientific genius, the man responsible for inventing all of the diabolical gadgets the Blades take out into the field to help them in their work. The Graves family has been creating amazing devices for the Blades for generations, and Catullus is the latest scion. He's brilliant, has a massive waistcoat collection, and fancies women with freckles. Unfortunately for Catullus, he's far more comfortable inventing devices than talking with women, so when he meets American reporter Gemma Murphy (who has quite a few freckles), he's both attracted and flummoxed. Poor Catullus!

This is the Unusual Historicals blog. STRANGER is set mostly in England. What's so unusual about that?

This isn't the England of ballrooms, drawing rooms and house parties. From the moment Catullus and Gemma land in Liverpool, they are on the run, traveling by train, horse and on foot. These are the country roads and small villages of England, nothing glamorous about it. They also go to Glastonbury, London, and a surprise location I can't disclose without spoilers. Plus, Catullus is a Black Briton--an important component of British life that isn't seen very often in historical romance.

Now that the series is wrapping up, do you have plans for more Blades of the Rose books?

I'd love to write more! It all depends on how well these books do. *stares meaningfully at readers*

What's next for you?

Right now, I'm working on a new paranormal historical series called THE HELLRAISERS. It's about a group of 18th century English rakes who inadvertently release the Devil from his prison and literally raise hell. These guys are radically different from the Blades. The Blades are good guys, through and through. The Hellraisers are very, very bad boys.

I like bad boys.

Get in line.


Here's the deal, readers. Zoë is seeking locations for her next four Blades novels. Leave a comment suggesting where you'd like to see a "Blades of the Rose" adventure set. One commenter will win REBEL and STRANGER! (US and Canada only, thanks.) I'll draw the winner at random next Sunday. Void where prohibited. Best of luck!


ruth said...

I am thinking Bermuda, triangle included.

kittykelly28 said...

Norway, Ireland, China, and/or Austrailia. This would be fun :)

kittykelly28 @ hotmail.com

Barbara E. said...

I'd say Australia, New Zealand or somewhere in Africa.
I loved Warrior and I'm dying to read the rest of The Blades of the Rose series.

Sheree said...

Great interview! I can't wait to read STRANGER!

How would Catullus' inventions fare in the jungles of the Amazon? Some of the forests of Southeast Asia would be interesting, too, as scientists are still discovering new species of animals there.


Rosie Hong said...

I would say either the Caribbean or China where two of my favorite old historical romantic suspense are set - The Long Masquerade and Moonraker's Bride by Madeleine Brent. The heroines in there kick butt and the heroes are to die for.

Kiersten said...

I like the idea of Norway and Australia. Also, Russia where the folklore is thick and the mystery wild.
I finished SCOUNDREL last week and have already recommended it to about 10 people. WARRIOR is next on my list so I can start at the very beginning and then REBEL and STRANGER. It would be so great to get them both together... ;-)

jen7waters said...

This isn't an entry, I own the books already and I'm from Europe, so I'm out, but I wanted to say: please Zoë bring a Blade to Portugal! I'm serious! Bring Catullus here! I volunteer to be his guide ;D and I didn't know there were going to be more Blades books, great news :)

Edie Harris said...

The intimidating and awesome country of Colombia! (My best friend teaches English in Barranquilla...I get daily updates of the craziness of trying to live a modern life there as a young, unmarried woman. No easy task, evidently.)

The coffee trade just started to be a big deal in Colombia (South America) in the 1870s, which provides an economic and political backdrop in what is now one of the world's most dangerous countries; the war in '63 created a noticeable dichotomy between the classes, coming to a head again in '86 when the country changed from the "United States of Colombia" to the current "Republic of Colombia."

There were fascinating ethnic groups scattered across the terrain—the settling Spanish, the varied indigenous groups, and the every-growing population of adventure-/wealth-seeking Americans and Western Europeans. As a heavily Catholic country, it claims many, many holidays/festivals and beautiful religious architecture; check out the Carnaval de Barranquilla (fabulous and campy and kind of scary, been around since the 1800s; it was something else when I visited/attended).

Plus, Colombia's landscape is varied and spectacular—the coasts, the Andes, the coal-laden desert of Guajira, and the beginnings of the Amazon rainforest in the south... Not to mention the earthquakes.

...Sorry, this got a lot longer than I anticipated. Very excited to read STRANGER next week! :)

Renee said...

LOVED Warrior, and can't wait to read the rest of the series! I've especially been looking forward to Catullus' story.

I think Aztec temples would be a great setting. Or, among the Jamaican Maroons (though I think the current BotR is set later in the 18th cent).

FredTownWard said...

Krakatoa, shortly before the infamous eruption of 1883.

M. said...

new settings, you ask?

how about:
Panama (canal)
Morocco or Tunisia (Egypt's been done a lot)
Tahiti (most beautiful place on earth, supposedly)
Corsica (emperors, anyone?)
Buenos Aires (tango)

lushbookreviews said...

great interview !!i cant wait to read these books. I think the amazon would be fun to read about or Egypt would be more fun.


Kate Allan said...

How about... Poland? :)

Maureen said...

I don't know if you have used it yet but I would pick Egypt as a setting.

Scorpio M. said...

I vote for South American locations. I don't think I have ever read a romance set there and i have been reading roms for 15+years!!

Chelsea B. said...

I have been hearing such fabulous things about this series! I can't wait to dig in :-) And it looks like I can go on a real binge!
And I would have to choose my favorite setting-- Scotland :-) Those accents....le sigh.

April said...

This sounds like a great series. I would think Scotland,Ireland they are always great places to be.Oh, yes being I am from the North Carolina coast area. Why not off the coast of North Carolina? There doesn't seem to many based on this area, except of course BlackBeard and his cogorts.

Anonymous said...

Two particular locations have always held strong appeal whenever they are featured in a book:
{1} Scotland and {2} Norway


Carrie Lofty said...

We have our winner for REBEL and STRANGER:


Details here:


Congratulations, and thanks to everyone for stopping by!

cgroff said...

Please write more books in the Blades of the Rose series. I discovered the series and read all in one month! The BEST!