02 January 2011

Guest Author: Alix Rickloff

This week on Unusual Historicals, we're welcoming Pocket author Alix Rickloff as she celebrates the release of her latest historical romance, EARL OF DARKNESS, set in 1815 Ireland. Not only is the Irish setting unusual, but this romance integrates paranormal elements. Here's the blurb:

Born a lady, but reduced to surviving in the slums of Dublin, Catriona O'Connell has been hired to steal a mysterious book from Aidan Douglas, Earl of Kilronan. But Cat is secretly Other, an age-old mixture of Fey and human--something Aidan recognizes immediately when he surprises the lovely young burglar in his library, about to steal a magical diary.

From the moment Aidan sees her, Cat's spirited beauty enchants him, but her uncanny abilities are what he truly needs, for Cat can understand the mystical language in the diary he inherited from his murdered father. So Aidan makes an offer: translate the book or be thrown in prison as a thief. And as Cat slowly deciphers each page, she and Aidan are drawn together by passion...and into the violence of the Other world that is the Kilronan legacy. Can they defeat those who seek the book, or are their lives in even greater danger than their hearts?

Top Pick! "...a tangled tale of good and evil, magic and mystery, passion and desire --one that won't be easily forgotten." ~ RT Book Reviews

Top Pick! "This book is magic personified." ~ Janalee, Night Owl Reviews

"A sexy and intense tale packed with dark passions and even darker magic." ~ USA Today Bestselling Author Caridad Pineiro


The unusual aspect of your historical is obvious. What made you decide to blend paranormal into a regency?

I've been an avid reader of historical romance since high school, but my second literary love has always been fantasy. The more high adventure swashbuckling, the better. In 2007, I finaled in the Golden Heart with a manuscript that contained an element of the paranormal. This decided me once and for all to try my hand at blending the two genres. Thus my fabulous alternate universe of magic-wielding men and women who live within the elegance of Regency Society was born.

Tell us a little about the world you've created in EARL OF DARKNESS?

The Other are a race of men and women who bear the blood of the Fey. This magical inheritance can manifest itself in something as subtle as the gardener with the amazing green thumb to the sorcerer who wields great power. But in a superstitious time where magic is seen as evil, the Other must hide what they are. It's into this dangerous world the Earl of Darkness opens as the remnants of a shadowy group of Other unite in one last bid to turn back the clock to the Lost Days and regain their supremacy.

Do you find it more difficult to research the fantasy elements of your story or the historical details?

The historical details, definitely! Readers of historicals know their stuff and they're not afraid to let you know if you get it wrong. I try very hard to research the period I'm writing about. I have a library full of books on the Regency era as well as a fabulous group of scholars and writers of the time period who are there when I need that niggling fact I just can't lay my fingers on.

The fantasy in my stories is my own invention, and while I may call on Celtic elements as a premise, I feel free to branch out everywhere and anywhere my imagination takes me. The trick there is to be consistent. As I continue to write stories set in the universe, I have to be careful I don't make a mistake with my own invention. I've begun a notebook that I reference as I write which has been really helpful.

What's next for you?

LORD OF SHADOWS, the second book in the series, is due to be released in July, with the final book whose title is TBA set for a January 2012 publication. At this point, I'm also hard at work on my next project which will introduce a whole new facet to my paranormal-regency world.


Readers, other than her website, you can visit Alix at her blog, on her Facebook author page, and as part of the collaborative network for Pocket authors and fans, Pocket After Dark.

If you'd like to be entered to win a copy of the delicious EARL OF DARKNESS, leave a comment or question for Alix. Maybe: Does the idea of Celtic-inspired paranormal elements appeal to you? How about this exciting Irish setting? I'll draw a winner at random next Sunday. Void where prohibited. Best of luck!