In the glittering, sumptuous court of Eleanor of Aquitaine, betrayal lurks around every corner. The queen is at odds with her king, and to obey one could mean treason against the other. Even Alienore, considered the most virtuous lady at court, holds secrets: whether masquerading as a knight on the tourney field to defend those without a champion or desperately trying to save her lands--and her maidenhead--from the Duke of Ormonde.
THE BLACK KNIGHT
He is called the Raven--his face scarred by a Saracen blade, his voice raspy with the effects of Greek fire. His parentage is unknown, his prowess legendary. And he'll sell his sword to the highest bidder. As his piercing eyes track her every move, Alienore wonders who he's working for now. Finding a spy for King Henry? Sent by the duke to fetch her home? Or is each heated touch, each whispered promise of pleasure part of a much more personal mission?
In her other life, Laura Navarre is a diplomat who's lived in Russia and works on weapons of mass destruction issues. Among other fascinating experiences in the line of duty, she's been trapped in an elevator in one of the world's most dangerous nuclear power plants, and stalked the corridors of facilities churning out nerve agent and other apocalyptic weapons. In this capacity, she meets many of the world's most dangerous men.
Inspired by the sinister realities of her real life, Laura writes dark medieval and Renaissance romance spiked with political intrigue. A member of Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America and a 2009 Golden Heart finalist, she has won the Emily Award for Excellence, the First Coast Romance Writers Beacon Award, the Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award, the Golden Pen, the Duel on the Delta, Hearts Through History's Romance Through the Ages, and many other awards.
Laura's academic degrees include an M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine, an M.A. in National Security Policy from The George Washington University and a B.A. in International Relations from Michigan State University. Her dark Tudor romance THE DEVIL'S MISTRESS is available now as an e-book, and coming in print from Samhain in March 2011. Her Crusader romance THE DEVIL'S TEMPTRESS is a February 2011 release from Dorchester. Laura lives in a quirky 1920s era house that overlooks Mt. Rainier with her fiancé--a screenwriter--and two Siberian cats. You can find her on Facebook and on Twitter.
To come up with a list of interview questions, I asked my friends and readers on Facebook which questions they'd like most to hear me answer. Below are some I particularly enjoyed!
What's the first thing you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote was in fourth grade. I was deep into L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series at the time, and just starting to read my first Harlequins. I wrote a Harlequin Presents set in Prince Edward Island with an Anne of Green Gables heroine and a suave alpha hero. I must say the disparate genre elements did not combine as harmoniously as I'd hoped!
What are your favorite books, and why?
I'm a fairly eclectic reader--there's no method to my madness. I'm into epic fantasy, historical fiction, urban fantasy, science fiction, the occasional literary novel and all genres of romance. Some of my long-standing favorites are Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series--which opened the door wide for the arrival of time-travel romance--Sara Donati's Into the Wilderness series which picks up after The Last of the Mohicans with a resourceful colonial heroine, and Jacqueline Carey's dark and very sexy Kushiel series set in an alternate Renaissance Europe.
In romance, I love Laura Kinsale, Bertrice Small, Amanda Quick, and too many others to name. I'm just finishing The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran--a sexy Victorian romance set in colonial India--and I do believe it's the best historical romance I've read in a good year. In epic fantasy, just about anything from George R.R. Martin, Tad Williams, or Terry Brooks. And in urban fantasy/paranormal romance, I'm into J.R. Ward, Nancy Holder and Marjorie Liu.
Do you worry about what your grandmother might think if she reads your steamy stories? Or your future children?
Nope. I hope they'll think I've had a colorful life!
How is it possible for you to write anything coherent early in the morning?
Steven hauls me out of bed and shepherds my stumbling footsteps into my library, then brings me a steaming mug of tea. Seriously, that's the only way I get up in the morning!
What's your favorite movie?
Ack! There are so many it's hard to limit myself. Some old romantic favorites are Bram Stoker's Dracula with Gary Oldman and Winona Ryder, Ladyhawke with Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer, and Gone With the Wind. I also like sleek, sexy adventure stories set in glamorous locales. Some long standing favorites are The Thomas Crowne Affair with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo, Mission Impossible II (but not I or III) with Tom Cruise and Thandie Newton, and the recent James Bond films with Daniel Craig. Come to think of it, I seem to love anything with Daniel Craig in it...
Favorite TV show?
Never used to watch any, but since hooking up with a screenwriter, I've been seeing more of them! We're currently watching "Mad Men," "True Blood," "The Tudors," and "Boston Legal. " How's that for eclectic?
Favorite article of clothing?
I have this Soviet-era admiral's hat, bold with red and gold trim and blazoned with the hammer-and-sickle, that I picked up in Kiev in the 90s. I wear it on Halloween with a military jacket, lots of Soviet medals and a long blonde wig. It's my favorite costume!
What are the respective merits of milk from mares, camels and yaks?
This question was so interesting I couldn't resist including it. But I have no idea what the answer is! Do you?
My question for YOU: If the world were ending in a week, which one book would I absolutely HAVE to squeeze in reading?
You heard the nice lady! Answer Laura's question and you'll have the chance to win an e-book copy of THE DEVIL'S TEMPTRESS when it's released on February 15. I'll draw a winner at random next Sunday. Void where prohibited. Best of luck!