27 February 2011

Guest Author: Denise Agnew

This week on Unusual Historicals we're welcoming Samhain author Denise Agnew as she celebrates the release of her ancient world-set romance, FOR A ROMAN'S HEART. Here's the blurb:

His scarred soul knows no vulnerability--except her touch.

Trapped between cruel parents and the need to hide her gift of second sight from suspicious villagers, Adrenia Tertia Brigomalla walks a line as thin as the threads she weaves. The need for independence burns fierce in her heart, but not as hot as her unexpected attraction to a Roman soldier who comes to the village in search of a deserter.

Though hardened by war, Centurion Terentius Marius Atellus defies any man to harm an innocent. Nothing shakes his relentless determination to track down a murderous legionnaire with a taste for young women. Yet Adrenia's spirit and vulnerability spark a protective instinct stronger than duty...and temptation that could be his downfall.

Fragile trust built on stolen kisses and a premonition saves his life and drives his offer of the ultimate protection--marriage. While she revels in the feral passion he awakens within her, Adrenia would sooner brave the fires of Hades than trade one yoke for another.

It's a decision that could leave them both dangling above a precipice they may not survive...

What do you consider unique about the historical romances you write?

I've never been too interested in writing the soup du jour when it comes to historical romance. For example, Regency era sexy romances are very popular right now. But if I tried to write one when I wasn't interested in writing one, it would be a square peg into round hole situation.

Do you like the research required to write historical novels?

I never write a book set in a time period I'm not interested in writing about so there are no dull moments for me. The research is fascinating to me. I love it.

Do you write historicals exclusively?

No. I've written in every genre of romance except for inspirational. I have to change things up to keep my inspiration moving. Writing too much in one area of romance plugs up my ability to create at all.

Tell us about some of the historical romances you've written in the past and the ones coming up in the near future.

This story is a time travel at the heart, but I throw it in there as historical because it's set mostly in 1318 Scotland, and I still had to do a ton of research.

2001 EPPIE winner for Best Historical Romance. It's set during the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. The research on this book took a long time, but it paid off. I've had so many people read this book and tell me they felt like they were really there experiencing the time, place, and the earthquake and fire.

This novel is set during the Jack The Ripper murders of 1888. The original title was Midnight Rose. This is definitely a favorite of mine. I'd been reading about Jack the Ripper since the '80's, and when I buckled down to the right the book, it just sucked me right inside and wouldn't release me. It's one of my darker books, and though it is most definitely a romance, I feel it stretches the boundaries of what readers often expect from a romance. Of you don't mind being scared and enjoy a gritty read, this might be for you.

(Samhain Publishing; June 2011)
Before The Dawn is set in 1850's Pennsylvania, and a good portion of the story takes place on the Trans Allegheny Railroad route.

(Colorado mountains, fictional town)
The trilogy is a definite work in progress, and I don't have good titles for the books yet. All three stories are set in a fictional Colorado mountain town and revolve around a very haunted insane asylum. The stories deal with more disturbing subjects, but I feel like they also deal with people in bad circumstances working their way toward a better life and finding that strength within themselves. And yes, they are also romances. I don't know whether I'm calling these stories horror/romance or gothic romance yet. I just finished the first draft of the first story, and I'm right into the next one with the research. The first story is set in 1908, while the second is set in 1918 during the end of the World War I, and it deals some with the Spanish Influenza, too. The last story in the trilogy is set in modern day.

Where can we find information on your historical romances and all your other books?

You can find pretty much everything you want to know at my website. You'll find links to all my books, excerpts, my blog, and monthly contest. Plus, you'll find me on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

Thanks so much to Unusual Historicals for having here today! I very much appreciate it.


You're very welcome, Denise! Readers, if you'd like to get your hands on an e-copy of FOR A ROMAN'S HEART, just least a comment or question for Denise. Maybe answer this: What appeals to you about romances set in the ancient world? I'll draw a winner at random next Sunday. Void where prohibited. Best of luck!


tarenn98 said...

Great post Denise.This sounds like an interesting story.THe covers is goregous. I think it is because although,it was a harsher time,love still seemed to prevail.Most had honor,courage,
faith and where true to their beliefs.Although,their are bad seeds everywhere.When they where bad/evil they where truly bad/evil.
Thank you for sharing this story with us.You are a author to me,but I just put these on my TBR list.


Denise A. Agnew said...

Hi there! Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. I really appreciate it. I love the cover, too. It's one of my favorite EVER! And thank you so much for putting For A Roman's Heart on your to get list. :)

StacieDM said...

The reason I love romances set in the ancient world is because my major in college focused heavily on classical cultures. Rome, Greece, Persia, etc, etc. I studied their mythologies, social structures and their general day-to-day lives.

I like romances set in ancient time periods because it was a struggle just to survive. Having a romance set during such harsh times amplifies the emotions of the story.

user1123 AT comcast DOT net

Miriam Newman said...

Great post, Denise, and this sounds like a wonderful book set in one of my favorite periods. Why do I love ancient world romances? Life is never so sweet as when it may be taken from you quickly, and that was an all-too-common occurence among ancient peoples. When I read these books it transports me to a time when life was fragile and often fleeting, and I know it gives me more appreciation for my own.

Judy said...

I really enjoyed your post. Great answers!! This looks like a fantastic book. I am partial to historicals. Your book covers are also very eye catching!!!


Corrina said...

Awesome post! I'm very happy to have found another author who writes historicals in unusual periods. And ghost stories as well. Very cool.

Can I ask a question? What was your most usual source on researching Romans?

Tracie said...

Everything looks so good!
I especially love to read romances set in the ancient world because everything seems so new. I love seeing through the author's eyes what it looked like and the social expectations of the time. Wishing you continued success and happy writing!

Tracie said...

Everything looks so good!
I especially love to read romances set in the ancient world because everything seems so new. I love seeing through the author's eyes what it looked like and the social expectations of the time. Wishing you continued success and happy writing!

Denise A. Agnew said...

Hi Stacie! Thanks for stopping by today. :) I definitely have to agree with you that the setting can enhance the emotional content of the romance and push it to the next level. :)

Denise A. Agnew said...

Thanks for stopping by today. I think you're right...these types of stories can give us a tremendous appreciation for how good we actually have it today. We sometimes take that for granted.

Denise A. Agnew said...

Thanks Judy! I really appreciate the comments and kudos on the covers. I've been very fortunate with most covers. I neglected to get one posted of Bridge Through The Mist. Really liked that one, too.

Denise A. Agnew said...

I'm delighted you like books in usual time periods. As for my usual source I have to admit I didn't have a usual one. I used about ten different books on Roman Britain, Roman Army, battles the Roman's fought, etc. I also used a ton of on line resources from many different places. There is so much stuff out there. Many of the books I found through a History Book Club that I'm hooked up with. That made it easier to find several of the books.

Denise A. Agnew said...

Thanks so much for stopping by. Appreciate your kind comments!

Cindy L said...

I tend to lean more towards historicals than contemporaries. I love to be transported to another time and place. For A Roman's Heart is on my wish list. A soldier going to a village and finding an unexpected love that will change both of their lives. Looking forward to reading this Denise!

EdgesAngel23 said...

Wonderful post Denise! I am so putting it on my TBR list!!
Ashley A

Cathy M said...

Hi Denise,

I always enjoy a wonderful romance story that dips into history, though I confess,I don't have to have 100% accuracy. And I absolutely appreciate the research, it adds so much flavor to the storyline.

caity_mack at yahoo dot com

Harlie Reader said...

What appeals to me is that there are no physical barriers in their love. It starts off as very chaste but when the doors are shut they are very sexual. Times were grittier and more raw than they are now and the gloves are off when it comes to romance. This book has been on my TBB pile for awhile. Thanks.


Terra Pennington said...

I so love the cover on "For A Roman's Heart" and the excerpt sounds yummy. Thanks for the interview and telling me about this one.


fcammer2 said...

I would love to read this book. I haven't read a historical in a very long time. I'm in the mood. :)

Denise A. Agnew said...

I love contemporaries but for some reason a great historical will catch my attention and snatch it away from a contemporary many times. Thanks for stopping by!

Denise A. Agnew said...

Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate you taking the time and putting my book on your TBR list!

Denise A. Agnew said...

Hi Caity! Good to see you here. I think one hundred percent accuracy would be very hard, unless a person was writing a history book. And even then it can get dicey!

Denise A. Agnew said...

Hi Harlie Reader,
Thanks for taking the time to stop by and letting us know what you enjoy about historical romances! I know I appreciate it and I'm so glad the book is on your TBR pile!

Denise A. Agnew said...

I adore the cover, too! Thanks so much for stopping by.

Denise A. Agnew said...

Glad I could intrigue you into reading a historical. :)

Denise A. Agnew said...

And the drum roll starts...the winner of the contest is....Miriam! Congratulations. Please email me at danovelist@cox.net

Everyone else, thank you for stopping by and chatting. And thank you to Unusual Historicals! Hope to be back here soon!

Gabby said...

This book sounds kind of intriguing and the fact that it's a historical romance is just a plus for me, I've always liked historical romances.

As for your question; What appeals to you about romances set in the ancient world?

For me the thing about historical romances is if there done right I feel like I'm right there and sometimes I feel some of the same emotions that the characters do.

Also I've always been kind of into history even though I was never very good at it in school, just the prospect of going back into worlds that may have actually existed is fascinating to me.

Oh and reading books likes yours allows me to do the one thing I can't right now, travel to different places.

pageturner said...

I like the chance to learn about what life was like for people in the past - not just battles, but society and its conventions, as well as basics like food and beds!


Miriam Newman said...

Hi, Denise. Sorry it took me a while to check back in, but I am around and if you'd like you can contact me at mrmireland@aol.com.

Carrie Lofty said...

Tracie is our winner. Details here: