08 May 2011

Guest Author: Carrie Lofty

Today on Unusual Historicals we're welcoming blog founder Carrie Lofty as she celebrates the release of her latest historical romance, PORTRAIT OF SEDUCTION. This is the sequel to last year's SONG OF SEDUCTION, which helped launch Harlequin's digital-first imprint, Carina Press. Here's the blurb:

Greta Zwieg forges masterpieces. With her copies on their walls and the original paintings safely hidden, the noble families of Austria can rest assured their treasures will survive Napoleon's advances. But now Greta's uncle is changing the rules, selling her counterfeits as originals. Greta abhors the deceit. Anxious for her family's safety in a perilous time, she is nevertheless determined to put things right.

Oliver Doerger is living a lie of his own. Acting as valet for his aristocratic half brother, Oliver thwarts an attempt on Greta's life and is overwhelmed by the forbidden passion that flares between them. Although he's not truly a servant, he is a bastard and a spy--certainly no match for a woman of such exquisite quality.

Though both fear discovery, they cannot resist each other. When the truth comes out, and the city falls into chaos, Greta and Oliver will be forced to choose: love or duty?

So you've returned to Austria! Was this a different experience compared to writing its prequel, SONG OF SEDUCTION?

Absolutely! Once again I was inspired by the movie Immortal Beloved, but whereas Gary Oldman's portrayal of Beethoven sparked my initial idea of Arie, the hero of SONG OF SEDUCTION, the scenes of war and carnage directed this tale. Many Regency-era romances mention the Napoleonic wars, especially when wounded heroes return to England, but I wanted to be in the center of the action. What would it have been like to huddle in these ancient, beautiful cities full of priceless treasures and architecture--as well as ordinary citizens' lives--and await Napoleon's advance? This tale definitely has more adventure and action as the armies arrive.

The hero should be familiar to readers of SONG OF SEDUCTION, yes?

Yes! My main inspiration for writing this romance was Oliver Doerger. He was the valet Lord Christoph Venner, but with a mysterious military past...and a secret connection to the nobleman. I wanted to play with the dynamic of a man who had subsumed all of his ambitions for the sake of his half-brother's political success. What would that eventually to do his pride when faced with temptation and the need for his own identity? In many ways, this is the story of a man coming into his own--it seems to be one of my favorite themes!

Have you visited Salzburg yet?

No. I'm still pouting about that. Soon, though! I absolutely must visit the place that started my entire romance-writing career.

What has been your experience with Carina Press?

Carina Press has been fantastic. My editor, Deb Nemeth, is a marvel of support and humor. She made this book so much better than my initial incarnation. And I love the artwork!

Also, to help celebrate this release, Carina Press is running a sale on SONG OF SEDUCTION, which is only $.99 through the end of May. You can get the prequel PORTRAIT OF SEDUCTION, now cheaper than ever!

You have a busy 2011 ahead of you. What's coming up?

I have two major projects in the works for this year. The first, for paranormal readers, is the launch of Ellen Connor's "Dark Age Dawning" trilogy. Ellen Connor is the pseudonym I share with Ann Aguirre. Our apocalyptic shapeshifter romances NIGHTFALL, MIDNIGHT, and DAYBREAK will be release in June, September and December, respectively, from Berkley Sensation.

Then on September 27, I begin a new Victorian series. FLAWLESS is the tale of a reckless viscount and his estranged wife as they try to make a diamond business in colonial South Africa profitable--or lose her inheritance. I'm so excited about this new opportunity with Pocket!


Thanks for stopping by today, Carrie! Readers, you can win a copy of both PORTRAIT OF SEDUCTION and its prequel, SONG OF SEDUCTION by leaving a comment here. Just tell Carrie what intrigues you most about a story set in the midst of the Napoleonic conflict. Drama? Danger? Sweeping changes to the old ways? Let's see what a little talk of warfare does for our romance readers. We'll select a winner at random in one week. Void where prohibited. Best of luck!