12 July 2015

Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Elisabeth Hobbes on A WAGER FOR THE WIDOW

This week, we're pleased to welcome author ELISABETH HOBBES again with her latest historical romance release, A WAGER FOR THE WIDOW. One lucky visitor will get a free copy of A Wager for the Widow. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments of today's author interview for a chance to win. Winner(s) are contacted privately by email. Here's the blurb.


Widowed Lady Eleanor Peyton has chosen a life of independence. Living alone on her rocky coastal outcrop, she’s cut herself off from the world of men – until William Rudhale saves her life and demands a kiss!

As steward to Lady Eleanor’s father, Will knows the desire he burns with is futile – but he’ll still wager he can claim Eleanor’s kiss by midwinter! Yet when the tide turns Will realises vulnerable Eleanor is far too precious to gamble with. Can he win his lady before it’s too late?

**Q&A with Elisabeth Hobbes**

A Wager for the Widow is your second book.  Is it linked to your first in any way?

It isn’t linked directly but the idea for Eleanor and Will’s story came from a minor plot element in my first book, Falling for Her Captor.  In that book I wanted to explain why my hero was an outsider, even though he was a nobleman so decided his mother had been a noblewoman who had married a man of a lower social class than herself.  When Harlequin offered me a two-book contract, I remembered that and decided to explore idea.

Can you tell us about Eleanor and Will, the heroine and hero of A Wager for the Widow?

Eleanor’s husband died at their wedding feast three years before the story starts.  The marriage had been for duty and rather than return to her family or remarry she chose to live alone in the house she inherited.  She’s fiercely protective of her independence but also uses it as an excuse to avoid intimacy.  She is determined to ignore her growing attraction to Will who she -quite rightly at first- sees as an overly self-confident chancer.  As well as having to rebuff Will’s advances she has to deal with the pressures from her parents to marry a man from the proper social class and help advance her family’s fortunes. 

Will is Eleanor’s father’s new steward.  After an accident in his youth Will’s face is scarred, and he is determined to prove that he can charm any woman he meets.  If he can make some money in the process that’s all for the better.  Eleanor is the first woman he has encountered who resists which makes him more determined to win her over.  He has risen from a relatively low beginning and has no intention of remaining a steward for the rest of his life so plans to use his winnings to buy into a wine import venture.  As his feelings for Eleanor deepen he is faced with the choice of forfeiting the wager and losing his stake or winning and continuing to deceive the woman he is growing to love.

Do you have a favourite character?

Obviously I love Eleanor and Will, but despite his faults I have a soft spot for Eleanor’s brother, Edmund.  He’s completely self-centred, has very few morals and is happy to wager his sister’s virtue for fun, but despite that he does care for his sister.  I knew Will’s attitude towards women would have to change so was quite happy to have Edmund remain unrepentant as a contrast.  I may use him again and teach him a lesson in a future book.

What attracted you to the time period?

The medieval period had very clearly defined conventions, social structure and strict codes of behaviour.  Eleanor and Will are from different classes so as well as negotiating their own feelings they have to contend with Will not being considered a suitable match for the daughter of a nobleman.

I chose to set the story in the late 13th century for a couple of reasons.  In the early period a widow was expected to remarry but after the signing of Magna Carta the king could no longer force this.  This meant Eleanor had freedom that women in earlier periods would not have had, though of course her family has other ideas on the matter.

Additionally the late 1290s was a time when England was importing wine from Gascony and fortunes could be made for those able to invest.  On Will’s career path from son of a falconer to steward of a baron’s estate he worked for a vintner who was offering him the opportunity to invest, thus providing the reason for him needing a quick boost to his savings.

What drew you to the setting?

A Wager for the Widow is set in Cornwall which is somewhere I’ve been visiting for years.  Eleanor’s home is based on St Michael’s Mount which is on a spit of land cut off by the tide and only accessible via a causeway revealed twice a day.  I loved the idea of a heroine literally and emotionally cutting herself off from the world who learns to trust and love again.  I also knew there would be plenty of scope for dramatic scenes and from early on planned that the location would play a key part in bringing Eleanor and Will together.

Did you have any actors or actresses in mind for the characters when you were writing?

Eleanor is red haired and I’m a huge Doctor Who fangirl so she’s based a lot on Karen Gillan, with a touch of Nicole Kidman from Moulin Rouge.  I love the model that Harlequin chose for the cover.

Will is based on a mixture of Alexander Skarsgard and Chris Hemsworth, though the latter became more of a model for Will’s rival for Eleanor’s affections, Sir Godfrey.  The hero from my first book was dark and brooding so I wanted a change.  There’s something about the combination of vivid blue eyes and sun blonde hair that is hard to resist.  For my current work in progress I’m back to the dark eyed, dark haired combo and spending far too much time searching for pictures of Aidan Turner.

Do you listen to music to get into the writing mood or do you prefer peace and quiet?

I like to write in peace with as few distractions as possible so no music on while I’m writing.  I have certain songs that I play when I’m trying to figure out plot points or characters in the early part of writing and these become a good way of getting back into the story if I need a little inspiration nudge.  For A Wager for the Widow it was Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen, which is about a man reaching out to the woman he loves.

‘You can hide 'neath your covers
And study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers
Throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain
For a saviour to rise from these streets
Well now I'm no hero
That's understood
All the redemption I can offer girl
Is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey what else can we do now?’

It’s a great anthem for second chances and taking a risk on romance and sums up Will and Eleanor’s story perfectly for me.  I hope readers will agree.

Learn more about author Elisabeth Hobbes