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!