I love the name of this series! Does anyone else have the “Shoop shoop” song running through their heads right now, or is it just me?
Author Ally Broadfield is here today, talking about her new historical novella, Just a Kiss!
Thanks for inviting me to appear on Becky on Books! I’m really excited to be here with you.
Thanks so much for coming, Ally! Tell us more about your book—take us beyond the official “book blurb”.
The theme of Just a Kiss is man versus society. It is the story of two people who are constrained by the conventions society forces on them and must decide whether they have the courage and conviction to break the rules and forge their own path together.
Give us more info about your main characters—who are they?
The hero, Sebastian, is an alpha male who tries to pretend he isn’t by making jokes and never appearing to take anything seriously. The heroine, Charlotte, tends to stay quiet and observe when out in society, but she is a very skilled debater when she needs to be.
Sebastian reminds me of Sir Percy from The Scarlet Pimpernel. His public persona was so different from his private one. Such an interesting twist to put on a character!
What scene in your book was the most fun to write, and why?
There is a scene where Charlotte and Sebastian meet in Hyde Park. It’s the first time they can really speak freely with one another and their verbal exchanges were so quick I could barely type fast enough to keep up.
Oh, that sounds fantastic! I’m not sure which would be more fun—writing that scene, or reading it 😉
How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?
I’ve been an avid reader for most of my life, and I also worked for a few years as a children’s librarian for a small, private school. One of my tasks was to read all of the new books (such a hardship!) to make sure I was aware of any content that could be found objectionable. One day while reading a book that shall not be named, I thought to myself, “I could write a book like this.” So I did. That was in 2009, but I didn’t start writing seriously until 2011. That first book was a contemporary young adult book that will never see the light of day.
LOL, yes, we should all have that hardship–HAVING to read new books 🙂
I absolutely hear you on the first books that will never be seen again–yours can hide away with mine.
What do you like best about being a writer?
I love how much my characters surprise me. Sometimes I read back over something I’ve written a few days later and wonder who snuck into my house and wrote that scene because there’s no way it could have been me. Charlotte in particular shocked me when she decided that she liked to create flower arrangements. I love flowers, but I couldn’t make a nice arrangement if my life depended on it.
That’s beyond cool 🙂
What is the most challenging part of being a writer?
Staying focused. Now that I have a book out and more under contract, there’s so much to balance, like editing one book while writing another, staying connected on social media, feeding my kids…
Those kids! Always wanting to be fed–and for what? You’re just going to have to do it again next week! (Kidding. Mostly. Though let me point out that mine are perfectly capable of feeding themselves–as long as I’m not home. Then suddenly it’s all “Mom! What’s for dinner?” as if they can’t remember just where it is I hid the kitchen…)
What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?
Right now I’m doing the first round of edits for a Regency set romantic suspense that is the second book of a continuity series with four other authors. It will release in early 2015. I’m also writing the first draft of a Regency romance with a dash of mystery that will release in the fall. And after that I’m going to revise the draft of a single title Regency that is the sequel to Just a Kiss and will tell Anna’s story. It should also be released in early 2015.
Wow! Sounds great–and I love those series that are written by multiple authors. They’re so much fun to read!
What authors and/or books have inspired you?
There are so many. Madeleine L’Engle’s A Ring of Endless Light. Jane Austen, the ultimate Regency writer. I love Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice equally. Jude Deveraux and Jennifer Blake, whose books I devoured in high school. Sherry Thomas, who writes such wonderful, evocative prose.
Yes! It’s like I could have written that answer. 😉 Though I think Persuasion might actually have a slight edge on P&P, as I get older.
But only slight…because then I remember Colin Firth, and I get distracted.
What are you currently reading?
I’m re-reading Gayle Forman’s If I Stay so I’ll be ready when the movie comes out. And also because I want to reread Where She Went. Don’t tell my husband, but I would leave him in an instant for Adam.
It’s taking forever to get through the book, not because I don’t like it, but because I’m not letting myself read unless I meet my word count for the day.
I admire your fortitude! I read both of them last summer (and yes, should probably re-read before the movie too, in my spare time) and they were sooooo good. Not reading each day until your word count is done, though–impressive. Excellent incentive to get the words out!
Please share a favorite scene from your book with our readers.
Charlotte studied the man standing next to Elizabeth. Something about him instantly drew her to him, something in his confident bearing and the way a mischievous smile played across his lips. Laughter danced in his eyes.
Elizabeth smiled brightly. “Lord Marley, may I present Miss Charlotte Lightwood.” She gestured to Charlotte. “Charlotte, this is Lord Marley.”
Lord Marley took her hand, sending an unfamiliar sensation buzzing through her. They both froze for an instant before he bowed. “It is a pleasure to meet you. Lady Lightwood has assured me you are available for the next dance. Please soothe my nerves by confirming she is not mistaken.”
Elizabeth nudged her, and in a whisper that could surely be heard on the other side of the ballroom, said, “Lord Marley is one of the most eligible bachelors on the market this season. He requested the introduction, though I can’t imagine why.”
Heat rushed to her cheeks. “I am not engaged, my lord.” She surreptitiously glanced around them to see if anyone had heard Elizabeth.
Lord Marley clenched his jaw before leading her onto the dance floor. When the warmth of his touch penetrated the fabric of her gown, she inhaled the scent of sandalwood with a hint of citrus, and her pulse thrummed. She couldn’t prevent herself from flashing him a smile. The noise of the ballroom faded into a harmonious cacophony as they settled into the waltz.
Overly wealthy, overly charming, overly good-looking, he could have any woman he desired. As she lacked both title and dowry, she could think of no reason why Lord Marley would have any interest in her. She narrowed her eyes.
Lord Marley nodded to the couples surrounding them, but when he met her gaze, his serene countenance disappeared. “Why do you look at me with such abhorrence? I assure you I have no nefarious designs upon your person.”
“I’m certain you have no designs, nefarious or otherwise, upon my person.”
He smiled widely, but made no response.
She lifted her brows. “Which begs the question, my lord, why did you request to dance with me?”
He deftly swung her away from a collision with an encroaching couple. “Miss Lightwood, you are one of the most beautiful and sought-after ladies in attendance. I merely seek my turn to be the object of your attention. You must stop frowning at me or everyone shall think I’ve said something inappropriate.” His knee brushed against her leg through the thin silk of her gown, and the intimate touch sent a shiver through her.
Though she couldn’t discern what he might want from her, she knew she couldn’t afford to alienate one of the richest and most powerful men in London. She softened her expression and immediately became lost in his clear blue eyes.
His gaze captured and held hers for several heartbeats before he cleared his throat and spoke again. “I have a proposition for you.”
Her breath caught in her throat. She couldn’t fathom anything he might offer that would be proper for her to accept.
“I thought perhaps we could be of assistance to one another.” He studied her face as if waiting for a response.
Charlotte swallowed. “Please continue.”
“I have heard that you are coming out under less than ideal conditions.” He inclined his head, and she nodded in agreement. Less than ideal was certainly one way to put it. “I propose to show you my favor, which will attract the attention of other suitors.”
She stiffened. “They will think you are courting me.”
His smile widened. “Exactly, and they will view you as a potential match because of my regard.”
An image of Horace popped into her head. “I agree to your proposition.” She held her breath, hoping her quick response hadn’t made her appear desperate.
Lord Marley laughed, a sound as crisp and refreshing as the first autumn breeze. “Wait. I haven’t finished yet.”
Her stomach dropped, and she took a deep, steadying breath. “Of course there’s more. What do you expect from me in return?”
“You needn’t look at me with trepidation. I saw you speaking with Princess Tarasova earlier, and thought you might be willing to assist me with my plans to court her.”
His words left an indelible gash on her heart. Of course he couldn’t actually court her, and the princess was an obvious choice for him, but it still hurt to hear him say it so pragmatically. “What, precisely, do you expect me to do?”
He shrugged. “Give me some insight into her, what she likes and dislikes. Provide me with the type of information that will assist me in winning her hand. Information that other suitors won’t have.”
She studied him before responding. She would be foolish to refuse him, but she felt a pang of guilt over feeding him information about the princess, the only person who had made any attempt to show her friendship since she’d arrived in London. In fact, if it hadn’t been for her kindness, Charlotte would have run from the ball after those girls made such disparaging remarks about her. On the other hand, Lord Marley’s attention would attract the notice of other men and could be her only chance to avoid having to marry Horace. “I believe I shall need more time to consider your proposition.”
“Naturally,” he agreed.
The music had stopped, and they were the only ones still standing on the dance floor. Lord Marley took a step back from her, tucking her arm through his and escorting her to Elizabeth.
“Until we meet again, Miss Lightwood.” He bowed and kissed her hand. Excitement fluttered in her stomach.
The moment he left her side, three other gentlemen approached Elizabeth for an introduction. After more than an hour of nonstop dancing, Charlotte had to acknowledge that Lord Marley’s plan could work.
Wow! Thanks so much for sharing, Ally!
Need more? Just a Kiss is available right now–and only 99 cents!
Ally lives in Texas and is convinced her house is shrinking, possibly because she shares it with three kids, five dogs, a cat, a rabbit, and several reptiles. Oh, and her husband. She likes to curse in Russian and spends most of her time letting dogs in and out of the house and shuttling kids around. She writes historical romance set in Regency England and Imperial Russia.
Just a Kiss
Tagline: His proposal could only lead to temptation…
Book Synopsis: Charlotte Lightwood has one season to find a husband or she’ll be forced to marry her guardian’s loathsome cousin. With no title or dowry, she doesn’t have much hope of making a good match. Sebastian Wilkinson, the Earl of Marley, has been the most eligible bachelor on the marriage mart for more years than he cares to count and is very aware of his duty to marry a woman who will add to the wealth and stature of his title. Sebastian makes Charlotte an offer she can’t refuse: he will pretend to court her to help her attract more suitors in exchange for her advice about which ladies he should pursue. As they work together, their mutual attraction grows. When they realize they just might be perfect for one another, they must decide whether to bow to the dictates of society or follow their hearts.