When young widow Catherine Briton is washed ashore, the sole survivor of a violent shipwreck, all she wants is to go home to London. But injured as she is, she can’t escape when a shadowy stranger rescues her and takes her to his castle—where she’s healed with suspicious, almost magical speed.
The more time Catherine spends in the castle, the more her curiosity rises where her fiercely handsome new “master,” Gerard, is concerned. As she begins to investigate, though, her discoveries only bring more questions. It seems Gerard isn’t the only one on the island keeping secrets…
The small town is full of strange mysteries and townspeople who know more than they should about her. And when a hulking beast that stalks the nearby hills and valleys catches up to her, Catherine must figure out what’s going on before it’s too late
An interview with author T.J. Bennett:
T. J., thanks so much for joining us today! Tell us more about your book—take us beyond the official “book blurb”.
Dark Angel: A Gothic Fair Tale, is a Gothic historical romance in which a woman with a troubled past shipwrecks on a mysterious island whose master has deadly secrets of his own. Think “Beauty and the Beast meets Lost.” I had an idea of what I wanted to do with the story from the beginning, and intended for it to go in a certain direction, but it totally veered off into uncharted territory. The last 5000 words of the book practically wrote themselves. I wrote the end all in one sitting because I was afraid I would go to sleep and it would be gone when I woke up. And when I was done, I actually stared at the computer and asked myself, “Can I do that?” It was crazy. I never would have thought up the ending on my own, so I think my muse was working overtime.
That’s fantastic! Fingers crossed that my muse does the same for me this month of NaNoWriMo–I’ll need it!
Give us more info about your main characters—who are they?
I love my heroine, Catherine (aka Cat) who is a feisty widow with a past. She was a gentlewoman who worked with Florence Nightingale as a nurse when most decent people still equated nursing with the lowest of professions. And my hero Gerard was so fun to write. He’s a powerful man who doesn’t follow the rules because he doesn’t know what they are, so that makes him an intriguing character to get to know.
They sound exactly like my kind of characters–I can’t wait to read their story!
What scene in your book was the most fun to write, and why?
Argh. I actually can’t say because it contains a plot twist. It’s very twisty, though, and I think I amazed even myself. I rarely surprise myself that way, so it was a way to really get outside of my comfort zone and do something entirely different, to think from the perspective of a character who was other than what I was used to writing.
LOL, that’s okay…I’ll look forward to discovering it on my own, then 😉
How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?
I have been writing since I was eight and I wrote a story about a horsey (like all little eight-year-old wannabe girl writers do) named Spirit. However, in terms of writing for publication, that I’ve been doing for about 13 years. My husband actually challenged me to start. I love reading, but one day I’d read just one too many predictable romance novels and scoffed, “I could do better than that!” He said something along the lines of, “Then do it.” It turns out it isn’t as easy as it looks, you know?
LOL, yes, I DO know!
What do you like best about being a writer?
I like coming back to it a few months or even years later and reading it and thinking, “Hey, you know, that isn’t half bad.” Seriously, when you can take a step away from your own work and enjoy it as a reader instead of seeing every flaw you didn’t catch as a writer, you feel like you have really done something good.
What is the most challenging part of being a writer?
Finding the time to do it. I’m a slow writer, and I need to immerse myself in my story before the words come, and in today’s fast-paced publishing world, that just isn’t always possible, I’m afraid.
I hear you…
What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?
I’m working on a late-Victorian set piece that has a lot of drawing room wit in it. At least I hope it does. I’m enjoying the characters and their banter and repartee. I hope it will be finished in time for you to look forward to it in the next year, ahem ahem. Did I mention I’m a slow writer?
LOL, yes. It’ll be worth the wait, I’m sure. 🙂
What authors and/or books have inspired you?
Laura Kinsale. She is just brilliant. Every time I read her writing, I wish I were her. Her characters are multi-layered, complex, her research is extensive and yet seamlessly woven into the story and she always does something unexpected and smart. And she’s a slow writer, just like me!
Yes! I agree. I’ve read a few of hers, and loved them all. More are waiting for me in my never-ending TBR pile. Obviously you slow writers have something there…
What are you currently reading?
Currently, I’m reading JD Robb’s latest In Death novel—don’t ask me which one because by the time I finish telling you, she’ll have written two more. I also just finished The Art Forger, by B.A. Shapiro and Obsidian, by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I thoroughly enjoyed both and highly recommend them.
Did I mention the never-ending TBR pile? This is exactly why…though Obsidian is already in it, so that recommendation doesn’t make it any bigger, at least.
Please share a favorite scene from your books with our readers.
At this point in Dark Angel, my heroine Catherine Briton has just been rescued after washing up on the shore of the island of Ynys Nos, somewhere in the middle of the Irish Sea—or so she believes. The enigmatic man who rules this island has taken her to his castle high on a cliff to recover. An injured Catherine awakens to find that her savior has been watching over her while she sleeps…and that something very important to her has gone missing.
“I have lost something, sir.” I swallowed my anxiety, forcing my voice into a normal pattern despite the screaming panic in my mind. “Did you find a reticule on my person, or near about, when you brought me from the water? It was black with jet beads.”
“I did not. It is likely sunk to the bottom of the ocean by now,” he answered.
Despair sheared through me. No, it cannot be. After everything…I bit my lip to stifle my cry of anguish, pressed down hard to stop it from escaping.
He noted my reaction, his body shifting as if to protect me from a danger he could not possibly comprehend. “This thing was of importance to you?”
What could I say? Only that it meant everything, and I could not possibly replace it? That I had lost all hope with the loss of the money in that bag, money I had been told I had no right to possess? What good would it do to bemoan my fate, to rail at the sea that had stolen my future and that of the children?
I traced the oval shape of the cameo beneath my nightgown and neatened my face into a bland semblance of normality for the sake of appearances. It was a long-ingrained habit appropriate to my strict Victorian upbringing. A well-bred gentlewoman never revealed her inner turmoil to another, even when she wanted to scream and beat her bosom.
Especially not then.
“It is nothing. A trifle. Do not think of it again,” I managed, my throat squeezing shut.
“A trifle.” He regarded me, speculation in his gaze.
I did not realize my hand on the sheet clenched and unclenched, twisting the fabric into knots, until he tapped his fingertip gently against it. I stilled instantly, and his hand moved away.
“What is your name?” he asked.
He knelt down before me, so close I could see the ring of coal black surrounding the gray of his irises. The movement had been swift and soundless, startling me back against the plump pillows.
“C-Catherine,” I stammered, surprised into answering by his proximity. He radiated energy, a subtle magnetism that suggested he was accustomed to obedience.
“I will look after you now, Catherine. Whatever troubles you becomes my trouble, too. Whatever you need, I will provide.” He smiled, a flash of white teeth, and my heart nearly stopped. “‘Ask, and it shall be given you.’”
“‘The devil quotes scripture for his own ends,’” I rejoined without thinking, then gasped at the sheer audacity of my remark.
His smile only widened further.
“Yes,” he murmured. “That he does.”
Oooh, excellent. I really can’t wait to sit down with this one!
Want more? Dark Angel is on sale now! Keep reading for T.J.’s author information, including contact links, and an awesome Rafflecopter giveaway!
TJ Bennett has been writing for publication since 2000, but she’s been interested in it a lot longer than that. It wasn’t the best of books that got her writing, however; it was the worst. After slamming one particularly awful novel against the wall and complaining to her husband, “I can do better than that,” he challenged her to “just do it.” That was all the encouragement she needed.Since then, TJ has placed in over a dozen literary contests, including the Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s mixed-genre contest, the Daphne du Maurier mystery contest, the Holt Medallion, the Book Buyers Best, and many others. In 2005, she received a nomination in RWA’s Golden Heart paranormal category for her novel, Dreamweaver. In 2006, The Justice Seeker, a paranormal romance about an alien cop, received first, second, and third place, respectively, in the three well-known and highly respected contests in which it was entered. Her first published novel,The Legacy, a historical romance set in Early Reformation Germany about the destructive nature of secrets, was released in April 2008 (Medallion Press). Her second, The Promise, a follow on to The Legacy, was released in May 2009.
TJ has been a judge for several contests, including the Golden Pen, the Emily, the Golden Heart, and the RITA, and she has led plotting and characterization workshops for several writers’ groups. She also served as the editor for the Los Angeles Romance Authors award-winning newsletter, The LARA Confidential, as well as contributing several articles.
Her varied background includes extensive travel in her youth as a military dependent in Europe; being president of her own consulting business for several years, where she used the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to help CEOs and managers develop successful work teams; and working thirteen years as a civilian contract negotiator for the US Air Force, buying multi-million dollar satellite and weapons systems.
She returned to her first love of writing in 2000. Armed with a BA and an MA in English, she also taught college level English and edits dissertations and novels.
TJ knows a lot about the black moments of life, and uses that knowledge to enhance her writing. She believes that nothing is ever lost, and no painful experience is in vain: it’s all research.
[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]