Well readers it is that time again! So grab your favorite cup of coffee, cocoa, or tea and sit down and relax. Today we are talking with an amazing author, one who brings an element of gothic suspense to her romance books. Please give a warm welcome to author Erica Ridley!
Hi Erica! Thank you for taking the time out of your hectic schedule to stop by and answer some questions about murder, mystery, mayhem, and life in general. Why don’t you start off by telling us a little about Too Wicked to Kiss?
Hi Danielle! Thanks for having me! In Too Wicked To Kiss, Gothic romance is intertwined with a murder mystery. The hero and heroine face the emotional danger of losing one's heart as well as the physical danger of losing one's life--either by the hand of a murderer, or to the gallows. This is also very much a story of learning to trust oneself before being able to implicitly trust another... and truly fall in love.
Evangeline Pemberton has a special skill, one that many find to be a sign of witchcraft. With an already intriguing plot, why add this paranormal twist?
Rather than center on the (questionable) advantages her skill gives her, I was fascinated by the disadvantages. Growing up without ever having experienced the simple joy of a hug would alter a person's worldview in profound ways. Gavin may have isolated himself from Society, but Evangeline feels extremely alone, no matter what size crowd she happens to be in. No matter how much she might want to, she cannot reach out to another person. Despite her (literal) insight into other people's minds, she has not had much experience with the world of the ton. I wanted to explore how even a person facing such obstacles as these could find true love.
Gavin Lioncroft is harsh, rugged, and yet he has a seductive air about him. When coming up with his character, did you have anyone in mind that led to his characteristics?
I had no one particular person in mind, but I do admit that the "bad boy" archetype is one of my favorites. I also love anti-heroes, men who do bad things--sometimes even for bad reasons--but who always operate within their own particular set of standards, or ethics. No matter how wicked he may be, if you can make him love you, he would do anything for you. There's something very seductive about a man who is unafraid of violence, who is strong-willed and determined, who owns his actions and the consequences thereof, and would fight without question for someone he loves.
The atmosphere when I read Too Wicked to Kiss was outstandingly brilliant! When writing this novel could you feel the gothic environment as I did when I read it?
That was my favorite part! I loved immersing myself in the sensuality of the story, from the creepiness of the manor to the forbidden-but-delicious encounters between Gavin and Evangeline. I very much tried to evoke onto the page the sensations and ideas that played out in my mind as I envisioned each scene of the story.
The details of Blackberry Manor were vividly detailed. Have you ever been to a place such as this one? How did you come up with the idea for this home?
Blackberry Manor is an amalgamation of many Gothic castles and cathedrals I've visited in Europe... with a good bit of my imagination swirled in on top. I wanted the setting to be a character in its own right, just as dangerous and secretive and untrustworthy as the rest of the guests. Gavin alone has dominion over these grounds, and even then, the house does not always obey his wishes...
Imagine for a moment that Too Wicked to Kiss was being turned into a movie. Who would you want to play the roles of Evangeline and Gavin?
I'm terrible at recalling names of actors and actresses... But to be honest, Gavin and Evangeline are so real to me in my head, that I can't imagine someone else acting out their roles. If there ever was a movie, it would definitely be a surreal experience!
Speaking of videos, do you have a book trailer available for Too Wicked to Kiss?
I do! Here's a link
There is a blurb on your website of your next novel, Too Sinful to Deny. Would you like to give us a synopsis of the story?
That story is also a Gothic romance, although this time we are not trapped within the walls of an ancient manor. Exiled from Town, the heroine finds herself held against her will in a sparsely populated wasteland on the edge of the sea. Before she can find a way back to London, she finds herself embroiled in intrigue--pirates own these shores... upon which we discover a dead body. Or two. The sexy, swashbuckling, ne'er-do-well hero was one of the worst of the crew, but has now turned his attention to avenging his brother's murder. The heroine's interference provides a distraction he can ill afford and an irresistible attraction too sinful to deny.
Your author bio mentions you learned to read when you were three years old. What an accomplishment. What books do you like to read now?
My mother discovered I could read one night when she was eager to put me to bed early and tried to paraphrase the pages of a fairy tale rather than read aloud every word of the story. Each time she made a "mistake", I helpfully pointed a chubby finger at the words and said, "No, Mommy. This says..." and helped her back on track. Hopefully I don't end up with kids like me! LOL. Nowadays, I'm a genre fiction junkie, and I inhale most genres of romance (favorites being historical, romantic suspense, paranormal, and romantic comedy), mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and paranormal/horror. In other words--just about everything!
You have also done some amazing things and traveled to some exotic locations. Can you tell the readers a little about what you have done? Is there an adventure that you have not done yet but would like to do?
I absolutely adore travel! I am lucky enough to be able to work from wherever my laptop might be (my day job is designing websites) which has enabled me to explore North America, Morocco, a big chunk of Europe (from Portugal to Poland, the latest being Greece and the Czech Republic), and parts of Latin America. I am still hoping to make it to Egypt, Japan, India, Australia, and the rest of South America. It will probably take a while, though!
You have written a gothic regency romance book. You have also contributed to two anthologies. Is there any other genre that you have written? Anything you would like to try to write that you have not? Anything that you would never do?
The first manuscript I ever wrote to completion was a Regency-set historical. Those are my roots, and I love this genre. The second manuscript I wrote was a romantic suspense. It was a dismal failure, mostly because I forgot the romance and much of the suspense was actually funny. (I'm guessing it's not my calling.) The third manuscript I ever wrote was another Regency-set historical, but the fourth one was a contemporary romantic comedy. That one ended up earning me my agent. But the genre with which I landed a publishing contract is Gothic historical, and I hope I can keep writing many, many more!
I have already mentioned your website, which is fantastic by the way (I especially liked the fun facts and the embarrassing photos). What other links do you have? Any social networks that you belong to? Blogs? Classes? Etc.
Sure! If you have Facebook, please come friend me here
For those of you with Twitter, please tweet me here
My blog has frequent contests and giveaways here
And last but not least, the interactive 1813 Unauthorized Scandalsheet is here
Can you tell the readers one goofy or interesting thing about yourself, maybe something nobody else knows?
Here's a secret: Much to my boyfriend's everlasting disgust, I sometimes fall asleep with gum in my mouth. (And no, I've never choked on it or had it end up in my hair.) I've done this since I was a kid... For this peccadillo, I totally blame my parents for buying an oldies tape with "Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight" as one of the featured songs. ;-)
Just a couple more questions and then you can be out of my clutches.
One of my biggest pet peeves when reading a story is a wimpy heroine. I am extremely happy to state very loud and clear that Evangeline is definitely NOT wimpy. What are some of your pet peeves that you have when reading a novel?
Probably my biggest pet peeve when reading romance is when I can't figure out why the hero and heroine fall in love. Maybe she's a spineless wimp or maybe he's a jealous control freak, and I'm sitting there wondering why on earth they even want to spend time with each other, much less exchange wedding vows. In my stories, I try very hard to make sure that my hero and heroine become better people because of each other, and fall in love with someone who deserves it.
And one last question that I like to ask all of my interviewees. In keeping with the Coffee Time Romance theme, if you were described as a flavor of coffee, what flavor would you be and why?
I would be Costa Rican blend caramel latte. I love Costa Rica (and its coffee!) more than just about any place on Earth... and I have an equal love of caramel. In fact, if you happen to go there and aren't in the mood for coffee, I highly recommend dropping into any store and picking up a Dos Pinos brand caramel-flavored fresco leche. (Juice-box sized fresh milk. It's delicious.)
Thank you again for answering my sometimes zany questions. I hope you had fun. I know I did.
I had a blast! Thank you so much for having me here today. This has been a lot of fun!