Today I’m happy to welcome Georgie Lee, whose Regency novella HERO’S REDEMPTION was released Monday (July 29) from Carina Press. Thank you so much for being here in these first exciting days. Please tell us a little about it.
Devon, the Earl of Malton, is a hero for his deeds at the Battle of Waterloo. But he suffers terrible nightmares, and drinks himself to sleep most nights. A habit he vows to break when he awakes one morning to find a woman sharing his bed, no memory of how she got there, and her angry brother at his door.
Cathleen is mortified when her wastrel brother and his greedy wife propose a blackmail scheme involving the earl, but as a penniless war widow she's at their mercy. She goes along with the plan and sneaks into Devon's bed one night, and ends up comforting him through a night terror.
Charmed by her beauty and kindness, Devon determines that rather than pay the blackmail, he will offer his hand in marriage to Cathleen. Although she is deeply attracted to the stoic earl, Cathleen cannot understand why Devon would want to marry her. What she doesn't know is that Devon owes her a debt that can never fully be repaid…
I do love tortured heroes and the ladies who help them heal. What drew you to this story?
I love taking real events from history and weaving fictional characters into the story. In Hero’s Redemption, I placed the hero, Devon at the Battle of Hougoumont Manor during the Battle of Waterloo. This was a real battle during which the English were barricaded in the manor. A few French soldiers broke through one of the gates and threatened to overrun the British but the British fought them back, closed the gate and held the manor. I used this historic event for my story, making Devon the hero of the battle for leading a charge to close the breeched gate. However, he doesn’t walk away from the battle unscathed and the horror of his experience haunts him through the entire story.
Regencies are favorites of mine, and this one sound wonderful. Give us an excerpt:
Love to: London 1817
Devon, Lord Malton, tossed in bed, the throbbing pain in his thigh pulling him from the oblivion of drunkenness into a semi-sleep that clung to him like tar.
"No," he moaned. The ghostlike images of old comrades and dead enemies drifted through his mind. Distant cannon fire rolled in the air, growing louder as light began to creep in along the edges of the sharpening visions. "No."
In a flash the world turned bright, the afternoon sun reflecting off the stone walls of Hougoumont Manor's courtyard. Around him, British soldiers and trapped French soldiers fought, the metallic ring of sabers carrying over the shouts of dying men and the screams of frightened horses.
"Cochon anglais!" A French soldier charged at Devon and he swung around to face him. "Je te tuerai."
They locked swords, the Frenchman's wild eyes meeting Devon's across the blade.
"Maintenant--au diable!" Devon shoved the Frenchman back. The burly soldier staggered slightly but desperation gave him strength and he hurled himself forward.
Devon was stepping back to parry when his boot rolled on the arm of a dead man and he fell, landing hard in the mud. The Frenchman lunged again. Devon swung his sword, deflecting the blow but the Frenchman's blade slid down the length of Devon's, impaling his thigh.
"Bloody hell." Devon dug the heel of his boot into the man's chest and kicked hard. A searing pain nearly blinded him as the man's blade tore free.
The Frenchman pulled himself to his feet and advanced. Devon rose up on one knee, lifting his sword to defend himself when suddenly the flash of a red coat cut across his vision. Captain Selton stood between them, his sword clanging against the Frenchman's.
"Get back to the safety of the manor," the young officer called, swinging to repel the enemy's blade.
"I'm not going anywhere." Devon stood, gritting his teeth against the pain. He limped forward, determined to fight when the sickening sound of metal slicing flesh drowned out the cannons. Captain Selton wavered a moment then slumped to the ground.
"No!" Devon yelled.
The Frenchman, his sword still lodged in Captain Selton's chest, met Devon's eyes, smug triumph dancing in their watery depths.
"Bastard!" Devon hurled himself at the man, his pain forgotten in a rush of anger. The Frenchman's triumph turned to fear as Devon impaled him, driving him backwards across the courtyard, forcing the sword in deeper and deeper until it drove itself through his body, lodging in a wooden door in the far wall. Devon pulled out the blade and the Frenchman dropped to the ground.
Devon stepped back and his wounded leg buckled. He fell hard against the wall, his palm scraping over the rough stone as he slid down into the mud. When he pressed his hand over the wound, the blood stained his breeches and covered his fingers. Out across the courtyard, heavy clouds of black powder smoke drifted through the fighting men, passing over Captain Selton, who lay with the others, his lifeless eyes watching the sky.
"No," Devon cried in anguish. "No."
"It's all right," a soft female voice carried over the crack of gunfire. "You're safe now."
"I couldn't save him." Devon choked, struggling to breathe through the acrid smoke. "I couldn't help him."
"I know." Gentle hands stroked his hair, his forehead and cheeks, their tenderness easing his tight chest and softening the pain coursing through him. "Sleep now."
Oh, this is a wonderful beginning. I can’t wait to read more.What’s your next project?
ENGAGEMENT OF CONVENIENCE, my first novel from Harlequin Historical, will be available October 1. Currently, I’m working on my second and third books for Harlequin, both of which will be set in Regency England.
What one tip would you offer writers?
The best tip I can offer is to keep trying and don’t give up. There were many years where I was writing and nothing was being published and then all of a sudden, one day, all the hard work began to pay off. It’s a long term career so you can’t let setbacks make you give up.
You’ve done both historical and contemporary books. How do your stories ‘come to you’ at first--through characters, setting, story line?
I used to be a pantser, but now that I’ve sold to Harlequin Historical, I sit down and write a summary and work on my characters before I get too far into a story. I usually start with a specific scene in mind and then build the story out from there. Having a summary really helps me make the best use of my writing time.
Is there a special place you like to write?
I love to write on my back deck in the morning, before the sun comes over the house and bakes the area. Otherwise, I have my comfy chair in my office with my little side table to hold my diet Wild Cherry Pepsi.
Challenges with finding writing time?
I’m a stay at home mom, so making time to write can be a challenge. I usually write first thing in the morning when the house is quiet and I am, for the most part, awake. I’m also an opportunistic writer and I will sneak in writing time during naps, quiet play and in the evening.
Congratulations on making those short spurts work. It’s been great having you here, Georgie. I hope you’ll come back when your Harlequin Historical is released.
Here’s a little more about Georgie.
Bio: A dedicated history and film buff, Georgie Lee loves combining her passion for Hollywood, history and storytelling through romantic fiction. She began writing professionally at a small TV station in San Diego before moving to Los Angeles to work in the interesting but strange world of the entertainment industry.
Her first novel, LADY’S WAGER, and her contemporary novella, ROCK ‘’N’ ROLL REUNION are both available from Ellora’s Cave Blush. LABOR RELASTIONS, a contemporary romance of Hollywood, and STUDIO RELATIONS, a love story set in 1935 Hollywood, are currently available from Montlake Romance. Her Regency novel ENGAGEMENT OF CONVENIENCE is available from Harlequin Historical on October 1, 2013.
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