Guest Author: Katharine Ashe & Giveaway!

I’m so very thrilled to be hosting Katharine Ashe on my blog today.  Katharine is an award-winning author of historical romance who was described by Booklist in 2010 as “one of the new stars of historical romance.”  She’s both a talented writer and a truly wonderful person, and she’s here today to tell us about her new book.  How To Be A Proper Lady has already been getting phenomenal reviews, and is an Editors’ Choice for Best Book of the Month.

Without further ado, let’s talk to Katharine!

It seems we never lose our love for pirates and privateers – and no wonder, with the likes of Captain Jack Sparrow as a role model!  But How To Be A Proper Lady has several unusual twists.  Your hero is not your average English aristocrat or even your standard pirate, and your heroine is herself a privateer.  How did you come up with such an unusual idea?

It’s one of those Crazy Author things, Vanessa. The hero of How To Be a Proper Lady, Jin Seton, presented himself to me pretty much fully formed so I hadn’t much of a choice about who he was.

I’d just started writing Captured by a Rogue Lord. The hero of that book, Alex Savege, begins his story as a Robin Hood-style pirate who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Jin was Alex’s first lieutenant, and from the moment he spoke to Alex in the opening chapter of that book he told me who he was: not fully English, but a man with a brutal history who now sought atonement for the violent deeds of his past. I loved him. And I knew within minutes who his heroine would be: a strong, adventuresome woman, Viola Carlyle, the girl that had been abducted by her smuggler father fifteen years earlier and that everyone presumed dead.

Fortunately, Jin liked that idea. A lot. He told me he would find Viola and bring her home to her noble family. Of course, he didn’t count on Viola’s stubborn determination not to do his bidding, or his desire for her. Or hers for him! And that’s where the fun began…

In addition to being a fabulous romance writer, you’re also a history professor.  Did you draw on any models from the history books in creating the characters of Jinan and Viola?

Thank you! Yes, indeedy, the histories I read definitely inform my characters. Sometimes I get ideas from history books for specific things (like the captive English brides in my In the Arms of a Marquess), and sometimes the historical places and subjects I’m reading about more generally inspire characters or plots. I’m very fortunate that my husband and his friends happen to be the world’s foremost scholars of Caribbean history in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, so I’m always reading their books and talking with them about it. It was a thrilling and dangerous time! I don’t need to invent anything; I just borrow it from history.  (Vanessa, here.  What a cool profession for your hubby–and very handy for a historical romance writer!)

Jin and Viola presented themselves to me after I’d been reading a lot about the shipping routes of the British Empire, and the movements of merchants, navies and slaves across the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Jin’s unsparing past and Viola’s profession came straight from my studies. And their sizzling romance? Well, that came from who they were in their hearts and what they each dreamed of becoming.

When you were writing this book, did anything surprise you? Any strange bits of research? Did the characters take you in unexpected directions?

Oh, yes! They took me to the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, which admittedly I’d anticipated. But what I hadn’t understood before was they couldn’t just sail down the U.S. coast from Boston; air and ocean currents required ships to sail east first, to Bermuda, then south. Also, because Jin does manage to haul Viola back to England and return her to her aristocratic roots, I learned alongside my poor sailor heroine a whole lot about the accomplishments expected of a proper lady in that society. Poor Viola! I suffered with her through every lesson in French, watercolor painting and etiquette that she was forced to endure.

Let’s say you were kidnapped by a ravishing pirate and taken to a deserted island. What two luxury items would you beg him to let you take, to make your stay that much more enjoyable?

I will respond to this question when my heart reenters my body. I mean, really, where does a girl I begin??? Satin sheets and a refrigerator filled with champagne!

And here’s the blurb for How To Be A Proper Lady:

The rules of being a proper lady

1) Never take steps greater than six inches apart
2) Never look boldly at a gentleman
3) And never, ever kiss a man who is not your fiancé…

But beautiful, bold Viola Carlyle doesn’t care about the rules. And she desperately wants to kiss the notoriously tempting Captain Jin Seton, the man who brought her kicking and fighting back to English society. Kidnapped as a child, now she longs to return to that life of freedom where she was able to live—and love—as she wished.

Having hunted Viola for two years, Jin Seton has finally found his good luck—for by finding Viola his oldest, deepest debt will at last be paid. And although he has vowed not to let her win his heart, this very improper lady might finally be the one who tames him.

Thanks for the great interview, Katharine.  I have to say, How To Be A Proper Lady has moved to the top of my TBR pile!  Readers, be sure to check out Katharine’s website for all the details and buy links, and to read an excerpt.

Katharine is also generously giving away copies of her previous books today.  For a chance to win a copy of When A Scot Loves A Lady or Captured By A Rogue Lord, tell us what your favorite pirate movie is.  My all-time favorite is Captain Blood, but I’m partial to space pirates too, like Han Solo in Star Wars!

104 thoughts on “Guest Author: Katharine Ashe & Giveaway!”

  1. Hands down it has to be “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”. We are introduced to the quirkiest pirate EVER!! Captain Jack Sparrow is delightfully dishonest & self-serving. Sounds like a pirate to me.

  2. Just finished reading How to be a Proper Lady, I loved it. Jin and Viola are wonderful characters. I’ve read all of Katharine’s books so please don’t enter me for the giveaway. 🙂

    It’s Pirates of the Caribbean for me too. Any film with a Johnny Depp/Orlando Bloom combo will always get my vote.

  3. Jack Sparrow… that’s my kind of pirate!! And I love that Johnny Depp took some charactistics from one great rock star!!!

  4. I love PIRATES!! From Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) to Sinbad (John Phillip Law) they are hot! I love the their mismatched, oftentimes slovenly wardrobes, to their rather “earthy” habits! More please!! Just keep them coming!!!

    • Tracey, I ADORED Sinbad. I’d completely and totally forgotten that until this moment! I used to watch re-runs every Saturday and whenever else it was on. I was far too young to have an actual crush on him, but I loved him nevertheless. Oh, it’s fabulous to recall that now. I’ve really had the same seafaring and adventuring hero loving heart my entire life. :)))

      • Katharine, I will choose a hot pirate over most other heroes!! They just have an endearing panache that really attracts me. Of course, I’m thinking of the Jack Sparrows of the high seas… NOT the Barbarosas or the Davy Joneses (pirate not singer! LOL)!! Mwah! Right back at you, girl!!

  5. I love the Pirates of the Caribbean trioligy. I love Will and Elizabeth’s story.
    When I was a child I love the Sinbad movies. I guess I never considered Hans solo a pirate, however can you ever go wrong with hariison Ford?

  6. Does it count if he is only a pirate for a short about of time? If not then my favorite is “The Count of Monte Cristo”! Love that movie =)

  7. My favorite pirate movie is Pirates of the Carribean, who doesn’t love Johnny Depp? My second favorite is Captain Blood with Errol Flynn, the original sexy pirate lol.

    • Arrr, Bonnie! Blackbeard were a scabrous wicked villain, that he were! Wow, the histories I read of him when I first researched pirates… frightening. In fact, I borrowed one of his favorite tortures for a line in HOW TO BE A PROPER LADY. *shivering* Blackbeard deserves all the notoriety he’s received over the centuries, that’s for sure!

  8. I love d the Pirates of the Caribbean movies as well…but Star Wars was probably my first love. That was the first movie I got to see at the drive in. Loved it! Still do!

  9. Oh I totally agree! I love Captain Blood and that space pirate Captain Solo, too! … The Sea Hawk… And of course…. the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. All 4 are great but Curse of the Black Pearl is my favorite.

  10. Hello ladies! Mine would be The Princess Bride! Ah, that Dread Pirate Roberts… I’ve been in love with him since I was 10!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    Kanya 🙂

  11. My favorite pirate movie is The Black Swan (not that freaky ballet movie… I’m talking about the swashbuckling adventure released in 1942!). I really enjoyed the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie (the other two that I saw just made me feel sad about humanity, and I missed the fourth one), but nothing compares to the glory of technicolor and old Hollywood.

  12. My favorite pirate movie was actually Treasure Planet (Disney’s animated futuristic version of Treasure Island). Now if we are talking what is my favorite pirate movie with good looking actors then it would be any of the POTC movies because from Johnny Depp to Jack Davenport you just can’t go wrong with those movies!

  13. I already have the books, but just wanted to stop and say how much I enjoy your stories, Katharine! Keep writing.

  14. Oh my, I can’t wait to read about Jin! I became so curious about him in When A Scot Loves A Lady.

    As for pirates, anything Johnny Depp does simply makes me melt so I am with everyone else on the Captain Jack Sparrow vote. SIGH! He could shiver me timbers any day! (or night 😉 )

  15. I’ve got to agree with many and say that the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series was fabulous. I liked “On Stranger Tides” quite a bit.

    • Ashley, I have to say, the missionary/mermaid romance went straight to my heart that loves impossible pairings. And I really loved the cast they put together for that movie. Fabulous collection of actors. I was especially interested in that handsome Spanish captain… very interested… Must look into who that was… 😉

  16. I do agree with Captain Blood and Pirates of the Carribean and Star Wars. But then there’s Master and Commander, Peter Pan and The Pirates of Penzance. Favorite pirates hands down are Jack Sparrow and Han Solo. Hard to argue with perfection!

  17. I liked the old black and white pirate movies with Errol Flynn in them. Of course, Jack Sparrow showed us a different kind of pirate.
    My favorite pirate story was Daphne du Maurier’s FRENCHMAN’S CREEK. Great story with an unusual ending.

  18. My favorite is Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom are so perfectly hot in that movie!

  19. My favorite pirate move was even before my time and it’s to me THE classic pirate movie that set the bar for everything since!

    Captain Blood was released in 1935, 12 years before I was born, and starred Errol Flynn as Dr. Peter Blood.

    He played a young Irish doctor who is exiled as a slave to Barbados where he captures a Spanish galleon and becomes the most feared pirate of the Caribbean.

    It was based on the book Captain Blood written by Rafael Sabatini and was published in 1922. Mr. Sabatini was an Irish physician who had had a wide-ranging career as a soldier and sailor (including a commission as a captain under the Dutch admiral De Ruyter) before settling down to practice medicine in the town of Bridgwater in Somerset.

    Katherine, since your husband is a scholar of Carribbean history in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries this might be a fun movie to try to find and watch with his friends!

  20. I loved the Pirates of The Caribbean. Jack Sparrow was hot! When watching it with nephew He thought my sister and I had lost our minds because we loved Jack. He just kept saying but he needs a shower. Lol

  21. Han Solo stole my heart when I was young, funny and could it get much better! And then Captain Jack Sparrow swaggered into my life, and low and behold things can get better! I don’t get to watch many movies anymore (with three kids under the age of three) sadly. But I do get to read (yay!) so that is my escape, and therefore I can name many more pirates from books than I possibly could movies. Like Sebastian from Shana Galen’s The Rogue Pirate’s Bride, fell in love with him!
    Can’t wait to check out your rogues, Robin Hood-esque, pirate heros Katharine!

    • Karin, I LOVED Sinbad. Loved! Tracey G reminded me of him earlier today (in the comments above). I’d completely forgotten until now that I adored Sinbad when I was young. There’s nothing like a dashing seaman fighting outrageous monsters to make a girl’s heart leap. 🙂

      • Sinbad was great – those old movies were a wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I still remember the one where Sinbad had to climb up this giant rope into a tower to find the villain’s beating heart.

  22. My all time favorite pirate movie is Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Nothing beats Captain Jack Sparrow! 😀

  23. Pirates of the Caribbean! Mainly because of Johnny Depp. He’s my ultimate crush and my favorite actor of all time. He’s just down right unique and I love him for that. ;>

    • Maria, I completely agree. He’s such a spectacularly wonderful character actor, and yet he still manages to be deliciously appealing in all his roles. He’s one of the best things in Hollywood these decades, that’s for sure.

  24. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is my favorite pirate movie. Johnny Depp makes a great pirate.

  25. I love all the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Not sure what it is about Jack Sparrow but I adore him. Seen them more than once, more than twice possible 5 times in a row 😀

    • Kirsten, honestly I could watch POTC1 over and over and over again. And I have! It’s such a fabulous movie. I love the other three too, but something about Jack and Will and all of them in the first one is just so completely perfect.

  26. Hello Vanessa! Welcome Back Katharine! Favorite Pirate Movie hmm…Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – I loved all of the POTC movies but this one by far was my favorite. I have loved Johnny Depp for a very long time. And he makes for a very nice to look at Pirate lol. And in second place dun dun dun…Princess Bride!! I love this movie so much I used the Love Theme for my Entrance Song when I walked down the Aisle…eww Carey Elwes as a Pirate yum. Tina –

Leave a Comment