I’m thrilled to be hosting one of my favorite historical writers. She’s Julia Justiss, and she writes deliciously emotional Regency-set historical romance that brings to life the customs and morals of the Regency world. She is a truly accomplished writer. Julia is with us to today to tell us a bit about herself and her two new books.
You’ve had an interesting and varied life, which has included time as a tour guide in your home town of Annapolis, and also time abroad doing things like writing the newsletter for the American Embassy in Tunisia. How has your background influenced your writing?
Growing up in Annapolis fed a fascination with history—it was all around me, from “George Washington slept here” at several of the inns to the Liberty Tree, where the rebels who would launch the Annapolis version of the Boston tea party met to plan strategy. Becoming a guide for Historical Annapolis allowed me to entertain visitors with stories about the famous—and not so famous—people who created the events that shaped the city. So I guess I fell in love with telling stories with an historical setting while still in high school.
Living abroad and being exposed to very different cultures, both in Tunisia and in Norway, increased my appreciation for diversity and for different “worlds”—and historical fiction, like fantasy, really depends on creating a world for your reader that is different from her contemporary life, yet infused with timeless values like honor, devotion, duty and (of course!) love, values that have endured across all time.
What could be better than history with a happy ending?
You have new books out called The Rake to Redeem Her and The Rake to Ruin Her. Both your heroes and settings seem delightfully different. What can you tell us about the Ransleigh Rogues series?
I wanted a group of linked stories, initially a “Band of Brothers” who help each other survive the storming of the fortress of Badajos during the Peninsular War. My editor wanted a stronger bond between the characters, so the idea of four cousins evolved. Because I enjoyed so much working on the Silk & Scandal miniseries, where the three families intertwined in the original scandal end up in very different situations in life, I liked the idea of having one cousin be an earl’s son, another the illegimate son of the family black sheep, another a poet, another the man’s man who must reshape his life and expectations after losing an arm at Waterloo.
The first (March 2013) book, Ruin Her, features earl’s son Max Ransleigh, the natural leader of the cousins and the one whom they all expect to have a brilliant future in government. After being implicated in an assassination plot against Lord Wellington destroys his hopes for a career in diplomacy, he retreats to his cousin Alastair’s country estate to contemplate his prospects. There he encounters Caroline Denby, an heiress with no desire to marry who hits upon the idea of getting herself ruined, so fortune hunters will stop pestering her and she can return to running the breeding farm she helped her late father establish. Since Max’s reputation is already tarnished, why not help her out by seeming to ruin hers? But when well-laid plans go awry, both Caro and Max end up discovering a life—and a love—they’d never dreamed of.
The second book, Redeem Her, features illegitimate cousin Will Ransleigh. Plucked off the streets and transported to the earl’s country estate with orders to become a “proper Ransleigh” or be sent back, the initially uncooperative Will owes his life to Max’s persistence in persuading him—or pummeling him—into shape. When he returns from Waterloo to discover Max’s career in ruins, a furious Will vows to find the woman who entangled Max in the plot and bring her back to England to testify to his innocence. Except when he finds her, Elodie Lefevre is nothing like the femme fatale he was expecting. A survivor of war and revolution, Elodie has no intention of meekly doing any man’s bidding. So begins a game of persuasion and evasion, with falling in love a result neither could have expected.
The next two Rogues should appear sometime in 2014. Alastair, poet turned heartless rake after a humiliating betrayal, is sure he’s over Diana—until a chance encounter with his now-widowed former fiancée sets him reeling. An affair begun out of revenge soon turns into much more, with Alastair finding the woman Diana has become even more intriguing that the girl he once loved.
Finally, “Dandy Dominic,” who could charm any lady and surpass any man at riding, shooting, and all the manly sports, returns from war maimed and disfigured. No longer sure who he is, Dom shuns his friends and shuts himself away at his country estate. His brooding solitude is invaded by a feisty colonel’s daughter whose pragmatism challenges him to put his losses behind him and start living—and loving–again.
What’s up next in your writing world?
First I need to finish the next two Rogue books. After that…I may revisit some of the secondary characters from my Wellingford family books. There’s the youngest sister of my very first heroine and a scrappy orphan sponsored by a family friend who becomes a Parliamentary reformer. Then there’s a “Regency urban fantasy” series idea tugging at me. There’s never a shortage of things to write about, only time to write in!
Thank you, Julia! Readers, I just finished reading The Rake To Ruin Her last night, and I loved it. Julia is graciously giving away two copies of that book to my readers today. Just tell us what your favorite type of historical hero is for a chance to win! And don’t forget to follow Julia on facebook and Pinterest!