Saturday, 23 March 2013

Getting to Know Wendy Soliman and the Forsters + Giveaway

I am very happy to welcome back to Ex Libris historical romance author Wendy Soliman, who pens the wonderful Regency Forsters series! I loved Compromising the Marquess, the first novel in the series, so it was a pleasure having Wendy stop by and chat about her series, writing, and some other secrets. Join us and you could even win a copy of Compromising the Marquess!

Hi Wendy, welcome to Ex Libris! Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Wendy: I was brought up on the Isle of Wight in southern England, surrounded by castles, ancient manor houses and…well, I guess you can say that the small Island simply oozes history. I’ve always thought that I absorbed the vibes without realizing it, accounting for my love of history in general and the rich Regency period in particular.

I'm curious to know, how did you get your start as a writer?

Wendy: I wrote my first book years ago, then consigned it to a cupboard! But I think that shows the desire’s always been there. I took it up seriously about ten years ago, when I had both the time and the luxury of pleasing myself. I joined the British Romantic Novelists’ Association and thanks to their wonderful New Writers’ Scheme I was able to get a small London publishing house to take my first five Regencies. Then I moved on to the exciting world of e-publishing and haven’t looked back.

What is your writing schedule like? How do your novels come to be?

Wendy: Pleasurable! I work seven days a week for as many hours as I can get away with and have yet to suffer from writer’s block. With me, it’s more a case of having too many ideas!

I loved Compromising the Marquess, the first book in your Forsters series, could you tell readers a bit about it?

Wendy: I’ve got nine Regency romances published but have never tackled a series, so I thought it was about time. The Forster clan is headed by Hal, the Marquess of Denby, who resides at The Hall, a large estate outside of Denby, a fictional village near Dover. Leah Elliott moves to the area with her sister Beth, who has been advised that sea air will be beneficial for her lung complaint. Leah supports herself and her sister by writing snippets of gossip for a scandal sheet. Now that she’s no longer in London, the seat of all gossip worth hearing, she fears that their income will dry up.

But Leah’s failed to take into account the eligible marquess, as well as the strange goings-on in the local tavern that so overset the vicar’s wife and appear to centre around Hal. This situation calls for closer investigation. After all, Leah has to eat, doesn’t she…

Where did the idea for the storyline come from?

Wendy: I needed to set my series in a location that was familiar to me, even if Denby itself is fictional. A lot of it centres around Hal’s boat, and I know a lot about boats. The rest grew from there. I was plotting this series at about the time Prince William got married, which got me thinking about Princess Diana’s untimely demise. The paparazzi were responsible for that, so it got me wondering about the origins of scandal sheets. That’s all it took!

What do you think readers will like/love about Hal and Leah?

Wendy: Hal is your typical no-nonsense hunky hero who looks good in tight-fitting breeches. He tends to do as he pleases, and to please himself. When it comes to his siblings, though, he’s a tiger protecting his cubs, especially his sister Felicity, who doesn’t want to be protected. There’s gratitude for you!

Leah isn’t in Hal’s league socially, but that doesn’t bother her. She only wants to use him as a source of gossip to keep the wolf from the door. She’s feisty, independent, determined and totally unaware how attractive Hal finds her. I think readers will connect with her fierce determination to do whatever it takes to keep her sister safe.

What was your favourite scene from the book?

Wendy: I think Leah’s first meeting with Hal. She goes to the local tavern disguised as a lad because she’s convinced there’s something going on there that will interest her readers. There’s a bare knuckle fight upon which large sums of money are being wagered. She’s so taken up with the spectacle that she doesn’t realize Hal is standing directly opposite her, looking directly at her. When she looks up and meets his eye, it’s one of those crowded room moments, where no one else exists for either of them. Ah!

Who are some of your must read authors?

Wendy: Oh dear, I have to be predictable and say Georgette Heyer. I love her wit and imagination. Sandra Brown is another, if it’s romantic suspense you’re after. I really admire Judith McNaught, too, for her ability to write both historical and contemporary fiction.

What are three things about you that might surprise your readers?

Wendy: Okay, this is a secret but I know you won’t tell anyone. I write ménage under the pen name, Zara Chase.

I’ve never read 50 Shades of Grey. There, I’ve admitted it!

I have over twenty books published and have never taken any sort of creative writing course, nor do I have a writing buddy or a beta reader. It’s all just me. What you get is what you see. Sorry about that!

Can you tell us what’s next for you? What shall we be on the lookout for?

Wendy: I’m finishing this series. Right now I’m doing Rob’s story. He’s a master chess player and gets tangled up with an exotic contessa from Sicily who thinks she can beat him at more than just a board game.

Gabe’s story will be the final one. I’m not ready to start it yet, but Gabe has other ideas. I think he feels left out because he keeps invading my head, telling me what happens to him. Go away, Gabe, I’ll get to you later! These damned Forsters won’t leave me in peace.

I’m giving a copy of Compromising the Marquess away. Just leave a comment telling me what you enjoy most about Regency romances. Good luck!

Thanks so much for having me here.

Stella: It was a pleasure Wendy! :-)

Wendy Soliman was brought up on the Isle of Wight in Southern England but now divides her time between Andorra and West Florida. She lives with her husband Andre and a rescued dog of indeterminate pedigree named Jake Bentley.

The Isle of Wight is full of historic buildings, which is where she acquired her love of history, absorbing it like osmosis. She is the author of nine single-title Regency romances and is excited about her up-coming series charting the fortunes of the Forster dynasty.

When not writing she enjoys reading other people’s books, walking miles with her dog whilst plotting her next scene, and is on a one-woman mission to save the wine industry from the economic slump. Well, someone’s got to do it!

Connect with Wendy at her website - blog - Facebook - Twitter.

Compromising the Marquess by Wendy Soliman

Book #1 in the Forsters series 

England, 1814

Leah Elliot sells secrets to survive. Donning boy's clothes, she uncovers society scandals for a London gossip rag to support herself and her sister, who were left destitute after their father's death. When she meets the dashing—and perhaps dangerous—Hal Forster, the Marquess of Denby, she learns he may be involved in treason. The rumor is too valuable not to sell, despite her attraction to him…

Hal does have a secret, but he's no traitor: he's a spy embroiled in a mystery, seeking the man who killed his contact in France. He sees the alluring woman behind Leah's disguise at once but is intrigued enough to play along…until he realizes that she's the source of the rumors interfering with his investigation and forcing him into an unwanted betrothal.

Now, Hal and Leah must work together to draw out the culprit and undo the damage caused by Leah's gossip. Or will their passion only cause more scandal?

Buy at Amazon - B&N - Carina Press


Wendy has generously offered an ebook copy of Compromising the Marquess to a lucky commenter!

To be entered just fill out the Rafflecopter form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 5 April 2013!

Good luck!

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