Q: Tell us about the Dukes of War series, and The Pirate’s Tempting Stowaway!
Erica: The Dukes of War historical romance series features roguish peers and dashing war heroes who return from battle only to be thrust into the splendor and madness of Regency England.
When I thought about my ideal pirate, I wanted a hero somewhere between Jack Sparrow and The Princess Pride. Someone strong, sexy, and sure of himself. Someone who could be counted upon for carefree quips and rollicking adventure...with a deep capacity for love that will bring him to his knees. That man is Mr. Gregory Steele, better known as the infamous Captain Blackheart. But how will a man who lives for the sea win the heart of a woman who puts down roots on land?
Q: When you were young, what was your favorite children's story?
Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. I might even have both books memorized!
Q: Who or what helped you along the way to publishing?
Erica: Joining the Romance Writers of America was the smartest thing I could’ve done. Through workshops from my local chapter, I learned so much about the publishing industry and the craft of writing. Romance authors tend to be wonderful about helping each other out, so networking at conferences often turns into lifelong friendships. I met my literary agent, Lauren Abramo of Dystel & Goderich, the old fashioned way—query letters and postal mail—and she has also been an invaluable resource and a great friend.
Erica: I was born in the United States, and have lived in six different countries. I currently live on a macadamia farm in the rainforests of Costa Rica, and love it immensely. (Except when I’m missing the crepe vendors of France or real Italian gelato.) Given my wanderlust, I wouldn’t be surprised if I found myself somewhere else a few years from now, but for now I’m happy in Costa Rica.
Q: You have to listen to the same song to 72 hours, or your family gets it. What song do you choose to listen to on repeat?
I'm pretty sure I actually did this when I was younger, back in my mixtape days. Hmm. After 72 hours of the same song, I would probably never listen to it again, but I have to go with one I love: "A Charming Spell" by Splashdown. The first time I heard that song, I was trying to park my car and I sat there with the engine running until the song was over.
Q: What was the first concert you ever went to? Would you go again?
Erica: I went to a hair metal concert, I believe, back in grade school. And I would absolutely go again. I love concerts, and would see anyone I liked, regardless of how long the band has been around. I saw Tommy James & the Shondells a few years back and those guys had more energy than I did!
AND Book #1 is currently FREE on Amazon so you can start the series and get hooked! ;-)
Book #6 in the Dukes of War seriesCaptain Blackheart leads a simple life of roving the seas, wenching and treasure-hunting. He steers clear of romantic entanglements that could tie him to land. He shouldn't have any trouble keeping his hands off the gently-bred lady he's commissioned to abduct — except his cargo turns out to be feisty and passionate! She'd be a prize worth treasuring, if having her aboard didn't jeopardize everything...
Clara Halton thought the worst loss she could suffer was to be stripped of her family, stricken with consumption, and left to die alone. Then she meets Blackheart. Their attraction is ruinous...and irresistible. When he delivers her like so much plunder, his mission is over — but hers has just begun. She'll force him to acknowledge their connection, even if she must storm his ship to do it!
In this scene, Clara has been abducted from her home on horseback and is en route to the docks with Mr. Gregory Steele (secretly Captain Blackheart). Because of the distance, they were forced to spend the night in an inn. Clara doesn’t trust Steele—but she is desperate to get to England and reunite with her daughter before Clara’s illness makes such a reunion impossible.
When she awoke the following morning, a breakfast tray sat on the small table on the other side of the room. Seated to one side was Mr. Steele, looking appallingly bright-eyed and refreshed at what had to be an ungodly hour.
“What time is it?” she croaked.
“Half eight.” His eyes crinkled at her from across the top of his teacup. “Have you always been this slothful?”
“Half eight?” she repeated in amazement. It wasn’t the crack of dawn. She’d slept over ten straight hours, for the first time in…well, long before the consumption diagnosis. She doubted she’d had a sound night’s sleep since the day she’d become a widow. “Shouldn’t we be on our way?”
“After you break your fast. The innkeeper is readying a carriage for us. We should be to the port by tomorrow evening.”
“I thought you said it only took you two days to get from your ship to my house.”
“Correct. We, however, will take longer. A coach simply can’t travel as fast as a horse.”
“How about two horses?”
He raised a brow.
She gripped the back of a chair. “If we’re each on a horse, can’t we still make it by nightfall?”
“If we’re each on a horse, you might fall asleep and tumble off. Or have a coughing fit and tumble off. Or succumb to chills and tumble off. That’s why we’re taking a carriage.”
Desperation clawed at Clara’s chest. She still wasn’t convinced she’d recover from her illness. But if he was right… The sooner they were on that ship, the sooner she could see her daughter. Make sure Grace was all right. Ensure the child’s grandparents were treating her with the love she deserved. “A single horse, then.”
He buttered a slice of bread without responding.
“We’ll take one horse, and we’ll get there tonight. I’ll hold on as tight as I can and I won’t fall asleep.”
He added a dollop of marmalade to the bread.
“I’ll sit in front,” she said, hating the pleading note in her voice. “You can keep your arm about me the entire way. You’ll see that I’m fine.”
He pushed the plate of marmalade bread toward her. “Eat your breakfast.”
She glared at him for only a second before hurrying behind the curtained bed to exchange her nightrail for a day dress. They obviously wouldn’t be going anywhere until he deemed her ready for travel. Therefore, she wouldn’t give him any ammunition to hold against her. She swiped a comb through her hair and returned everything to her traveling bag before going to join him at the table.
He watched her in silence as she added two cubes of sugar and a splash of milk to her tea before turning her attentions to her plate.
The bread was warm and fresh, the marmalade sweet and tangy. Clara hadn’t had either for so long, the familiar taste nearly brought tears to her eyes.
But the only thing she wanted more than to savor this meal was to reach the docks as quickly as possible. To get back to her daughter. And to never let her out of her sight again.
Just as she popped the last bite into her mouth, Mr. Steele rose to his feet and held up her spencer.
She slid her arms through the sleeves, then frowned when he offered her a thick woolen scarf. “Is that yours?”
“I’m afraid I have this monstrosity instead.” He pointed to his cravat.
Frowning, she allowed him to bundle her up to his liking. She couldn’t repay him for any part of the journey. He claimed the Earl of Carlisle was covering all expenses, and she hoped that was true. She already felt indebted to him for rescuing her from loneliness and despair. She was still tired, still coughing, still unsure the surgeon had been wrong in his diagnosis. But her heart now held a spark of hope. And a spark, once lit, burned brighter as it grew. She could almost smell her childhood home.
England. It would feel so good to be home. To hold her daughter. To finally face her parents.
When Mr. Steele offered his elbow, she took it, and let him lead her down the stairs and out the front gate, where a single horse was tied to an iron post next to a stepping stone.
Her eyes narrowed. “I thought you said the innkeeper was readying us a carriage.”
“Hmm, did I?” His eyes twinkled as he hoisted her up and hauled her into his lap. “I thought you said you preferred to ride with me.”
She opened her mouth to respond.
Her words were snatched away on the breeze as the horse shot away from the inn to hurtle down the dirt road.
Since he couldn’t see her expression from his vantage point, she allowed her lips to curve into a reluctant smile. The insufferable man had manipulated her into doing precisely what he wanted, and didn’t even bother to hide the evidence of his duplicity. He was positively shameless.
’Twas a very good thing that they were both on the same side.
Erica has generously offered an ebook copy of The Captain's Bluestocking Mistress by Erica Ridley to a lucky reader!
To be entered, just leave a comment and answer the following question: Who is your favourite pirate character? (May be male or female, movie, book, TV, etc.)
Here is the list of the series so far:
Book #1: The Viscount's Christmas Temptation - FREE on Amazon!
Book #2: The Earl's Defiant Wallflower
Book #3: The Captain's Blue Stocking Mistress
Book #4: The Major's Faux Fiancée
Book #5: The Brigadier's Runaway Bride
Book #6: The Pirate’s Tempting Stowaway