Author Guest Post - Donna Lea Simpson

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Today I'm pleased to welcome Donna Lea Simpson, author of Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark. Her guest post here today is part of this book's virtual tour, courtesy Danielle of Sourcebooks.

About the Author

Donna Lea Simpson is a nationally bestselling romance and mystery novelist with over twenty titles published in the last ten years. An early love for the novels of Jane Austen and Agatha Christie was a portent of things to come; Donna believes that a dash of mystery adds piquancy to a romantic tale, and a hint of romance adds humanity to a mystery story. Donna lives in Canada.

About the Book

Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark
Donna Simpson
416 p, Sourcebooks Casablanca, ISBN-10: 1402217919
England, 1786

Lady Anne, a smart, stubborn, and skeptical spinster, travels north to Yorkshire at the request of a newly married friend to try to figure out what is going on. A wolf—or werewolf—is roaming the countryside near Darkefell Castle, terrorizing the populace and harassing the sheep herds. The hour she arrives in Yorkshire she stumbles across a body, and her outraged sensibility demands she discover who committed such a foul deed.

With a bewildering love/hate relationship developing between her and the master of Darkefell Castle, the Marquess of Darkefell—he happens to also be her friend’s new brother-in-law—Anne investigates, digging into the family history. Confused by the marquess’s passionate pursuit of her and skeptical of the claims of a werewolf on the loose, Lady Anne manages to triumph, uncovering the reality of a very human murderer, a bitter enemy of the family, just in time to keep from becoming his next victim.

Alarmed by her growing passion for the imperious Marquess of Darkefell, Anne flees after successfully unmasking the killer. But Darkefell, as stubborn as Anne and twice as imposing, follows her. Their courtship, unconventional but fiery, will play out over three books, as he attempts to bully… or rather persuade her to marry him, and she tries desperately to concentrate on debunking ghosts, and discrediting gypsy curses.

Author's Guest Post
Finding the Balance

PhotobucketI wondered, when I set out to write the Lady Anne series, whether I was taking a chance. Would romance readers embrace the mystery elements that are a strong thread in the series? Would mystery readers get impatient with the strong romantic undertones? Would paranormal fans be put off by the rationality of my heroine? Would readers of historical romance be offended by the gothic and paranormal touches that enliven the novels?

In other words, was I trying to be too many things to too many people?

I threw caution to the wind, because ultimately, I came back to the central core of my beliefs about writing. I’m your average reader, in a lot of ways. As long as I write what I would like to read, I ought to be okay, right? I do hope that’s true.

But I set out from the beginning to find the balance, that perfect symmetry that would please me as a reader. At first, that was a fairly simple. Book one, Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark, is where Lady Anne Addison and Lord Anthony Darkefell meet, and there is immediate antagonism mingled with attraction. Fun, right?

In book two, Lady Anne and the Ghost’s Revenge, things are getting a little more intense in the romance department, as they are likely to when a man is serious about a woman. Still, no big deal. They are investigating a mystery, and spend a lot of time together, so the sexual chemistry works. Mulder and Scully, right? David and Maddie from Moonlighting.

But when two people are seriously attracted to each other, sexual intercourse often happens… full on, passionate sexual engagement. Even back in the day, men and women did end up in bed together. However… you can’t do that in a mystery novel! But I wasn’t writing a mystery novel; the Lady Anne series is being marketed as a romance series with mystery plots attached.

Yikes, I thought, what have I gotten myself into? Should Anne and Tony make love in book three, Lady Anne and the Gypsy Curse, or not? I’m not saying they have or they haven’t, but it’s a distinct possibility with two people who can’t seem to stop kissing each other! (Not in public… no PDA’s in Georgian England!)

Ultimately, I have settled my mind to this; as with every other aspect of every novel I have ever written, I will do what comes naturally for the characters, and the reading public will decide whether I have successfully found a way to balance the two elements, the romance and the mystery. Have I done it? Have I walked the high wire?

Time – and readers – will tell!

Thank you for that entertaining post, dear Author! Readers, your questions and comments are most welcome.

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1 People said

  1. Hi all...

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