My Q&A with Gayle Callen:
Who are your favorite authors of all time?
Kathleen Woodiwiss, Diana Gabaldon, Loretta Chase, Laura Lee Guhrke, Susan Elizabeth Phillips—oh, I could go on.
I read that you had some interest in science fiction and even wrote some short stories when you were younger. What were your influences?
I was a big Trekkie when I was a teenager. I could tell you the title of every episode of the classic Star Trek. My favorite series was Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. So when I first started writing at the age of thirteen, I wrote about teenagers in space. The stores and short novels were passed among my friends in high school. I also loved to read fantasy, Like Lord of the Rings, Dune, and the Thomas Covenant series.
When you read, do you stick to historical romance or branch out? What do you look for when deciding to read a book?
I read a lot of historical romance, of course, but I’ve been trying to branch out lately, reading some Sue Grafton, James Patterson, and Tom Clancy. Some of my favorite recent reads are non-fiction books by Malcolm Gladwell, like The Tipping Point and Outliers. As for what I look for, usually I begin with my favorite writers, because I know I’ll get a good book. And then I’ll also get a feel online for what is popular right now on the bestseller lists.
What makes writing historical romances so compellingly seductive to you?
I love exploring how people used to live in other centuries, what made them different, yet in so many ways just like us, except for the differences in technology. As for romance itself, nothing beats watching two characters grow as people, and fall in love along the way.
What do you feel was the easiest part of writing EVERY SCANDALOUS SECRET? What was the most difficult?
The easiest part was the hero, because I’d first used him as a semi-villain bad boy in The Viscount In Her Bedroom. I never forgot him, and really wanted to have him learn his lesson and meet the right woman. So it was easy because he was already a character to me. What was hard was coming up with the background for why he was such a bad boy, to give him more depth and vulnerability.
What are five fun facts about you or this book, that readers would love to know?
♦ I started out majoring in aerospace engineering for a few years in college.
♦ In the first two books of the series, I only hinted at who the real model was in the nude portrait. Now we get to discover the truth!
♦ It took me thirteen years to become published, and during that time, I held several part-time jobs, including as a fitness instructor.
♦ I used to be a figure skater when I was young. My mom is a judge and my sister is a coach.
♦ Believe it or not, for this book I had to do some research about nineteenth century grave robbers. Bet you’re wondering why…
If you could only describe a single scene to encourage someone to read EVERY SCANDALOUS SECRET, which scene would you describe?
Ooh, good question. My heroine, Susanna, is an artist, and she hides to watch the men fence one evening in the drawing room. She’s so intent on capturing Leo’s form, she doesn’t realize that all the men but Leo have left. He finds her behind the sofa, sketching him shirtless. They’re alone, and soon he ends up describing the nude painting she might have modeled for, and the effect it had on him…
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
That was a theme of this book, returning to a character, Leo Wade, whom I’d loved from a past book. I’ve taken other villains and redeemed them as well. I guess there’s something about wanting to change someone for the better, that I enjoy exploring when I write. Another favorite theme of mine is that people aren’t always what they appear. It seems to crop up in almost every book I’ve written. In Every Scandalous Secret, Leo seems like a pleasure-seeking rake, but he’s really running from a tragedy in his childhood that he blocked from his memory. A theme/idea I’d love to work with? Hmmm…I’ve never done a secret baby plot! 😉
Can you tell us about some of your upcoming releases, or new projects that we can look forward to?
My next Victorian will be out in the summer of 2012—no title yet, sorry! The trilogy is about three ex-soldiers who return to England because of a debt of honor owed to their fallen comrades. In the first book, Cecilia has entered into a proxy marriage with a soldier she thinks is an old friend of her father’s in India, someone who agrees to help her retain her inheritance, but makes no claim even on her dowry. And then he shows up at her door, a young man, rather than an older one, and now she begins to suspect something is going on…
What makes a romance novel a great love story and would you define “romance”?
I think a love story becomes “great” when the author does a wonderful job making you think these two people can never overcome their pasts and truly find happiness together. Even a light-hearted book can become a moving romance, if there are enough conflicts between the hero and heroine. As for my definition of a romance as it relates to a novel, a romance is a book that can have many plotlines, but the major focus is on the love story between the hero and heroine, and the emotional growth necessary to make it all happen. And of course, a romance always has a happy ending!
And it’s true, this book has so many secrets!
Every Scandalous Secret has fantastic twists and surprises for the reader. Gayle will keep you wondering till the last minute to know the answers to all the questions she presents little by little . The pacing didn’t help much, as I thought the book too long and especially by the middle and ending some scenes were dragging on and on. However, I Loved how it ended!
I didn’t read the previous books from this series, but it they’re as good as this one I need to get them soon! Recommended if you enjoy sweet romance with a hint of mystery! I strongly advise you not to read this series out order.
Heat Level: 3/5
September 27th 2011 by Avon Books
Notorious rake Leo Wade is not one for house parties–he’d much rather pass the time in London’s gaming halls…and ladies’ boudoirs. But when his gambling instinct leads him to believe the enchanting and utterly impossible Miss Susanna Leland is the anonymous model of a shockingly immodest painting…he braves country tedium for a chance to prove the lady’s secret.
With one foot already firmly planted on the shelf, Susanna cares not a fig for propriety. But even she never imagined she’d become caught up in a ridiculous game of cat and mouse, and certainly not with the most wicked man of her acquaintance! Susanna has absolutely no intention of letting Leo confirm his suspicions, no matter how persuasive he can be.
Until sweet temptation becomes too much to bear, and they both learn that the price of trust may just be worth every scandalous secret
Gayle Callen and Harper Collins will be giving away a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Go check the other stops and the more you comment, the better your chances of winning!