USA Today bestselling author, Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes. Evans is a three-time winner of the RomCon Readers’ Crown and has been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. She lives in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand with her dogs Brandy and Duke.
Nat: Welcome to Reading Romances, Bronwen! Thanks for taking the time for this interview.
Browen: Hi everyone, waving from a very wintery New Zealand.
What’s unique about historical romance and why did you decide to write under this sub-genre?
I’ve always loved history. It was my favorite subject at school. I have to use my imagination to picture the world people lived in back then, and that’s fun. I research too, and use what I’ve learned to build an accurate world, well, as accurate as possible considering I didn’t live in the early 1800’s. I love the Regency/Victorian world in particular. It was a flamboyant and progressive time. I like to have strong heroines who push at society boundaries. I also love the alpha rakes that are tamed by a heroine.
In addition, I was told at my first ever romance-writing conference to write what I love to read. I love reading all types of historical romances, but I settled on the Regency era because so much happened in such a short period. It means I have loads of historical events or activities to use in my stories.
How do you like your heroes and heroines to be?
I must admit I love the alpha titled peer. I suppose that is the equivalent of the modern billionaires. I love the arrogance and commanding presence because it’s so much fun watching them be tamed and captured by love.
As to my heroines, they have to be intelligent more so than beautiful. They have to be the heroes equal in all things—except perhaps the boudoir. I particularly like a heroine who can get herself out of trouble or who saves the hero.
Please tell us five fun facts about the Imperfect Lords series that readers would love to know!
- I got the idea of writing a series about ‘imperfect’ heroes, and the idea for book #1Addicted To The Duke, from the movie High Road To China starring Tom Selleck (which I loved).
- I’m a dog lover so one of the books in the series features a hero who has to contend with very overprotective dogs!
- I’m seriously not setting a story on a ship again. No wonder Dan Cameron in Titanic had to do the nude drawing, and the sex scene in the car. There is not a lot to do on a boat, especially for a lady in 1800’s!
- I cover many different tropes in my Imperfect Lords series but my favorite is still friends to lovers.
- I’ve thought of at least 10 types of imperfections for my heroes to have and I’m sure I’ll think of more! It could be a long series.
Romance readers have so many great books to choose from these days. What makes Addicted to the Duke stand out in the crowd?
It is hard to stand out in a crowd! There are so many great historical authors out there, and many are my friends too!
I suppose I’m hoping that my characters are strong enough to engage the readers so that they have to read their story. I try to develop deep characters by writing a compelling conflict, making it almost impossible for my hero to see himself wed to my heroine, or vice versa.
My hero in Addicted To The Duke, Alexander Sylvester Bracken, the Duke of Bedford is a wounded soul. The story deals with his opium addiction. It was hard to write because I couldn’t talk about addiction. There was no such thing as addiction in the early 1800’s and no one understood the effects of opium until late 19th century. Opium derivatives could be bought over the counter until 1864 and laudanum was cheaper than beer. They were given to babies, children, women etc. The word addiction, in terms of narcotics, was not used until 1907.
My heroine, Lady Hestia Cary, was rescued by my Alex as a young girl (read the prologue on my website to learn what he rescued her from), and of course fell in love with him. She thinks he’s a hero and cannot see any faults. As the story develops, her blinkers are removed and she sees Alex for the man he is and has to decide if he’s a man she can love.
Alex doesn’t feel much like a hero. He had a traumatic time as a captive after the Turkish War, and opium almost rules his life. He’s set on revenge against the cruel Sultan who kept him as a slave. Nothing else matters. Besides, he does not feel worthy of Hestia, and her father, the man who rescued him from captivity, has warned him away from Hestia. As a man struggling with honor, his need for revenge and his addiction, he cannot give into his feelings for Hestia.
It sounds almost impossible for them to fall in love doesn’t it? But we all know love conquers all.
What’s your favorite line of dialogue from this book?
“You know I will still go after Murad. This night, and our wedding, will not change that.”
I love this sentence because it’s at the turning point in their relationship.
What makes a romance novel a great love story and how would you define “romance”?
There are love stories—and then there are romances!
To me a great romance novel is a great love story when the characters stay with me long after I finish the book and I want to read the book again. The book made me laugh, cry and my heart sings with joy at the end.
A romance story is different to a love story. A love story can have any kind of ending. With love stories, you can never guarantee it will turn out well. I know that when I read a romance I will get an uplifting, satisfying ending. I will get a Happy Ever After (HEA).
And there is only one “rule” of Romance writing. You never, ever kill the dog!
This or That:
1. Alpha or Beta? ALPHA
2. Wallflower or Belle of the Ball? BOTH
3. Debutante or Spinster? BOTH
4. Virgin widow or Secret baby? Secret Baby
5. Titled peer or Working man? Titled Peer
6. Love at first sight or Second chances? Second Chances
7. City or country? Country
8. Writing or Reading? BOTH
9. Plotter or Pantser? Plotter
Browen is giving away one ebook of Disgraced Lords ebook on each tour stop, so be sure to leave a comment! She’s also hosting a tour wide giveaway for a garter lingerie bag and a collection of historical romance books. Click here to enter. Good luck 😉