Please give a warm welcome to author Beverley Oakley as we celebrate her brand new book, Dangerous Gentlemen. Beverley is giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate and 1 ebook of Her Gilded Prison (Book 1 in the Daughters of Sin). Please use the RaffleCopter below to enter. Remember you may increase your chances of winning by visiting the other tour stops. Those locations may be found here.
Now let's have a chat with Beverley....
Thanks for stopping by to talk a little about your writing! Let's jump right in. When did you begin writing and why?
Hello and thank you so much for having me here today.
OK, writing - well, I can't remember when I didn't write. As a 5-year-old, I got a scary teacher who terrified me into learning to read and I've loved it ever since. (Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Mrs Schmidt!)In high school I spent every lunch hour writing stories in my exercise book with my friend Georgie, and when I was 17 I finished my first novel. I did have to wait 26 years to get published but they weren't wasted years as I honed my craft.
Do you have a favorite genre? Is it the same genre you prefer to write?
I love reading across the spectrum. Everything, that is, except Science Fiction and Fantasy though I do like Time Travels. I adore the Classics, set adventure/romance (which I write as Beverley Eikli), as well as contemporary and historical romance and literary fiction.
Do certain themes and ideas tend to capture your writer’s imagination and fascinate you?
Absolutely. I love redemption themes where flawed heroines (and sometimes flawed heroes) need to be redeemed. I find it more interesting to do this with heroines, though, as there's the challenge of making them as flawed or damaged as I can get away with initially, and then reveal in layers what made them that way, while at the same time outline the steps that are being taken (with or without their collusion) to result in an uplifting ending where they're better, happier people.
Do you have a favorite author who introduced you to the genre?
a teenager I read the Classics widely. I utterly and absolutely adored Edith Wharton and Henry in particular, but read a lot from the English nineteenth century writers, like George Eliot and Thomas Hardy, even though they often depressed me. Oh yes, and how could I forget the eighteenth century mistress of the Gothic Mystery, Mrs Ann Radcliffe with her The Mysteries of Udolpho. Just loved that book! So yes, these characters really gave me an understanding of the role of women in various walks of life and social stratas in nineteenth century
What advantages or challenges does a writer in your genre face in today’s fiction market?
To be discoverable. That's the main one, I think. Of course one has to write a good book, but the challenge is to make people know about it.
What's on the top of your TBR pile right now?
Just as I write three books at a time, I'm reading two books at the moment: I'm loving Fiona McCallum's Wattle Creek and Alyssa Palombo's The Violinist of Venice.
Tell me a little about the characters in Dangerous Gentlemen,
All right :) The shy debutante, Hetty Partington, has spent her life in the shadow of her beautiful but older sister, Araminta, and now has fallen in love with the handsome Sir Aubrey whkeeps asking Araminta to dance but who does not even notice Hetty. When Hetty is warned that Sir Aubrey is a suspect in the plot to assassinate Lord Castlereagh (a real event), she is horrified and disbelieving. However, she can't resist poking around his room when she accidently finds the door to his room ajar in the house where he's a house guest. When he finds her, he assumes she's the high class prostitute his 'Abbess' has sent to surprise him and, as he's covered in the blood of a dog he's just just killed after it attacked him, Hetty doesn't admit she's just an innocent debutante having a look around as she thinks he might kill her.
So I enjoyed writing something where they'd have not got together in a traditional setting but where her innocence prove to be just what this jaded aristocrat needs in order to be 'redeemed'.
Where’s the story set? How much influence did the setting have on the atmosphere/characters/development of the story?
's set amidst the ballrooms of late Regency London when fears were high that the 'Spenceans' who'd tried to assassinate Lord Castlereagh were plotting the overthrow the political system. That sense of danger and mistrust pervades the novel and gives the characters many of their motivations to behave in ways they might not have with a more sedate setting.
If you had to write your memoir in five words, what would you write?
Can I make that seven? "Filled with adventure. Three lives in one!"
How often does your muse distract you from day to day minutiae?
Oh, all the time! I love to plot at every possible moment and when I finally get the opportunity to sit down (which is not often during the long summer holidays with the kids home and wanting to be amused) I'm thrilled when the words just flow.
What do readers have to look forward to in the future from you?
I'm writing Book 3 in three concurrent series: The Beautiful Brightwells series, Daughters of Sin series (to follow Dangerous Gentlemen) and my Salon of Sin series. I'm also waiting to hear from my publisher regarding my adventure/romance,
, which is set in 1960 in Diamond Mountain , the African mountain kingdom where I grew up and my dad
regularly investigated illegal diamond buying and "medicine murder",
are both strong themes in the novel. Lesotho
Thank you so much for having me here today and for showcasing Dangerous Gentlemen.
Daughters of Sin Book 2
By Beverley Oakley
Shy, self-effacing Henrietta knows her place—in her dazzling older sister’s shadow. She’s a little brown peahen to Araminta’s bird of paradise. But when Hetty mistakenly becomes embroiled in the Regency underworld, the innocent debutante finds herself shockingly compromised by the dashing, dangerous Sir Aubrey, the very gentleman her heart desires. And the man Araminta has in her cold, calculating sights.
Branded an enemy of the Crown, bitter over the loss of his wife, Sir Aubrey wants only to lose himself in the warm, willing body of the young “prostitute” Hetty. As he tutors her in the art of lovemaking, Aubrey is pleased to find Hetty not only an ardent student, but a bright, witty and charming companion.
Despite a spoiled Araminta plotting for a marriage offer and a powerful political enemy damaging his reputation, Aubrey may suffer the greatest betrayal at the hands of the little “concubine” who’s managed to breach the stony exterior of his heart.
In this extract, Hetty, a debutante and viscount’s daughter, is returning from the mending room at a ball when she learns that a certain interesting and ‘dangerous gentleman’ is a house-guest.
With a furtive look around her, Hetty hurried left and up the stairs, at which point two corridors at right angles disappeared into darkness. Choosing the one to the right, she found herself face-to-face with a series of closed doors.
Foolish, she chided herself. Of course they were closed and she could hardly open them. As she turned back toward the ballroom, a faint light shining from the crack beneath a door that was slightly ajar gleamed beckoningly.
Glancing over her shoulder, she approached it, and when she gave the door a little nudge with her foot, it swung open.
Excitement rippled through her.
“Hello?” she asked in a low voice. She took another step into the room. “Is anyone in here?”
Silence. A low fire burned in the grate before which was a table, against which were propped several items, including a familiar silver-topped cane. Her breath caught. The last time she’d seen that cane was when Sir Aubrey had exchanged several words with Araminta in the street as Hetty had been bringing up the rear with Mrs. Monks. Of course Sir Aubrey had not looked twice at her, excusing himself before having to be introduced to the younger sister and the chaperone who’d nearly closed the gap.
Heart hammering, Hetty closed the door behind her and went to pick up the cane.
How fortunate to have stumbled into Sir Aubrey’s room, she thought when she observed the fine coat lying upon the bed, apparently discarded in favor of what he was wearing tonight.
He really was a nonpareil, wearing his clothes as if they were an extension of his athletic physique.
Yet he was dangerous, she had to remind herself. Meaning she should not be here, which of course she shouldn’t, regardless of whether he was dangerous or not.
But how such a scion of good breeding and genteel society could be guilty of such a heinous crime as treason, Hetty could not imagine. And surely the story of the runaway wife was a gilded one. It was all the stuff of make-believe and Cousin Stephen was only telling Hetty he was dangerous to curb her schoolroom daydreams.
Turning, she saw half protruding from beneath the suit of clothes what appeared to be the edge of a silver, filigreed box. It was partly obscured by the overhang of the counterpane, as if it hadn’t properly been returned to its hiding place.
A moment’s indecision made her pause but soon Hetty was crouching on the floor, closing clammy fingers around the box. Might it contain secrets? Ones that would reveal, conclusively, what Cousin Stephen claimed was true?
Alternatively, proof that would exonerate Sir Aubrey?
Hetty fumbled for the catch. Dear Lord, this was too exciting for words. Perhaps Sir Aubrey was a secret agent working for the English, and Stephen had no idea.
Perhaps he was—
Protesting door hinges made her squeal as the door was flung wide. Hetty let the lid of the box fall and retreated into the shadows as Sir Aubrey strode into the room.
He was breathing heavily as he shrugged off his jacket with a curse, raindrops spattering into the hissing fire as he raked his fingers through his hair. A curious stillness overtook him and he froze, obviously sensing all was not as he left it.
He sniffed the air. “Orange flower water,” he muttered, stepping closer to the fire, fumbling for the tinderbox on the mantelpiece to light a candle.
Immediately he was thrown into sharp relief and as he stared at Hetty, it was not his look of shock and suspicion that made her scream—but the copious amounts of blood that stained his shirtsleeves and once snowy linen cravat.
“God Almighty, who are you?” he demanded as his gaze raked her finery. “You’re no parlor maid, that’s for certain.”
Gaping, unable to formulate a sensible answer, Hetty finally managed, “What happened to your arm, Sir Aubrey? Are you injured?”
“Sir Aubrey, is it? So you know who I am but you still haven’t told me who you are?” He grunted as he looked down at his arm, the bloodied linen shredded over the long graze. “It’s not as bad as it looks and I assure you, I gave a good account of myself.” His laugh was more a sneer. “Indeed, my assailant lies dead in the gutter.”
Hetty gasped. “Dueling?” Myriad questions crowded her mind. Could this be to do with Araminta? Had Sir Aubrey left Araminta in the middle of the ball to fight some other contender for her affections?
“Dueling?” he repeated. He shook his head and Hetty drew back at the coldness in his eyes. “There was nothing noble about my activities this evening. I was set upon in a dark alley. A short scuffle ensued, I drew my knife, then…” With his hand, he made a gesture like the slitting of his throat, adding, “I am slightly wounded but as I said, my attacker does not live to repeat the insult.”
Her horror clearly amused him, for his eyes narrowed while his generous mouth quirked. He looked like an incarnation of the most handsome demon she’d ever seen depicted in the fairy stories she loved to read.
“We all have enemies, madam. Enemies who must be eliminated if we are to breathe freely.”
Aubrey was enjoying the girl’s wide-eyed terror. No doubt she imagined he’d sliced the throat of a footpad, not the snarling, mangy cur who had leapt upon him as he’d been returning from his brief assignation to settle a gaming debt incurred by his favorite reprobate nephew.
Taking pity on her, he said reassuringly, “Don’t worry. I won’t hurt you.’ Her wide-eyed look as he removed first his jacket, then the bloodied shirt he tossed upon the bed before he rose to his full height, bare chested, afforded him the most amusement he’d had in a long time. “So, you’re the girl Madame Chambon sent?”
Meet the Author:
Beverley Oakley was seventeen when she bundled up her first her 500+ page romance and sent it to a publisher. Unfortunately drowning her heroine on the last page was apparently not in line with the expectations of romance readers so Beverley became a journalist.
Twenty-six years later Beverley was delighted to receive her first publishing contract from for a romance in which she ensured her heroine was saved from drowning in the icy North Sea.
Since 2009 Beverley has written more than thirteen historical romances filled with mystery, intrigue and adventure. Most are set in London ballrooms and country estates during the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras.
Beverley lives with her husband, two daughters and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony opposite a picturesque nineteenth-century lunatic asylum. She also writes less steamy historicals and romantic suspense set in Colonial Africa, where she was born, as Beverley Eikli.