Cara Elliott – Author of Regency Romance
Thank you so much for stopping by today to talk to us about your Lords of Midnight Trilogy, as well as your other series.
Let me say that my first introduction to romance was the Barbara Cartland regency books that my mother would pass on to me and which I gobbled up. (I still have one or two squirreled away.) I eventually moved onto classics like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice. I guess I have been moving more towards the paranormal romances because as I get older I am less enthralled by the heroine who is only concerned about having the proper lace on her dress or marrying the proper gentlemen, and who is so young and naive that she is easily manipulated.
So I was absolutely thrilled to read your story Too Wicked to Wed. I just loved Lady Alexa Hendrie! She is a heroine who has a brain and who is not afraid to use it.
Before we get into the Lords of Midnight, let’s first talk about you as a writer. Have you always known you wanted to write?
Funny you should ask! Some of my earliest memories are sitting down with crayons and paper and creating little picture books of the stories in my head. (My mother preserved a few of them in family scrapbooks, which is fun to see.) And I’ve always been a voracious reader, so loved the magic of losing myself in a good book. But I also loved art, and that’s the professional path I pursued. I worked as a graphic designer for a number of years before the Muse began whispering in my ear and I picked up my pen again.
You have many pen names that you write under Andrea Penrose, Andrea Pickens and now Cara Elliott? Since all your writings are Regency Romance why use the different pen names?
Oh, I know—it can be confusing! But there is actually a method to the madness. As my romance writing developed into sexier books, my publisher and I decided to it made sense to morph from Andrea Pickens into Cara Elliott so that readers would be able to differentiate from the two styles. And the Andrea Penrose books are Regency-set, but they are mysteries (yes, with a dash of romance) so again, it’s a different genre, so a different name.
I am guessing that since you have different pen names, but haven’t deviated from Regencies, that Regencies are you genre of choice when you sit down to read for pleasure?
I adore Regencies and read a lot of them. But I also love other time periods too. Victorian and Edwardian are particular favorites, but truly, I read a wide range of eras, from medieval to contemporary. What’s most important to me are great characters and a great story! Give me those elements and I’ll go anywhere with an author.
Let’s talk now about your Lords of Midnight. The trilogy features three friends from their army days. I love your first story, Too Wicked to Wed which is about Connor Linsley, the Earl of Killington, a gambler, a womanizer and the owner of a notorious brothel, (but deep down a very nice, thoughtful man); and Lady Alexa Hendrie, who is not your average lady of leisure, she’s educated and ran her family’s estate until her brother’s return. I loved when she was glancing over at his brothel ledgers and she starts with “by the way, you could do better on this…” and “you can save here…” What made you write a regency heroine who is more than your average fan-flicking wilting flower?
I’ve always been interested in writing both heroines and heroes who defy convention and “dance to their own drummers.” Maybe because I was a tomboy growing up and didn’t like being told I couldn’t do something because I was a girl. My reaction was always, “Ha—oh, yes I can . . .” So yes, if you’re looking for staid tea parties and biddable young ladies, you won’t find that in my books, LOL.
And the Regency is a perfect era for an independent-minded heroine. It’s a time when people were beginning to question a lot of social attitudes and rules, so a “rebel” is very authentic. And then you have the glamour of the ballrooms and the intrigue of the Napoleonic Wars . . . it’s a fascinating backdrop for a romance novel.
In TOO TEMPTING TO RESIST, the second book of the “Lords of Midnight which comes out May 1, my heroine Eliza is determined to escape from the control of her wastrel brother and purchase her own cottage so she can live independently. (Something that goes against the convention of the time, but she is anything but conventional!) She has a secret talent that will help her earn the money for this . . . which brings her into contact with the Lord Haddan, a charming rake who has a secret of his own . . . I had so much fun with these characters. (If you want to read an excerpt, you can go to Too Tempting to Resist Excerpt)
Now that I have tracked your various pen names, I am popping your Andrea Pickens’ Spy Novels up to the top of my TBR list. They sound incredible –trained lady spies. Can you tell us a little about that trilogy?
Oh, think Jane Austen meets James Bond! Growing up, I loved swashbuckling historical adventure books like The Three Musketeers and The Scarlet Pimpernel, so this is my homage to the genre . . . except I decided to turn convention upside down. It was a real blast to write kick-butt historical women!
You also write under Andrea Penrose, the Lady Arianna Mystery series. What can you tell us about Lady Arianna and her husband?
Well, by now it will probably come as no surprise when I say that they are a very unconventional couple. However, one of their many arcane talents might strike you as unusual—they are both experts in Theobrama cacao . . . more commonly known as chocolate. (Sandro is a former military intelligence officer and an Oxford-trained botanist while Arianna is a skilled chef who creates edible chocolate—and yes, that is accurate for the era, despite what some people might say.) They are drawn into doing some undercover investigations for the British government, and in each of the books, their skill with chocolate comes in handy . . .
Thank you so much for talking with us today. I am looking forward to Too Tempting to Resist and I have already picked up my copy of The Spy Wore Silk.
Thanks so much for having me!
Visit Andrea’s various websites for more information.