Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Giveaway and Q&A with Cara Elliott!

About the Author: 
Cara Elliott started creating books at the age of five. She has since moved on from Westerns to writing about Regency England. Cara has a BA and an MFA in Graphic Design from Yale University and works as the Creative Director of a lifestyle sporting magazine.

About the Book:
Circle of Sin, #2: Surrender to a Rogue
An expert in antiquities, Lady Alessandra della Giamatti arrives in Bath to excavate newly discovered Roman ruins-only to find herself caught in a web of evil intrigue by a blackmailer threatening to expose her scandalous past. The one man who can help her is Lord James Pierson, a fellow member of the expedition and a sinfully handsome rogue whose tempting presence ignites a different sort of danger.

Jack has clashed with Alessandra in the past, so when she suddenly surrenders her body he can't help being suspicious. Is she a scheming temptress? Or is she truly a damsel in distress? As desire and deceptions swirl around them, Alessandra and Jack must find a way to win each other's trust. For if they don't work together to uncover a shocking truth, their enemy-and their own simmering passions-may destroy them and everything they cherish.

Tell us about your trilogy! What inspired the Circle of Sin Trilogy?
The Circle of Sin is a small group of female scholars who meet each week to share their knowledge—and their friendship. The three heroines—Ciara, Alessandra and Kate—are beautiful and brainy. And they each have a scandalous secret. 
The three stories are all about past deceptions and hidden passions. Each of the heroines must each draw on her own cleverness and courage—as well as help from a sinfully sexy rogue—when a past sin stirs up a swirling mix of deadly intrigue and dangerous desires. 
The inspiration for the series came a few years ago when I saw a couple of exhibits on extraordinary women of the Romantic era. They showcased a wonderful array of real-life females, from scientists and writers to artists and explorers. Their stories and accomplishments were truly amazing, and it brought home to me how much courage and conviction these women had to dare to defy the conventions of their time in order to pursue their passions. For example, you had Mary Shelly, who eloped to Europe at age sixteen with the married poet Percy Bysshe Shelley—and then went on to become a famous writer of her own. (We owe the legendary Frankenstein to her pen.) And then there was Augusta Ada Byron King, the daughter of Lord Byron, who was a mathematical genius and helped to develop the precursor to the modern computer. So I knew right then that I wanted to write a series that celebrated the spirit of these smart, brave women.
Which character did you enjoy writing the most and why?
Oh, that’s way too tough a question! I really have a soft spot in my heart for all the characters in the Circle of Sin. It was really fun and challenging to write not only the dashing heroes and heroines, but to also create the supporting cast of children and older, wiser confidants. Each has a unique personality and I came to feel they were a wonderful family of friends. It was really hard to say goodbye to them! 

How do your interests influence your writing?
I’ve been a history geek ever since I was a child, so I consider research great fun. I love learning about unfamiliar people and places from the past, or discovering esoteric facts and details about subjects I know nothing about. And then it’s fun weaving those discoveries into my books. For me, those kinds of period details add depth and texture to a story. 

What helped you decide to write in the Romance genre?
The quick answer is Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer! I was captivated early on by the world they created—it seemed such a magical blend of romance and reality. I mean, what girl can resist elegant ball gowns, high-perch phaetons and suave heroes tempered by smart, strong-willed heroines. 

Then the more I learned about the actual history of the era, the more I became utterly fascinated by the Regency. It was a world aswirl in silks, seduction and the intrigue of the Napoleonic Wars. Radical new ideas were clashing with the conventional thinking of the past—many historians consider it the birth of the “modern” era, as people were questioning the fundamentals of society, and fomenting changes in every aspect of life. I find the parallel to our own times incredibly intriguing. And as a writer, I feel that allows me to create core conflicts in my fictional characters that can really resonate with today’s readers . . . while still drooling over men in tight leather breeches and boots!
If To Surrender to a Rogue had a soundtrack, what songs would you choose?
Seeing as Alessandra is half Italian, and Jack is a painter of classical Roman antiquities, I’d choose a selection of love arias sung by Pavarotti!

Would you rather your books be on the TV screen or the big screen?
You mean I can’t have both? Hey, one has to dream big! 

Where is your favorite place to read and write?
I’m a creature of habit, and feel most comfortable settling into a day of writing when I’m in familiar surroundings. So I’m happiest when I’m in my workroom at home, with all my books and model pond yachts and funky junk that I’ve picked up in my various travels. 
As for reading, put a book in my hands and you can park me in a comfy chair anywhere! That said, in summer, it’s nice to be outdoors, overlooking the ocean or a rolling meadow with the scent of fresh-cut grass wafting through the air.
What do you do when you aren't writing?
When I’m not glued to my keyboard, I really enjoy being outdoors—walking, biking running, golfing (my game is not exactly up to par, but I find walking a lovely course is a great, relaxing way to think about plotting and my characters!) I also taught a class at Yale this past spring on historical romance, which was really fun. In addition, I serve on a library committee and several other boards, and so with family responsibilities, it sometimes feels there are a lot of balls to juggle. But I love all the challenges!
If you could take books of only one author with you to a deserted island, which author would you choose? Why!
Ummm, does a kindle count? Seriously, this is a really hard question! But that said, I think I would choose the works of Alexander Dumas (that he wrote lots of long books is a plus.) I love the blend of swashbuckling adventure, dashing romance and richly drawn history. His characters are interesting, his settings intriguing—the good old-fashioned rip-roaring yarns that would make for great “beach” reading..

In To Surrender to a Rogue, what scene do you like most and would never cut?
There is a certain scene where Jack, who is the hero and a very accomplished artist, uses a set of soft sable brushes in some very imaginative ways . . . I’ll let readers picture it from there! 

So, what comes after To Surrender to a Rogue? Any other releases or works in progress you're excited about?
Well, I just signed a contract for a new trilogy that will feature three hard-bitten rogues who are tamed by love, so I’m going to be very busy this summer—in fact, I just bought a roll of duct tape to ensure that I stay glued to my chair instead of out frolicking in the sun and surf!

Any upcoming events where our readers could find you?
I’ll be at the Literacy Booksigning at RWA in Orlando on July 28. And readers can check my website, for news of future appearances.

And thanks, Cara, for taking the time to speak with us today!
Thanks so much for having me!

Find Cara Elliott:

Contest Time!
How to Enter: 
-Be a Follower! (New/Old)
-Include a Valid E-Mail

Extra Entries for +5 Each:
ReTweet (include link!)
Fan 4 Star on FB! (My Gymnastics School!)

-Ends July 15, 2010
-48 hours to get back to me
-US & Canada residents only (sorry!)
-Book provided & delivered directly from publisher

Contest is now CLOSED and comments have been disabled.  
Thank you to all that participated! We had 147 entries!


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