First, if we were meeting at a Coffee shop I’d be drinking a Latte 🙂 What would you be drinking? Either a steamy hot caffe mocha or an iced caramel macchiato, depending on the weather. 😉
Thank you so much for taking time to sit down and answer a few questions. Congrats on the release of The Captain’s Bluestocking Mistress yesterday! If anyone missed my review for your fabulous new book they can check out my review that was posted earlier this week: https://booksilovealatte.wordpress.com/2015/03/01/a-soldier-who-has-returned-from-war-and-the-woman-who-desires-him/
What was the inspiration for your Duke’s of War series and how many books can we expect?
A lot of people (including me!) love military heroes. As a historical romance writer, I especially loved the idea of soldier coming home from war and doing his best to return to normal, when normal in his case means Regency England.
I asked myself: After years of marching and living in tents and killing enemy soldiers, do you care about the color of Beau Brummel’s waistcoat or whether the patronesses of Almack’s will grant you permission to waltz? How do you reconcile these two very different forms of survival?
With this series, I’m trying to show all sides of what it means to be soldier—the ones who feel they did the right thing, the ones who don’t, the ones who didn’t make it home with all their pieces intact (physically or emotionally), the ones who do make it home whole only to find out home is no longer how they left it.
There are a total of six planned books in this series. But readers’ favorite secondary characters will probably find their way into a future series!
What can we expect next?
Next in the series is The Major’s Faux Fiancée, which releases in June. Major Blackpool returns home to play pretend beau to the girl next door to save her from an unwanted betrothal. But once they’ve announced their faux engagement, neither one can cry off without doing damage to the other’s social status.
Daphne intends to remain a spinster, so she plots to make the major jilt her first—without realizing he’s busy plotting the same thing! With both of them on their worst behavior, neither expects their fake betrothal to lead to love… 😉
What inspired you to write in this genre and how do you research and prepare for your books?
I love writing historical romance because it gives me the freedom to put complex characters in impossible situations and help them find love anyway. The hardest part is keeping to the constraints of historical accuracy. I have dozens of physical research books, dozens of research e-books, hundreds of bookmarked links, reams of handwritten notes from visits to period cities and houses, and a well-tagged Evernote database for everything else.
I research what my characters are wearing, what they’re eating, what’s happening in the world during the dates of the story, money, travel, legalities, and whether the words I use existed in the time period. It’s impossible to catch everything, but I easily spend hours poring over every page. My critique partners and my editor are fabulous, too. I couldn’t do it without them.
How long does it take to write each book? It generally takes me 3-6 months to write a book. I already had two complete books ready to go before the series prequel launched. I try to start working on the next one while the previous one is out for editing or critique, in order to help minimize the downtime between books.
Your covers are fantastic and I love the dresses the girls are wearing. Do you design your own covers? Thank you!! And yes, I do! It often takes three times as long to find the right starting image as it does to create the initial mockups. I’m so glad you like the covers!
Thank you again!
8 Tantalizing Tidbits:
1. A must read book and why? It’s not a romance, but a book I read recently that’s really stuck with me is The Girl With All The Gifts, by M. R. Carey. It’s hard to explain everything I loved about it without giving away the best plot twists, but at its heart, it’s about what humanity really means, literally and figuratively, in a post-apocalyptic world. Nothing is black-and-white, and often the good guys and the bad guys turn out to be precisely the opposite, depending on your perspective. I loved that. I really enjoy books that turn stereotypes upside down. Bonus points if they can make me laugh, make me cry, and make me gasp in surprise.
2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown? I live in Nuevo Arenal, Costa Rica, a stone’s throw from Lake Arenal, the biggest and prettiest lake in the country. So definitely you should come see it! If it’s a clear day, there will be windsurfers on the lake, and you may even be able to see one or two of the closest volcanos!
3. When you plot out your book do you know how it will end or do you figure it out as you go?
I definitely know how it will end, although I might not always know exactly how I’ll get there. I use the writing software Scrivener to organize my ideas and keep plot threads and character details consistent across each series.
For me, knowing ahead of time what is supposed to happen helps me to sit down and make it happen. Without a roadmap, I find myself spending too much time staring helplessly at a blank page.
I love knowing how a story will end because it gives me something to layer toward. The ending to The Captain’s Bluestocking Mistress is precisely what the heroine needs, and the ending to The Major’s Faux Fiancée is exactly what the hero needs. But even I get surprised sometimes by the pages in-between!
4. Do you watch a TV show weekly or binge watch? Binge watch! Since I live in the rainforest, Netflix is pretty much my only option when it comes to TV. I’m sooo sad that I can’t stream Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime from outside of the U.S. Especially now that Amazon has some great looking original programming! (I’ve read all the Bosch books, so I’m particularly bitter about being denied that one, lol.)
5. What is the craziest souvenir you picked up while traveling? Do you collect things when you travel?
I am not much for knick-knacks, so I promised myself that if I ever collected travel souvenirs, it would need to be something small, inexpensive, and eminently practical. Thus: shot glasses!! LOL. It seemed like a good idea before there were three or four dozen of them…
I have two wall-mounted shot glass cabinets (this is a real thing!! You should’ve seen how excited I was to learn shot glass cabinets existed) and on exactly one occasion–my last birthday party in Florida–every single shot glass was used in a birthday toast. See?? I told you shot glasses were practical! 😉
6. Castles or Beaches? Castles! I love beaches, and they’re perfect for relaxing, but there’s just nothing like a good castle. My youngest brother and I went on a road trip around Ireland and the UK a few years ago, and we explored every single castle we came across. They are all vastly different! It was such a wonderful, eye-opening experience.
7. Favorite sports and team? Chicago Bears were my #1, but I lived in Tampa for almost twelve years, so it’s impossible not to have a soft spot for the Buccaneers (NFL), Storm (AFL), Rays (MLB), and Lightning (NHL). Of course, now that I live in Latin America, there’s only one sport that matters: soccer!
8. When you are traveling do you road trip it or fly it?
Depends! If I’m crossing an ocean or the entire United States diagonally, I fly. But I’ve road-tripped it between Florida and the Midwest states on multiple occasions–once, it took me three weeks to get from Chicago to Tampa because there were so many great places to see on the way down.
Here in Costa Rica, I drive almost everywhere. When I cross the border into Nicaragua, it’s either on foot or on a boat, depending on whether there’s a river in the way!
Erica Ridley learned to read when she was three, which was about the same time she decided to be a writer when she grew up.
Now, Erica is a USA Today best-selling author of historical romance novels. Her latest series, The Dukes of War, features roguish peers and dashing war heroes who return from battle only to be thrust into the splendor and madness of Regency England.
When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found riding camels in Africa, ziplining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle ofBudapest.