Guest blog by Claire Ashgrove, author of Bound by Decency (The Flying Gang Legacy)
Hi, everyone – thanks for having me here today!
One of the things I was asked recently was, “Why did you decide to write a historical romance?” I thought I’d share my answer here with all of you, because granted, it is a shift from what I’ve been doing for the last several years.
I’ve always been writing historicals. Ironically, I never intended to write a Contemporary, but that in fact, was my first sale. That book was the product of a dare, as I’ve mentioned previously, and the cards fell into place with a delightful surprise. But my roots in romance came from historical authors such as Johanna Lindsey, Sabrina Jeffries, and Julie Garwood. The first romance I wrote, at age 17, was a Regency.
My paranormal series, The Curse of the Templars, is heavily derived from history and mythos, which goes hand-in-hand with history. My short paranormal series, Inherited Damnation, is grounded in the historical Celts. So it’s always been a part of my writing process. And given that on any given trip to the bookstore I will make a beeline for the historical section before I go to fiction, that influence isn’t terribly surprising.
I also tend to lean, more naturally, toward a historical voice in my writing. I like longer sentences, more description that typically comes with the subgenre, and the general cadence of my structure tends to follow what’s seen with historical romance. I find when I work in non-historical projects that I have to do a lot more editing, I have to pay more attention to what I am putting down. In many ways, I understand historical characters more than I do the characters that could be living next door to me. (That might have something to do with the proverbial writer’s cave!)
But does this mean that I want to focus strictly on historical romance? Absolutely not! For reasons that apply to each individual series and book, I love the projects that I have going on right now. Writing a straight historical simply allows me to immerse myself in the past completely, without having to consider modern day gadgets like cell phones, computers, and all the other conveniences that like to give my plots major hiccups.
I do, however, hope you’ll find Bound by Decency as enjoyable as my other books. Afterall, it’s based on pirates. And what’s more sexy than a rugged, bare-chested sailor who fears little and knows precisely how to obtain what he wants?
Excerpt: For a moment, he could do nothing more than stare. Richard had said his intended was lovely, but somehow, Cain had never pictured her as a beauty. Yet now, as she stood before him, her chest heaving with indignation and her hair a sopping mess, he realized Richard had once again played him false. India Prescott wasn’t merely lovely. She was breathtaking.
“What in the name of Mary do you think you’re doing?” she snapped. “My father will see you hang for this.”
Her sharp tongue yanked Cain out of his stupor. He collected himself quickly, and for the first time since his arrest, gave into a broad grin. “Indeed, he will have to get in line.”
India’s eyes widened a fraction, but anger drew delicate brows downward, and those sky-blue eyes narrowed. “I see no amusement in this. Do you have any idea who I am?”
As a rumble of laughter broke through the men within earshot, Cain’s humor subsided. His smile faded, and he reached out to twine a thick lock of her hair around his finger. Turning his wrist, he wrapped the silken length around his hand, slowly bringing her closer. So close that the wet fabric straining across her breasts dampened his shirt. The heat of her skin grazed his. “I know well who you are, Miss Prescott.” He ran the back of his free hand across her dainty collar bone, over the slope of her shoulder, then lifted it to draw his thumb across her parted lips. The audible catch of her breath ricocheted through him. So she was not unaffected by him. Good. He could use it to his advantage.
His gaze held hers. A flicker of fear passed behind her eyes, but to her credit, she didn’t shrink away. She stood straight and proud, even as she shivered in the stirring breeze. Courage Cain didn’t often encounter from the gentle born. God’s teeth, men far stronger and larger than she didn’t hesitate to grovel at his feet. Yet she, no bigger than a lark, defied him with stubborn silence.
To drive her subservient position as his captive home, he tightened his hold on her hair until she winced. Leaning forward, he lowered his mouth to her ear. “You are the daughter of a powerful man and presently my prisoner, to do with as I will.” Stepping back, he untwined his hand and smirked.
India’s palm cracked across his cheek. “Rot in hell!”
After inheriting a portion of Spain’s Royal Inheritance, Cain left The Flying Gang for a chance at honest wealth. With the secrets of his piracy tucked away, he achieved his lofty aspirations. But when his partner and best friend betrays him to the Royal Navy, Cain’s dreams are ripped to shreds. He’s left with his ship, the tattered remnants of a stolen future, and a piece of Spanish mystery. Wanted by three nations and destined for the gallows, he returns to the legendary band of buccaneers for one purpose -- vengeance.
Kidnapped by the formidable Cain, India Prescott discovers he intends to kill the man she’s to marry. Cain’s story reveals betrayal. Treachery that extends to her as well. Although she holds the key to retribution, India refuses to become another man’s pawn. Freedom lies before her, the liberty to shrug off propriety, make her own decisions, and claim her destiny. But when she uncovers goodness in Cain’s soul and he awakens passion in her heart, she must combat the chains of convention once more.
Only this time India's not fighting society. She’s battling a pirate bent on keeping her decency intact.
The Flying Gang Legacy
With Europe in chaos over who would claim the Spanish throne, the Atlantic waters bred a most despicable lot. Privateers who pillaged and claimed, loyal to no country, more thief than noble mercenary. One man would claim Spain’s inheritance. He would pass it on. To a band of cutthroats more terrifying and deadly than the nightmares of the deep.
As the nations settle into peace, The Flying Gang knows no boundaries. No sea is safe. No shore unchartered. Chilling Rogers raised to the sky, they reign with fear, bound only to the wind, the brotherhood, and the ships they love. One tiny jeweled box strikes a gleam in their eyes. A golden trinket four rogue Captains risk danger, capture, and even friendship to possess.
Until love interferes with their rapscallion hearts…
Author Bio: Claire Ashgrove has been writing since her early teens and maintained the hobby for twenty years before deciding to leap into the professional world. Her first contemporary novel, Seduction's Stakes, sold to The Wild Rose Press in 2008, where she continues to write steamy, sexy stories for the Champagne and Black Rose lines. Adding to these critically acclaimed romances, Claire’s paranormal romance series, The Curse of the Templars debuted with Tor in January 2012. For those who prefer the more erotic side of romance, she also writes for Berkley Heat as the National Bestselling Author Tori St. Claire.
She is an active member of Romance Writers of America, and her local RWA chapters, Heartland Romance Authors, Midwest Romance Writers, North Texas Romance Writers of America, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.
Claire lives in Missouri with her two toddler sons, and too-many horses, cats, and dogs. In her “free” time, she enjoys cooking, winning at Rummy, studying Ancient Civilizations, and spending quiet moments with her family, including the critters. She credits her success to her family's constant support and endless patience.
Giveaway Details: Claire will be giving away a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card to one random commenter during the tour. Follow the tour – the more times you comment, the better your chances of winning! Complete schedule can be found here.