There are times in one’s life when you meet people who make a difference to your world. Bev is one of those people. She’s made a difference in my world. Bev has been there since the beginning of my writing career. She’s held my hand, cheered me through every book, mercilessly told me when my writing was rubbish, cried with me when my work’s been rejected, and handed me the cyber bubbly when it’s been accepted.
And I can only hope I have been the same for her. Bev and I are members of the same critique group, and we have been through a lot together. In fact, when it comes to writing, we’ve been through everything together. So you can imagine I am thrilled to have her here today, to talk about her brand new e-release, Rake’s Honor.
Bev is an extra special writer. You see, with her, you get two for the price of one. She writes historical romance under two names: Beverley Eikli and Beverley Oakley.
But let me not take up any more of your time. Let’s let Bev tell you all about herself and her stories. It just so happens, she has an erotic, historical romance releasing today at Total-E-Bound. Oh, and wait til you read about the most embarrassing moment of her life, which I happen to think is an all time classic. (Snort)
Thanks so much for having me here today.
Q. Tell us about Beverley Oakley
A. Well, I guess you could say Beverley Oakley’s my alter ego. I’d even go so far as to say that Fanny Brightwell, the irrepressible heroine of my debut erotic Regency Rake’s Honour, is the character responsible for my developing an alter ego in the first place.
Fanny spent eight years languishing in a drawer after she earned me first place in a Romance Writers of Australia Single Title competition. Unfortunately, when I wrote her full story it turned out this Regency “bad girl” was far too out of control to be confined to the pages of the traditional Regency Romances I wrote for Robert Hale under the name Beverley Eikli. That was when I turned to Total-E-Bound to give Fanny her day in the sun. I’ve since had two other novels and novellas accepted by TEB.
Q. Have you always written e-books?
A. No, but I’m having huge fun with the scope to make my characters as sinful and unconventional as I want in a way that would not have been possible with Hale for whom I continue to write Historical Romantic Intrigues.
Q. You seem to favour historical romance. Is there a reason for this?
A. My tag line is “Women Trapped by Convention in a Man’s World” which epitomises the sorts of set-ups that intrigue me: women struggling to find love and fulfilment in a world dominated by men.
Legally and financially, until relatively recently in the annals of history, women were terribly at the mercy of men. Therefore, when something important was at stake a woman might either have to play the wilting violet or be engaged in a struggle that might jeopardise her most precious asset: her reputation. A woman whose reputation was tarnished could be made to suffer in many dreadful ways – subtle and not so subtle. Her life could become so unbearable it was no longer worth living.
These sorts of situations make for great drama and conflict which I love to balance against the veneer of respectability required in the social context of the times. It’s that juxtaposition of the subtle surface propriety and the roiling undercurrents that I love to write about.
Q. You have a release coming up real soon. Tell us about it.
A. Thank you, I’d love to. Rake’s Honour is my first erotic Regency Historical and its heroine, Fanny Brightwell, has always been close to my heart. She reminds me of Thackeray’s Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair. No doubt many readers of the day abhorred this Regency “bad girl”.
Similarly, many of the editors to whom I sent the completed manuscript thought that desperate, designing Fanny Brightwell was too unsympathetic. So Fanny languished in a drawer, neglected but not forgotten.
Finally, I decided it was time to return to Fanny and make sure readers understood her perspective. After all, if your ambitious mama is all but forcing you to marry a loathsome old man covered in ulcerous sores to save the family from financial ruin, you’re going to take some big risks to snare a more desirable husband.
Unfortunately, Fanny’s plan backfires when Viscount Fenton, the man who turns her insides to jelly, wants her to be his mistress not his wife. This is when Fanny decides it’s time to take the reins and teach her viscount a lesson.
All in all, Rake’s Honour is a viperish little story of love, revenge and one-upmanship with a sting in its tail.
Here’s an excerpt:
She jerked up her head at his entrance and hope clawed a jagged journey from the soles of her feet to pound in her chest. Framed in the opening of the silken tent, the smile that hovered about Lord Fenton’s wide sensuous mouth echoed the salvation in his eyes.
Everything for which she could have hoped was reflected in their depths. Admiration, curiosity—and, above all, desire. Yet while it was his desire upon which she’d pinned her hopes, it was the kindness of his words that gave her the reassurance she needed.
“I’ve brought needle and thread,” he said, offering her the tools to restore her respectability, “which I snatched from the sewing room when I witnessed the unfortunate results of your fall.”
She managed to muffle the hysteria that tinged her laugh as she rose and took up the threaded needle.
“I’m not sure I’m in a position to play the seamstress.” With a wry look at her jutting bosom, which obscured the seam she must sew, her hand trembled as she handed the needle back to him. “Perhaps you, Lord Fenton, have hidden talents.” Her smile was as unsteady as her shaking hand. What was happening to the cool façade she’d cultivated to such a fine art? Her nipples ached and she was conscious of the sudden heat and moisture between her legs. She swallowed, barely able to force the words out through dry lips. “I cannot see to sew, but you will be my hero if you can stitch a straight seam.”
Lord Fenton took the needle, resting his other hand upon her shoulder. Whether that was to steady her or himself, Fanny wasn’t sure, but that was immaterial as her whole body seemed to come alive at his touch. A dull, needy ache started in the pit of her belly as his eyes, full of sympathetic understanding, bored into hers. The usual, calculating gleam of the rake was replaced with something deeper and more sincere that nearly took her breath away.
But it was his lack of skill with a needle that, in fact, did so.
At her exclamation of pain they jerked apart.
“My apologies!” he cried, reflexively clasping her wounded breast.
Each froze at the contact. With a soft gasp Fanny swayed and he caught her to him. Oh, Lord! His touch seared her soul, branded her his, melting her insides into a pool of heated longing. It was apparent he wanted something between them to happen as much as she did. She could feel his enormous erection pressed against her stomach. Lord Slyther had at least imparted some useful information on the mechanics of intimate relations between men and women. The thought burst into her head that, as God was her witness, she had no intention of allowing Lord Slyther to rend her asunder with his Magnificent Member when the man before her was just as willing to do so – and, oh, so damnably irresistible.
Suspended in an agony of waiting, she watched Lord Fenton’s sudden awareness combust into something far more primal, tensed for his response, then wilted as he gathered her in his arms with a low groan. She had wit only to be thankful for the fact that the needle was no longer between them before she responded—completely, and with every particle of body and soul.
Q. Have you published any other books?
Robert Hale has published three of my Beverley Eikli Regency Historicals in hardcover and Large print. Just a few days ago they e-published my favourite, Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly about a woman’s struggle to reclaim her son after her late husband falsely accuses her of adultery.
Okay, now let’s have some fun…
Q. Let’s assume for a moment that your husband was the open minded kind, and he’d let you have a night to remember with just one other man (or woman). Who would it be?
A. Hmmm, my husband is my ultimate hero, in bed and out, so, I wouldn’t want to – unless it was to go back in time in another persona and entertain the amoral rake, Vicomte de Valmont as played by John Malkovich in the 1988 film Dangerous Liaisons. I’d love to wield the same power over him as the virtuous Madame de Tourvel (Michelle Pfeiffer) and hoist him on his own petard. This was a brilliant story of manipulation, sex and revenge.
Q. Okay, let’s assume your hubby is really open minded, and he offered you a night with any two people of your choice. Who would they be? (And remember, this is an erotic romance writers’ blog. We’re not talking about a pleasant night spent chatting over dinner…)
A. Mulitplying my husband by two would be pretty exciting!
Q. So, you’ve just heard a most unpleasant report on the radio. There’s a cyclone coming and you have ten minutes to get out of your house, get in your car and drive as fast as you can. You just have time to take five items with you. What are they, and why have you chosen them?
1. My MacBook Air as it has so many half finished stories I intend to get back to and I’m not as conscientious with doing back-ups as I should be.
2. My “Important Documents” folder which has everything from all the family’s passports, birth certificates and graduation certificates to the odd baby tooth.
3. The folder of my kids’ special drawings.
4. The vase my mother gave me before she died.
5.The briefcase that contains the dozens of letters my handsome Norwegian husband and I wrote to each other after we’d met round a campfire in the Okavango Delta the night before I flew home to Adelaide. He was a bush pilot in the safari industry. We wrote endless 18-page letters -as there was no internet and he had no phone- for the next eight months until he pitched up in Adelaide to ask me to marry him. Naturally, I said yes and returned to Botswana to live with him in his thatched cottage in a mopane forest by the Thamalakane River. Those letters are very romantic and we read them every time we move to a new house or country.
(Note from Jess: I’ve been to Botswana, nearby to where Bev and her husband stayed, and believe me, if they could live there, and survive in a thatched cottage, together, they must be the most in love couple ever to exist!!!)
Q. Ooh, remember that time you’ve tried so hard to forget? That excruciatingly embarrassing moment, when you wished the floor would open up and swallow you. When you blushed fifteen different shades of scarlet. Go on then. Don’t be shy. Tell us all about it. (Insert Jess’s evil grin here.)
A. I’ll never forget it! I used to do the map trimming in the basement for the airborne geophysical survey company I worked for in Canada, then take coffee to the executives on the upper level. You can imagine my horror at the end of the day when my boss called me into his office and, very embarrassed, told me I had “something hanging out of my pants”.
Burning up and not knowing what I’d see, I looked down. It turned out I’d put on yesterday’s jeans and my pink knickers had worked their way down my leg and had been flapping around my ankle for I don’t know how long.
(Jess says: Oh, my God. I’m sorry. I think I just blushed 15 shades of scarlet for you.)
Q. Don’t think, just answer…
Ice cream or chocolate? Chocolate
George Clooney or Brad Pitt? George Clooney
Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston? Angelina Jolie
Steak or salmon? Steak
Heels or sandals? Heels
Harry Potter or Twilight? Harry Potter
Dogs or cats? Dogs
Snakes or Spiders? Spiders
Q. You are offered your final meal. You can have anything you want. What would it be?
Beef Wellington followed by a really sinful chocolate mousse.
Q. How can we found out more about your and your work?
A. by clicking on these links:
Thanks so much for this, Jess. That was great fun!