Amy Rose Bennett is enjoying her debut release with Steam eReads and learning that writing the book is just the beginning! Welcome and thanks for treading the boards with us today.
Are you inspired most by places, people or experiences and how do these work their way into your writing?
I write historical romance so history often inspires me. For example, the second Jacobite Rebellion—the ‘45—and its aftermath, the Regency period and the Battle of Waterloo, and more recently the Korean War, have all given me a wealth of ideas for my plots. My historical romance heroes (so far) all have military backgrounds too. My short story ‘An Improper Proposition’—released on 15th April with Steam eReads—features a young footman who served as a corporal in Wellington’s army. Place too inspires me—I love the UK and all of its grand manor houses and castles; I’d so love to live in one! My two unpublished manuscripts are both largely set in Scotland and both feature the Palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh—such a beautiful, evocative place.
1. Please share one of your favourite moments of inspiration with us. For quite some time, I really wanted to write a dark and gothicky ‘Jane Eyre gone wrong’ story—a story about a governess who isn’t really a governess—set in Scotland. So ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte has always been a source of inspiration in a round-about way! At the time I was plotting this particular novel (one of my unpublished manuscripts), I also saw a photo of the ruined Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. That certainly gave me a wealth of inspiration for this story too.
How did you come up with the idea of ‘An Improper Proposition’?
I thought it would be fun to break a few rules and write a cougar romance set in the Regency period. My heroine is a widowed countess who falls in lust/love with her younger footman so some class rules are broken too!
How do you come up with your characters’ names?
Good question! I usually have a strong mental image of how my character looks physically and the name that would suit. Sometimes my characters even tell me their names! I have a really helpful baby name book I love perusing when I’m stuck for inspiration also. Writing historical romance, I also need to choose historically accurate names…so no Rivers or Krystals in a Regency! I chose the name Bianca for my dowager countess heroine in ‘An Improper Proposition’ because I wanted a first name that was a little different, given that Lady Wells makes some unconventional (for the time) choices. I also liked playing around with the theme of duty when naming her. In Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’, Bianca is a dutiful daughter, but my Bianca is dutiful only up to a certain point!
Who would you cast for a movie/TV series as your main characters if given the chance? Harry Blake…The British actor Alex Pettyfer with darker hair would be perfect. Or a younger Henry Cavill. Lady Bianca Wells…Perhaps Rachel McAdams with blonde hair.
If you could pick a soundtrack to match your main character’s life, what would it be?
Ed Sheeran’s ‘Kiss Me’ is so romantic and sensual—and about falling in love.
What is your favourite holiday?
Visiting the UK. Scotland. Paris, Venice, Capri…I don’t want much do I?
Do you read reviews of your books? What do you do when you read a not-so-nice one?
I’ve only had three on my first published story and they have been lovely. I’ll try to ignore the bad ones.
How many times were you turned down before you finally got published?
For this particular short story I had two rejections…then on the third time I got lucky! I’m still waiting to get ‘the call’ for my big two manuscripts though…
Who is your literary hero?
Anna Campbell hands down!
What is your favourite book of all time that you can reread a hundred times, and it still feels like the first time?
‘Cross Stitch’ (now called ‘Outlander’) by Diana Gabaldon. Or any Stephanie Plum adventure by Janet Evanovich.
What do you need to set the mood for you to write?
Not much! A laptop. I’m lucky I can write pretty much anywhere. Music inspires me also.
If there is one genre that you have not written in yet, but would love to try writing a book in that specific genre, what would it be?
A paranormal/historical cross genre novel. I actually have plans to write 2 separate trilogies that fit the bill. I’m still plotting and researching but I hope to start on one after the RWA conference.
How many blurbs did you have to write before the final one?
For ‘An Improper Proposition’ only a couple. I don’t actually mind writing the blurb. Now synopsis writing on the other hand, that just gives me the shudders.
If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be? And why?
The hero from my latest 1950s set novella (working title ‘Long Gone Girl’), Jefferson ‘Jett’ Kelly. He’s a fighter pilot. I like pilots (I’m married to one).
What are you working on now?
Another single title Regency.
Would you like to share an excerpt from your writing or a photo or music link that inspires you?
Here’s the blurb from my debut release ‘An Improper Proposition’:
Fraternizing with one’s footman—no matter how young and handsome he is—is not the done thing…but Lady Bianca Wells is going to do it anyway…
Widowed countess Lady Bianca Wells secretly lusts after her much younger, rakishly handsome footman Harry Blake. Even though he has been in her employ for six months, she has not succumbed to her indecorous urges to take him as a lover… until one wicked night at an isolated country inn when she throws caution to the wind and offers Blake a wholly improper proposition.
Harry Blake, the bastard son of a duke and governess, is the epitome of the perfect footman, except for one thing—he fantasizes about seducing his beautiful mistress. When Lady Wells proposes that they become lovers for one night only, he is torn. Even though he wants her with every fibre of his being, he suspects that forbidden fruit once tasted, can be awfully addictive. He wonders if one night of passion will be enough, for either of them—especially now that he realizes he might very well be falling in love with his bella Bianca.
But when all is said and done, Blake can hardly refuse such a tempting proposition, no matter how unwise or improper. He just prays that he can put a smile on his mistress’s beautiful face…
Lady Bianca feels shaken after a drunken patron propositions her for a kiss at the inn she is staying at. Her footman, Blake comes to her aid, then escorts her to her room…
The sooner she dismissed Blake for the evening, the better. For a servant who’d only been in her employ for six months, he read her too well. And she had come to rely on him far too much. This growing familiarity between them was a problem, but one she wasn’t fit to deal with right now.
She turned back to address him and her breath hitched. He really was too handsome to be her footman. Even with his black hair hidden beneath his periwig again, his chiselled jaw, wide mouth and sparkling emerald green eyes set him apart from most other men of his station. Indeed he was as handsome as any young buck of the ton. Or so her close friends repeatedly told her. Those same friends—including Lady Jameson—who also whispered to her that she was mad not to have a fuck or two with him.
Stop gawping at him like a foolish adolescent girl, Bianca. Dismiss him, before you do something you regret.
With a trembling hand, she pushed a strand of her blonde hair away from her mouth and found her voice. “Well, thank you again for your timely intervention, Blake. That will be—”
“Do you have any brandy, my lady?”
She arched an eyebrow. “Why?”
Blake held her gaze. It was one of the things she liked about him so much. He was respectful yet not easily intimidated by her when she played the haughty dowager countess.
“Please forgive my impertinence,” he at last responded, his forehead dipping into a frown, “but you’ve had a shock and it might help. Would you like me to fetch you some from the taproom?”
“No, that won’t be necessary, but thank you.” Now was the time to bid him good night but for some reason, she couldn’t do it. She supposed it was because she found his strong male presence reassuring after what had happened only minutes before. She stepped back from the door, opening it wider to admit him. “But perhaps you could re-stoke the fire for me…Tilly has retired early with a headache.”
“Of course, my lady.”
Bianca shut the door after him and leant against the smooth wood panels, watching him as he removed his white gloves before he bent low to toss several logs into the grate. His wide shoulders strained against the navy blue superfine of his liveried jacket as he moved. Such power and grace for such a tall man. She suspected he’d developed his athletic physique when he’d served as a corporal in Wellington’s army. Not for the first time, she wondered how he would look without his livery. She bit her lip.
Stop behaving like a vixen on heat, Bianca. Tell him to go. Now.
But she didn’t. She crossed to her travelling trunk at the foot of the four-poster bed and after rummaging around for a moment, pulled out a bottle of sherry. Her medicinal sherry, she liked to tell herself. In truth, a nip or two before bed was her one and only vice. Aside from lusting after Blake.
2. Please share your favourite cocktail recipe or celebration photo.
Champagne with a nip of St Germaine liqueur.