Blog Tour, Interview, and Giveaway with Lily Maxton
Historical romance author Lily Maxton is here today with a fantastic interview. She is here to discuss her newest release from the Sisters of Scandal series, The Improper Bride. Please help me make her feel welcome.
Lily Maxton will be giving away a $5 Amazon gift card. Be sure to leave a COMMENT in order to be entered into the random drawing. A winner will be drawn and announced on February 14, 2016 @ 5pm. There is also a rafflecoptor link below to enter.
Before we get into your book, let us talk about you.
Lily Maxton grew up in the Midwest, reading, writing, and daydreaming amidst cornfields. After graduating with a degree in English, she decided to put her natural inclinations to good use and embark on a career as a writer.
When she’s not working on a new story, she likes to tour old houses, add to her tea stash, and think of reasons to avoid housework.
- What is your favorite color?
It was blue for the longest time, but now I’m really loving purple! (Which I’ve been using a lot…on my website, Twitter, etc, etc…)
- What is your biggest fear in life?
Currently, that my writing career will come tumbling down because of writer’s block or low sales or any reason, really. We writers tend to be anxious creatures.
- If you weren’t an author what would you be?
Could I get paid for just reading books? That would be awesome. I also really love museums and historical artifacts…maybe a curator?
- When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing stories pretty much when I learned to write. When I was about seven I wrote my first “book” about a wolf pack (a lot of random things happen, and it was fairly violent for a seven year old—I drew pictures, too!). I wrote my first novel-length romance in high school, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t very good.
- Is there a genre/subgenre that you haven’t written that you would like to try?
I really love fantasy/romance, especially YA. Maybe someday…
- What project are you working on now?
I’m working on a new historical romance series, centered around a family of your basic damaged misfits. Hopefully I’ll be able to talk more about it soon.
- What is the best way to celebrate after a book release?
Release day and even release week tend to be fairly busy. Sometimes the weekend after I’ll reward myself with champagne, or my husband and I will go out to dinner. I really do think it’s a good idea to take some time to stop and relax and celebrate your accomplishments.
Tell me about your book/release, The Improper Bride.
Give us a 30-word or less tagline: A Beauty and the Beast style story with a little Cinderella thrown in for fun.
How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
I have to confess that I’m horrible at titles. My working title for this was Sisters of Scandal #5 for a very long time, and then I came up with The Secret, which wasn’t bad but not great either. Thankfully someone at Entangled thought of The Improper Bride!
3. Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
I love this cover, designed by LJ Anderson. I really have no say in the final image that gets used; the people at Entangled decide that. But I love the brightness of it, and the heroine’s dress, and the embrace, which I think is sensual without going overboard. I was really pleased.
4. Tell me about your Hero and Heroine?
Henry is a marquess, and to be honest, initially he’s an ass. But he’s injured in a fire and slowly starts to change and become a better man. Cassandra is Henry’s housekeeper— she’s occupied with her work and happy with her life just as it is… or so she thinks. These two are kindred spirits who have lived in the same household for years but have never really recognized each other because of the class boundaries. But the aftermath of the fire changes their relationship in unexpected ways.
5. How do you come up with your characters names?
I usually stick to names that were common in the Regency era, but I tend to like it best when I find a name that was around back then but maybe wasn’t as common. The heroine’s name is Cassandra, which is an example of this… I don’t think it was very popular during the Regency, but Jane Austen’s sister’s name was Cassandra, so we know it was used at least occasionally. On a side note, Jane Austen’s aunt was named Philadelphia! I’d love to name one of my characters that! I don’t know what the nickname would be, though. Phil? Del?
6. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
I love both of my main characters, but Lady Margaret, the hero’s sister, was so much fun to write! She’s very independent and opinionated and a bit of a troublemaker. I’d love to write her book someday… I just have to think of a hero who can match her!
7. How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
You can go to my website, www.lilymaxton.com. And I’m also on Facebook and Twitter (facebook.com/lilymaxton and @LilyMaxton).
8. What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Getting the word out is really important. If you love a book, consider writing a review, and/or recommending it to other people you think might like it!
9. Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?
I’m sure every aspiring writer has heard it before, but it’s true—persistence is key. You’re going to work really hard and you’ll probably still get rejected. You might get rejected fifty times. But if you love it, you keep at it.
10. And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:
His hand swept along her jaw—he knew the curve so well in his mind—it felt the same as it looked—strong, a little stubborn, with a teasing hint of feminine softness. Everything about her was like that, a mark of contrasts—strong and soft, firm and yielding. He could have touched her forever, studied those contrasts forever.
Cold, arrogant, and demanding Henry Eldridge, Marquess of Riverton, would never dally with a mere servant. But when Henry is injured in a horrible fire, his pretty housekeeper Cassandra nurses him back to health, throwing them together day and night. As he slowly heals from his burns, their friendship blossoms, and the class walls between them start to crumble. Cassandra is surprised by glimpses of a kind and thoughtful man beneath her employer’s hard façade—and even more surprised when she develops tender feelings for him. But anything between lord and servant is impossible…and besides, as a widow, she knows love only leads to heartbreak.
Henry is changing, as well. His close brush with death has opened his eyes to his self-imposed emotional isolation…and has urgently reminded him of his duty to marry a well-bred lady and produce an heir. Determined to do right by his family name, he immediately begins searching for a suitable bride. But Cassandra is the only woman who is never far from his mind or his heart. Contrary to everything he’s been taught to believe, he realizes his lovely housekeeper might just be his perfect match. Now, if only he could convince everyone else of that. Especially Cassandra…
“Oh, indeed?” he said softly, in a tone that scared her with its evenness. “What you feel for me is mere…servitude?”
No! Good Lord, there was nothing subservient in the way she’d pressed into his body in the snow, or when she’d cradled his face in her palms, or slept spooned up against him on the library floor. But admitting that would only make a complicated situation even more tangled. “Yes, I suppose, if that is what you wish to call it.”
He took a step toward her. “And when I recognized you even blindfolded, and your body trembled as I whispered in your ear, that was merely lord and housekeeper?”
She swallowed, her face heating. “I…” She cleared her throat. “That was a misunderstanding.”
He took her hand in his and tugged. She stumbled forward, nearly colliding with him. She would have, if she hadn’t braced her hand on his chest. She had to tilt her head back to look him in the eyes and she was very aware that he hadn’t removed his fingers from her wrist. Each one was distinct, burning her like brands.
“In that case, touch me,” he growled.
“What? No, I—”
“If you’re not affected by my presence, man to woman, I want you to prove it.” His eyes blazed with challenge.
“You are being ridiculous,” she said, her voice quaking as much as her heart.
He untied his cravat with one hand and let it drop to the floor, revealing his throat and his collarbone—smooth, pale skin, unmarred by the fire. She saw the pulse in his throat, saw that it was beating faster than normal.
“Touch me,” he ordered. Like Satan whispering temptation in her ear… Do you want the apple? Take it. Taste it. Her hand was still on his chest. Take it.
She wanted to so much, with a yearning that left her weak. She slid her hand up, her fingertips brushing his shoulder. He was tense. When she touched skin, he sucked in a quick breath.
A heady feeling, to know a simple touch could affect him so strongly. Heady and hot, and not at all servile.
It occurred to her, she was playing right into the scoundrel’s hands.
She didn’t care. The contact, the warmth of him, the way his pulse trembled under her fingers, had a similar effect to the whisky. It was like flame dancing along her limbs. Her nerves tingled, surging and alive. She let her thumb brush his collarbone, memorizing the contour of the graceful, jutting sweep, and paused at the hollow of his throat where she could feel the pounding of his heart.
No, she couldn’t… But she was already letting her head fall forward, her willpower succumbing to the hard, harsh rhythm of her body. Her lips grazed the hollow and his fingers tightened around her wrist, almost hurting her but not quite. She breathed him in, salt and spice and skin.
And licked him.