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* Skye Warren: Author Override
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Friday, 24 February 2012

Author Override: Ashley March

Author Override is the place where authors take the reins and take you on a journey into their world. Some may allow you into their private writing dens. Others may take you along with them on research trips or interviews. Whatever the case may be, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride because here you’ll get an in-depth look into an author’s musings.

Today we have the awesome and amazing Ashley March with us today! For more information of Ashley March or Elise Rome (her other pen name) please visit her websites. Now, Maidens help us welcome, Ashley March! Take it away, Ashley!


First of all, thank you very much to the ladies at Under the Covers for inviting me to participate in the Scandalous Affair event this month!

Scandal... I don’t know about you, but there’s something about that word that just thrills my historical romance reading heart. Perhaps it’s because the word brings to mind our hero or our heroine (or preferably our hero and heroine together!) acting naughty. Although scandal could refer to inappropriate behavior regarding money and politics, as romance readers we typically see the word associated with romantic or sexual relationships.

For example, there are the books that feature the hero and heroine involved in a scandal and we get to see the consequences as they unfold. Perhaps the hero and heroine are caught together in a compromising situation and must face the rest of their lives together as husband and wife due to a marriage of convenience. This is one of my favorite scandalous scenarios because—whether the couple was guilty of something or not when they were caught—this marriage of convenience usually pits them against the rest of the world (meaning they must learn to turn to each other) and also usually pits them against each other (meaning that sparks are going to fly).

There are also books where the hero and/or heroine are trying to keep a scandal from being discovered. In my last book written under Ashley March, ROMANCING THE COUNTESS, Leah and Sebastian share the secret of their dead spouses’ affair. When Leah decides she wants to live a life of freedom and independence, Sebastian fears that her behavior will lead others to suspect that everything isn’t as it should be and might also cause rumors of his son’s legitimacy. Although the scandal is a secret to society, it still brings together the hero and the heroine in a way where they must interact; they can’t just walk away from the situation and lead their own separate lives.

But there’s also another type of book where the hero and/or heroine are actually trying to prevent a scandalous situation. Of course, although they might have good intentions, usually the consequences end up being equally as bad or even worse than the scandal itself might have been. In my upcoming novella THE SINNING HOUR (written under my new pseudonym Elise Rome), the hero dismisses his maid rather than trying to pursue a romantic or sexual relationship with her. This type of relationship in itself would be a scandal if anyone discovered they were together, but he sends her away because he doesn’t want to exploit her position as a servant in his household. The consequence, however, is that after he fires her, he realizes that letting her out of his life was a terrible mistake, and he tries to find her…only to discover that she’s disappeared.

Although each of these three types of books are quite different, the fact is that the values and strictures of society in 19th century England (used specifically because the time and place is so popular among historical romance readers) make it possible for them all to include the concept of scandal in some way, whether it’s the result of a scandal, a secret that would become a scandal if it were known, or the prevention of a scandal. And perhaps this is what makes scandal so appealing: because despite all the rules and propriety of society during that time, there were still people who were flawed, people who made mistakes, people who were passionate and fell in love and couldn’t by choice or accident be bound by the expectations of their peers.

I have to be honest and say that these are the types of heroes and heroines I like to read and write about, anyway. =)

What do you think, dear readers? Why do you believe the concept of scandals in historical romances is appealing to you? What’s your favorite scandalous romance novel? 
Two random commenters will be chosen: one to win a print copy of my last Ashley March novel, ROMANCING THE COUNTESS, and one to win a digital copy of my upcoming novella written by my current name, Elise Rome (open internationally).

Make sure you answer Ashley's question and leave your email so we can contact you if you win!

47 comments:

Virginia C said...

Hey, Ashley/Elise! I totally agree that you are awesome & amazing! I have loved following your career, and seeing the new and intriguing paths you are creating for your readers to travel. "Seducing the Duchess" remains one of my favorite romance reads--such a clever and compelling story line featuring the wonderful characters Philip and Charlotte!

Our predecessors were very, very naughty! All those garments to unbutton and unlace, not to mention fans to flutter and bustles to...bustle. Then there were the masquerade balls where anything was probable, and the more risque, the merrier! Yes, historically speaking, lovers and other strangers were naughty, bawdy, and more than a trifle tawdry. By Jove, they had fun! This all took place before telecommunications, mass marketing, and the world wide web. They were very, very, creative ; )

T.H. White's "The Once and Future King" was made into the fabulous film, "Camelot". As a very young girl who loved musicals and grand romance, I saw the film in its original release at our local theater. I was totally captivated by the timeless and tragic love triangle of Arthur, Guenivere, and Lancelot. I recently watched this film again, and it remains glorious! A real-life magical aspect of this film is that Vanessa Redgrave (Guenivere) and Franco Nero (Lancelot) had a very passionate affair which initially lasted long enough for her to bear him a son. However, they did not stay together, and each went their separate ways. True love would not be forever denied, and forty years later, they were married. They remain together and even made a charming "reunion romance" film together--"Letters to Juliet".

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Kitchen Witch of the West said...

Yes to scandals! As long as humans notice other humans we'll have scandals.
Sometimes the fun is reading about the protagonists working together to avoid scandal, then in the process making a completely different scandal. The tangled things we do in trying to do the 'right' thing.
Have so thoroughly enjoyed your first two books I cannot wait for your new ebook! Plus you're a Colorado author! Supporting local business includes authors too.

Maureen said...

I never thought about how much the idea of scandal is there in historical romance but it often is. I do enjoy a marriage of convenience story when the couple is trying to avoid scandal and also a romance where the threat of scandal actually stops a couple from being together like Anne Mallory's One Night is Never Enough.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Lady D said...

Oh, I absolutely ADORE scandals in Historical novels... xD My favorite scandal would have to be in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. Bree and Roger create quite a stir when she ends up pregnant, and he's on his way to England. :P

Lady D said...

Oops.
ladyd2206(at)yahoo(dot)com

Jackie54736 said...

Wow this looks like a great book and I love the cover!

Renee said...

I love a good scandal, and it seems that it was so easy to become one especially unintentionally. I think that is what makes it so pathetic is that anyone could be caught in a scandal simply for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Obviously, it makes a wonderful plot mover. I don't know that I have a favorite because I have read so many good ones. I just know I like them!

GzNKz4evr said...

For me, it pretty much has to have scandal if it is historical romance. Not always, but a lot of the time. Scandal oftentimes is what introduces the conflict in the story in some way.

I also LOVE it when I hear the word "scandal". It usually translates to a fun and exciting read for me. And the reason for this, I believe, is because what once was scandalous, well ... just isn't anymore. If those poor individuals from the books we read could see us today ... well, they'd be scandalized and likely have a heart attack on the spot. Our society today is so desensitized. Nothing is scandalous. Pretty much everything is accepted. Not everything, but certainly too much.

Reading historical and experiencing the scandals within the stories takes me back to a time when we weren't so desensitized. A time, unfortunately, I haven't really known. I love the idea of a society that is scandalized by a child born on the wrong side of the blanket - or a member of the ton marrying beneath himself - or a passion that is so strong the couple succumbs despite possible consequences... it could almost be described as a time of innocence compared to "real-life".

I already have Romancing the Countess, but I would love a shot at your Elise Rome book. :) Thanks for the post. I really enjoyed it. :)

Kendra @ Reader's Edyn
kendraedens@gmail.com

erin said...

Thanks for the wonderful post and giveaway!

I love HR scandals b/c it definitely makes the story more engaging and exciting. Since a woman's reputation was so much more precious back then, I enjoy reading how some woman will do anything to protect it. And that makes her relationships with the "rakes" so much more poignant.

I loved, loved, loved Romancing the Countess ;) Would love to read your Elisa Rome novella :)

Jackie54736 said...

I like the scandal where the woman is hinding out and pretending to be boy. She ends up with the hero and sees more of him than her virgin eyes intend too. rings@wwt.net

*yadkny* said...

I think they are so appealing because there seems to be so many restrictions especially for women in our history so something as siimple as showing your wrist could be taken wrong. I love learning about how we've come but the scandals described in the historicals I've read are so fascinating. The last one I read and really enjoyed was Waking With The Duke by Lorraine Heath.

yadkny@hotmail.com

Sophia Rose said...

I thought that was amusing what you said about just reading the word 'scandal' and what it brings to mind. I like all the Historical Romance genre cliches and as you said, because of society's rules, scandal or threat of scandal becomes quite an exciting part of the stories. I've always enjoyed the Georgette Heyer's and Carla Kelly's for that.

I have read your 'Romancing the Countess', but I would love a shot at winning your new ebook novella.
Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.
sophiarose1816@gmail.com

Timitra said...

I love to see them fight the inevitable fall, that's why they appeal to me!!

taccb_1981@yahoo.com

Audra said...

What is a good story without a scandal--OUTLANDER is my favorite series too.
audie@wickerness.com

krazymama_98 said...

Oh it has to be the naughty factor that is so enticing!! Especially in historical. It takes so little to have a scandal. Married to a stranger before you can blink. I love it!! :-)
lisakhutson (at) [cox] {dot}

mariahswind said...

I find that most items that are deemed scandalous are only scandalous to the contemporaries of our historical couple but is completely acceptable in our day and age so the scandal aspect is a crucial plot element that equates to conflict or struggle our couple must overcome to find happiness. So for some it may be a titilating build up to the naughty behavior but for me it's all about the couple and thier love and what they must overcome both internally and externally to make it work and find happiness.

Patricia said...

First I would like to tell you how much I have enjoyed your books. I love scandal in a story because it adds spice to the story;whether is is intentional or by mistake it makes the story more dangerous. I love Romancing the Countess the way Sebastian ran around trying to cover up what his wife and Leah's husband were doing, yet it was sweet that in the end we got a happy one cause they fell in love. Thank you for my escape, because for me Historical Romance is an escape from my boring yet busy life.

Maria D. said...

I would have to say that I like scandals in historical books because it shows that they had problems just like ours today, it gives the author a chance to build in conflict, and it gives the hero and heroine a chance to shine once they've conquered the scandal. I don't have a favorite "scandal" book- I pretty much enjoy them all...lol...I have read " A Scandalous Countess" though and I did enjoy it a lot! Thanks for the giveaway.

Inacreus said...

I agree with u. When love or passionate take control, all the rules and propriety of society had just forgotten.
I love it when an author put scandal scenes in their story. More complicated the scandal it would be more interested to read. I like to learn how hard the heroes or heroines have to choose.
My fav scandal is Malory Family Series by Johanna Lindsey
Thank u 4 share.

rinadarmayanti10@gmail.com

marybelle said...

I don't know that I have a favorite scandalous romance novel. I do love a scandal though. Rules are broken & then there are consequences. Got to love that.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

mcv said...

Threat of a scandal is a fun way to put a hero and heroine together in a historical romance novel. The rules of society were so strict that marriage was the only way to save a girl's reputation if she was caught in anything the least bit frowned upon by society. There were so many rules of behavior that had to be followed that it was probably quite easy to be compromised.
That helps authors put couples in delicious situations that are fun to read about.
mcv111 at hotmail(dot)com

Linda said...

Yes to scandals in historical romances! It's it bad of us to like putting our H/H in circumstances where their reputations are in tatters but they still manage to rise above it all?

I have a copy of Romancing the Countess; but I'd love a copy of The Sinning Hour.

thumbelinda03@yahoo.com

Elise Rome said...

Hi Everyone! Thanks so much for visiting with me today! I had unexpected family issues come up, but I'm so happy to be here now to respond to your comments! =)

Elise Rome said...

Hi Virginia! You're going to make me blush! *grin* Thank you so much--I always love seeing you around the blogosphere. =) I had no idea about Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero--makes me want to go watch both of those movies now. =)

Elise Rome said...

Hi Kitchen Witch of the West (love your handle, btw)! =) Oh, great point about a scandal coming out of the prevention of another scandal. Lol. Sounds like something I want to read right now, actually. And thank you for your kind words and for supporting Colorado authors--it means a lot! =)

Elise Rome said...

Hi Maureen! Oh, I absolutely adore Anne Mallory's books, including ONE NIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH. =)

Elise Rome said...

Hi Lady D! I'm glad you agree with me! =D They are a lot of fun!

Elise Rome said...

Thanks, Jackie54736! =) Good luck with the giveaway!

Elise Rome said...

Hi Renee! I completely agree. =) There's so many juicy plots to come up with just with a character who might be mistaken for someone else or show up where they're not supposed to. Okay, I'm really wanting to write a marriage of convenience story now, lol.

Elise Rome said...

Hi Kendra! When I first started writing the post for this blog, I actually took the angle of how the word "scandal" doesn't translate anymore unless it has to do with politicians and celebrities. In general, our society just has a "to each his own" kind of attitude. And while I enjoy that in some ways (because I don't want anyone else telling me how to live! lol), I agree that it puts an entirely different perspective on how we relate and interact with one another. Thank you for visiting me today! =)

Elise Rome said...

Thank you so much, Erin! =) You mentioned one of my favorite combinations in historical romance--the heroine who tries to protect her reputation and the rake hero who ends up destroying it. Nothing makes my heart start beating faster in anticipation than knowing I'm about to read a story like that. =)

Elise Rome said...

Hi Jackie54736! This reminds me of Sophie Jordan's SINS OF A WICKED DUKE, in which the heroine pretends to be the hero's valet. LOVE those scenarios! =)

Elise Rome said...

Hi yadkny! I haven't read that one by Lorraine Heath yet, but I've read her most recent one, SHE TEMPTS THE DUKE, which is pretty much all about preventing scandals. =) I agree--there's just something appealing in reading about how different life was back then. I love whenever I read a hero who goes crazy when the heroine shows her ankle. ;)

Elise Rome said...

Hi Sophia! Thanks for visiting with me today! Yes, I especially like when our hero and heroine act naughty ;) ...especially given all the restrictions they had back then. =) Good luck with the giveaway!

Elise Rome said...

Hi Timitra! Oh, definitely! I'm reading Shana Galen's THE ROGUE PIRATE'S BRIDE right now, and while I don't think I would necessarily call it a scandal book (although there's reason enough for scandal in it!), I love how the hero and heroine both try to resist their attraction but you just know they're going to give in soon. *happy sigh* =)

Elise Rome said...

Hi Audra! I'm so glad to see so many people agree with me. =) Of course, I think it would be difficult to find a story (especially with historical romances) that *didn't* feature a scandal in one way or another... =)

Elise Rome said...

Hi krazymama_98! I agree that every book can benefit from a little naughtiness. ;) And there's something so fun in reading a marriage of convenience when you know the setup, but you just don't know how they're going to get from strangers or hating each other to happily ever after. The fact that they have to do it while skirting around (or diving into!) the marriage bed makes it all the better. =)

Elise Rome said...

Hi mariahswind! You make a great point, and I think the difference really comes from the author telling the story. For example, in ROMANCING THE COUNTESS, it was much more of a story about the couple and how they come together to find love again rather than their attraction to one another. However, a different author could have taken the basics of the plot and come up with an entirely different story that was centered more on the sensuality aspect. I definitely agree with you, though--even though the naughty parts might be fun, the most important thing to me in romance is going through the journey to the HEA with the couple and knowing they're going to stay there no matter what life brings them. =)

Elise Rome said...

Hi Patricia! Oh, thank you so much! I'm so so glad you enjoyed RtC!! =) I feel the same way you do. I can't imagine what I would do without the escape that books bring me. Although I get to go away with my own characters when I write, it's really wonderful to be able to anticipate what is going to happen in someone else's life and go along for the ride. =)

Elise Rome said...

Hi Maria D.! I just finished reading A SCANDALOUS COUNTESS a few days ago, too, and really enjoyed it. =) I think perhaps what I like best about scandals is that they force the hero and heroine to interact in a way they might normally never have done otherwise; it acts as the kindling to the spark we know is just waiting to happen. =)

Elise Rome said...

Hi Inacreus! I just finished reading Jo Bev's latest and really enjoyed it. Regarding scandal, though, I think I'll take up your challenge. I need a scandal for the ages in an upcoming book. Something fresh. Hmm... Thanks for the inspiration! =)

Elise Rome said...

Hi marybelle! You're right--there's *always* something interesting to read about when rules are broken. Especially if the person breaking the rules is someone you would never expect. =)

Elise Rome said...

Hi mcv! I think you said it all--it's just plain fun to read about what the hero and heroine do in that kind of a situation. I should have known better than to write on this topic, lol. I really want to write a marriage of convenience story now. ;)

Elise Rome said...

Hi Linda! So great to see you! =) I don't think that's bad at all, lol. Fun, maybe, but not bad... ;)

DiDi said...

Gorgeous Cover. I love reading when the H/h are caught in a scandal. My guilty pleasure are books with shot-gun weddings of a couple not really in love, but they end up with a sweet HEA =)

Rebe said...

I agree with DiDi - what gorgeous covers!

I like marriage of convenience scandal romances, because it's such a familiar trope, but it's fun to see how the author works with and makes it her own!

rwschwarz11ATgmailDOTcom

Di said...

Scandals can be a lot of fun - I like to see how the characters get around them. Of course, most scandals in historical romances would not be scandals today.
(ps don't have an eReader)
sallans d at yahoo dot com