An interview with Eileen Dreyer

A Fine MadnessTell us a little about yourself and your latest book.

          As you may have guessed, I’m Eileen Dreyer. I’ve been writing since I was 10 and ran out of Nancy Drews to read, and I’ve been published since 1986. I’m up to 42 books and 10 short stories in just about every sub-genre of romance and medical-forensic suspense(I spent almost 2 decades as a trauma nurse, and I killed off everyone who annoyed me in my books) (yes, thank you. It was very satisfying). My proudest achievement in those years is earning only the 4th place in the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame for excellence.

My first 25 romances were written as Kathleen Korbel(the reasons why are answered in a subsequent question). Now that I have the rights to most of them back, I’m republishing them under my own name. I don’t want anybody to be confused into thinking these are brand new books, so both names are on the cover.      A FINE MADNESS, published in 1991, is one of those books. I’m releasing it again in a group of 5 books that are all more humorous. It’s the story of a historic home restorer who is being invaded by a corporate security officer whose job it is to check the stately home for security leaks, just in case, oh, I don’t know, the queen of England should be expected at a secret meeting there. The problem is that Quinn Rutledge, who is hip deep in plaster and sanders, has no idea exactly why Ian Matthews is looking over her shoulder, nor that he is actually the Viscount Giggleswick(I couldn’t help it. I knew I had to write about a Lord Giggleswick when we stumbled over the town in Yorkshire), who not only works for the company that is turning stately homes into high end hotels, but that he will one day inherit it.

You’d think that information would ease his way into her heart. But Quinn has trust issues because of an ex-husband cut in the same mold, and Ian can’t bend enough to trust Quinn with the real details of  his life, that he isn’t just a viscount, but a member of her majesty’s security service. Throw in some good old fashioned English eccentrics, a very active ghost, a threat of eco-terrorism, and a retired military colonel straight out of Rudyard Kipling, and I hope you have a recipe for good old fashioned fun.

Oh, and just to keep the confusion to a minimum, after much consideration, I kept the book in 1991. The advent of technology would have changed too much.

 Tell us about your hero.  Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.

Ian Matthews, Viscount Giggleswick, comes from a classic aristocratic family. But much to his family’s chagrin, after his service in the army, he joins the Queen’s security branch, which is what brings him to Hartley Hall in Cornwall. He is an honorable man, adaptable and obviously courageous. His weaknesses include a very bum leg that is frustrating him beyond endurance, a conviction that it is only his title that attracts people, and a disbelief in ghosts—which actually might be his most problematic.

.Tell us about your heroine.  Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.

 Quinn Rutledge is an American with a passion for old houses. Hartley Hall is not the first stately home she has renovated and opened for the Early of Hartley. Detail-oriented and thorough, she is also a good friend, excellent boss and has patience with ghosts(a plus on this job). Her weaknesses include the fact that as an orphan she has never felt as if she belonged anywhere, a vulnerability strengthened by an unfortunate marriage into another aristocratic family, although of the American variety that left her divorced and bitter.

 Do you write under a pen name?   Why or why not?

I have written under a pen name, for two reasons. I’ve always known that I wanted to write in a lot of genres. I read a lot of genres. But back in 1986 when I was first published, romance writers were really looked down on, and I was afraid that I would be unfairly judged when I wrote in other genres. In fact, when I wrote my first suspense, `A MAN TO DIE FOR in 1991, my review included the line, “Romance writer Eileen Dreyer is trying to write suspense now” as if, ‘isn’t that cute?’ I’ve always been damned proud of my romances, and I didn’t want people dumping on me or them. So until the world began to accept romance writers as equals, I separated myself out.

The second reason is much easier. When my daddy learned that I was writing romances, he became very nervous. He just wasn’t sure he wanted people to know that his little girl(because you know you’re only ever 12 years old to your daddy) was writing about….well, you know, sex. So for him I took on another name. And even though, as I said, I’m very proud of Kathleen Korbel, I’ve decided to retire her and only use my own name now.

 What genres are you drawn to as a reader?

Absolutely everything. Nancy Drew really started me off into the land of mystery and suspense, followed by Mary Stewart, who taught me what a romantic suspense was. My mom introduced me to the big historical writers like James Clavell and James Michener. I’m the one who discovered M.M. Kaye, who inspired a lifelong fascination with exotic locals. J.R.R. Tolkien introduced me to fantasy, and I attended a great high school that gave me a great introduction to literature. So…yeah. Everything. It actually wasn’t until I was a mom and an RN before I discovered good romance. A friend gave me a shopping bag full of American authors like Nora Roberts, Roberta Gellis, Jayne Krentz, Joan Wolf. It was, if you’ll pardon the expression, love at first sight. Which means that you’ll find all the other genres in my romances, as well as other genres I’ve written.

 Do you or have you belonged to a writing organization?  Which one?  Have the helped you with your writing?  How?

 I do. I’ve belonged to Missouri Romance Writers of America since 1986, but at one time or another I’ve also belonged to Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Writers Guild and Author’s Guild and Novelists Inc. My guild memberships are for protection and information. The others are my writing community.

When I teach writing, it is the first thing that I emphasis. You can do without almost anything else to become a successful author. I don’t believe you can do without a writing community. It isn’t just learning skills and networking. It’s being with other people who understand your passion, craft and problems. I liken it to being another new mother. Nobody else understands just how hard it is or the time it takes. One of the most difficult things to explain is why I’m lying on the couch with my eyes closed, and that’s working. Other authors know, though, and might offer some tips on how to maximize your creative time.

Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract? 

 I’ll tell you a true story. Way back in 1981 I was working the ER, married, raising two kids and working to finish my bachelor’s of science. And I was so frustrated, because I wanted so badly to do something creative. And then,  one night a friend of mine and I were standing out on the hospital parking lot at 3 in the morning, she  challenged me to write a book. She’s the one who gave me the bag of romances to read. And I took up that challenge. And like I said, I’m now working on my 43rd book. My friend? She never finished her first book. Why? Because somebody told her she wasn’t a good writer. What’s the difference between the two of us? I didn’t let anybody tell me no. It took me five years to get published, which has been the average. It wasn’t exactly easy after that, either. I’ve fought for every contract, every book. But I didn’t let them tell me no.

The greatest difference now is that traditional publishing isn’t your only choice. You can go indie. My only caveat to that is that an awful lot of writers have thought they could just put anything up on line and make a fortune. The demands on writers are even tougher in indie than traditional publishing, because you’re the one who has to do all the trouble-shooting. You can rely on professional editors at a publishing house to help you catch mistakes and polish your prose. But you’re the one who has to find the right editor, the right cover artist, the right distributor. But if you want this, you’ll find a way.

What movie best describes your life?  Why?

 It’s a Wonderful Life. Oh, I have problems. Doesn’t everybody? But I’m doing what I love, my family is happy and healthy. What else can you ask for?

 FineMadnessTour copy (1)What is your next project and when will it be released?

 Well, A FINE MADNESS is the last book of the first group of Korbel Classics I’m rereleasing. The next series, my romantic suspense series, will debut this year. I’m also continuing my DRAKE’S RAKES Regency series of what I call historical romantic adventure(nefarious spies are involved),with Pippin’s and Beau’s story, THREE TIMES A LADY. And if that weren’t enough, I’m working on my first non-fiction book, TRAVELS WITH DAVE: WHAT A PASSPORT, PILL BOTTLE AND SUNGLASSES TAUGHT ME ABOUT LIFE, DEATH AND FRIENDSHIP.

To find out more about all of them, check my website(you can sign up for a newsletter), my FB page,, or twitter (okay, and Instagram and Pinterest).

Thanks again for asking me to come play. I really hope you like Quinn and Ian.

 A Fine Madness by Eileen Dreyer


Quinn Rutledge has been hired to remodel historic Hartley Hall into a 5-star hotel.

Ian Matthews, a Special Forces officer in the Queen’s Protection service, is vetting the hall’s security for a secret international meeting, and presents himself to Quinn as a corporate officer checking on her progress.

All seems simple enough, until the pair uncover a crazed band of terrorists, a destructive ghost with an odd sense of humor, and an inconvenient attraction to each other.

Neither have time for love, and Ian is the embodiment of everything that went wrong with Quinn’s first marriage. But Love doesn’t care.

 Available at:


Barnes & Noble




New York Times bestselling, RWA Hall of Fame author Eileen Dreyer has published 31 romance novels in most genres, 8 medical­forensic suspenses, and 10 short stories.

2016 sees Eileen enjoying critical acclaim for her foray into historical romance, the Drake’s Rakes series, which Eileen labels as Regency Romantic Adventure that follows a group of Regency aristocrats who are willing to sacrifice everything to keep their country safe. She is also working on her first non­fiction book, TRAVELS WITH DAVE, about a journey she’s been taking with a friend’s ashes.

A retired trauma nurse, Eileen lives in her native St. Louis with her husband, children, and

large and noisy Irish family, of which she is the reluctant matriarch. She has animals but refuses to subject them to the limelight.



Twitter: @eileendreyer


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