Q&A with Sara Ramsey and excerpt from Duke of Thorns

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00003]Tell us about your latest release!

My latest book, Duke of Thorns, came out in November. It’s the start of a new Regency historical series (The Heiress Games), which features three female cousins who are competing for Maidenstone Abbey, a grand inheritance that only one of them can win. The first book is about Callista (Callie) Briarley, the American cousin with a secret background as a privateer. She meets her match with Gavin, the Duke of Thorington, who wants to secure her fortune for his brother – never expecting to fall in love with her himself.

What was your favorite part about writing Duke of Thorns?

I had two favorite parts. The first was learning more about privateering during the War of 1812, because I’m a huge history dork. The story is set entirely in Britain (with a prologue on the high seas), but reading about the naval history of the War of 1812 was really interesting to me.

And the second part was watching the chemistry develop between Callie and Thorington. I had more fun writing their dialogue than anything I’ve ever written before – they definitely surprised me with how witty (and sometimes warm) they could be with each other.

The Duke of Thorington was the villain in the last book of your previous series (The Earl Who Played With Fire, Muses of Mayfair #4). How did you turn him into a hero?

Sometime, somewhere, I read that every villain is the hero of his own story. Thorington was definitely a villain in Earl, and he did some despicable things. But his motives were perhaps more pure than the characters in that book imagined. It was really fun (albeit difficult and nervewracking) to figure out his character and how to redeem him without losing all the dark edges that made him such an interesting secondary character. You’ll have to tell me whether I succeeded!


And now, an excerpt from Duke of Thorns:

When she heard the scratching, she thought it was a rat.

“Of course there would be rats,” she muttered to herself. Lucretia had probably instructed the servants to release a plague ship’s worth of rats into the Tudor wing — it seemed like something her cousin would do.

But Callie had seen enough rats in the dockyards to be unconcerned. And anyway, it hadn’t awoken her. Despite her exhaustion, her cot wasn’t comfortable enough to lull her racing mind into sleep. Still, she turned toward the wall and tried to think of something else.

There wasn’t anything better to think of than the rat. What else should she think about? Whether her ships had been captured yet? Why Lucretia seemed to hate her? Why Thorington was so intriguing?

Definitely not Thorington. Never mind that she’d sensed him watching her throughout dinner.

Never mind that some perverse part of her wished she’d been seated next to him.

It was good that she hadn’t been. She might have tried to catch his gaze, to see if she could surprise a laugh out of him. She might have hung on his words, waiting to see whether he said something titillating. He was the most aggravating man at the party — but he was also the most interesting.

She was being a ninnyhammer. Thorington was the devil. And Ferguson had made it clear that she couldn’t win Maidenstone with him at her side.

She punched her pillow and vowed to sleep.

The scratching stopped — to be followed, a moment later, by the door handle turning. Only a servant would enter like that. “Did you bring me a warming pan, Mrs. Jennings?” she asked, still facing the wall.

Compared to the sweltering heat of Baltimore, Devonshire was frigid. But it wasn’t Mrs. Jennings who answered. “If it’s warmth you need, I might be of service.”

Thorington. His voice, dark and commanding, was already something she recognized instinctively, different as it was from all the hesitant second sons and half-grown whelps she’d met that night.

He stepped inside and shut the door before she could gather her thoughts. “Why are you here?” she asked, sitting up and pulling the covers around her.

“Still not willing to call me ‘your grace’?” he responded.

That winnowed out the pleasant feelings and brought her anger to the fore. “I’d sooner toss you into the harbor and declare independence again than do so,” she said.

He smiled. “Willful wench. Your strength might be commendable were it not set against me.”

She wasn’t frightened — in fact, if she were being honest, she was vastly intrigued — but she knew better than to encourage him. “My strength will remain set against you. Now take your leave before we’re ruined.”

Thorington placed his candle on the table and pulled the rickety chair forward. “I do not plan to ruin you at the moment. I came with a business proposition.”

Callie knew enough of the world to guess what he meant. A business proposition from a man of his status could only mean one thing. “I won’t be your mistress, no matter how much you offer.”

His frown was visible even in the shifting darkness. “I wouldn’t dishonor you like that.”

“What else would you offer?” she asked. “I can’t think of any other business between us. And Ferguson made it clear you’re not to be trusted. So you must be here to ruin me.”

Thorington sighed. “I am disappointed to find you have the morality of the middle classes. But you’re not screaming yet, so there’s that. I may be able to make an aristocrat of you after all.”

She gaped at him. Why had she wanted to sit by him at dinner? The man was mad. No, he was worse than mad. He was entirely amoral. And she was even more so — she was too wrapped up in delicious anticipation of his next move to be offended.

“Of course, I cannot make an aristocrat of you if you’re incapable of speech,” he said, examining his cuticles.

She couldn’t let him know how much he intrigued her. “I find I dislike you too much to speak to you.”


If you enjoyed the excerpt, DUKE OF THORNS is available in ebook on all major retailers; the paperback is coming shortly. You can buy it by clicking the links below. Happy reading!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PE72PK2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00PE72PK2

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/duke-of-thorns/id939301178

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/duke-of-thorns

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/duke-of-thorns-sara-ramsey/1120701473?ean=2940150755321

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=8qk9BQAAQBAJ


About the author:

Sara Ramsey writes fun, feisty Regency historical romances. She has great taste in Champagne, bad taste in movies, and a penchant for tiaras. She also believes in taking naps, wearing sunglasses at night, and using Oxford commas. Sara currently lives in San Francisco, California, where she can be found drinking overly-artistic lattes and working on her next Regency historical romance. You can find out more about her books at www.sararamsey.com.



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