Miranda Neville and the Duke!

mir 1Someone who always makes me laugh at her wit, both in person and in print, is the wonderful Miranda Neville. I’m delighted today to host her for a return visit to the lair. She’s here to tell us about the fourth book in her wonderful Wild Quartet, THE DUKE OF DARK DESIRES.

Just a quick alert – I’m travelling today so will only be able to pop in intermittently (hoping I can get onto the internet). In the meantime, I’ll leave you in Miranda’s capable hands.

Here’s the blurb:

Wanted: Governess able to keep all hours . . .

miranda 1Rebellious Julian Fortescue never expected to inherit a dukedom, nor to find himself guardian to three young half-sisters. Now in the market for a governess, he lays eyes on Jane Grey and knows immediately she is qualified–to become his mistress. Yet the alluring woman appears impervious to him. Somehow Julian must find a way to make her succumb to temptation . . . without losing his heart and revealing the haunting mistakes of his past.

Lady Jeanne de Falleron didn’t seek a position as a governess simply to fall into bed with the Duke of Denford. Under the alias of Jane Grey, she must learn which of the duke’s relatives is responsible for the death of her family–and take her revenge. She certainly can’t afford the distraction of her darkly irresistible employer, or the smoldering desire he ignites within her.

Miranda 6But as Jane discovers more clues about the villain she seeks, she’s faced with a possibility more disturbing than her growing feelings for Julian: What will she do if the man she loves is also the man she’s sworn to kill?

Ooh, doesn’t that sound intriguing? You can find out more about Miranda and her wonderful books at her website: www.mirandaneville.com

Miranda, a very warm welcome back to the Romance Bandits. It’s been a while between drinks. Lovely to have you back in the lair. Firstly, can you tell us about your new release from Avon, THE DUKE OF DARK DESIRES? Fabulous cover, by the way.

Miranda 5The Cover Gods, to whom writers make regular obeisance, have mostly been good to me; in this case they earned a slew of extra votive candles. My shriek of delight when I saw this baby could probably be heard in Australia.

What were the inspirations behind this story?

Julian, Duke of Denford, has appeared in the previous three books of The Wild Quartet series. I always had a plan for him and I’ve dropped vague hints about his traumatic past, but the details didn’t come into focus until I started his book, THE DUKE OF DARK DESIRES. All I knew is that he was haunted by the betrayal and execution of an aristocratic family during the French Revolution. His heroine would be a survivor of that family, out for revenge.

Miranda 4The back story of the French Revolutionary Terror is, of course, heavily influenced by Dickens’ A TALE OF TWO CITIES and the Scarlet Pimpernel stories. In researching the history I learned that there were many English in Paris when the Bastille fell in 1789 and they continued to visit for the next few years until it became too dangerous and France and Great Britain went to war. At that point Julian Fortescue was a mere mister and making his way in life as a dealer in paintings. Later he inherited the dukedom from a third cousin, as so often happens in historical romance! When the story starts he has also inherited the guardianship of three young half sisters. Enter our heroine Jeanne de Falleron, aka Jane Grey, the governess with murder on her mind. But she doesn’t know that the “Mr. Fortescue” she seeks is actually her employer the duke. She falls in love with him before she knows she wants to kill him. Awkward.

Miranda 3Jeanne/Jane’s family owned a fabulous collection of art that is now in Julian’s possession. When the collection is finally revealed I had a marvellous time ransacking the art galleries of the world to find paintings that were similar to the Falleron collection, including those illustrating this blog.

Love it when you talk art, my friend! What’s coming up next?

I’m working on a new historical series but I’m not ready to reveal any details. I have an “under-the-bed” book about an opera singer that’s a labor of love for me – you and I share a love of classical music, Anna. I hope to find time to revise and self-publish it this year. (I also planned to do it last year so don’t hold your breath, ladies.)

Miranda 7I notice you have a story “The Best Laid Planner” out in the recent anthology AT THE BILLIONAIRE’S WEDDING. I’d love to hear more about this! It seems to be a slight departure from your usual territory.

In 2013 Maya Rodale, Caroline Linden, Katharine Ashe and I published an anthology of connected stories called AT THE DUKE’S WEDDING. We wanted to collaborate again and it turned out we all had a hankering to tackle something contemporary. That’s the beauty of self-publishing—you can do anything you want. Maya had written a series of novellas about a Bad Boy Billionaire Duke Austen and his historical romance writing girlfriend Jane. She kindly lent us her characters and we set the stories around their wedding—in an English stately home, naturally. My heroine Arwen (yay, I got to pick a LORD OF THE RINGS name instead of being limited to Regency appropriate monikers) is the New York wedding planner who has to pull together an event in a foreign country at very short notice. In this she is helped and sometimes hindered by Harry Compton, who seems to know everything about Brampton House. Is he merely the handyman or does he own the place? Either way he’s hot as hell and a distraction Arwen doesn’t need.

Miranda 2Writing contemporary was enormous fun and very challenging. Never say it doesn’t require research! If you read the anthology you’ll know why I never want to hear the words “internet connection” again. With an American heroine and an English hero I had to watch the language with every line of dialogue or point of view switch. And while it was relaxing not to have to police myself for modernisms, I had the opposite problem with my characters tending to lapse into Regency speak.

miranda 8That sounds like great fun. Seeing it’s so close to new year, what are your plans apart from your writing for 2015?

Funny you should ask that. My big plan for the year comes in October when I’m going to London with my writer friends Megan Mulry and Anne Calhoun to see Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet. A little bird told me that I might overlap with a certain Australian romance writer while I’m there!

I hear that Aussie romance writer is a real jet setter! 🙂 Do you have a question to get the conversation rolling, Miranda?

Do you have travel plans for 2015? London? Paris? Timbuktoo? Dayton, Ohio? What’s getting you into your car or onto a plane this year?

BanditBootyGet commenting, people! Miranda has very generously offered someone who responds to her post today a copy of THE DUKE OF DARK DESIRES (international). Good luck!

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  • Kaelee says:

    No travel plans here as we are nursing a very sick cat.

  • Jane says:

    Congrats on the new release, Miranda. No definite travel plans for 2015. My cousin is getting married and he’s thinking about a destination wedding, so maybe we’ll get to go somewhere warm like Hawaii.

  • Helen says:

    Congrats on the new release Miranda I really need to catch up on this series hopefully now that I have retired I will get more time to read 🙂

    I have just come back from a cruise to New Zealand which we loved and we have put a deposit down for another cruise but we haven’t decided on what one yet and when I do have my fingers crossed that it will be sometime this year though other than that I am off to Canberra in March for The Australian romance Reader Association convention and the list of finalists in the awards have just been release today and well done Anna and Christina 🙂

    Have Fun

  • Amy Conley says:

    Well I did. Spend a. Goodly amount of time jn Dayton this past year, this probably only in August.
    Next week I am hoping to get out of the cold and head to Fl. And about every 4 to 6 eeeks I go to hesapeake, Vd, whi h leads me to the outer Banks kn North Caroljna. I’m also trying to talk my fil into doing a Route 66 trip, from beginning to end.

  • Mary Preston says:

    I wish I had some great travel plans on the horizon. Apart from visiting my mother up on the Sunshine Coast, I will be armchair travelling only. That actually makes me smile.

  • Franca Poli says:

    More than a piano is my one wish for 2015 …. go visit London! I hope to succeed.

  • Sally Schmidt says:

    Congrats on the release.

    Nothing exotic but special anyway – after a year of surgeries and house projects and things that just kept us at home, we are going to catch up on visits to great-grandbabies. 4 in Texas and 1 to be born in Colorado.

  • Shannon says:

    I plan on making one or two trips to Spokane WA this year to visit my Mom. One of those trips will be to travel somewhere on the Oregon Coast for my brother’s wedding. Mom cycles between doing really well to not so good; the trip to Oregon will take two days because she simply cannot sit in a car 12-14 hours.

    But I also have to take time to move.

    As for big travel, I am planning a trip in 2016 (unlikely) or 2017 to the UK.

    BTW, I loved the Duke of Dark Desires, not only are the hero/heroine entrancing so were the three step-sisters. The cover is lovely, but I hesitated to buy it because I was afraid it was erotica. It isn’t.

  • Shannon says:

    Urgh, not step-sisters… half sisters. Blame it on soggy brain after 5-day holiday.

  • Maureen says:

    Congratulations to Miranda on her new book! It looks like a good one. This year our son graduates from college and our daughter is getting married so that will keep us busy.

  • Ellen Griffith says:

    I was planning on going on a few trips to various places this year….then found out my oldest daughter is pregnant with twins due in July…my first child is grandchildren …..so it’s okay that I won’t be traveling this year cause I’m one excited grandma to be……#grandmaoftwins2015

  • Laurie G says:

    My son will be in Moab , Utah. We hope to get there in July to visit several of the parks in the are and Colorado: Canyon Land, Arches, Dinosaur National Monument, Gunnison etc

  • Sheryl says:

    I have no travel plans this year, except to take my son to his yearly doctors appointment in Shreveport, LA.

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    No travel plans, only the places I travel when I read!

  • Linda says:

    I’m hoping to visit my sister for her birthday. The last time I visited her I fell & fractured my wrist. Hoping for a less exciting visit this time!

  • Jill says:

    Not going anywhere special, maybe Minnesota, which is only 5 hours away

  • Diane Patricia Diamond says:

    I’m hoping to go home to England this year for a holiday. I was taken ill when I was there last year, so I really didn’t get to enjoy myself. I missed out on so much that was planned.

    Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year to one and all.

  • Kelly Lawhin-Hammond says:

    Miranda I LOVED this book!!!! I just finished it on my Kindle. This is hands down my favorite out off all your books I have read. Can’t wait for then next Miranda Neville book I can get my hands on.

  • jcp says:

    Just a family wedding this summer by car (in state)

  • Hi Miranda –

    Your latest sounds delicious! WIshing you great sales with this one.

    I’m traveling on behalf of RWA to Houston, New York City and San Diego this year, and to Branson MO for a family reunion. My husband is hinting at other travel plans but those haven’t been worked out. This gray, cold skies of Ohio always inspire travel 🙂

  • Kim says:

    Congratulations on the new release. I haven’t read any of your books, but after seeing all the good reviews for this one, I just started Lady Windemere’s Lover. I’m enjoying it. It’s always nice discovering a new author to read.

    As for your question, I don’t have any travel plans as of yet.

  • Joanna M says:

    That cover is one of my favorites as well! So much sensuality and mystery, I loved it =D
    Is there any way I can accompany you ladies as your humble servant on that trip? I’m really quiet, can carry luggage like the best of them, and can give a mean foot massage, oh, but do expect a few squeals of delight when I see Mr. Cumberbatch on scene hehe 😉

  • catslady says:

    I’m afraid we got our travel in the first 15 yrs. of our marriage and then we had kids…we’ve done some family trips but now it’s been a while. I loved everything about traveling and hope it’s in my future some day! Congratulations on your newest – sounds really good!

  • Barbara Elness says:

    My travel plans are to do the same thing I did last year, fly to Las Vegas to visit my son, and then have my sister come pick me up and take me to her house near Palm Springs. I miss them all so much since I live in Florida, so it’s my chance to see my family when I go on vacation.

  • LOVE that cover, Miranda! GORGEOUS !!

    And I am so looking forward to reading this one. I’ve been dying to know what makes Julian tick!

    I have no firm travel plans this year other than going to RWA in New York. It looks like the sales of Christmas Revels with my debut novella will be financing that trip. How cool is that!

    I really want to travel to see some of the Waterloo Bicentennial events, but we will have to wait and see what the finances do.

    No blizzard her in the Deep South, but by midweek our temperatures are supposed to dip into the teens with below zero wind chills. YUCK !!

    • Oh good, I’ll see you in New York, Louisa. Congratulations on your debut and its success!

      I visited the Waterloo battle field many years ago – fascinating as long as you’ve read up on the battle in advance. I hope you make it to the celebrations.

      • And I meant to say I am deep, dark forest green with envy of you seeing Mr. Cumberbatch in Hamlet !! He is an absolutely amazing actor. I recently watched August : Osage County and was completely blown away by his performance. It was a small part, but simply an amazing transformation. Even nailed the Okie accent.

    • Louisa, that’s a fantastic bit of news about your novella. Congratulations! Yes, it’s a big year for Regency bods.

  • Christine Woinich says:

    Love the idea and history behind this story. My travel plans will probably be threefold. There will be a week or so trip to western Canada to visit family, a week trip to Florida or somewhere south, and the possibility of a one week trip to Scout camp somewhere local. I live in New York where the winters can be cold, but all the trips will be late spring to early fall when it is warmer everywhere.

  • Marcy Shuler says:

    Hi Miranda (and Anna)! I’m in love with your gorgeous cover. I can’t recall another mostly black romance cover, but it fits the title so well.

    I have no plans for travel in 2015. I have several health issues that make it difficult. That’s why I love to travel through books. 😉

  • Lisa White says:

    We’re taking our daughters to Washington, DC. They are at University and College right now so it will be a real treat for all of us. Plus the fact that we’ve never been on a real vacation with just the four of us.

  • Fedora says:

    Like Lisa, we’re pondering Washington DC–still need to nab plane tickets and get down to the real planning! Eeep! Congrats on the new release, Miranda!

  • Anita H. says:

    Hi Miranda and Anna! Congrats on your new book, Miranda, I am so looking forward to reading it! The premise is very intriguing and I can’t wait to find out who the villain is!!!! I’ve no plans to travel in the near future but I do love to “travel” vicariously through others who are fortunate enough to visit other locales.

  • Thanks to everyone who swung by to say hello to Miranda and wish her well with THE DUKE OF DARK DESIRES. Thanks to Miranda for being such a great guest.

    Don’t forget to check back to see who won the book!

  • SecretNinja says:

    Sorry I missed you Miranda, The Duke of Dark Desires sounds so fabulous! Alas, no out of country vacay plans for me since circumstances doesn’t allow for it, maybe some day trips out of the city would be in the works. But I would love to go visit England and Scotland one day!