Guest Author & Giveaway: Grace Burrowes featuring The Soldier

Wednesday, June 1

There are many things that I love about historical romances, but as with any good book it usually all comes down to the characters.  And there are two types of characters that I am a sucker for....ones that will make me pick up a book even if it is from an unknown author.  They are war heroes/veterans and governesses (there are others, but these are two of my favs).  

I find war veterans in historical romance to be fascinating (hello, anyone love Elizabeth Hoyt's Lord Vale from To Seduce a Sinner as much as I do?), and governesses, well I can explain that easily with two words, Jane Eyre.  Love them both!  So it should come as no surprise that I was doubly drawn to Grace Burrowes newest historical romance, The Soldier because not only does it have a war veteran hero, but the heroine is a governess!  Author Grace Burrowes is my guest today to share a bit about the characters from The Soldier.  Read and enjoy!

Welcome back to Seductive Musings Grace! You were last here with the release of your debut historical romance The Heir, and your newest book in the series is The Soldier. Can you tell us a little bit about the books in this series, how many there might be, and how they are all connected?

We started out with a trilogy for the three brothers, Gayle, Devlin, and Valentine, and then decided rather than turning to some of the prequels or related books we’d write books for their five sisters. The next book to hit the shelves will be Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish, in October, followed in November by Valentine’s story, The Virtuoso. The remaining four sisters will follow starting next spring.

If you had an opportunity to provide only a two or three sentence "teaser" quote from The Soldier, to grab the attention of potential readers and give them a glimpse and feeling of what the story is about what would it be?

“I left the better part of my sanity on battlefields all over France and Spain. I am a bastard, regardless of whose bastard, and I will fare best if I maintain a mundane little existence here in the most isolated reaches of society, where I can stink of horses and spend most of my day outdoors. …I never know when a sound or a word or a memory will rise up and shoot me out of my saddle. Sometimes I drink too much, and often I want to drink too much. But I am human, Emmie. I will not shackle myself to a woman who feels only pity and gratitude and affectionate tolerance for me. I won’t.”

Your hero, Devlin St. Just, is a soldier recently returned from the war, only to find himself an instant father figure and manager of an estate all while coping with the stresses of readjusting to a “normal” life.   Can you tell us what a soldier from this time period might expect upon his return?  Was it fame and glory, or something else? And how did soldiers in the Regency period cope with what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

One factor relevant to PTSD is the reception a solider gets upon mustering out, and in Regency times, soldiering against the Corsican Menace was much respected and honorable. It was also more of a career, the Napoleonic wars alone lasting for much of twenty consecutive years. To the extent soldiers were in the British army by choice (rather than drafted or impressed) and to the extent they were respected for what they accomplished, there were factors mitigating against severe PTSD.

There were a lot more factors mitigating in favor of it. Boys joined up at very young ages, battles were horrifically brutal, and medical and psychological care limited. Waterloo alone saw 50,000 casualties, and when a soldier was wounded too badly to fight, he was summarily mustered out. Officers could be kept at half pay, but the enlisted man of lower rank was left to shift for himself. As the post-war economy in Britain encountered difficulties, these wounded vets left to beg or depend on charity became a national scandal—while Prinny spent a fortune on his pretty Pavilion and art collections.

Your Hero in The Soldier meets his heroine, Emmaline, because he becomes responsible for Bronwyn, the previous estate owner’s rambunctious daughter.  Tell us a little bit about the story, as well as about the relationships between Devlin and Bronwyn and Devlin and Emmaline. What it was like having Devlin, a tough and brawny soldier, become an almost instant father-figure? And what do you think will make readers, much like Emmaline, fall in love with him?

Before Devlin was a cavalry officer, he was an older brother to nine half-siblings. Before THAT, he was half-orphaned himself in the transition from his mother’s household to that of the duke and duchess. Devlin fell into the role of his siblings’ protector, and thus becoming a soldier was in some ways a natural progression for him. But just as the habits of command served him when dealing with Winnie, the ingrained loyalty and protectiveness of an older brother made war particularly hard on him.

This book is in some ways his attempt to come to terms with the relationship between loving and fighting—something a lot of us deal with. When are we being fierce out of love, and when are we being destructive? Devlin’s protective instincts, buried under all the violence and trauma, are what save him in the end. That he has the courage to seek his own redemption makes him a hero worth reading.

What's your favorite scene or moment from The Soldier, and why? Can you describe it (or provide a short excerpt) for us without giving too much away?

swivet about the imperative nature of making one’s bed or some such baloney. I was bellowing and carrying on at a great rate when my daughter drew herself up to her shrimpy height, propped her hands on her hips, and hissed back at me, “Don’t you talk backwards to me, Mommy!” She had no idea what she was saying, but by God, she had the tone of voice, the posture, the indignation just right. So too, does little Winnie try to fake her way through her initial dealings with Devlin (who’s also winging it, little does Winnie know).

What are five fun facts about this book that readers would love to know?

  1. Devlin St. Just stuttered until he was at university (out of the duke’s household). I don’t think I do more than allude to this fact and I’m glad I didn’t, or people would think I lifted it from “The King’s Speech.”
  2. Back before complex carbs got on my list of Do Not Eats, I made all of our bread from scratch. There’s therapeutic value in punching down a big old batch of dough.
  3. Emmie and Winnie share a similar birthmark.
  4. Horses have a preferred side, just as we have left- and right-handed dominance. The horse will often be more flexible on one side and more straight on the other, though nobody is quite sure why. One theory is it has to do with the way the fetal horse develops in the womb, but the proportion of right-flexible horses to left-flexible horses is the same as for left-handed people to right-handed people, about seven to one.
  5. To pass the time in Spain, Devlin learned some trick riding and haute ecole from the locals.

Can you tell us about some of your upcoming releases, or new projects that we can look forward to?

Devlin, Gayle and Valentine all make an appearance in Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish. and the sisters’ stories will continue in 2012 with Lady Maggie’s story. Next summer will see the launch of a new series dealing with Scottish noblemen and set early in Victoria’s reign.

If you could ask readers a question what would it be?

What is the hardest challenge an author can put before her hero or heroine, and what book or books do you think have done this best?

Finally, just for fun…if you could write the “fortune” in a fortune cookie what would it be?

Be kind, tell the truth, and may life go well for you.

Even in the quiet countryside he can find no peace...

His idyllic estate is falling down from neglect and nightmares of war give him no rest. Then Devlin St. Just meets his new neighbor...

Until his beautiful neighbor ignites his imagination...

With her confident manner hiding a devastating secret, his lovely neighbor commands all of his attention, and protecting Emmaline becomes Deviln’s most urgent mission.

Congratulations Grace on your newest release!  The Heir , which was Grace's debut novel, was listed as one of the Best Books of 2010 by Publishers Weekly, received 4 stars from Romantic Times, and was a NYT e-book bestseller...I have no doubt that The Soldier will be following in it's footsteps.  

If you'd like to learn more about Grace Burrowes and the books she writes you can find her at her website, her blog, Facebook, and she is also a contributing author to the website Blame It On The Muse.  Her next book in the series, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish, is scheduled to release later this year in October, with The Virtuoso to be released the following month in November 2011.

To celebrate the release of The Soldier by Grace Burrowes, her publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca would like to giveaway a copy of the book to TWO lucky Musings followers.  Here's how you can enter to win...

Ways to earn entries:
  • Mandatory:  Answer the question Grace asked readers in the interview (good for 1 entry)
  • Mandatory: You MUST be a Google Friend Connect (GFC) follower in order to be eligible to win (unfortunately an email subscriber, or subscription in Google reader, and a follower are not the same thing so make sure you are signed up as a follower if you'd like to win this book)
  • If you have a blog, or even if you don't, you can earn extra entries by telling your friends. If they successfully enter to win and mention that you sent them you can each earn extra entries. You can blog about it with a link to this post, post it on Facebook, Twitter, email...or even word of mouth (good for 5 entries for the referrer and the commenter for each friend) . Please note that to earn the points they must mention your GFC name so that I can match you.
  • Purchase any item from the Seductive Musings Amazon store by using this link, or the Amazon widget contained within this post and email a copy of your purchase receipt to me no later than the deadline to enter (email available in sidebar). Sorry purchases made prior to this date do not apply, and link contained in this post must be used. No faxes or snail mail copies are allowed. No purchases are necessary to win. (good for 25 entries, or 50 entries if a purchase is made from the featured author's available titles)
How to enter:
  • You can choose to enter as many different ways that you want, but please place all of your entries in ONE comment 
Rules and disclaimers:
  • This contest is open to US & Canada addresses only
  • You must be at least 18 years or older, or of legal age in your country
  • The contest will end on June 4th at 11:59 pm EST and winner will be posted after they have been selected
  • Winner(s) will be selected using
  • The winner(s) will have THREE days from the date they are posted to provide a mailing address. If you do not contact me within three days a replacement winner will be selected. NO EXCEPTIONS
  • The book(s) will be mailed directly from the publisher or author and no substitutions are allowed
  • Winners will be subject to one copy per household, which means that if you win the same title in two or more contests, that you will only receive one copy of the title in the mail
  • Seductive Musings is not responsible for prizes that are not honored, distributed in a timely manner, lost, stolen, or damaged during transit 
  • All giveaways are subject to change/cancellation without prior written notice
Good Luck!

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Johanna J,  June 1, 2011 at 12:45 AM  

Wow, what a question! One of my favorite authors Mary Balogh writes some tough and emotional books. The heroes and heroines are often very flawed, single mothers, physically scared or injured or have had dealings with emotional or physical and sexual abuse. These are always hard topics to write about and still have awesome love story. Ms. Balogh does them so well. You want to laugh and cry right along with the characters. I love books that make me feel tons of emotions.
Thanks for sharing with us today. I'm looking forward to reading The Soldier!

I want a fortune cookie to tell me I will have a endless supply of free romance books in the near future. LOL! I didn't know what else to write!



answerd questions
GFC follower

Jane June 1, 2011 at 2:37 AM  

Congrats on the new release, Grace. I loved your debut. I think it's difficult to show the internal conflicts of the hero and heroine in addition to the external. It's hard to show turmoil going inside their hearts and mind. I think Anna Campbell does this well.

GFC follower

Maureen June 1, 2011 at 6:06 AM  

Congratulations on the new book and all your success Grace. It's a tough question you asked but I think one of the toughest things an author can do to the characters is to make them not too likable, that is, human. The problem is that if I don't like the characters then I might stop reading the story. Recently, I started reading Jacquie D'Alessandro's latest, Summer at Seaside Cove, and the hero and heroine seemed argumentive and self involved but then it changed and they became people I wanted to read about.
I follow on GFC
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Grace Burrowes June 1, 2011 at 7:25 AM  

Johanna--Mary Balogh is one of those, "Why can't she write faster?!" authors, though she writes plenty quickly. I buy her books in hardcover the day they come out, and talk about a gift for pacing!

Jane--I'm an Anna Campbell fan too. Love her heroes!

Jackie--You make a good point about a protag having to be flawed if they're to have some sort of character arc in the story. It's a tough balance, between making them empathetic for their strengths, but also empathetic for their faults.

Hope you all find that Devlin and Emmie measure up to the high standards of the authors you've mentioned!

Soft Fuzzy Sweater June 1, 2011 at 8:25 AM  

I just started reading "The Heir" and I am HOOKED! I amso glad I don't have to wait years to read more from Ms. Burrowes. Please enter me!


Grace Burrowes June 1, 2011 at 9:04 AM  

Ann--You are the reader my publisher has in mind when they schedule the release of four books in a twelve month period. Please clone yourself about a zillion times and (is this fun to write or what?) READ FASTER. Thanks! Grace

Tore June 1, 2011 at 9:17 AM  

Congratulations on your new release. I would put in a fortune cookie you are going to meet the man of your dreams. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read your books.

Grace Burrowes June 1, 2011 at 9:47 AM  

Then I wish you the best possible dreams! If you have a e-reader, you can download "The Heir" (prequel to "The Soldier") for 89 cents (have to love that promotional pricing).

Mary June 1, 2011 at 12:45 PM  

Oh what a question. But right off the top of my head the first set of books that came to mind was the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton. In it she has dealt with disfigurement, rape, and a few other things that I thought were handled in ways that some could relate too. Of course it's fiction and not all the outcomes are going to be nice, but it was the first author and books that came to mind.

I like the fact that the characters have real life problems that readers might be able to connect with, and make them seem more real for us.

I really love it when I can get more than one book in a series per year, because I really hate waiting for them. lol

GFC follower.

Grace Burrowes June 1, 2011 at 12:58 PM  

Mary, there are a lot of writers who can finish more than one MS a year, but not all publishers can or will get more than one book per author on the shelves each year. I'm lucky to work with Sourcebooks--I'm not sure where else a debut author could get the publication schedule I have for my first year in print.

And Laurell K. Hamilton? She does know how to torture her protags and use misfortune to make them more human, not less.

Artemis June 1, 2011 at 4:51 PM  

I feel the hardest challenge is telling the truth. When lies are present in a relationship, the relationship takes on a life complete different than intended. Overcoming the lies, and developing true love and honesty is always the hardest hurdle. One book that did that very well was ENTWINED by Elisabeth Naughton. The main characters were lied to and deceived causing havoc and mayhem. Great read too!

Robin K June 1, 2011 at 5:29 PM  

That is a hard question. I think the biggest challenge would be death of a loved one. As far as books that did that best.... hummmmmm. It is such a sensitive subject that many authors avoid it. I think the Outlander books deal a bit with this.

I am a follower.

robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

Danielle Gorman June 1, 2011 at 6:33 PM  

I can't wait to read this book. I am loving this series so far and I have to admit that I seriously love your covers. I love the pastel colors. They are so delicate and sensual at the same time.

I think it's always hard when an author throws in unexpected death of loved ones are sexual abuse. I think JR Ward has done exeptionally well at this.

Grace Burrowes June 1, 2011 at 6:43 PM  

Artemis--You make a perceptive point. There's a feeling among authors that the middle of the book can be very hard to write, but I approach it as the place where trust has to be built, and next thing I know, the middle is written.

And a hero once told me with regard to lying, "Once you break the rules, there are no rules." Don't know if it's original with him, but I think it's guy-speak for the point you're making.

Grace Burrowes June 1, 2011 at 6:47 PM  

Hiya, Robin! When I'm thinking of trouble to put on the line for my characters, you're right: It never even occurs to me to try something as overwhelming as death of a loved one.
The closest I got was a scene having a suffering horse put down, and I still felt I was violating some sort of taboo when I wrote it.

Grace Burrowes June 1, 2011 at 6:50 PM  

Danielle, Glad you're enjoying the series. If you (or anybody) wants some excerpts of books to come, send me an email at Douglas, Lord Amery, has a book; Greymoor has a book, Heathgate has a book, and the books are drafted for five of Westhaven's siblings. (I do LOVE to write.)

And JR Ward is on my keeper shelf, too. Love her dialogue, love her humor, love her everything.

LilMissMolly June 1, 2011 at 9:05 PM  

Hard question. I really enjoy books that have an element of mystery to them. Julie Garwood's old historicals are some of my favorites.

Anonymous,  June 3, 2011 at 8:57 AM  

I think two of the first romances I ever read showed difficulties that would be hard to deal with. The first romance I ever read was THE PRIZE by Julie Garwood. Not long after that I read THE WOLF AND THE DOVE by Kathleen Woodiwiss. In both cases, the heroine is the daughter of a defeated lord. Her life and her family has been destroyed. She has gone from a position of respect and authority to one of captive and servant. The hero in both cases is a warrior. Both are trying to prove themselves and gain standing and status as well as military victory. Both face being resented and hated for being the invader and new "master" who destroyed these peoples' lives.

I am a GFC Follower as librarypat.

librarypat AT comcast DOT net

Pam S (pams00),  June 3, 2011 at 5:05 PM  

Soo can't wait to read your books Grace, they sound so captivating. Congrats on all of the upcomings as well :)!

That is a tough question. I'd say character development. Their is a fine line it seems to making characters human, likable, and interesting. I love flawed characters and protrags that are a bid jaded and even arrogant, however I want there to be some sort of believable redeeming point and self growth present throughout the story. A transition of sorts should take place along the way from beginning to end - not just a 180 or in some cases a 360 at the very end. I think Elizabeth Boyle, and Julia Quinn do great jobs on character development.

Pam S
gfc - pams00
pams00 @

lindalou June 5, 2011 at 6:43 PM  

I think the hardest part for the author is to write to ensure that the reader connects to the book's characters. If there's no connection, the book will not speak to the reader.
I've read so many books that do that. It's hard to think of just one... I see others have mentioned books by Kathleen Woodiwiss... A more recent book that connects well that I've read would be Discovery of Witches...
Thanks for the giveaway!

Meredith June 8, 2011 at 6:04 PM  

Wow...hard question. In my life, I think if I ever lost one of my children, it would be the hardest thing that I could go through. I don't think I've read any books that handled this well.

meredithfl at gmail dot com

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