Guest Author & Giveaway: Carrie Lofty featuring Flawless

Monday, September 26

I love history...maybe it's one of the reasons why I love historical romances so much, but it's definitely a very good reason why I am so drawn to my guest author's stories.  Author Carrie Lofty is my guest today to share a bit about being a romance risk taker, and her new historical romance Flawless.  Read and enjoy!

Welcome to Seductive Musings, Carrie! For you, what makes a romance novel a great love story, and what makes writing historical romances so compellingly seductive to your muse?

I grew up fascinated by history, starting with topics such as the Lincoln assassination, the Pony Express, Old West gunfighters (the subject of my master’s thesis), and World War II. My dad had a lot to do with that appreciation. We played those ancient things called board games—Risk and Heir to the Empire, which was about the conquest of Roman Europe! But I was by no means a military historian. I was always interested in the personal stories behind the facts, and when I hit my teens years, I was pretty much sunk. A hopeless romantic! I found love connections everywhere, and when they weren’t there in the stark facts of history books, I made them up in my mind. History + romance = my life ever since.

You are considered a romance risk taker...for instance, setting your stories in locales other than the ballrooms and parlors of Regency England.  What other things do you think makes your stories different and more venturesome?

I don’t think I’m afraid of the history, if that makes sense. It’s not window-dressing for me. It can’t be, really. I’ve spent too many years taking the historical detail seriously, delving into the circumstances that made people behave as they did. So I don’t flinch from tackling difficult topics such as opium addiction, warfare, and unpleasant aspects of the 19th century push toward industrialization.

Some readers enjoy a rosier picture, more like a fairy tale, which I completely, utterly understand. It can be hard enough to live real life without messes from the past! I enjoy seeing that there was adversity—that not everything was rosy, with conflicts generated by propriety alone. I love it when two people find one another and make a love match in spite of the occasional unpleasantness of life. To me it makes the happy ending all the more precious.

Your newest novel, FLAWLESS, is the first book in your new Victorian series revolving around the Christie family. Can you tell us a little bit about the books in this series, how many there might be, and how they are all connected?

Right now the series is tentatively planned as four books and one novella. Natural industry changes may affect that, but two books are “in the can” so to speak. In the series, the four Christies siblings—born to three different mothers—have gathered for the reading of their father’s will. But rather than bequeathing riches, the successful industrialist has left each of his children a challenge: make a failing business successful within two years to receive a hefty million-dollar bonus, or be disinherited. Each sibling deals with the emotional aspects of this challenge very differently, depending on their status within the family and their relationship with Sir William.

So book one, FLAWLESS, centers around Vivienne and her estranged husband as they make work together—very grudgingly—to make a diamond brokerage profitable. STARLIGHT, which follows big brother Alex to Glasgow, will be released in June 2012. The remaining two books would follow the younger twins, Gareth and Gwyneth, to their exotic destinations. A tie-in e-novella that looks at Sir William Christie’s scandalous love match is also slated for May 2012.

Most authors have a synopsis, outline or idea of what the story they are about to write will be. However, sometimes during the writing process your “Muse” might speak to you and lead you in a different or unplanned direction.  What surprised or changed the most from your original intent for FLAWLESS?

Originally, I thought diamonds = diamond mine. Only with further research did I realize how impossible that would be. Two untutored aristocrats could hardly jump into diamond mining and make a legitimate go of it. Plus there was, quite simply, too many deplorable conditions and the potential to really set readers’ stomachs on edge. It was not romance fodder. The switch to a diamond brokerage kept them more firmly in town, among Society expats, where balls and high tea were still possibilities. I wanted to add that little veneer of glamor to what was otherwise a frontier town.

Huh. I don’t know if that was actually my muse so much as plain ole’ history. But that makes sense for me!

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

Miles’ grin returned, that reckless expression so out of place in polite society—but so startlingly at home on the Cape Town docks. “I’m all yours, my lady…for a price.”

Tender skin chafed beneath her elbow-length gloves, and the cleft between her breasts flared with heat. Better than anyone, she understood that apparent courtesies from her husband would be met with a reckoning. The gleam in his dark eyes told Viv that the last thing he would demand of her was money.

Tell us about your hero, Miles Durham, Viscount Bancroft.  What do you think will make readers, much like his heroine Lady Vivienne, fall in love with your unrepentant rogue despite being estranged from their arranged marriage? And can you tell us a little bit about their story in FLAWLESS?

Oh, Miles is a stinker! He’s utterly incorrigible. An idle, half-drunk gambler while in London—which makes Viv so reluctant to make herself vulnerable to him—he is utterly transformed by the wild challenge of Cape Colony. He gets into a fistfight, saves a maid from a burning carriage, skillfully uses his political contacts, and just…becomes Viv’s hero. Strong, protective, hard-working, open. Trustworthy.

But through it all he retains a sardonic wit and an eye for pushing her sensual boundaries. They find a beautiful compromise between the needs of a respectable social face and the secrets they can keep behind closed doors. Lots of passionate secrets! He has been, by far, one of my favorite heroes to write.

What's your favorite scene or moment from FLAWLESS, and why? Can you describe it for us without giving too much away?

There is a moment on their way to the mining town, Kimberley, when Miles makes this turn toward the man he’ll become. The “eyes to the horizon” pioneer spirit from a viscount of all people just appealed to me on so many tasty levels. It’s Miles in a nutshell:

The first class passengers watched Miles with obvious curiosity. Although he should’ve taken part in that show, cultivating the relationships that would aid in making Viv’s brokerage a success, he didn’t feel like relinquishing his anonymity just yet. Once he returned to Kimberley, he would become Lord Bancroft again. For now he was just a man in the desert holding a whip.

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

I don’t know about readers loving them, but these are the facts I came up with!
  1. FLAWLESS always began in the library. The will reading scene has been there from the very, very beginning. But the original first chapter took place on a steamer where Viv and Miles were stuck together for the transatlantic crossing. Fellow historical romance author Courtney Milan gave me invaluable advice: start in Cape Colony. If you’re going to set a book in South Africa, don’t pull any punches! Get the reader there as soon as possible, and show them what sort of book this will be.
  2. I always had a particular actor in mind when writing Miles. I won’t say here who that was, because I know it colors readers’ impressions. But anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook will know. (You can too if you ask me there!)
  3. I began writing FLAWLESS in the February 2009. I finished it later that year, and sold it in April 2010. Just a little insight into how long this process can take!
  4. Vivienne’s mother’s surname comes from a French Canadian dancer named Nico Archambault—anyone else watch “So You Think You Can Dance Canada”? But now that I think about it, I don’t think that made it into the final draft!
  5. A huge portion of the book was eventually altered, then scrapped altogether. It had to do with Miles being caught in a mine collapse and slowly recovering his faculties. Eventually I decided that if Miles was going to change his personality and reform for Viv, he needed to do it voluntarily, not because of an injury and near-death experience!

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

My alter-ego, Ellen Connor—the pen name I share with Ann Aguirre—is smack in the midst of releasing the “Dark Age Dawning” trilogy of hot-n-dirty paranormal shifter apocalyptic romances. That’s a mouthful! NIGHTFALL came out in June, MIDNIGHT in early September, and DAYBREAK still to come in December.

In cool news for Carrie Lofty (which actually is my real name!), I just sold a World War II historical romance to Pocket, currently titled WRAP YOUR TROUBLES IN DREAMS. In it, a female British civilian pilot who’s already lost one man to the war reluctantly falls for a US Army paratrooper medic on the verge of D-Day. It’s a genuine historical romance, as opposed to other great WWII titles that tend toward literary or women’s fiction. I’m excited to see how romance readers will respond to Joe and Lulu! Look for it in late 2012.

If you could ask readers a question, or have them finish a sentence what would it be?

I’m currently in a Barnes & Noble, surrounded by all of their adorable coffee mug paraphernalia. This puts me in mind of how I recently broke my favorite coffee mug, which had a Rosie the Riveter “Yes We Can!” logo. So tell me, if you could design your ideal coffee (or, as a nod to my English husband, tea) mug/cup, what would it look like? Size? Color? Pattern? Pics? Cute sayings? Go crazy!

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

The love of your life will always adore you.

Sir William Christie, ruthless tycoon and notorious ladies’ man, is dead. Now his four grown children have gathered for the reading of his will. What lies in store for stepsiblings Vivienne, Alexander, and twins Gareth and Gwyneth? Stunning challenges that will test their fortitude across a royal empire . . . and lead them to the marvelously passionate adventures of their lives.

Lady Vivienne Bancroft fled England for New York, hoping to shed the confines of her arranged marriage to unrepentant rogue Miles Durham, Viscount Bancroft—though she never forgot the fiery desire he unleashed with his slightest touch. And when the gambling man arrives on her doorstep for a little sensual revenge for her desertion, he is met with Vivienne’s dilemma: She must earn her father’s inheritance by profitably running a diamond business worth millions in colonial South Africa. Swept together in an exotic undertaking filled with heated passion and hungry temptation, will Vivienne and Miles discover that the marriage vows they once made are the greatest snare—or the most treasured reward?

Read an the prologue, the first chapter, and a very special excerpt just for Musings readers in the flipbook below, or read it here.

Thank you Carrie for being my guest today, and congrats on the release of Flawless!  Flawless has been receiving great reviews.  If you'd like to learn more about Carrie Lofty you can visit her at her website, Facebook, Twitter, or her alter ego Ellen Connor.

To celebrate the release of Flawless, the first book in Carrie Lofty's new historical romance The Christie's series, her publisher Pocket Books would like to giveaway a print copy of the book to one very lucky Musings follower!  Here's how you can enter to win:

Ways to earn entries:
  • Mandatory: Answer the question Carrie asked readers in her interview.  And please feel free to leave her some comment love about Flawless...or any of her other books! (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. 
  • You can also earn extra entries by sharing the flipbook excerpt on Facebook, Twitter, your website or blog or other social media sites. You can earn 5 entries for each place that you share it and leave a link in the comments.    
  • 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 addresses only
  • You must be at least 18 years or older, or of legal age in your country
  • The contest will end on September 30th 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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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.


The_Book_Queen September 26, 2011 at 8:45 PM  

Hi Carrie! I haven't had the chance to read any of your books yet, but they are all on my list now! Beautiful coverart on Flawless especially, that alone is enough to make me want to buy it! :D

A coffee mug, hm? I'm afraid my artistic abilities are pretty close to zero. However, I would say my cup would be average in size--not so big that you can swim in it, but not so small that you can't do more than take a sip before reaching the empty bottom. It would be a neutral color, with a picture of a messy mountain of books, spilling off a shelf and onto the floor surrounding it. Half-buried under the pile is a woman, a bit frazzled, flipping through one of the books that fell on her. Underneath the picture it says "You say book hoarder like it's a bad thing...." :D

I'm a follower already, and I'm going to post a link for the contest on my blog sidebar. :)


Maria D. September 26, 2011 at 10:09 PM  

Great interview! I haven't actually haven't read any of Carrie's books before but this sure sounds like a great book to start with. Love, Love, Love that cover!

If I could design a coffee cup I would probably do something along the lines of a light background color with a retro book cover design(kind of like a bodice ripper) on the front. It would be shaped to fit in a car beverage holder and would have a lid that can be put on it so that you can drink and drive....not like the one that I just got that leaks everywhere (really disappointed in the cup which I had to throw out).

I am a GFC Follower

I Tweeted this:!/crazymidwestgal/status/118504923116744704

I shared the flipbook on Facebook:!/permalink.php?story_fbid=119699671468381&id=1437249669

Barbara E. September 26, 2011 at 10:38 PM  

I don't drink coffee or tea, but I do drink hot chocolate. My mug would be tall, with enough room for lots of whipped cream, and blue, with a cute drawing of a kitty on it.
I read the first Ellen Connor book and I'm looking forward to Midnight. Flawless sounds like a great story and I'm eager to read it as well.

Barbed1951 at aol dot com

June M. September 26, 2011 at 11:30 PM  

Hi! I have not had the opportunity to read any of your books yet but this one sounds great. And that cover is beautiful.
My cup would have to be for hot chocolate (tea only when sick, coffee never). It would be purple, with either polka dots in various other shades of purple, or have the names of my favorite authors on it, in random placement/fonts. However, I probably would not want to use it and risk it getting broke. Right now, my favorite is very big and has Lady Bug designed on it.
June M.
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

flchen1 September 27, 2011 at 12:22 AM  

I really enjoyed that interview--thanks so much, Carrie! It's always fun to get a peek at your process and to learn a little about you and your stories!

And please don't include me, but I do just want to gush a little--I've had the pleasure of reading Flawless and it is fabulous. Viv and Miles are pretty fascinating individuals, and it's a treat to see them join eventually forces in this completely different world. I loved the not-familiar-to-me setting, and I cannot wait for the rest of the Christie stories!!

Good luck, everyone, and add Flawless to your TBR!!

Jane September 27, 2011 at 1:49 AM  

Congrats on the new release, Carrie. I want one of those giant mugs that hold more than cup of coffee. It would be light blue and have some flowery pattern.

GFC follower

Carol L. September 27, 2011 at 5:48 AM  

Congrats on the new release Carrie. I've enjoyed a few of your books before and look forward to this new series. I'm also looking out for Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams.I love WWll stories of any kind. Thanks for the opportunity.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

erin September 27, 2011 at 11:14 AM  

I haven't read any of Carrie's work either :( But I love this cover! I've also heard such wonderful things about the words inside the cover too! :)

If I could design a mug, it would have a nice big handle (b/c I have small hands) and be tall like the large starbucks cups. I like a black background w/ a pic of my silver and white puppy.

Thanks for the great post and giveaway!

GFC ~ erin
e-mail subscriber

Tore September 27, 2011 at 11:37 AM  

I haven't read any of this author's books yet but they sound really good. I would write in a fortune cookie. Never give up on something you want. Please enter me in contest.

Autumn @ From the TBR Pile September 27, 2011 at 11:55 AM  

If I had a perfect coffee mug it would have to be battery operated to keep my coffee at the optimum temperature. Other than that I don't really care what it looks like, but it drives me crazy how fast my coffee gets cold!

please enter me!

autumn.crochet (at) gmail .com

Danielle Gorman September 27, 2011 at 4:18 PM  

I can't wait to read this book and I just LOVE the cover. Definitely one of my favorites. So pretty.

Let me just say, I am the least creative person there is. I will say that I want my coffee mug to be extra big. I've always been a fan of the ones that have more of a retro vibe.

Leni September 27, 2011 at 6:09 PM  

This book caught my eye a few weeks ago. Glad to learn more about it.
My coffee mug would be one of those big, microwavable, cups. The short round kind in a pink color. It doesn't have to have any particular saying.
If I wrote a fortune it would say:
Reading is good for the soul.

GFC follower

Carrie Lofty September 27, 2011 at 10:14 PM  

Wow! Just fantastic comments here at Seductive Musings. I'm so pleased to hear how excited people seem to be about FLAWLESS. When it comes to historical romance, it's an odd little duck!

I like what Autumn said about a mug that would keep beverages at optimum temperatures. I wouldn't care what it looks like then!

Carol, I heard from my editor yesterday that my WWII historical romance will get a new title. I'll keep everyone posted. Just another little odd duck for me to share with the world. I seem to be making a career out of that *g*

If anyone has any questions, please lay them on me. I'll be peeking in through the week. Best of luck, everyone!

All the best,

Sheree September 28, 2011 at 2:37 AM  

I'd have a mug with the NIGHTFALL cover on it - with Paul Marron and by Gene Mollica, I can't go wrong.

ironss [at] gmial [dot] com
GFC follower

CrystalGB September 28, 2011 at 1:18 PM  

Hi Carrie. Flawless sounds great. Beautiful cover. My mug would be large, purple with "Avid REader" on it.
GFC follower

Gail September 29, 2011 at 12:38 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gail September 29, 2011 at 12:41 AM  

Hi Carrie, thanks for the heads up that you would be here at this blog today:)

Coffee/Tea cup or mug. I love my Stash, black chai tea with fat free vanilla caramel creamer :D My mug if I designed it would have to be at least 16oz and consist of the things I love; 2cats would be frolicking inside the cup, climbing out to the outside, sliding on my pile of books that would have titles from romance, urban fantasy & paranormal. Background color of the mug would be a true purple, with the foreground being a mix of my two cats, brindle and orange. The books would be various colors, yellow, orange, a little black and brown with miniature titles all looped around the mug like they just fell over. With a nice big handle that I can grab onto to take a sip and keep my hands warm:)
I like the fortune cookie idea I think mine would say: Smile its contagious.
I'm a GFC follower. Thanks for the chance to win.

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