Today, I am lucky enough to have an interview with the lovely Maggie Chase. A historical romance writer, Maggie is here today to chat with us about her views on the romance genre and tell us about her Jeweled Ladies romance series. If you scroll right down to the bottom, there is also a lovely sensual excerpt from the latest in the series His Diamond.
Enjoy readers… I did! 🙂
Why do you write Romance?
Oh, because I love a happy ending! These days, the world feels pretty grim and it’s hard for me to even go online without having to battle panic and anxiety. I think it’s been a real problem for a lot of authors and the answer is to find our happy place—and my happy place is a world where I pull all the strings. I don’t write utopias or perfection—there’s still plenty of bad times and hard times in the post-Civil War world. But it’s making sure my characters get to that happily-ever-after, where they’re safe and loved and happy—that’s what makes me happy. Even when times are hard—and after the Civil War, they were hard—it was still possible to find that love and light in life, no matter what your skin color or who you loved. That’s why I write romance.
Which is your favourite Romance?
I have to pick just one? UMMMM… I’ll let you in on a little secret—I’m not a re-reader. Even for books I really loved, I just can’t read them again. I just binged on Kerrigan Byrne’s Victorian series of super-dark heroes. These are not good guys, per se, but she manages to redeem their dark souls. I just loved them. And now I have to wait until October for the next one! I’m also waiting on the next Elizabeth Hoyt Maiden Lane novel. Which is also in October. It’s going to be a busy month!
What was the book/author that made you decide to write romance?
I always read historicals but there was a time when I didn’t consider them romances because they were Literature. And Literature was good! But then I tried to read more Literature—contemporary, etc.—and they didn’t have happy endings. They didn’t feature characters I could root for. They were a miserable reading experience. And I just couldn’t read something miserable. I needed to feel that hope and happiness. So I don’t have that lightbulb moment where I read one particular romance and went, “Eureka!” It was more of a slow acceptance of an entire genre I’d written off.
Dead, Alive or Fictional, if you could have any romance figure round for dinner, who would it be?
I think dinner with Barbara Cartland would be a delight and I wouldn’t say no to brunch with Jane Austen! But let’s be honest—I wouldn’t say no to brunch, anyway. Because brunch!!
What would you say to a person who had never read a Historical romance before to change their mind?
Shouting, “What is wrong with you just read Elizabeth Hoyt, okay?” probably isn’t the answer, but it might be what happens. I did try to give my mother-in-law a historical book this last Christmas because I thought she would like it and she gave it back to me because it wasn’t her ‘kind of book’ but I don’t remember shouting at her. Because it was Christmas, after all. Spirit of the holidays and all that jazz.
Tell us about the heroines in the Jeweled Ladies series.
I had a very specific moment of inspiration for this series—I read Victoria Dahl’s excellent novel, Harlot. But the heroine isn’t really a harlot and I thought, what a great story! NEEDS MORE HARLOTS! And my brain being what it is, I pretty much wondered what a woman owned and run brothel would be like. That was all it took and I was off!
So the Jeweled Ladies is the finest brothel in Texas and, indeed, this side of the Mississippi. It was founded by Mistress and in addition to being a sexual savant, she’s a whip-smart businesswoman. Running a brothel is an avenue to power and wealth not otherwise open to women at that time. But she uses that power to wage a silent war on people who would use and abuse women and children. She rescues people, enacting her own brand of justice and salvation outside of the law and the church.
Some of those women want to regain power over their lives and they become the Jewels, the most highly trained, highly desired women in the country. But there’s a lot of turnover. Miss Topaz Gold took a chance on being a mail-order bride to a Civil War veteran. Miss Emerald Green was supposed to take over management of the Jeweled Ladies—but she married the gay lieutenant governor of Texas (and his bi assistant). Miss Ebony White saved her money to open her own dress shop—and accidentally fell in love with the spinster schoolmarm. Miss Sapphire Bleu was the most skilled submissive Mistress had ever trained—but in training the domineering judge how to properly wield a whip, she fell head over heels for him. And Mistress finally reunited with her childhood love. They moved to Paris and left the Jeweled Ladies to Lady Ruby, who promised not only to uphold the rules of the Jeweled Ladies, but to continue Mistress’s rescues of women in desperate circumstances.
Which brings us to His Diamond, the 6th Jeweled Ladies story. Local beauty Cynthia Hobbs has never had anything to do with the Jeweled Ladies—it simply wouldn’t be proper for the daughter of the owner of the local bank to socialize with their kind. But when her father informs her she must marry the bank’s vice president—who will also take custody of Cynthia’s mentally challenged sister—Cynthia has nowhere else to turn. Lady Ruby offers to help—for a price!
All the Jeweled Ladies heroines take charge of their destiny in a world that doesn’t offer them a lot of options. They step outside of the societal rules and are richly rewarded for taking a risk. That’s what I love about this series and these Jewels—they know the rules and choose not to follow them. They take control of their lives and things turn out just fine!
You are releasing His Diamond. Tell us about the romance between Cam and Cynthia.
Cam is a stagecoach robber who’s branching out to banks. But for being a blackguard, he’s got a heart of gold. For instance, he came upon his partner Hatfield when he found the boy cornered by three men. Cam rescued Hatfield and they’ve ridden together ever since. And he did rob two women in a stagecoach and steal their horses, but when he saw a Comanche war party coming, he went back for the women and saw them to safety, even though it almost cost him his neck. So when he sees Cynthia, his instincts tell him that she’s someone who needs his protection and he’s not wrong about that. Then, when he happens upon a virgin auction at the Jeweled Ladies, he recognizes something about Miss Diamond Bright and decides to spend the insane sum of $500 on her to keep her out of the depraved clutches of the other bidders. ($500 was close to $2,500 in today’s money and more than most people earned in two or three years, FYI). Because he’s a good man at heart, he decides he’s not going to debauch her—but when Miss Diamond insists, well…a gentleman wouldn’t say no to a lady, right?
Cynthia had braced herself for the worst—a painful deflowering and a terrible night. But when Cam wins her, she realizes that the patient, caring—and GORGEOUS—man might be sin incarnate but with the money he paid for her, she’ll be able to escape her arranged marriage and save her sister. And would it really be so wrong to actually enjoy herself for one night?
(spoiler: No. No, it’s not.)
If you could write a tagline for this book alone, what would it be?
Ahem. *cracks knuckles*
Buying her virginity costs blackguard Cam a small fortune. But will Miss Diamond give him his money’s worth?
Cynthia Hobbs is in trouble. Considered spoiled and vain by the townsfolk of Brimstone, she’s hiding a secret—a sister who needs constant care. When her father informs Cynthia that she has to marry the slimy vice president of the bank—and her sister is part of the deal—Cynthia grows desperate. The only person who’ll help her get enough money to escape town with her sister is the madam of the Jeweled Ladies—who recommends Cynthia sell her virginity to the highest bidder.
One night will solve her problems—if she can go through with it.
Cam Douglas wants to go straight—there’s a horse ranch waiting for him. But he needs cash, so he takes one last job—this time, robbing the bank in Brimstone. He visits the Jeweled Ladies for an alibi but somehow winds up buying a virgin at an auction, which is a great alibi. He has no intention of forcing the girl, but when Miss Diamond insists on being deflowered, he’s far too much of a gentleman to say no to a lady.
Cynthia never dreamed she’d enjoy this night, but Cam is a rogue with a heart of gold. He gives her a night of steamy memories and then they part ways. But as she and her sister make their escape from Brimstone under cover of darkness, a rider takes them by surprise. It’s Cam, with a gunshot in his shoulder and a posse on his tail. If she protects him, they all might be caught. But she likes him, much more than she should. Can she risk her heart—and her sister’s safety—for a rogue?
“I look forward to seeing what Maggie Chase writes next.” – Jennifer Porter, Romance Novel News
Who is Maggie Chase? Writer, reader, crafter—Maggie has told a lot of different stories a lot of different ways, but the Jeweled Ladies series marks her first foray into historical western erotica. Maggie passionately believes that every single person deserves their own happily-ever-after and her stories reflect that hope on the page. Sign up for her new-release newsletter at http://bit.ly/maggiechasenews to get the latest on her sexy cowboys, Jeweled Ladies and tough lawmen!
You can connect with Maggie in all these ways. She’d love to hear from you!