Monday, August 22, 2011

VBT: In the Arms of a Marquess & Giveaway


Reader Girls is hosting the Virtual Book Tour today for In the Arms of a Marquess by Katharine Ashe and run by Goddess Fish Promotions.



Blurb: Miss Octavia Pierce is witty, well-off…and shockingly unwed. Still, she is far too successful in society to remain on the shelf forever, and her family has hopes that Octavia will finally make the perfect match. What they don’t know is that years earlier Octavia was scandalously tempted by the one man capable of sweeping her off her feet-the man now known as the Marquis of DoreĆ©.

A third son, never meant to inherit, Lord Ben DoreƩ has abandoned his past and grown accustomed to his illustrious new position of wealth and power. But he has never forgotten Octavia, and now she desperately needs his help in a most dangerous, clandestine matter. Although she claims she has put the memories of the passion they shared behind her, Ben is determined to once again have her in his arms-and in his bed.

We welcome Katharine Ashe.

I am an author of historical romance, but I’m also a professor of history. My lovely hostesses today asked me if my experience as a professional historian ever inspire my writerly life.

Yes, indeed! In a few ways.
Firstly, I simply adore history. All periods, all places, all peoples. People fascinate me. Cultures fascinate me. And I’m always, always interested in why cultures are the way they are, how people’s values and fears and loves and habits were formed, and what we can learn from folks who were really different from us.

That said, every time I learn about a new culture in a new place and era, my urge isn’t to sit down and write a rigorous history. It’s to use all the new colorful, juicy knowledge I have as the canvas upon which I can paint a love story. I’m addicted to writing love stories. Love — especially romantic love — is the most thrilling part of life! So when history offers me a fabulously rich world, I can’t help myself from creating a hero and heroine perfectly ripe for falling in love in that world.

History itself, of course, offers fantastically dramatic love stories. Many of the stories that have come down to us in the archives are about tumultuous loves that were wrapped up in power struggles and ended tragically, or at least unhappily. I think this is a little like the phenomenon of our newspapers reporting mostly depressing news; chroniclers in ages of yore liked to record the tragic stories better than the happily ever afters too. (The medieval Abelard and Heloise come to mind — good heavens, what a tragic affair, ending in castration for the one and endless longing for the other!). But when I teach history, I’m always discovering love stories that didn’t end tragically — a poem about an unlikely young pair blessed by the gods, a bard’s song about a knight and his lady cavorting in a May garden, and a powerful king who wed a woman he adored and had thirteen children who grew to be happy people, not only rulers of their world.

So, yes, definitely, my life as a teacher of history inspires me that way. But my professional life amongst scholars of other periods of history makes being a historical romance novelist almost too easy. You see, in my university department there are a number of world-renowned experts on the period of history in which my novels are set, the English Regency. When I wanted to write IN THE ARMS OF A MARQUESS featuring a hero raised and educated in England like any other nobleman of his time, but not fully English, I went to the expert for advice. Over a cup of coffee and blueberry muffins I sat down with one of the best scholars of the British Empire (in particular the East India Company), and asked his advice. He gave it, I ran with it, and within a few months I had everything I needed to write a story of passionate, forbidden love. The book is set in England—in the ballrooms and drawing rooms, parks and gardens of Regency high society that I adore and are such fun. But the world in which my characters live is embedded in Britain’s empire. It is a rich history, a delectably exciting history, and I couldn’t resist. It was also a tumultuous time, a dangerous one, and my hero and heroine aren’t safe from that. But of course in my story the lovers triumph in the end!


What do you like best about history? The fabulous battles, gorgeous clothes, exciting love stories? Share your favorite time and place and inspire me to write a novel about it! J


Giveaway: Katharine Ashe will be giving away one $25 Amazon gift certificate so follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning!

Tour dates: 

August 22: Romance in the Backseat 

We thank Katharine Ashe, Harper Collins, Avon, and Goddess Fish Promotions.



39 comments:

  1. I love everything about history, but number one would be the rules of socialization. The etiquette & faux pas.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  2. I love the clothes, the settings, the accents, the passion!

    mmafsmith at gmail dot com

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  3. How cool! I really loved this post. It kind of makes me wonder if any of the professors in my history department at school writes historical romances. I'd sign up for their class straight away!

    I'm a sucker for the mannerisms and the gorgeous clothes in historical fiction! Love it.

    books[a]muggle-born.net

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  4. Good morning, ladies! Thanks to Meg, Caitlin, and Laurie for hosting me today. I'm so happy to be here!

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  5. marybelle, I adore all those rules, especially because coming up with situations that force my heroes and heroines to *break* them (happily, passionately!) is so much fun. ;)

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  6. Ahhh I'm such a sucker for historical romances! I've always loved seeing the moment when the make realizes the female isn't dumb :D. This looks like a fun 'no husband, don't look over my shoulder when I'm reading this scene!' book.

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  7. I also love the WW II period. It led to the Cold War, and the global international community we live in today. Without WWII, we would never have the UN, IMF, World Bank, the EU, etc. The effects of WWII are still being felt to this day.

    But what amazes me most about history is that no matter the time and place, differences in society and culture, people are still people and human nature still remains the same. We all need love, friends, family, food, clothing, and shelter. Every one can understand the annoyance of pesky siblings, the need for girlfriends, and the wonder of falling in love. We all struggle with finding our way in the world, and have flaws and strengths. These are all common denominators of being human, and timeless needs and values.

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  8. Maria, I do love the clothes, especially the gorgeous dresses and layers upon layers of undergarments. Removing them can make for some delectable fun for my heroes. :) That said, in my favorite scene in IN THE ARMS OF A MARQUESS, just the opposite takes place... the disrobing of a lord.

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  9. Cialina, you never know... But if when you walk into their offices and they snap shut their laptops so you can't see what they're working on, then you should probably start investigating further. ;)

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  10. Rwyn, this is definitely a "husband don't look over my shoulder while I read" book," unless of course you think he could use a few pointers, LOL. ;)

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  11. Lisa (numbers lady above!), you're so right. That's the thrilling thing about history to me, that no matter what place or time, people feel and feel strongly, and they love and suffer and rejoice and do all the things we do too. Thanks for your comment.

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  12. He's always a snooper ;) He usually looks over and than looks at me scandalously while turning slightly red. It's always fun!

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  13. Rwyn, always good to keep the hubby on his toes, hee!

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  14. Hi Katharine! Sorry I'm having technical issues today. I also just wanted to add that I love this topic! :)

    I forgot to add I think the misconception people have about history is that it's dry, and all about memorizing dates and facts. History is so much more complex and fascinating than that. It's about culture, society, politics, economics, religion, and how it affects real people. So it's not about when things happen-it's WHY.

    In addition, I do love the Italian Renaissance as well, and th flourishing of art and culture, and the Medicis in particular. It fascinates me how the family came to power and prominenec in Florence so quickly.
    ~Lisa

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  15. I love the clothes and the rules that they have. Always a chaperone, never any alone time. I always find that fascinating.

    skpetal at hotmail dot com

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  16. Lisa, LOL. Technical difficulties will happen, won't they? It's so true about history being rich and wonderful -- not all lists of names and dates. Sometimes when folks who've had bad experiences in history classes (where they were taught history as lists of names and dates) hear that I'm a history professor, they sort of stare at my blankly, like "Who on earth would ever want to do *that*?" LOL. So I just tell them so fantastic story from the past -- with no lists of names or dates! -- and hope someday they'll read a great historical novel that will show them even more. Yay!

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  17. Jean, the gorgeous gowns and strict rules of behavior are favorites of mine. I love devising ways for my heroes and heroines to sidestep those rules, too. ;)

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  18. Oh how I love Historical Romances!
    First & foremost, I love the fact that these love stories depict passion & love making between a man & a woman in a beautiful way!
    What do I love best about HR’s? I love….the start of the season, dance cards, knowing stares from across the room, stolen private conversations, the wanting & needing of the other…etc!
    Oh my! And let’s not forget about the juicy scandal and passion that sets the pages on fire! What’s not to love?
    I must say Katharine Ashe is quite the romantic-pyromaniac!!!!

    PS: I think more men SHOULD read historical romances & take notes! They might just learn a thing or 2...3...4..5... you get the picture :o)

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  19. Julie, wow, you describe exactly why I love reading and writing Regency romance! And I'm going to quote you on that -- "the romantic-pyromaniac"! I love it! Thanks for visiting my tour today. :)

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  20. I'm not really a history buff, I love the clothes,shoes, and the learning when stuff was first invented. I'm learning alot through my romance books.

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  21. Rhonda, every time I crack open a new great historical romance, I learn something wonderful about history. It sure is the most fun way to learn! :)

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  22. Tough question for me. I'm a History teacher so I don't really know where to start! *g* I just want to know how things happened in the past because that explains how we are living today the way we are. If I would have to pick a favourite period it would be the 19th century especially the Napoleonic Wars. That's why Regencies are probably my favourite Historicals. :)

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  23. Claudia, how lovely to chat with another history teacher! The Napoleonic Wars offer so much material for stories -- men and women rising to the heights of human brilliance and courage and also plunging to the depths of cruelty and depravity. The culture of high society at that time is especially fabulous. I love writing books in that period, and stretching the ballrooms and drawing rooms into the whole realm of the British Empire. Loads of fun!

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  24. I love history too! I love to learn things while also enjoying a good romance. I do love the Regency period, but also Medieval & Georgian times.

    sallans d at yahoo dot com

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  25. My favorite period is the Regency, too, Di, but I do have a sincere devotion to the Middle Ages (medieval is my academic specialty). It was a magical age, much as the Regency is an age of manners and decadence. Thanks for commenting!

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  26. I have always loved learning about history, some of my favorite classes in college were the history classes that I took. I really love learning about histories and cultures of foreign countries.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

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  27. I like the period decor, the furniture, the knick-knacks, and of course, the clothes and accessories My favorite period is the 19th century.

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  28. Me too, June. I remember in tenth grade when we spent three months each on three foreign cultures -- it was my favorite year of history before going to college!

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  29. Vonnie, I was in NYC recently and made a visit to the MET where we ended up (unintentionally) wandering through the rooms of objects of daily life from the 17th-19th centuries. I loved it! So many knick-knacks, so much fabulous furniture. I took notes furiously! :)

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  30. Wow, what a resource to have experts at your fingertips! I did a PhD in history, but inconveniently I specialized in medieval Italy. Inconveniently, because I love reading and writing Regencies. But the medieval world is fascinating and I may set a story or two there....some day.

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  31. This book looks great! I enjoyed the interview!

    Robin D
    robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  32. I love historical romance and I think it would be great if more people write romances that take place in ancient China. I find the culture fascinating, but there aren't many romance novels that take place during then.

    angeldream3[AT]gmail[DOT]com

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  33. I love historical romance. I like the mix of true facts with the fictional characters. I like using Kings & Queens from any part of history, like the Tudor dynasty. I believe life ay court could have been very exciting.

    areeths @ new DOT rr DOT com

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  34. Great post! My bachelor's degree is in history..lol..but I didn't go into teaching and went into business instead...I like a lot of different things about history, the clothing, how society behaved and changed, reading about how man has grown in some ways and regressed in others, how women have lost power, gained power and survived through wars. Right now I'm on a French Revolution kick...so if you wanted to write about characters that are involved either directly or indirectly that would be really cool!

    junegirl63(at)gmail(dot)com

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  35. I love the clothes =]
    Great post! I'd love to read this story!!

    ruby95660[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  36. I love regency Scotland and England. The clothes and social structure.
    marlenebreakfield(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  37. History is always more fun to read about than to live through. :) Still, my favorite is probably Edwardian England - all the promise of the future before 25% of the young men die in WWI.

    ironss [at] gmail [dot] com

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  38. I love to travel back in time as I read historical romances. The love story is key to my enjoyment, but I also like the different customs, clothing, etc. My favorite time periods are Regency, Medieval, and the old American West.

    castings at mindspring dot com

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  39. I love historical romances. I love the romance in the story and love the fashion. I love how things are so different from then and now. I love to see the cultural differences and also the differnce in language.
    Loved this post and would love to win and read this book. thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win. Huge fan of Katherines writing and can't wait to check out this book.
    christinebails@yahoo.com

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