Today I'd like for you to help me welcome USA Today best-selling author Erica Ridley to the blog! Let's get to know her better.
How do you balance the demands of your everyday life and your writing life?
I try to wake up early and write for a few uninterrupted hours before “real” life intrudes. I find that if I wait until after my workday ends, my brain is mush, and no longer capable of coming up with compelling scenes. Also, by putting writing first, I can go through the rest of the day feeling like I’ve already accomplished something important!
That's a good way to look at it! Now, please give us a brief glimpse at your road to publication.
When I decided to try and write professionally, I knew it would take a lot of hard work and that there was a chance of not making it, so I promised myself I would give myself a full year, and only stop if there was no sign that I was moving in the right direction. The first year, I finished two manuscripts. The second year, I finaled in or won multiple writing contests. The third year, I landed a literary agent. The fourth year, I signed my first contract. The fifth year, my debut novel was on shelves nationwide and across the globe!
Awesome. Speaking of globes, where do you live? Where would you love to live?
I was born in the United States, and have lived in six different countries. I currently live on a macadamia farm in the rainforests of Costa Rica, and love it immensely. (Except when I’m missing the crepe vendors of France or real Italian gelato.) Given my wanderlust, I wouldn’t be surprised if I found myself somewhere else a few years from now, but for now I’m happy in Costa Rica.
Wow! I don't believe I've ever had a writer on here who lived on a macadamia farm in Costa Rica. ;) When trick-or-treating as a kid, was there any kind of candy that you didn’t like to get?
Please don’t throw tomatoes at me when I admit that I hate gummy bears! They were always the first thing I traded away.
That's a first, too. (I mean gummy bears! Who hates gummy bears?) Ahem. Name your favorite children's story.
I loved Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst.
Okay. You made up points with that answer. Two of my favorites! What was your nickname growing up or now?
Fraggle, based on an unfortunate resemblance to “Red” Fraggle on the first day of 7th grade!
What one thing (modern convenience) could you not live without?
The internet! I get the jitters every time my phone runs low on battery.
I feel that way whenever my laptop goes on the fritz! What are your three favorite smells?
Bread, Coffee, Cookies
Yum! Those have to be up there for me, too! Well thank you for answering my questions. Let's learn some more about.
Captain Xavier Grey's body is back amongst the beau monde, but his mind cannot break free from the horrors of war. His friends try to help him find peace. He knows he doesn't deserve it. Just like he doesn't deserve the attentions of the sultry bluestocking intent on seducing him into bed...
Spinster Jane Downing wants off the shelf and into the arms of a hot-blooded man. Specifically, the dark and dangerous Captain Grey. She may not be destined to be his wife, but nothing will stop her from being his mistress. She could quote classical Greek by the age of four. How hard can it be to learn the language of love?
Miss Downing had moved the stool before the fireplace, and sat with her back toward him. A cinnamon-colored dress gaped below her nape as she tilted her head to one side and struggled to drag a pearl comb through her long, wavy hair. Each curl glimmered in the firelight, then nestled back against the curve of her breast and the small of her spine.
He had never seen anything more erotic in his life.
“Would you like me to—” He clapped his chest when his voice came out far too husky. After clearing his throat, he tried again. “Shall I lace your stays?”
“Only if you wish to.” Rosy firelight—or perhaps a light blush—colored her exposed neck.
“I have to,” he answered, not bothering to hide the strangled desperation in his voice. “For both of us.”
“You don’t have to.” She turned around and looked him square in the eyes. “You wish to.”
A surprised laugh burst from his throat. His bluestocking might be exceptionally well read, but she knew very little about men.
“No. What I wish to do are acts so unapologetically carnal, the ink would catch fire if I attempted to commit my ideas to paper. But what I’m going to do is lace up your stays, toast some breakfast, and put you on the first coach back to London. You will thank me later.”
“I will think of you later.” The tip of her tongue ran along the bottom of her upper lip. “Just as I did last night.”
He clutched the doorjamb and held his position. If he went to her right now, it would not be to lace her stays. They were playing with fire.
She turned back to the hearth and resumed teasing the knots from her curly hair. “I don’t suppose you’ve any skill with a comb? My lady’s maid is the only one who could ever vanquish these tangles, and I fear I’m only making the matter worse.”
His jaw worked. He was profoundly grateful she couldn’t witness the naked desire writ upon his face.
Yes, he wanted to run his fingers through that long, silken hair. To touch it, to comb it, but mostly to have its softness be the sole blanket above their hot, twined bodies.
Which was simultaneously the best and worst idea to have ever crossed his mind. He liked her too much to let her throw away her future on a tryst with someone like him.
“We can’t be lovers, Miss Downing. Now or ever. You think me someone I am not.” As she met his gaze, he infused his tone with cold finality. “Your vision of me is flawed. A romanticized, idealized knight who saves the day and wins his lady’s favor. I am no knight. I do not deserve your favors. I will not be your seducer.”
She lifted a half-bare shoulder. “Right now I think you’re someone who doesn’t know how to unknot curly hair and doesn’t wish to come out and say so.”
“I know how to comb hair.” Against his better judgment, he stormed forward and snatched the pearl comb from her fingers. “Stand up. Not another word until you’re properly laced.”
She rose to her feet as docile as a lamb.
Xavier wasn’t remotely fooled.
With the comb between his teeth, he cinched her stays and buttoned her gown as quickly as possible. When she settled back on the stool, he lifted her hair in one hand and began to gently tease the tangles free, starting from the ends.
The firelight caught each curl as it released, turning the long brown waves into rippling gold.
When a little, contented sigh escaped Miss Downing’s throat, the tension in his neck muscles softened. Her eyes were closed, and a half-smile curved her lips. The corners of his mouth quirked in response.
His seductive bluestocking was a far better cat than that devil creature she’d brought in a basket. He could comb her hair for hours, just to listen to her relaxed sighs and watch the blissful expression upon her pretty face.
His fingers froze in place. He could do this for hours? Just because she liked it?
“Good enough.” He tossed the comb into her lap and stalked out the door before her big brown eyes and sweet-smelling skin domesticated him any further. She would be gone in the next two hours. He would see to it personally.
Purchase THE CAPTAIN'S BLUESTOCKING MISTRESS here:
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-captains-bluestocking-mistress-erica-ridley/1121098277?ean=9781508541684
Author Bio ~
Erica Ridley learned to read when she was three, which was about the same time she decided to be a writer when she grew up. Now, Erica is a USA Today best-selling author of historical romance novels. Her latest series, The Dukes of War, features roguish peers and dashing war heroes who return from battle only to be thrust into the splendor and madness of Regency England. When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found riding camels in Africa, ziplining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EricaRidley Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/EricaRidley Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/EricaRidley
Erica has offered to giveaway one e-copy of THE EARL'S DEFIANT WALLFLOWER to one winner from commenters below. Be sure to leave your email address so we know where to send your prize!