Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Interview with Author ANGELA JOHNSON

Today I’m interviewing Angela Johnson, her book, VOW OF DECEPTION, is a historical romance and was released on November 2, 2010.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.
VOW OF DECEPTION is a stand-alone sequel to my first book, VOW OF SEDUCTION. Sir Rand Montague is a loyal, dedicated knight who is not afraid of war, but afraid to love. Rosalyn Harcourt, lady of Ayleston is a widowed mother with a secret to hide. Ordered by the king to escort Rose to court to marry another knight, Rand is appalled—for he'd previously spent one unforgettable night of passion with Rose. Yet he dutifully obeys. But when Rose is attacked by her betrothed, Rand concocts a scheme of prior betrothal and marries Rose instead. Just as these two wounded souls discover that happiness is within their grasp, a diabolical enemy threatens to reveal the hidden truths that could destroy them both. VOW OF DECEPTION is rated "Hot" and received a Four Star review from RT Book Reviews.

Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?
I have only published in the Historical Romance genre so far, and I'm currently writing a third medieval for this series. After that, I have a Regency trilogy planned about three female friends who each must marry when caught in scandalous situations.

When did you start writing toward publication?
After surviving a near-fatal car accident, and becoming physically handicapped, I returned to college and received a BA degree in History. Upon graduation I wasn't sure which way to go next until my husband said: “You love history and romance, why not combine the two, and write your own historical romance?” At first I thought he was crazy, but soon story ideas began to flow, and I started writing VOW OF SEDUCTION. I spent the next few years, writing, re-writing, and re-re-writing VOW OF SEDUCTION all over again. All the while I was continuously trying to learn all I could about writing and publishing.

Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold? If so, did you send them out yourself?
No, I did not write several manuscripts before I sold. Actually, I kind of went about getting published from the opposite angle. I chose to keep working on my original manuscript of VOW OF SEDUCTION until it was the quality of material that publishers wanted—and the best I could make it. One way I did that was by continuously getting feedback from other writers on my work. I used critique partners to get some one-on-one feedback, and I entered numerous writing contests to hear judges opinions about my work. I was only interested in improving my manuscript so I worked without an ego, listened closely, kept an open mind, showcased my strengths, improved my weaknesses, and made changes when it made sense. Because I eventually won several of the writing contests, I had editors requesting full submissions for VOW OF SEDUCTION, and that's how I got published by Kensington.

Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped
Yes, I am a member of several writing organizations. The organizations I belong to are: Romance Writers of America, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, my local writers group--- KS Writers Inc., and RWA Online.

I strongly suggest any aspiring writer join a local writers’ group if they can locate one. Or if not, join an online writers’ organization. Writers’ groups are a great resource for authors and aspiring writers. They offer support, networking, and education. I have found critique partners and made many lifelong friends from within our local group as well. They have helped me achieve my dream of becoming a published author. I could not have accomplished it without them.

I also recommend aspiring writers join a national writers’ organization. They offer some of the same benefits as local and online groups, but also keep you well informed about the world and business of publishing.

Your first allegiance is to your heart…

As a knight, Sir Rand Montague’s allegiance is to King Edward I. But when the king orders Rand to escort Rosalyn Harcourt to court in order to wed her off to Sir Golan—a crass knight Rand abhors—he’s torn between duty and desire. For Rand has never forgotten the woman he spent one unforgettable night of passion with…

After suffering abuse at the hands of her deceased husband, Rose wishes to never wed again. But when Rand rescues her after Sir Golan attempts to compromise her, she agrees to marry Rand in name only. However, sharing such close quarters with Rand brings back memories of their torrid rendezvous—and tempts Rose to give in to an all-consuming desire…

A little bit about the author
Angela Johnson fell in love with romance novels in high school. In college, she earned a degree in history. Today, she combines her two favorite passions—history and romance—into a writing career. Loving to research and spin sensual tales, Angela lives in Kansas, with Joe, her very own hero of twenty-three years. Angela loves to hear from readers. Please visit her at http://angelajohnsonauthor.com/.

How can my readers buy your book?

Readers can go to the publisher’s home page at http://www.kensingtonbooks.com
Check out my book trailer at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFYbLpN58-M.

You can find more information about Angela Johnson and my book, VOW OF DECEPTION by visiting my website, http://angelajohnsonauthor.com/. or my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Angela-Johnson-Author/107353814770.


Chapter Two

Ayleston Castle, Chester County
In the year of our Lord 1274, January 3
Second year in the reign of Edward I

Rosalyn, the lady of Ayleston, froze in stunned horror at the landing of the Keep’s stairs. Right before her eyes, Lord Ayleston whirled his arms like a windmill, teetering backward, one foot on the top stair. Her husband’s handsome features—honed as if by the hand of God Himself—suddenly contorted in stark fear.

Rose clutched her infant son to her chest protectively, though he was asleep and cradled securely in the makeshift sling around her neck. Feeling sluggish as though swimming in deep waters, Rose at last reached out her free hand to Bertram. His fingers brushed her sleeve before he hurtled backward down the steps, an open O of terror on his lips. Thump, thump, thump, the sickening sound of his body hitting the rough stone stairs drummed inside her ears.
Legs moving without volition, Rose raced down the wide spiral stairs after him. When his golden head hit the last step, a loud crack echoed up the stairwell. Bertram landed in a crumpled heap at the bottom.

Rose stared wide-eyed at her husband, her temples pounding in rhythm with her agitated heart. Her cheek burned from Bertram’s recent violent slap, while a scream of horror reverberated inside her head. It echoed like a pack of hellhounds in Purgatory.

Light from a single torch illuminated Lord Ayleston. His body was facedown, but with his neck twisted at an awkward angle, his vacant eyes stared up at the heavens. With gory fascination, Rose watched a dark red pool of blood begin to form on the step beneath his head. It slowly spread, until a drop of blood dripped over the edge and plopped on the stone floor of the Great Hall.

A noise in the hall shattered her stunned observations. Beads of sweat popped out at her temples and her heart thundered as though it were going to explode. If she was found with Bertram’s body, she might be blamed for his death, whether she was responsible or not. A hue and cry would be raised, and if accused of having killed her husband, she would be taken to gaol, away from her young son, a prospect she could not bear. Even more frightening, if she was indicted and convicted of killing her husband, hence her lord, her punishment would be harsh: burning at the stake.

Rose clutched her tunics in one hand, spun around, and made quickly for her chamber at the end of the corridor. After easing the door closed behind her, she rushed into her son’s adjoining chamber. Jason’s usually vigilant nurse remained sound asleep on a pallet beside the boy’s cradle. Rose had slipped a sleeping draught into her drink earlier. When Rose’s disappearance was discovered in the morning, she wanted Edith to be able to truthfully say she knew naught of Rose’s intentions.

But everything had gone awry when Bertram had stumbled out of his chamber just as she had reached the stair landing.

Now, she slipped the cloth sling over her head, laid Jason in his cradle, and removed the swath of wool from beneath his warm body. The boy made not a sound as she pulled the colorful quilt up to his chin. Ever since his birth, Jason had been a quiet, happy baby. And Rose was thankful for it in this moment as she listened for any signs of a commotion below stairs.

She thought she had measured with exacting care the belladonna she put in Bertram’s favorite evening wine, in order that she did not overdose him. But apparently she had been too careful. Rose tiptoed back to her bedchamber, hung up her garments on the pegs beside the door, and slid into her bed to wait the raising of the hue and cry.

Her heart continued to pump sporadically. She stared wide-eyed up at the canopy, her lips moving in silent prayer. Not for her deceased husband, may God forgive her, but that no one would ever discover her involvement in this night’s deeds. It was a confession she would take to her grave; she lived for her son alone now.
Rose jerked awake. Panic beat like the wings of a bird inside her chest. Her mouth was open, a scream deep in the back of her throat. But no sound escaped. It wasn’t that she could not scream, but she knew better than to voice her discontent.

Rose blinked, but the solid blanket of darkness surrounding her did not lessen. She crawled across the soft mattress, gripped the velvet bed curtain, and yanked it aside. A glimmer of moonlight from her open shutters illuminated the disheveled sheets and coverlet of her canopy bed. Her medical books were on her table too.

A sigh of relief escaped her.

It was only a nightmare. She was safe in her own bed. Alone. Taking deep breaths, she willed her fear to recede. With her husband dead nigh onto three years, her degradation and humiliation at his hands was a thing of the past. But deep inside, she knew she would never be the innocent, naïve, happy young woman she was when she married Bertram. Her heart was a hard cold lump—she was a frigid woman who despised a man’s touch.

She reached for her Trotula medical book—a gift from her father—and caressed its beloved well-worn Cordoba leather covering. When Bertram was alive she’d hidden her books because he forbade her to practice her healing arts. She put the text back and chose another book. It was a special collection of healing recipes, prayers, and charms collected and passed down through the generations by the women in her family. Upon Rose’s marriage, her mother had gathered them together, then commissioned a local monk to transcribe and bind them into a beautifully illuminated manuscript.

Flipping open the leather cover, she allowed the vellum pages to flutter open, and closing her eyes, she stuck her finger on a random spot in the book. It was a ritual she performed as a way to ease her dark mood. Many times offering her insight and guidance and wisdom.

She opened her eyes and read the Latin script. She stopped mid entry; scoffing, she snapped the book shut. She’d touched on a charm for making a man fall in love with a woman. What superstitious nonsense. Her mother had taught her to use her intellect and observation to deduce whether a cure was effective or not. No spell or charm could make a man love a woman. She knew. Had she not tried a similar love spell when she’d discovered Bertram had a mistress—on the night they wed?

Rose plunked the book back on the table and determinedly locked the memories away. She’d dwelled much too often of late upon the misbegotten cur.

Rose slid off the tall bed, and her nightshift dropped down to cover her bare feet. The cooler air of the room dried the film of perspiration that covered her completely. Her linen shift clinging to her skin in damp patches, she shivered. A chill seeped into the soles of her feet as she padded across the floor to her washstand, which stood against the west wall opposite a cushioned window seat. Double arched windows above the seat looked down on the ornamental garden next to the Great Hall.

Grabbing the open neck of her shift, she tugged it over her head and tossed it onto the bed. She plucked her chamber robe off the peg beside the washstand and slid into its enveloping warmth. Then Rose poured water from the chipped painted pitcher into the basin, splashed cool water over her face and chest, and finished her bath by drying off with a linen towel.
An instinctual sensation tugged at her soul, drawing her into the adjoining chamber. A small bed, a chest, and a stool were the only furniture in the room. No one could enter her son’s chamber unless first coming through her bedchamber. Next to the small bed in the corner, Jason’s nurse and fierce protector lay curled up on a pallet snoring loudly. Rose quietly approached the foot of the bed and stared down at her sweet, innocent son. He lay on his side facing her, with his thumb stuck in his pursed lips and his other dimpled hand clutching a curly lock of light blond hair.

Her heart seized with love, and she could not keep a huge smile from forming on her lips. It was a side of herself she revealed to only a few people. Though she adored her son, she took care never to indulge in sentimental excess. She controlled her inappropriate passions behind a stoic manner befitting a widow.

Jason’s cherub lips drew down, and he kicked off his quilt. Rose pulled it back up under his chin, kissed his warm temple. She trembled with a sudden urge to grab her son and escape into the night. But her maternal instinct was stronger. Jason would be the one to suffer—loss of his inheritance, his title, and all the privileges it accompanied.

Did she have the right to steal it from him because of her fears, her insecurities, her cowardice?

Rose started at a loud bang that echoed from her chamber. She left Jason and went in the other room. The door rattled on its hinges. The sound of a deep voice, a soft giggle drew her curiosity. Rose opened the chamber door and peeked out.

Near a lit torch, Rand trapped Lisbeth up against the wall, his face pillowed between her indecently exposed plump breasts. The maid’s hose-clad thigh curled around Rand’s hip like a coiled serpent, pulling him flush against her, seeking to devour him inside her.

Rose inhaled sharply in surprise. A quiver of repulsion raced through her. The man was an incorrigible lecher. As far as she knew, Lady Elena was his current mistress, or was when Rose was at court a couple of months ago. Apparently not content with Elena, Rand had to debauch Rose’s castle servants too.

Rand glanced up just then, and stared, gaze glittering. He winked at her, a wolfish grin on his face. Flashing him a look of contempt, Rose pulled back and slammed the door shut.
Her gaze blurred as she stared at the oaken door. She regretted ever . . . Rose shook her head. The past was unalterable, she could only learn from her mistakes and never repeat them. Not that she had any desire to repeat them. Rubbing her arms, she turned and stared at her rumpled bed.

She should get some more rest before the long trip on the morrow. But she could not bear the separation from Jason, so she went to his chamber, crawled into bed beside him, and wrapped her arms around his sweet-smelling form. ***


  1. Nice interview ladies!! Great excerpt Angela, loved it!!! :O)


  2. @ Sarah Sorry, getting a late start. Computer problems. Hopefully I won't get booted off the internet again. Thanks so much for inviting me to be a guest at Heart of Romance. I love connecting with people who love reading romance as much as myself.

  3. @ Andrea. Thanks so much for checking out the interview. So glad you liked the excerpt. Celtic Heart chapter mates totally rock! ;-)

  4. @ Jena. Thank you! I appreciate you stopping by to read the interview.

  5. @Angela- It's okay, I understand. Thanks for stopping in and for letting me do this interview! Good luck to you!

    @ Everyone- Thank you for stopping in and checking out this post. We both appreciate your support!

  6. Sarah great interview. I am so glad I joined RWA and Celtic Hearts. It allowed me to meet great authors like yourself and Angela.

    I just picked up Vow of Deception yesterday and I can't wait to read it.

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