Today I’m interviewing Mary Gillgannon. Her book, Saint Sin, is a Regency historical romance and was released on August 28.
Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.
To save her brother from crushing gambling debt, Ariella Lyndgate is willing to do nearly anything. Offered an opportunity to cancel the debt by stealing a valuable diamond from a wealthy and dissolute earl known as “Saint Sin”, ariella agrees. She attends one of the earl’s parties and is searching her host’s bedchamber for the diamond when he walks in.
Set in the vivid Regency world of glittering ballrooms, sinister gambling hells and squalid back alleyways, Saint Sin explores the sizzling temptation and wrenching choices that face two desperate people who must risk everything for love.
Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?
Regency romances take place between 1811 and 1820. Traditional Regencies are usually sweet and chaste but this one is quite sexy. In addition to this time period, I also write in the dark age and medieval eras and sometimes even earlier.
How did this story come to be?
I started this book over ten years ago. I was drawn to the Regency era because I find the contrasts of this time period so intriguing. There is great wealth and desperate poverty existing side-by-side. The upper classes engage in outrageously licentious behavior, and yet most people have to live by strict rules of propriety. Men could get away with almost anything in terms of sexual behavior, while ladies had to behave a certain way or risk being ruined. But a man’s honor was everything. If he didn’t pay his gambling debts, he was “done up” and disgraced. My heroine’s younger brother faces that prospect… and worse. That’s why she’s desperate enough to steal to save him, although she’s assuages her conscience that the diamond she’s after doesn’t really belong to the man who possesses it. But she certainly doesn’t expect to find herself intensely attracted to that man and eventually, to fall in love with him.
Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold?
My early career was kind of a “Cinderella story” as I sold my first book less than two years after finishing it. By then I had two other books partially completed.
What is your writing routine like?
I usually start writing soon after getting up and write until it’s time to go to my day job, (I work in a public library.) or on weekends, begin my chores. I’m definitely not a morning person in any other way, but somehow it’s easy for me to transition from the “dream state” to a creative writing mode. But I do try to squeeze in more writing later in the day if I can.
Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?
Being able to share my stories with readers. I would write even if I wasn’t published, but it’s much more gratifying to have an audience.
Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?
I’ve belonged to Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers for over twenty years. I found my first agent and editor through them and I still attend their conferences. On-line, I enjoy the Celtic Hearts Chapter of RWA.
What character is most like you or least like you?
All of my characters have a little of me in them, although I’m not as brave or as resourceful. But Aurora, the heroine of my first book, Dragon of the Island, is the most like me.
What most inspires you in life?
Nature and history. Nature because it’s the source of all life, the life we all had at one time. Our connection to animals and the natural world is primal and deep and we forget it at the peril of our souls.
What’s next for you?
I’m gradually re-releasing my previously published books as ebooks. In between that, I’m working on new projects, including a reincarnation romance series and a fantasy series based on Celtic and Norse legends.
When decadent earl Michael St. Cyr, “Saint Sin”, discovers Ariella Lyndgate in his bedchamber, he assumes she’s a fashionable impure sent to entertain him. Caught in the act of stealing a diamond to pay off her brother’s ruinous debts, Ariella agrees to the dalliance. But as she continues the erotic deception, she finds herself falling for the enigmatic lord.
A little bit about the author.
I grew up in Illinois and Iowa and now live in Wyoming, where I met and married my husband. I’ve been writing for over 20 years and the question is whether I’ll live long enough to finish all the stories in my head.
“So,” he said. “Are you going to tell me what you're doing here? Or should I guess?”
She licked her dry lips. No plausible explanation came to mind. None.
He moved suddenly, coming to stand a few feet away. Her heart stopped. “Mmmm,” he said. “I assume that means I’ll have to guess. Let me think. I come to my bedroom to discover a beautiful young woman waiting for me. What could it mean? That I've died and gone to heaven and she's my reward?” He shook his head. “Doubtful. Very doubtful. Or, perhaps she wandered in here by mistake, looking for the water closet?” Ariella opened her mouth to agree, but he went on, “Yet that would seem very unlikely since there are half a dozen water closets between here and the ballroom. No, I think you must be here for something else.”
He moved nearer, his gaze assessing. She surveyed him as well, observing the faint lines etching his elegant features. The long, lean power of his body. The way strands of his raven hair had escaped the black ribbon tying it. Another oddity. No men she knew wore their hair in a queue.
He still held a half-empty wine glass, cradling it in graceful fingers. “Mmmm,” he said again, with a kind of feigned amazement. “You're dressed like a Cyprian more than a lady, but then it's hard to tell about such things these days.” Smiling tightly, he added. “Many ladies of my acquaintance indulge in behavior more suitable for a street corner doxy.”
He slowly circled her, perusing her body. By the time he came to stand in front of her once more, Ariella's heart was thudding in her chest like a drum. The key to the safe, concealed in her left hand, seemed to burn her fingers.
“Yes,” he said. “You make a delightful fashionable impure. The perfect blend of refinement and sensuality.” His gaze surveyed her once more. “But, the question remains, what is a luscious demi-rep doing in my bedchamber?” He raised his eyes to her face.
Ariella remained frozen, like a rabbit trapped by a predator. Then, all at once, the words came tumbling out. “I was sent here ... by a gentleman friend of yours.” It was only a half-lie.
His puzzlement seemed to intensify. “Sent here? As a gift?” He stared at her. Then a slow smile spread across his face. “Henley, the devil. He's always going on and on about how I need to get on with my life. Forget the past.” A dark look crossed his face, making him appear quite sinister. “As if I could forget. As if anyone ...” He took a deep breath and drained his wine glass in one gulp. Then he looked at the empty glass and a strange, almost savage expression suffused his features. “That's what I came here for, more wine.”
He crossed to the cabinet, seemingly forgetting she was in the room. Ariella wondered if she should make a dash for it. She was on the verge of doing so when he abruptly turned back to her. “So, tell me, what are your specialties? Women like you often cater to certain tastes or proclivities.”
She stared at him dumbly. What was he talking about?
He drew near again. “What about your personal tastes? Do you like men who are rough? Or, do you prefer it slow and easy?”
She hoped she wasn't coloring too fiercely. A Cyprian wouldn't blush. She must maintain the illusion of sophistication.
“Perhaps you like games,” he said. “I could tie you up ... or ...” That slow smile again, beguiling, almost boyish, so in contrast to the dark, haunted expression. “... you could tie me up.”
That was it. The solution to her conundrum. “Yes,” she said. She tried to appear seductive. “I could tie you up. Henley actually suggested it.”
St. Cyr laughed, showing dazzling white teeth. “He did, did he? The bastard. I suppose that's part of his plan, that I should lose control. Indulge myself and stop thinking about ...” His mouth twitched. “All right, then. Let's proceed.” He glanced around the room. “What can you use to tie me?” He motioned for her to wait there, then moved swiftly to his dressing room.
As soon as he left the room, she glanced at the painting on the wall. Behind it was the safe and the Blue Moon. She edged toward it, fingering the key concealed in her hand. Before she reached it, she heard St. Cyr coming back. In a panic, she thrust the key between her breasts.
He reappeared, a half dozen ascot ties dangling from his hands. Smiling, he said, “Do you think you can manage with these?”
She should have fled while she had the chance. Now, she was well and truly trapped. Unless she could tie him up and manage to get to the safe before he could free himself. The vague, desperate idea tantalized her. How close she was to her goal. If she were clever, if she made use of his weaknesses, she might still be able to accomplish her objective. He was obviously inebriated. And perhaps a bit deranged. His shifts of mood were astonishing. She might be able to use his distraction and confusion to get what she wished.
“Come here.” His voice was velvety deep, enthralling. She could feel her body responding. That was the flaw in her plan. This man unsettled her. Intrigued her. He stood by the great, canopy-draped bed, looking elegant and mysterious. “Come here,” he said again.
She obeyed him, her insides fluttering. When she got within a couple of feet, she stopped. She could smell him. Wine and something else. Something darker and more threatening. His own scent. Male. Almost animal. He smiled at her, lazily, enticing.
“If you want to tie me up, you'll have to come closer.”
Relax. Remember your plan. The end justifies the means. You have a chance to save your brother. If you don't take it, you’re a coward. A miserable, worthless coward!
How can my readers buy your book?
Readers can go to the publisher’s home page at www.soulmatepublishing.com
You can find more information about Mary Gillgannon and my book, Saint Sin, by
visiting my website, http://marygillgannon.com or
my blog at http://marygillgannon.blogspot.com.
Just a few fun questions to answer if you don’t mind.
1) East Coast or West Coast? West for the forests. East for the cities.
2) What is your favorite thing to drink? Cabernet Sauvignon
3) What is your favorite holiday? Lughnasa (Gaelic harvest festival, August 1)
4) Who is your favorite author to read? Juliet Marillier
5) What’s your favorite movie? Ryan’s Daughter
6) If you could have a week to do anything you wanted and money was no object what would you do? Go to Wales and hike non-stop.
7) What’s your favorite color? Purple
8) Dog or cat? Cat. I have four.
9) What’s your favorite flavor of Starbursts candy? strawberry
10) What is your favorite childhood toy? Pink dog when I was three.
Thank you for allowing me to interview you here at Heart of Romance. Good luck to you in your future!!!