Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Author Interview 14: Desidera 's Interview with Beverley Oakley and Giveaway


While reading many books, I found this gem, Rake's Honour by Beverley Oakley. This is one of those books you can't put down until you finish it and Beverley Oakley has now become one of my favorite historical romance writers; she is one of the writers that makes you feel the story and identify with her characters. I can't wait to read her upcoming release, on July 2nd, “Lady Lovett’s Little Dilemma” followed on July 16 by “The Cavalier”.

I recently discovered that she is writing traditional Regency romance under the name of Beverley Eikli. So, welcome here Beverley Oakley, aka Beverley Eikli!

Tell us about you … about what compelled you to start writing.

How did you choose the name Beverley Oakley? Is there a story behind this choice of a pen name for yourself?
Thanks so much for having me here  today, Fashionta.  So, how did I choose my pseudonym? Well, I started writing traditional Regency Romances under my married name, Beverley Eikli which is Norwegian (and rhymes with ‘likely’). Eikli translates into Oak Hill in Norwegian so Oakley seemed a good choice of pseudonym when the time came. And what compelled me to start writing? I can’t actually remember a time when I didn’t passionately yearn to be a writer. However, it was meeting my husband that provided the impetus to go from being unpublished and directionless to getting my first contract.

As I said, he’s Norwegian and was a bush pilot who’d been flying in the beautiful Okavango Delta in Botswana for five years when I met him. I’d been managing a safari lodge and was flying home to Australia the next day when he flew in a group of American tourists.

Sparks flew and for eight months we wrote letters (the old fashioned kind that took two weeks to reach their destination) and he proved his love by ploughing through my lengthy historical romance I’d given him on a floppy disk (which will never to see the light of day!). Then, suddenly, after eight months, he got on a plane and came to Australia to ask me to marry him. I'd only spent four hours in his company but I had no doubt about saying yes. I gave up my job as a journalist on a metropolitan daily in South Australia and swapped a house in the Adelaide suburbs for a thatched cottage in the middle of a mopane forest by an isolated flood plain in Botswana.

This was eighteen years ago but it’s where I started writing seriously.

My first three books were traditional Regency Historical Intrigues written under my Beverley Eikli name and published in hardcover with Robert Hale (UK). They mostly went to libraries in Commonwealth countries.

The plot of Rake’s Honour, however, was racier, and overall a more rollicking read which just wasn’t appropriate for my English publisher so I decided to take a new name and submit it as an erotic Regency Historical to Total-E-Bound who’s proved a great publisher – which, I guess, answers your next question, in part.

I know that your first book as Beverley Oakley is Rake's Honour, what made you alter your style? Did you think to capture a new audience?

I didn’t want to offend my readers who expected that a Beverley Eikli book would be full of intrigue and sensuality – but not rollicking sex. My heroine in Rake’s Honour, Fanny Brightwell, is highly motivated to take enormous risks in order to snare her man - otherwise she’s destined to live the rest of her life enslaved to the hideous and manipulative Lord Slyther.

So while there are many similarities in terms of plot and motivation between my longer Beverley Eikli Regency Romances and my slightly shorter Beverley Oakley erotic Regency Historicals, the bedroom antics of a Beverley Oakley are necessary to understanding the psychology and motivation of my characters.

Are you equally enjoying both styles you write in or is there one you prefer?

I enjoy delving into the characters and their motivations in both styles but the Beverley Oakley erotic romances are faster paced with an ending that has more of a ‘sting in the tail’ or a character who’s ‘hoist on their own petard’.

By comparison the Beverley Eikli romances have a longer build-up of suspense, and there’s lots of intrigue before events are resolved.

What can you say about your alter ego, Beverley Eikli? I haven’t read any of her books, but I intend to. Do you have a favorite book from the three books you wrote under this pen name? Can you tell us?

My favourite is Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly which my English publisher released in January as an e-book with the following premise:

Falsely branded an adulteress and unfit mother by her vengeful late husband, Olivia Lady Farquhar embarks on a grand charade to reclaim her young son.

When she unexpectedly finds love with the boy’s kind and gentle guardian Max, secrets in her past life far more deadly than just her false identity threaten not only her love but her life.

I’m pretty excited right now because my paperback and e-book rights to my hardcover books have just reverted to me, so in a couple of weeks my three Beverley Eikli Regency Romantic Intrigues will also be available in paperback and e-book. The idea of having complete control is wonderful as I’ll be able to choose my own covers and set the price.

What was your inspiration for Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly? Was this an idea that started to germinate in your mind or did you start writing and it poured out from there?

I always start with a set-up. For example, a ‘What if?” question. For Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly it was, “If the law prevents a woman from rearing her son because her now-dead alcoholic husband falsely accuses her of being an unfit mother, how daring will she be in order to get him back?”

So there’s deception but the intrigue really begins when she becomes an unwitting target for someone she’s always trusted – for a most unlikely reason. Yes, I just love a good intrigue!

Which leads me to ask, what's your writing process like? Mac or PC, laptop or desktop or paper and pen? Do you have a dedicated room for writing? Do you write a set amount of hours in a day or when you can grab time? Do you sketch out your storyline beforehand or write as it flows? Do you ever write material that surprises you in that the storyline takes a direction you hadn't considered originally?

I have a MacAir which my lovely husband bought for my birthday last year. As we have a couple of delightful, demanding daughters, we redesigned the kitchen with a writing nook so I could leap into my Herman Miller chair (shipped by the same lovely husband from the States to Australia in one enormous cardboard box as another surprise!). I then snatch whatever writing time I can between making endless bowls of porridge and whipping up a gourmet dinner if my husband’s returning home after a few days away, flying. My books have become slightly shorter and much racier and pacier as I’ve progressed from being blissfully childless to blessed but manic.

While walking my gorgeous Rhodesian Ridgeback each morning I plot my story to about half way. I never know the ending. When I’m actually writing – which is whenever I can, depending on the children’s activities and final edits from my publishers, etc – I find the characters often take charge and which can send the book in a completely unexpected direction. I’ve always loved spontaneity and chafed at predictability in my life so I guess my writing process is in line with that.

How much time did you spend writing Rake's Honour? Which part of the writing process do you most enjoy?

Rake’s Honour was originally a story called The Courtesan’s Daughter which Avon editor Erika Tsang awarded first prize in a Romance Writers of Australia’s competition eleven years ago. She rejected the full manuscript as I still hadn’t mastered the plot development of the second half of all my books. I then wrote three other books that were published before returning to the characters in Rake’s Honour - whom I loved – but I changed the plot.

Who is your favorite character and why?

The feisty heroine, Fanny Brightwell is one of my all-time favourite characters. She’s based on William Thackeray’s anti-heroine in Vanity Fair, Becky Sharp, who I found much more interesting than the book’s passive, naïve heroine, Amelia Sedley.

You have two more books coming in July, which of these three books is your current favorite and why?

The two July releases couldn’t be more different from each other – or from Rake’s Honour. Whereas Rake’s Honour featured a fiery, feisty heroine, this time it was fun to write about a sweet, passive, happily married heroine.

Lady Lovett's Little Dilemma, which was released at the beginning of this month, is probably my favourite.

As was normal 200 years ago, Cressida is not equipped with the vocabulary or knowledge to explain that while she wants to continue her loving relationship with her husband she can’t bear to be intimate when she knows the consequences may well be another pregnancy.

Therefore, when her awful, jealous, bullying cousin tells her that her hitherto faithful, adoring Justin has returned to the arms of his former mistress, Cressida believes it’s her fault. When she stumbles upon the means to please both her husband and herself, she inadvertently stumbles upon a 20-year-old mystery. It’s now that she uses her sweet nature – and hidden determination – to secure someone else’s happy ending, as well as her own – revealing surprising depths of courage, daring and spontaneity along the way.

What can you share about “Lady Lovett’s Little Dilemma” and “The Cavalier”?

Here’s the blurb for The Cavalier:

A Puritan woman’s loyalties are tested when her husband is imprisoned by the Royalist lover she was forced to surrender through duty.

Do these three books have lines that every time you reread them you smile? Can you share them with us?

Here’s one I like from Rake’s Honour:

Fanny’s objection was truncated by the jolt of the boat as it pushed off from the river bank, which threw her closer against her companion. Drawing back, she said icily, “I am not from the ranks of the Fashionably Impure, sir. Might I remind you that you tore me from the arms of a serious suitor—”
“—whose marital criteria I believe you failed to meet—?”

“His mama’s marital criteria!”
“I beg your pardon.” He flashed her a smile before issuing instructions to the ferryman.
He was a gentleman—his voice, his bearing left her in no doubt about that.
And From Lady Lovett’s Little Dilemma… I just grabbed one at random however this encapsulates the dilemma at the heart of the story.
Horrified, she checked herself. How could she possibly speak so plainly about methods that would prevent her conceiving the second son Justin deserved, desired and, yes, as his mother so frequently reminded her, required?
Her breath hitched in her throat while her mind raced over the best way to navigate these turbulent waters.
And The Cavalier, from an excerpt where my hero and heroine know the depraved commander Reynolds has his eye to the keyhole.
Slowly, Elizabeth nodded once. “This is war,” she whispered, simply, “and I want to live. I’ll struggle and scream as I would if it were Reynolds but you have my permission to take me. I’ve dreamed of it.” She said it so he could be under no illusions as to her feelings and was gratified by the brief shock that crossed his face. Immediately she tried to pull out of his arms. “You betrayed me!” she shrieked. “By God, I rue the day I set eyes on you. You betrayed me. Don’t touch me!”
The play acting had begun.

What's next up for your endeavors? Are you working on a story now you can share some tidbits of with our readers?

I’ve just done corrections on a the first in a series for Ellora’s Cave called Her Gilded Prison about a viscount’s family of two legitimate daughters and his ‘secret’ family consisting of an illegitimate son and daughter. The first story is an older woman/younger man story in which the viscount’s lovely, unloved wife gains the assistance of her husband’s displaced heir to secure the succession of the family line. Once again, there is loads of intrigue together with some very deserving characters and some perfectly awful ones – like the viscount’s daughter. Though she’ll get a story of her own where she’ll get her come-uppance and have to mend her ways.

Thanks so much for being here and sharing time with us.

It was an absolute pleasure. Thank you very much for having me here today.

Beverley Oakley aka Beverley Eikli can be reached here:

We are giving on copy of Beverley's new release Lady Lovett's Little Dilemma away to celebrate release of it

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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