I really like my job and the best part is discovering new authors and getting to pick their brains. Today I was thrilled to interview Beverley Oakley about her newest release RAKE’S HONOUR. Thanks for letting me pick your brain, Beverley.
Tell us a bit about RAKE’S HONOUR?
Thank for having me here and for asking. Here is the premise: Fanny Brightwell has just two weeks to find a husband who will fulfill her mama's marital criteria or she'll be forced to marry the loathsome libertine, Lord Slyther.
That means two weeks to convince dashing Viscount Fenton she's his perfect bride.
Battling spurned suitors, jealous debutantes and a peagoose of a sister on the verge of destroying the Brightwell reputation, Fanny has little time to make her handsome lover her slave in passion...
So he’ll make her his wife.
Oooh, sounds right up my alley. What gave you the idea to write RAKE’S HONOUR?
I loved William Thackeray’s Vanity Fair anti-heroine, the feisty, ambitious Becky Sharp much more than his heroine, the passive, naïve Amelia Sedley. I therefore thought it would be fun to write a book set in the Regency period with a heroine who had all the characteristics essential for survival but which were the antithesis of the womanly virtues upheld by the era.
You write under another name. Can you tell us a bit about what your pseudonym writes?
My first three Regency Historical Romances were published under my real name, Beverley Eikli. I adopted Beverley Oakley as a pseudonym because, while the plot twists and intrigue are the same, the heat level is higher.
My last Regency Historical for Robert Hale (UK) is published in hardback and was recently nominated by ARRA (Australian Romance Readers’ Association) for Favourite Historical Romance in 2011.
Out of all of your published books, who is your favourite hero and why?
I think one falls in love with each hero as you write him. As his character develops during the progress of the book his inner strengths and vulnerabilities are revealed, making him the hero of your heroine’s dreams – and, in the process, your own dreams.
That said, Felix, Viscount Fenton of my Rake’s Honour is both honourable and sexy which I’ve always found a potent combination. (I married one of those.)
Out of all of your published books, who is your favourite heroine and why?
I’ve written about vulnerable heroines who’ve gained strength throughout the book so they can claim what they deserve, like Olivia, Lady Farquhar in my second Hale book Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly (under my Beverley Eikli name). I enjoyed her character arc which is the opposite of Fanny Brightwell’s in Rake’s Honour who starts out very feisty and who is softened by the end.
So I don’t really have a favourite heroine but I do enjoy the process of playing their secret psychologist, smoothing out their flaws so they can realize their potential and ultimately, their dreams by the end of the book.
Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
I wrote my first romance when I was seventeen but realized only after slogging through 550 pages that you don’t drown the heroine on the final page.
During my twenties I tried again and in fact, it was when the gorgeous Norwegian bush pilot I met around a camp fire in Botswana offered to read my manuscript that I realized he was the one for me. I’d only known him a few hours and as I was leaving to return to Australia I gave him the floppy disk of The Fortunes of Sophie Smith. Poor man – he ploughed through hundreds of pages of my dreadful novel in his thatched cottage in a mopane forest near Maun, the gateway to the lovely Okavango Delta. Then, after eight months of writing long, snail mail letters to each other (remember, this was Botswana in the early nineties so no internet), he hopped on a plane to visit me in Australia and asked me to marry him. We’d been in each other’s company a total of two weeks but we had written literally hundreds of pages of letters in the intervening eight months. We sometimes pull them out and read a couple. Very romantic!
My first book contract came 23 years after I wrote my first novel after I’d joined Romance Writers of Australia and become determined that I could do this.
That is determination! Bravo! You lived and worked in many exotic locales. What was the best thing about living in the Okavango Delta?
The beauty… and the gorgeous man I met there while I was managing Mombo, a luxury safari tourist lodge. He flew in one night to deliver the tourists but I thought I’d never see him again – or the beautiful Okavango which is actually where my father had been born as I was returning to my job as a journalist in South Australia the next morning.
I feel very privileged to have experienced the pristine landscape and the abundant game and to have worked with so many memorable and eccentric characters. It inspired me to return to my writing and in fact my next book is a contemporary set in the Okavango roughly based on my own experiences as a lodge manager – only my heroine’s troubles within her marriage and the temptations and threats she faces are purely fiction.
We’re hoping to return to the Okavango for a reunion next year for my husband’s 50th birthday.
I’d love to go to the Okavango Delta. Anything new in the works you want to share?
I have a Cromwellian action-packed erotic romance in Total-e-Bound’s Bodices and Boudoirs anthology coming out in early July and a very unusual Regency Romance called Lady Lovett’s Little Dilemma due out around the same time. The beautiful, delicate heroine is madly in love with her husband but terrified of intimacy after the difficult birth of her fifth child. There’s lots of intrigue and a villain you love to hate in this one, too.
Where can we find out more about you?
You can read more on my websites: www.beverleyoakley.com and www.beverleyeikli.com and my blog: http://beverleyeikli.blogspot.com or follow me on Twitter @BeverleyOakley. I’m still getting the hang of the whole social media thing so I’d love it if you introduced yourself and said hi.
Now, for the fun questions! J What is your favourite colour?
Blue. Always has been. Soothing, I think.
What is your favourite drink?
There’s nothing better than a full-bodied Clare Valley shiraz. I grew up in South Australia’s Clare Valley region where we own a B&B (named Wuthering Heights after my favourite novel and run by my dad) which is surrounded by vineyards.
What is your favourite food?
Seasonal. I don’t cook as lavishly as I used to now that my husband is maintaining his weight after losing 25kg. We’re trying to stay the same sizes we were when we met 18 years ago. Succeeding, too, I’m happy to say. But I still bake quite a bit and am about to make an orange cake with my six-year-old.
Trapped on a desert island what three movies would you take with you? What three books and what three fantasy men?
For comedy, My Cousin Vinny, for romance Gone With the Wind and for Romantic Comedy, Bridget Jones’ Diary. I do like drama and thrillers but I think if I was already trapped I’d be looking for light-hearted escapism.
Books? Thackeray’s Vanity Fair would keep me going for a long while. Also, Karleen Koen’s Through a Glass Darkly and finally a deep and learned social history maybe by Antonia Fraser so my desert island time wouldn’t be wasted and I could research for my next book.
Sounds great, Beverley. Thanks again for dropping by!