Monday, August 15, 2022

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY - Wiltshire Chronicles by Alyssa Drake

 


THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY
Wiltshire Chronicles

 

Get a behind-the-scenes all-access pass to Alyssa Drake's Wiltshire Chronicles Series!


***Synopis***

An Imperfect Scoundrel is the fourth book in the Wiltshire Chronicles series, and features romance on the high seas. Who doesn’t love a pirate? While it can be read without having read the previous stories, there are some details that will be missed.

A portion of this story appeared several years ago in the historical romance boxed set, Once Upon a Pirate. I’d always intended to turn that short story into a longer piece. The completed novel is on pre-order and scheduled to release on March 21, 2023.

 

Give me a short Synopsis of the book or series?  How are the books in the series related?

An Imperfect Scoundrel is the love story between Alana Flannery (who appears in previous stories) and Captain Cedric Shaw (whose true identity and connection to Wiltshire is revealed in this tale). 

Due to the events in the previous books, Alana is sent to America for her safety, and her ship is attacked by pirates. She pretends to be a man, and is placed in the Captain’s quarters as a servant.

 

What is the sub-genre and trope?  Did your characters lead you to this genre or was that decided before the story began?

There are several tropes that show up in this story including fish out of water and mistaken identity. 

This story adopted a darker flavor than the previous ones, which was driven by the cruelty of the pirates. The level of violence as well as the master/slave undercurrent that plays in the relationship between Cedric and Alana when he believes she’s a man is greater than anything I’ve previously done, and was 100% driven by the characters. 

I did not have this in mind when I started writing.

 

Are you more character or plot driven?

I’m a blend, but I lean toward my character. 

After outlining my stories (a necessary step in my writing process), I allow my characters a lot of free rein, as long as they make it from point A to point B. How they get there is up to them.

 

With many main and secondary characters, how do you keep them separated in your mind?  Do you have a story/vision board above your workspace?

Wiltshire is a large world and it’s easy to lose track of people. 

When I began writing, I started a family tree to record how everyone was related. In addition to the tree, I also have a spreadsheet with descriptions, quirks, and strange facts (which includes the servants), as well as in which books they appear. 

Plus, I created a Pinterest board to hold images of characters, clothing, locations, and objects.

 

I know from previous interviews that characters take on a life of their own.  Were any of the characters in this series determined to take their own direction instead of where you initially wanted them to go?

Cedric’s dominant personality surprised me. Most of my heroes tend to control their brute desires due to societal expectations, and other restrictions, however, because there was no one to check Cedric, he was free to be as dark as he wanted.

 

Are any of the male POVs based on anyone you know?

No. While my characters may adopt certain idiosyncrasies of people I knew, none of the male POV’s are explicitly based on someone.

 

Are any of the female POVs based on anyone you know?

This is the same answer as above. I pull quirks and character traits and blend them into a new person.

 

Was there any one character/scene that was harder to write about than the other?

The hardest scene to write was the attack on Alana by Jack Evens, the first mate. 

He doesn’t succeed, because I won’t write a scene like that, but even stepping a toe down that path is difficult for me.

 

What is your favorite book in the series? 

This is so unfair to the other books in the series. I’m going to say my favorite is the one after this one, A Perfect Recluse, because it features a grumpy lighthouse keeper (Alana’s brother Patrick) and an unlucky ray of sunshine who ends up at the lighthouse waiting for news of her sister (who set sail on the ship attacked by Captain Shaw’s crew).

 

I know that we aren’t supposed to have “favorites” as far as our children, but seriously, who’s your favorite character and why?

My favorite character is Thomas Reid, younger brother of Benjamin, Lord Westwood. 

I had originally planned two books in this series, however, Thomas captured not only my heart, but that of my readers, and I had several requests that he receive his own story. 

He’s a playful character, who loves animals (horses in particular), possesses a fantastic sense of humor, and suffered from a great loss which caused him to give up on love. 

I had to give him a happily ever after, especially since he didn’t end up with Alana.

 

Series question - Who is your favorite couple and why did you decide on their dynamics?

My favorite couple are Alana and Cedric from An Imperfect Scoundrel. 

Alana left Thomas due to the involvement of their families. She married another man, is widowed, and lacks the restrictions of the other ladies of Wilshire. 

Cedric is conflicted between his role as a pirate captain and his true genteel nature; he oscillates between kindness and cruelty. 

There’s an element of dark romance between them that I couldn’t apply to any other couple. They are the most honest and yet, the most deceptive of all my couples.

 

How do you get inside these character’s heads to find their perfect HEA?

This is going to sound strange, but I take things away from them until they react. Once they’re stripped of all their comforts, they reveal the one thing they truly want.

 

What scene in this book/series sticks out the most for you?  Why?

I love the scene when Cedric discovers Alana is a woman, and not Mr. Dubois as she’d previously claimed. 

His first reaction, horror that he’d struck a woman despite not knowing that she was one, reveals his true nature.

 

Series - Were any of the books harder to write than others?

No. I love writing in this world. 

In addition to An Imperfect Scoundrel, I have five more stories planned.

 

This question is if you write in MULTIPLE POVs not just the hero and heroine - I love the multiple POVs in a book.  It’s not just the hero and heroine, but we get inside the heads of multiple characters throughout this series.  I feel that it gives the story further depth.  Do you think you will write another book or series following this multiple POV outline?

This is the only series that I wrote with multiple POV’s. 

The first three books feature a chapter of the killer’s POV, but after that, I moved back to just the hero/heroine. 

If I ever do it again, it would be for the purpose of sharing the villain’s mind, but it opens the door for head-hopping errors.

 

How long did it take you to write this book/series?

I began writing the first book in this series in 2013. 

Since then, I’ve released two more full novels in this series. 

The next three releasing, An Imperfect Scoundrel, A Perfect Recluse, and An Imperfect Introduction all began as short stories and were expanded. 

Writing a novel typically takes me four-five months, depending on what else I’m involved in.

 

How did you come up with the title for your book and series?

The titles were driven by the scheme of the first two books (A Perfect… An Imperfect…and repeat). 

I chose Wiltshire as my fictional location because Stonehenge is located there in reality.

 

If you met these characters in real life would you get along?

Okay, that depends on which character I meet, but if we’re sticking with just the heroines, then, definitely yes. I love these women. Even shy Daphne has an adventurous side that she kept hidden from her mother.

 

Series question – Did you know in advance that you were going to write this as a series or did one of the characters in book one demand their own story?

I answered this above, but no, I originally intended to write just two books, and Thomas demanded to have his own story (love that man).

 

If your book/series were made into a movie, which actors do you see as playing your characters?

For An Imperfect Scoundrel I could see Emma Stone as Alana and Jason Momoa as Cedric.

 

Can you give us a hint as to what we can expect next?  Whether a new book and series or a sequel to an existing series?  Can you share a small tease?

In addition to the three stories I have planned, I’ve signed on to participate in a historical romance boxed set, featuring dukes. As none of my characters are titled, this will be a fun addition to the cast.


 

 Check out all my interviews/reviews for Alyssa Drake!
https://readingbydeb.blogspot.com/2022/08/author-at-glance-alyssa-drake.html#more



BIO:

USA Today Bestselling Author Alyssa Drake has been creating stories since she could hold a crayon, preferring to construct her own bedtime tales instead of reading the titles in her bookshelves. A multi-genre author, Alyssa currently writes Historical romance, Paranormal romance, Contemporary romance, and Romantic suspense. She thoroughly enjoys strong heroines and often laughs aloud when imagining conversations between her characters.


She believes everyone is motivated by love of someone or something. One of her favorite diversions is fabricating stories about strangers surrounding her on public transportation. When she's not whipping up chocolate treats in the kitchen, Alyssa can often be found madly scribbling notes on a train or daydreaming out the window as the scenery whips past.


 


A PERFECT PLAN


BLURB:

An opinionated tomboy must navigate the dangers of society, unaware her brother’s killer is lurking in her midst.

When her brother’s ship sinks off the coast of France, Miss Samantha Hastings surrenders her quiet, country life to manage his affairs. Suddenly thrust into society, Samantha faces an unfamiliar world and the unnerving green eyes of Lord Westwood–her brother’s best friend and her new guardian.

Benjamin, Lord Westwood, never intended on following through with his rash promise to act as guardian to Edward’s bratty little sister. Upon learning of his best friend’s death, Benjamin's intention was to marry her off to the first acceptable suitor. When he finds himself falling for Samantha instead, Benjamin alights upon the perfect plan: a marriage of convenience.

The plan, however, quickly unravels when they discover Edward’s disappearance was due to foul play. Now, Samantha is in more danger than either of them realized, and Benjamin is running out of time. Can he save the woman he loves...or will murder ruin his perfect plan?

If you enjoy the mystery and intrigue of Amanda Quick and Lisa Kleypas, dive into this spellbinding series filled with history, romance, and suspense.

*WARNING: You may throw this book across the room... it ends on a cliffhanger.

Stories should be read in order (A Perfect Plan, An Imperfect Engagement, A Perfect Deception).





AN IMPERFECT ENGAGEMENT

Planning her wedding takes a dangerous turn, when a woman realizes a member of her engagement party would rather kill her than walk down the aisle.

So far, Miss Samantha Hastings' engagement to Benjamin, Lord Westwood, has been tumultuous at best. Kidnapped by the man who murdered her father, nearly beaten to death, and severely poisoned, Samantha barely manages to escape alive.

When the killer reveals his revenge plot had assistance, the Hastings and Westwood families must band together to defend themselves against a new threat, and Samantha concocts a risky plan to draw the accomplice out of hiding. However, this scheme may cost her more than she is willing to sacrifice. There is a traitor in their midst—one who has already committed murder and is willing to do so again.

The masked ball approaches and, by the evening's end, at least one more person will die. Will Samantha survive until her wedding day... or will her imperfect engagement become a grizzly prelude to murder?

The second book in this intriguing series drags you deeper into the mystery, surrounding the reader in a dizzying array of passion, intrigue, and the richness of the Victorian era. In the vein of Deanna Raybourn and Amanda Quick, this darker installment of the Wiltshire Chronicles will reveal the violent nature of man.

WARNING: Although this book contains a happily ever after for Samantha and Benjamin, it, too, ends with cliffhanger.




A PERFECT DECEPTION

Disowned by her mother and suffering from unrequited love, a dismayed wallflower steps out of the shadows and into the path of a vindictive killer…

Through a chance introduction, Miss Daphne Clemens finds herself thrust into a dangerous situation, sequestered on a country estate with the one man she wants, but cannot have: Mr. Thomas Reid.

Following the abrupt termination of his engagement, Thomas expected to remain a bachelor forever, but Daphne’s captivating presence reopens his heart to the possibility of love... until a body is discovered just outside the estate.

Thomas realizes someone in the household is working with Mr. Franklin Morris, feeding information to a killer intent on murdering every person in the chateau… including Daphne. All evidence points to a servant, but when the girl accused of the crime is found to be innocent, Thomas fears he may be too late to save Daphne’s life.

Fans of Stephanie Laurens and Julie Garwood will savor this third installment of the Wiltshire Chronicles which reveals the inner workings of a broken heart, the deviousness of jealously, and the strength of true love.



AN IMPERFECT SCOUNDREL


BLURB:

When marauders ambush her ship, a widow dons her dead husband’s clothing, giving his name as hers, but her treachery places her in unforeseen peril.

Fleeing a deranged killer, and appeasing her overprotective brother, Alana Flannery books passage on a ship sailing for America. One day into the voyage, the ship is attacked.

Abducted and assigned to the captain’s quarters as a manservant, Alana carries out her duties under the guise of 
Sebastian Dubois, discovering the man behind the pirate captain’s cold fa├žade is quite opposite from his ruthless moniker.

When a sack of gold is stolen, Alana is accused and searched, revealing her true identity. Expecting death, Alana is shocked by the captain’s reluctance to enforce the punishment for theft. However, the crew demands blood, and no pirate would risk his life for a woman…

Fans of Johanna Lindsey and Danelle Harmon will enjoy the thrilling blend of romance, pirates, and intrigue woven into the fourth book of the Wilshire Chronicles series.


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