Talk about your favourite scene or moment from the book, what makes it so special to you?
There are a couple of ‘favorite moments’ that I’m not going to talk about, because they happen closer to the end of the book and might give too much away. That being said, there’s a particular moment that I’m terribly fond of, coming up on the one-quarter mark or so.
My heroes, Joshua and Stephen, have only known each other for a couple of days, and in that time, Joshua’s already managed to walk in on – and then get busted watching – Stephen and his current lover in flagrante delicto. So at this point, Joshua is well aware that Stephen has carnal interest in men, and Stephen is mostly certain that Joshua does as well; what Joshua doesn’t know yet is that Stephen’s relationship is an open one, and they often bring in third parties. And of course, while there’s a potent physical attraction between them, the guys don’t yet know anything about each other as people.
Stephen comes upon Joshua while Joshua – an artist – is sketching by the riverbank. Joshua’s convinced that Stephen’s going to give him hell for walking in on Stephen and Evander in the conservatory, but Stephen just sits down and makes small talk for a while.
It’s a simple scene, not a lot happens in it action-wise. In my original outline, it gets summed up as ‘Joshua and Stephen chat by the river.’ But there’s a certain mix of both tranquility and uncertainty running through their conversation that really appeals to me – that delicious stage of ‘does he like me? How will I know? Does he know that I like him, too?’ – that’s at the core of that all-encompassing new-crush energy we all love.
It also gave me a great chance to start peeling back the layers of these characters, to have them – along with the readers – learn a little bit about each other beyond their initial ‘hot daaaaamn, son’ reactions.
That emotional connection is so vital to the core of any good romance. We have to be able to see the heroes as people who are truly suited for each other, who will be able to forge something that will last long into middle and old age. I always need my love interests to be friends at some level; either before their sexual relationship begins, or something that develops alongside the sexual, so that you can picture their romance as only the beginning of something that will stay satisfying for both of them, forever.
And I’ve just outed myself as a ridiculous romantic now, I suppose. I’m in this business because I dream of happy endings, though, and for me it’s connection and belonging – the sense that another human being knows everything about you and loves you regardless – that drives the most brilliant love stories.
If I can, I’d like to take the chance here to divert slightly. While the book blog tour has a series of dated stops, the posts and interviews haven’t all been done at the same time. This is the last one I received, and I slacked off so long on finishing it, that good news has happened in the mean time – which means that you get the exclusive reveal! I’ve officially signed the contract with Samhain for the second book in Treading the Boards.
The book is titled She Whom I Love, and is the story of Sophie, a secondary character you’ll meet in Rite of Summer – a woman very important in Joshua’s life. She has her own romance(s) brewing, and a love triangle with a rather different sort of resolution. That book will be out in December, so please keep an eye on my webpage, tumblr and/or twitter accounts for news.
Violinist Stephen Ashbrook is passionate about three things—his music, the excitement of life in London, and his lover, Evander Cade. It’s too bad that Evander only loves himself. A house party at their patron’s beautiful country estate seems like a chance for Stephen to remember who he is, when he’s not trying to live up to someone else’s harsh expectations.
Joshua Beaufort, a painter whose works are very much in demand among the right sort of people, has no expectations about this party at all. Until, that is, he finds out who else is on the guest list. Joshua swore off love long ago, but has been infatuated with Stephen since seeing his brilliant performance at Vauxhall. Now he has the chance to meet the object of his lust face to face—and more.
But changing an open relationship to a triad is a lot more complicated than it seems, and while Evander’s trying to climb the social ladder, Stephen’s trying to climb Joshua. When the dust settles, only two will remain standing…
Joshua lowered himself into the armchair in his room, and loosened his cravat with a peevish snap.
“That bad, was it?” Sophie asked from the chair opposite, her legs curled under her. She closed the book in her hands, tucking it into her lap. It said something that he wasn’t the least bit surprised by her presence, though by all rights he should have been appropriately scandalized. He could always tell her to leave, as though that would do any good. The girl was like a cat; she went where she pleased and did what she liked, and woe betide anyone but her employer who tried to force her otherwise.
“I had no idea,” Joshua said, checking first to be sure the door was most securely closed, “that her ladyship had such strong opinions about the idea of gas lighting.”
“Ooh, yes, did she get on about that again?” Sophie replied with a pleased grin. “’Those gas lines will be a blight on the city,’” she imitated bitingly. “’They’re an invitation to treachery and a first stage toward a new Gunpowder Plot,’ to hear her go on. And did you know,” she asked rhetorically, the light of mischief in her eyes, “that they’re sinful as well? Apparently Our Lord and Savior would prefer candlelight.”
“Lord save us from the march of progress,” Joshua sighed, and rubbed his forehead. Exhaustion nipped around the edges of his eyes, his shoulders aching. “You were quite right, by the way.” He glanced up at Sophie, not too tired to add to her amusement. “Lady Chalcroft’s got her eye set on Coventry for her eldest. The two of them would set on her rivals like a pair of wild dogs if they thought it would get her a hand-span closer to a coronet.”
I have a confession to make. While I love historical fiction (And GBTL historicals? *FLAIL*), I dislike ones written in the regency style as thus book is. Despite my disappointment I found myself thoroughly enjoying the novel! Hot sex, and a fantastic, and interesting story line kept in interest right to the very end. I won’t spoil you, (because really!! You NEED to know who Stephen chooses in the end) I will say the ending was not what I expected-in a good way. It took me a little while to get into the novel, it’s an excellent début novel from a fantastic new author and I look forward to reading anything she puts forth in the future.
If you like GBTL Historicals in the Regency style hands down this book is for you!
About the Author:
Tess has been a fan of historical fiction since learning the Greek and Roman myths at her mother’s knee. Now let loose on a computer, she’s spinning her own tales of romance and passion in a slightly more modern setting. Her work in the performing arts has led to a passion for the theatre and dance in all its forms, and been the inspiration for her current books. Tess lives on the east coast, with her partner of fifteen years and two cats who should have been named ‘Writer’s Block’ and ‘Get Off the Keyboard, Dammit.’
Rite of Summer on GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23766005-rite-of-summer