Today we're welcoming author Danelle Harmon to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for the historical romance series, The DeMontforte Brothers. I had the privilege of reviewing the first book, "The Wild One". You can read my review here.
Danelle is giving away an eBook copy of book two, "The Beloved One" (note: are hosts eligible to enter? *G*) one at every stop, and a grand prize of a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, so comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops)! The more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!
Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?
I love people, and I love history, and I love the ability to put people into historical settings and give them happily-ever-afters. There's so much pain and suffering in this world, but romance offers us hope and optimism and a happy ending that is a wonderful escape from the stresses and realities of daily life. I love that!
What research is required?
I usually immerse myself fully into a time period or setting in order to make it as realistic as possible; for example, I used to be a Revolutionary war re-enactor, complete with musket and tricorne, and since I don't live all that far from the historic battle sites of Lexington and Concord, would travel with my minuteman company there to "live" history, right where it happened. It was a wonderful way to really get a feel for what it might have been like.
Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.
I have learned something different from each and every one of them. Lord Gareth, the hero of the first book in my de Montforte Brothers series, has a heart of gold, boundless optimism, and an ability to persevere with good cheer even when the odds are against him; he lives life as it comes, with a happy, carefree spirit, and he's not afraid to be silly and fun no matter what others may think. Life is serious enough . . . I wish I could be a little more like Lord Gareth!
I'm afraid I'm hopelessly ordinary in that respect, though I do find it fun to try and envision actors, both present and past, who might best play the role of each of my heroes if ever any of my books made it to film. I don't usually share that information (though I have my own very definite ideas!) because part of the magic of reading is that it allows each person's imagination (whether that person is the author or the reader) to envision a character exactly as they wish to envision it. I may paint a word picture, but when it comes to hard visuals, it's probably best left to the reader's imagination!
Plotter or pantser?
A little of both! I like to have a basic idea where the book is going (in fact, I usually have the ending figured out long, long before I even have the beginning written!), and a loose framework on which to hang the story, but otherwise, I like to be surprised!
Look to your right – what’s sitting there?
A picture of Red Sox pitcher Jonathan Papelbon, a book of quotes on what it is to be English, a Bee Gees album from the 1960s (I loved Robin Gibb's warbly voice!) and wallpaper from the 1970s showing scenes from Federal America, including an old sailing ship, a tavern sign, and a chest with an anchor. I write up here in a corner of an old bedroom of this old farmhouse, and this is the last room still in need of renovating. But I kind of like this old wallpaper!
Anything new coming up from you? What?
Do you have a question for our readers?
Yes! I'd love to know which of the four de Montforte brothers was *your* favorite! Such information is always fun to know . . . and in the spirit of Question 4, which actor (from either past or present) would YOU like to see each brother played by?
Thank you so much for hosting me on this stop of my Blog Tour -- it has been a pleasure and an honor! Happy reading! -- Danelle Harmon
England, 1776: Lord Gareth de Montforte is known as an irresponsible rake with a heart of gold. When he takes a bullet for boldly thwarting a stagecoach robbery, he is stunned to discover that the beautiful young woman he has heroically rescued, Juliet Paige, is his deceased brother’s American fiancée, accompanied by her infant daughter. Despite his brother the duke's refusal to acknowledge Juliet, Gareth is determined to do right by the courageous woman who crossed an ocean to give her baby her rightful name. But Juliet is wary of marrying this black sheep aristocrat, even while she is hopelessly charmed by the dashing devil. Never has she met anyone who embraces life so thoroughly, who makes her laugh, who loves her so well. And, even when it seems the odds are against them, Juliet has absolute faith that Gareth will go beyond the call of duty, risking his life itself to give her and her daughter a home — and a love that will last a lifetime.
The Flying White was bound for Oxford, and it was running late. Now, trying to make up time lost to a broken axle, the driver had whipped up the team, and the coach careered through the night in a cacophony of shouts, thundering hooves, and cries from the passengers who were clinging for their lives on the roof above.
Strong lanterns cut through the rainy darkness, picking out ditches, trees, and hedgerows as the vehicle hurtled through the Lambourn Downs at a pace that had Juliet Paige's heart in her throat. Because of Charlotte, her six-month-old daughter, Juliet had been lucky enough to get a seat inside the coach, but even so, her head banged against the leather squabs on the right, her shoulder against an elderly gent on her left, and her neck ached with the constant side to side movement. On the seat across from her, another young mother clung to her two frightened children, one huddled under each arm. It had been a dreadful run up from Southampton indeed, and Juliet was feeling almost as ill as she had during the long sea voyage over from Boston.
The coach hit a bump, became airborne for a split second, and landed hard, snapping her neck, throwing her violently against the man on her left, and causing the passengers clinging to the roof above to cry out in terror. Someone's trunk went flying off the coach, but the driver never slowed the galloping team.
"God help us!" murmured the young mother across from Juliet as her children cringed fearfully against her.
Juliet grasped the strap and hung her head, fighting nausea as she hugged her own child. Her lips touched the baby's downy gold curls. "Almost there," she whispered, for Charlotte's ears alone. "Almost there — to your papa's home."
Suddenly without warning, there were shouts, a horse's frightened whinny, and violent curses from the driver. Someone on the roof screamed. The coach careened madly, the inhabitants both inside and out shrieking in terror as the vehicle hurtled along on two wheels for another forty or fifty feet before finally crashing heavily down on its axles with another neck-snapping jolt, shattering a window with the impact and spilling the elderly gent to the floor. Outside, someone was sobbing in fear and pain.
And inside, the atmosphere of the coach went as still as death.
"We're being robbed!" cried the old man, getting to his knees to peer out the rain-spattered window.
Shots rang out. There was a heavy thud from above, then movement just beyond the ominous black pane. And then suddenly, without warning it imploded, showering the inside passengers in a hail of glass.
Gasping, they looked up to see a heavy pistol — and a masked face just beyond it.
"Yer money or yer life. Now!"
It was the very devil of a night. No moon, no stars, and a light rain stinging his face as Lord Gareth Francis de Montforte sent his horse, Crusader, flying down the Wantage road at a speed approaching suicide. Stands of beech and oak shot past, there then gone. Pounding hooves splashed through puddles and echoed against the hedgerows that bracketed the road. Gareth glanced over his shoulder, saw nothing but a long empty stretch of road behind him, and shouted with glee. Another race won — Perry, Chilcot, and the rest of the Den of Debauchery would never catch him now!
Laughing, he patted Crusader's neck as the hunter pounded through the night. "Well done, good fellow! Well done —"
And pulled him up sharply at he passed Wether Down.
It took him only a moment to assess the situation.
Highwaymen. And by the looks of it, they were helping themselves to the pickings — and passengers — of the Flying White from Southampton.
The Flying White? The young gentleman reached inside his coat pocket and pulled out his watch, squinting to see its face in the darkness. Damned late for the Flying White...
He dropped the timepiece back into his pocket, steadied Crusader, and considered what to do. No gentlemen of the road, this lot, but a trio of desperate, hardened killers. The driver and guard lay on the ground beside the coach, both presumably dead. Somewhere a child was crying, and now one of the bandits, with a face that made a hatchet look kind, smashed in the windows of the coach with the butt end of his gun. Gareth reached for his pistol. The thought of quietly turning around and going back the way he'd come never occurred to him. The thought of waiting for his friends, probably a mile behind thanks to Crusader's blistering speed, didn't occur to him, either. Especially when he saw one of the bandits yank open the door of the coach and haul out a struggling young woman.
He had just the briefest glimpse of her face — scared, pale, beautiful — before one of the highwaymen shot out the lanterns of the coach and darkness fell over the entire scene. Someone screamed. Another shot rang out, silencing the frightened cry abruptly.
His face grim, the young gentleman knotted his horse's reins and removed his gloves, pulling each one carefully off by the fingertips. With a watchful eye on the highwaymen, he slipped his feet from the irons and vaulted lightly down from the thoroughbred's tall back, his glossy top boots of Spanish leather landing in chalk mud up to his ankles. The horse never moved. He doffed his fine new surtout and laid it over the saddle along with his tricorn and gloves. He tucked the lace at his wrist safely inside his sleeve to protect it from any soot or sparks his pistol might emit. Then he crept through the knee-high weeds and nettles that grew thick at the side of the road, priming and loading the pistol as he moved stealthily toward the stricken coach. He would have time to squeeze off only one shot before they were upon him, and that one shot had to count…
Danelle welcomes email from her readers and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org , on the web at http://www.danelleharmon.com, or through her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DanelleHarmon