Welcome, Regan, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Well, I was raised in California and though I’ve lived in the east, I consider myself a creature of the West, its attitudes, food, health focus and its weather. My career was not as a writer, at least not the fun stuff like I write now. I began as most authors as an avid reader. In my case it was and is historical romance. I love a novel that takes me into the deep past, into a meaningful historical event (not the ones that use history as a “wallpaper” background). So when I began to write romance a few years ago, it was those kinds of stories that I was hoping to write. One of my readers said she always feels smarter after she had read one of my novels. I smiled at that because what she is referring to is that there is a lot of history and historical details in my books, even my two short stories.
Against the Wind is the second in my Agents of the Crown trilogy, Regency historical romance novels that center on the Prince Regent’s demands on the three heroes. The idea came from my early love of mysteries and spy stories and my knowledge that all branches of government have their own agents. It wasn’t much of a stretch to conceive of the Prince Regent asking a few of his subjects to take on “special assignments.” Kings have been doing it for centuries. Hence my trilogy features heroes who have been asked by the Prince Regent to take on a unique task. First there was Racing With The Wind, and the British Lord who masqueraded as the Nighthawk, the thief of Napoleon’s secrets. Next is Against the Wind, the story of Sir Martin Powell, the agent for the Crown in France who has come home to England for one last assignment and meets his love in a bordello. The 3rd in the trilogy—Wind Raven--takes place on a schooner and in the Caribbean in 1817, and features a rakish sea captain and a pirate who plied the seas around Puerto Rico at the time. I’m writing it now.
You can find Against the Wind on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Against-Wind-Agents-Crown-ebook/dp/B00BXIJ6QM) and you can see the trailers for all three novels on my website, here: http://www.reganwalkerauthor.com/novels.html.
What is the hardest scene you had to write in this piece?
Probably it is the one where the heroine, Katherine, Lady Egerton (“Kit”) discovers Martin plotting with the villagers planning a rebellion and believes the man she loves, the man she has given herself to, is a traitor to the Crown. Getting that sense of betrayal right and the angst over what she should do was challenging.
Do you have a favorite character or one that you identify most with?
That would be Lady Mary Campbell from Racing With The Wind, the bluestocking hoyden who has nothing but disdain for the “rules” of the haute ton. She doesn’t fit with the other debutantes but wants adventure and likes being among intelligent men. She finds her match in the Nighthawk. Both appear in Against the Wind as secondary characters.
Describe your writing in three words.
Ooo, interesting and hard to capture in three words. How about “historical, adventures and love.”
How do you approach your writing, are you a plotter or a pantser?
I envy the true plotters and desire to be one of them. But right now my writing is a bit of both really. When I begin, I have the idea for the story and a few characters and the title. Then scenes come to me. Usually the first chapters are pretty easy to write. I might know the ending, even the ending scene, but the middle is all pantster.
What’s next for you?
When I finish the 3rd in the trilogy—Wind Raven—there’s the prequel to write—To Tame the Wind, the story of the parents of the brothers who are the heroes in books 2 and 3. It will be set in the late 18th century in England and France. The hero is Simon Powell, an English privateer and the heroine is Claire Donet, the only child of a French nobleman and a pirate. I have the idea for the story but have not begun to write that one yet. And finally, I have the idea for a Christmas reunion of the Agents of the Corwn—it will be set in Scotland. You can get a hint of it from my short story, The Holly And The Thistle. Both of my short stories feature some of the characters from the trilogy.
Where can we find you on the web?
Author website: http://www.reganwalkerauthor.com/
Author’s Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Regan-Walker/e/B008OUWC5Y
Regan’s Romance Reviews blog: http://reganromancereview.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @RegansReview (https://twitter.com/RegansReview)
Is there anything you would like to ask our readers?
Oh, yes. For my readers I’d like to know what they hope to see in upcoming books. And for the rest of those who have not yet read one of my books, I’d like to know what it is that draws them to a historical romance.
A night in London’s most exclusive bordello. Agent of the Crown Sir Martin Powell would not normally indulge, but the end of his time spying against Napoleon deserves a victory celebration. Yet, such pleasure will not come cheap. The auburn-haired courtesan he calls “Kitten” is in truth Katherine, Lady Egerton, a dowager baroness and the daughter of an earl as elusive as she is alluring. She flees a fate worse than death. But Martin has known darkness, too, and he alone can touch her heart--as she has touched his. To the English Midlands they will steal, into the rising winds of revolution.
“Under cloak of darkness, love will find you. Fearing the dark, you will never find love.” —Unknown Chapter 1
London, April 1817
She is dead.
Katherine, Lady Egerton, stared at the still form lying on the bed. Beloved sister, friend of the heart…Anne was gone. One minute she was struggling for breath, the next she lay silent and still. The only person in the world Kit loved more than life had left her.
They are all gone now. The sudden solitude tore at her heart.
Kit smiled sadly, gazing through eyes filled with tears at the frail body lying before her. The brown mouse. Anne’s name for herself. Delicate even as a child, she had not long survived her marriage to the cruel Earl of Rutledge. Kit knelt at her sister’s bedside, assailed by grief and guilt, and reached for Anne’s hand. Could she have done more to save her sister from the dread disease? Could she have done more to protect Anne from the heartless man who was her husband?
Pale in death, Anne was still beautiful. Kit had often sketched that heart-shaped face. Not a mouse, but a much-loved sister with a kind, unselfish heart.
Kit had seen the end coming in the last few months, months through which she’d faithfully cared for Anne. The coughs that wracked her sister’s slight frame had grown worse as Anne seemed to fade before Kit’s eyes. Kit knew she was losing her even as she willed that weak body to heal. The physician said he could do nothing; each time he left shaking his head and telling Kit to make “the poor girl” comfortable as best she could. Kit had tried to save Anne, doing the only thing she knew by giving her syrup of horehound and honey. But such a small measure was not enough. Then, too, her sister had seemed to welcome death.
Suddenly, the room grew cold. Kit felt his presence, a looming evil behind her. She took a deep breath and summoned her strength.
“Leave her and come to me.” Rutledge’s tone was harsh and demanding. Kit had no need to see him to know his face would be twisted in an odious scowl, his lips drawn taut. “It is time.”
“I must see to my sister.”
“You need do nothing. I have arranged for the burial. Come away now.”
Kit knew what he wanted, for she had seen the lust in his dark eyes. What at first had been sideways glances became leers and unwanted touches. Though she’d lived in his home since the death of her husband the baron, Kit had avoided the earl, rarely leaving her sister’s bedside. She had been thinking of a way to escape, but her exhaustion in caring for Anne these last days left those plans incomplete. With meager funds, her options were few.
When she failed to rise at the earl’s direction, his hand roughly gripped her shoulder. She stiffened at the pain of his fingers digging into her skin.
“I have waited long for you, Katherine, enduring that mockery of a marriage to your sister while all the while it was you I wanted, you I was promised. Now I shall have what is mine.”
“No!” She rose swiftly, stepping back as she turned to face him. Revulsion rose in her throat. What did he mean by those words? She never had been promised to him!
His smirk transfigured what many thought of as a handsome face. Hadn’t Anne at first been fooled by his aristocratic features and wavy brown hair? One had only to look closely to see his nature reflected in those thin lips and narrow eyes now focused on Kit. A deep furrow between his brows bore witness to his long having insisted upon having his way. When Kit sketched him, it had been as an attacking hawk.
“What will you do?” he asked smugly. “Where will you go, m’dear? You are alone and without funds. I am the one who has provided food and shelter for both you and your weak sister, though I wanted only you. You are mine, Katherine, and I will have you.”
Terror seized her. Cornered, her eyes darted about like an animal snared in a trap. His tall figure blocked the door to the corridor; the only way out led through his adjacent bedchamber. She fled toward it.
She hastened into the room as he stalked after her, knowing she had but seconds, and her eyes searched for a weapon, something to hold him at bay. At the side of the fireplace were tools, short bars of iron that could fend off a man. But could she reach them in time?
He lunged for her just as she ran toward the fireplace. His body collided with hers, and she fell upon the wooden floor with a thud. Pain shot through her hip. His body crashed down upon hers, forcing the air from her lungs. She gasped a breath just as his mouth crushed her lips, ruthlessly claiming dominance.
Tearing away, she pushed against his shoulders with all her might, but his greater strength held her pinned to the floor. His hand gripped one breast and squeezed. She winced at the pain, but that was quickly forgotten the moment a greater terror seized her: His aroused flesh pressed into her belly.
Violently she struggled, but to no avail. His wet lips slid down her throat to her heaving chest as his fingers gripped the top of her gown and yanked at the silk. Kit heard the fabric tear as he ripped her gown and the top of her chemise, and she felt the cool air on her naked breasts. Frantic, she mustered strength she did not know she had. Twisting in his grasp, she reached for the iron poker now a mere foot away.
His mouth latched onto her breast where he voraciously sucked a nipple. Lost in his lust, he did not see her grasp the length of iron, raise it above him and bring it crashing down on his head. Stunned by the blow, he raised up, his eyes glazed. Kit let the bar fall again, this time with greater force. Blood spattered her chest and face as his body went limp. He slumped atop her.
Kit’s heart pounded in her chest like a bird’s wing beating against a cage. Frantically she shoved his face from her breast and rolled his body to the floor.
Unsteady at first, her breath coming in pants, Kit rose and looked down at the crumpled form lying before her, every nerve on edge as she gazed into that evil face, now deathly pale. Blood oozed from a gash in the earl’s left temple. There was no sign of life, no movement.
I have killed him!
Fear choked off her breath as she wiped blood from her face with a sleeve, and with one last look toward her sister’s bedchamber she raced from the room. Footsteps sounded down the hall. Alarmed at the prospect of encountering one of the earl’s servants who would summon a constable, Kit knew she must find a place to hide, and there was nowhere to hide in the house. Quietly stealing into her bedchamber, she grabbed her cloak and reticule, stuffing inside it the one piece of her jewelry that could be sold to sustain her, and fled the dwelling.
Out on the street, she paused to draw her cloak tightly around her, desperate to cover her torn and bloody gown. Where could she go? Who would shelter her in the state she was in, given the deed she had done?
Only one name came to her.
Regan lives in San Diego with her golden retriever, Link, whom she says inspires her every day to relax and smell the roses.