Saturday, February 21, 2009

Author Interview: Emily Bryan and Vexing The Viscount

Today is a happy day at Melange's Reviews. I have a guest blogger today to talk about her newest book, Vexing the Viscount.

Emily Bryan, author of Distracting the Duchess and Pleasuring the Pirate has been kind enough to answer a few questions about her books and being an author in general. She'll also be giving away a free copy of Vexing the Viscount to one lucky commenter. Whoever wins the copy of Vexing the Viscount, will also receive the first two books read only once, by me.

On to the question and answer part of this gig:

Emily's answers are in bold type.

In most historical romances heroines tend to be naïve about sexual matters, or at the very least they are shy about 'new' things. But, in Distracting the Duchess, Artemisia is knowledgeable (not in a wanton way of course) and also seems to be willing to try anything was this something that came naturally to her character, or was this something you wanted to write?

Artemisia is a widow, so she isn’t completely ignorant of men when DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS begins. However, her experience with them was limited to her much older and now deceased husband. She was raised in Bombay and has a broader outlook on life and a healthier sense of adventure than most Victorian women. Since as an artist she paints men in the nude, their form holds no surprises for her. But the function . . . ah! There’s the rub. She knows there must be more to lovemaking than the brief, painful and embarrassing experience of her wedding night. Once she meets Trevelyn Deveridge (in his guise as Thomas Doverspike) she decides to find out what she’s missed. Part of Artemisia’s unabashed sensuality has to do with her thoughts on the status of women at the time. A married woman was legal treated as a child or an imbecile. Artemisia was neither and refuses to be treated like one. In order to retain control of her person and funds, widowhood is her only option. Since she’s wealthy, why shouldn’t she offer Thomas carte blanche? After all, men keep mistresses with no discredit to them. Why shouldn’t she be able to set Thomas up in a discreet little love nest? And yes. The theme of a woman taking ownership of her own sexuality was something I wanted to write.

In Pleasuring the Pirate five of the secondary characters were Gabriel's nieces. Did you enjoy writing these little girls or were they a challenge like they were for their loved ones?

I loved writing the Drake girls. It seemed to me that a prodigal pirate deserved to have 5 devious nieces to care for as part of his penance. I try to let all my secondary characters bring comedy to my stories and this little crew of demons was so natural at it, they almost wrote themselves. Most little girls in this time period tortured their families with clavichord recitals. The Drake girls specialized in rather mean practical jokes and really dreadful amateur theatre. And another strawberry in giving Gabriel Drake 5 nieces is that I also began writing my heroine for VEXING THE VISCOUNT, though I didn’t know it at the time. Daisy, the brains of the outfit, grew up and needed her own story. If I didn’t want a spider in my coffee, I knew I’d better comply.

Why after writing in the Dark Ages did you decide to turn to Regency? Do you plan on writing again as Diana Groe?
I had just finished SILK DREAMS, my 11th century harem tale. Though I love that story, and some of my most complex characters live in it, I felt the need of a change. When I used to sing professional opera, I performed a good mix of repertoire, both grand opera and light-hearted operetta. We all have different facets of our personality and my comedic side hadn’t been able to shine in my darker Diana Groe stories. When I told my editor about my idea for DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS, she gave me the green light to run with it. The resulting writing voice for my comedies was so different from my dramas, my editor suggested a 2nd pen name was in order. Emily Bryan was born. Technically, I haven’t written in the Regency period yet. DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS is set in 1851, early Victorian. Both PLEASURING THE PIRATE and VEXING THE VISCOUNT are Georgian, 1720 and 1731 respectively. Even my upcoming Christmas anthology (A CHRISTMAS BALL, October 2009) is set in 1822, two years after “Prinny” became King and the Regency officially ended. But I may get around to the real Regency soon. I would love to return to the Dark Ages and my Diana Groe stories at some point. Like so many things, it comes down to market support for a product. My 3rd “Song” book to complete the MAIDENSONG and ERINSONG cycle is already written. (It’s DRAGONSONG—Moira’s story. If you’ve read ERINSONG, you’ll remember her as the heroine Brenna’s younger sister. I couldn’t bear to leave her with that loathsome Fearghus!) In a sneaky sort of way, I have written as Diana Groe again. You’ll find that voice in the secondary love story in VEXING THE VISCOUNT. It’s the tale of Caius Meritus and the Celtic slave girl Deirdre and takes place in Roman Britain, 405 AD. This may sound a little skitzo, but there is a definite difference in style, in cadence and word choices when I tell those older stories.

I've tried before to do research on a certain area in history and often would get frustrated when I couldn't find a certain detail. Did you have any problems like this when you were doing the research for these three books? Where did you find most of the research material you needed?
The only time I ran into trouble was when I thought about making a young man into a nobleman through adoption. Adoption has been around since ancient times, yet I couldn’t find anything to give me a hint as to how it might have been done in 18th century England. Finally I discovered that while fostering was common enough, adoption was unheard of in England until the 20th century! It’s because bloodlines were of primary importance and an adopted son could never carry those elevated genes necessary to continue the line. I had to scrap the premise as unworkable. I haunt libraries. I bookmark a number of reputable internet sites (Try for a good giggle over Regency slang.) Re-enactment societies are a fount of useful information and they take their history seriously. A visit to the art museum is a wonderful way to study period clothing. Travel is a great way to immerse myself in research. When you walk down the same cobbled streets as Sir Isaac Newton or listen to the choir in a great cathedral, you acquire a deep sense of place.

What has been the most rewarding part of your writing experience as Emily Bryan? What has been the most frustrating?

We are living in trying times. People have enough to worry about in their real lives without letting their literature depress them. Readers have let me know my Emily Bryan stories have kept them up till the wee hours, laughing (and blushing) all the way to the end. That’s a win in my book. Most frustrating? Hmmm. I try not to dwell on the negatives. My recent brush with colon cancer reminded me we only get so many trips around the sun. The number is always too few to waste on the bad stuff. I’m married to the man of my dreams. I get to write full-time about gorgeous heroes and plucky heroines. I have the joy of making people laugh. If there’s a downside, it’s not worth mentioning

Here's a blurb about Vexing the Viscount:

Daisy Drake is leading a double life! By day, she's Lucian Beaumont's
unwanted assistant and by night, she masquerades as the masked
courtesan, Blanche La Tour, a Frenchwoman who agreed to give Lucian
lessons in sensual love!

There's only one problem. Daisy speaks fluent French and can read
ancient Latin without moving her lips, but she doesn't know the first
thing about the pleasures of the flesh!

Good thing she has the real Blanch La Tour's very explicit memoirs for

Lucian Beaumont, Viscount Rutland, longs to see his family's standing
returned to its glory days, before his father lost their fortune. And he
thinks he can manage it, if he can only discover the hiding place of an
ancient Roman payroll.

Daisy never forgot her girlhood fascination with Lucian, even though his
father has a score to settle with her uncle. Now that they're all grown
up, she's determined to help the viscount find his Roman treasure.

Whether he wants her help or not!

Award-winning author Emily Bryan learned much of what
she knows about writing from singing. A classically trained soprano, she
gleaned the elements of storytelling while performing operatic roles.
She and her husband have lived in nine different states, but she now
makes her home in the heart of New England.

And here's a personal note from her to my readers:

Thanks again for having me, Melange! If your readers would like to learn more about my books, please direct them to:

I’d like to give away a signed copy of VEXING THE VISCOUNT to someone who leave a comment or question here today. And be sure to check back tomorrow to see if YOU are the winner my DH pulls out of his hat!
And for anyone interested here's a widget you can add to your blog, to count down to the joyous day of the release of Vexing the Viscount!!

I would like to thank Emily for being here today and for writing such wonderful books! Don't forget to comment if you'd like to win free books!!!


  1. wtg melange! nice interview. hope you get a few more.

  2. Hi Melange! Thanks for offering copies of DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS and PLEASURING THE PIRATE to the winner. Glad you're sharing my books with your readers! Then once I send them VEXING THE VISCOUNT, they'll have the whole set!

  3. Hi Emily...I finally got my copy of Vexing the Viscount from Amazon. What a great book! I have to ask...will Isabella turn up in any of your books in the future? I felt sad for her at the end of the story. Also, what are you working on right now...are we allowed to ask? Thanks!- Nina

  4. Hey Emily Only 2 MORE DAYS!!!!!!! How are your holding up? excited?
    Hey Melangel I already won with emily on another blog stop, but it's great that whoever wins get to check out more of her stories.

  5. Hi Emily,

    I love your philosophy of writing! I love to read stories that take me away and make me laugh. I like to write them too! I have a lot of respect for anyone who can write historicals, I have enough trouble with the details in our contemporary world.

    Thanks for the great interview - a pleasure to read - Kate

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences while writing this series. I'm looking forward to reading them!


  7. Hi Emily,
    It was great learning more about your other books since I haven't read them yet. My TBB list just grew again. :)

    I knew bloodlines were important in England but I didn't know that they didn't do adoptions until recently, thanks for that little bit of info.

    Oh yeah, and I like the idea of a woman 'keeping' a man.

  8. Hi Emily,
    I've always wondered where one could find all that info. Now I have an idea.

  9. I agree with the comment about studying vintage (period) clothing at museums. I love visiting museums whenever I travel. Not only do I learn about different time periods, but I've also notices how the clothing can differ depending on what part of the country you are in.

  10. Hi Emily,
    I agree with you about the trying times, however a good read is an inexpensive way to take a vacation. What a value! I hope that this tightening on the economy will at least stimulate sales in the book industry. I love you books.

  11. That was a very enjoyable interview Emily, thank you! :-)
    I would LOVE to win any of your books Emily. I know that they are guaranteed to be a delight!


    Book Reviews By Bobbie

  12. What a great interview Emily. I've been trying to read more from my fellow NECRWA members and you've moved to the top of the list. Based on what you've said here I look forward to getting started on reading your book. Keep it up kid.

  13. Hi, Emily! Another great interview! I can't wait to read Vexing - I'm waiting (very impatiently) for my copy from Amazon. Haven't read your earlier, "darker" reading list has just expanded!


  14. Hi Emily,
    We spent thirteen hours driving to Williamsburg, VA today and I wanted to check in with your interview. But it's past midnight. I enjoyed reading about "Distracting the Duchess" and "Pleasuring the Pirate". Your books are so enjoyable.

  15. Emily,
    Great post and interesting to hear your sources for research.

    Last night, I stayed up late because I HAD to finish Distracting the Duchess. I absolutely loved the intrigue, which really picked up at the end of the story. I couldn't tear myself away, 'cause I had to know what happened. It amazes me how in the last third (or around there) of the book , you kept the pace tight and suspenseful while managing to inject a bit of humor and passion at the same time---a very hard combination to accomplish.

    I am so looking forward to receiving Vexing the Viscount in the mail.

  16. great interview!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I love your books!

  17. Great interview. I am getting more and more curious about your books

  18. Nina--I don't know if I will ever tell Isabella's whole story because it wouldn't be a traditional romance. Isabella's idea of HEA is as unconventional as she is!

    Right now, I'm doing the last polishing on my Christmas novella (I talk more about that tomorrow at my blog at And I'm brainstorming the next WIP, which is still pretty diaphanous now.

    Afshan--Actually, I'm already booked for another blog on the 25th! And several others through March.

    Kate--I'm so out of it when it comes to popular culture, I honestly think I'd have to do more research to write a contemporary than I do for my historicals.

  19. Kellie--Thanks for stopping by!

    JL--Artemisia thought it would be just fine to keep Trevelyn too. He, however, had other ideas! :)

    Cheryl--I get lots of plot ideas and character motivations through my research.

    LuAnn--When you study period portraits you also get a sense of what that era's sense of beauty was. It really is in the eye of the beholder!

    Ruth--I agree! A book is a great armchair vacation and you get to sleep in your own bed at night!

    Hi Bobbie! How're things up in Canada? Any sign of spring yet?

    Mike--Thank so much! Say! Did you get any takers on that request for a roomie at the NEC conference? My DH says I can't share a room with you, but he likes your odds at romance conventions. He used to go with me, but the estrogen level was a little too high for him.;)

  20. Meryl--Thanks so much for buying my book! I really appreciate my readers, especially during these economic times. Sending cyber-hugs!

    Julie--Glad you had a safe trip (and a sleepless night!);)

    Carpathian Queen--I sense from your name the dark calls to you . . . Thanks for reading my books!

    Danny--Looking forward to seeing you in Orlando!

  21. My DH has chosen our daily winner! Congratulations KATE! Please contact me through my website (sorry I can't make a working link. The system won't let me.)

    Today I'm talking about polishing my latest manuscript and answering a question from one of my blog "Touristas". Come on over to for some Sunday fun!

  22. Thank you Melange for having Emily and Emily thank you for being such a great interviewee! I don't read romance novels but after reading this interview I am going to give a couple of your books a try. I love everything medieval so I may start with these books.
    Melange you asked some good questions. I am proud of you for doing this. I look forward to more interviews.

  23. SariJ--If it's medieval you want, you'll be happier with my Diana Groe books than Emily. Visit www dot dianagroe dot com to try some excerpts!


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