Weekend treat – we have two blog posts today 🙂 (hopefully you aren’t sick of me yet lol). I’m thrilled to have the wonderful Michele Stegman visiting today to chat about her new release Fortune’s Foe. If you hadn’t read Michele’s work before, she’s an amazingly talented historical romance author – and her latest features a Spanish pirate hero. Sounds like just what the doctor ordered for the weekend 🙂 Take it away, Michele.
Thank you so much hosting me today, Shelli.
I have been fascinated with history all my life. Even as a child I would ask my grandmother how old things were in her house and wanted her to tell me about them. It only makes sense that I became a history major and now a writer of historical romance. I always wanted to live in an old house, too. Our home is an 1840’s log cabin which my husband and I rebuilt. And I have tried to learn old crafts, too. I am a hand spinner and weaver, and make my own soap. I hope all this helps bring authenticity to my writing.
I began writing in grade school. As soon as I realized that books were written by people, I wanted to be one of those people. And of course, I wanted to write historical fiction. But it was when someone handed me one of Kathleen Woodiwiss’s books that I found my real love–historical romance.
Fortune’s Foe came about because I always like to do something different in my books. In so many pirate books and movies, the Spanish are the bad guys. So I decided to write a book with a Spanish hero. After all, I was sure they also had great romances. But how could I have a Spanish hero and an English heroine at a time when their countries were bitter enemies? It took me a while to come up with a plot, and a lot of research to make it work, but Fortune’s Foe is the result of, literally, years of work.
I also like to put humor in my books. I really love to read dark heroes (Laura Kinsale,) but when I write, I just have to keep it light. Even though Fortune’s Foe is set during a war, and includes prisoners of war, a heroine who risks her life to free her brother, and a bitter family feud, there is a lot of humor in the book. I also prefer serious romances with a lot of history (Jo Beverley, Roberta Gellis.) I do try to put a lot of accurate history in my books, but not so much that it overwhelms the story. I will sometimes spend weeks, or in the case of Fortune’s Foe, years, trying to find some piece of historical information to make my book authentic.
For me, the hardest part of writing this book was the research, digging up the information I needed. For instance, there is nothing left of Ft. Mose, the fort the prisoners were trying to restore. Yes, that fort was rebuilt, but later, and on a different site. That second Ft. Mose has been extensively excavated. But the original fort, the one in my story, is now under about six feet of water, so there were only a few written records about it.
I can’t say that there was an easy part of writing Fortune’s Foe, but every finished scene was a joy, especially those scenes where the heroine interacted with her two brothers and I was able to show their very different personalities and their deep love for one another. This book is the first of a series dealing with four siblings. Each book will stand alone, but the four siblings do make appearances in the other books. The second book, Fortune’s Pride is already available. I still have to write the other two!
Shelli asked me which character is my favorite. Well, of course, I like my hero and heroine, but I have a fondness for my secondary characters. In Fortune’s Foe, I really like Soledad. She is a strong woman. The love of her life escaped brutal slavery in South Carolina and went to St. Augustine, Florida. She followed him there and the heroine’s brother and father helped her. Historically, a lot of African-Americans escaped slavery in the American colonies to find homes in the Spanish colony of St. Augustine. Ft. Mose was manned by these escaped slaves and was the first line of defense for the Spanish. That is why Ft. Mose was destroyed in the attack by the English in 1740, and where 20 Englishmen were taken prisoner. One of them is my heroine’s brother, which is why she is comes to St. Augustine, and how she comes to meet her Spanish hero.
History, thoroughly researched but applied with a light hand, liberally sprinkled with humor, and a love story that will make you wonder how it can ever end up happily, is what you will find in Fortune’s Foe.
Ooh, well I think I’m convinced. Here’s the blurb for Fortune’s Foe:
War made them enemies…In the midst of a raging war, Mariette Fortune’s brother will die if she doesn’t rescue him–especially if the Spanish discover they hold captive the son of the infamous privateer, Sean Fortune. But she didn’t count on falling in love with their guard–a man whose life depends on keeping the English prisoners from escaping.
Alejandro de Silva knows there is more to the lovely Mestiza woman he has hired to keep his house…more than she will admit. Regardless, he cannot help falling in love with her. But he never dreams she is an English spy, whose presence in Spanish St. Augustine will put both their lives in deadly peril.
Now Mariette must choose between saving the life of her brother…or the enemy Spaniard she has come to love.
And you can get your hands on a copy here:
Mythical Press: http://mythicalpress.com/books/fortunes-foe/
Take care x