Today we have the delightful Zoe Archer here to talk to us a bit about her latest release, Dangerous Seduction. Take it away, Zoe!
Ballrooms. Castles. Quaint villages. Sophisticated London. These are some of the setting I love to read in historical romances.
So why is DANGEROUS SEDUCTION, my newest Nemesis, Unlimited Victorian romance, set in such an unromantic place as a Cornish copper mine?
After all, mines (of all varieties) aren’t known for being exactly conducive to romance. The mines themselves are dangerous, cramped, hot, and filled with back-breaking work. The hard work isn’t confined to the pit, either. Above ground, there are people and machines noisily hammering apart blocks of ore, sorting rocks from slag, melting metals if the mine is tin or copper, or pushing heavy carts of precious materials. If there’s anyplace further from an elegant assembly hall, it’s a mine.
Again, that begs the question as to why, of all places, would I set my latest novel in such a harsh place?
And while we’re at it, why isn’t there a single duke or earl in the book, either?
When I created the world of Nemesis, Unlimited, it was for these very reasons. Nemesis is a secret organization in Victorian England that dedicates itself to getting justice for those who cannot obtain it for themselves. At this point in history, England is a highly stratified place, where there a few with tremendous wealth and power, and many with next to none. That includes women and the poor. The idea behind Nemesis was to create a group of men and women who work to make the world more equitable and just. Their unofficial motto is “Justice by any means necessary.” So this group of do-gooders aren’t exactly pure in their methods for righting wrongs.
Simon Addison-Shawe is, as his name might imply, a member of the aristocracy. But he’s far from a jaded and pampered nobleman. Though Simon has the benefits of money and privilege, he eschews these in favor of making his own way. He even enlisted in the army rather than buy himself a commission. He’s also one of the founders of Nemesis, which often sees him fighting against the class to which he was born.
Maybe it’s my American sense of meritocracy, but I love heroes (and heroines) who have to work for what they have. It’s much sexier and more appealing if I know a hero takes nothing for granted. I like to think that those of us born without a title deserve love, too.
The heroine of DANGEROUS SEDUCTION is Alyce Carr, a bal-maiden. Bal-maidens are women and girls who use heavy hammers to break apart the big lumps of ore hewn from beneath the ground. Alyce is physically and emotionally strong and tough. She’s no bluestocking or wallflower. She’s a fighter, especially when it comes to making life better for the people of her mining village. I wanted to write a story where a working class woman also finds love–because how many of us really are ladies of leisure? It’s fun to imagine ourselves as such, but again, it was important to me to show that people from all walks of life deserve their HEA.
And why a copper mine? I’m known for putting my novels in unusual settings like Mongolia, Greece, and Canada. But there are plenty of less explored settings in England. Including copper mines–which formed a crucial part of England’s economy during the Industrial Revolution. The truth was that, before I wrote DANGEROUS SEDUCTION, I knew pretty much nothing about copper mining. And maybe that’s another reason why I picked that setting–because I love doing research and learning about new things. So the process of writing this book became an education for me, which is part of the reason why I love to write. I think, too, that readers like to absorb new information when they read. If anything, we’ll all look at pennies a new way!
So, my question for you is: if you could pick an unusual, working-class setting for a romance novel, what would it be? One commenter will win a copy of DANGEROUS SEDUCTION (US and Canada only for print, e-copy for international). Giveaway ends November 4th. Good Luck!
Alyce Carr has no time for the strange man in her little Cornwall village, no matter how breathtakingly handsome he is. Life in Trewyn doesn’t allow for much fun—the managers of the copper mine barely provide the miners and their families with enough food. Outsiders are suspect and flirts are unimaginable, but Simon Sharpe is as keen as his name…and Alyce can’t ignore him for long.
As the founder of Nemesis, Unlimited, Simon Addison-Shawe is well accustomed to disguise and deceit. Yet he’s not prepared for Alyce’s dogged defense of her people and the injustices the copper mine has dealt them. With Alyce’s help he can change the fate of an entire town, and convincing her to join him is only part of the thrill. Together, they ignite a desire in each other much too powerful to deny. But at what cost?
Zoë Archer is an award-winning romance author who thinks there’s nothing sexier than a man in tall boots and a waistcoat. As a child, she never dreamed about being the rescued princess, but wanted to kick butt right beside the hero. She now applies her master’s degrees in Literature and Fiction to creating butt-kicking heroines and heroes in tall boots. She is the author of the acclaimed BLADES OF THE ROSE series and the paranormal historical romance series, THE HELLRAISERS. She and her husband, fellow romance author Nico Rosso, created the steampunk world of THE ETHER CHRONICLES together. Her gritty Victorian romance series, NEMESIS, UNLIMITED, launched this year. Zoë and Nico live in Los Angeles.