Friday, June 22, 2012

Interview & Giveaway: "The Whte Swan Affair" by Elyse Mady

I would like to welcome Elyse Mady to the Romance Book Junkies. She is stopping here on her book tour for her new release "The White Swan Affair". I got a chance to interview Elyse and she has a great giveaway for us. 

I know you get asked this question over and over but can you tell us a little about yourself? Maybe something juicy. ;)

Juicy?  You want juicy?  You may be coming to the  wrong author for that.  Once upon a time…uh, no.  Not even then.  The last time my husband and I had a free evening a couple of weeks ago, kid free, we made the risky choice of grocery shopping.  And we did it on an empty stomach, without first preparing a list.  That’s all the kind of tell-all detail I can offer your readers. It’s my heroines who get all the adventure, I’m afraid, which is probably why I’m an author.

I’m married, I have two boys and two cats.  I like to sew and when I’m not writing, that’s usually what I like to do with my spare time.  I’ve never bungee jumped, climbed a rock face or driven a race car J  That’s why I write – my characters have to do whatever crazy thing I tell them and they don’t worry so much about getting hurt.

When did you first start writing? Are you a full time author or do you do it on the side?

I started writing as a teenager.  I wrote my first novel when I was twenty.  Thankfully, it wasn’t published.  After that I wrote a number of screenplays, which also never saw light of day.  I got my break as a professional writer when I started writing magazine articles before returning to novels in 2008.  I wrote “Learning Curves” while I was in graduate school.  My first book, “The Debutante’s Dilemma” was published in November, 2010 and “The White Swan Affair” is my fourth book with Carina Press.  Now, I split my time between my writing and teaching responsibilities at a local college, where I teach English literature and film. 

Do you have an author that has really inspired you?

Jane Austen.  Seriously, I write romance because of her.  Two hundred years later and her books are still the epitome of wit and happily ever after.  I aspire to that.

How long does it normally take you to write an average book or your last book?

Normally, six to nine months.  This book went through some pretty extensive rewrites, though as I struggled to balance romance and history in a way that was respectful to the events as they happened but that allowed me to create a story with impact, too, so it ended up taking about a year, when all the revisions and redos are added up.   

What do you think makes a story great?

Characterisation is always key for me.  Do I believe these characters are real?  Do I connect with them?  Do I care what happens to them and understand, even if I don’t always agree, with the choices they make during the course of the story.

Can you describe your book "The White Swan Affair" in one sentence?

When Hester Aspinall’s brother is arrested in a gay brothel, she turns to Thomas Ramsay, the man she has secretly longed for, and in the face of great difficulties, both personal and legal, work to her brother from the gallows.

Have you done lots of research for your books or do the stories just come to you?

“The White Swan Affair” required the most work in terms of research of any book I’ve written to date.   Almost everything in the book had to, at a minimum, be fact checked.  Locations, dates, names of many of the characters.  I had lists of my lists, in other words.

Even something as mundane as book titles and publication dates has to be checked.  For instance I mention that Robert, Hester’s brother, is reading a copy of Mr. Bowdler’s Shakespearean plays in the opening pages of my book.  I knew of Bowdler’s works and thought they’d be perfect to convey a lot of subtle information about Robert and who he is at the opening of the book: critical, always conscious of appearance, and trying desperately to appear above temptation.  But before I did, I needed to know if my character would have been able to read it in 1810.

For those readers who might not be familiar with this small slice of literary history, Thomas Bowlder was a staunch moralist who published “The Family Shakespeare” beginning, happily for me, in 1807.   His versions of the plays were hugely popular during the 19th century, running into multiple editions, because they were censored or cleaned up, with all the rough speech and inappropriate jokes removed.   Would it have mattered if I’d gotten it wrong or fudged by a few years?  No, probably not.  In fact, most readers will, I’m sure, simply move past it, since it has no impact on the outcome of the story, but since I would know, I tried very hard to make sure all the details, big and small are part of an authentic fictional world.

Then there were the technical issues I had to learn more about.  The descriptions of trial procedures.  The layout and culture of the prison system.  I had pages and pages and pages of notes and images and maps scattered everywhere in my office as I was writing the story.  And I’m sure there are still details I’ve made mistakes on.  It’s the nature of the beast when you’re writing anything set in an earlier time.

Luckily for me, I love getting lost in research, so while wading through dense academic texts doesn’t fill everyone’s heart with delight, I quite enjoy it.

What are you currently working on?

A prequel to “The Debutante’s Dilemma” called “The Debutante’s Desire”.   It’s a fun, sexy Regency romp.   Another Regency romance, which is still untitled, that has some really wonderful characters in it and that like “The White Swan Affair” addresses something that I think a lot of Regencies have really overlooked: race in England and its colonies during the period.  And building on the legal world that gains a mention in “The White Swan Affair”, another Georgian story set outside of London that has a crusading attorney as its hero.

Is there anything that I didn't cover that you would like to talk about or say to your potential readers?

I’d just like to say thank you for having me today.  It’s always a thrill to get to talk to readers about my books.   

Elyse Mady is the author of historical romances “The White Swan Affair” and “The Debutante’s Dilemma”, with Carina Press and two contemporary romances.  Upcoming books include the Regency novella “The Debutante’s Desire”.  She blogs at  You can also find her on Twitter at @elysemady, Facebook and Goodreads.
In addition to her writing commitments, Elyse also teaches film and literature at a local college. With her excellent writerly imagination, she one day dreams of topping the NY Times Bestseller’s List and reclaiming her pre-kid body without the bother of either sit-ups or the denunciation of ice-cream.

Just for fun:
Hardback or Paperback?   Depends  on what I’m reading.
Dog ears or Bookmarks? Bookmarks, assuming I’m organized to actually have one on hand.
YA novels or Adult novels? Mostly adult novels.  I do like some YA authors a lot but I generally prefer my characters a little older.
Library or Bookstore? Libraries are my happy place.
Reading glasses or No glasses? All the time glasses since I was twelve.
Snack while reading or No snacks? Snacks, provided they don’t leave fingerprints on the pages.
Beach or Mountain?
Beach.  Not a big fan of heights.
Vampire or Werewolf? I’ll go with werewolf.  We have two cats.  What’s one more animal that sheds?
Hot or Flirty? Anticipation always makes things…interesting, so flirty.
Movie 1st or Book 1st?
Book first.
Contemporary or Historical? I plead the fifth.
Page-Turner or Tear Jerker? Page turner.

 London, 1810

After the tragic death of her beloved, Hester Aspinall vowed never to be ruled by her passions again. Still, she is drawn to her landlord, handsome adventurer Thomas Ramsay–but she doesn’t fool herself that a man of his station would look twice at a poor tailor’s sister.

With the sea for a mistress, Thomas has no intention of entering into matrimony. And yet, he can’t get the plain-spoken and desirable Hester out of his mind, even though she’s never tried to secure his attentions as other women do.

Everything changes the night Hester’s brother is arrested during a raid on a gay brothel, the infamous White Swan. With no one else to turn to, and terrified Robert will hang for his crime, Hester accepts Thomas’s offer to bear the cost of the defense. A true gentleman, Thomas expects nothing in return–but Hester is no longer able to deny her own desires…

She may offer her body eagerly, but can she protect her heart?

Elyse Mady is the author of “Learning Curves”, “The Debutante’s Dilemma”, “Something So Right” and “The White Swan Affair”, with Carina Press. She blogs at You can also find her on Twitter at @elysemady and Goodreads.

In addition to her writing commitments, Elyse also teaches film and literature at a local community college. In her free time she enjoys (well, enjoys might be too strong a word – perhaps pursues with dogged determination would be better) never ending renovations on their century home with her intrepid husband and two boys.

With her excellent writerly imagination, she one day dreams of topping the NY Times Bestseller’s List and reclaiming her pre-kid body without the bother of either sit-ups or the denunciation of ice-cream.

 website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Tour Schedule:
Monday, June 18th - Peace, Love, Books 
Tuesday, June 19th - Endlessly Bookish 
Wednesday, June 20th - Unwrapping Romance 
Thursday, June 21st - I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read 
Friday, June 22nd - Romance Book Junkies
Monday, June 25th - Librarian Mouse
Tuesday, June 26th - Sweeping Me
Wednesday, June 27th - Ex Libris
Thursday, June 28th - Books Are Magic
Friday, June 29th - Romancing The Darkside
Monday, July 2nd - That's Swell!
Tuesday, July 3rd - My Reading Room
Wednesday, July 4th - Snowdrop Dreams of Books
Thursday, July 5th - A Bookish Libraria
Friday, July 6th - Books and Things

Enter to win your pick of any one of Elyse's novels pictured below. All you need to enter is fill out the rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*yadkny* said...

I really enjoyed reading Elyse's work after reading The Debutante’s Dilemma... can't wait to read the prequel The Debutante’s Desire and The White Swan Affair!

Linda said...

The book sounds fascinating, especially that it deals with gays in that period. That's one of the things I find fascinating about historicals; reading about how different things were back then.

Yvette said...

The covers of your books are breathtaking!

erin said...

Thanks for a great interview and giveaway! I've been reading such awesome reviews for this book and the cover is gorgeous!

Brianna said...

I so enjoy her wit!

Elyse Mady said...

Hi ladies! I always love getting out and about to talk romance with folks like Danielle and her readers.

@yadkny If you like Debutante's Dilemma, I think you'll really like the new story. The hero's gorgeous, if I do say so myself, and the couple are wonderful together.

@Yvette and @Erin Yes, Carina's covers are always gorgeous. I think they do such a wonderful job capturing what my books are about

@Brianna I am a firm believer that a day without sarcasm is like a day without sunshine. Just not worth living for ;)

Can't wait to see who the lucky winner is!


Anonymous said...

Great story...I can't wait to read it!

Kim D said...

thanks for the contest

Justine said...

Ooh, I'm curious about her WIP that addresses race in England and its colonies during the Regency period.

bn100 said...

I enjoyed the interview. The book sounds good.

Stella Ex Libris said...

Thank you for the very interesting interview, I enjoyed learning more about Elyse and her novels :-) Can't wait to learn mo├Âre about those new projects and hats off to you for making The White Swan Affair such an accurate a researched story!!

nurmawati djuhawan said...

beautiful cover and great stories....i hope i win one of them :)
thx u so much..

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