Friday, April 25, 2008

Interview with Emily Bryan

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Emily Bryan. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

I’d love to, Kim. DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS is a sexy, light-hearted story set in the early days of Queen Victoria’s reign. My heroine, Artemisia (rhymes with amnesia) is a widowed duchess who longs to make her mark on the art world. She’s working on a series of paintings that feature the Olympic pantheon in the buff and is expecting new model when Trevelyn Deveridge lands on her doorstep. Trev never expected to pose nude to serve his Queen. But when the clues to the elusive Beddington lead to the duchess’s door, he has little choice. When one or both of them are in the altogether for most of the book, it’s inevitable that Artemisia and Trevelyn nearly drive each other to . . . distraction.

DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Actually, the story started out as LOOKING FOR MR. BEDDINGTON because for a large part of the book, the characters are trying to find him. However, as you probably know, authors don’t have the final say on titles. My editor wanted to call it DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS because she likes alliteration. I have to admit, I like it better, too.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

Actually, yes. The Victorian era spans a broad time period and was not always as repressed as it became after the Queen became The Widow of Windsor. In the early days of Queen Victoria, shortly after she married her dour German cousin, she actually had quite a risqué bacchanal painted on the walls of her boudoir. Later, after Prince Albert died, proper matrons were stitching up little pantaloons to cover their PIANO legs, lest the bare wood incite anyone to lust.
And along with the Victorian England research, I also studied British India, where my heroine was born and raised. My hero hoped to journey there to serve as an intelligence officer and needs the key he believes the elusive Bedding holds. There was a good deal of political tension between England and Russia over India, so it made sense for Russian spies to be after Mr. Beddington as well.

What character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I enjoyed writing Artemisia because she’s a different sort of heroine. After a loveless arranged marriage with a much older man, she revels in the freedom of widowhood. During the Victorian era, a married woman’s legal status was much like that of a child or an imbecile. Artemisia refused to be treated like either. She passionate about her art and has little time to waste trying to please those who don’t understand her devotion to her work. But she’s never known love and her attempt to find it while retaining her unique sense of self was interesting to explore. She’s also wickedly funny, often without meaning to be. The story begins with Artemisia saying, “I’m going to have to shorten his willie.”

If your book was made into a movie, what actor would you like to fill your hero’s shoes?

Boy, that’s a tough one. Trevelyn has to look good with his clothes off, so Matt Damon would be good for that part. But Trev’s also smooth and clever, so Pierce Brosnan comes to mind (love the accent, don’t you?) Then he also has to pose as the commoner Thomas Doverspike, so Colin Farrell with his rough good looks would fill the bill. It’s hard to pick just one. Maybe that’s why RT BookReviews tapped Trevelyn for a K.I.S.S. Award.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Tons. I’ve been an avid reader since I first cracked the phonetic code. Of course, I love Jo Beverley and Madeline Hunter, Kleypas and Quinn, but I also adore Mark Twain and T.H. White, Shakespeare and Wilbur Smith. My favorite book of all time is MM Kaye’s THE FAR PAVILIONS. It’s a sweeping epic with an aching love story wrapped in a wonderful adventure.
What do we have to look forward next? PLEASURING THE PIRATE sails into bookstores in August, just in time to be the perfect beach read! Gabriel Drake has earned a pardon for his crimes on the high seas, but his homecoming is not what he expected. His father and older brother are both dead, leaving him the title and 5 orphaned nieces. Jacquelyn Wren, chatelaine of Dragon Caern, will dare anything to protect the children, even a prodigal pirate. But Jacquelyn forgot one very important thing. What a pirate wants, a pirate takes. Readers can visit my website at for a sneak peek of PIRATE. Right now, I’m working on VEXING THE VISCOUNT, a spring 2009 release from Leisure Books.

Thanks, Emily!

Thank you, Kim. I’m looking forward to visiting with your readers.

To celebrate her book release, Emily Bryan is offering a free book of DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Bio. Award-winning author Emily Bryan learned much of what she knows about writing from singing. A classically trained soprano, she gleaned the elements of dramatic and comic 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.

Check out author’s website at


Kathy Bacus said...

Hi Diana!

DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS is in my tbr stack and I'm eager to carve out a chunk of time to sit down and savor it. I'm also looking forward to the release of PLEASURING THE PIRATE.

Can you tell us a little bit about your spring '09 release, VEXING THE VISCOUNT?

~Kathy Bacus~

EmilyBryan said...

Hey Kathy!

Thanks for posting. Kathy's a fellow "Iowegian." I was raised in Des Moines and had a great time visiting the Iowa Romance Novelists about a year ago.

Before I tell you about VEXING, I thought I'd mention Kathy's next release, FIANCÉ AT HER FINGERTIPS.(out April 29, but it’s already available at on line outlets) This tale garnered a 4.5 STAR review from RT Book Review! Wow!

For VEXING THE VISCOUNT, I took one of the orphans from PLEASURING THE PIRATE (Daisy Drake) and let her grow up to be the intrepid heroine of VEXING. She wants to help the hero (Lord Lucian Beaumont, Viscount Rutland) follow the clues to unearth a lost treasure from Roman Britain. However, his father hold a grudge against her family, so he wants nothing to do with her. But he's quite enamored with the masked courtesan (our heroine in disguise) who's become his silent partner in the venture. As the name suggests, there's plenty of misdirection and mayhem, but it's also a very sexy, funny romp.

Laura Drewry said...

Hi Diana!

As a lover of alliteration, your title gets full marks from me, too! LOL And any book that starts with "I'm going to have to shorten his willie" is DEFINITELY one I need to read! :)

RowenaBCherry said...


Another fellow who looks really good with his clothes off is Hugh Jackman.

What would you think of him for a hero? Mind you, he'd also make a lovely pirate for pleasuring.

I'm not sure if he needs his willie shortened, though!

That is a great first line!
We're getting very risque at LoveSpell. The first line of my next book has to do with seizing life by the testicles.

Do you have any other favorite lines from Distracting the Duchess?

Best wishes
Rowena Cherry

Sleeping with Ward Cleaver said...

Hi! Wanted to stop by and support a fellow Dorchester author! Loved your post (and I'm a habitual alliteration lover as well).
And Rowena, do tell, how do you know Hugh Jackman looks good naked?
My money is on Daniel Craig naked...

Rowena Cherry said...


You mentioned research (I'm obsessive about my own research, too) but you didn't say whether you have an art background, or whether you attended a "life" drawing class or anything of the sort when preparing to create a heroine who is obviously very good at portraiture.

Did you?

I used to find, when drawing naked male models (amateurs... I'm sure professionals have better control) that there was one part of the anatomy that never remained still (I just wrote stiff... what a freudian slip! and I meant exactly the opposite, too)

As for Hugh Jackman, he's done some films requiring almost full disclosure of his assets. So has Brad Pitt (Troy), so has Viggo Mortensen (who never looked so good as when dirty, IMHO).

best wishes,

Rowena Cherry

For interactive jigsaws of barechested consenting models

Cindy Holby said...

Hey Emily,
Thought I'd drop by and say hi. And as long as we're talking heroes then mine is definetly Chris Winters, Mr. Romance 2008. I now have an answer to that who would you like to be stranded on a desert island with question. Hey that sounds like one of Rowena's books. Anyway, willie shortening? hmmm, will have to check that out, not that I"m supporting that or anything.

EmilyBryan said...

I have a confession to make. I'm not at home, with a feather boa draped about my neck, eating bon-bons while dictating award winning prose to my muscular assistant Swen. I'm in Jersey City, getting ready to head into the Big Apple. We're sight-seeing this afternoon and going to a Broadway show this evening. I promise a full report and a reply to each post when we get back to the hotel tonight!

Thanks so much to all my fellow Lollies (Ladies of Leisure) for stopping by.

CrystalGB said...

Hi Emily. Distracting the Duchess sounds great. I love books set in that era. I love the cover.

Anonymous said...

I'm another lover of alliteration...and I need to find out how to post a picture with my comments. I can't seem to get past being anonymous! did you choose your hero and heroine's names? I love hearing how characters are named.

Liana Laverentz
Thin Ice (NJRW Golden Leaf and EPPIE Award Winner)
Jake's Return
Available in e-book, print, and on Kindle
Ashton's Secret (coming in 2008)

Rowena Cherry said...


Do you have a blogger account set up of your own (obviously I have two, which is why I get to post different photos of myself).

If you do have an account, have you set up a profile? That's where the photos come from.

Rowena Cherry

Anonymous said...

Thanks for blogging with us today Emily. I have to admit I love that name. It's my daughter's, too. I'm intrigued by this discussion of willies and naked men, but since I'm at work....and had to take down my half-naked picture of Mr. White M&M, sigh, we'd better leave that subject alone. Rowena, I was wondering how you had two different pictures. Duh, two profiles. I can barely manage one:)

Enjoy the show and when you get a chance send Swen my way!

Carol Webb said...

Hi, Emily. Ohhh, your book sounds wonderful. I absolutely adore historical romances. I love the idea that he's posing as a male model. Very nice twist. This is definitely on my TBR list.

Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Emily!
Another fellow Dorchester author here, and as you know, I love the Victorian era too! I'm looking forward to reading Distracting the Duchess, and now I've got another one to look forward to, Pleasuring the Pirate.:} All my best!

Carolyn Matkowsky said...


Distracting the Duchess sounds wonderful. I will definitely buy it. I love historicals. I can see Matt Damon or a younger Pierce Brosnan as your hero. You seem to really know your subject. Good luck with your book.

Carolyn Matkowsky/Cara Marsi

limecello said...

Hi Emily,
Thanks for visiting today! I've heard good things about Distracting the Duchess -and need to get my hands on a copy. I love your titles - the alliteration is so fun. Congratulations also on the upcoming release!

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks, Laura! I like to think of the opening of DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS as a "catch and release." Contrary to what you might think with an opener like "I'm going to have to shorten his willie," my heroine is not a Victorian Lorraina Bobbit.

I'm looking forward to reading your debut, THE DEVIL'S DAUGHTER. It sounds intriguing. I don't think I've heard of western with paranormal elements before.

EmilyBryan said...


Absolutely, Hugh Jackman would be great as my Trevelyn Deveridge. Just the right amount of silky danger about him.

Other favorite lines from DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS? Maybe when my hero says testily, "I am unable to enter into that type of service contract with you, Madam." He's perfectly happy with the idea of making Artemisia his mistress. He's much less sanguine about being a kept man.

Rowena Cherry's chess titled romances, FORCED MATE, MATING NET, KNIGHT'S FORK and INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL are all very witty. Do you have a favorite line you'd like to share from one of your award winning books?

EmilyBryan said...

Hi Jenni!

Thanks for posting. Jenni Gardner is the American Titlist who gave us SLEEPING WITH WARD CLEAVER, which is a fabulous title. I'm so excited that a story about love rekindled is being so well received!

I have to give Leah Hultenschmidt, my wonderful editor, credit for my alliterative titles. She came up with DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS and since the XXXing the XXX pattern seemed to fit, I continued it with PLEASURING THE PIRATE and VEXING THE VISCOUNT. A word of warning . . . you can come up with any number of goofy variations once you get started.

No, Rowena, I didn't ever take an art class with a nude model, but I have a vivid imagination (insert wicked laughter here). I had fun writing the turn about scene when Trevelyn convinces Artemisia that in the interest of fairness, she should pose nude for him as well.

EmilyBryan said...

Hi Cindy,

Yes indeed, Chris Winters is definitely hero material. For those of you who don't know him, you will. He just won the Mr. Romance Contest at the RT Convention.

Cindy, is he going to be on your next Shomi title? He made such a great ZANDER.

EmilyBryan said...

Crystal and Liana,

Thanks so much for your kind words. I'm the first to admit I've been kissed by the cover fairies. Dorchester does a terrific job with them.

About my character's names--I do look for period names. Artemisia is a little odd, but then so is my heroine. Flower names were common in the Victorian era and this one also incorporates her passion for art. Male names during the era were sometimes as frilly as their shirt fronts. Trevelyn appealed to me because I could shorten it to Trev. I had lots of playtime with Trev's aliases--Thomas Doverspike, Terrence Dinwiddie and Tobias Dunsworth. English names are such fun.

EmilyBryan said...

Carol, Carolyn and Limecello,

Thanks so much for posting. I hope you enjoy DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS and I'd love to hear from you when you're done. I have a CONTACT EM page on my website


EmilyBryan said...


Thanks for posting. I appreciate your support. In case the rest of you don't know, Ms. Kennedy's the author of the splendid ENCHANTING THE LADY. When is your next title due out?

EmilyBryan said...


Thanks for letting me be your guest blogger today. I apologize for being so spotty on the responses today what with the fam trip to NY and all. Here's what I was up to.

After my niece's graduation from college, we took the PATH train into the city to the World Trade Center. I had not been to Ground Zero before and was deeply moved. Even though construction crews have been cleaning up for years, it is still a gaping hole, an open wound on the city. I'm not sure I believe that people can leave impressions on places, that the rocks cry out in a language only the heart hears, but there was a definite sense of deep sorrow about the site. The historic church, St. Paul's is across the street from the remains of the World Trade Center. It was miraculously untouched and was used as a respite place for the recovery workers.

Then my sister and mother wanted to shop. I know most women won't understand this, but I hate to shop. I firmly believe there are department stores in hell where people are forced to shop. So I went to Starbucks with my hubby, dad and brother-in-law.

Then we hit a Barnes & Nobles. (This is the exception to the anti-shopping gene.) I was terrified I wouldn't find any copies of my books since I had my fam tagging along, but B & N had a couple DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS for me to sign.

Then we had pizza at Lombardi's (NY's first pizzaria) and went to see GREASE. The show was top-notch and since I used to be a performer myself, I do not give praise lightly.

Now I'm exhausted but satisfied by a full, rich day. Thank you again, Kim for allowing me to be your guest. And thank you all for posting!

Happy Reading!

RowenaBCherry said...


At the risk of replying after the closing bell, one of my favorite quotes is by Rhett (who appears in Forced Mate, and Insufficient Mating Material... and who gets his own story in October)

"If you neglected to warn Djetth beforehand that you were going to shoot him down, Your Highness, he may consider you in breach of contract..."

Rhett to Tarrant-Arragon, politely criticizing a high handed act of aggression in Insufficient Mating Material

A personal favorite, but not to everyone's taste is:

Rhett wanted to ask what was in Martia-Djulia's urine. The topic was like a hippopotamus with a hard-on at a garden party. One did not know quite how it got there, everyone was studiously avoiding it, and unless the host explained it, one did not want to be the first to comment.

(About a pregnancy test)

EmilyBryan said...

Rowena, I'm glad you explained that your quote was about a pregnancy test. Talk about a "catch and release!"

As far as I know the chat isn't over till the last post comes in. I just wanted to give one quick thanks to all my fellow Dorchester authors who dropped by:
Kathy Bacus, FIANCE AT HER FINGERTIPS (as wickedly funny as her Calamity Jayne series!)

Rowena Cherry, KNIGHT'S FORK, (Bet it's not safe to challenge this lady to a game of chess. She's brilliant.)

Laura Drewry, THE DEVIL'S DAUGHTER (A creative and highly acclaimed debut!

Jenni Gardner, SLEEPING WITH WARD CLEAVER, (Falling in love with her own husband is the best affair a girl can have!)

Cindy Holby/Colby Hodge, TWIST, (A smart, fast-paced futuristic) and RISING WIND (2008 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence historical!)

Kathryne Kennedy, DOUBLE ENCHANTMENT (A magical Victorian set story due out in August 2008 the same month as my PLEASURING THE PIRATE! Hey Kathryne, we're "release mates"!)

Thanks for posting, ladies. I'm so proud to be part of this talented group of story tellers. Here's to making things up for a living!

And thank you again, Kim! Guest blogging at MUCH CHEAPER THAN THERAPY was fun!

Bonnie Vanak said...

Hi Emily! I've been sick and didn't have a chance to comment yesterday. Was great seeing you at RT. I love your book titles and your covers are very sexy.

Looking forward to PLEASURING THE PIRATE. Hmmm, that sounds suggestive on my part, doesn't it? See what a great title you have? LOL!

Sleeping with Ward Cleaver said...

Hi Emily! Thanks so much for the kind mention!

EmilyBryan said...

Hey Bonnie,

I'm sorry you've been under the weather. Hope it wasn't something you picked up at RT. I've been going pretty much non-stop since I got home from Pittsburgh.

I'm looking forward THE SCORPION AND THE SEDUCER. That comes out any day now doesn't it?

robynl said...

Artemisia and Trev are characters that I must read more about. She sounds like a lady beyond the time she is in; a go-getter and someone wanting to be treated for who she is.
This should be a book for laughing; e.g. the first line “I’m going to have to shorten his willie.”

Jacquie Rogers said...

As always, I'm looking forward to reading your new book!


EmilyBryan said...

Yes, Robin, readers tell me DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS had them giggling and blushing all the way through. I had a ball writing it and I hope it shows.

Thanks Jacquie! I look forward to your fairy stories too!

Carol said...

DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS sounds like a really good story! I can't wait to read it!