Interview: Amelia Grey, Author of 'The Earl Next Door'
Thank you for having me today. It’s my pleasure to be with you.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a girly girl. I like wearing pretty dresses and strappy sandals. I enjoy putting on jewelry and make-up. I love beautiful colors, delicate flowers and golden sunsets. I would rather be at a small dinner with my husband and close friends than a rocking party with half the town. I enjoy reading, traveling to places I’ve never been and enjoying a new culture, and taking a walk late in the afternoon.
When did you first start writing?
I started my first book when my children were in grade school, so that was a long time ago. I was a stay at home mom and I loved to read romance books when the house was quiet. Sandra Brown was one of favorite authors. One day I thought, I want to write one of these wonderful, passionate stories of love. It was at least a year before I actually began writing but now, over thirty books later, I’m so glad I did.
In your opinion, what is the most amazing thing about being a writer?
That I have complete control—to create whatever story I want. The characters look the way I want them to look, wear what I want them to wear. They say and do what I want them to say and do. I choose what kind of trouble they get into and how they get out. This doesn’t mean I don’t take my editor’s advice when it comes time for revisions. I do. And I always get good advice on how to make my stories better. I’m talking about when I first look at that blank page and I think—wow! I can write anything I want to write. That is what I think is so amazing.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
From the time I get a glimmer of an idea to turning the book in to my editor it’s usually eight to nine months. Many if not most romance writers deliver books in far less time but I’m not a fast writer. And it might also be because I don’t usually work on the weekends or in the evenings. I’m as dedicated to my family time as to my writing time.
Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
I usually come up with an idea first. As in THE EARL NEXT DOOR, I knew I wanted the heroine to start a school for unfortunate girls. It just seemed perfect to have her open the school in the house right next to the hero. After I have an idea, I will then work on inner conflicts for the hero and heroine and write up a short synopsis. Once I have that I usually start writing and let the characters take over from there.
Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?
I think it’s important to stay grounded in your personal life. Everyone needs a time to cut it off—stop writing for the day and enjoy their lives with family and friends. My children are grown so I don’t have the pressure many writers do with younger children. I enjoy my writing time but then I love it when at the end of the day I can sit and have a glass of wine with my husband, chop some veggies to cook, or get dressed to go out to dinner.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
You should have started sooner! I love making up my stories and sharing them with other people. If I had known in my early twenties what I know now, I would have started writing then.
The Earl Next Door has such an intriguing premise! Can you tell us a little about the book?
Adeline and Lyon are neighbors so that gives them plenty of time and reason to get together. However, Adeline has started a noisy girls’ boarding school right next door to Lyon, who is a calm and orderly kind of man. He lives on a quiet street and is not used to the delightful screams and high-pitched squealing that comes from little girls—especially in the early morning when he’s trying to sleep off a late night. The girls and Adeline upset his peaceful, well-structured life.
There are a few fun and playful scenes as when two of the girls break into Lyon’s house and see something they shouldn’t see. And there’s a terrific lady wins the day scene when Adeline takes on the members of Lyon’s men’s only card-playing club for their bad behavior.
What was the inspiration for this story?
With all my previous trilogies the premise of the series has centered on the heroes of the books being connected by family or an event in their lives. I wanted to write one where the heroines were the connecting fabric of the series. My heroines are usually innocents who have never been married so I decided for this trilogy I’d make three young ladies widows. And for that I came up with the idea that their husbands had died with the sinking of a passenger ship.
Do one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?
My hero, the Earl of Lyonwood is not typical of the time-period. Most titled men thought it perfectly fine to have a mistress. In fact, Lyon’s father has three of them. Lyon doesn’t want that kind of life. He wants one lady who he loves and adores with his whole being. He wants her to be passionate about him and what their futures can be together. He wants a lady who is kind, loving and forthright in all things, especially her attitude toward him.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with us?
Yes, thank you for asking. I am working on the second book of my First Comes Love series. This trilogy is based on three young wives who became widows with the sinking of the passenger ship the Salty Dove. Together they gain renewed purpose by opening a school for unfortunate girls. Each forged lives without husbands. Each gained strength in having to make her own way. But then, they each meet a man who changes their destiny.
The second book of the series is Gone with the Rogue and will be published May 2020.
This book is Julia’s story. Julia is a widow with a three-year-old son she absolutely adores. And her son seems to adore the rogue, Garrett Stockton. Though Julia comes to realize she loves the rogue, too, there are reasons she can’t give in to her love for him.
The third book of the series is How to Train Your Earl and will be published May 2021.
It’s been almost five years since Brina lost her beloved husband. She’s settled into a genteel, happy life of helping others until she meets the black sheep of the Blacknight family. He’s not the kind of man she expected to be the first to awaken her passionate desires, but the instant her gaze falls on his, she feels the ground shake.
Lastly, do you have any book recommendations for us?
I would say any and all of Mary Balogh’s books. I don’t know her. I don’t think I’ve ever met her at a conference but I’d love to one day. She writes books that I enjoy reading. I’m a big fan of the way she tells a story. Her books reads so effortlessly but so enjoyable. I recommend her books to everyone.
I love to get emails from readers and I always answer so you can email me at email@example.com. I send a newsletter once a month and I always give away a book or gift card. You can sign up at https://madmimi.com/signups/214982/join or you can like me on Facebook at FaceBook.com/AmeliaGreybook. I give away a book every Friday. In order to be eligible to win all you have to do is make a comment about my Fun Day question.
Adeline’s spine remained rigid. So this was indeed about the school. That was a troublesome matter and would have to be dealt with gently. She and her friends had hoped to keep information about The Seafarer’s School from the ton until the girls moved in, thinking it would be more difficult for the old guard of Society to object their her charitable project if the children were already settled into the residence. There would be a certain amount of gossip about the reasons she, Julia, and Brina were opening the school, but they were prepared for it. Their hope was that everyone would be accepting as long as the three of them kept their distance from the girls and, as all proper ladies should do, leave the business and management of it solely in their solicitor’s hands.
The clock in the drawing room chimed and didn’t stop until it had resounded five times. Her gaze remained locked together with his as if neither wanted to be the first to blink. Adeline had to make a choice. She could continue her battle of wills with him, call for Mrs. Lawton to help her toss the man out on his ear, or, less satisfying, relent to his cocksure resolve and find out exactly what he wanted.
The decision was suddenly easy. She only wanted to be rid of him and the desirous feelings of excitement that stole through her when he looked too closely at her. And she looked at him.
Adeline stiffened her back again with all the aplomb her title required and said, “I am one of the owners. You can talk with me.”
“You’re much younger than I assumed the proprietor of this establishment would be,” he confessed. “And as beautiful as you are in your crimson and gold, and in any other circumstances, or any other location, I would be happy to pay whatever fee you charge to fulfill my needs. However, this is a respectable neighborhood and I cannot and will not sit by and allow a madam to move in and set up her business here.”
A trio of thumps echoed in Adeline’s chest, and then a few more. The pendulum on the clock must have ticked a half-dozen times. Adeline’s brain seemed to freeze before the air swooshed out of her lungs. Shock roared through her. Her whole body stiffened before she felt her eyes narrow in outrage.
“Just where do you think you are, sir?”
“A house of pleasure.”
Outrage quickly morphed to fury, which flowed hot and fast, consuming her. Oh yes, she knew about such disgraceful, secret places. She’d overheard her husband and his small group of gentlemen friends talk about visiting them.
Adeline was skilled at holding in her emotions, but this man had gone too far. With only one step she stood toe-to-toe with him. Lifting her face, she rose up on the balls of her feet and edged her nose closer to his. “You think this is one of the many private underground brothels hidden from all but Society’s most elite gentlemen?”
“Isn’t it?” he asked huskily.
There was no time to consider what her next move should be. Hardening her resolve and taking a step back, she proclaimed, “I am the Dowager Countess of Wake and you have trespassed too far. How dare you push your way into my house and speak to me the way you have. You, sir, are an abomination to the term gentleman.”
She fought to regain every ounce of her normal calm, her abiding restraint, her guiding sense of decorum in any unpleasant circumstance. But then she accidentally looked at his mouth, felt that long-suppressed surge of yearning. Adeline didn’t want this unusual mix of longing and angry dizziness to control her. She hated the truth of how womanly and desirable it made her feel to see hunger for her in his eyes. Hated the truth of how she was presented.
And then, in a moment of insanity, she thought of the very real possibility of those full lips on hers stirring with passion, and reason was gone.
Unable to do anything else before she lost herself completely, she drew back her hand and struck him soundly across the face. It was that, or kiss him.
Perhaps she chose the wrong one.