TNA: Hi, Ava, I’m so thrilled to welcome you to The Novel Approach. Why don’t we start off by having you tell readers a little bit about yourself: hobbies, interests, things that make you, you?
AM: Thanks so much for having me! As for a little about myself…I have a fondness for cute shoes and boy Barbie dolls, love poptarts, and watch way too much HGTV, though I’m horrid at guessing which house people pick on House Hunters.
TNA: Have you always written M/M Romance? If not, what drew you to the genre? If so, same question.
AM: I read nothing but M/F Regencies for years, so when I took the plunge and tried writing my own stories, I started there. Then I started reading M/M as well. While I was going through the agent query process with my first M/F book, I got an idea for a M/M erotic Regency. Then I got another idea, and another, and I started writing them. It may sound odd, but in a M/M Regency I have more freedom in a way. My heroes can hang-out together, visit each other at any time of day or night, even spend the night at each other’s house without raising an eyebrow. As long as they appear only as friends to Society, all’s well. And that’s the big constraint I place myself under with a M/M historical—such relationships were illegal. But if a relationship could thrive in the Regency, then it was a love meant to last.
TNA: What was your first published book?
AM: Bound by Deception was my first published book.
TNA: What draws you to historical romance, and more specifically, to the Regency Era?
AM: I love the excess and grandeur of the Regency Era coupled with the social restrictions of the time period. Plus, the gorgeous clothes. *happy sigh* Men wore suits all the time back then.
TNA: How much research do you do for your books?
AM: When I first started writing Regencies, I did a lot of research to get a feel for the time period. Now, my research is more narrow and based on the needs of whatever book I’m working on. For example, in All In with the Duke, the duke attends Parliament. Even though the reader doesn’t see him sitting through a session, chapter one is timed about a week before Parliament closes for the summer. So I still had to research the dates of the session in 1822, layout and location of Westminster, what time it started each day and which days of the week Parliament was in session.
TNA: Which relationships do you find most challenging to write, the ones between characters in the same social class, or the ones in which the characters must overcome the additional obstacle of their social differences?
AM: It really varies depending on the characters. May sound like a cop-out answer, but it’s the truth. For some, differences in social class aren’t a huge obstacle. Instead, they have different obstacles to work through. Oliver and Vincent from The Bound Series are both second sons of lords, yet it took me three books to get Vincent where I needed him. For others, those differences in class are a major hurtle they need to figure out how to overcome. Sometimes it’s more internalized, such as with Brook Street: Thief. Ben had a simple solution, but Cavin struggled to accept that he was good enough for a man of Ben’s social standing. Other times it’s a very valid external concern, as is the case with All In with the Duke.
TNA: If you could travel back in time to the era in which your stories are set, first, would you do it, and second, is there anyone in particular you’d want to meet while you were there?
AM: I’m a twenty-first century gal. I love my cell phone, wireless internet connections, Pop Tarts and diet coke, and modern plumbing. And I adore being able to flip a switch and have a light come on. While I love to write romances set in the Regency Era, I wouldn’t much care to travel back in time to see the Era first-hand. Well…maybe for an hour or so. It would be cool to meet Jane Austen. But it would be a short visit.
TNA: If you had to choose, which book would you say has been your most challenging to write so far?
AM: The answer will vary, depending on which book I’m currently working on. Right now, I’m finishing up Sharp Love, so that one’s my most challenging book to write. After I finish it and move onto Viscount’s Wager, I’m sure that one will take the top spot. Each new book has a new pair of characters who (hopefully) aren’t quite like others I’ve written, so they come with their own set of challenges.
TNA: In All In With the Duke, you’ve once again featured a prostitute as the love interest. What is it that intrigues you most about a romantic relationship growing from that scenario?
AM: The exchange of money for something as intimate as sex is wrought with all conflicts. Conflicts that make my angst-loving heart sigh in happiness. Plus, it’s the ultimate romantic fairytale – working boy meets that special client and they fall in love and live happily-ever-after.
TNA: You also explore dominance and submission within the relationship dynamic. Which is the easiest, and favorite, role to write?
AM: The dominant is the easier role for me to write, but I love my submissives and I love writing from their point of view.
TNA: Of all the characters you’ve created, do you have a favorite?
AM: Oliver Marsden from The Bound Series.
TNA: Who are your literary influences?
AM: Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas are my favorite M/F historical authors. I’ve read their books countless times, and while reading those books, ideas for my own stories started spinning in my head. Which lead to taking the plunge and putting pen to paper.
TNA: Do you have certain rituals or superstitions you adhere to when you set down to begin writing a book?
AM: I’m a total plotter. I have to have the plot set and an outline drafted before I can start chapter one.
TNA: Have you ever written a scene that’s made you cry? If so, do you remember which book it’s from?
AM: There’s a scene in All In with the Duke that got me downright teary-eyed, but I can’t tell you which scene for that would be a spoiler.
TNA: Do you currently have any works-in-progress? If so, would you consider sharing a little bit about them?
AM: I’m currently finishing up Sharp Love, the second book in the Gambling on Love series. It features Jack Morgan (Max, from All In with the Duke’s ever-useful carriage driver) and his old childhood friend, William Drake, who happens to be a card sharp. Jack is principled kind of guy who takes his job very seriously, and Will…not so much. They’ve been quite interesting to write.
TNA: Would you consider sharing an excerpt with us from All In with the Duke?
AM: Sure, I’d love to share an excerpt. The following is a snippet from chapter one, when Max first meets Tristan at the brothel.
Reaching behind him, the man shut the door. “Good evening, sir. I am Tristan.”
His voice didn’t match what Max would have expected either. There was no waifish lisp, like one of those macaronis with their affected airs and velvet frock coats. Instead, his voice held the distinct note of the country. Of great expanses of green grass and practical farm fields.
“Would you care for another glass of brandy? Or do you prefer whisky?” he asked, with a wave of his hand toward Max’s empty glass.
Max shook his head. He swept his gaze over the man again, searching for the source of the lust drumming through his veins, heating his skin. He wanted to bend Tristan over the arm of the couch, hear him beg for Max’s cock. Tease and torment him until he pleaded with Max to be allowed his release. Strip every piece of clothing from that lean, lithe body… His brow furrowed. “What is your age?”
“What age would you like me to be?” The reply flowed off his tongue, like one he had given countless times before.
“Don’t play games with me. I asked you a question. I expect an honest answer.”
Unruffled by the harsh tone, Tristan said, in that same easy way, “One-and-twenty.”
A growl rumbled Max’s throat. “Do not lie to me.”
Tristan bristled, his gorgeous mouth thinning, his eyes narrowing. “I am not lying. I was born on September twenty-third, 1800. I may not appear to be one-and-twenty, but it is the truth.”
Max kept his gaze pinned on Tristan, waiting for the young man to shift his weight, to break eye contact, to fidget in some manner, to reveal his words as false. As merely an attempt to say what a potential client wanted to hear.
After a long moment, Tristan nodded once, a perfunctory, businesslike bob of his head. “I understand. I don’t suit. Charles should be available soon. He’s the only other man in the house willing to take male clients, but he’s presently occupied. I can have a supper tray sent up if you’d prefer to wait.”
“What are you going on about? I never said you didn’t suit.” If anything, Tristan suited much too well. “I merely wanted to be certain I wasn’t buggering a boy.”
“I am not a boy.” Fire flashed in Tristan’s eyes, briefly darkening the green-gold depths.
“And you have convinced me of such.” With a nudge of his chin, he beckoned Tristan.
In the blink of an eye, all traces of irritation vanished from Tristan’s beautiful features. He crossed the room, his strides long and limber, full of natural grace. He settled next to Max on the couch, and as he turned his shoulders toward him, his knee pressed against Max’s thigh. Just that bit of contact was enough to make the lust spike. The jolt landed squarely in Max’s ballocks. His cock hardened, pressing against the placket of his trousers, eager for attention.
With an absent flick of his fingers, Tristan tucked the long strands of his hair behind one ear. He reached into his waistcoat pocket and produced a calling card.
Max took the proffered card. Written in neat black type was an amount. That was it. Nothing more. So he’d assumed wrong—it wasn’t a calling card. Rather, the man’s rate for the night. “We haven’t discussed specifics yet.”
Tristan lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “It matters not what we do. That’s the price for my time.”
“And how long do I have you?”
“No more than three hours.” Tristan arched a dark blond brow. “Do the terms meet with your satisfaction?”
The answer required no thought at all.
Excerpt from ALL IN WITH THE DUKE ©2013 by Ava March. All rights reserved.
Ava March is an author of sexy, emotionally intense M/M historical erotic romances. She loves writing in the Regency time period, where proper decorum is of the utmost importance, but where anything can happen behind closed doors. With over fifteen works to her credit, her books have been finalists in the Rainbow Awards and More Than Magic contest, and deemed ‘must-haves’ for Historical M/M romance by RT Book Reviews readers.
To find out more about Ava March, visit her at:
About All In With The Duke:
Max Arrington, the Duke of Pelham, vows to never again let a handsome face blind him to a man’s true intentions. But ten months of celibacy and lonely nights drive him to a decadent brothel, where a beautiful young man arouses his illicit passions as never before.
Tristan Walsh has grown tired of being used for men’s pleasure. But his latest client is different: commanding yet generous, Max makes him feel cared for as well as wanted. Yet Tristan knows he’ll never have the choice to leave the brothel and submit only to Max.
So when Max invites him to be his guest at his country estate, Tristan eagerly agrees to his terms—days to do as he pleases while Max tends to the dukedom, and nights spent together in wicked play. But when the “business arrangement” begins to deepen into something more, Tristan must face the fact that he has no true place in Max’s life—or in Max’s guarded heart…
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