Friday, November 2, 2012

Fun Friday Q&A: author Susanna Fraser

Feel that November chill in the air? Love historical romances? Good news. My guest today can help warm you up with a hot read this weekend. Today I'd like to welcome author Susanna Fraser to chat about her books, England, and (because I can't help myself) superpowers!

But first, a little about Susanna's newest release, An Infamous Marriage from Carina Press:
Northumberland, 1815

At long last, Britain is at peace, and General Jack Armstrong is coming home to the wife he barely knows. Wed for mutual convenience, their union unconsummated, the couple has exchanged only cold, dutiful letters. With no more wars to fight, Jack is ready to attempt a peace treaty of his own.

Elizabeth Armstrong is on the warpath. She never expected fidelity from the husband she knew for only a week, but his scandalous exploits have made her the object of pity for years. Now that he's back, she has no intention of sharing her bed with him—or providing him with an heir—unless he can earn her forgiveness. No matter what feelings he ignites within her…

Jack is not expecting a spirited, confident woman in place of the meek girl he left behind. As his desire intensifies, he wants much more than a marriage in name only. But winning his wife's love may be the greatest battle he's faced yet.
Susanna Fraser

Angela: Welcome to my blog, Susanna! I have to admit, I don’t read a lot of historicals, so A Marriage of Inconvenience was the first I’ve read in a very long time, and I absolutely loved it! I’ve got The Sergeant’s Lady in my TBR pile, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading An Infamous Marriage soon. (I mean, wow, check out that cover!) For those of us who are just discovering your work, is there any relation between these books, or is it OK to read them individually?

Susanna: Thanks for having me here, Angela! This is my first stop on a month-long blog tour, and I’m excited that An Infamous Marriage is finally about to be released.

I’m so glad you enjoyed A Marriage of Inconvenience. It’s a prequel to my first release, The Sergeant’s Lady. James, the hero of AMOI, is the brother of Anna, the heroine of TSL. I think they can be read in either order. Technically the books “spoil” each other--AMOI has an epilogue years after both books, and James and Lucy appear in TSL--but to me, in a romance the surprise isn’t that the couple gets a happy ending, but what happens on the journey.

An Infamous Marriage doesn’t have any significant links with the two previous books, though the Major Matheson whom Elizabeth meets in the Waterloo section of the story is the same man as Captain Matheson from The Sergeant’s Lady. I want to give him a leading role eventually, but I don’t know what his story is yet.

Angela: Tell us about An Infamous Marriage: Where did the idea for it come from?

Susanna: I’d never written a rakish hero before, so it was something of a challenge I set for myself to write not just a womanizing hero but an adulterous one, and then try to redeem him in a way that I, the heroine, and hopefully readers would find believable. (The adultery takes place during a long separation and before the marriage is consummated, so the heroine’s anger isn’t so much over the fact of it, but more that it was flagrant and led to gossip that made her an object of pity and mockery.)

Angela: I see from your bio that you worked in England for a year. Yes, I’m jealous, and yes, I want details. What great discoveries did you make in your research while there that has made its way into your books? What’s your favorite memory of England?

Susanna: I wasn’t yet writing seriously then, so I didn’t do any Regency-specific research, unfortunately. That said, I think living in another country gave me a broader perspective on the world and a greater ability to put myself in others’ shoes that I hope comes through in my books.

I have two favorite memories of England. The first was spending a day in Avebury, the village that’s inside a stone circle. There are no barriers between you and the stones--you can walk all around them and touch them as much as you want, and you’re standing there in the middle of 5000 years, all that history, all in one spot. In the village itself there’s a mostly Norman church that still shows remnants of the original Saxon structure. It’s a beautiful space, ancient and sacred...but then you walk back out into the circle and remember it’s four or five times older than the oldest part of the church!

My other favorite memory is of a date with my now-husband. He’s American, too, but we met in England, since we were part of the same volunteer program. We used to go spend the day in London whenever we could. Being young and in love and roaming London was heaven all by itself, but our best date was when we got tickets to the reconstruction of the Globe Theatre to see The Merchant of Venice as “groundlings” in the standing room only section. In a very different way from my day in Avebury, it was a chance to stretch out my hand and touch the past.

Angela: Let’s get to know Susanna, the person. Are you a member of any TV show/movie/book fandoms?

Susanna: I never miss an episode of Legend of Korra, Castle or Chopped, though these days I’m not a huge participant in online fandom. In the past I’ve been active in Buffy/Jossverse fandom, and going really far back I used to be active on a Lois & Clark USENET group.

Angela: We could totally be BFFs with that list of fandoms. :) Hobbies?

Susanna: I love to cook, and to keep myself challenged I randomly select one of my cookbooks each week and try a new recipe. I also love to sing, and though currently the day job and my writing commitments keep me too busy to be in a choir, during the holidays I try to track down at least one sing-along of Handel’s Messiah to join.

Angela: If you could be any fictional character for a day, who would it be and why?

Susanna: Harriet Vane from Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, albeit only from Gaudy Night onward. Lord Peter always comes out somewhere in the top five on my fictional character free pass list (I also have a time travel free pass list, because you never know), so naturally I’d leap at the chance to have his devotion and wit focused on me.

Angela: What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Susanna: Despite living in Seattle, I never drink coffee--can’t stand the bitter taste.

Angela: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Susanna: I think I’d be a powerful waterbender, like Katara on Avatar: the Last Airbender.

Angela: You also mentioned you have a treat for readers?

Susanna: I’ll be giving one copy of An Infamous Marriage to a commenter on this post in your choice of e-book format, and at the end of my blog tour, I'll be giving away a grand prize of a $50 gift certificate to their choice of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Powell's Books to one commenter on my blog tour as a whole. You get one entry per blog tour stop you comment upon, so check out my blog for the whole schedule! If you wish to be entered in the drawing, include your email address formatted as yourname AT yourhost DOT com.

I’ll also stop by and try to respond to all comments, but since I live on the West Coast and have an 8-5 day job, I won’t be able to check in till my evening.

Angela: You heard the woman. Start commenting! Thank you, Susanna, for being my guest today and for the generous giveaway. An Infamous Marriage releases Monday, so be sure to buy your copy!
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