Today Cheeky Reads welcomes Leslie Dicken, the author of Beauty Tempts the Beast!
I read Beauty Tempts the Beast in one sitting and really loved it. In fact, when I went to draft the questions for this interview I found myself completely re-reading the story - less than a month later! If you are a historical romance fan I cannot recommend this book enough. On the Cheeky Reads scale I give it a 4 Heart Review - It really is a fantastic read!
Let's start by having you tell us a little about Beauty Tempts the Beast. I've always loved the gothic novels, especially when there was romance involved. Wuthering Heights had a huge impact on me with regards to setting, dark heroes, and thwarted love. Beauty Tempts the Beast is about a man who has hidden himself from the world. He not only wants to keep his son hidden, but also is afraid he truly is the monster he is rumored to be. The heroine is running from true evil and believes marrying a man who keeps himself isolated is the perfect answer. But what they both learn is that just living is not the same as being alive.
You have created a story chock-full of awesomeness! There's Ashworth's scar and mysterious past, Vivian's flight from an abusive man, a secret child, blackmail, and a mysterious monster to name just a few of the twists and turns in this story. How did you keep it all straight while writing? Ha. I'd love to say I had notebooks filled with scribbling of every twist and turn. But the truth is, I just wrote. I'd go back and reread and reread and reread to make sure I was following through on subplots and characters. And it always helps to have an extra pair of eyes (or several) read it before it gets published!
A sucker for the disfigured hero with a dark past, I was instantly drawn to Ashworth. What inspired you to create him and what three words would you use to describe him? He was created (and the book itself) when I issued a writing challenge to an online loop. I said to use the words "I do not take kindly to strangers" in a scene. Thus, my first scene was written and Ashworth came to life. What would make a man say something like that? He is: tortured, protective, and sexy. ;-)
For all my talk of Ashworth, Vivian is no shrinking violet! Describe your heroine in three words. She is: passionate, determined, and kind.
Silverstone Manor itself becomes a character in this story. Is there a particular place you based it on? No, other than various images of windswept moors and hilltop manors. But, as I've said, I love gothics and the fact that the setting becomes a character. All of this story came so easy to me...as if it was meant to be written!
What was your favorite scene to write? Wow, that's a hard one. I think it's the bathtub scene in the beginning of the book. It was such a turning point for both of them.
What do you love most about writing historical romances? I love that the characters are more limited by custom, morals, and values. Their motivation step outside these confines must be very strong, which can make for powerful characters. Of course, I love the dresses and balls and carriage rides too.
How would you describe your writing process? I used to be much more disciplined about it. When writing Beauty Tempts the Beast, I wrote almost every night from 8:30 to 11:00. Now that kids are older and stay up later, I try to squeeze in writing before 11:00 or during lunch breaks or on weekends.
I am mostly a pantser, but I can't go solely on my Muse. So I do brief plotting and character development and research before writing, then just dive in. After the initial flush of getting down what's in my head, I stop and regroup and replot again. If I'm lucky, the book will actually get finished. ;-)
What are you currently reading and are there any books you would recommend? Authors always have the best recommendations! I'm reading the new series by Tessa Dare. I've only read the first book so far, Goddess of the Hunt, and so loved it. She has such great talent. I'm also excited for Courtney Milan's debut book. Some of my other historical favorite authors are Jennifer St. Giles, Sally MacKenzie, and Eve Silver. There are many, many more, but can't name them all!
What are you working on now? Please let us know any news or cool stuff you have coming up! I'm working on a Victorian steampunk murder-mystery (think Jack the Ripper but with cool flying machines). My hero is a mysterious inventor who disappears each night until dawn and my heroine becomes an amateur sleuth to find her cousin's killer.
Thanks Leslie! You can find out more about Leslie at her website, or purchase Beauty Tempts the Beast by clicking here.
Leslie has graciously offered to giveaway a copy of Beauty Tempts the Beast to a lucky reader! Leave a comment here telling us if you love a tormented hero, or with a question for Leslie, and you'll be entered to win an eBook copy of Beauty Tempts the Beast! I'll announce the winner tomorrow - Oct. 1st.