By Sharon Page
Engaged in Sin released yesterday—it’s hard to believe it’s on the shelves now! Thank you to Romance Junkies for reading the book and reviewing it. I’m always nervous when a book comes out, hoping readers will like it.
I love writing Regency historical because I love taking risks. You might be thinking: can Regencies be risky stories? They can!
Devon Audley, the hero of Engaged in Sin, was a challenge to create, but I fell in love with him at once. When his fiancée died of an illness, he tried to escape grief by going to war—only to plunge into a deeper nightmare. Blinded in battle, he has returned to England, but is living like a recluse in his country hunting house. He is suffering from what he calls “battle madness” and he is afraid he could hurt his family—his mother and sisters. For me, it wasn’t his blindness that made him risky, it was that I needed him to have a definite problem he must overcome to be whole again. He needed to be haunted by something specific, something that he was trying to put right, as best as he could. Then I discovered that in the Napoleonic wars, as the French army lost men, they brought young teenagers into battle. What if, to save a man in his regiment, Devon had to face the choice of shooting a teenage soldier? And he couldn’t do it. What if he lost the man in his regiment and he is driven to help that soldier’s widow and child?I knew this was risky because everyone told me not to do it. My editor advised me not to, as did my critique partners. They felt it would be too complicated. But as I wrote Devon, I realized it enriched the story to have him search for the fallen soldier’s wife and child. I went with my instincts, took the risk, and I am thrilled with the result.My heroine, Anne Beddington, was another risk. Forced to flee a lecherous cousin, she ended up in a London brothel. She manages to escape, but that situation has molded her into the woman she is: a survivor, but with issues with intimacy, and the fear she has been ruined. Again, other writers told me that I couldn’t make her a prostitute as it was too risky. But Anne felt like the perfect heroine for Devon, so I had to go with my heart. Here is a small excerpt from “Engaged in Sin”, where Devon has found the son of the soldier he could not save…Devon’s heart pounded wildly. The lad was so terrified he was lashing out at anyone. Devon had seen men do it in battle—lose their wits in fright and shoot at anyone near them. Thomas held the dagger at Anne’s throat. One slice and he could kill her.He had to stop the boy, get the knife from him. He tried to assess every move, every approach, but his brain fixed on one horrific image: Thomas’s fear-driven hand moving the knife, then Anne’s slow slump on the floor. Raw panic gripped him and he couldn’t fight it. If he waited, as he’d done in battle, Anne would die. He began to move toward the boy.“Keep back,” Thomas cried. “Keep away from me.”“Thomas.” Despite having a knife at her throat, Anne’s voice was soft, melodic, sweet. “This is the Duke of March. You can trust him.”“Anne, don’t speak,” Devon warned. The knife made a small cut in her skin. Blood welled.She ignored him. “Thomas, the duke fought with your father in battle. At Waterloo.”Of course, she said that to Thomas hoping to win his trust. But though the boy didn’t know it, if was the reason for Thomas to hate him. Warily, Thomas flicked his gaze from Anne to Devon, and the distraction caused his hand to move. Fortunately, he didn’t cut her, but her eyes were huge, and Devon could see her fighting for calm. “Thomas, let her go. We’ve come to help you.” Devon took another step forward.
Do you enjoy stories that take risks? If you do, what are your favorite books?
Also, I’m giving away a signed copy of Engaged in Sin to a reader today!