Posted by Ing on 3 March, 2011 // ★★ 17 Comments ★★

Good morning everyone!  I’d like to introduce you all to a new to me author today.  I’m excited to have her here! Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day
and author of historical romance by night. Grace lives near London and is addicted to cats, acting as
housekeeping staff to five mischievous moggies.
Grace believes intelligent people need romantic
fiction in their lives as an antidote to the modern world and as an avid reader
of historicals she turned to writing as a release from the emotionally draining
side of veterinary work.
Grace’s debut novel A Dead’s Man Debt has been getting some great buzz.  I’m excited to have her here today with us.  I hope you enjoy our Q&A session and give her a book a try.  How cute is the her author pic.  Love it! 🙂

Ing:  Good morning Grace!  Welcome to the blog!  Your
debut novel “A Dead Man’s Debt” released in October 2010. Can you tell the
readers a bit about this book?

Grace: Thank you for the warm
welcome Ing, it’s lovely to be here.

My debut novel “A Dead Man’s Debt” is a historical romance; a story
of blackmail, duty and unexpected love.  Lord Ranulf has been summoned to
the Charing’s country estate where he finds Celeste Armitage, exiled from the
Ton, is his mother’s companion. As complete opposites Ranulf and Celeste have
so much to teach each other, about life, love and loyalty!

My aim is to write the sort of page turning historical I am love to
read – with engrossing characters, an addictive plot and nail biting tension. But
as to whether I’ve succeeded, well that’s for you to judge….

Ing:  Can you tell us a
bit about the hero Lord Ranulf Charing?  What about Ranulf do you think
will draw the readers and make them love him?

Grace: Ah the delicious Lord Ranulf
Charing (….short pause to fan myself) so dangerous and yet so
misunderstood!  Our first encounter with darkly brooding Lord Ranulf finds
him hiding in his lair at his club. Arrogant, dissolute and aloof, Lord Ranulf
appears the archetypal bad boy, but as the story progresses Ranulf is revealed
a man ill at ease with himself.  He is a complex man, who learnt as a
child to deny his emotions, and worlds collide when his values are challenged
by the rebellious Miss Celeste Armitage.

I hope readers will come to love Ranulf, not just for his
devastating good looks, (although no harm in that, wink), but his touching
affection for his stallion Fable, his fear of love and secret genius as an
artist. But with the future of the Charing’s resting on Ranulf’s shoulders can
he really be true to himself and which will he chose? Family duty or his soul

Ing:  Now tell us a bit
about the heroine Celeste Armitage?  What about Celeste do you think will
draw the readers and make them love her?

Grace: If Lord Ranulf is a man of
his times, the Miss Celeste Armitage is a modern woman.  She is
independent minded and dreams of travelling the world. Celeste can see no
appeal in marriage and becoming a man’s property with no rites over her own
body or possessions and so resolves never to marry. But this stubborn
determination also means trouble when she discovers the man who makes her blood
heat is being blackmailed. With typical head-strong aplomb she decides to clear
his name…and in so doing places herself in mortal danger.

I hope readers will love Celeste for her energy and honesty, and as the only
person who can thaw Lord Ranulf’s frozen heart. She’s the sort of woman you’d
want in your corner in a fight, and by goodness can she give as good as she

Ing:  Why do you think
these two are perfect for each other?  What about them individually draws
them to one another?  Why do you think the readers will fall in love with
this couple?

Grace: Lord Ranulf and Celeste make
the perfect couple because they are complete opposites. Ranulf is hamstrung by
the rules of society and his grieving mother’s manipulation and to be a dutiful
son he must deny his true calling as an artist to settle his late brother’s
debts. Celeste on the other hand doesn’t give a fig for society. She knows
exactly what she wants and it isn’t about to marry just to please her parents.
So when some of Celeste’s spirit rubs off on dutiful Ranulf, he must risk
lowering his defenses to take a chance on happiness. 
Celeste teaches Lord Ranulf about living life and what really matters, and in
return Ranulf reveals a world of sensuous passion that has Celeste
reeling.  But of course things are never that straightforward and
sometimes only death reveals who is truly too precious to lose….

Ing: What was a scene that
stood out or was memorable for you when writing A Dead Man’s Debt?  Why
did this scene stand out for you?

Grace: That has to be where Ranulf
and Celeste meet for the first time. I wanted it to be an unconventional
meeting, not in a ballroom or soiree, but somewhere unusual where the basic
nature of the characters would show. And that’s why we find Ranulf in his shirt
sleeves in a ditch on the Charing’s country estate, helping a cow give birth,
while Celeste, who is out for a constitutional walk thinks nothing of jumping
in and getting her hands dirty.
(An excerpt from their first encounter is attached)

Ing:  I always love
hearing how or what ideas are behind the making of the book.  Can you tell
us where the idea for this book came about?   

Grace: It may sound bizarre but the
idea behind ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ sprang from seeing a portrait of Emma Hart (who
became Lady Hamilton and then Nelson’s mistress.)  The painting by George
Romney shows an innocent yet lush young woman, scantily clad with a hint of bosom,
brazenly staring out of the canvas with an allure that is quite hypnotic. It
struck me as sensational for an 18th century work, that the sitter was not
prim, proper, straight backed and starchy. It must have been utterly scandalous
at the time! But who would be bold enough to commission such a portrait? (As it
happened Emma Hart was ahead of her time and loved to flout convention…but
that’s another story.)

What a delicious idea for a story! What if the woman in the painting wanted to
shock? What if, years later, this rebellious streak threatened to disgrace her
family? What if only the son she despises can save her reputation… but at the
price of his secret love? 

Ing:  Can you tell us
what you have up next?  Any tidbit you can share about your upcoming book? 
What other books we can expect for 2011? 

Grace: Currently I’m on the final
draft of another regency romance – ‘Eulogy’s Secret.’  This book is about
judging by appearances and mistaken identity, and is the first of three novels
about a trio of very different brothers and their search for love. I’m very
excited about finishing Eulogy’s Secret and moving onto the next book with a
story that is just itching to be told….

For more news of ‘Eulogy’s Secret’ keep an eye on my blog
http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com or website
www.graceelliot.webs.com  later this year.

Ing:  Now on to
questions about you.  We want to know more about Grace Elliot.  
Who are some auto buy authors that you read now?

Grace: I just love historical
romance (as you might have gathered!) For me the distance of time adds an
escapism to romance that I just don’t get with contemporary fiction. There’s
something so evocative about a man on a stallion, and women in silk skirts…the
regency period is just so delicious in its own rite, it’s just such an awesome
backdrop…anyhow I digress! In answer to your question; my ‘auto buy’ authors
are Lisa Kleypas, Gaelen Foley, Eloisa James, Mary Balogh and Nicola Cornick.
I’m also partial to Stephanie Laurens and Diana Gabaldon…oh and did I mention
Julia Quinn and Margaret George… which all goes to explain why I have such a
large TBR stash!

Ing:  If you could go
back to your younger self what would be the one advice you would give yourself?

Grace: The most valuable advice I
would pass back to my younger self is not to try and please everyone! It’s such
a waste of energy, just be true to yourself and if people don’t like you that’s
their loss. I’ve wasted so much time worrying about first impressions or what
people think and it’s just not worth it. Set yourself free by not giving a
damn…and hey, if you’re not hurting anyone – go do what you want.

How is
the vet life going?  Can you tell us a bit more about this other career of
yours?  How are juggling both so far?

Grace: I am a veterinarian working
near London in companion animal practice. I qualified more years ago than I
care to remember and love my job….but…and it’s a big but…it’s such an
emotionally demanding job. I have worked at the same practice for over thirteen
years and have seen many animals go from being youngsters to old timers, which
makes it even more heart rending when it comes to the end of life and the time
to let them go.  And that’s where my writing comes in. Call it a form of
therapy if you like, but after a tough day it really helps to sit down at the
keyboard and lose myself in the Regency.

I try and write every day, even if it’s just for 20 minutes. For me it’s a
detox, a chance to use a different side of my brain and keep me balanced. Plus
it gives Widget, my writing-buddy cat, a chance for a good snooze against a
nice warm leg!

Ing:  Grace thanks so
much for stopping by today!  I really appreciate you answering all these
questions.  Do you have any last words or questions you would like to pose
to the readers of this blog?

Grace: I just like to say once
again, Ing, what a pleasure it is to be your guest. I wish you and your blog
every success. If you would like to know more about my writing then please
visit: http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com or www.graceelliot.webs.com
‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ has been described as “historical romance at its best” by
the Romance Reviews. The eBook is available from Amazon at just $2.99 – not bad
for 5/5 romance!

This sounds great Grace! Ranulf does sound delicious.  Thanks Grace for the well wishes. I just purchased my copy so hope to have a review up soon.  I like the way you have them first meet.  Be sure to read the excerpt that Grace provided!  It’s really good!  Are you interested?  Well if you are, Grace has graciously offered to give away one ebook copy of A Dead Man’s Debt to one lucky commenter.  HERE’S THE RULES:
  • Giveaway is open to US and International residents.
  • You MUST leave a comment with your e-mail address if it’s not on your profile so I can contact you if you win.
  • You MUST answer this question: After reading the Q&A which I think Grace did an awesome pimpage on her book. What makes you interested in reading this book? 
  • Leave a comment saying HELLO or questions you have for Grace.
  • Giveaway ends March 12th 

Here is more detail about the book + the excerpt:

A Dead Man’s Debt – a story of blackmail, duty and an unexpected love.

 Celeste Armitage has a plan….and that plan doesn’t include marriage.
After deliberately
humiliating a suitor, Celeste’s despairing parents exile her to the
country. But once there she discovers a sketch book of daring nude
studies and is shaken to find the artist is her hostess’s eldest son,
Lord Ranulf Charing. This darkly cynical lord is exactly the sort of
dissipated rogue she has sworn to avoid…if only her blood didnt heat
at the thought of him. 

is as it seems. Lord Ranulf’s life is a facade. Only he can save the
Charing’s from disgrace as a blackmailer seeks to ruin his late
brother’s reputation. But just as Ranulf dares to open his heart
to Celeste, the fully fury of his nemesis is unleashed…and Ranulf
faces a stark choice between family duty and true love.
But when
Celeste guesses the truth behind his rejection, Ranulf underestimates
her resolve to clear his name… and unwittingly places the woman he
loves in mortal danger. 

Excerpt from the book of when the couple meet for the first time courtesy of Grace

So be it. Ranulf gritted his teeth as he grasped the leading leg
and pushed. It was like fighting against a brick wall, the calf barely moving.
A lamb was difficult enough, how much more so a calf? Just as he was wondering
if one man was strong enough, a shower of pebbles rattled down the bank.
Concentrating on the calf, he barked.

“Dont just stand there. Get down here!”

“I beg your pardon!” A womans voice

With a flash of annoyance Ranulf glanced upward.

A wide eyed young woman in a straw bonnet peered
down. “I say, is everything all right?”

“Does it look all right?” Muttering under his breath, all he needed was some
sensitive Miss fainting on him. “Go! Fetch help from the house.”

He saw her hesitate, biting her top lip. “But you need help now.”

A contraction clamped around his arm as the cow’s tail switched across his face,
stinging his eyes like a cat-o-nine-tails.

In a flurry of muslin and lace the Miss slid down the bank, landing with a thud
in the ditch.

“Ouch.” She rubbed her ankle. Ranulf glared back, dark eyes flashing.

“You should have gone to the house.” Damn it all, she could make herself useful
then. “Hold the tail aside.”

Pulling a face she limped over. Ranulf’s eye lingered for she merited a second
glance. Of middle height with a tidy waist and curves where God intended them,
she appeared quick witted and bright eyed. Without further ado, she stripped
off her gloves throwing them onto a bramble bush. Long, sensitive fingers
grasped the muddy tail. Practical, Ranulf thought, silently impressed.

“Why didn’t you go for help?”

“There wasn’t time.” Her bonnet slipped backwards, revealing a quirky face with
a pointed chin, her lips finely drawn with an arched cupid’s bow. The sort of
face an artist could lose himself in, all shades of the sea to be found in deep
emerald eyes framed by a tangle of chestnut hair.

Ranulf tightened his grasp and pushed. Sweat beading his brow. The calf
retreated an inch.

“What are you doing?” Her voice was gentle and calm, if somewhat deep for a
woman. Ranulf guessed it would be husky in bed, whispering over a pillow after
a night of passion. Her eyes were on him – deep green eyes, lively and
entrancing. Suddenly he remembered that he was undressed to the waist, her
curious gaze on his skin as he was gripped by the idea of those lily white
hands gliding over his naked chest, her almond shaped nails digging into his
skin. He shook away the thought, trying to remember her question.

All innocence and interest she watched, blushing faintly in a charming way and
yet, he realized, no wilting flower. He shook his head. The woman had asked a
question, damn it. He would answer.

“The calf is breech.” He grunted, “I need to push her back into the womb to
turn her…” He wanted to shock this stranger, to test how bold she truly was.
She stared back, biting her top lip, exaggerating her snub nose.

“Ah!” Her gaze met his.

“Think of the calf as a carriage in a narrow driveway. To turn it around you
push it back into the stable yard…”

“What can I do to help?”

“Nothing.” He growled.

Throwing him an angry look, she anchored the tail with a log and scrambled
round to the beast’s head. After a moments thought, she placed her
pelisse under the cow’s head stroking the broad nose and crooning words of

“She’s relaxing.” Ranulf’s arm was numb from the contractions. He fell forward,
as the first leg finally slid back into the womb. “That helps.” His
hair had come free from the ribbon, falling thickly about his shoulders. He
glanced at the Miss. She was leaning forward, her bosom straining against a
tight bodice, a satisfying cleavage between her breasts. He swallowed hard. She
was odd looking, he decided, not exactly beautiful but eye catching none the
less. Her face showed character, determination…and her complexion too healthy
to be fashionable, rosy cheeked and peppered with freckles which with a hint of
sunlight burst into a profusion.

The Miss was glaring at him now, her skin glowing bright pink. Had he been
staring? His heart raced as he returned to the calving.


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  1. Oh, I love the idea of blackmail mixed with desire! A desire they both share, but ignore. This book interests me because it appears to have more to it than the normal historical. Grit, scandal and a whole lot of misguided decisions make for an interesting read. Bring on the conflict and desire! Hubba, hubba!

    tswcann (at) netspace.com.au

  2. I always find it fascinating to learn how an author gets the idea for their story and I love how it was a portrait of Emma Hart in this case! You can marvel so much about paintings and develop wonderful stories from them – would love to read the result!!

    danaan at gmx dot at

  3. Hi Ing!
    This sounds like an outstanding book! I’m interested in this books because the author and I were fanning ourselves at the same time 🙂 I’d love to read this book….
    I can be found at sugarbeatbcATgmailDOTcom

  4. Thank you Ing, once again, for hosting me – you run an awesome blog!
    A big thank you to everyone that took the time to read the Q&A and comment. Best of luck with the prize draw!
    Grace x

  5. Great Q&A! Lord Ranulf Charing makes me want to read this book. He sounds like a great character (and hot too!).
    I follow on GFC.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

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