Ruth A. Casie, welcome. I’m excited and honored to be hosting you. Congratulations on your latest release, The Lady and Her Duke. I love your books, which always contain a dazzling combination of adventure and romance. Your highlanders and pirates are absolutely thrilling. This latest series, The Ladies of Sommer by the Sea, is clearly no exception, but it does have a different feel than your previous publications.
Can you tell us about the inspiration for this series?
Anastasia, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog today. I’m so glad you enjoy my stories.
Medieval versus Regency
Your observation, that The Ladies of Sommer-by-the-Sea a Regency Era series, has a different feel is spot on. My other historical stories are Medieval ones, a wilder time with sword fights, pirate battles at sea, stories of witches and other with druid masters one tingling with magic, the other traveling through time.
To me the Regency is a more restrained era that required less physical action and more cerebral gymnastics although… Good versus evil is a strong theme in my stories centered around trust and betrayal.
In my earlier stories, the nature of the time period lent itself to a physical conflict. Knights fought for justice and the fair maiden. For me, the Regency is a more restrained era. Moving out of the countryside and into the towns and cities required a different set of skills. The very strict guidelines of this era demanded a different approach to settling conflicts. You will see in my new story, The Lady and Her Duke, in 1815 dueling at dawn was already forbidden.
In this series the fight scenes are the last resort, when the villain has gone too far, or the love interest is in jeopardy and there is no other course of action available. The hero may be restrained by society, but he will protect and fight for the heroine, and she for him.
The Inspiration for The Ladies of Sommer-by-the-Sea
What was the inspiration for The Ladies of Sommer-by-the-Sea or why Regency?
There are several reasons I wanted to write this series:
I appreciate the setting. Is the village based on a real place? Was it fun creating a wonderful school for women?
Sommer-by-the-Sea is fictitious place. Here is what I think a realtor would say about the village.
Welcome to Sommer-by-the-Sea, a vibrant village nestled on the rugged northeast coast of England, 15 miles north of Newcastle upon Tyne. Here, the world is centered on the country village and the lives of the landowning and professional families. Sommer-by-the-Sea is populated with aristocrats, gentry, self-made men, shop owners, local workers, and servants, a cross-section of the people of the time. Steeped in history dating back as far as the original Vikings settlers, the villagers are proud of their ancestors and celebrate their heritage.
Everyone from the elite summer residents to the year-round residents keep businesses flourishing and gossip thriving. As with any small village, there are challenges and successes, secrets, disagreements, and feuds. There is no shortage of romance, mystery, drama, and even a murder or two.
There are aspects of the village that I see in places I’ve visited and even British period television series I enjoy watching, Midsomer Murder, Father Browne, to name a few.
For the series, I wanted the heroines to be unique, intellectual women with minds of their own and the wherewithal to succeed, a bluestocking. I wanted these women to have a support group. The idea for a female boarding school came out of a discussion with a group of authors.
Creating the Sommer-by-the-Sea Female Seminary was a lot of fun. I wanted the school to be unique, not only in the subjects taught, but I wanted to make it a prestigious place. Rather than applying, admittance is by invitation of the headmistress only.
Graduates of the Sommer-by-the-Sea Female Seminary have a unique education. Along with the usual studies available, the head mistress has nurtured each woman’s innate ability and helped them develop into the women they are today. This shared unique experience has kept the graduates close.
Each lady has her own story to tell as she is called to action and must demonstrate she is smart, strong, and sensible and must challenge the accepted definition of a “woman’s place.” For these women, arranged or political marriages will not do. If she chooses a husband, it will be for love, on her own terms, and with a man who will accept her as a partner.
The ladies in the stories are well-educated, smart, and so different from each other! What sort of research did you have to do?
I researched women’s education during this era. I found some gems, but I found myself going down a rabbit hole. I investigated women of the era and their little-known outstanding accomplishments. Since I was writing during COVID all my research was online, using google books, historic websites, university papers, and the Beau Monde authors who have a wealth of information.
Lady Alicia is a bestselling author who faced prejudices. Even her own publisher thought her bestselling novels were simply little stories even thought they kept his business afloat.
When her parents arranged Lady Patrice’s marriage, she found that a good friend who enjoyed solving puzzles with her was not a good husband. Overlooked by her parents in favor of her brother, her husband did know and admire her intelligence. Upon his death, he leaves her one last puzzle to solve. The secret code that unearths government traitors.
Lady Katherine’s unique ability centers around her love of gears and how they work. She is an excellent artist and focuses that skill into drafting. Her hobby is lockpicking.
The Lady and Her Duke
And now, for your latest release, won’t you please tell us about The Lady and Her Duke?
The Lady and Her Duke is the third book in the series.
Lady Katherine Thornton has no interest in men after an indiscretion at her disastrous Season in London. No man can be trusted. Instead, she indulges in her fascination for gears and all things mechanical. Her unique drafting skill is an asset to her uncle Bennett Sutton, who is automating his textile factory. She doesn't need anything else.
Lord Ian Wallace, the 4th Duke of Blackhall, is a retired military officer. An accidental duke after the deaths of his father and brother, he retreats from society and the clawing mothers and debutantes who stalk him. He’s focused all his energy on his partnership with Sutton. He’s satisfied and needs nothing else.
All appears right with their worlds until agitators threaten the textile factory. While Sutton and Wallace are at a meeting several miles away, Sutton is murdered. Before he dies, Sutton makes his partner swear, in front of a field of onlookers, that he will marry his niece. Wallace never knew his partner had a niece.
Wallace brings Sutton home to rest the day before an annual celebration honoring a young Templar Knight, Katherine’s ancestor, whose bravery revolves around his sword, Invincible. The sword becomes the target of the agitators. They believe if they have it, like the knight, they will be invincible. Not to disappoint you, Anastasia, there is a sword fight.
In the end, it will be Katherine’s secret skill, lockpicking that will save them when the agitator’s leader locks them in the mausoleum. And Wallace’s skill as a swordsman to defeat the ringleader.
An oath to marry, a family legend to preserve, an uprising of the factory workers, and Sutton’s murder, throw Katherine and Wallace together to find the murderer. They also will find two things neither knew they were missing… each other and their happily ever after.
About Ruth A. Casie
Will you share a little bit about yourself? I have a few questions I’ve been dying to ask you for ages. Are you a master swordswoman? Did you take fencing lessons? Are you by any chance – we won’t tell – a spy, ninja, or time traveler?
This is a great question. Let me answer with a short story. When I wrote my first book, Knight of Runes my husband read it and quietly came into my office and sat in front of my desk. “Where did you borrow this from?” He had the book opened to the prologue.
I can hear you suck in your breath and possibly feel a bit (or very) indignant. Before I could say anything, he added. “You can’t fight. You wouldn’t know what to do with a sword let alone be able to pick one up.” He was right about that. I am not a swordswoman. I have never had fencing lessons, nor am I a spy or ninja. Full disclosure: in the gym I did box with my trainer.
Where did that scene come from? I studied and researched. I read stories about sword fights. Watch YouTubes of sword fights. The New Jersey Romance Writers had a demonstration by an expert. I was excited when I realized I had gotten most of what I’d written correct.
To answer my husband… I asked him a question: “How did you feel when you read the scene?”
“I was there with your Arik. I could feel the scene, hear the swords, taste Arik’s anxiety. It felt authentic.”
That was the best compliment I could have gotten. For me the secret of writing a scene, any scene, is to be there. Experience it. Live it with all your senses.
Here is a link to the Knight of Runes prologue. This is not an action scene. It’s a race through the woods, The Guardian’s Witch.
One last question: is it too soon to ask if there’s another book on the backburner?
I am currently writing a novella for a winter boxed set. I’ve decided it will be tied to Sommer-by-the-Sea. While our heroine is not one of the seminary ladies, she is bright and resourceful. A Duke in Winter is currently on pre-order and releases December 29. My story is The Duke’s Lost Love. The theme of the box set is Shakespeare with a happily ever after. My theme story is Love’s Labour’s Lost.
Our heroine, Lady Nanette de Chappell, the Comtesse de Moyne is fighting to protect her independence. No suitor is acceptable to her. Her father is at wits end. Our hero, Lord Morgan Fitzhugh, the 2nd Duke of Prestwick. He and three of his friends have decided to spend the next three years in the pursuit of knowledge. They will eat but one meal a day, fast every Friday, and give up women.
Nanette and Fitzhugh met ten years ago. She was a hoyden, and he was usually the person who got her out of trouble.
Nanette’s grandmother has left her a small estate with a castle in Sommer-by-the-Sea. It is in the center of Lord Fitzhugh’s grander holding. Her quest? Secure the property for herself and bring back a special artifact from the Dunamara Castle.
This is a work in progress. Sticking to the Shakespearean elements of the story, the two are thrown together and their love grows. As in the original story, our heroine returns home. However, our twist will be our hero returns with her to ask for her hand.
Since this is a short story and there are really four couples involved, the other three will have their own books.
Also, I have plans to develop the stories for four more Ladies in Sommer-by-the-Sea.
This is wonderful news! Thank you for spending time with us today. I look forward to reading and reviewing The Lady and Her Duke and all the book in the series!
Anastasia, thank you for hosting me today. Your questions were brilliant. I had a wonderful time!
Information about The Ladies of Sommer-by-the-Sea
The Ladies of Sommer-by-the-Sea books are free for Kindle Unlimited readers. Here is a link to the series where you can purchase the digital or paperback versions individually or together.
About the Author
Ruth A Casie is a USA Today bestselling author. She writes historical adventures from the shores of medieval Scotland to the cobblestone streets of Regency London. Her stories embrace strong women and the men who deserve them. Within the pages you’ll discover ‘edge-of-your-seat’ suspense, mind boggling drama, and heart melting emotions. Grab your favorite cup of tea, or an ale if you prefer, and join her heroes and heroines as they race across the pages to find their happily ever after. Ruth hopes her stories are your next favorite adventures!
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It's no secret that I prefer fat HEAs. Where better than in a beautiful romance?
From me to you with a smile.
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