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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I am proud to welcome extremely talented Anise Eden to talk about her new book, Dead Sound. Hi, Anise. Happy Launch Day and congratulations! Dead Sound! What an intense, amazing book.
Thank you so much for having me back, Anastasia! I can’t tell you how delighted I am that you enjoyed Dead Sound. Thank you so much for reading, and for wanting to talk about it—which is one of my favorite things to do, as you can imagine!
This book – the action. Wow! Will you tell us a little about it?
Hah, yes! The action! Kind of ironic to think that so much action was generated by a person sitting in front of her computer, moving only her fingers! 😊
Here’s a quick introduction to Dead Sound:
In Washington DC, even the hospitals are political—and politics can be deadly. When a young psychotherapists’ patient tells her she must stop her boss from triggering the apocalypse, she turns to a friend, a world-wise Irish doctor, for support. But when the pair uncovers a Byzantine political plot that leads from their hospital directly to the White House, their struggle to uncover the truth suddenly becomes a fight for their lives.
Dead Sound was my first thriller, so writing it involved a great deal of learning, most of it in the form of trial and error! Thankfully, the team at Tangled Tree Publishing saw the potential in the story and helped me through a wonderfully productive editing experience, refining the book into the final form it’s in today.
I’m still stunned by the plot. What sort of research did you have to do and how much?
I worked on this book over a four year period, so it’s difficult to quantify how much research I did. I think “an awful lot” is an accurate description, however!
I had personal knowledge of some aspects, such as working in hospitals, living in Washington DC, dealing with chronic pain, and being a psychotherapist. However, I had a lot to learn about endocrinology, hacking/computer technology, and White House security. There were also a million little things that came up throughout the book where I needed to deepen my knowledge. Some examples are hospital communications technology and how specific types of injuries might be sustained.
Basically, when I’m writing, I have a web browser open all the time to look things up! Also, beta reader feedback was particularly key with this novel.
How will this series, Things Unseen, compare to the Healing Edge series? Granted, Dead Sound is very different from the Healing Edge books. But I’m familiar with your beautiful writing. There’s a sensitivity in your characters that’s so appealing, and I can see some recurring themes, particularly your emphasis on seeing – and loving -- the whole, real person. Would you elaborate on your themes?
It is so lovely to know that you think highly of my writing, Anastasia, because the feeling is 100% mutual! You have definitely put your finger on one of my recurring themes, there. The main character, Neve, is someone who sees beyond the surface and cares about people for qualities that may go unseen by others. At the same time, Neve, too, has her blind spots, and in Dead Sound, I explore these a bit in the context of mental health care. For example, what is it like for a provider when they become the patient?
Also in Dead Sound, I explore abuses of power, the question of how to discern truth, and the places where faith and logic sometimes collide. I’d say these themes tend to run through most of my work, including what is perhaps my most consistent theme, the healing power of love. Having said that, I don’t write with themes in mind, as such; I tend to glimpse them after I’ve written the story, often when others point them out to me. Also, each individual reader has a unique experience with every book, so they take something entirely different from the story.
I completely agree about the healing power of love. What a marvelous theme and one that is close to my heart. So, all things considered, you wouldn’t say that the Healing Edge series directly inspired Dead Sound? You consider it something completely different?
Dead Sound was conceived from a totally different place than the Healing Edge series. After finishing that first series, one day, I engaged in a thought experiment. What would happen if an Old Testament-style prophet were to be born into the world today? How would they be treated? How would they be categorized and managed by society? I realized that most likely, they would end up in mental health treatment. That was the germ of the idea for the story.
Also, unlike the Healing Edge series, this book is a thriller with no overtly paranormal events, so it has a different feel to it. In both the Healing Edge series and Dead Sound, however, I do explore similar themes, albeit from different contexts and angles, and with different characters. The more books I write, the more I discover what weaves them all together, just by virtue of having come from my brain! I’m learning that my creative imagination is drawn to certain ideas and topics—so far, at least. We’ll see what happens in the future!
This book is certainly a thriller -- and still so romantic! I loooove Neve and Con together, the intensity of their relationship, the beauty of their friendship. Their love for each other runs so deep. Neve is such a natural, authentic lamp of a person -- her inner beauty shines throughout the story. And Con is just delicious -- protective, utterly capable, and respectful of Neve's strengths and boundaries. For me, the romance in this story is even more amazing because the thriller/suspense level is just as powerful. Neither aspect is subdued by the other. How in the world did you manage it? Please, share with us your feelings about your main characters and their relationship.
It's wonderful to hear that you responded so strongly and positively to Neve and Con! I did, too, when they appeared in my head, so I'm glad that who they are as I imagine them came through successfully on the page. In many ways, they're very different people. You see some of those differences in Dead Sound, and they'll be revealed even more in the sequel, Dead Keen. The drama of their love story lies in discovering whether (and how), in spite of their differences, the things they have in common will truly bring and hold them together -- commonalities like their feelings for one another, their commitment to providing the best possible treatment for their patients, and their instincts for caring, which brought them to their respective fields.
As to the question of how I balanced the suspense and romance aspects, that's a little hard to answer, since I don't think analytically like that when I'm putting a story down on paper. As a writer, I'm what's known as a total "pantser," as opposed to a "plotter" who makes outlines, etc. In the case of Dead Sound, I think the intensity of the love story and the suspense both fed into each other, swirling around each other and building in parallel until the ending. However, the fabulous editing process with Tangled Tree Publishing included some terrific beta readers, so I took their suggestions when they said they were hungering for a little more "Neve and Con" here, or a little more "thriller-like tension" there. That kind of feedback is invaluable to me, and I absolutely love collaborating; it always makes the story better!
The combination sure works for you.
Before leaving the subject of Con altogether, I have to tell you that he just might be one of my new favorite heroes, and I love that he's Irish. Are you still living in Ireland? Please, will you tell us a little of your experience there?
Yes, my husband and I moved to Ireland a few years ago, and we absolutely love it! We live in a beautiful town with a vibrant and supportive writing community, which has been very important to me. In fact, the first friends I made when we moved here, I met in our local writers’ group.
This has been my first experience of living outside of the US, so as do must expats, I suspect, I have learned a great deal, simply by virtue of viewing the world from a different vantage point. Of course, when we moved, we weren’t expecting a global pandemic! It was incredibly difficult being so far away from many of my loved ones over the past year and a half, going through all the anxiety that came with it. But our community here has really pulled together and been very supportive of one another.
Just as an example, in those early days of COVID when we didn’t know much about how it was transmitted, as someone in a medically high-risk group, I was very anxious about going to the pharmacy to pick up my regular prescriptions. I spoke to the pharmacist, who suggested I call our local police (called the Gardaí, here), since they had offered to take pharmacy prescriptions and other essential deliveries where needed. I felt a bit silly about doing that, to be honest, but I took their advice, it turns out the Guards were more than happy to help. Later that day, they brought my prescriptions to my home, and they couldn’t have been more gracious about it! That kind of warmth, kindness, and ethos of taking care of one another made the past 18 months much easier to bear.
Beautiful. It does seem that you’ve had a wonderful experience, despite everything. Thank you for sharing a little about your life with us.
What’s on the horizon for you? Can you tell us about your next book? Will it be the sequel to Dead Sound and will it be set in Ireland?
I’m so glad you asked! Indeed, I am currently working on the sequel to Dead Sound. Book 2 in the Things Unseen series, called Dead Keen, picks up shortly after the end of my first book, and begins with Con taking Neve to Ireland to follow up on a storyline from Dead Sound in which Con’s brother seeks his help with a medical issue. Without giving you any spoilers, I can tell you that Dead Keen will be another high-suspense thriller with unexpected twists and turns, making rich use of the wonderful setting and showing how Con and Neve’s relationship continues to develop.
I can hardly wait! Anise, thank you so much for joining us today and also for the excerpt from Dead Sound, which follows. I wish you all the best with Dead Sound and with all your endeavors!
Thanks a million for having me, Anastasia! I really appreciate your good wishes and am very grateful to you for hosting me on your blog. I wish you all the best, as well!
Excerpt from Dead Sound
The rich aromas of roasted coffee beans and steamed milk stood in welcome contrast to the sharp smells of the ICU. What a way to start the morning. Something had unraveled inside me, seeing Amos lying unconscious on that bed, as helpless and out of place as a starfish stranded on a dry beach. And I’d never seen Con so uncertain about the reasons behind a patient’s clinical presentation. Frankly, it scared me. After all, he was a leading expert and knew Amos’s case well. If he couldn’t figure out what was going on, what hope did anyone else have?
Ruminating about it would do no good, however. I forced myself to focus not on the things that were out of my control but on what I could do—specifically, what I could do for Amos. It was time to stick my neck out. I cleared my throat and leaned in close to Con.
“Do you know any hackers?” I whispered the last word, not wanting to be overheard by the barista.
She didn’t seem like the gossiping type, but I didn’t want to take any chances.
Con’s head snapped up. “What?”
“Hackers,” I hissed. “Do you know any?”
As his eyebrows rose, he leaned back against his chair. The wood made a sharp cracking sound, but it held. “Why on earth would I know a hacker?”
“I don’t know. Maybe you don’t. But you seem to know a lot of computer people, and I didn’t know who else to ask.”
“Ah, Jaysus.” His expression darkened. “You’re not being harassed online, are you?”
“No. Why would you think that?”
“Then what kind of trouble are you in?”
I shook my head. “I’m not in any trouble.”
“What in hell’s name do you need a hacker for, then?”
“It’s not for me.”
“Ah, well.” His expression flattened into a perfect poker face. “In that case, I don’t know any hackers.”
“Oh for God’s sake.” I wrapped my hands around my mug and stared down at the table. “Fine. Forget I asked. I’ll just figure out how to get on the dark web and hire one myself.”
I could feel Con’s eyes drilling a hole in the top of my head. “Oh no you won’t.”
“Oh yes I will.” I raised my gaze to meet his. “It’s for Amos.”
Rarely had I seen Con so taken by surprise. “What?”
“The homework he gave me. It’s encrypted, and I need someone to un-encrypt it.”
“You mean decrypt it.”
“Yeah, okay. That.”
“Even unconscious, Amos can’t stop making trouble, can he?” he asked with a mix of affection and frustration. “What’s this homework?”
To purchase Dead Sound
Following the advice to “write what you know,” ANISE EDEN is the author of suspense novels with thriller, romance, and paranormal elements. Her qualifications include growing up in countryside where rattlesnakes and cougars jumped out of nowhere; living with family members who are a little bit psychic; and having her life saved on more than one occasion by her SEAL Team of guardian angels.
After college, Anise soaked up life in NYC, Washington DC, and points in between. She tried her hand at grooming horses, scooping ice cream, and designing billboards before returning to school to become a psychotherapist. Though she left that field after many rewarding years, Anise remains a passionate mental health advocate.
Continuing her real-life adventures, Anise is now exploring life in Ireland with her husband and her small canine writing companion. While her books have won multiple awards, Anise’s propensity for dropping glass objects while barefoot makes it highly likely that her next win will be a Darwin Award. Member of ITW, RNA, SinC, and the Irish Writers Centre.
To connect with Anise:
Buy Links for Dead Sound: https://books2read.com/deadsound
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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