A little chat with Kate Monroe
We have read a lot of romances lately. But this one makes us smile slyly and consume it all in one sitting!
What made you to decide to write a Steampunk Romance? I personally couldn’t stop blushing…
At first, The Falcon’s Chase wasn’t intended to be a romance at all. The steampunk adventure was very much the aspect that came to the forefront when I was creating it, and the growing romance between Reuben and Arianne was only ever intended to be a subplot to the adventure that exploded into being, demanding to be written and taking precedence over everything else I was working on at the time. Usually, I plot everything out obsessively, but with this story it was laid out before me so clearly that I had no choice but to devote myself to writing it – and as I did so, Reuben and Arianne took charge. The emotional turmoil they went through together was undoubtedly what drove the plot forward, so I allowed them to do as they wanted and make the romance the central story, setting it against the steampunk background of Victorian England and then putting my own twist on the genre to come up with something that I hope does the title of ‘steampunk romance’ credit.
What is it about Reuben and Arianne in The Falcon’s Chase that makes the readers love them so much?
For me, it’s the way that they’re so easy to relate to. Everyone has their faults, but I’ve found that too often in romance novels the author glosses over that fact and ends up inadvertently making characters that are wholly unlikeable. Reuben and Arianne both have their flaws and weaknesses that I hope the readers can identify with. My intention in writing them that way was to give them a real depth and make their love story leap out from the pages; if the readers can connect with them and then feel with them the emotions they go through, then I’ve done my job right.
Am I the only one who thought about Captain Jack Sparrow the whole time I was reading about Reuben? *sigh*
Thank you for making me smile! You’re the first to voice it, but perhaps not the last – I guess it’s the black dreadlocks that do it. Reuben certainly wasn’t consciously based on Jack Sparrow, but I’ve watched the films so many times that perhaps there was some unconscious inspiration there. I think in terms of their characters, though, Reuben has a lot of dark secrets in his past that influence the way he behaves. Jack Sparrow uses humour a lot of the time to deflect a tense situation, whereas Reuben would prefer to fight tooth and nail – and you’d never catch him running away from something, as demonstrated by the climatic scenes in The Falcon’s Chase. It’s certainly a compliment to have Reuben compared to such an iconic character, so thank you again!
What can we expect from you down the road?
Hopefully, plenty more steamy romances as long as my muse plays ball! I’ve always had a soft spot for a romance that breaks all the rules – though I like to dabble in horror stories on the side, the romance genre is my one true love that I can’t ever see myself breaking away from. What makes the genre so irresistible for me is the fact that there are no limits, save for the author’s imagination. Whatever the reader’s taste, they’ll be able to find something in the romance genre to tickle their taste buds – from a rogue Scottish Highlander all the way to tortured heroes of the paranormal, there’s something there for everyone. How could anyone, author or reader, ever get bored of romance?
What books are on your night stand?
The pile seems to grow exponentially – the more I read, the more I want to read! At the moment though, the top five are Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand Of Darkness, Meljean Brook’s Heart Of Steel, Rhiannon Frater’s The Tale Of The Vampire Bride, Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables and Mike Ashley’s definitive work on Merlin as some light bedtime research for a new book. It’s most certainly an eclectic mix!
Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Trek
Hard Metal or Pop? Hard Metal
Romance or Erotica? Romance
Bikini or one piece? One piece
Last book you read that made you blush? Lila DiPasqua’s Undone
Last book you read in one sitting? JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy
Pancakes or waffles? Pancakes – with the proviso that there’s loads of maple syrup involved!
Thank you so very much for being with us today!! We are beyond excited for people to readThe Falcon’s Chase!! We wish you much success, Kate, and please visit us again!!
BUY IT HERE:
In fact, you can read the first chapter of The Falcon’s Chase here…
Reuben Costello knew that he had tried a hundred times to wrench the unyielding iron bars of his prison cell apart, but he could not resist the urge to try just once more. However hard he tugged, though, they withstood even the inhuman amount of force that his prosthetic arm applied to them, just as they had so many times before.
He delivered a furious kick to the bars that had him inescapably trapped as his dark eyes settled upon the copper plated arm that he wore like a badge of honour. Meticulously bonded to the living flesh it clung to, it was just as responsive and more effective than the arm of muscles and bones that had existed in its place for the first eleven years of his life; but though he had worn it for twenty years now and it had served him well for all of those, the sight of it still filled him with a bitter and resentful disgust.
Even that painful emotion, though, could not distract him for more than a few moments. Far more pressing was the grim awareness that with every second that passed, sunrise drew nearer, and with it would come his execution. Reuben had lived a far from blameless life, always dancing along the thin, blurred line that separated the pursuits of an ordinary merchant and the more interesting activities that he liked to indulge in.
Betrayed to Her Majesty’s Royal Navy after a dalliance with the pirates that roamed the Red Sea proved too irresistible for his mercenary side to ignore, Reuben had been captured and dragged to the infamous Tower of London. It had taken no less than a dozen captains to bring him in. Had he been aboard his ship when they attacked, he had no doubt that they would not have succeeded.
Reuben had not been aboard the Falcon, though. Instead, he had been spending the night with his latest mistress – and when she had brazenly lounged back on the bed with a cigarillo between her perfect red lips and laughed loudly as they dragged him away, he had silently cursed his propensity for choosing his bedmates based on looks alone.
That, it seemed, was not a mistake he would have the chance to ever make again. Though his crime was nowhere as severe as it should be to warrant execution, that was the sentence that had inexplicably been passed. Time was rapidly slipping away from him and much to his disgust, it was becoming clear that there would be no escape from the harsh fate that awaited him.
He sank down to the cold, grimy cobbles that lined his dungeon cell and affixed a menacing scowl to his face for the sole benefit of any gaolers that should happen to parade past his cell with their looks of disdain and taunts about the noose that was so soon to be claiming his neck in the hangman’s embrace. Soon, light footsteps heralded the approach of just such a person.
Reuben snatched upon the only amusement that would be his on this last lonely night of life. He wrapped his fingers around the hateful bars of his cell and knelt down, drawing back his thin lips to expose the gleaming teeth beneath as he deliberately allowed a low, ominous growl to rise up from the pit of his stomach and echo around the confines of the dungeon.
He squinted into the dimly-lit gloom as the footsteps quickened and caught sight of a distinct shape emerging from the putrid darkness. Far shorter than any of the guards he had become accustomed to – he would estimate that the top of their head would not even reach his
shoulder – and dressed all in black, the person reached into their pocket and extracted what was undoubtedly, from the jangling sound of metal against metal, a bunch of heavy brass keys.
Reuben’s eyes narrowed as they quickly swept across the newcomer appraisingly. Their head was bowed low, concealed from his gaze by the shadow of the black cap atop it, and a full-length greatcoat enveloped their body and skimmed across their ankles to reveal tight-fitting breeches and laced leather boots.
Everything about the clothing that they wore screamed of masculinity, but an incredulous suspicion was rising inside him that it was no man that stood before him. The slender fingers that were now fumbling with the keys were pale and unblemished, as far removed from the rough and calloused hands of the gaolers as it was possible to be. As they unlocked the door and hastily slammed it shut behind them, the shape of a second person stepped out of the shadows in the corridor.
“I shall stay at the end of the corridor to stand guard, then – just shout if you need me, ma’am.” They were dismissed with a jerk of the head and an irritable wave of the delicate hand that had unlocked the door.
Even if those intriguing words had not made it plain that it was a woman now locked in the cell with him, any remaining doubt he might have had was extinguished when he inhaled sharply and a delicate scent that had wafted in with the newcomer danced around his senses, teasing and tantalising him with its faint notes of jasmine and gardenia. It was a scent that was intrinsically and undeniably feminine in origin.
Reuben swallowed hard, for a woman’s appearance in his cell could mean only one thing. He let loose a soft groan. He had been alone in his cell for over a month now and the company of a woman was perhaps the only thing that might make him able to forget his imminent execution. With a deep, primal hunger raging inside him, he stared at her intently as she slowly pulled away her cap to reveal the face of the woman that had come to offer him the scant comfort she could provide.
“Ah! You are to be this condemned man’s last meal, I presume?” Reuben’s low voice was hoarse, for the instant that she had removed her cap and revealed herself to him, he had been consumed by such a forceful throb of aching desire that he knew he had to have her, prostitute or not. Not even pausing to think upon the surprising and uncharacteristic generosity that his gaolers had shown in sending such a rare beauty to him on the eve of his execution, he roughly backed her up against the stone walls of the cell.
Her soulful eyes widened and her lips parted, but before she could speak Reuben devoted himself to the far from unpalatable task at hand. If this was to be the last woman he would take before his execution then, he thought wryly, it was fitting that she was by far the loveliest he had ever had in his arms, despite her manly attire – attire that he intended to waste no time in stripping away from her shapely form.
He shook his tangled, jet black braids back out of his face, lowered his head and laid forceful, triumphant claim to her wonderfully soft and pliant lips, already dizzy with the strength of his desperate yearning for her. Reuben slipped one hand behind her head to caress the delicate nape of her neck and hold her in place as his fingers wound through the silken curls of hair escaping the tight bun attempting to restrain them, his arousal rapidly spiralling out of control as he pushed himself up against her to mould himself against every feminine contour of her body.
He forced his prosthetic arm between their bodies to reach for the intricate buttons of her greatcoat and tugged them apart with such force that they ripped free of the fabric, but even that was not enough to persuade him to break the kiss. Never before had a mere kiss managed to arouse him with such ferocity. Perhaps it was the adrenalin pounding through his body in anticipation of his death intensifying all that he felt, but Reuben had never craved any woman as much as he did this one.
As his fingers insistently moved between their bodies to seek out the fastenings of her shirt, though, brushing against the agonisingly tempting curve of her high, full breasts as they did so, she twisted her head to the side with a loud and rasping cry. “What in God’s name do you think that you are doing, sir?!”
Reuben arched one dark eyebrow incredulously as he fought for breath and ruthlessly kept her pinned up against the wall. “I thought that was more than obvious! I was beginning to avail myself of all the pleasures that your sweet mouth had to offer to me. Is that not why you came here?”
“No!” Rage burned in her wide, darkened eyes as she struggled desperately to free herself of his hold. “Good God, I am no…no…” She trailed off, blushing hotly as a small smile began to quirk back the corner of his lips.
“Prostitute?” Reuben offered mildly, his anger at being interrupted fading away in the face of her evident reaction to his proximity – a reaction that it seemed she was not simply falsifying for the sake of her wages.
“Indeed I am not!”
Her curt denial seemed genuine, much to his bemusement. As he allowed his fingers to work their way underneath the shirt she wore to caress the bare skin he found beneath, he tilted his head to the side. “But I don’t understand – how did you get in here if you are not a prostitute, little lady?”
Her flush deepened but her lips twitched with what could only be irritation as she plunged one hand into her pocket and extracted a furled piece of parchment. She unravelled it and thrust it at him contemptuously. “Admiral Dalton’s seal tends to open any door that happens to be in one’s way.”
“Admiral Dalton signed an order for my release?”
“No, but I am very adept at forging my father’s signature; I am Lady Arianne Dalton. My friends call me Ari, but you may call me milady – and you can let me go now!”