Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesdays Tidbits with Kari: Featuring author Allison Chase

First of all, thank you so much, ladies, for having me as your guest today. It's especially exciting for me because it's officially release day for OUTRAGEOUSLY YOURS, book 2 in my Victorian series, Her Majesty's Secret Servants!

Kari - I see you like to do archery as a hobby. That's something I've alws wanted to try. Is it difficult? From how far away have you hit a target?

Allison - William Tell I'm not, lol. Since we live in the suburbs we're confined to our backyard, what you'd call space-challenged. I actually just ran out back and measured off the average distance, which is about 14 paces, or 35-40 feet. What made the difference for me in terms of accuracy wasn't necessarily developing a greater skill level, but having good equipment. Hubby and I both have lovely, Italian-made bows strung to a 20lb resistance, which is pretty standard for someone who isn't a professional archer (are there professional archers out there?). And our arrows are graphite, not wood, so they fly faster and straighter. The cats in the neighborhood are grateful for that. :)

Kari - You also collect period costumes. Have you ever worn them to any event? What's the most intrigueing costume you've collected?

Allison - You bet I've worn them! We attend our local Renaissance Festival every year in costume. I dress either as a wench or a lady pirate (Grace O'Malley!) in a laced bodice, off-the-shoulder chemise and a voluminous skirt, or as a Celtic lady in my Irish leine with its wide bag sleeves. My husband wears his kilt which I help him pleat, wrap, drape, belt and pin in the traditional way. One exciting find was a Regency drop-front day gown made to authentic specs. It even includes the lacings inside that attach the dress to the corset, to prevent the garment from moving and rumpling. This I've gotten to wear at Halloween - I carried a feather quill and a leather volume of Pride and Prejudice. Guess who I was?

Kari - You've explored castle ruins, ancient abbeys, and rambling gardens of old country manors. That sounds so exciting. I bet it takes you right back in time. What are some of the favorite places you've explored and what was it like?

Allison - By far the most dramatic castle we've ever visited was Tantallon in Scotland. It hovers literally on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Firth of Forth, and with its boulder-strewn earthen works, imposing gatehouse, and high, sheer battlements, it presents quite the formidable prospect as you approach. We were there in the off-season so we had the place to ourselves and were able to climb the towers and explore the ruins to our hearts' content. Another favorite place was Muckross Abbey in Kilarney, Ireland. Again, we had the place to ourselves, and while walking through the ancient cloisters I could all but feel the spirits of the monks hovering at my shoulder, telling me what a hard and lonely life they led there centuries ago. It was haunting and very poignant to view the lush Irish landscape from their perspective through the arrow slits carved into those thick walls.

Kari - You write about the elegance and intrigue of Victorian England in your newest series Her Majesty's Secret Servants. I love that the royal person is a queen and that her secret servants are her best friends. How did you come up with the idea for that?

Allison - This idea came directly from what I read about Victoria as a child. I hadn't known previously how lonely she was growing up, or how restricted and controlled she was by her mother and a man named John Conroy, who hoped to rise to power through her. The poor child had no friends to speak of, no one to confide in other than her governess, the German-born Louise Lehzen. My heart absolutely went out to her, and I thought, oh, she needs some friends! So I created ties between the Sutherland sisters's father and Victoria's father and uncle through their military service, which would be kept up for awhile even after the Duke of Kent's death when Victoria was a baby. MOST EAGERLY YOURS begins with an eleven-year-old Victoria telling the Sutherlands of her newly discovered revelation that she'll someday be queen. Her fears break their hearts, and even as they realize her fate will take her in directions they can't follow, they pledge to always be her friends, and her secret servants if ever she needs them.

Kari - Can you tell us about your book that's coming out in December called Outrageously Yours?

Allison - OUTRAGEOUSLY YOURS takes second sister Ivy Sutherland to Cambridge University, where she must find an unusual stone that has been stolen from Her Majesty. Now, because women were not yet allowed to pursue a higher education, Ivy has to crop her hair, wear breeches and boots, smear a little coal dust on her chin (fledgling whiskers) and take on the identity of Ned, a promising young science student. Ivy is perfect for the job, having been raised by an uncle with an extensive library, where she was able to study and satisfy her own scientific curiosity. At Cambridge she meets Simon de Burgh, Marquess of Harrow and a scientist in his own right, and together they create sparks that follow them from the laboratory to the bedroom. Amid their simmering passion, there is the mystery of the stolen stone, Simon's missing sister, and a path of murdered students that leads Simon and Ivy into great peril as well as into each other's arms. At times the story strays from the factual science of the day into Sci Fi - because this closet Trekkie couldn't resist a little fun! But that's for the reader to discover.

Kari - Your books have a mystery element in them with them secrets that are revealed. Do you enjoy mysteries and would you ever write a full blown mystery?

Allison - Aside from being a closet Trekkie, I'm also a closet mystery writer! So yes, I can definitely envision myself someday writing a mystery, but I don't think I'd be able to resist including a romantic thread. You can't take the romance out of the romance writer, lol! It would probably be a historical mystery, although I've also toyed with an idea for a series set in my husband's home town in Rhode Island. He'd provide a wealth of information for me, and the history of the place along with the present-day social atmosphere would inspire a ton of ideas.

Kari - What's next on the horizon after this series?

Allison - I'd be very, very happy to continue with a new historical romance series, especially one set in Victorian times. I love the emerging technologies, along with the changing social attitudes that led to the modern world we live in today. I'm not a planner though, at least not far in advance, so once this series is completed I'll turn my attentions to my next project. No matter what I write, my heart will always be invested in some form of history, and I think that'll be evident even if I try a contemporary story. I'd probably write about a historian or museum director, or maybe an archeologist. But I'm not adverse to suggestions!

Readers, what time periods do you most love to read about? Or what themes most attract you to a story? Share your favorites and be entered to win a copy of OUTRAGEOUSLY YOURS!

For more about me and my books, you can visit http://www.allisonchase.com/, and from there you'll find my blog, MySpace and Facebook pages (under my bio).

Also, I'm running a contest this month for a fabulous Victorian Science-inspired necklace. The details should be up by now, so check that out! And don't forget to leave a comment here for a chance to win a signed book!



Teresa Thomas Bohannon said...

Outrageously Yours sounds like a delight and I shall certainly add it to my To Be Read List.
PS Is there a picture posted of the author wearing the authentic Regency costume? I would love to see it.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

I don't have a picture, but if she sends me one, I will be sure to post it :-) I'd love to see it myself!

Can't wait to read Allison's latest book.

Liz Lipperman said...

Great interview, Kari and Allison. I, too, would love to see that picture. And I love that you mix a little sci fi with your stories.

Thanks for stopping by M & M.

Allison Chase said...

Good morning, ladies, and thanks for having me. Today is release day, so it's the perfect day to be here. Confession: I'm terrible about pictures and not sure if I'll be able to find one from that Halloween - it was a few years ago. Will Celtic lady with her Scots warrior do? I know which file that picture is in, lol. Or hey, maybe I'll just go slip into the Regency dress and have my daughter snap a quick picture.

Karen Krack said...

I haven't done archery since I was 14 - but it was FUN!

RK Charron said...

Hi :)
Thank you for the interview with Allison Chase. Thanks to Allison for pointing me here. I like your site & your banner is awesome. Congratulations to Allison on her Release Day.
My favorite time period? I don't really have one, but my two favorite historical romance series are the Lymond and the Niccolo series by Dorothy Dunnett.
All the best,

Joni said...

I'm really interested in historical novels especially those in Victorian or Regency settings.
I think this series sounds great and I can't wait to start reading it.

Jeanne M said...

Allison -

I was thrilled to find out about your love for castles. My husband is a master mason by trade and his favorite things was being there while they were making renovations onEdinborgh Castle. He couldn't believe that the laborers were carrying ONE block at a time to the masons making the repairs!

My favorite stop was Lithinglow Palace outside of Edinborgh - the day we went we were the only ones there and could wander at our leisure.

I love your writing and can't wait to read Outrageouly Yours. Thanks for your wonderful stories.

julieann said...

Cant wait to read this one!

lisa avila said...

Can't wait to read your latest book!!! Happy Holidays!

Mary Martinez said...

Oh man, archery, castles in Scotland, what a fun life. And then to use it for research. Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed your post. Kari thanks for inviting Allison.

Oh forgot to say, Welcome Allison to the M&M Blog.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

I added a picture from the Ren Faire in the middle of the post when Allison talks about costumes :-) It's a hoot!

Probe211@aol.com said...

I enjoy reading books from the early 1800's. The women were strong, and the people's lives were interesting, and rewarding. I believe we've only scratched the surface on that era. Even with all of the people migrating to this country during that time, there could be so many love stories written about all of the different ethnicities. On the other coast, you had the gold rush. What an amazing time for this country!!

Kai W. said...

The Victorian Necklace is so pretty.

Anyway after reading the except from Outrageously Yours, I love the story. Intriguing.

Meljprincess said...

After reading the excerpt on Allison's website I cant wait to read OUTRAGEOUSLY YOURS. The Victorian era is my favorite! And I really enjoy stories where the heroine dresses as a man. This book is definitely for me. I love archery. That was my favorite activity in gym class.
Allison, I was in Scotland in Sept. and when we took the train from Edinburgh to Inverness we crossed the Firth of Forth. I didnt see the castle youre talking about though. Maybe on my next trip. :-)
I enjoyed this post immensely! Would love to win the book. Thanks!

Mel K.
Meljprincess AT aol DOT com

Lindsay said...

I guess there's a new series for me to read. Outrageously Yours sound interesting and can't wait to get it and the others.
I recently watched the movie 'The Young Victoria'. How close to the truth about her upbringing was it, if you know.
Great interview and keep those arrows flying straight.

Allison Chase said...

Thank you everyone for your amazing comments so far! I feel like I stumbled into a room filled with kindred spirits, which inspires me to finish up the next book in the series. Lindsay, I think The Young Victoria did a great job of portraying Victoria's loneliness as a child and when she first came to the throne. It was Albert's love and support that made her the confident monarch we think of today.

Re: Tantalon Castle in Scotland - it's near St. Abbs Head if I remember correctly, which is to the east, close to where the Forth empties into the North Sea. But don't quote me on that, it's been many years! Somehow we missed Lithinglow Palace. Next time!

Lindsay said...

Thank you Allison. Not only did I enjoy the movie but saved it on my DVR so I can watch it again.

Barbara E. said...

I love the Victorian period, with all of the scientific exploration, the new inventions, and a bit more freedom for women, it's a fascinating time. I think it's fabulous that Queen Victoria is in the story as well. I enjoy the theme of the lady disguised as a man, that one is always fun. I'm looking forward to reading Outrageously Yours to find out how it all turns out.


Asylumgirl said...

I love the medieval time period, knights and what not. I'm typically more drawn to stories with paranormal aspects. However, a good story is good no matter when it takes place or what the theme is. :-)

deidre_durance at hotmail dot com

LSUReader said...

The novels that I lose myself in all have compelling characters--folks I really care about. I am so happy to see book two in this series is out. I really enjoyed the first and I'm looking forward to reading Outrageously Yours.

Brandlwyne aka Brandy B said...

Congrats on the release. I would love to have all those costumes to wear but I would love to be able to go visit some of the settings for my favorite books like Scotland and Ireland. I love the book cover!!!


Kari Lee Townsend said...

I just added Allison channeling her inner Jane Austen :-) So much fun!

Cynthia Thomason said...

Sounds like a wonderful book, Allison. And you certainly have the background and experience to write about this period and location. Can't wait to get my copy.

Allison Chase said...

It is a little strange - let's say eccentric - that I never outgrew playing dress up? For me it's just one more way to immerse myself in what I love - history. Besides, what better way to know how it feels to be a historical heroine than to wear her clothes? :)

herblady said...

I most like to read about Victorian England with all of their fancy manners and elegant dress. It makes me imagine what my life would have been like if I had lived back then.
Your new book sounds delicious! :)

Zelda Benjamin said...

Great post. Can't wait to read Outrageously Yours and looking forward to the next sister's story. Will you share with us the secret of what's under that kilt?

Nancy J. Cohen said...

I love all your books, no matter what time period you write. Love the white gown!

Kathleen Pickering said...

Allison Chase is one of my favorite authors. I loved "Most Eagerly Yours" and cannot wait to get my hands on "Outrageously Yours." Her majesty's secret servants manage to rustle up wonderful, sexy heros with whom to get entangled. Allison deserves a jeweled crown for this historical romance series!

Mary Ricksen said...

Where is the Renaissance Fair? I wanna go too!
Archery too! You're amazing!
So nice to learn more about you Allison! I already know how talented you are as a writer!

Allison Chase said...

Thank you, ladies! Mary, the Ren Faire is in Deerfield Beach. It's fun! And a good excuse to dress up!

Bonnie Vanak said...

Outrageously Yours sounds like a great read! Congrats Allison! Can't wait to read it!

Kimberley said...

I have already put Outrageously Yours on my TBR list! I love all books...But I really love the books about Scotland, Ireland Kilts and brogues! Paranormal or straight romance....it's all good!

ladydi6497 said...

I love the time periods including Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. I am wish that I had the book right now because I would be curled up with it and a bowl of popcorn.

Allison Chase said...

Kari, thank you again for inviting me here today, and thank you to everyone who came by and helped me celebrate my release day!

I guess we'll be choosing a winner of my book tomorrow, so I'll be in touch!

Good night and pleasant dreams,

GladysMP said...

Boy, visiting castles and owning Victorian costumes all sounds so facinating and I love reading about the period. The life of royalty wasn't like one would think...loneliness was true for many. Your book sounds delightful.

Nancy Bristow said...

I read across almost all romance genres but you're a new-to-me author. I liked the excerpt I read and love heroines with spine. It would be way cool to win one of your books:)

Mona Risk said...

Allison, congratulations. Outrageously Yours is a book I will enjoy reading soon. Archery and historical costumes, hmm. You have interesting hobbies. To think I knew for so many years and never knew that. LOL

Jianne Carlo said...

Hey Allison, I love all your books and can't wait to read this one.

Jianne Carlo

littlequeenie29 said...

This is my first time at this blog and I have to say, I LOVE THE NAME OF IT!!!!
I just read the excerpt for Outrageously yours and now it is on my to read list. Can I get it on Kindle?

Sheree said...

Hi, Allison! I'm open to reading about any time period; the plot and the characters are what interests me.

I took archery in college and realized that I was about as accurate with a bow as I was with a rifle: not very. My sister though was ranked 15 in her division so it was just me.

Ren Faires are fun but I quit going when the local one moved far away.