To celebrate the upcoming September 19 release of my third Medallion Press romance, Lies, Love & Redemption, I’m sharing an “inside look” at the making of my second Medallion release, Dangerous Indenture. I’ll discuss how the book came about, the research involved, and how I created these unique characters.
As most readers know, I write romances in nearly every genre: contemporary, historical, fantasy, gay, and paranormal. When I write historical romances I never know where (or when) my story will take me. The Viking’s Witch is set in Scotland in 803, Lies, Love & Redemption is a western set in 1877 Nebraska, and Dangerous Indenture is a spicy historical/mystery set in Pennsylvania Colony in the early 1700s.
Here’s the summary:
Eager to escape her past in Ireland, Shauna Farrow signs on to become an indentured servant to Joshua Stewart, a wealthy man in Pennsylvania Colony.
But a life of servitude quickly turns to drudgery, and her hopes for starting over and creating a better life for herself are waning—until she meets her master’s roguish son, Ashton.
Shauna fights her growing attraction to Ashton, torn between propriety and acting on her emotions. But amidst their flirting, something dark stirs. Shauna soon discovers why no other servants will work for the strange Stewart family.
Stewart House has an unsavory reputation: a previous servant died there under mysterious circumstances. When another servant goes missing in the middle of the night, Shauna is convinced that a member of the family is responsible.
When Shauna’s investigation leads her too close to the truth, it’s up to Ashton to save her before time runs out.
So, how did the novel come about? Dangerous Indenture is one of those books that just jumped into my head. (Yes, every so often that happens to writers.) One day, I overheard the name Shawna Farrell, but I thought I’d heard Shauna Farrow. The name stuck with me and I wrote it down.
A few minutes later, I knew all about her: she was an Irish indentured servant who came to Pennsylvania Colony and worked at a house where a previous servant was murdered. Once I knew that, I started outlining the book.
Before I wrote a word, I did a lot of research. I was starting from a good place with the book—I knew where I wanted to set the story and in approximately what timeframe it should take place.
From there, I spent time in the library going through history books, reading up on Colonial times (What life was like, what people wore, ate, etc.) and indentured servants (Where did they come from? Why did they leave their home country?).
As I wrote, I incorporated my research as background information. This gives the book a rich historical feel without going overboard with details that slow down a scene or are of no interest to readers.
When I’m writing historical romances, I include details and descriptions that are integral to the story. I don’t bog down the plot with a step-by-step procedure for churning butter or how to saddle a horse, and I don’t go into an endless description of how to unfasten a corset (unless it’s befuddling a hero who is eager to remove it!)
Just because historical romances are set in time periods before cars, the Internet, and cell phones, that doesn’t (or shouldn’t) make them boring. My historicals include plenty of action, adventure, intrigue, danger, comedy, and sensual love scenes.
When I wrote Dangerous Indenture, I especially enjoyed creating the characters and setting the stage for the drama that’s about to unfold. Right from the start, we’re told that Stewart House is haunted, and then we (and Shauna) meet the master of the house, Joshua Stewart, and his strange family.
Our hero, Ashton Bailey, is flawed and has a lot of problems to overcome. For starters, he’s known as the black sheep of the family and has been sent home in disgrace. He has a reputation as a drunkard and a womanizer, and tends to get himself into troubling situations. By giving Ashton all this “baggage” I made him vulnerable and provided him with lofty goals to reach.
Shauna has come to the Colonies to start over and make a new life for herself. The last thing she wants is to fall in love with anyone—and then she meets Ashton. Shauna is headstrong and independent, and not your typical heroine. She’s brash and opinionated and falls in love with Ashton despite all of his socially unacceptable flaws. Ashton gives her the strength and encouragement she needs to keep going when things look bleak, and he stands up for her at a critical plot point in the story.
When I developed the secondary characters, I made sure to give them all interesting backstories and unusual quirks. Joshua comes off as a mean bear of a man, Minerva just might be crazy (and a murderer), Colin is… a villain in many senses of the word, and Lila thought she had everything going for her—for a while. Not everyone in Stewart House is as they seem, however, and this adds another level of mystery and intrigue to the book.
I love the characters and the fact that Dangerous Indenture is a romance blended with mystery. I had never written a romance set in Colonial times before, and combining all these elements into this Gothic-type story was a lot of fun.
I hope you’ll check it out.
Here’s a tame mini-excerpt from Dangerous Indenture:
Ashton wrapped his arms around her. “Come here. Let me hold you.”
She relaxed against him, and her worries drained away. A familiar heat built between her legs as Ashton leaned forward and kissed her. Ashton moaned, and she felt a hardness jutting out from the front of his breeches.
Her mind flashed back to Ashton in his robe. His chest, his flat stomach, the glimpse of a tiny trail of hairs leading lower... What would Ashton do if he knew how desperately she craved his touch?
She fought the urge to slide her hands to the front of his breeches and stroke him, make him ready. What would it feel like to make love to him? She ached to be crushed under his body as he entered her and—
Without warning, Ashton pulled away.
“Forgive me,” he said, releasing her. “I tend to lose control and let my urges take over. I’m not used to being around a decent woman.”
He thought she was decent? That was a joke. If he knew what wicked ideas were swirling through her head, he’d probably faint.
Order your copy of Dangerous Indenture here:
Other platforms at Medallion Press: http://medallionpress.com/books/dangerous-indenture/
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 95 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels.
In 2016 Kelli began re-releasing her romances previously published by Amber Quill Press. Visit her website and blog for a full title list, book summaries, and other information as it becomes available. Look for her Medallion Press historical western romance, Lies, Love & Redemption, coming September19.
Her writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative non-fiction guide based on her 15 years of experience as a writer. It’s filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.
If you like to be scared, check out Kelli’s horror ebooks: Dead Til Dawn and Kropsy’s Curse.
Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor. She also writes a weekly blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/.
Visit her website, www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings, read book excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb.
Here are a few links to find Kelli & her writings on the web
Amazon author page: www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins
Medallion Press author page: http://medallionpress.com/author/kelli-wilkins/
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb