Interview with Erica Ridley

Jen: This week we are excited to have Erica Ridley at Romancing the Book. Erica, will you please share a short bio with us?
Erica: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know how to read or when I didn’t want to be a writer. My life (and my house!) has always been full of books. I love to escape, to experience worlds totally unlike my own. That’s probably why I read everything from historicals to paranormals, and also why I love to travel as often as I can to visit other places and cultures. I was lucky enough to spend 2009 in Europe, and am excited to be heading to Costa Rica this July. Getting away—whether through skymiles or a great story—has always been my passion!

Jen: Tell us about Too Wicked To Kiss and where it’s available.
Erica: Too Wicked To Kiss is my debut romance novel (!!!) with sensuous romance and Gothic mystery. You can get a copy at most major bookstores (such as Borders and Barnes & Noble) or online at Amazon. Here’s the back cover copy:

HIS TOUCH HOLDS HER CAPTIVE….

From the ravens circling its spires to the gargoyles adorning its roof, Blackberry Manor looms ominously over its rambling grounds. And behind its doors, amid the flickering shadows and secret passageways, danger lies in wait.

TO HIS EVERY DARK DESIRE…..

Evangeline Pemberton has been invited to a party at the sprawling estate of reclusive Gavin Lioncroft, who is rumored to have murdered his parents. Initially, Gavin’s towering presence and brusque manner instill fear in Evangeline…until his rakish features and seductive attentions profoundly arouse her. But when a guest is murdered, Evangeline is torn. Could the man to whom she is so powerfully drawn, also be a ruthless killer?

Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Erica: According to my mother, I learned to read when I was three and started writing immediately thereafter. There was, however, a bit of a learning curve (hehe) before I actually hit The End on my first novel-length manuscript. It took four complete manuscripts before I landed an agent, and one more before I landed a publishing contract. I got the call—okay, technically, missed the call—while I was in Costa Rica, but it was worth every penny of roaming fees to call back and squee with my agent!!!

Jen: How does your family feel about your career?
Erica: While there are a couple family members that might be happier if I had a “real” job (back to the cube farm??) as a whole, my family has been extremely supportive. I think my mom might be my biggest fan—she bought two dozen copies the day Too Wicked To Kiss debuted and handed them out to all her friends!

Jen: Describe your writing in three words.
Erica: sexy, atmospheric, suspenseful

Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Erica: Unfortunately, writing is not my primary career, so often my days are filled with website development instead of character development. However, on the days when I can focus on a story, I like to wake up, brush my teeth while I brew a pot of coffee, and immediately sit down to write. If I get blocked or finish a scene and need time to think, that’s when I’ll shower (where many great ideas are born!) and get dressed before sitting back down in front of the keyboard.

Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Erica: I read extensively, both fiction (Regency-set historicals are one of my favorite genres) and non-fiction (the little details that make such a big difference.) I also went to England and got to visit some of the settings I was writing about, which was a fabulous experience!

Jen: Do you become attached to your characters and have a hard time letting them go, or are you happy that their story is told and you can move on?
Erica: I’m more the latter. I love my characters—I’d be friends with Evangeline in a heartbeat, and I’d definitely date Gavin Lioncroft (don’t tell my boyfriend!)—but once the story is over, it’s over. I’ve toyed with the idea of writing an extra epilogue for my website, but haven’t decided yet if I should. To be determined…

Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one you most identify with?
Erica: While I’m writing a story, my favorite characters are always the hero and heroine. In this case, I loved Evangeline’s independence and determination, and Lioncroft’s tortured soul and big heart. Despite the shadows in his past, I think Evangeline is actually the more flawed at the start of the story, and she’s the one who I think grows the most… although it’s delicious watching Lioncroft learn to love and be loved!

Jen: Is there a genre that you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from and why?
Erica: I’m fascinated with steampunk, or alternative-history Victorian settings, but by the same token, it’s a sub-genre I’m not sure I want to try to enter. There are books that I loved (Whitechapel Gods rocked!) and others bored me to sleep, so I’d definitely want to do it right or not do it at all. I’ll probably write straight Victorian before I attempt one with steampunk elements.

Jen: If you could travel back in time for one year, what time and place would you choose? And if you could only take 3 things with you, what would they be?
Erica: Although I’m tempted to say ancient Egypt, out of a childhood fascination I’ve never grown out of, being there for an entire year makes me hesitate. Victorian is also tempting, with the advent of locomotives and other technology, but I think I would prefer Regency England. (Although if I could get a bonus week in Renaissance-era Italy, I would head to Florence in a hot second!)

Jen: If Too Wicked To Kiss was made into a movie, which actors would you choose to play the hero and heroine?
Erica: I honestly have no idea! I picture the characters so clearly in my mind when I write them, that it’s impossible for me to imagine any other person taking his or her place. I’m not even sure how I’d feel about seeing a movie adaptation in the theater!

Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Erica: Oh, man! My list of keeper shelf authors stretches on for miles. (Which explains why my books are stacked sideways and three-deep, and present in every room of my house.) If I start naming them, I’ll never finish. What I’ve been reading lately are books that were on my To-Be-Read pile for ages, but that I finally cracked open: Libba Bray, Candy Havens, Kay Hooper, and others.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Erica: TOO SINFUL TO DENY comes out in Spring 2011, featuring a secondary character from Too Wicked To Kiss. Instead of a Gothic mansion nestled beyond the dark woods near Braintree, this time we get to visit a desolate strip of beach with deep caves perfect for hiding a pirate ship. Romance, murder, smuggled treasure… what more could a girl want?

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Erica: Please come visit me at www.ericaridley.com! For more about Too Wicked To Kiss, visit www.2wicked2kiss.com. If you have Facebook, please friend me at www.facebook.com/ericaridleyfans. If tweeting is more your thing, add me at www.twitter.com/ericaridley!

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Erica: Sure! I’d love to know readers’ thoughts on extra epilogues, or extra prologues, or other short stories that tie into a book and can be accessed on an author’s website. And if you’ve read Too Wicked To Kiss, I would absolutely love to know which actors you would cast in the starring roles!

Jen: Are we holding a contest?
Erica: Absolutely. Anyone who offers feedback on the “extra story” question is eligible to win. I’ll give away two signed copies of Too Wicked To Kiss—one for you, and one for a friend. Due to shipping costs, residents of US/Canada only. Bonus karma if you have an actor/actress suggestion!

Jen: Readers, you heard her. To enter the contest, you need to leave a comment on whether or not you like extra epilogues, prologues and short stories on author’s websites (and feel free to also ask Erica and questions you have). Then to finish your entry, you need to leave your email address in your comment or send an email to contests.bookblog@gmail.com. The winner will be chosen on Sunday, June 27.