Jen: Today we welcome Flora Dain to Romancing the Book. Flora, will you share a short bio with us?
Flora: I’m married with two children and live in the UK. New to writing, but several titles to date and more on the way. I love reading, writing, good reviews, cold crunchy ice cream and hot smooth movies. And I especially love connecting with readers – a real thrill!
Jen: Tell us a little about your newest release.
Flora: Well, how about the blurb and an excerpt?
SUITING SAFFINA series blurb
With Lady Saffina soon to inherit a fortune, her guardian, the disgraced Earl of Endale, returns from abroad to launch her into society and find her a suitor. To her dismay, he fires her tutors and takes her in hand, determined to tame her wild ways and instil a proper sense of her rank. To her delight, his instruction is strict and exotic, especially in the arts of pleasure. But few suitors meet his lofty standards, and even after she finds one, the discipline continues…
SAFFINA’S SECRETS (Suiting Saffina #2) – excerpt
My first trip abroad, to start with a stay in a splendid chateau? How magnificent. Barely able to contain my excitement I’d pestered him daily for more information.
Jacquard had merely smiled his maddening, mysterious smile and put a fingertip on my lips. “That would be telling. Wait and see.”
The gleam in his eyes had warned me he was funning. The main reason he was taking me on tour was to find me a husband. On that point he’d been adamant. The guest list here included some of the richest and most important men in Europe. If I played my cards right, I could take my pick.
Except that on the matter of a husband, my mind was already made up. I wanted him and no other.
I’d fallen under his spell the minute we’d met. But I was barely eighteen and he many years older, with dark, silvered hair, a piercing, intelligent gaze and a past full of more lovers than anyone—probably even he—could recall.
And early on, he’d made it plain that while he was happy—nay, eager—to take full advantage of my person and my thirst for his instruction in the arts of pleasure, marriage between us was out of the question.
His ban simply made me more determined.
His skills in the sensual arts had quickly ensnared me. But to my dismay, he showed no sign that my enthusiastic responses affected him in the same way. It seemed my girlish charms had no allure for a man like him. And to my surprise, given his terrible reputation, it seemed he also had scruples. He’d agreed to bring me with him on one condition—that I genuinely sought a match.
He was already wealthy, so the prospect of my coming inheritance had no power to lure him. To add fuel to my fire, he insisted our liaison stay private. The fiery affair that had flared between us was allowed to flourish freely but must stay a secret.
So I’d vowed his hold over me would remain mine. But I’d already sensed the path ahead would not be easy.
He was not a man to suffer fools, male or female, however attractive or wealthy. He’d had chances aplenty and refused them all for reasons impossible to fathom. He had exotic tastes and a cynical mind.
To win him, I needed more than my girlish lusts. I needed a brain.
Jen: Describe your writing in 3 words.
Flora: Hot. Fast. Fresh. I hope! That’s the aim, anyway. I get bored easily when I read long passages, so I like to keep up the pace.
Jen: Is there a genre you’d like to write? Is there one you’ll probably stay away from? Why?
Flora: With guys like George Clooney still on the female radar I may explore Silver Fox territory in more detail. I think I’d avoid detective stories, much as I love them. You’d have to be on top of all the high-tech stuff and legal procedure and these days it changes so fast. Plus, in a book about hot sex the detecting might be distracting.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Flora: Hardly any! I hate it when writers say this, but one afternoon I simply wrote down the first sentence. After that it was easy. Normally I plan for ages, but some stories fly. For ages I’d been researching Nelson’s navy and his legacy under the Regency. My head was awash with images from period erotica, shocking facts about contemporary living conditions, politics of the period and gossip from collections of letters, so with my first sentence staring up at me from a blank page pulsing with possibilities, the stories took wing.
Taming Saffina, the first part of my Suiting Saffina trio, is her coming-of-age story and comes to a natural break with the hero’s plans, so I ended it there. I started instantly on the second, Saffina’s Secrets, because I thought I’d mix in a touch of gothic and a hint of danger. My feisty heroine was changing fast and loving every minute! The spooky setting suggested wicked, ever riskier encounters, so I threw those at her too.
Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you’ve received about your books?
Flora: A reviewer on the Wicked Reads website wrote this recently about Love Beat, out recently:-
‘Cade made me both angry and then horribly aroused…I found myself hating him and loving what he could do!’
I was thrilled at this reader’s reaction, because Tunis, my heroine, feels just the same about Cade. That was totally the effect I was after. I wanted to show how the darker sides of pleasure, played out safely and consensually, can lead two troubled personalities to lasting love through the healing power of great sex.
Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book?
Flora: Ah, I remember it well… fabulous champagne reception on a vast super-yacht, streamers, balloons, a long line of fans waiting for autographs… No, not really. That was the super-glam author I thought I’d instantly become back on that bright sunny morning when I opened an email from a publisher who liked my first novel.
The reality was slightly different. On the day it came out I was having an operation. Nobody knew about my release date – I’d kept it to myself, a guilty pleasure for a difficult week, and post-op antibiotics barred champagne. So I lay back and dreamed about the super-yacht and the streamers and tried not to mind. Then I vowed that ever after, should people ask, I’d tell them the super-yacht-and-champagne version, because lying all alone on that hospital trolley I closed my eyes and thought of my book and focused on the streamers and balloons and everything, and that’s truly how it felt.
Writers can dream up anything. Even a great book launch!
Jen: What’s next for you?
Flora: Saffina’s Season, the third and final part of Suiting Saffina, is available from Totally Bound for pre-order on 23 February, for early download on 8 March and on general release on 5 April. I’m excited already!