Jen: Today we welcome our next Historical Romance Retreat author, Erica Ridley. Erica, will you share a short bio with us?
Jen: Erica Ridley is a USA Today bestselling author of historical romance novels. Her latest series, The Dukes of War, features roguish peers and dashing war heroes who return from battle only to be thrust into the splendor and madness of Regency England. When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found riding camels in Africa, zip-lining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Erica: The Duke’s Accidental Wife features the reclusive and enigmatic Duke of Ravenwood. The sunny, free-spirited heroine considers him the Frost King, and is convinced his heart is made of ice…until she touches his chiseled chest for herself and discovers the heat between them is very real!
This was a fun book to write. Ravenwood has played a supporting role in most of the previous books in the series, but we never get to see the world from his point of view until this book. I hope it will be full of fun surprises, both for long-time fans as well as for new readers to the series. It was a blast to pair the always-proper duke with someone who’s never followed a rule in her life.
Blurb for The Duke’s Accidental Wife:
Miss Katherine Ross is a wealthy, eccentric socialite who knows precisely what she wants: No husband. No children. No candlelit tête-à-tête with the insufferably emotionless Duke of Ravenwood. She’s convinced his heart is ice — until she touches that chiseled chest for herself. One lapse in judgment is all it takes to turn both their lives topsy-turvy…
The Duke of Ravenwood isn’t cold and haughty, but a secret romantic who has always dreamt of marrying for love. Instead, he gets Miss Katherine Ross — a headstrong hoyden intent on unraveling his carefully ordered world. He doesn’t know whether to kiss her or throttle her. Can they survive each other’s company long enough to turn a compromise into love?
Jen: What what age did you discover writing? Tell us your call story.
Erica: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. Most of my childhood was spent with a pencil in my hand. When I decided to try and write professionally, I knew it would take a lot of hard work and that there was a chance of not making it, so I promised myself I would give myself a full year, and only stop if there was no sign that I was moving in the right direction. The first year, I finished two manuscripts. The second year, I finaled in or won multiple writing contests. The third year, I landed a literary agent. The fourth year, I signed my first contract. The fifth year, my debut novel was on shelves nationwide and across the globe. It has been a fabulous journey!
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Erica: Team Plotter, all the way! I use the writing software Scrivener to organize my ideas and keep plot threads and character details consistent across each series. For me, knowing ahead of time what is supposed to happen helps me to sit down and make it happen. Without a roadmap, I find myself spending too much time staring helplessly at a blank page. (Or catching up on Words With Friends instead of writing!)
Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Erica:I am a morning person (well…after a cup or two of strong black coffee) so I do my best writing when it’s first thing in the morning. The danger is getting sidetracked with email and Facebook, so I try to limit that as much as possible before diving in. I’m also a numbers person, so I like to keep track of how long I can write at a stretch, and what my wordcount is. Usually when I’m in the draft phase, I have a daily wordcount in mind, and I do my best to meet it. Sometimes it’s easy, and other times it involves a lot of staring blankly at my monitor, lol. I try not to let myself get derailed with research questions mid-scene… it’s too fun to start clicking through museum costume collections or old recipe books and women’s magazines!
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Erica: I live on a macadamia farm in the rainforests of Costa Rica, so I can’t help but relax when I’m not writing. My front balcony has a rocking chair and a view of a volcano, and my side balcony has a hammock and a view of the largest lake in the country. Before moving to Costa Rica, I was an avid scrapbooker. Now I’m more likely to be found hiking in the middle of the jungle or relaxing on the beach with a great book.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Erica: This is the final story in the seven-book Dukes of War series, and I’m currently plotting a new series, which may feature some of the secondary characters from this series. I don’t want to give too much away yet, but I’m very excited about it, and hope to be able to release the first couple books back-to-back this time next year.