by Olivia Fields
Tomboy Alex Bonham has fought her male peers tooth and nail to prove herself worthy to become captain of the king’s guard. When her country is invaded by Danes, she is ordered to take the king’s younger son, a charming but irresponsible rake, away from the front lines for safekeeping.
Alex walks a difficult line, trying to balance her growing attraction to Prince Holden with her dedication to duty and her responsibility to keep him safe from robbers, Danes…and even himself. But when they are drawn into the struggle to defend East Anglia from occupation, both the prince and his captain must grow. Can spoiled Prince Holden evolve into a good man who could lead the kingdom–one Alex can trust with her heart?
“I make you nervous.” The corner of Prince Holden’s mouth quirked up, self-deprecating.
Alexandra didn’t try to deny the truth. “You do. Any time someone treats me like prey, I get uneasy.”
He didn’t attempt denial. “I don’t usually pursue women.”
“No, they jump into your bed all by themselves.” She gave him a wry stare.
He shrugged, equally off-hand. “Near enough.”
“Then all you have to do is find a bed and wait. I want no part of it.”
“I’m tired of prey that doesn’t put up a struggle.” She could see something almost weary in the set of his shoulders.
She raised a brow at him. She’d believe him on a cold day in Hell.
He shrugged and shifted uncomfortably. “Serving girls and barmaids are all very well and good for a night’s pleasure, but they have nothing to offer afterward. All the ladies at court are shallow and dull.” He pulled a wry face. “I’d rather court a girl with something to her. Like you.”
Alex resisted the desire to squirm uncomfortably under his warm regard. “The problem with me,” his brow furrowed, “is that everything has always been too easy.” He leaned toward her, intent. She could sense how important this was to him.
He reached out and touched her cheek lightly with his fingertips. “But you aren’t easy at all, and I find I quite like it.”
For years, college professor Olivia Fields has been writing romantic tales to pacify her muse and entertain her friends. She believes in making her characters work for their happy endings.
When not at her keyboard, Olivia enjoys nature hikes, photography, and the constant companionship of several rather irregularly trimmed Shih Tzu dogs. Olivia’s first published novel, Her Heart’s Liege, will be released in March 2015 by Rogue Phoenix Press.
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m a National Park Service brat. From Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Tonto and Grand Canyon Arizona to west Tennessee and finally the North Carolina Blue Ridge, I’ve lived in a lot of parks. I developed a thick southern accent out of pure rebellion after I was sent to a speech therapist in first grade in an ill-advised attempt to eliminate traces of my parents’ southern accent from mine. Then we moved to the south, and it stayed with me out of self-defense: the last thing a little kid needs in the Deep South is to be labeled a “Yankee.” I have a vast and varied library of sayings and expressions from all over—from things that I’ve read as well as places where I’ve lived– that creep into both my speech and my writing.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
I was watching a movie set in medieval times, and it was a typical sausage-fest. There was apparently only one female in all of Great Britain, and her purpose was limited to screaming on cue and getting rescued by men, then being awarded to the most heroic one as the prize for his labors. I wanted to turn that convention on its ear and see what would happen if I put a strong female warrior hero down and set her loose in typical medieval Britain.
How do you create your characters?
Usually I see someone who has striking physical and/or personality characteristics and think “That person would be perfect as a character in one of my novels.” I keep a tickler file of inspirational people to draw on. Most of the time, the character departs radically from the person during the writing process, and the similarities that remain are more physical than psychological.
A big part of the process is asking “What if?” As in, “What if that hot guy with the dreadlocks had to shave his head? Why would it happen and how would it affect him? Why did he grow them to start with and why are they important to him?” In that way the character departs from its inspiration, takes on a life of its own, and the story is born.
What inspires and what got your started in writing?
I often get inspired by stories or events I find unsatisfying in some way. I want to make a change that will create the kind of tale or outcome I’d like to see. One of my first long stories was inspired when I was in junior high school and a popular, rather unskilled, kid in band was given a prestigious solo instead of the skillful musician who was less popular. I had to rewrite that as “friend fiction” and make it come out the right way, and explain why it happened wrong in the first place (the kid who got the solo was a space alien who was exerting mind control on the band director, naturally). Writing has always empowered me to alter reality (at least for me) to make it a more satisfying place.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I need a word processor to write; I can’t write without typing. Handwriting is just too slow for me to keep up with the flow of ideas, and I get frustrated and bored. I usually write at the computer desk in my living room, with my dogs at my feet and some intellectually undemanding cartoons playing in the background.
What do you like to read?
I like to read fantasy or sci-fi/fantasy. I also appreciate classical British literature such as Austen, Hardy, Chaucer, T. S. Eliot, etc. My all-time favorite author is J. R. R. Tolkien. One thing that frustrates me about fantasy and sci-fi is that it tends to be heavy on combat, setting, technology, worldbuilding, etc. at the expense of relationships, especially romantic relationships. Therefore I try to write plot-heavy stories that also have a strong romantic relationship in them. When I can find a good story to read that mingles all those elements, I’m in seventh heaven.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
It’s a lot of work to be a published author, and it requires self-discipline and perseverance. Start writing early, when you still have a lot of fire and passionate energy motivating you. Write and read all you can, listen carefully to and think objectively about suggestions from readers and editors, and use those suggestions to improve even if you wind up disagreeing with some of them. The more you listen and the more you write, the more your skill will develop as you go. Don’t let authority figures tell you that you shouldn’t write—even if you have to do it in your spare time and work a day job.
Anything else you’d like to share?
There will always be people out there who want to crush your dreams and make you into what they want you to be instead of what’s right for you. Don’t let them.
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Olivia will be awarding $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.