Author: Kristen Callihan
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: February 2012
Genre: Adult Historical Romance/Paranormal/Mystery
Series or Stand Alone: Series, Book One
Synopsis can be found here.
One way to know a book is amazing – Every little interruption to your reading annoys you to no end. That’s what I felt about this book.
I mean, do I have to sleep? Overrated. Who is calling? No, I’ll call them back. I’m busy, here people! Busy, Busy Busy! Reading this wonderful novel!
Miranda Ellis has a secret she’s not willing to share with anyone. With her father ruined, she is to marry the mysterious and deadly Lord Archer, a man who is said to be so disformed, he wears a full mask even at home. But when Miranda meets him, she sees not a monster but a damaged man searching for redemption. Can he find it? And at what cost?
There are so many wonderful things about this book. The setting is London in the late 1800s. The dark streets and even darker characters whisk through the book like mist. Happily, I wasn’t clear until the very end knowing who was friend and who was foe. The older language flows effortlessly across the page. I love the dialogue between Miranda and Archer. Miranda is strong, smart and gets into trouble, all traits I adore. Archer is more than a typical Romance hero. Yes, he’s built strong and mysterious, but there’s more. There’s an underlying sadness to him, making him whole.
And yes, a few scenes in this book are steamy! There is a lot of chemistry between these two characters. They’re not romantic lead cookie cut outs. This book contains so much more than just romance. Danger, Adventure, Murder all with a paranormal element lurking beneath the surface.
There are mysteries everywhere and Callihan’s writing is superb. Just when you think you may have it figured out, anothe rone pops up! Someone is killing Archer’s friends. All roads lead to back to Archer. Is he innocent and can Miranda save him? Excellent pacing and an all around fun book.
I’m delighted to know this is the beginning of a series.
Ms. Callihan, please write faster!
Rating 10 One of The Best
Author Interview with Kristen Callihan!
What inspired you to become a writer?
Two things. First: I had what I called a young-life crisis. Don’t laugh; it’s true. :) I was out of college, and in a 9 to 5 job that I hated, and it hit me that I was an adult. Only, I’d always thought when I was an adult, I’d be doing something I loved. Since I didn’t know what that was, enter crisis. In crisis mode, I read a lot of books –for comfort.
Second: I read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Here was this wonderful mishmash of genres. And I thought, wouldn’t that be fun? To just write whatever story I wanted, regardless of the rules? So I tried it myself. It was like falling in love. I never looked back.
What was the last book you read?
Checking Kindle… Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale. Gutting, as only her books can be. The last paper book I read was Lothaire. Yes, I love Kresley Cole so much that I bought the hardback. :) Loved it.
What sparked the idea of your book?
My daughter was watching Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and I began to think what if…? It took off from there.
Your novel is set in Victorian London and is a gothic retelling of Beauty and the Beast. What research or material did you draw from to create this retelling?
Well, the ideas were rushing in pretty quickly, and the story was laying itself out for me in short order, but just to reacquaint myself, I did go online to read a few of the older versions of Beauty and the Beast, as well as the Norwegian fairytale that inspired it, East of the Sun and West of the Moon.
As for other research, I did hours of trolling about for information on the Victorian era and London circa 1881. One thing I loathed to do was get the facts wrong. I’m resigned in knowing that I’ll probably get some things off -100% accuracy is harder than it looks- but I try my hardest to learn all I can.
I love Miranda’s bravery and cleverness. What are your favorite things about Miranda?
I love that about her too. :) I also love her loyalty, and the fact that she will make her own decisions about a person rather than be swayed by the crowd.
Archer is just so incredibly delicious! How did you create his character?
I’m glad you think so! :)
I put myself in his shoes. How would I feel if I was forced to live behind a mask? How would I feel if the world hated me? Or if I loved someone so much, I couldn’t stay away, even if it meant I would lose out in the end.
But I also knew that Archer had to be a mystery as well. The whole plot would tumble like a house of cards if I gave away too much of him. And in romance, this is hard because the reader expects to get inside the hero’s head. But obviously Archer knows what’s going on. So what to do? I decided to put Archer’s attentions on the here and now. His focus is tight, get the girl, save the girl, stop the killings.
In the end, this probably helped with his appeal because we love a mysterious man that is just begging to be unraveled.
Is he a real person?
I have some single girlfriends. Can I get his number?
LOL. Unfortunately, he lives in a time without telephones. You’re welcome to call on him. But I’d stay clear of Miranda. She’s quite possessive, and I wouldn’t want to tangle with her!
What was the biggest challenge writing your novel?
Revisions. Revisions are hard because you have to pull the whole plot into tight focus. I had to cut many words to get it down to the publisher’s requirements, which wasn’t easy. And I had to make sure the mystery plot made sense. Heh. My editor pointed out that a lot of things that seemed obvious to me just weren’t to readers. So I had to go back and finesse certain points.
How do you like your potato?
I’m half Irish, don’t you know. I like my potatoes like Bubba Gump likes his shrimp…fried, boiled, baked, scalloped, mashed…
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
Do you have a favorite literary character?
Oh, that’s too hard! I love so many. But if pressed, I’d say Harry Potter. I got to live with him for seven books. I admire his bravery, loyalty, and compassion.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Sleep. Read, take care of my kids, cook, think about writing, hang out with my husband, sleep…
What is one thing you would tell aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. Sounds like a platitude, but it’s true. Most writers fail because they give up. It’s a hard life, and rejection is everywhere. But if you love it, don’t give that away because of the opinion of others.
Moonglow, Darkest London #2, arrives August 2012. What do you want us readers to know about it?
This is Daisy’s story. Daisy is Miranda’s vivacious and outspoken sister who, in Firelight, has been forced into an unhappy marriage with a much older man. Even before I knew I would write her story, I knew two things about Daisy: she loves men, and she hides a lot of her pain under her carefree guise.
(Heh. Living through inner pain and feeling at odds with the world are themes I like to explore)
In Moonglow, Daisy is widowed and wants to find her own adventure. Unfortunately for her, adventure comes in spades as a mad werewolf takes a liking to her, and her only savior is another werewolf, the charming yet cunning Ian Ranulf –a man who would rather do anything other than give in to his inner beast.
In Firelight, Archer was the true mystery. But I didn’t want to write the same story over again. So while Moonglow has a mystery, it harkens more to the classic Victorian horror structure in which good must match wits with evil.
Thank you so much for stopping by Kristen!
You can find Kristen’s blog here or follow her on Twitter: @Kris10Callihan