Interview with Author Jennifer Haymore

ahow-cover-smallI only write up book reviews here for books I love and it was easy to gush about A Hint of Wicked by Jennifer Haymore. She agreed to let me pick her brain, being a fellow historical romance author.

In celebration of Jennifer’s NY debut release today, I am giving away a free autographed copy of the book. I’ve never done a giveaway before on this blog, so I’m quite excited.

So enjoy and leave a comment for a chance to win.

Me: As a historical author, what are your sources of inspiration?

Jennifer Haymore: History, mainly. History is oftentimes stranger, wilder, and more intense than fiction, and it completely fascinates me. I love all times periods, all countries, all cultures, and all the wild and crazy thinks human beings have done for love through the ages.

I also have a long (and kind of eclectic) list of historical authors I find inspiring: Diana Gabaldon, Sharon Kay Penman, Anya Seton, Wilbur Smith, Colleen McCullough, Loretta Chase, Julie Garwood, Elizabeth Hoyt, and Laura Kinsale, to name a few.

Me: How did you come up with the storyline for “A Hint of Wicked”?

JH: The core idea for A Hint of Wicked was my husband’s—I use him as a sounding board and a brainstorming partner all the time. The story, however, has developed quite a bit from his original “vision,” which was of an enraged husband catching his mourning wife in bed with another man. I latched on to that scenario and ran with it…but I don’t think I ran in the same direction he envisioned for the story! I guess that’s my prerogative as the writer <grin>.

Me: Do you feel the Regency period lent itself to the conflict?

JH: Honestly, I feel like the essence of this conflict could have occurred in any period, but yes–the laws and morals regarding marriage in the English Regency were so strict and narrow, I believe they added to the intensity and depth of the conflict in A Hint of Wicked.

Me: Without revealing too much — what kind of challenges did you face when figuring out how to untangle this love triangle believably?

JH: Ooh, that’s a great question. One thing I knew when I started the story was that I didn’t want to make the heroine’s decision an easy one. I wanted her to be truly torn between the two loves of her life. What I didn’t know was who she would ultimately choose or what would drive that decision.

I went in circles debating the resolution. I argued with myself. With my husband. I talked to my critique partners. I discussed it with my editor and my agent. I pulled out clumps of my hair! Who would it be? Tristan? Garrett? Both?!

Thinking back on all of that now after having written this book as well as the second book in the series, all the angst I had over the ending seems so odd. After the fact, the heroine’s final decision is so clearly the correct choice, it’s difficult to think there was ever a question. There is no doubt in my mind that Sophie did ultimately end up choosing the right man.

Me: Were there any “Ah ha” moments while you were writing this book that you can share?

JH: As I was near the end of writing A Hint of Wicked it struck me like a lightning bolt who the heroine in book two, A Touch of Scandal, must be (yes, she appears briefly in AHOW!). It was a perfect “ah ha!” moment.

Me: Finally, for self-serving purposes, please tell us more about “A Touch of Scandal”. Tease us!

JH: It’s hard to talk about A Touch of Scandal without revealing spoilers for A Hint of Wicked! But I will say that it’s the story of the “losing” man from A Hint of Wicked. Most of the characters from the first book make an appearance, including the villain, and Rebecca, Garrett’s younger sister, plays a big part in the story’s conflict. The third book in the series (currently untitled, but I’m mulling over A Taste of Desire at the moment) is Rebecca’s story.

Me: The winner will be drawn this Friday, but if you can’t wait, order your copy here or check the shelves at your local bookstore. And don’t you dare peek at the ending!

Review: "A Hint of Wicked" stretches the boundaries of Regency romance


I’m pleased to have been able to read an advance copy of this novel, due to be released May 26, 2009. Jennifer Haymore will also be featured on this blog next Monday in an interview about her fantastic NY debut.

Sophie’s husband is wounded at the battle of Waterloo and his body is never found. After eight years of heartbreak and fruitless searching, Garrett is declared dead and Sophie finally starts to rebuild her life with Tristan. She finds love again, remarries and starts to heal — and then Garrett returns.

One woman, two husbands. And Sophie truly loves them both. How can you not want to read every word to find out how this dilemma can be resolved? This is the sort of emotionally charged scenario that only masters such as Julia Quinn and Lavyrle Spencer dare to attempt, yet Jennifer Haymore takes this on in her New York debut.

None of this would work if you didn’t believe in the emotions and Ms. Haymore handles them beautifully. You yearn for what Sophie and Tristan and Garrett have lost, you’ll cry for them. This is not an easy emotional journey and at times, you may wonder how this can all work out. When Sophie says, “I want them both”, it’s not out of selfishness, but out of a deep connection with Garrett, the first love of her youth as well as with Tristan, the new love she’s discovered after the years of pain and loss.

I loved this book for how fearless A Hint of Wicked is in delving deep into the difficult decisions people have to make. Then, on top of that, it’s wonderfully plotted, fits in perfectly with its time period and creates such a sensual and intimate mood that I had to give a deep sigh when it was all over.

I have often wondered a book generates a buzz prior to its release. In this case, the attention is well deserved. I’d read the follow up novel, A Touch of Scandal, today if someone were to put it in my greedy little hands.

A Hint of Wicked is available May 26, 2009. Click here to order from Amazon.