Thursday, January 28, 2010

Interview: Erica Ridley on Writing and Wicked Kisses

Synopsis: Miss Evangeline Pemberton can see the Future. Sometimes. The Past, too, although that tends to be less useful, as she can't change what's already happened.

One might think the most irksome characteristic of her alleged "gift" is that said visions are followed by debilitating headaches. Or that they've got her running for her life. But no. By far the most vexing quirk is that these fantasies accompany all skin-to-skin contact. Which means she can't touch anyone. Not even the tall, dark, and brooding recluse in her Present. Gavin Lioncroft is a wealthy committed bachelor with nothing but time on his hands. Well, and blood. (But he's not telling how that got there.) And an impromptu house party. (He hasn't the slightest idea how that happened.)

His very first night back in the bosom of High Society and the man he threatens to kill turns up dead. Good. The cad had it coming. But just because he's dodged the hangman's noose before, doesn't mean Gavin will get away with murder again. And this time, there's no fading into the shadows. The only chance of saving his neck is by risking his heart--to the one woman from whom he can hide nothing.

Breaking News: Erica Ridley's debut Gothic historical Too Wicked To Kiss has been chosen as the August 2010 book of the month for the Julia Quinn / Eloisa James book club. If you’d like to read Too Wicked To Kiss before release day, join the 30 Wicked Kisses countdown at and get a scene a day in your inbox, starting February 1st. Erica will be giving away signed advance copies of the book to random subscribers!

KB: The title of your debut novel, Too Wicked Too Kiss, is very telling? How wicked is your hero and what makes him too wicked to kiss?

Erica: In the world of the novel, Gavin Lioncroft's name is synonymous with "wicked". He's suspected of murdering his parents, a rumor which he doesn't bother to deny. He's passionate, quick-tempered, sensual, determined. He represents a threat to the heroine, both physically and emotionally. Lots of wicked to go around!

KB: Can you tell us your publishing success story? How long did it take you to write Too Wicked Too Kiss?

Erica: I wrote the first draft in 30 days. (It showed.) I forced it upon my critique partners anyway. They gently hinted some revision might be in order. I shoved it under the bed to mulch, and wrote a different story. That new story netted me my rock star agent, Lauren Abramo, of Dystel & Goderich. I was still in love with the historical under my bed, but rather than drive myself crazy revising it page by page, I blank-page rewrote it with "More Everything" in mind. More Gothic atmosphere, more sensuality, more banter, more surprises. I loved it, Lauren loved it, my editor John Scognamiglio loved it--and the countdown to release day is on!

KB: Have you always wanted to write Regency Historical Romance? What other genres would you like to write?

Erica: Absolutely! The first manuscript I ever wrote to completion was a Regency-set historical. I also tried my hand at romantic suspense and contemporary paranormal, but historicals have always felt like home. The Gothic aspect lets me incorporate the suspense elements I love as well as a hint of paranormal, while still keeping the rich world of Regency England front and center.

KB: You’ve ridden a camel? What was that experience like?

Erica: In a word... sweaty. (What? That's not glamorous? Heh.) I was just out of Tangier in Morocco, and camels, while neither as personable nor as pretty as horses, were pretty much the only option. To be honest, I was actually excited to get hoisted up on one of the big smelly things, if only to be able to say I'd ridden a camel in Africa!

KB: I see you have joined Twitter. Do you find it dangerous for a writer, seeing as it can be a major time suck?

Erica: LOL. I have many, many time sucks, but so far I've managed to keep Twitter on a leash. Possibly because I just returned home this month from a year abroad, and with the time difference, all the tweeting took place while I was asleep. Now that I'm back in the US, though, TweetDeck sings me its siren song, so I'll have to watch my time carefully...

KB: I see from your website, you’ve posted storyboards you use when writing. Why would a writer use a storyboard and how can it benefit one’s writing?

Erica: I love storyboards! For me, they are multipurpose. They are often called "plot boards" or "plotting boards" because of how easy they are to visually map out the plot of a story. I like to grid a big posterboard with squares for scenes. I write on sticky notes, using a unique color per major plot thread so I can see at a glance that I'm not forgetting any characters or story elements. This is especially useful when revising. Using sticky notes lets me add things, move things, and remove things at will, all while keeping things consistent.

KB: Speaking of writing, what three words of advice would you give to writers who are trying to get published?

Erica: Write. Polish. Repeat. =)

KB: Do you have a critique partner or beta readers? Would you recommend writers use them?

Erica: Absolutely, on both counts. As with all writing advice, what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for them all, but in my experience, having someone other than myself cast an objective eye over my books before I submit them to my agent or my editor. Too Wicked To Kiss wouldn't be the book it is today if it weren't for the feedback from my rockstar CPs Darcy Burke and Lacey Kaye. (Go team!)

KB: What are your favorite authors to read? What authors would you like to read that you haven’t had the chance to yet?

Erica: My faves are waaay too many to list... but my recently-read include Karen Rose, Diana Peterfreund, Melissa Marr, and Julia Quinn. Upcoming books on my TBR include Betina Krahn (who has a new release this month) and checking out Libba Bray, whom my CP Darcy has been raving about lately. When it comes to romance, I'm a voracious cross-genre reader, so if you have any recommendations of recent (or upcoming) releases, please let me know in the comments!

KB: What makes a perfect hero or heroine? If you were a heroine in one of your books, what would you be like? What type of hero would you want to sweep you off your feet.

Erica: To me, the ideal hero and heroine are two very imperfect people who are absolutely perfect for each other. If I were the heroine of one of my stories, I would be a focused, fearless woman willing to risk everything--except my heart. The smart, funny, sexy, (and possibly homicidal *g) hero would have to try his damnedest to change my mind... and the only thing better than the adventures along the way would be our Happily Ever After at the end.

Erica will be hanging out at the blog today, so please feel free to leave questions and comments!

Get extra content and bonus features for Too Wicked To Kiss on the Unauthorized Scandal Sheet at:

For contest, blogs, embarrassing photos, and other fun stuff, check out Erica’s author web site at:

Please join Erica for lots of games and prizes in the Facebook community at:

And if you have Twitter, please come tweet with Erica at:


KMont said...

This is one subgenre of romance that I've not read a lot of but usually enjoy once I do read one. Great interview, ladies! The book sounds good.

Erica Ridley said...

Thanks! Rumor has it the Gothic may be making a comeback, so hopefully the genre is on its way to getting even bigger and better!

Smokinhotbooks said...

I reviewed this book a couple of weeks ago and was blown away on how awesome it was. When Gavin gave Evangeline the flower pot ::Sniff sniff:: - my heart melted.

I was excited to read that there was going to be a next book which I've already marked down to buy.

Erica Ridley said...

Yay! If Evangeline had to go through hell to get to her HEA, I can't wait for you to see what I put Miss Susan through... Muahahahahaa!

P.S. POT OF DIRT!!! ;-)

RKCharron said...

Hi :)
Thank you for having Erica Ridley here & thank you Erica for the indepth responses to Katie's great questions. I enjoyed learning more about Erica and TOO WICKED TO KISS. I'm looking forward to March 2nd when it is Released into eagerly awaiting readers' hands.
All the best,

Erica Ridley said...

Thank you!! I am dyyying for March 2! =)

Smokinhotbooks said...

This is bad (for me) your book doesn't release until March 2 and I already want the second one with Susan. ::sigh:: My book addiction strikes again.

Mandi said...

a wicked Gavin...can't wait to read about him :)

Leanna Renee Hieber said...

Yay for Gothics! (That's what I write with the Strangely Beautiful series) I do think they're making a comeback and I couldn't be more thrilled about it! (Always been my favourite genre) I look forward to checking out your release, Erica, it looks fabulous, congratulations!

Erica Ridley said...

Mandi: Yay! I hope you love him as much as I do!

Leanna: Hi!! Of course I know your series! Thanks for stopping by, and Go Team Gothic!!! =)

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

We definitely need more Gothic romances! I love those dark, stormy ones with a mysterious yet seductive hero who ravishes the innocent heroine running around in her nightgown.