I am going to preface my interview with Danelle by saying I’m so thrilled and excited to have been able to interview Danelle. She has been so giving of her time to me, not only for the interview, but with advice about writing and rejection and also helping me with my WIP. I just love her, and think of her as a friend i can turn to.
I don’t even remember how I stumbled upon her books. I know that I kept seeing her DeMontforte Brothers series pop up and I ignored them, as they were set during the Revolutionary War, and I thought I wouldn’t be interested.
I did pick up “Wicked at Heart,” and it was there that I found my favorite character from a romance novel, Damon deWolfe, the Marquess of Morninghall. The quintisential reformed rake story, for me, it had everything; a fabulous love story, an exciting setting (Regency England) but above all else, a devastatingly handsome hero, who suffered throughout his whole life, until he met Lady Gwyneth.
Of course I had to go and buy all her other books and I loved them all. The DeMontforte Brothers does take place during Georgian times, but it is set in England, and all surround the delicious brothers and their lives and loves. What I like is that her books are all interconnected, so you truly get a sense of the families and the history she writes about.
And Danelle is doing a very special give away, She will be giving away a set of the DeMontforte Brothers books to one very lucky reader, and then to another, a set of her single titles! What a great giveaway!
Ok,now, it’s time to welcome Danelle
Nancy: How did you start writing Historical Romance novels, and what about the period you write in (Revolutionary War time, Georgian and Regency) drew you to it?
Danelle: I wrote numerous “books” as a child and teen — everything from an illustrated series about a fictional race horse to a 400-page autobiography of a dog to a story of a mystical, spiritually “touched” teen guitarist who ends up dying from a heart condition (I wish I could find those stories … I wonder if they are buried somewhere up in the attic?). I never intended to be a novelist, though …I wanted to be a veterinarian, but I guess we end up doing what we’re meant to do. My career as a published author began in the late 1980s after I became fascinated with the story of the pirate ship Whydah, which sank in a storm off Cape Cod in 1717, taking its charismatic captain down with it in plain sight of his beautiful young lover. I decided to give the tale the happy ending I felt it deserved, and so, my first historical romance was born … and eventually published by Avon Books as Pirate In My Arms.
As for the settings of my books, my parents were antique dealers and subsequently, I was exposed to, and developed a love for, early American history. That, along with growing up and living here in Massachusetts, not too far from the sea, also contributed to my love for the time period. Nearby Newbury is one of the oldest English settlements in North America, and historically important sites such as Battle Road, Lexington and Concord, and the Old North Bridge, which all saw the opening day of the American Revolution, are all only about thirty minutes away. I visit them often. In spending time at these sites, or walking a street that was laid out three hundred years ago, it’s hard not to think about the people who came before … and the stories they might have told. With so many first period houses here from the 17th and 18th centuries, one can only wonder what the walls would say if they could talk!
Nancy: You obviously love the ocean and have excellent knowledge of ships. What
influence has that had on your writings?
Danelle: Yes, I do love ships; I remember reading, recently, that they are the only man-made objects that have both spine and ribs, which I think is a pretty interesting sentiment. Though I grew up near Newburyport, Massachusetts, where two of my books are set, it wasn’t until the mid 1980s that I saw, and got to go aboard, my first “tall ship.” She was the beautiful, ill-fated Pride of Baltimore, a replica topsail schooner meant to be historically accurate to the War of 1812, and she was here on a “goodwill visit.” I still remember my first sight of her — two sharply-raked masts soaring high above the old brick buildings of Newburyport itself. Sadly, she, her captain, and three crewmembers were lost at sea in a sudden squall off Puerto Rico in 1986, but she made such an impression on me that I closely modeled Kestrel, the privateering schooner designed and fought by Brendan Merrick in Captain Of My Heart, after her… and dedicated the e-version of the book to her memory. Her replacement, Pride of Baltimore II, is seen sailing across the lower corner of that book’s cover.
Nancy: In reading your novels, I note that they are all connected, even though they span generations. When you began your writing career did you intend for that to happen or did your characters just take you there?
Danelle: No, it was quite unintentional … at first. However, I invest a lot of love, care, and energy into each of my characters, and it can be hard to let them go. Connecting their stories with each other was a fun and satisfying way for me to “revisit” characters I’d come to know and love. With the de Montforte Brothers series, though, the connection was planned.
Nancy: Who are (or is) your favorite character from your novels?
Danelle: That’s a tough one, as I love them all for different reasons. But if pressed, I’d have to say privateer Captain Brendan Merrick from CAPTAIN OF MY HEART … he’s clever, smart, funny, and insanely brave, and his Irish charm and quirky sense of humor make him fun for me to be around; it’s no wonder that he’s found his way into three other books besides his own. Close on his heels are Lord Charles de Montforte from THE BELOVED ONE —he is so honorable and kind, and to me, there is nothing more attractive in a person than kindness — and Admiral Sir Graham Falconer from MY LADY PIRATE, who is about as “alpha” a hero as one can get. For heroines, it would be, far and away, the outrageous, audacious, Mira Ashton from CAPTAIN OF MY HEART. Finally, I also admit that one of my very favorite characters is not a person at all, but a ship: Brendan’s magnificent privateering schooner, Kestrel. She has appeared in three books, and will also be a main player in Connor Merrick’s story as well, when I write it.Nancy: What are you working on now?
Danelle: I just released MASTER OF MY DREAMS for e-books, and it’s available
on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, Smashwords, and soon, iTunes and
other venues; set in 1775, it’s part of my loosely-connected “Heroes
Of The Sea” series, and features a nobly-born Royal Navy captain who
gets more than he bargains for with a beautiful Irish stowaway,
American rebels, and a motley crew on the brink of mutiny. I’m also
working on a short story for Lunch Hour Love Stories which is due to
be released on February 14th — Valentine’s Day! – and am having
great fun with it.
Nancy: What are you reading now?
Danelle: I actually don’t read much in the way of romance, as I think it keeps me fresher as an author, not to. But for recent reads, I’ve greatly enjoyed Edwin Thomas’ hysterically funny Martin Jerrold trilogy (The Blighted Cliffs, The Chains of Albion, and Treason’s River), about a bumbling young naval lieutenant who, despite himself, manages to become an unlikely hero.
Nancy: Who are some of your favorite romance authors?
Danelle: I’d be hard-pressed to pick just a few, but I do enjoy well-written books set in Georgian England or colonial America. I tend to be pretty picky about seafaring romances, as it’s easy to get the nautical details or terminology wrong, and that can ruin a story for me.
Nancy: How do you think ebooks and self publishing has changed the book industry since you started?
Danelle: It has been, for lack of a better word … liberating. An author writing for a publishing house is so limited, and that can really suck the life out of one’s creativity and inspiration. Publishers tend to want to stick to settings that are “tried and true,” hence the oversaturation of books set in the Regency period. Everything from a book’s word count to cover to release date to marketing budget is determined by a (print) publisher, and really, the only thing an author has any control over is what goes between the covers. With e-books, one can write in whatever setting they want … they can design their own covers … market when and where they want … and they are not limited by the restrictions of genre, page count, setting, or anything else. And finally, they get a much bigger “piece of the pie” when it comes to royalties. I’m published in both print and as an “indie,” but I’m loving this new freedom that the latter offers!
Nancy: When you aren’t writing, what can your readers find you doing?
Danelle: Spending time with my three German Shorthaired Pointers or hanging out with them at a dog show, reading a book, taking a quiet ride on my little Arabian horse, or listening to my favorite band, Oasis.
Thank you so very much, Nancy, for inviting me to your blog today — it’s been an honor to be here, and I’ve greatly enjoyed my visit! Wishing you and your readers many hours of happy reading
– Danelle Harmon
Danelle Harmon can be found online at: