Stephanie: I would like to welcome, Jeannie Ruesch to Layered Pages.
Jeannie wrote her first story at the age of the six, prompting her to give up an illustrious, hours-long ambition of becoming a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader and declare that writing was her destiny. That journey to destiny took a few detours along the way, including a career in marketing and design.
Her first novel, a fairy-tale like historical romance, was published in 2009, but the darker side of life had always captivated her. So after a dinner conversation with friends about the best way to hide a dead body, she knew she had to find a way to incorporate suspense into her writing. (The legal outlet for her fascination.) Today, she continues writing what she loves to read – stories of history, romance and suspense. She lives in Northern California with her husband, their son and an 80 pound lapdog lab named Cooper.
Stephanie: Hello, Jeannie! Thank you for chatting with me today! Please tell me about your book, Cloak in Danger.
Jeannie: Thanks so much for having me today! Here is the blurb for Cloaked: Aria Whitney has little in common with the delicate ladies of London society. Her famous father made his fortune hunting archaeological treasures, and her rustic upbringing has left her ill-prepared for a life of parties and frippery. But when Gideon Whitney goes missing in Egypt, Aria must embrace the unknown—armed with only the short list of highborn men who’d backed her father’s venture, she poses as a woman looking for a husband. She doesn’t intend to find one.
Adam Willoughby, Earl of Merewood, finds London’s strangest new debutante fascinating, but when he catches her investigating his family’s secrets, he threatens to ruin her reputation. He doesn’t intend to enjoy it so much.
When their lustful indiscretion is discovered, Adam finds that he regrets nothing. But now, as her father’s enemy draws near, Adam must convince his betrothed that she can trust him with her own secrets…before it’s too late.
Stephanie: What genre does it fall under and what was your inspiration for your story?
Jeannie: Cloaked in Danger is a smooshing together of historical romance and romantic suspense, with a very unconventional heroine who doesn’t care much about the rules of London society. I love the combination of history and suspense, and I’m always fascinated by the people that live on the edges of their world. In Cloaked in Danger, there’s a melding of Aria’s world-view and the restrictions of London society, as well as a blurring of the line between the high society and the darker crime world in London. I enjoy contrasts, I think — and that’s what inspires me to write.
Stephanie: How long did it take you to write your story and did you work with an outline or just write?
Jeannie: I am a plotter/outliner all the way. My first step in writing a story is to build the outline all the way to the end. So when I sit down to fill in the chapters, I know where I’m going, what’s next and my approximate page count.
Stephanie: Where there any challenging scenes or characters to write about?
Jeannie: Yes, absolutely. This was a challenging book in the way that Aria, my heroine, goes through a tremendous amount through the book and I really wanted to honor the truth of that psychological place she was in.
Stephanie: How did you come up with your title?
Jeannie: The title was a blended effort with my editor and the amazing folks at Carina Press. We threw out ideas and a bunch of different suggestions, and they came back with Cloaked in Danger. I loved it from the minute I saw it – it was perfect.
Stephanie: Have you learned anything new from writing your story?
Jeannie: I believe I learn something from every book I write, and the characters I build. I think for all writers, we put little pieces of ourselves into our stories, sometimes without even realizing it. And by the end of a book, I can look back at the characters and recognize what I’ve hidden inside – the parts of me, a memory, a trait of someone I love. Also, I am always fascinated by why people do what they do — how our histories create our strengths, our weaknesses and I like to write characters who are flawed. My heroine, Aria is very impulsive —and that’s not really meant as a strength. It’s a flaw in her character, one that’s built from the on-the-go world she lived in, one she inherited in some ways from her father and how he has reacted to things in his life. I think every character I write teaches me something new.
Stephanie: What are some of the best compliments you have received about your book so far?
Jeannie: One reviewer said that Cloaked in Danger defied her expectations and caught her off-guard. I was very happy to hear that, because I knew that mixing historical romance with romantic suspense would be tough for people to place. In strictly historical romances, most other plots are subplots. As I was writing the book, I believed the suspense plot needed as much presence and focus as the romantic connection, like you would find in modern romantic suspense. Aria’s father is missing and her focus had to be on finding him and what she goes through in the process. I didn’t want them to give up their goals just because they were having feelings for each other. Another thing I like to hear is that my characters are unconventional because as I start to write,
Stephanie: What is up next for you?
Jeannie: I’m working on the next two books (writing my 3rd and plotting my 4th), as they are tied into Cloaked in Danger. Adam, the hero in Cloaked has four sisters. And two of those sisters are taking their turn in the spotlight in the next two books. (My first book is about Adam’s sister, Blythe — titled Something About Her.)
Stephanie: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Jeannie: Keep writing, keep learning. There are so many great tools, workshops, blogs and places to learn about your craft and hone your skills. It’s well worth it to spend as much time as you can learning the “science” of writing fiction. But that’s only one aspect of what makes writing magic —the rest is all you, your experiences, your thoughts, and the voice you want to share with the world. Just believe in the fact that you have something worthwhile to share, because you do!
Stephanie: Where can readers buy your book?
Jeannie: Pretty much wherever digital books are sold, including:
Praise for Cloaked in Danger
“Cloaked in Danger has all the elements readers crave— larger-than-life characters, a vivid and believable setting, heart-pounding romance and just the right amount of mystery. Don’t miss it! It kept me reading deep into the night.” — New York Times Bestselling Author Brenda Novak
“In ‘Cloaked in Danger’ Jeannie Ruesch has crafted a taut, emotional thrill-ride through the streets of Regency London. Archaeological adventure and drawing room intrigue are combined in a story that will keep you reading late into the night. Jeannie Ruesch is an author to watch.” — RITA Award Nominated Author Elizabeth Essex
Tuesday, January 28
Interview at The Maiden’s Court
Friday, January 31
Guest Post & Giveaway at History Undressed
Wednesday, February 5
Spotlight & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf
Friday, February 7
Interview & Giveaway at Kincavel Korner
Publication Date: January 27, 2014