Today we have the illustrious Sofie Darling here on our blog. She’s here for a Q&A about her book Three Lessons in Seduction! It’s the first book in her Shadows and Silk series and rereleases in a little less than a week!
It’s great to have you here, Sofie! First of all, do you want to tell the readers a little about yourself?
I’m a writer of steamy historical romance and a recent empty nester. (Some days, there are still tears!) I love to travel with Mr. Darling and stomp around crumbling castles and breathe in the special air of a wide-open space. My beagle Bosco is my constant companion, which is I’m sure motivated by love and loyalty on his part, but also by his laziness and desire to curl next to me on a comfy sofa. In other words, he’s a complete lay-about, which I don’t mind in the least.
How long have you been writing? What drew you to it initially?
I’m a bit of a late bloomer. I started writing in my late 30’s after I finished my English degree at the age of 35. That said, I always had an idea in the back of my mind that I would write “someday.” During my first go-round at university when I was 18, a professor wrote at the end of one of my essays, “By the way, you write beautifully.” Even as life, travel, marriage, and kids happened, I never forgot those words and thought I might try my hand at writing someday.
And what about this book, Three Lessons in Seduction? What inspired you to delve into the world of spies in 1824? That’s not something we get to see a lot, especially in a historical romance.
I got drawn into the world of Regency spies by accident. I actually wrote the second book in the Shadows and Silk series, Tempted by the Viscount, first. But the heroine Olivia’s twin sister, Mariana, kept trying to steal the show, and I realized she needed her own book. And not only that, but Mariana’s story needed to be the first book in the series, AND her estranged husband is a spy on the Continent. (Unbeknownst to her, of course!) Then it all flowed from there…
What kind of research did you do for this? Is there a particular rabbit hole (or ten) that you fell down while doing so?
This book required a good bit of research about Paris and the state of French politics during the 1820’s. Most readers are aware of the French Revolution and the upheaval that followed with the dissolution of the aristocracy and the years of Napoleonic rule and wars. But what happened in France after that period isn’t widely known. The aristocracy reasserted itself with the Bourbon Restoration, where the brothers of the beheaded Louis XVI ruled as Louis XVIII and Charles X, a situation that continued until 1830. Much of France wasn’t happy with that situation through the 1820’s, which is how the characters in Three Lessons in Seduction come into play. It’s a time period that leaves a lot of room for fiction, happily for me.
And is Second Chance a favorite trope of yours? We certainly love to see it.
Second Chance is such a beautiful trope, with its messages of hope and forgiveness. I love it because I get to dive deeply into the emotional space of characters—who they were then and who they are now and how the past can reconcile with the present.
Do you have any other favorite tropes?
One Bed is a fun one. Oh, and Virgin Hero!
Without giving too much away, tell us about Lord Nicholas Asquith and Mariana.
Nick and Mariana fell madly, deeply in love a decade ago at the beginning of Nick’s espionage career. He decided not to tell Mariana that he was a spy. Instead, he let her believe him a dilettante and philanderer. In that way, he tells himself that he’s protecting her life, but he’s really protecting his heart, for Nick doesn’t believe love can last.
What was your favorite part about writing Nick?
In the beginning of Three Lessons, he’s such a closed-off character, by necessity. It’s wonderful to see him come to accept love over the course of the story—both the giving of it and the receiving of it.
Mariana is a crusader, who doesn’t hesitate to go after what she wants. But she’s been hurt in the past—by Nick. Once she begins to understand her husband’s reasoning, can she forgive him? Can she risk loving him again? That’s what she has to explore.
Did you have any other characters that you really enjoyed writing? Were there any side characters that almost stole the show?
Well, no one steals the show from Mariana. But there is a shadowy spy who has been working with Nick for years whose identity is eventually revealed. He came close…
Lastly, just for fun, how do you think you’d fair as a spy in this era? Who would you want to be your sidekick?
Hmm, on one hand, I think I have the boldness for espionage, but if I’m being honest with myself, I’m not sure my nerve would hold. Possibly…. As for my partner, it would definitely be Mr. Darling, no question about it. He’s a very resourceful and handy man, and he has the nerve for it. He once drove us through a full-on, white-out blizzard in Iceland. He never wavered. (I’m still not over it!)
It was fun chatting with you. Thank you so much for having me!
Sofie Darling is an award-winning author of historical romance. The third book in her Shadows and Silk series, Her Midnight Sin, won the 2020 RONE award for Best Historical Regency.
She spent much of her twenties raising two boys and reading every romance she could get her hands on. Once she realized she simply had to write the books she loved, she finished her English degree and embarked on her writing career. Mr. Darling and the boys gave her their wholehearted blessing.
When she’s not writing heroes who make her swoon, she runs a marathon in a different state every year, visits crumbling medieval castles whenever she gets a chance, and enjoys a slightly codependent relationship with her beagle, Bosco.