LOVING LORD ASH
Duchess of Love series, book 3
A Little Misunderstanding. . .
Kit, the Marquis of Ashton, is in a sticky wicket. He married young and for love—how naïve. He discovered his mistake the very day of his wedding, but he is saddled now with a wife he's reluctant to trust. And however much evidence he gathers against faithless Jess, he can't seem to prove her guilt to the final judge—his foolish heart.
Jessica knows she's bobbled her marriage, however innocently. A fairytale wedding makes no difference if she hasn't got the marquis charmed to show for it. Well, she's had enough of accidental encounters with naked gentlemen and near misses explaining things to her husband. It's time to buck up and go win her man back—even if she has to fight very dirty indeed.
USA Today bestselling author Sally MacKenzie writes funny, sexy romances set in her favorite time period (other than the present): Regency England. Her novella, "The Duchess of Love," was a 2013 RITA® finalist, and two of her books--The Naked King and Bedding Lord Ned--made ALA Booklist's top ten romances for their respective years. Many of her books are available in audio format, and her stories have been translated into Czech, French, Indonesian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.
Sally graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame in the first class of women. She's a Cornell Law School dropout, former federal regulation writer, recovering parent volunteer, mother of four grown sons, and middle-of-the-lane Masters swimmer. She loves to travel, especially to England to research historic sites and hike through--and frequently get lost in--the English countryside.
A native of Washington, D. C., she lives with her husband in suburban Maryland, not far from her childhood home.
THINGS YOU WERE AFRAID TO ASK SALLY
ANGI: How often to you get lost in a story?
SALLY: Not often enough! One of the things that surprised me about becoming a writer—and made me a little sad, too—is I seem to have lost the ability to get really lost in a story. When I do, when an author can make me turn off my internal editor and proofreader, then I am in awe and I know I’ve found a keeper.
I’m actually in the process now of sorting through my boxes of old books. We need to simplify our lives and reclaim some storage space, so I need to divest myself of some of my favorites. Oh, it is painful. But as I go through making the wrenching decision to keep or donate, I’ve taken some time to dip back into a couple of my favorites—and I found myself lost in the story again! What a great feeling. Except the books are...yikes! Some of them are more than thirty years old!!! They are a little musty. My dust allergies didn’t thank me.
ANGI: What’s the first book you remember reading?
SALLY: Actually reading? Probably the Dick, Jane, and Sally—and Puff and Spot—books from first grade. I was quite taken with Sally, of course. It’s not that common a name. And I remember being read to. My dad read me fairy tales and even a few mildly scary stories. (I don’t usually do scary.) And I loved the Dr. Seuss books, especially Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book.
I was an avid reader as a kid, especially of fantasy and science fiction. Some of my favorite authors were Lloyd Alexander, Edward Eager, E. Nesbit, Andre Norton (her science fiction mostly), and P.L. Travers—and Georgette Heyer, the mother of Regency romance, of course.
ANGI: What’s your favorite “love” word?
SALLY: What’s coming to mind is “snuggle,” just because I like the way the word sounds. One of these days I want to work “snuggery” into one of my books. Not that the word has anything specifically to do with love—according to Merriam-Webster.com, it’s chiefly British, from 1812, and means “a snug cozy place; especially: a small room.” But I could definitely have my characters snuggle in a snuggery. Wouldn’t that be fun?
ANGI: Can you tell us about a real-life hero you’ve met?
SALLY: Can I be silly? I was in the kitchen getting a pot out—not sure why, since I don’t cook—when I saw there was a mouse scampering about in the bottom of the pot. Now, I don’t consider myself a total ‘fraidy cat—at one writers’ conference, I was my room’s designated spider killer (okay, long story there)—but I don’t do well with small, quickly moving creatures. So of course I started to make odd noises and do my icky mouse dance. Fortunately, my oldest son was also in the kitchen, and he bravely took the pot—it was a very deep pot, actually, so the mouse didn’t have a prayer of climbing out—and carried it outside to free the animal in our backyard. My son was my hero that day! (Though I do hope the mouse didn’t come right back inside.)
ANGI: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
SALLY: I’m not sure it’s a fairy tale, but I’ve got warm feelings for The Story of Jumping Mouse by John Steptoe. It’s a Native American legend, a beautiful picture book about a little mouse who sets off to reach the “far-off land.” I remember reading it over and over to our second son when he was quite young—probably too young to really understand it. But something about it appealed to him—and the story certainly appealed to me.
ANGI: What’s your favorite cartoon character?
SALLY: Ricochet Rabbit, mostly because I like to say “Ping, ping, ping, Ricochet Rabbit!” Are you scratching your head? You might be if you aren’t a “certain age.” Here’s a clip. (How did we live before the Internet?)
ANGI: What do you like about the hero of your book?
SALLY: Ash—Kit to his wife—is so honorable and responsible and he loves his wife SO much, but he can’t bring himself to trust her. But he’s trying. He’s really trying. He’s so desperate, he even forces himself to read his mother’s marital tips for men in “How to Woo Your Wife.” Now there’s true love!
ANGI: Is there a playlist you’d recommend for reading your latest release?
SALLY: Hmm. No, I don’t think so. I don’t write to music—I write in silence—so I wasn’t listening to anything but my characters’ voices when the story was born.
ANGI: Where do you read and how often?
SALLY: I’ve taken to reading in bed before I go to sleep. Not every night. Tuesdays and Thursdays I swim in my Masters program—it’s swim team for “old” people. Those nights I don’t get home until 10:30pm or so, and Mr. M, who gets up at some incredible time like 4:45AM to go to the gym, is sound asleep. Part of my goal is to disengage from the computer and encourage the old body to realize it’s sleepy time. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize what a gift sleep is, and I try to give it to myself nightly ;)
ANGI: What sound or noise do you love?
SALLY: A baby’s laugh.
ANGI: Fairy Tale or Action Adventure?
SALLY: Fairy tale! I’m not opposed to a bit of action and adventure, but I don’t like things blowing up and I don’t like being scared. And I most certainly want my happy ending!
ANGI: What was the first story you remember writing?
SALLY: I don’t remember the title or even what the story was about, but I do remember being so wrapped up in writing it that I didn’t want to go out with my parents somewhere fun. It was a homework assignment, I think when I was in fifth grade, and I wrote far more than required. And when I read it to the class, everyone laughed at the right places. I was hooked—and that’s when I decided I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.
ANGI: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
SALLY: Probably Chariots of Fire—and when we were in England in September, touring Eton, we learned that the great courtyard scene was shot there, so we had to watch it again. But Advise and Consent has a special place in my heart because my mother is in it. She’s only an extra, but she gets some screen time.
ANGI: Who’s your favorite villain?
SALLY: I have to say Sir Percy Headley—he’s the villain of the Duchess of Love books.
ANGI: What is your biggest vice?
SALLY: Grapefruit! Okay, I guess that’s not much of a vice, but I do eat a lot of grapefruit. I’ll happily eat an entire one as “dessert.”
ANGI: Is there a “Blooper” in your story (it may have been changed before printing)?
SALLY: Oh, dear, I hope not!! I do remember a couple times where copyeditors failed me. Once I’d changed the hero’s horse’s name suddenly, and another time the hero’s beverage changed from brandy to port on the next page. But I think I must have been a copyeditor in another life, because I caught both of those before the book went to press. I’m very nit-picky. I also never read my books after they’re published. I really don’t want to know if something slipped through!
Oh, and my first book, The Naked Duke, included the word “okay” about four times. I quickly learned “okay” isn’t okay in the Regency—apparently it didn’t enter the language until the mid 1800s. This is one reason I write with the Oxford English Dictionary at my elbow. (Well, actually with the CD loaded onto my computer.)
ANGI: How is it working with hot guys and sexy women all day?
SALLY: LOL, well, maybe it’s because I’m the mother of four men, but I don’t quite see writing romance that way. I’m usually doing a lot of interior work—inside the hero’s and heroine’s head—and chances are they aren’t thinking they are hot or sexy. Sometimes they do think their partner is one or both of the above, of course, but mostly they are thinking about more personal qualities. Honor, courage, compassion, insecurity, worries, hopes. Love.
Writing, for me, is digging deep into my own feelings and thoughts and dreams, trying to find something true—or learn something or understand something true—through the process of creating a story. It’s hard work, but it’s magical when things come together and the words on the page suddenly feel like a real person with real emotions.
ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: Living in the DC area, do you visit the monuments? And if so, which is your favorite?
SALLY's GOTTA ANSWER: LOL! Well, I grew up here, so you know what that means! I might have been up in the Washington Moment when I was too young to remember. I do remember my parents dragging me to art galleries against my will. My dad worked for the U.S. Senate, so I would go down with him to the Capitol on some of the Saturdays he had to work or when he went in to pick up his paycheck. I loved riding the little subway between the buildings. And I worked for a senator the summer after my senior year of high school. And then I worked for the Food and Nutrition Service of the Department of Agriculture for a few years before I had kids. Anyone remember ketchup as a vegetable? Long story, but that was my regulation. My office—or more properly, cubicle—looked out on the Tidal Basin.
But then we got busy with kids, and our weekends and summers were taken up with sports and scouting and other kid stuff. Just this spring, though, we decided to play tourist. We were having our ancient carpets torn up and hardwood floors put in, so we had to flee the homestead while that messy job was being done. One day we went down to the Mall and finally saw a few of the “new” sights: the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Asian art), the National Museum of African Art, and the National Museum of the American Indian. Here’s a picture of Mr. M studying something outside the African Art museum.
My favorite of all the Smithsonian offerings, though, is the zoo—or, more properly, the National Zoological Park. No, I don’t hang out with the pandas. Actually, on our trip during the Great Wood Floors Installation, the most interesting animals were the birds. I got quite up close and personal with this peacock.
UP NEXT for SALLY:
I’m excited to say I’ve agreed to write a new Regency series for Kensington! I’ve just started the project, so I don’t have much to say about it yet, but the inspiration came from our trip to England in September. At the moment, I’m calling the series the Spinster House books, and they are set in a small village, Loves Bridge. But all is subject to change!
PREVIOUS RELEASES by SALLY:
THE NAKED PRINCE
Josephine Atworthy is shocked by the goings-on at her rich neighbor's house party. Quite shocked. But her demure charm beguiles a mysterious nobleman, who begs a kiss--then another. And in a twinkling they fall head over heels in love...
SALLY is giving away the print version of Bedding Lord Ned, the first book in the Duchess of Love series, which includes the novella, “The Duchess of Love.”
North America Readers
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ANGI'S back next Wednesday with Mary Behre.
UP NEXT ON GLIAS: HelenKay Dimon.
SALLY WANTS TO KNOW: Have you been to DC? Do you have a favorite monument? Or is there something you’ve always wondered about the city?