Message From The Author

Author's Message



I've always been
a bit of a throwback. A child of the '80s, I was
listening to old show tunes and watching movies like Oklahoma! while other teenagers were jamming to Def Leppard and buzzing about the latest John Hughes flick. Sit me down and pop Singin' in the Rain or The Sound of Music in the VCR and I was in heaven.

One of my favorite movie musicals of all time was Oliver!, an adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist. I watched it over and over, never tiring of the story of an orphan boy taken in by a gang of London pickpockets. I had always wanted to write about a world of dark alleyways and clandestine meetings on fog-shrouded street corners, and a few years ago, I finally decided the time was right. Plus, I felt the Regency genre needed something fresh. So many stories were set against the glittering social whirl of the period, the ballrooms and dinner parties, and while I loved reading many of them, I wanted to write something completely different.

So I set out to create my own Oliver Twist story. Though Dickens' book was set in Victorian London, the same underbelly of gangs and thieves' dens existed in the rookeries (i.e., slums) of the Regency period. And while the central characters in A Kiss in the Dark (Mar., Avon) are a brooding earl and a widowed viscountess with a reputation, instead of an orphan boy named Oliver, I've given Dickens
a nod: A young band of pickpockets, a prostitute with a heart of gold and a sinister gang leader all figure in the plot.

It begins when Lord Tristan Knight, the Earl of Ellington, approaches Deirdre Wilks, Viscountess Rotherby, for help locating his runaway younger sister. A former pickpocket, Deirdre was taken in by the kindly Viscount Rotherby as a child. But Tristan's request for aid brings back dark memories. She reluctantly agrees to accompany him on his search, and as she leads him into the dark byways of the city, Tristan's eyes are opened to the plight of the poverty-stricken denizens of the streets. And of course, Deirdre and Tristan fall in love. But there are many secrets and enemies they must overcome before they can be together.

I was thrilled when A Kiss in the Dark not only won the 2004 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award for long historical romance but was also accepted for publication by Avon. Did I succeed in writing something completely different? Well, that's up to readers to decide, but I'd like to think that Charles Dickens would have been pleased.

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