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New York Times bestseller and horse aficionado Nicole Jordan has saddled up for a brand-new, back-to-back trio of books that she says are "lighter and livelier -- and less angsty and erotic -- than many of my past romances."
But have no fear, there are high spirits and sparks aplenty in Jordan's The Courtship Wars trilogy. The battle lines are drawn: the penniless Loring sisters, orphaned and in the care of a newly titled duke, vs. the duke himself and two of his closest friends. The battle royal begins with To Pleasure a Lady (Ballantine), the story of Arabella Loring and Marcus Pierce. In the past, Jordan has often come up with her hero first and worked from there, but she wrote these books differently.
"When Ballantine asked me to write a trilogy that would be published in three consecutive months, I had to develop all three books at once, since the six main characters play such large roles in each others' stories," she says.
Jordan utilized her engineering background -- she was a project engineer for Procter and Gamble "in another life" -- to outline her books and keep the plotlines straight. She used her left-brain writerly skills to flesh out the details in the characters' life stories with the help of such eye candy as photos of movie stars.
"Arabella resembles Cate Blanchett in my mind, and Marcus is Timothy Dalton," she says, adding that the Heath character in book three is based on heartthrob Heath Ledger in the movie Casanova. "Although I knew 'Heath' wasn't a common Regency name, after writing two dozen historical romances, I was running out of good names for heroes!" Jordan continues.
Another change for Jordan, who now resides in Utah after living all over the globe as an Army brat, is in the time she devotes to research. "In past years I did extensive research -- one to four months for each major new setting and/or time period -- so I could be accurate and give readers a flavor of the period in interesting ways. But now that I have a good grounding in the settings I want to use, it only takes me a week or less to research details specific to the book I'm working on."
While she's set her historicals in many different eras and locales, Jordan loves the Regency period best. "The manners and social structure of the wealthy nobility have a sort of fairy-tale appeal," she says. "Plus, Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy will always be the ultimate hero for me."
Jordan's own real-life hero is her husband Jay, a management consultant in managing operations and business strategy. Together the couple hopped around the United States before finally settling in Utah, where he can ski and she can ride and show her horses, which Jordan jokingly refers to as her "kids."
When she's not out exercising her "kids," Jordan is happily spinning tales, and she's already looking to possibly expand the franchise using secondary characters. "Marcus' lively younger sister Lady Eleanor will make a great romance heroine, in my opinion, so
I expect to write her story next," she muses. "That's the beauty of a series called The Courtship Wars; it leaves room for more stories chronicling the delightful sparks that fly
when Regency lovers play the matrimonial mating game."
-- Liz French
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