An interview with Jeannie Ruesch

cloaked in danger by Jeannie RueschCloaked in Danger is filled with intrigue, but also the opulence of Regency London society. What is it about that time and place, and the Ton, of course, that attracted you?
Thanks so much for having me today! There are so many eras of history that I have hopes of setting stories in, but the Regency era worked so well for these books. It was a natural fit to set this family into an era where the rules were incredibly restrictive—knowing my characters would have a difficult time living in between those lines. I enjoy flipping their world upside down and finding out how they’ll respond, how they’ll push the boundaries even when they’re trying to abide within them. It’s a golden path for conflict.

Aria Whitney is an unconventional character living in a society where flying in the face of convention could, and would, completely ruin a young woman’s chances in life. What made you write such a modern character and set her in such a restrictive situation?
In every era, there’s been a “modern” version of women, those who weren’t afraid to be themselves, even if they didn’t fit the mold. Aria was born out of believing that no matter the era, no matter the restrictions, there have always been –and will always be—women who look at life differently. I thought how incredible would it be for a young woman who had lived a very free existence to suddenly be forced into London society? How would she react? How would she find her way in this world that she wanted nothing to do with? How would she feel about falling in love with someone in this world?

Aria was raised in a very unconventional way, traveling the world with her father, living in encampments, seeing every aspect of different cultures around the world. Her priorities were completely different and for her, finding her father was far more important than what society thought of her. But it also made her path to success that much more difficult.

jeannie reuschWhat inspired you to historical fiction? And why do you think this genre appeals to so many readers? Are there any other genres you plan on trying?
I have been a long-time reader of historical fiction and historical romance. I imagine for many, it’s the peek back into our history, learning about how life was different and the escape historical fiction brings from today’s technology-filled world. (And I say that even though I read books on my Kindle…) I love the books that I learn tidbits of history from, and I love reading a book and then researching the facts to know what the author has taught me or what they’ve created. So being on the flipside of that is incredibly fulfilling.

My other favorite love is suspense, and Cloaked in Danger is a historical romantic suspense – a smushing together all the things I love about historical romance and romantic suspense. There have been murders, serial killers and all levels of the crime that are more typical in contemporary romantic suspense books since the dawn of time. I find it fascinating to blend the opulent with the darker sides of history, especially without today’s modern abilities to solve things. Beyond this series of books, I have plans for other eras from Victorian to World War II, but always in the wonderful blended historical suspense genre. Great stories ahead, I hope!

How long does it take you to research an historical novel, and do you enjoy that aspect of writing?
I love research. Love, love, love it. I am continually fascinated by history, and I pile up the nonfiction books as much as the fiction. One of these days, I will find the right story to honor the Elizabethan time period. It just hasn’t come to me yet.

I don’t know that I could say how long it takes to research but I love to immerse myself in the times. Learning the secrets of a past time is incredible. Reading the stories of everyday life, the journal entries and letters of ordinary people and extraordinary ones. Pouring over maps.

Digging for the secrets, skeletons and the shocking crimes that existed. One of the books I got for Christmas was a Definitive History of the Phenomenon of Serial Murder, and it includes the history of a sadistic Countess from the 16th century. This stuff fascinates me.

Can you tell us a little about any other forthcoming novels on which you are working?
The novel I’m currently finishing involves another of Adam’s sisters, Lily and her path to happiness and love. I can’t give away too much about the story without telling secrets about Cloaked in Danger, so mums the word until that book is out. But I can say that Lily’s story picks up about three years after Cloaked in Danger and her life has taken a turn she never expected…

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