It’s Release Day for Anna Bradley’s A Season of Ruin! As huge fans of Anna’s, Badass Book Reviews is happy to celebrate by picking her brain and getting answers to some of the questions that have been plaguing us since we first read about the Sutherlands and Somersets. Her alpha heroes are swoon-worthy, and we want to share the love. Don’t forget to read to the bottom of the post for your chance to win the first two books in the Sutherland Scandals series!
BBR: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions today, Anna! Can you start off by telling us about your debut series, the Sutherland Scandals and what inspired it?
AB: Thank you so much for having me! I’d been thinking about the Alec character for quite a while before I envisioned the rest of the series, so I think I’d have to say Alec inspired it. I really wanted to write a hero with a strong alpha personality who had to learn to manage himself in order to get his HEA. I’m a little bit hooked on the idea of alpha heroes learning valuable lessons! I also should give credit to some of my favorite historical romance writers—Lorraine Heath, Julie Anne Long and Loretta Chase, among others—because their work also inspired me to become a writer.
BBR: Which part of the series came to you first? The Somerset sisters and Sutherland men, or the Millicent and Lord Carlisle scandal?
AB: I’m all about the men. Just kidding! Well, mostly kidding. The Alec character came to me first, but right on Alec’s heels was the Millicent Chase and Lord Carlisle scandal, and then Delia came into the picture. I wanted to have two characters from different social classes who hadn’t met, but already had a conflict between them. Delia would have had very little power in this situation, so the set-up gave me a chance to really prove her strength.
BBR: Robyn didn’t seem to take much seriously while Lily was more solemn and reserved. It made for some exciting banter between the two. Was there a particular scene that you enjoyed writing most?
AB: Robyn is pretty awful at the start, though of course in the most charming way imaginable! I loved writing his character in general, but I have a special fondness for the scene in the stillroom where Lily is trying to put salve on his eye, and he keeps teasing her. Lily is serious and reserved, but she knows exactly who Robyn is, and I think we see that in this scene. It’s also pretty sexy but with no sex (not even a kiss!) and I love scenes like that.
BBR: I love the way your heroes are alpha until the very end. That part of them isn’t tamed by the heroine, they just tend to focus all of that roguishness on the one they’ve come to love. Who are some of your favorite untamed alpha heroes?
AB: I love strong alpha heroes, both reading them and writing them. I have lots of favorites so it’s tough to choose just a few, but no list of alpha heroes is complete without Lord Dane from Loretta Chase’s “Lord of Scoundrels.” He’s the alpha gold standard, and I love that he gets a heroine who’s his match in every way. I also really love Lisa Kleypas’s Sebastian, Viscount St. Vincent from “Devil in Winter.” He’s a lusty alpha, which is the best kind! Julie Garwood also writes great Scottish alphas – I love her books.
BBR: Out of the two books released so far in the Sutherland Scandals series, which character was the easiest to write? The hardest?
AB: I’d have to say Robyn was the easiest to write, but I couldn’t really tell you why that is. I do love a flirtatious rake, so maybe that’s part of it, but both his dialogue and his storyline came more easily to me than with some other characters. The same is true of Lady Anne Chase, Lily’s grandmother, whose backstory and lines popped into my head right away. I found Lady Catherine (Lady Sutherland—Robyn and Alec’s mother) a bit more difficult to write, because I wanted to make sure she came across as a believable member of the ton, and yet at the same time kind and sincere. That’s not always the easiest mix to write!
BBR:And whose story are you most looking forward to writing?
AB: I have a strong hero and plot line in my head for Iris Somerset, so I’m really looking forward to writing her story. I won’t give it away, but I’ll say this much: Iris is the eternal ideal optimist, and she’s going to be paired with a cynical, dark hero. We’ll see how they do together!
BBR: What drew you to writing historical romance vs. contemporary?
AB: I wouldn’t rule out writing a contemporary, but my literary background is in historical literature. I have a Master’s degree in English literature with a focus on 19th century lit, and I spent about 8 years working for a rare books library focusing on historical works, so the historical part of the writing feels very natural to me. Like many readers, I also fell in love with Mr. Darcy, and wanted to create my own heroes in that era!
BBR:What’s the most interesting piece of information you’ve come across while researching your stories?
AB: I learned a lot about duels for “A Season of Ruin,” and that research was so interesting. I had to figure out whether to do swords or pistols (pistols were more common by the Regency), and then study the etiquette involved in issuing a challenge, accepting one, and assigning seconds. I got sidetracked looking up images and information on Regency-era pistols, and then side-tracked again reading about famous (or ‘infamous’) Regency duels and locations in London where duels took place. Wimbledon Common, a large open space in southwest London where Robyn and Lord Atherton face off, was a notorious location for dueling even before the Regency.
BBR: ‘Sutherland Scandals’ seems to indicate all of the Sutherland siblings will get a story. (My fingers are crossed!) But with Delia and Lily’s sisters on their way to London, it seems they might be on their way to finding love, too. Are there plans for all of the Sutherlands and Somersets to get stories?
AB: I hope to bring readers all of the Sutherland Scandals! I’ve fallen in love with those characters, and all their stories have been wandering around in my head for several years now. I’m not sure I’d get any peace ever again if I didn’t write their stories!
BBR: We love your books and can’t wait to read what you have in store for us! Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on now?
AB: Thank you so much, Angie! I’m very grateful for the readers who are willing to take a chance on a new author. I’ve heard from so many of you who love the Sutherlands and Somersets as much as I do, and I can’t tell you how much that means to me. I’m working on the Somerset sisters at the moment, and I have plans for a new historical series in the works. I can’t divulge much about that series yet, but I’ll say this: the heroes are still very much alphas, and readers who love the irresistible spinster heroine won’t be disappointed!
BBR: We’re looking forward to it! Thank you so much for visiting Badass, Anna!
A Season of Ruin by Anna Bradley
Book #2 in Sutherland Scandals
Genre: Historical Romance
Publication Date: August 2nd, 2016
ARC Provided by Netgalley and Berkley
Angie’s Review – 5 stars – A+
I’ve been looking forward to A Season of Ruin ever since I finished the first book in this series, A Wicked Way to Win an Earl. I love a rakish hero, and just like his brother Alec, Robyn Sutherland did not disappoint. This book starts right off with a bang, though to Robyn’s dismay, not a real one. An accidental tryst with Lily Sutherland brings to light an attraction he wasn’t even aware he had, and thus begins Lily and Robyn’s season of ruin. Lily has her sights set on a respectable gentleman, someone quite the opposite of Robyn. But when Robyn’s attention lands Lily in a societal pickle, the only way to restore it is to spend even more time together. This was most certainly a story of opposites attracting, and it was against each of their wills. While Robyn’s intent was to improve Lily’s reputation, it was almost as though he couldn’t help himself. Whatever he did painted her in an even worse light as far as the ton was concerned, but it only heightened his pull to her. Robyn and Lily’s attraction smoldered whenever they were on the page together. I also loved Robyn’s interactions with Alec. They’re both pig-headed and funny without meaning to be, and anytime they’re together, it made for a wonderful scene. And just like the previous book, I like that the author didn’t change who the hero was; it’s just now he’s that man for an audience of one.
I enjoyed everything about this story. I’ve said it before, but Historical Romance is like comfort food to me, and this book more than satisfied my craving. It’s like Historical Romance has been waiting for Anna Bradley to come along and write it, and I’m in it for the long haul. I can’t wait to read what she puts out next!
Series Reading Order
1. A Wicked Way to Win an Earl
2. A Season of Ruin
Thank you to BERKLEY and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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