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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday Spotlight Candace Morehouse

Hello and welcome to Wednesday Spotlight! My special guest today is Candace Morehouse. Candace is here today to chat about her latest release from Champagne Books, Suspicion of Love. Here is an excerpt:

Stephen turned to face his charge who was standing in
dumbfounded silence in the entry, her hands still shaking as
she removed her second glove, her complexion pale. “No
worries, now, miss. We’re safely inside.”

He propelled her past a tall hall tree bearing a hat and
coat, past a curving set of stairs, through a wide doorway
and into the office proper. He fairly pushed her into a
straight-backed chair with a cracked leather seat that sat
next to its twin in front of a massive mahogany desk
surrounded by a set of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

“Would you care for a glass of sherry? You look as if
you could use it.” Stephen offered the drink with ill-disguised
impatience as he strode about the office pulling heavy, sun-
faded draperies closed across the tall, narrow windows facing
the street. The scent of musty velvet was cloying in the stale
air, and a cloak of darkness invaded the office save for the
dim illumination of a lamp with three bulbs covered in dusty
brass shades hanging from the ceiling. He paused at the
liquor cabinet conveniently located an arm’s reach behind the
desk to pour a finger’s worth of amber liquid in a glass,
offering it to her with outstretched hand.

She smiled weakly and reached out to take it from his
grasp. No sooner had her fingers touched the glass than they
trembled uncontrollably and it fell, spraying sherry across
the crowded top of the desk.

“Oh dear!” she exclaimed, jumping up from her seat
and vainly trying to stem the flow of liquor with her flighty
hands. Unimpeded, it sloshed across the multitude of loose
papers that vied for attention amidst the file folders, pens,
pencils, envelopes, baskets, and legal volumes sprawled over
the desk’s surface.

“Damn, damn and bloody damn!” Stephen watched
helplessly as the final report on a case he’d just finished was
soon sopping, the inked letters on the pages running and
joining and becoming hopelessly lost in a jumbled blur. His
brows drew together in consternation over her clumsiness,
and he joined her in trying to move the bulk of his work out
of the way, their noses nearly touching across the breadth of
the desk.

“Have you a cloth?” she asked, finally saying
something that made sense. “Oh, never mind. Here, I’ll just
use my handkerchief…” She turned to retrieve her reticule
from the chair, accidentally sweeping much of the mess to
the carpet in the process. As she bent over, the misplaced
bustle promptly fell clear to her ankles and she tripped over
the hem of her skirt, propelling her into the seat and toppling
the chair with her in it, ass over teakettle to the floor. She
landed in a heap on the threadbare carpet with only her
petticoat-covered bum and the lone drooping feather of her
hat visible from Stephen’s vantage point.

Stephen glanced down at the ruined fistful of papers
clutched in his hand, and his fingers loosened. The pages
floated to the floor.

He started laughing.

He couldn’t help himself. His light chuckles turned into
gales of deep-throated laughter as he rounded the edge of
the desk to see her booted feet flailing about in the air,
trying to gain purchase but hampered by the heavy folds of
the skirt twisted about her ankles. He could only imagine
what someone might think, were a client to walk through the
door at that moment. This is what happens to clients who
refuse to pay, he imagined explaining, his eyes tearing.
You’ll be forced to clean my filthy floor with nothing more
than your tongue…

“Utdya ink so unny?”

Her tone was frosty and indignant. At least it was from
what Stephen could decipher whilst her face was planted in a
pattern of cabbage roses and ivy leaves.

He coughed conspicuously, wiped at his eyes with the
palms of his hands, and did his best to stop the corners of
his mouth from twitching as he bent down to extricate her
from the chair. He stood behind her and lifted her up from
the ground by the waist, trying unsuccessfully to avoid her
kicking feet. “Be still, damn woman!”

She refused to comply, however, and her legs and
arms continued to flail about like a windmill on a gusty day.
Stephen’s own feet soon caught in the heavy wool of her
skirt and he found himself losing his footing. He narrowly
avoided hitting the sharp corner of the heavy desk as he fell
backward with his ungainly burden.

“Would you just settle down!” he bit out painfully,
tightening his grasp about her waist to still her movements.
Her bum was placed in a particularly tender spot of his
anatomy. Not that that tender spot was feeling any pain. To
the contrary, her soft flesh and wiggling attempts to rise
from his lap were causing quite a stir in that region.

Sharon: (fans herself wildly) Whew! Now if that little teaser to Suspicion of Love doesn’t set the stage for coming attractions, I don’t know what will! We might need a rain to cool things off after that one. LOL Let’s have a warm cyber applause for the author of Suspicion of Love. Candace Morehouse, come on out!

Thunderous applause explodes on cyber stage as Candace struts out singing Southern Rain by Mel Tillis.

Sharon: Welcome, Candace! Grab a seat and make yourself comfortable. Now before we get talking, can I pour you a glass of Shiraz?

Candace: Howdy! You didn’t have to tempt me with my favorite drink, you know. I would’ve come by and set a spell with you anyway. But heck, I’m not complaining.

Sharon: Mmmm. A woman after my own heart. It just so happens I love Shiraz wine, so naturally, I’ll join you in a toast. Here’s to the smashing success of Suspicion of Love. Cheers!

Candace: Cheers! Thanks so much for the warm welcome. Mind if I put my boots up here on the table?

Sharon: Not at all, make yourself at home! Oh, and help yourself to the snacks. We’ve got Cheez-Its, potato chips and fresh fruit slices and a cheese tray. So Candace, Suspicion of Love has been out as an eBook since April with Champagne Books and is about to come out in print. How exciting. Can you tell us a bit about your book? The genre? The setting? And even though we got a very upclose and personal…ah…dare we say feel for the main characters, can you tell us a little about each of the characters and what makes each unique?

Candace: Suspicion of Love is an Edwardian mystery/romance. It’s a bit of a departure from my first book, a historical western romance. This one takes place in London, and a big, drafty, old castle by the sea. Jacqueline, the heroine, is a rather mousy spinster from Wisconsin who learns to come into her own by the end of the book. Stephen, the hero, is a down-on-his-luck British solicitor who is forced to accept his new partner in the Brooks detective agency. Together, they solve a murder mystery and then…well you’ll just have to read the book to find out the rest!

Sharon: I certainly will. I love a good romance, a good mystery and what better place for both than a big, drafty castle? Sounds intriguing! So let’s talk a bit about the Edwardian era. Even though I can’t imagine myself tightly bound into a corset or wearing a petticoat, the flair for fashion during that period has always intrigued me. And aside from some of those gorgeous gowns with all those little loops and buttons that needed the assistance of the maid, the accessories were such an intricate part of the ensemble, especially the hats and jewelry. So tell me, Candace. Where did you get your research for this era? And does the Edwardian period hold a special place in your heart?

Candace: I did a TON of research. Luckily, I’ve always been a real history buff and I already had lots of reference books in my personal library, including a historical atlas of London that allowed me to show the exact routes my characters would have taken to get around the city. I watched the earliest recorded moving pictures made by Thomas Edison and old episodes of Upstairs, Downstairs, too.

I used to work in an antique store that also sold vintage clothing when I was going to college in Las Cruces, NM. Back then I was a size one or three and could actually fit into the old gowns we carried. I bought a beautiful ice-blue ball gown with lots of crystal beadwork that I dated to about 1910. So not only do I have pictures of the clothing and accessories, I own some, too!

Probably the biggest challenge was getting everything about the era right. The turn of the century was such a fascinating time – while there was still a lot of the 19th century as far as transportation and amenities, there were public telephone booths, motorcars, trams, and a host of other things most people might not associate with the year 1901.

Sharon: I’d say you did your research quite well. Working in the antique store sounds like a lot of fun and dressing up in vintage clothes is something I would love! The ice blue gown sounds simply gorgeous! Now when you write, what’s more important to you? The setting or the dialogue and why?

Candace: When I’m writing a historical, both the setting and the dialogue go hand-in-hand. I abhor reading a book where the author has not done their research and refers to something like “Levi’s” in a western taking place in the 19th century.

Sharon: I love a good mystery, a good who done it. Suspicion of Love is classified as an Edwardian mystery. Can you explain to readers a bit about this type of genre? Is it similar to a cozy?

Candace: In some ways it is similar to a cozy mystery. Basically I took the premise of a twisting, turning mystery solved by partners in a detective agency similar to Sherlock Holmes and Watson, plunked it down in turn-of-the-century London, and added some steamy romance scenes.

Sharon: Sounds like a best-seller! More wine?

Candace: Keep the glass filled, please, Sharon!

Sharon: You got it, girl. Sharon snaps her fingers and Edward VII appears on cyber stage with a bottle of Shiraz. Sharon and Candace clink glasses. Now let’s talk about Candace Morehouse. What makes you tick? What are you all about? What motivates you to keep on writing, despite all the hard work and edits, promoting, promoting and more promoting?

Candace: Writing is just something I have to get out of my system. My characters make me do it! I’ve always been a creative sort. My older sister and brother were both talented musically and artistically. I really couldn’t compete in those departments, but found my niche in putting thoughts into words.

Sharon: Here here! Candace, not only do we share a love for Shiraz wine, but we both love horses and horseback riding. There is no comparison to riding wild and free on horseback with the wind whipping you in the face, is there? What is your favorite kind of horse to ride and why?

Candace: I don’t necessarily have a favorite type of horse. Right now I am riding one of my neighbor’s “extras”, a 17-hands tall brute named Cochise who is really gentle as a kitten. I used to own a full-blooded Arabian with some bad habits. He was more of a challenge of a ride. But you could even put me on the back of a mule and I’d be happy! In fact, not only have I ridden a mule, but an elephant, too, once.

Sharon: I know exactly what you mean. And since I was once thrown by a spirited stallion, the next time I rode was actually on muleback! And do you know it has always been one of my desires to ride an elephant? We must talk more about that after the interview! And you also like to hike and camp. What do you suppose it is that draws you to the great outdoors, being close to nature that makes you feel alive?

Candace: It was moving to New Mexico when I was 11 that really made me appreciate the outdoors. The beauty of the landscape here in the southwest is so different from Wisconsin – but it just invites one to explore it. It’s also the history of the land that I love. In the national forest just beyond my house here in the White Mountains are the remains of an old Mogollon Indian trading post dating back from about 1500 B.C. My love for both history and nature come alive in places like this, and inspire me to write.

Sharon: Oh, here comes dessert.
Edward VII wheels a caddy on cyber stage filled with goodies—a butterscotch cream pie and coffee and tea in sterling silver carafes. After presenting the treats with a sweeping bow, he pours the steaming beverages into dainty floral teacups and slices the pie.

Sharon: Ah, thank you, Edward. Very good. Isn’t this lovely, Candace? How about it, girlfriend, could you see yourself in that era? I wouldn’t mind a bit of pampering. Bon bon anyone?

Candace: Oh, dear, I’m afraid I just broke your lovely teacup. You can’t trust me with anything delicate, Sharon; I’m like a bull in a china shop. Sorry!
I would love to have lived in that era, but probably would have protested the corsets and stays and the ladylike manner of deportment. I would have been “the hoyden” climbing trees and riding bareback!

Sharon: Don’t worry about the teacup. And I’m the same way. Although I love to dress up, all those stiff under garments would have driven me crazy, plum loco! But there is something about gliding across a grand ballroom that appeals to me. Oh I just have to ask. Do you have any superstitions you’d like to share with us? Some little something or other you feel brings you luck when you write?

Candace: Not so much a lucky charm, but the mood is important. I love a stormy day and listening to country music – or classical when I’m writing a historical.

Sharon: I wear the pink tourmaline ring and bracelet. According to my Irish heritage, wearing this stone brings good luck to the wearer. LOL And now for the three trivia questions. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why? If you could play the leading lady in any literary fiction who would it be and why? And last but not least, who would you want playing your romantic hero?

Candace: Honestly, I wouldn’t trade where I live now for anything in the world. I love the mountains and forests and lakes; this is where I am meant to be. Hmm…a leading lady? Perhaps Calamity Jane! And my romantic hero would have to be Matthew McConaughey – he is the actor on whom I based Stephen Haversham in Suspicion of Love. I know I’m supposed to say my husband, but this is pure fantasy, right? And BTW, love your jewelry, Sharon. It really sets off your lovely hair and eyes.

Sharon: Why thank you, darlin! You can come back any time! And pssst… we won’t tell your DH about Stephen. We’ll let him think you were fantasizing of him and only him! Candace, it’s been a blast, girl! I wish you mega luck with Suspicion of Love and all future books. Now where can readers buy this book and get in touch with you?

Candace: I’ve had a great time eating all your fantastic culinary delicacies, Sharon! Thanks!

Readers can buy all of my books at www.champagnebooks.com or visit my website at www.candacemorehouse.com, which also links to my blog. If they are so inclined to subscribe to my site, they can receive a free copy of the e-cookbook, Recipe for Romance. I brought along a copy just for you – it has my personal recipe for meatballs and a funny excerpt from Suspicion of Love you can’t find elsewhere.

Sharon: Thanks, Candace. I can’t wait to try it out. It’s been a pleasure and I hope you’ll come back again. All right folks. That brings us to the end of Wednesday Spotlight. Let’s hear it for Candace Morehouse. Don’t forget to run out and buy your copy of Suspicion of Love. I know I will!

14 comments:

Sharon Donovan said...

Hello and welcome, Candace! Grab a seat on cyber stage and make yourself comfortable. Rumor has it, our guests are beating traffic through cyber space and will be here shortly.

Sharon

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Candace and Sharon - puff - pant. Gosh am I the first, that makes a change, I'm usually bringing up the rear!

Anyway ladies, that was a really intersting and entertaining interview. Hey Candace, I can certainly relate to poor Jacqueline! Sounds like a wonderful book and I wish you loads of success with it.

Kimber Chin said...

What a wonderful excerpt!
And Candace, SO envious of your vintage clothing!

Miss Mae said...

I can imagine the scene where the poor dear is stuck in the rug and every bit of her dignity exposed for the whole world to see!

Mmm, I love mysteries too, and Holmes is one of my most absolute favorites! Sounds like an intriguing storyline, Candace!

Sharon, girlfriend, don't forget the brownies. I've brought the lemonade..*wink, wink*...

lastnerve said...

Hi there Candace and Sharon, sorry so late. Reading about the cheeze its and stuff is making me oh so hungry. I loved reading the interview! The book looks really good. Nothing like curling up to a good mystery!

Val
lastnerve2000@gmail.com

Candace Morehouse said...

Thanks, everyone, for stopping by! I loved interviewing with Sharon - and she serves THE best munchies.

Val - I actually created a hero in a currently unfinished erotica mss. who just adores Cheez-Its and Budweiser.

And Kimber - I am envious that I used to be that tiny I could fit into that dress! Not any more!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hey everyone! Isn't Candace great? Lyn, I am just tickled pink you were my first guest! And Kimber, I agree, love dresses from that era. Hey, Val, grab some of those munchies if you're hungry. And oh, dare I ask Miss Mae what's in her ah...giggle..lemonaide. You know what they say, once a fool. We all know what happened the last time she brought the spiked lemonade and passed out cold under the oak tree. Some folks just can't hold their alcohol. Candace, do you know our sweet, good living Southern Bell?
Sharon

Candace Morehouse said...

Hmm, I haven't had the pleasure of Miss Mae's acquaintance just yet but any woman who spikes the lemonade sounds like my kind of gal!

And thanks to Lyn for the best wishes!

I love your parties, Sharon. You just get the best people to show up (along with the great food and drinks).

Big Mike said...

Damn, girl. Is that suppose to be your picture? You look exactly like a sweet southern bell, course we all know....no I'll keep my mouth shut.

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the year, 2008

Candace Morehouse said...

Yeah, well, Big Mike every now and then I can be a girly girl - but not for too long!

Angelica Hart and Zi said...

We fully enjoyed the excerpt. Candace, you have such a fluid, tight and expressive writing style. It just moves you along and keeps you wanting more. Great interview as well. Hey, you didn't tell us you traveled here from the past. So, in that pic, what century are you living in, hmmm?

Candace Morehouse said...

Angelica and Zi - you are such wonderful supporters! I was in the early 20th century in that photo. Truly, I was imagining myself at some ball flirting with the handsome duke across the room...

Sharon Donovan said...

Hey Big Mike, Angelica and Zi. Thanks for stopping by! Elbows, Candace--I wanna dance with the Duke over yonder! Move out the way so I can cut in, girlfriend!

Sharon

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