Sep 7, 2012

An Interview with Nicky Penttila


Today we have the lovely Nicky Penttila here telling us about her latest book.

Where can your readers find you?


Where’s your favorite place to hang out online? Twitter

Tell us about your latest book, including its genre.

A Note of Scandal is a romantic historical novel that takes place in London just after Waterloo. To help a struggling soldier-friend, Miss Olivia Delancey sells her musical composition to Will Marsh, a hard-driving newspaper publisher, and then falls for him. Unfortunately, he is the first of a new breed of newspaper man – the kind who report just the facts, not the spin and never lies. Olivia struggles to keep her secrets from this unsuitably alluring publisher, and Will fights to find the truth without losing his hold on this bright-eyed angel who has descended into his life. Who will win?

What can we expect from you in the future?

Next month my first novella comes out, Babysitting the Billionaire. After writing historical for a while, it was fun to switch gears and write the way regular people talk today! I hope readers enjoy Washington, DC, as a setting, too, because I've got plenty more stories to tell about it. I also have in the works two regency historical stories in unusual settings: Manchester, England, and Galicia, Spain.

Do your fans' comments and letters influence you in any way?

Yes! Comments help me keep going, especially when I get stuck in low gear. Comments also help me decide which story to tell next; my sisters-in-law love to read romance but prefer contemporaries, and kept telling me so, and look what happened.

Why did you decide to write romance novels?

I spent almost two decades writing and editing for newspapers, where so many of the stories don’t have happy endings. A relentless diet of sad news can wear you down. So when I started learning to write fiction, happy endings were a requirement.

Who has influenced your writing?

I was glad to discover Carla Kelly’s Signet and Harlequin historical romances. She showed me there really was a market for Regency characters who weren’t strictly Society types and for stories that take on the current issues of the day as well as tell a beautiful love story.

After you've written your book and it's been published, do you ever buy it and/or read it?

Sure – I buy each one in one e-version or another, to see how they look “in the wild.” And I must admit I do have to refer to it to recall details like hair and eye color and what makes up each character’s specific voice. I think because of my reporting experience, when I had to become an expert in social policy one day, write an article, then next day fill my brain about space travel and write another, then next day learn about modern art, etc., I have a tendency not to hold onto many details. Apparently, there’s only so much working memory at my disposal!

Which comes first, the story, the characters, or the setting?

It’s been different every time. Olivia in A Note of Scandal was a secondary character who called out for her own story. Babysitting the Billionaire grew out of a visit to the Building Museum in Washington, seeing the workers prepping for a big party and wondering who would be attending.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Solving the puzzles – getting in words something I see or touch or feel. Also, happy endings!

What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?

Life is a wondrous work in progress, and we all get second chances.

Please fill the blanks with your favorites!

Dessert: Key lime pie
City: London
Season: Fall
Type of hero: Honorable, strong, complicated but he knows he is and has a sense of humor about it
Type of heroine: Smart, resilient, adventurous, a little dreamy and schemey

Book:

Genre: Sensual romantic historical
Author: Nicky Penttila
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-77130-026-1
Page Count: 253

Buy links:





Excerpt:

Major Avery pushed Will’s shoulder to the left. “There, toward the window. Lecturing that vision in blue silk.”

Will saw the woman first. Her delicate elbow was trapped in a black-furred mitt of a hand, apparently that of Mr. Jeremy Mellon, M.P. He had angled himself as if pushing her toward the muddied wall. As he leered over her, she stood very still. Though she stood in profile to him, Will could tell even her eyes remained still. The weak light from the smoke-fogged window gained luster, passing through the gold-blond ringlets framing her face. All her attention was on Mellon.

“Can you believe that waistcoat?” Avery snorted. “Is it puce?”
Will pulled his gaze away from the lady to take in her companion.

“Plum. Latest thing.” His gaze flicked back to the lovelier form.

“Drinking in dear Cousin Olivia?” Avery accepted a mug of over-yeasty ale from the passing barkeep.

“Olivia Delancey?”

“The Honorable. And once my intended. Seems I’ve cocked that up, as well.” He sipped the foam off the top of the ale. “Too bad I can’t invite you to sup with us tonight. Should be a right circus.”

“She hangs so on his words.” Will frowned, and then caught himself. She was not the story; that florid piece of political beef beside her was.

“Can’t you see? Look at her chin. The edge, there, under her ear.” It was pale, but even at a distance he could see a slight tremor. A crack in the chiseled beauty.

“She’s ill?”

“White-hot angry, my friend.” Will tore his gaze from the porcelain lady to raise an eyebrow at him.
“Trust me,” Avery said, “she has had that tiny flaw since she was a dandled babe.”

“Taken advantage of it, have you?” Will’s eyes narrowed, oddly protective. Avery put up his hands in mock surrender.

“Only a very small snake.” He grinned. “Down the back of her dress, at a tea party.”

“And all she did was set her chin?” Ladies were cold, he knew, but that sounded downright frigid.

“At first. Then the screaming started.” Avery pushed into the crowd.

“We’d best remove the poor man from danger, don’t you think?”
Though the room was small, they made slow progress through the swells of men reeking of sour beef, stale beer, and sweat. Wishing to avoid even the appearance of aggression, so swift a complaint to launch against newsmen, Will allowed Avery to lead. But he did not take his gaze from the lady. Mellon’s hand had crept up to her shoulder. Was he pulling her closer?

Will’s hand fisted. He might need to punch his quarry before interviewing him.

“Mellon.” Avery stepped between the couple, allowing the society jewel to take a step back, arm intact. Will stopped short beside her.
When her attention was elsewhere, her round, full lips dominated her face, the bottom line of the lower lip parallel with the soft oval of her jaw line. But no one would notice the rest of her face, or the fragile cream of her skin, when she turned her gaze on them. Eyes like sapphires, expensive and rare. And crackling with anger.

“Avery. A major now? Felicitations.” Mellon latched onto his new prey, pumping Avery’s hand up and down as if to draw water. “I know you’ll agree with me.”

“I have no doubt. What was the question?”

The Diana of Westminster turned her gaze to her cousin. Will forced himself to look away, toward Mellon. His reason for being here.
Then she spoke, and ruined his best efforts.

“Mr. Mellon has been … informing me … of yet another weakness of my sex.” Her musical voice dripped honeyed venom. “We cannot create.” She flicked an eyebrow at her cousin, sharing an unspoken joke.




Nicky Penttila lives in the DC metro area, after working for newspapers in Hartford, San Francisco, and Baltimore. She loves honorable (if a little complicated) heroes and adventurous (if a little dreamy) heroines who may not solve all the world’s problems but not for lack of trying. She is a omnivorous reader, any book is fair game, but she always returns to her first loves, historical fiction and science fiction/fantasy.

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