***Katherine is kind enough to offer a digital copy of An Unexpected Gift to one lucky commenter. Be sure to comment with your email address to be entered to win.***
Melissa: Glad to have you back, Katherine. :) Can you tell us what’s been going on for you since you’ve last visited?
Katherine: I’ve been working on writing a contemporary novel that will be the first in a series.
Melissa: Now, I anticipated An Unexpected Gift after reading about Lazarus in The Muse. Have you always known you would write a story for him? Or did that come after The Muse?
Katherine: It definitely came after writing The Muse. Lazarus was originally only intended to ever be a secondary character in the novella, but he became a powerful one so much so that I had a hard time keeping him from taking over the story. After I completed The Muse, he would still pop into my head at unexpected times. It was then that I knew I had to tell his story as well.
Melissa: Well, I'm glad that you did. So what types of research did you look into when you were writing An Unexpected Gift?
Katherine: I did a lot of research on PTSD although it wasn’t called that until the ‘80’s. I also had the opportunity to pick the brain of one of the foremost authorities on Craps, a gambling dice game that’s very popular in the US. The game of Hazard played by Olivia and Finch in An Unexpected Gift is the forerunner of Craps so this person was very helpful in teaching me the origins of the game, how it’s played, and such.
Melissa: Ha, that's pretty neat. Now your hero is a commoner who’s moves in the London Underworld versus a hero who is a member of the landed gentry. Can you tell us a bit about that? What made you decide to deviate from the standard upper class hero?
Katherine: I’m not certain that it was so much a conscious decision as it was a need to tell Lazarus’ story, to give him his own happy ending. At the same time, many of the novels that take place in the Regency period revolve around heroes and heroines who are members of the aristocracy. I wanted to tell a story about people who weren’t necessarily accepted members of the upper classes.
Melissa: I liked that about An Unexpected Gift. I think it was interesting it’s your heroine who suffers from a PTSD as opposed to the hero. Can you tell us more about Olivia?
Katherine: Olivia lost her parents at an age when girls were concerned with their debuts and making a mark on society. Her older brother had no idea what to do with her so he brought with him as he moved from one battlefield to another. At first she did whatever her brother asked of her so as not to be sent away from him. She both idolized and clung to him because he was the only family she had left. But soon she was doing all she could not so much to prove her usefulness to stay by her brother’s side, but to ease the pain and suffering of the wounded. Unfortunately her caring nature made her so empathic to their suffering. She experiences flashbacks and nightmares from her time spent on the battlefield.
Melissa:Olivia is definitely an out of the ordinary heroine, but I loved that about her. Can you share one of your favorite excerpts from An Unexpected Gift? And why is it one of your favorites?
Katherine: Below is one of my favorite excerpts. It says so much about Olivia and the type of person she is. That she will always put the well-being of someone above all else no matter the cost to herself.
“Olivia asked the one question she wasn’t certain she wanted an answer to. “Is he dangerous?”
“There’s a number of rumours about him. Hard to know which ones to believe. None of them are fitting for a lady’s ears.”
“Please do not worry about my delicate sensibilities,” she said in a dry tone. Heaven knew anything delicate about her sensibilities had long ago disappeared.
“It’s said he once took a man’s eyes just for looking at a woman under his protection.”
She stared at the Runner in a mixture of horror and disbelief. “Is it true?”
He took a deep breath. “Can’t say for certain.”
“But it wouldn’t knock me off my feet if it were true. I’ve heard and seen the results of Lazarus’ work whether we can prove he did it or not.”
Olivia glanced at the window. Given her own recent experiences with the man, she was inclined to believe the rumours as well. But even now, after learning the type of man he was, she still felt compelled to find him. To ensure he had at least sought medical care after reopening his wounds. She needed to know she’d cared for them properly, that she’d done everything possible.
She took a deep breath. “If you know of a way to contact him, I’d be grateful to learn of it.”
Durant stared at her as if she belonged in Bedlam. “I can’t be giving a fine lady like yourself such information.”
“Please.” One more death that she could have prevented would be one more than she could bear.”
Melissa: That was a great excerpt! Will we be seeing anymore characters from An Unexpected Gift soon?
Katherine: Finch has begun whispering in my ear. I’ve been jotting down notes and bits of dialogue so I don’t think it will be too long before I’ll be writing his story.
Melissa: Excellent! I was a bit curious about him. :) Thank you so much for stopping by today, Katherine. It's always a pleasure to have stop in for a visit.
Blurb: Known only as Lazarus to the band of cutthroats and thieves he leads, William Prescott will do anything to find his missing sister, even blackmail a fragile young woman into helping him. But he never plans to fall in love with this mysterious woman with a troubled past.
Haunted by the memories of war, Olivia St. Germaine wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But when her brother, a doctor, suddenly leaves town without a word, she is forced to use her medical knowledge to help an injured man who puts her life in danger. Can she keep herself safe as she tends Lazarus, or is her heart more vulnerable than she realizes?
Review: I actually waited for this book’s release after reading The Muse when we are first introduced to Lazarus. I always knew there was something more to the man, and I really wanted to learn just what it was.
As usual with Ms. Grey’s writing, I fell into reading the book easily from the start. And I particularly loved all the interactions between Olivia and Lazarus. Instead of our hero and heroine being members of Ton as we see in a lot of Regencies, they are both commoners living in different circumstances. While Lazarus is moving throughout London's Underworld, Olivia is trying to blend into polite society despite her unconventional upbringing.
Olivia was a different heroine than I was used to in Regencies. She has suffered PSTD when she aided her surgeon brother during wartime. Quite uncustomary for a young woman, but the experience seemed to give her such a deeper understanding of human beings and their suffering. And she was quick to aid everyone she potentially could. She's a take charge heroine with the best intentions, and a large heart to boot.
Lazarus was written well in my opinion. He seemed to maintain his elusive air throughout the book, until the ending when he came for Olivia.
All in all, I enjoyed An Unexpected Gift. It was a sweet romance with an out of the ordinary Regency hero and heroine. I'm looking forward to reading more from Ms. Grey in the future.
Available for purchase at: Amazon
Author Bio: When Katherine started talking to her friends about the characters in her head as though they were real people, she decided it was time to start putting all those people populating her mind along with their exploits down on paper. Friends have gotten used to Katherine’s imaginary friends but still often ask, “Wait, is this a real person?” whenever she mentions someone they don’t know.
Katherine lives in upstate NY with her family, but threatens to move South at the beginning of every winter season.
Be sure to visit Katherine at: Website
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