Today we have the good fortune to have Lilia Birney visiting with us. I started things out by asking Lilia about the characters in her novel To Catch A Thief-Taker. Her answers will make more sense after the blurb and the excerpt so I have arranged today’s post in that fashion. Though I’ve started out by asking about the characters please feel free to add to the discussion and to take it in new directions by asking your own related or unrelated questions.
Lilia is giving away a $50 gift card to one lucky winner during her blog tour. Leave your comments here and then follow the rest of her tour. You can find her other stops listed here.
Blurb For To Catch A Thief-Taker
When Lady Penelope Annand’s trusted servant goes missing, she is determined to get to the bottom of the matter. Even if that means hiring a thief-taker to track down her maid’s whereabouts. But when the darkly smoldering Pierce Howe takes charge of the situation, Penelope finds herself growing more attracted to him by the second–even if she’s infuriated by his high-handed manner. She doesn’t trust any man–not after the way her first husband wronged her–so why is she so quick to believe in a thief-taker?
Pierce Howe has made a name for himself as one of London’s most reliable thief-takers, leaving behind his family’s sordid past to create a life of his own. But when Viscountess Annand, known in society as The Ice Goddess, demands that he track down her wayward maid, all his carefully-constructed defenses begin crumbling. As the Ice Goddess shows that she does indeed have a melting point, the thief-taker must decide if he can risk it all and tell her the truth about his past.
Excerpt From To Catch A Thief-Taker
She gathered her skirts and took a step, only to be caught around the waist from behind. Unable to breathe from the pressure of the arm around her middle, she kicked backward, connecting with her assailant’s right knee.
“Damnation!” A familiar voice swore, and her captor released her. Rubbing her ribs, she turned to see Pierce kneeling in the dirt.
“Pierce, are you terribly hurt?” She knelt beside him, tucking her skirt to pad her knees. “I’m so sorry. You frightened me. I didn’t know it was you.”
“I was worried when I returned to the carriage and you weren’t there,” he gasped, rubbing his kneecap. “I should know now, I need never worry for your safety again. Who knew a lady’s boot heel could be quite so painful?”
“You shouldn’t have grabbed me so,” she replied tartly. “How was I supposed to react? Here we are in the yard of a most notorious brothel—any man with a grain of sense would have approached me differently.”
“Believe me, madam, I am regretting my mistake most heartily at the moment.” He gingerly flexed his leg, grimacing slightly. “What the devil are you doing out of the carriage anyway?”
“I saw a servant passing by, and thought it would be wise to question her.” She took his leg in both of her hands, pressing it gently. Heavens, what a strong, muscled leg he had. She was thankful for the darkness, which hopefully covered her blush. “Does this hurt?”
“I’ll survive.” He leaned back on his elbows in the grass, staring at her from under lowered brows. “I was concerned for your safety, Lady Annand.”
“Thank you, but I can defend myself. As you now know.” She withdrew her hands from his leg, keeping her eyes lowered. If he read her thoughts at that moment, how he would laugh at her—how everyone would laugh. The Ice Goddess, reduced to nothing but a bowl of porridge after touching a man’s knee.
Lilia Birney Talks About Creating Fun Frothy Characters
I really wanted to write a book that just had fun, frothy characters–not a lot of seriousness. And Penelope’s character first came to mind. I wanted a heroine who is rich and beautiful–the best of both worlds–but who feels really empty and unfulfilled. Pierce was more of a challenge because I wanted him to have a past without it feeling too dark within the story.
Let me tell you, I love having a character who is independently wealthy. I loved that Penelope could do or be anything, since her first husband died and left her his estate. She is free as most women weren’t in that time period, and it was so fun to play with her and put her into different vexing situations.
The most trouble came with trying to keep the mood light. I wanted the book, even though it’s set in Regency England, to have a bit of 1930s screwball/sex comedy flair. I love watching old movies, especially ones with William Powell and Myrna Loy, and I wanted Penelope and Pierce to be the Regency equivalent of Nick and Nora. However, writing in that fashion is difficult–much more difficult than writing tragedy. I hope I pulled it off!
About Lilia Birney
Lilia is a reader and writer of historical romance. While the Regency is her favorite era, she loves anything from the Revolution to the 1940s, with a special interest in American history. Her first novella, From Air to Eternity, was published by Night Shift Publishing in 2011. Her newest series, The Liberated Ladies, explores the lives of four very independent women in Georgian England. Lilia lives in New Bern, North Carolina.
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