Today, author Ruth A. Casie is in the hot-seat to talk about her characters, her life as an author, and to offer some great advice. Let’s get started…

Do any of your characters take over and write the book themselves sometimes? Who?

OMG, do they. I cannot tell you how many times they say and do things I had not planned. Or, they stand over my shoulder and tell me they would NEVER say or do that.

And I talk to them, if you subscribe to my newsletter, you can find out what happened when one of my characters got me pulled over on the New Jersey Garden State Parkway. I’m still quite annoyed with him. My character, not the patrolman.

Interesting! For me, my characters just won’t stop pestering me until I submit to them. How long have you been writing? When did you decide to become an author?

I started writing my first book in 2010. My first book was published by Carina Press in 2011. My 24th story, The Lady and Her Duke releases on July 7th.

I didn’t start out deciding to be an author. I was helping a friend write her book, brainstorming, beta reading. Over coffee, I told her I told her story idea and she said, ‘Write it.’ We thought we each write a story and sell them together as a set.

She had to take a break, looking at colleges for her daughter and training for the New York Marathon. I was crest-fallen. She challenged me to continue on my own. That was in April of 2010. By that February 2011 I had a contract for Knight of Runes with Carina Press.

It’s great when friends rally behind you! What did you do when you received your first Acceptance Letter? 

In October 2010, I responded to an online call, I think it was through Savvy Author, for my story’s log line. Carina Press responded and asked for the blurb. They came back a second time for the first three chapters. The call came in February 2011.

Angela James, the acquisition editor called me. I couldn’t place who she was. Her name was familiar but… I never expected to get a call from her. After calming down, she told me the great news. I was soaring. When the email came with the contract I was in tears. 

WOW. If I had Angela James calling me, I’d be speechless. Sometimes the romance genre gets a bad reputation for being cliché and full of Fabios. How do you respond to that?

I have family members who will tease about body rippers, soft porn. I REALLY get angry. At first, I smiled and said nothing. I remember my mother telling me, ‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.’

It was hard at a small dinner party at my next-door neighbor who proudly took out my first book, the one with half naked man and told everyone I was the author. Our other neighbor, a literature teacher at a private school, said romances don’t have any plots and are just excuses for one bedroom scene after another.

My books don’t have bedroom scenes. I’m a spicy, but closed-door person. That said, I spoke about how romance stories started. That were written for women, by women, who lived repressed lives without any rights, not even to their own children. It was a man’s world. And when women began to take their rights, dare to venture into the man’s world, there was pushback. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter in response to what he called “that damned mob of scribbling women” whose work routinely outsold his. Here is an excellent article by Maya Rodale with a more complete answer.

Good for you for standing up for yourself. I’d be angry too. Any advice for the aspiring authors out there? Particularly those who are feeling a little discouraged?

First, congratulations for aspiring. That is really the first step. So many people ponder but never do anything about it. If you’ve written your first book, even a rough draft, let me give you a WELL DONE! 

While you’re busy writing, take time to build your audience so they are there and ready when your book is published. It’s chatting on Facebook, Instagram, TicTok, whatever social media you choose. Talk about you, what you’re writing, your research, and even share some excerpts.

And if you feel discouraged along the way know that it is part of the process. Our stories thrive on conflict. Sometimes we put our characters, the ones we feel closest to, the ones we come to love through the worse nightmare.

So true. Thank you for chatting with me, Ruth. I wish you the best of luck with your latest book.

The Lady and Her Duke
Book 3 of The Ladies of Sommer-by-the-Sea

by Ruth A. Casie

Welcome to Sommer-by-the-Sea, a vibrant village nestled on the rugged northeast coast of England, 15 miles north of Newcastle upon Tyne. Here, the world is centered on the country village and the lives of the landowning and professional families. Sommer-by-the-Sea is populated with aristocrats, gentry, self-made men, shop owners, local workers, and servants, a cross-section of the people of the time. Steeped in history dating back as far as the Vikings, the villagers are proud and celebrate their heritage.

Everyone from the elite summer residents to the year-round residence keep businesses flourishing and gossip thriving. As with any small town, there are challenges and successes, secrets, disagreements, and feuds. There is no shortage of romance, mystery, drama, and even a murder or two.

Graduates of the Sommer-by-the-Sea Female Seminary have a unique education. Along with the usual studies available, the head mistress has nurtured each woman’s innate ability and helped them develop into the women they are today. This shared unique experience has kept the graduates close.

Each lady has her own story to tell as she is called to action and must demonstrate she is smart, strong and sensible and must challenge the accepted definition of a “woman’s place.” For these women, arranged or political marriages will not do. If she chooses a husband, it will be for love, on her own terms, and with a man who will accept her as a partner.  

It is with pleasure I introduce you to The Ladies of Sommer-by-the-Sea, and their stories.

The Lady and Her Duke

Could she use her skills as a lockpick to crack open the secrets to the murder
as well as unlock his heart?

Lady Katherine Thornton has no interest in men after an indiscretion at her disastrous Season in London. No man can be trusted. Instead, she indulges in her fascination for gears and all things mechanical. Her unique drafting skill is an asset to her uncle Bennett Sutton, who is automating his textile factory. She doesn’t need anything else.

Lord Ian Wallace, the 4th Duke of Blackhall, is a retired military officer. An accidental duke after the deaths of his father and brother, he retreats from society and the clawing mothers and debutantes who stalk him. He’s focused all his energy on his partnership with Sutton. He’s satisfied and needs nothing else.

An oath to marry, a family legend to preserve, an uprising of the factory workers, and Sutton’s murder, throw Katherine and Wallace together to find a blackmailer and murderer. They also will find two things neither knew they were missing… each other and their happily ever after.

Chapter One

June 20, 1815
Royston Mills, Baycliff Woods

The blast of a pistol shattered the quiet afternoon. Shouts and screams rose, their sound carrying into the surrounding area. In a clearing by the lake where the wood bordered the village, the shock and chaos subsided into a deafening silence.

Lord Ian Wallace knelt next to his business partner, Bennett Sutton. His bruised and bloody face was a mess of soot and gunpowder. Wallace glanced over his shoulder, signaling his valet.

“Water. Quick. His eyes need to be flushed.” Wallace wavered between restraint and rage as he ministered to Sutton. “Stay calm and whatever you do, keep your eyes closed.” His hands ran over Sutton’s torso checking for injuries. He found none, other than the small tremors he assumed were from shock.

“I’m dying.” Sutton spoke not in disbelief, but in resignation, as if his dying was an undisputed conclusion.

Wallace’s chest tightened at the sound of those words. He had heard them before from the injured men he commanded in Spain. For a moment he was back on the battlefield going from man to man comforting them, waiting for medical attention and, in too many cases, saying good-bye.

“Swear to me.” Sutton, agitated and breathing hard, reached up and grabbed his lapel. “Swear to me you’ll marry my niece, Ivy-Rose.”

What niece? Sutton had a niece?

“Swear it!”

“Yes, yes. I swear.” In a fit of rage, he’d say anything to escape from the madman. It was luck that Sutton’s gun misfired. He gazed at his friend and partner in disbelief. From the moment his valet pulled him to the ground he found it difficult to comprehend why his friend and partner tried to kill him, tried to shoot him in the back.

Sutton tugged on his lapels. “No, on your honor as a gentleman. Swear it.” Another tug. Bennett’s strength was waning.

Wallace’s anger softened. The man had to be kept calm. Roddy, his foreman, and Lord Ryder Whitaker had gone to fetch Dr. Price. The doctor had left the clearing when Sutton called off the duel.

“Swear it.” The man sounded as if it was his last breath.

“As a gentleman, I, Lord Ian Wallace, 4th Duke of Blackhall, promise to marry your Ivy-Rose.” He bent closer to him. “Is that better?”

Sutton released his lapels and slumped onto the ground, his breath coming in spurts.

* * * *

The Lady and Her Duke is available for free at Kindle Unlimited

About the Author…

Ruth A Casie is a USA Today bestselling author. She writes historical adventures from the shores of medieval Scotland to the cobblestone streets of Regency London. Her stories embrace strong woman and the men who deserve them. Within the pages you’ll discover ‘edge-of-your-seat suspense, mind boggling drama, and heart melting emotions. Grab your favorite cup of tea, or an ale if you prefer, and join her heroes and heroines as they race across the pages to find their happily ever after.  Ruth hopes her stories are your next favorite adventures!

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  1. Amber – thank you very much for hosting me today.

    1. You’re so welcome, Ruth. Please visit anytime.

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