Archive for November 20th, 2008


Hello Everyone,

Well, it’s pretty hard to follow a post on the “Sexiest Man Alive.” But hey, my heroes are pretty sexy. Granted they aren’t movie stars (seeing as I write Regency-set historicals, that might raise a few eyebrows) but they are great dancers, gorgeous dressers and are experts at wielding a sword . . .

However, I digress.

I’m actually here to talk about my heroines. Actually, they are pretty sexy too. And they aren’t afraid of crossing steel with the men . . . and coming out on top. For you see, they are spies.

So, why spies? After watching all the old James Bond movies for more times than I care to count, I began to think—how come the boys have all the fun? They always get to be the spies. Or the pirates. (As a kid, I always wanted to be the knight who slayed the dragon, not the damsel in distress.)

Which may explain why I decided to turn tradition on its ear and create a trio of leading ladies capable of beating the men at their own game. My “Spy” trilogy is a swashbuckling, sexy series featuring three best friends who have trained at Mrs. Merlin’s Academy for Select Young Ladies, a secret school for female spies. (Think James Bond meets Jane Austen!) Bold, beautiful, and oh-so dangerous, they are England’s ultimate secret weapons—ladies that no mission can daunt and no man can resist.

In The Scarlet Spy, which hit the bookshelves last month, you will meet Sofia, the most ladylike of “Merlin’s Maidens.” She possesses a natural grace and grandeur to go along with her deadly arsenal of martial skills—which makes her the perfect choice for undertaking a dangerous dance of deception through the highest circles of London Society. Assigned to investigate rumors of government corruption, she must spin through the glittering ballrooms of Mayfair and the sinister slums of the city in search of the truth. One misstep on her part could prove fatal, so Sofia knows she can’t afford any distractions as she works to unravel the tangled web of deceit and lies. But keeping the sinfully sexy Deverill Osborne at arm’s length is a real test of her mettle.

Handsome, witty and charming, Osborne—dubbed “Lord Sunshine” by his peers—is the darling of the ton. (Definitely the Sexiest Man Alive . . . in 1813!) So when he is asked by the Marquess of Lynsley to introduce a lovely young Italian contessa into Society, he is only too happy to oblige. A little harmless flirtation is all part of the game. However he soon suspects that the contessa is playing a far more serious game. She seems drawn to the dark, dissipated side of city life, and when he catches her stealing valuables from a gentleman’s study, he’s torn between what to think. Should he believe the worst? Or should he trust the tantalizing murmur of her words . . . and the sultry, sensuous whispers of her body.

So what happens? Well, sparks fly—quite literally, that is—when they . . . Oh, but that would be spoiling all the fun! I hope you’ll want to read all about her adventure. (For a sneak peek at the first chapter, please visit my website at: www.andreapickensonline.com. And while you are there, be sure to sign up for my mailing list, and the chance to win an autographed copy of both The Scarlet Spy and The Raven Prince, the award-winning historical romance by my fabulous fellow Grand Central Publishing author Elizabeth Hoyt.)

Now, at this point you may be wondering—why set a swashbuckling story in Regency England? I admit, I’ve had some readers complain that my books are “not traditional Regencies.” Actually, I take that as a great compliment. But I’ll also point out that those who think Regency England was simply a rather boring Polite World of formal tea parties and elegant balls, governed by rigid rules of decorum are missing the real depth and texture of the era.

I love the Regency because it was a fabulously interesting time and place—a world aswirl in silks, seduction and the intrigue of the Napoleonic Wars. Radical new ideas were clashing with the conventional thinking of the past. People were questioning the fundamentals of society, and as a result they were fomenting changes in every aspect of life. For example, you had Beethoven composing emotional symphonies, Byron composing wildly romantic poetry about individual angst, J.M.W. Turner dabbling in impressionistic watercolors and Mary Wollstonecraft writing the first feminist manifestos.

So trust me, London was a pretty swinging city in the early 1800s. You had drugs, you had sex, you had bad boy—and bad girl—celebrities partying hard and flaunting their wealth. And you had women rebelling against their traditional roles. Gossip and scandal were a big part of everyday life. If you look at the satirical prints by Rowlandson and Gilray, you’ll see that they were as cutting as any press coverage today—and society just ate them up! As for sex, the lords and ladies of the Regency were pretty wild. Why do you think their children rebelled and became the Victorians? So as an author, I can’t help feeling, oh, what a perfect setting for an unconventional heroine to test her mettle.

All of which is to say that I believe historical romances can be every bit as exciting, sexy, and relevant to modern readers as contemporary stories. I hope those of you who haven’t read historicals lately will give them a try!

Thanks for having me here today at Romance Readers at Heart. And remember, everyone—books make wonderful presents for the holidays!

*****Leave a comment for the chance to win a copy of THE SCARLET SPY. There will be six winners. Good Luck! 🙂

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