Interview with Author Erin Kane Spock

My guest today is author Erin Kane Spock. Hello! Welcome to Writing in the Modern Age! It’s such a pleasure to have you here.

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?

Courtly Pleasures, my debut novel, was released December 4th, 2017. So far the reviews have been good. It’s exciting to see people enjoying my books. The trade paperback version is available for pre-order now. I’m really looking forward to getting my copy. I think the fact that I am published will finally feel real at that point.
Book two of the Courtly Love series, Courtly Scandals, is available for pre-order now as well with a release date of 3/19/2018.

Wow! Congratulations on your new books! 

Is there anything else which prompted Courtly Pleasures
? Something that inspired you?

I used to participate in an Elizabethan living history group and played the part of Frances Pierrepoint. When I researched her history I found very little other than births and deaths, so I filled in the blanks around her many children. When I, myself, had children, I became more interested in her role as a mother. My original interpretation was that she would have been very practical about the common occurrence of infant mortality. Once I was an actual mother, my perspective changed and I imagined how dark and deep her grief must have been. In Courtly Pleasures, I changed her name and gave her a happily ever after. Even though I couldn’t take away the pain, I could give her a true partner to share it with.
That's so inspiring!

Let me ask this...

When did you know you wanted to write? Or has it always been a pastime of yours?

I always liked writing: journaling, short stories, poems, plays, etc. but never took myself seriously. It wasn’t until I finished my first manuscript, that I realized writing was something more than messing around when I should be doing something productive.

That's true. It's hard work, and at lot more goes into the profession than most people realize.

Do you have any favorite authors yourself, Erin?

I have too many to name. I am currently reading a collection of short stories by Eloisa James (who redefined romance for me). I am also reading the second book of the Blackburn Chronicles, a steampunk saga by Raquel Byrnes. I’ve been listening to Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas via Audible (it makes me look forward to my commute). With so many writing obligations, it’s been hard to find time to read, but it’s as important as writing.
I love Eloisa James! I haven't read too many of her books, maybe two or three, but I liked the ones I read. 

I know what you mean about how difficult it is finding time to read. :( you write in a specific place? Time of day?

I write where and when I can. I’m a teacher and a mother. My “office” is my dining room and my free moments are built around the school day and dance practice car pools. Half of my writing is in spiral notebooks.
Oh, I hear you! When I'm finally done with writing a book, I have a huge file folder full of a filled notebook and spare sheets of notes or printouts of the actual story. This is on top of all the electronic data I keep. (Laughs.)

Erin, are there any words you'd like to impart to fellow writers? Any advice?

I would advise writers to write. Keep writing forward and don’t get caught up on making every paragraph perfect right away. That perfect paragraph won’t matter if you never finish the book. I would also advise writers to join a writing community. Even if you don’t actually like people, being part of a group that shares the same passions will broaden your scope and give you access to resources. If you do find a group or friend who is willing to help your journey, be grateful for the gift of their time. You may not agree with a critique or input, but it all goes toward making you better at your craft. I know I certainly have more to learn and every book I write is better than the last. That could not have happened in a vacuum.
Too right! Such great advice!

Thank you so much for stopping by to visit us here today at Writing in the Modern Age. It was wonderful having you!  :)

Readers, here is the blurb for Courtly Pleasures.

What’s a neglected wife to do when her husband doesn’t know she exists? Create a scandal, of course, in this delightful Elizabethan romp.

After ten years of marriage, Frances LeSieur has faded into her role as a lady wife and mother. She has no idea who she is as a woman. So Frances joins Queen Elizabeth’s glittering court and discovers a part of herself she never knew existed—and one she’s sure her neglectful husband would never notice.

Henry has always done his duty to family and crown despite his own desires. When Frances asks for a separation then transforms into a confident and vibrant courtier, he’s floored—and finds himself desperate to learn what makes her tick, both in and out of the bedroom. After years of silent alienation, can he woo her back, or will he lose this intoxicating woman to one of the rakes hell-bent on having her?

As Frances and Henry come to realize that living is not merely surviving, can they create a second chance at love before it’s too late?
Here is an excerpt from the book.

“I trust this morning has found you well.” Frances feigned a casual tone that she did not feel.

His mouth quirked in a half smile and, still holding her gloved hand, he leaned against the arched gatepost in the guardhouse kitchen garden. “I do very well and thank you for asking.”
She heard the humor behind the banal pleasantry and wondered if he’d ever shown that trait before. “You are welcome,” she murmured the expected reply.
Silence stretched, heavy with the weight of everything unsaid. Uncomfortable with the pleasant mask in place once more, Frances held her head high and did not wring her hands. Nor did she honestly smile or, well, anything. Proper, always proper.
“My lord husband,” Frances stiffened her spine and gathered her courage. Just like last night’s wine, it was better out than in. “How did I come to be in my room last night?”
“Were you truly that far in your cups? I didn’t know you had it in you.”
“Answer my question, please.” She held her ground, fists planted on the pleats springing from her hips. “And, yes,” she admitted, “I have never been drunk before, and it does not sit well with my constitution. I remember very little.”
A spark of an idea flared to life. Could she pretend she didn’t remember the kiss? Frances looked up to see him watching her.
“So, Frances,” why did her name sound so personal when he said it, “what do you think of court thus far?”
She watched his lips. “You shaved your beard.”
“You changed your hair.”
She raised a hand to her head and tucked a stray tendril behind her ear. She had known this man for ten years, laid with him, born his children—this should not be so painfully awkward. She turned away and walked to the bench at the far side of the garden, shooing a chicken out of her way so she could sit.
“Did you know it was me last night?” Henry’s words broke the silence once more.
“At the masque? No, I did not recognize you.” She resisted the urge to look back at him, to analyze the newly shaven curve of his chin for similarities to the husband she pictured.
“You flirted with me,” he continued, sitting beside her on the bench, crushing her skirts.
“I flirted with everyone. I’ve learned that is the way of the court. It would be strange if I didn’t.” She tugged on the fabric to no avail. “It means nothing.”
“You kissed me.”
She raised her chin and met his warm gaze. “No, you kissed me. I cooperated.”
His lips curved in a smile that hinted at a familiarity of years but seemed so new. “You liked it.”
She looked down at her lap and cleared her throat. “As you pointed out, I was in my cups. I did not know myself. It could have been anyone kissing me.” And that was the hard truth. She never saw, not really, the man she’d kissed. Given that, would anyone’s kiss have roused her the way it had?
“That does you little credit, wife.”
She snapped her eyes to his, his harsh tone snuffing out the building warmth in her belly. “Would it matter if I were to kiss another man? It was, after all, only a kiss. Those are traded about the court like sweetmeats.”
“It could have become more than a kiss very easily.”
“Really? You have me at a disadvantage in that, my lord husband. The first time I shared a kiss with you was on our wedding day. That kiss led only to breakfast. The other times were equally perfunctory, like we had a set of rules to follow. Kiss, couple, and good night. We never moved past the awkwardness of the wedding night. We were children then and never grew up. Not together.” And all of it, every experience wrapped up together, was nothing, nothing, like what she remembered from last night. The past kisses, past coupling, had been obligatory and unpleasant. Last night’s kiss was actually intimate.
Anger warred with wistful longing over what they could have had, at everything that their marriage was not. She wondered how the memories played out from his perspective. Had he been as nervous, as frightened, on their wedding night as she?
The only answer was the clucking of a hen as it worked its way around the garden at their feet.
“It matters.”
“What?” her voice came out embarrassingly breathless.
“Whom you kiss.”
Again that blighted warmth blossomed in her center at the idea that he cared. She swallowed against it. “Why? Does it matter whom you kiss?”
“Me?” He laughed, actually laughed. “I do not go about court kissing ladies.”
It was her turn to laugh, a bitter sound. “I agree on that point. Baroness Sheffield is no lady.”
He raised a brow, that hint of mirth sparkling in his eye. “While I do not disagree, I wonder what makes you think I shared a kiss with Baroness Sheffield.”
“Now that I think on it, it was not a kiss that she said you shared. My mistake.”
“Upon my honor, I have had no relations, kissing or anything more, with Baroness Sheffield.” His affront faded into a smile. “Frances, are you jealous?”
“Jealous? Me? That would be unseemly.” She fanned herself. “I think that it is you who are jealous of whom I might kiss.”
“But you kissed me.”
“I had little say in the matter.”
“You will not accuse me of forcing your hand. You kissed me back.”
She nodded, unable to pretend she had not been a willing participant. Whatever happened next, she would hold dear that memory of strong arms, soft lips, and heat. In that moment, she’d known she was wanted, and no matter how drunk she’d been or what an arse her husband may be...God’s teeth, even the thought made her chest tight and her mouth dry.
She looked up to find him staring at her. His lashes, too long to belong on a man, framed a gaze so dark she couldn’t help but stare. “What?” She ran a hand over her coiled hair and straightened the pleated collar of her partlet. “Is aught amiss, my lord husband?”
Again, tingles ran across her skin at the sound of his voice. She couldn’t tell if it was fear or, what? Anticipation? He leaned closer, and she bit her lip.
“Please, Frances, I would have you call me Henry.”
“Henry,” she whispered, her gaze shifting from his eyes to his lips. Was he going to kiss her? He was! Oh goodness, should she let him? Her jaw tightened as she leaned away, back stiff and eyes wide. Wait, no—why not? With a worried grimace, she squeezed her eyes shut, puckered her lips, and waited.
And waited.
Frances opened one eye to find him with his head cocked, regarding her with raised brows.
“What?” she asked, running a self-conscious hand over her bodice, her cheeks.
He smiled and asked, “Did you wish for me to kiss you?”
She straightened. Of course Henry wouldn’t kiss her. That would be the behavior of a lover, not a husband. Damn his pride—hers stung more than ever. “I pray pardon, my lord husband. I forgot myself.”
“No, my lord. We have never been familiar with each other, and I see no reason to change the nature of our relationship.” She stood and shook out her skirts. To think she’d wondered what he thought of her new gowns, her new role as a lady of the court. She would not care because he could not.

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It certainly sounds like an intriguing read! We'll be sure to check out this historical romance!


Author Bio


Erin Kane Spock began writing in earnest (with the goal of finishing an actual book rather than a lot of small projects) ten years ago. That book, a historical romance, led to two more historical romances and then she veered in a different direction altogether and wrote a suspenseful ghost story with romantic elements. Then another supernatural, and started toying with a contemporary series. Courtly Pleasures is the current incarnation of that first book (very much changed). 

Erin lives in Southern California with her husband, two daughters, an old-lady dog, and a new puppy (the older dog is displeased). She is a teacher and an active Irish dance mom. And yes, Spock is her real last name -- it's Polish, not Vulcan.

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