HA: Rachel, welcome back to Homeschool Authors.
Rachel: Thank you. I am delighted to be visiting again.
HA: What inspired Duty?
Rachel: Someone else’s opening line inspired Duty. I was hosting a contest to celebrate my blog’s 100th. Entrants submitted possible opening lines, I chose one, and the prize would be a short story beginning with the winning opening line. Well, the estimated length ended up being a bit low.
HA: What is the most encouraging review of the series you have received so far?
Rachel: My mother, who is a tough critic when it comes to books, said it was the best I have written so far. That made my day.
HA: What do you plan to read this summer?
Rachel: I am currently reading The Secrets of Gwenla by Laurie Penner. Next on my list is Five Glass Slippers: A Collection of Cinderella Stories.
HA: What are some of your favorite books of all time?
Rachel: Besides the Bible, I have a very hard time choosing. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Rose in Bloom by Louise May Alcott have both been long time favorites.
HA: Can you give us a sneak peek into your work-in-progress?
Rachel: I just finished writing Honor, the sequel to Duty. It tells part of the story of Simon Cordale the Earl of Dentin. In Duty, he comes across as a harsh character at times. He can be strong willed, opinionated, and hard to understand, which made him a very interesting character to write as a romantic lead. Also, finding a woman who balances him well became quite a challenge. His leading lady manages it beautifully. She doesn’t let him bully her and can be just as stubborn as he is.
“Would you move your elbow, my lord?”
I startled at the feminine voice almost next to my ear. I looked over my shoulder and up into dark, velvety brown eyes. The corner of Elsa’s mouth twitched. I suddenly realized I was staring. “I am sorry?”
“Your elbow, my lord, is resting on my seat.”
“Pardon,” I quickly rose, pulling the heavy chair out for her.
Her eyebrows rose. I didn’t get a chance to guess why before she turned her face away.
Once she was seated, I returned to my place. The first course arrived. As custom dictated, I offered first cut to her. She accepted it graciously, but made no move to eat.
“Are you not hungry?” I asked as I lifted a bit of meat to my mouth.
She didn’t respond, sipping some of the water in her cup instead. I watched her as I chewed. The growing patch of rose on the curve of her cheek indicated she knew of my scrutiny. Tomas remained absorbed in conversation with Brielle so nothing distracted me from my natural curiosity.
She took a deep breath and straightened her slim shoulders. “Staring is rude, my lord.”
“So is refusing to answer a query.”
“Not refusal, my lord. I was gathering my thoughts.”
“You do not strike me as one who often struggles with finding words.”
She laughed softly, eyes still focused on the food before her. “No, my lord, I have words a plenty, just few suitable for your ears.”
“Truly?” I couldn’t help the smile tugging at my mouth. “I assure you, miss, I am not a lad freshly freed from leading strings. It takes much to turn my ears red.”
“I wouldn’t have guessed.” She stole a glance at my ears, skillfully avoiding my gaze despite my attempts to engage her dark eyes before they hid again in the shadow of her lashes. “Your ears have turned pink at least twice since our meeting. I wager I could easily turn them again.”
She very likely could, I realized suddenly. Still, I wanted her to try. “What would you like to bet?”
That brought up her face. Eyes widened in shock, her countenance lost all color. “Oh, no, my lord. My mother would take me to task if I wagered anything. It wouldn’t be lady-like.”
I almost bought her act until I detected a twitch about her mouth.
I laughed. I couldn’t help it.
HA: What should readers expect when they read Duty?
Rachel: The story focuses on the relationship of the heroine, Brielle, and the Earl of Irvaine who married her by proxy, sight unseen. Plucked from everything she has ever known, she must forge a relationship with her new noble husband who acts more like a common soldier than a nobleman. Romance, adventure, and action, the story doesn’t stop for a moment as the pair struggle to settle into their new duties.
HA: Do you have any final thoughts?
Rachel: I really appreciate this community of homeschool authors. It has been a blessing to meet others who share the love of written words and the common background of being schooled at home.