Absolutely thrilled to have Christi Caldwell here today–the sassy mom–superstar who writes amazing stories that touch so many people…
USA Today bestselling author, Christi Caldwell blames Judith McNaught’s “Whitney, My Love,” for luring her into the world of historical romance. While sitting in her graduate school apartment at the University of Connecticut, Christi decided to set aside her notes and try her hand at writing romance. She believes the most perfect heroes and heroines have imperfections and she rather enjoys tormenting them before crafting a well-deserved happily ever after!
Christi makes her home in Southern Connecticut where she spends her time writing, chasing around her feisty six-year old son and caring for her twin princesses in training!
Describe the moment when the romance bug hit you. What did you do with your first completed manuscript, share it with the world or hide it in a bottom drawer.
I discovered Jude Deveraux’s “Eternity” when I was 13 years old. I read that book. And then every other book she’d written. I moved on to Julie Garwood and Judith McNaught. I loved writing from that early age as well, but didn’t sit down to ‘seriously’ write until I was a graduate student at UConn. I wrote night after night. And queried (the old fashioned style) by mailing it off to agents and editors with SASE.
Thank God it’s 2015!
With an incredible career and loyal fans lining up to get your next story, are any of your own books or characters especially memorable to you?
All of my books are my ‘babies’ in some way. Yet “Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride”, “Once a Wallflower, At Last His Love” and my entire Heart of a Duke collection are deeply personal to me. When my son was born and I discovered he had Down syndrome, I remember reading a number of romance novels and feeling a disconnect with the perfect heroes and heroines presented upon the page. I wanted to connect with real heroes and heroines who faced adversity and triumphed with the ultimate happily-ever-after. That drove “Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride”. “Once a Wallflower, At Last His Love” explores some of the fears, hopes and dreams I have as the mother of a child with special needs for each of my children; so that was particularly poignant for me as the author.
As for the Heart of a Duke series; the idea for twin heroines came to me when I was expecting my own twin girls. I was prepared at 20 weeks to lose them due to my preterm labor complications. (That is something you can never prepare for.) So I allowed my hopes and dreams for these counter-opposite sisters to play out upon the pages. It saved me from dissolving into the fears that were threatening to consume me.
Tell us about your latest release.
My latest release, “The Love of a Rogue” tells the story of a brokenhearted heroine, Lady Imogen Moore, whose sister ran off with her betrothed. Imogen has sworn off charming rogues like the man she’d had her heart broken by. Enter, Lord Alex Edgerton—her best friend’s brother, and a notorious rogue. Sparks fly from the get-go. Of course, there is more to Alex than Society sees—but it is up to Imogen to see that…and it is up to him to let her see it.
Can you share a favorite scene?
My hero and heroine have a shared love and interest in everything Shakespeare. I thought it was interesting to explore a rake with a love for the master poet. There is a scene in which they are at the theatre; and he begins to seduce her with the words of Shakespeare. I think there is something sexy about a man who quotes Shakespeare!
I love first impressions, what was the hero’s first impression of the heroine?
Tart-mouthed, frowning, and eager to be free of her! LOL.
Regency is such an incredible and competitive genre to write in. However, if you could be a bestseller in any other genre, what would you choose? Why?
I’d write Scottish romance. I have had a love affair with well-crafted historical romances set in Scotland since early on when I’d read Julie Garwood’s “The Secret”!
Name your favorite real life hero. How has he/she influenced your life?
I say my life can be split into two parts; who I was before my son Rory was born. And who I became after. When Rory was born, I learned he had Down syndrome. I had this tiny little human-being, so beautiful, and yet who had to work so very hard for everything he did. Things that came natural to most babies and people; eating, rolling, walking, talking—all of that, he fought to accomplish. He taught me the meaning of strength and courage and real power. Through him, I looked at my imperfect world and saw the true splendor in imperfection. I celebrated that what makes us unique, makes us interesting…and those are the heroes and heroines I strive to capture—real individuals with struggles we can relate to.
Any suggestions for new authors attempting to master the complicated world of marketing?
I wish. I spend my days writing and mommying all day so the ‘marketing’ end of the industry is my weakness.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned from your journey as a writer?
It can be quite shattering to submit your work to publishers and/or agents and be told no, time and time and time (or in my case, easily 150 times). At one time, that rejection devastated me. It is hard because as writers, we pour pieces of our heart and soul into each book. However, I’ve come to accept that I tell the story that speaks to me and some will connect with the words upon the page, but not everyone will—no matter how much we wish it, hope for it, or strive for it. There will be readers/reviewers/editors/agents who just don’t connect. If you become mired in pleasing everyone, then you can never truly hear the voices of the heroes and heroines asking to have their story told.
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Actor/Actress: Bill Nighy
Favorite Movie: Love Actually
Favorite century and why?: the 19th century—so much amazing history; though heartbreaking for the years of war.
Favorite Food: Pork Fried Dumplings
Least favorite vegetable: Beets
Favorite romantic place: Bald Head Island
First boyfriend/How old?/Why did you like him?: Doug/15/He was tall and powerful but quiet and kind. (In fact, I ‘liked’ him so much, I married him!
Describe yourself in 5 words: Dedicated, Compassionate, Loving, Hopeful, Determined
The gorgeous cover…
Alex leaned close. His breath tickled her ear. “See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! O, that I were a glove upon that hand, that I might caress that cheek.”
Her heart fluttered and she dropped her hand to her lap, clutching the fabric. “T-touch,” she corrected. “That you m-might touch that cheek.”
“Yes, and yet a caress is so much more meaningful than a mere touch, wouldn’t you say, Imogen?” Alex slid his gloved hand over hers, staying her distracted movement.
Yes, oh goodness, she quite agreed. His touch coupled with his knowledge of Shakespeare was heady stuff, indeed. “You read Shakespeare,” she said, unable to keep the shock from her statement.
He turned the very question she’d put to him that last week, on her. “Are you surprised?” Suddenly, he stopped that gentle stroking and she mourned the loss of that seductive little movement. She bit the inside of her lip to keep from begging him to continue.
“N-not at all.” She was however, surprised he read the romantic words of William Shakespeare. Nor did she care for this side of Alex. This shared love and fascination of The Bard’s works that made him more human than rake.
“I find myself surprised by you.” He slipped his fingers into hers, intertwining the digits. His hand strong and powerful, hers fragile and delicate against it, and yet somehow perfectly paired. “You intrigue me.”
“Why would that be?” Her heart thumped erratically at his touch, his words. With the exception of her broken betrothal and flaming-red hair, nothing had earned the notice of anyone—until Alex. “There is nothing unordinary about me.” William’s fickle interest had proven testament to that.
“There is everything extraordinary about you,” His lips nearly brushed her ear and when he spoke in that husky, mellifluous whisper, she could almost believe it. “You quote Shakespeare, sweet Imogen?” His strong, powerful fingers tightened about hers in a seductively possessive grip.
Here in the midst of polite Society with a theatre full of lords and ladies looking for the next piece of gossip, he’d enthralled her. “I do.” Not always intentionally. Imogen swallowed and stole a glance about, but Chloe sat perched at the edge of the box, engrossed in the show below. She looked about the theatre. How could anyone not see that with each stroke of his hand over hers, Alex threw her world into greater tumult?
“You hate shopping, but you enjoy the theatre.” With infinite slowness, he rolled her satin theatre glove slowly down her arm and then freed each finger from the restrictive confines. Imogen darted her gaze about. Surely someone knew the seductive game Alex now played. Yet even two seats apart, her friend remained engrossed in the production below. Wholly uncaring of who might observe his bold touch, Alex whispered, “What manner of woman are you?” He rested her glove upon his lap.
She sucked in a breath at his intimate caress. “Wh-what are—?”
“Shh,” he whispered. Alex stroked his thumb in small, soothing circles about her palm eliciting all manner of delicious shivers that radiated at the point of contact and spread through her.
Her chest heaved up and down with slow, shallow breaths. His was just a hand and his fingers moved in a really innocuous movement, except… Imogen bit her lower lip as he rubbed his thumb over the wildly fluttering pulse at her wrist. The small, seductive grin upon his lips indicated he knew he’d roused her senses.
“Romeo had the wrong of it, Imogen.” His husky murmur stirred her belly.
She shouldn’t engage in this seductive game with him. It was outrageous and meant nothing to him. “I-in what way do you believe?” She could no sooner quell the question on her lips than she could stop the beating of her own heart.
He studied her through thick, black lashes. “I’d not feel your gloved hand upon me. I’d have your naked palm caressing me, touching me.”
God forgive her. Her lids fluttered madly. She still was the same weak, romantic fool she’d always been. Alex had only opened her eyes to the passion she carried inside, made all the more dangerous by the shred of hope she clung to—to love and be loved.
Where to connect with Christi…
Where to find her book…
Thanks for stopping by today Christi, hugs.