Interview with Kate Archer, Author of The Lord’s Desperate Pledge

08 Dec 2020

What can you tell us about your new release, The Lord’s Desperate Pledge?

This is the third book of the series, The Dukes’ Pact. Six older dukes are fed up with their eldest sons not getting around to marrying and producing heirs, so they put them under extreme financial pressure to force them into it. The bachelor lords, naturally, resist. They will all be defeated, one by one, by my fearless heroines.

This is book three and Lord Ashbridge is a renowned, and arrogant, gambler. Lily Farnsworth has paid for her season via a particular skill at piquet. When these two card players collide, they despise one another. Until they stumble on a dangerous plot and are forced to work together.

 I had such fun with these two. Ashbridge presents a cool exterior, but the fact is, he’d watched in horror when his inheritance came very close to ruin and takes his responsibility to keep his family afloat very seriously. Lily grew up fighting off creditors and has developed nerves of steel on account of it. Both of them are prickly, and so very well suited to one another.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I always had a vague idea that I should write something, but it wasn’t until I lived in the Caribbean that I got started. I owned a small restaurant (VERY small) and the slow season for tourists leaves a lot of time on your hands. One year, I decided to write a children’s book for my young niece and nephew. It was terrible—far too long and way too many characters—but I was hooked! A lot of practice novels later, here we are. I have tried so many things in my life—SCUBA instructor, restaurant owner, Emergency Medical Technician, Wall Street consultant—this is the one that stuck.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice, then Emma, then Sense and Sensibility

Charles Dickens David Copperfield, then A Christmas Carol

Georgette Heyer – Devil’s Cub or really anything she wrote for something light and fun

Mark Helprin: A Soldier of the Great War – a lovely, lovely book, don’t be put off by war being in the title

Frances Hodgson Burnett: The Little Princess – the first full length novel I ever read (and read and read). It’s worth it for the attic transformation scene alone—Ram Dass can break into my house anytime!

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

Well, it has to be Jane Austen. So many questions! How did she revise without a computer? Where did her ideas come from? Were her characters based on people she knew? Does she wish she got married, or did she retain her sense of romance by avoiding the day-to-day of marriage? How would Sanditon have ended? What book was she going to write after Sanditon? Could she elaborate on her literary techniques for comedic characters? Now that she’s back to life and can see what came after, does she think Charles Dickens studied those techniques? Which Pride and Prejudice movie or miniseries does she prefer? (Please Jane, tell me it’s the one with Colin Firth) And on and on…

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

That I can leave this world behind and enter a world I’ve created. This has been particularly wonderful during the lockdown (I’m in the northeast, so since March). Writing is a fantastic way to get out of your own head. As well, it’s all mine until it’s published and I love noodling around with sentences and finding just the right word or image that I was looking for.

What is a typical day like for you?

During the week I work in social services, which as you might imagine, is particularly grim right now. So many people who never needed help in their lives need help now. On the weekends, I write all day. I like those big stretches of time and am very protective of that schedule. Even before Covid, don’t bother calling me for Sunday brunch or trip to the mall—I’m not coming! I know my books are not a part of the essential response to the pandemic, but I hope they do what all books should—provide a respite from reality. Whether I’m writing or working, a good smoothie is essential. I keep a back-up Nutribullet on hand in case mine breaks and if you even hint you are interested in my recipes, I will send them!

What scene from The Lord’s Desperate Pledge was your favorite to write?

The final card game. I don’t want to say too much about it, but it is the culmination of Ashworth and Lily’s relationship and really the only place that could happen was at a card table. For comedy, I am also very fond of the scene when Lily’s intrepid butler prepares himself upon hearing that there have been housebreakers reported in the neighborhood—his bravery far exceeds his actual skills.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Onward! Anything short of death can usually be dealt with somehow. I used to be a worrier, constantly scanning all aspects of my life for something that needed fixing. I finally realized that time is often the great fixer. Obviously, this does not apply if your house in on fire, but rarely is your house actually on fire. It is our nature as evolved animals to be always scanning the horizon for danger, and our thoughts can be consumed with emergencies that haven’t happened and never will happen. This particularly plagues adults, as it seems responsible to anticipate problems…but too much anticipation only leads to spending your life needlessly worrying.

Kate Archer is the author of The Lord’s Desperate Pledge.

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