Today, I'm talking with romance author Michelle Miles about her historical time travel romance, One Knight Only.
1) Tell us about your book.
A snarky Faery princess, a Scottish knight with a gambling problem, and a murderous earl all add up to one thing: Trouble. Maggie’s medieval education never prepared her for life in the Middle Ages!
Do-gooder Maggie Chase throws her thesis out the window when she wakes up in the arms of a hot Scottish knight. When she realizes she’s somehow ended up back in time, she embraces the persona of Lady Margaret. But she may be in over her head when she realizes she has to keep the sexy knight alive during a jousting tournament in order to get back to her own time.
Sir Finian “Finn” McCullough is a gambling man and owes a very large debt to an evil earl who is after his family estate. When the beautiful and outgoing Maggie arrives in his bed, he can’t remember tupping her the night before and thinks she’s a spy for one of his neighboring clans. He intends to find her kinsman and return her safely but he can’t resist her charms, her smart mouth or her sex appeal. Instead he keeps her close, taking her with him to an important jousting tournament—one he has to win or lose his castle forever.
2) What inspired you to write this book?
This book was born from my love of the Middle Ages and knights in shining armor. I actually started writing this book back in 2005 as a straight historical romance. But then, for various reasons, it wasn’t working out and I lost interest. I picked it up again in 2008 and changed the opening and the heroine to a modern woman with modern sensibilities. Plus she was kind of a meddler, so that worked really well with the story. Then I got sidetracked again by other projects and ended up putting it down until late 2010. I was determined to finish it. I had the first draft done by January 2011 and off to critique partners. By this summer, I was submitting (and getting rejected). Then a friend suggested I send it to her editor at Ellora’s Cave and I had a contract within a week. I was ecstatic!
3) Historical fiction (even time traveling alt history) is a bit more difficult than contemporary material because you can't just think about the world around you. Did you have to do a lot of research for this book?
Oh, yes. I read a lot about jousting and tournaments – what they ate, drank, wore, how they talked, etc. I also researched tournament events. After doing lots of reading, I set my story in the mid-1300s in the early years of the Hundred Years’ War. Most tournaments were celebrations of his victories during the war and, by this time, ladies were expected to attend tourneys. After each day, the events were followed by a masque or a banquet where there was lots of dancing and drinking and revelry. One of my favorite books on jousting is slim but is full of color photographs and lots of great information called Knights at Tournament by Christopher Gravett. I love looking at this book. I tried hard to get the historical details of the tournament and jousting right.
4) Did you have more fun creating the hero or the heroine?
Great question! I think it depends on the story. For this one, I had a blast with both Maggie and Finn. They were both such great characters with a lot of depth – Maggie with her do-gooder attitude and always wanting to help people and Finn with his gambling problem. They were both a lot of fun to write and I found I missed them when I was through editing the book.
5) Why did you pick a tournament as a setting?
I’ve always loved the Middle Ages. We have a local ren fair, Scarborough Faire, and I used to go a lot. I always watched their mock-jousts when I went. I’ve been fascinated with this time period for years so it seemed natural to write a book with this setting.
6) There are entire romance sub-genres devoted to Scotsmen. What is it about medieval Scotsmen that appeals to romance readers?
I think it’s the sexy burr and the idea that he’s bigger, brawnier, and knows what he wants from his lady! Plus there’s something about a man in a kilt… ;)
7) What's next for you? You've written three different types of books, so it's hard to pigeon-hole you.
I never could decide what genre to write. Paranormal and fantasy romance are my first loves but it takes a while to learn how to worldbuild effectively. So my fallback was erotic contemporary romance. That’s where I first got published. All this to say my current project is a new fantasy/futuristic trilogy about a girl named River who is taken to live in a brothel. While there, she falls for one of her “gentlemen callers” and discovers she may not be who she always thought she was. I’ve finished the first draft and am ready to revise and send out to my critique partners. I’m also working on the sequel to One Knight Only, which is Derron’s and Elyne’s story.
You can find One Knight Only here.
If you want to get more from Michelle, she's all over the net: