REBECCA COHEN spends her days dreaming of a living in a Tudor manor house, or a Georgian mansion. Alas, the closest she comes to this is through her characters in her historical romance novels. She also dreams of intergalactic adventures and fantasy realms, but because she’s not yet got her space or dimensional travel plans finalised, she lives happily in leafy Hertfordshire, England, with her husband and young son. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and sloe gin with lemon tonic in the other.
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Hello, and welcome! Today I have the pleasure of chatting with Rebecca Cohen, the author of the newly-released novel James, Earl of Crofton.
JF: Rebecca, it’s lovely to see you, and congratulations on your new release! Now, tell us a few things about yourself. Five quickies, right off the top of your head. Go!
- I spent nearly seven years living in Switzerland, but my German is still terrible
- I studied microbiology and virology for my undergrad, and then biochemical engineering as a post-grad – yeah, I’m a proud nerd.
- I set one of novellas (Summer Season) in Cornwall, where the characters had a moonlight date on the same beach where my husband proposed.
- My son is so much of a mini me that the UK border control looked between us when returning to UK and said, “Yup, he’s definitely yours.”
- I’m love a long bath – more bubbles the better.
JF: Wow! That’s a really impressive background. I always love getting a peek at the lives of the people behind the books.
We all approach writing differently. How would you describe your process?
I’m a plotter – but I’m not such a stickler that I can’t switch if I get side-swiped by a character going off script. I like to build a skeleton of each chapter or scene (typed in block capitals) which I then write, sometimes in order but often I’ll jump ahead. I try to have most of a full draft in place before I do a read through to edit, but that doesn’t always happen.
JF: What inspired you to take the leap and write that first book?
I’d written copiously when I was younger, but then I went off and embarked in a science career and the writing was put to one side. Then I realised there was something missing in my life and started dabbling again, and a story came to mind but it didn’t really go so far. I bit the bullet and did an Open University diploma in Creative Writing which gave me the confidence to carry on writing and I wrote a story called Servitude – which was my first published novel. Unfortunately, having received my rights back from Dreamspinner Press, Servitude is currently out of print but I hope to self-published it and the rest of the series.
JF: I’ll look forward to reading that! Now, on to the good stuff. Tell us about James, Earl of Crofton.
James, Earl of Crofton is a m/m romance novel set in 1670, during the period of British history known as the Restoration. At the start of novel James is enjoying his life as viscount, living a merry life attending the court of Charles II, and encountering an enigmatic rogue called the Chivalrous Highwayman. He also takes a fancy to Adam Dowson, the son of a famous Cavalier general, although Adam is not as easily charmed as James would have hoped. His world is turned upside down when his father is unexpectedly taken ill and dies, leaving James, who doubt his own abilities, to become the earl. And he discovers that there are things going on below stairs at Crofton Hall that mean he needs to clear out the rotten apples in household.
JF: Ohhhhh that does sound intriguing…and full of intrigue! And everyone loves a Highwayman. Where did you get the idea for this story?
I decided a few years back that I’d like to build on the world and family I created in the Crofton Chronicles, a series set in Elizabethan England about Anthony Redbourn, the 1st Earl of Crofton and his actor lover, Sebastian Hewel. Those books were written from Sebastian’s point of view and I decide to write another novel from Anthony’s (Anthony, Earl of Crofton). That got me thinking about the Redbourn family and how they would have survived through the years, and I decided to select earls from various periods and tell their story. James appeared in the epilogue of Forever Hold His Peace, and I decided to start with him, during the Restoration which is a fascinating period. I have plans for two others: Charles (Regency) and Henry (Victorian).
Find Anthony, Earl of Crofton, right here.
JF: Wow! A house through generations — that’s a really interesting way to structure a series. I can’t wait to read the rest of them! What’s next for you?
I will be republishing several more of my ex-Dreamspinner Press back catalogue, the next being a sci-fi romance called Under Glass. But my next writing project is Making History at Crofton Hall, set at the modern-day Crofton Hall. I need to republish the first in the series, Saving Crofton Hall, in which Ben the 16th Earl needs to save his ancestral home, but Making History will uncover several secrets of the Redbourn family.
JF: Now you’re just teasing us! Get on with it! Just kidding. Not really. This sounds amazing.
Readers, if you want to leap into the world of Crofton Hall, you can find James, Earl of Crofton right here at Amazon.
And if you want a taste, check out the excerpt below.
Thank you, Rebecca, for joining me today. And best of luck with your exciting series!
Come, Crofton, it’s time you were seen at court as the earl.”
James flinched at the use of his earldom. Marchent had, for years, called him that. As viscount it had been allowed, but it meant more now, and hearing it for the first time from Marchent’s lips in the new context made everything more real. “I am not sure I am in the right mood for court.”
“Since when has that stopped you?” Marchent got to his feet. “Besides, it does not matter if feel you in the mood or not. You will be expected. It is known you returned to London yesterday, and one night’s grace may be granted, but now you must present yourself.”
“Surely I would be granted one more day.”
“And then what? Another, and another after that until you have hidden away so long no one remembers who you are? I do not think so. You are the 4th Earl of Crofton. The James Redbourn I know is not a coward.”
James slammed his fist upon the top of his desk. “It is not a matter of cowardice.”
“Then what is it?”
James hesitated, then sighed. “I am not ready to be the earl.”
“Nonsense. You were born to be the earl,” barked Marchent. “You are a good man, a great man. I understand your concern, I really do, but do not let your insecurities take hold. It will not help you, or your estate, or your family. You need to be strong, hold up your head and swagger into court as if it would not survive another day without your presence.”
James knew Marchent had also been reticent when his own father died, but it had been a moment’s pause and not James’s crippling inaction. “I am not the man my father was.”
“Are any of us? Listen to me, Crofton. We are not normal men; we are born into power and privilege. A privilege that was taken from us, and it was our fathers and grandfathers who fought to restore it. No one man has lived through such a time before. We are at the precipice of the start of a new world. Are you really telling me you would rather sit and hide here than come and face it? If you had no intention to attend court and show the world just who you are, you would not have left Crofton Hall.”
Marchent was a complete and utter bastard, and he knew exactly how to coerce James into doing things. He picked his words perfectly to stir James’s blood, and even though James knew what Marchent was doing, he couldn’t help but rise to the challenge.
“Then I should get my hat.”
“That’s the spirit.”