Friday, May 07, 2010

Sweetest Little Sin ~ Christine Wells

Please welcome my special guest today, Christine Wells, who writes luscious Regencies for Berkley Sensation. Christine is also generously offering a fabulous double-giveaway to one lucky commenter - see her question at the end of the interview!


Christine Wells was a 2009 RITA® nominee and the first Australian to win the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® Award. A corporate lawyer before resigning to write romance novels, Christine lives in Brisbane with her husband and two small but very noisy boys. You can find her at or blogging with the Romance Bandits:

Hi Christina, thank you for having me on your blog today! I'm looking forward to chatting with your readers.

Can you tell us a little about your book?

SWEETEST LITTLE SIN Out May 4 from Berkley Sensation


A Marquis' Betrayal
Lady Louisa Brooke has many suitors, but the only man for her is the wild and ruthless Marquis of Jardine. When Jardine suddenly abandons her after a long-standing liaison, he leaves her with nothing except the secret they share. Her future in ruins, Louisa recklessly accepts a mission from the head of the secret service and becomes embroiled in a perilous operation in which nothing is as it seems...

A Lady's Revenge
The Marquis of Jardine is determined to destroy the criminal mastermind who's sworn vengeance against all he holds dear. But when he hears that Louisa is to wed a dangerous enemy, Jardine is tortured by jealousy and fear for her safety. He tracks her down, only to discover that her mission collides with his.

A Love that Won't Be Denied
Together, Louisa and Jardine must now foil a plan to betray the secret service and escape a diabolical revenge. But can they put the past behind them, and take the greatest risk of all--on love?


“I don’t want to see you. I don’t want to speak with you.” Louisa spoke through gritted teeth, but in a voice that couldn’t help a slight tremor.

“Ah, but I have a very great desire to speak with you,” purred Jardine in her ear. “What the hell are you doing with Radleigh?”

“You’re the clever spy. What do you think I’m doing?”

She tried to step away from him but he caught her arm easily and pulled her into him, one arm clamped around her waist, one hand forcing her chin up so she looked him in the eye.

“Stay away from him, Louisa. He’s not what he seems.”

She searched his face, noting the faint smudges under his eyes, the deepened lines about his mouth. “Which of us is?” she whispered.

His eyes widened a little, then narrowed. “Are you in love with him?”

Love!” The word burst from her before she could stop it. Where had that vicious snarl come from?

She lowered her voice. “What do I want with love? Radleigh is rich, he’s respectable, and he’ll no doubt make an undemanding husband. What more could a woman want?”

Jardine’s hot gaze raked her face, settled on her lips. His arms tightened around her. “This.

Ooh, yes please! *Christina fans self* So how did the idea for the plot come about?
Lady Louisa Brooke and the Marquis of Jardine were secondary characters in my second book, THE DANGEROUS DUKE. I had intended to wrap up their romance by the end of that book, but they had too many issues to resolve, so THE DANGEROUS DUKE ends with them torn apart by his secretiveness and her suspicions. I had so much mail from readers wanting their story that my editor let me go back and revisit them in SWEETEST LITTLE SIN. They're electric together as a couple but they need to work through quite a bit before they get their happy ending! For those who are interested, Jardine also makes a short appearance in WICKED LITTLE GAME, which is out now.

I love sale stories! (OK I am just nosy!!) so can you tell us about your road to publication - and your call story?

I love sale stories too! I wouldn't call that nosy - who doesn't love to tell their call story? My journey to publication took about five years. I was working as a lawyer when I started writing my first novel (now under the bed, where it will stay!) I sold the third book I wrote as a result of full manuscript requests from contest finals. One editor emailed wanting to buy the book. I then hustled and got an agent involved and within a week the book was sold to Berkley. I was heavily pregnant with my second child and it was 4am when I heard the news. So there was this demented pregnant woman doing a silent but violent happy dance in her livingroom that day! I called the only person I knew who was also up at that hour - Anna Campbell - and we squeed on the phone together. I don't think I quite realized at the time how lucky I was. Now, I'm fully aware and very grateful!

What a fantastic call story, Christine! Now onto the nitty-gritty. Do you write every day? Do you give yourself daily/weekly goals?

I try to write every day, even if I'm just playing around with a scene I've already written. I think that's the absolute best thing a writer can do to stay immersed in the story when life is so busy and there are so many other things to think about. I don't usually have specific goals but I'm trying at the moment to do a certain number of pages by Friday, with the weekend as catch up time if I'm running behind.

Panster or plotter?

I'm a panster and wish I wasn't! It's so much easier if you can plan your books in advance.

I totally agree with that!!! What keeps you motivated when the writing gets tough?

Deadlines.LOL But seriously, if the writing gets tough it's often because I've taken a wrong turn somewhere. That's when I go back to basics and do a little more work on Goal Motivation and Conflict (see Debra Dixon's fabulous book) or story structure to try to get my bearings again. Sometimes, I chat to my writing buddy, Denise Rossetti, who is fantastic at picking away at plot and character until I can see how I need to fix it. If I'm really desperate, I take a break from reading. After a day or two my mind is so bored it's coming up with more story just to entertain myself!

Is there any advice or light bulb moment you'd like to share about getting/being published?

You need to 'protect the work' as Jenny Crusie puts it. The quality of your books is the only thing about this business that you can control, so make sure you do your part to the best of your ability and don't let any outside influences distract you. The thing about promotion, reviews, advertising etc is that no one ever knows what works to help sell a book. It's not to say you shouldn't do any promotion, but you should never let the time you spend on those things impinge on your writing time.

Don't ever think someone else's success takes anything away from you. Success breeds success in this business. Look at the way the Twilight books have created a huge demand for vampire romance. Remember that when someone who writes in your subgenre gets a 6 figure deal.

That's excellent advice and good to remember. Do you have critique partners (CPs)? If so can you tell us how you met up and your process?

I have Denise Rossetti, who mainly helps with plotting, which she's brilliant at, and I have Anna Campbell, who reads the finished manuscript draft for me and looks at the big picture stuff like pacing and characterization. I'm very lucky to have these two! And I must say I love getting a sneak peek at their work also;)
I'd like to give away a signed copy of THE DANGEROUS DUKE and a signed copy of SWEETEST LITTLE SIN to one lucky commenter. Just answer this question--what's your favourite lovers reunited story?


Bronwyn said...

Am I first?

Bronwyn said...

Woohoo! But I don't have a favourite. I like them all. Right now I'm reading Anne Oliver's 'Mistress: At What Price' and loving it!
I'm also writing a historical that involves a reunion but under a heavy cloud of mistrust, betrayal and judgemental criticism... I suppose they are my favourite kind. Where you never know from one page to the next if the H&H are going to hit it off or hit each other =)
Good luck with the release Christine! And great interview to you both.

Christina Phillips said...

LOL Bronwyn! Yes you are. Should I hunt down the golden Adonis??

Bronwyn said...

Hmm, yep! I haven't had a spin with him yet =D

Christine Wells said...

Hi Bronwyn! Wow, you were quick off the mark. Great to see you here.

I'm just home from high tea with my mother in town as an advance Mother's Day treat.

Thanks for the recommendation to add to my tottering TBR pile!

Ooh, that sounds like a nice juicy conflict you have going there.

you never know from one page to the next if the H&H are going to hit it off or hit each other =)

LOL! I love those passionate, feisty relationships. I hope I've achieved that kind of dynamic between Louisa and Jardine.

Christine Wells said...

The Golden Adonis???

Sounds a bit more exciting than the Romance Bandits' Golden Rooster (but don't tell the chook I said that!)

Bronwyn said...

I wouldn't want to get on the bad side of Miss Anna... Especially not with her coming to Adelaide next week with giveaways for Romancing the Novel!

Another one to add to the TBR if you haven't read it is Courtney Milan's 'Proof by Seduction'. I liked this one too! Anyway, I'll stop now. Hope high tea was nice. I'll get what I get every year :( Although one child made me a card and one gave me a potplant with a strawberry in it...

Sussan Marz said...

Oh Christine, I haven't read any of your books but I shall have to remedy this quick smart!

I can't think of a favourite reunion story. Last one I read was by the multiple golden Adonis winner, Anna Campbell -- Claiming the Courtesan. Delicious and intense!

Christine Wells said...

Bronwyn, I have read and enjoyed Proof by Seduction! I loved Courtney's novella, too.

Oh, yes, that Anna Campbell is a fearsome woman when riled! Does she covet the Adonis? I can imagine! She will have some of my books with her as giveaways in SA so watch out! Wish I could be there, too.

Commiserations on the MD gifts! You'll have to practise your grateful smile. Have a lovely day, though!

Christina Phillips said...

I first came across the Golden Adonis over at Eleni's during her Eleni-Fest ... I wonder if she ever let him go?!

Christine Wells said...

Sussan, wasn't Claiming the Courtesan amazing? The tension between those two was electric.

I love the way the hero and heroine have so much history in reunion stories.

Thanks for commenting! If you try my books, I hope you enjoy them!

Christine Wells said...

Christina, that Adonis sure gets around, doesn't he?LOL

Unknown said...

I will have to go with Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth from Persuasion.

Christine Wells said...

mbreakfield--yes, what a wonderful example of the reunion romance! And it was made even more fraught because of the characters' reticence. I love that line about the female sex loving the longest, even when all hope is lost. Sigh.

Unknown said...

I have an absolute is from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series when Claire has gone back through the stones to modern day as they believe Jamie will die at Culloden and then 20 years later she finds he has not died and goes back through the stones to find him in 1765 (?ish) and their reunion is wonderful, as is the build up to it. **Sigh**
Jo Duncan

Christine Wells said...

Oh, Jo, Outlander is such a powerful story, isn't it? I love that part too. Must go back and re-read it. Thanks for commenting!

Anonymous said...

Hi Christina and Christine. I'm a little late (sports day at school) but I had to drop in and say hi!!
Just wanted to say 'HUGE FAN' and to answer the question can I say my own lovers reunited stories? Hmmm, well if not, then I really love the book by Candace Camp 'The Courtship Dance'. Francesca and the Duke of Rochford I can't help but love. So lovely when wrongs are righted and their hea is found. *sigh*
Tam :)

Kandy Shepherd said...

Well, we have Christina and Christine to say hello to today! Christine, SWEETEST LITTLE SIN sounds fabulous, sounds like it deserves that rave, Top Pick 4/12 star review in Romantic Times. I can't wait to read it!
BTW, love that seductive yet subtle cover!

Suzanne Brandyn Author said...

I think the cover has truly got me in. Is it the whispering dress? Whatever it is, along with the title, Sweetest Little Sin, it is so intriguing.

Lovely Christine. :)


Christine Wells said...

Hi Tam, what an effort to drop in after a sports day. I know how exhausting those are--and I'm not even the one racing! Thank you so much for commenting and I'm pleased to hear you're enjoying my books.

I must look for the Candace Camp you mentioned. I'm such a sucker for reunion stories!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Kandy, great to see you here, thank you for dropping in and for the lovely words about SLS. The cover is just that little bit different, isn't it? I love it, too. You and I have certainly been blessed by the cover gods, haven't we?

Christine Wells said...

Hiya Suzanne! Thanks for commenting. I'm glad to see the packaging is working for you.LOL

I came up with the title in one of those panicked 24 hour periods after my editor emailed to say marketing didn't like the working title I had. It's actually a line to a song (I have no idea what song now, it's lost in the mists of my brain) and it goes with the previous book, Wicked Little Game.

Kaye Manro said...

You all seem to be having so much fun at this party! Christine-- your books sound like the reads we all need to have on our bookshelves! I look forward to reading Sweetest Little Sin.

Anna Campbell said...

Waving madly at Christina and Christine!

Hey, Christine, I have to say I feel LUCKY that I get to read your finished products - I get gloating rights then until the book comes out and everybody discovers how wonderful it is. LOVE SWEETEST LITTLE SIN! It's a doozey! And the witty banter just sparkles off the page - not to mention the blazing sexual tension. Hubba huba. Jardine! What a man!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Bronwyn, I promise you'll only see good sides in Adelaide (and people will wonder why I keep talking to the wall!). Sussan, thank you, that was lovely. So glad you enjoyed CTC!

And see, Bronwyn? I promised you great books by great writers at my workshops. You'd better be there, kiddo! ;-)

Hey, Christine, thanks for saying nice things about CTC too! Ooh, starting the day with a smile here.

Kandy, that RT Top Pick for SWEETEST LITTLE SIN got it JUST right, didn't it?

Christine Wells said...

Hi Kaye! Yes, we've had a lot of fun! Christina is a charming hostess and her readers are all people of taste and refinement! Thanks for dropping in to comment. I hope you enjoy Sweetest Little Sin.

Christine Wells said...

Anna, great to see you here! Yes, I think I'm very lucky to get a sneak preview of your work, too and I can't wait until MY RECKLESS SURRENDER comes out and wows everyone! How you think up these amazingly fraught premises, I don't know! Thank you for saying lovely things about SLS.

Of course, this is the one you critiqued at the speed of light just before I had to hand it in, isn't it LOL You deserve a medal but I'll give you a big hug instead! Mwah!

Christine Wells said...

Hey, Bronwyn, I promise you'll only see good sides in Adelaide (and people will wonder why I keep talking to the wall!).


You all are going to love Anna's workshop in SA. Wish I could be there to join in the fun!

Denise Rossetti said...

Did someone mention my name? Hi there, Christine and Christina.

Christine, sorry I'm late to the party - you know, I'm always late. *blush* SLS is GREAT! I lurve Jardine and Louisa. No wonder fans clamoured for their story.

As for helping with your plots, I only do it to torture you - you know that! And I'm still waiting for my Cossack! *snork*

Great launch party, kiddo!


Christine Wells said...

Thanks for popping in, D! And for the kind words about Jardine and Louisa.

Ah, no, not the Cossack! Don't worry, all that research won't go to waste. I'll find another story for my Cossack!

Christine Wells said...

Christina, thank you so much for hosting me this week. It's been a blast! Loved seeing all the Aussie friends. I fell back to lurk mode on all my loops a while back in an effort to get more writing done and I miss Romaus. Can't wait for the conference so I can catch up on all the news!

Christina Phillips said...

Christine, thank you for joining me this weekend! I've had so much fun reading everyone's comments. And thanks to everyone who stopped by and said hi!!

Mel Teshco said...

I am soo late to the party!!!
Hi Christina and Christine =)
fav reunion story - I love the ones where the heroine has left the hero admist a ton of controversy and the hero assumes the worst. Then the usual revenge type scenario pans out...much to a very innocent heroine's dismay. Too many to name but think I may be reading a few too many M&B of late... (g)

Cari Quinn said...

Great interview! Christine, your cover is gorgeous! Best of luck to you. :)