A Hellion in Her Bed
QUESTION: You are two books into your new Regency series, The Hellions of Halstead Hall. How does this series compare to previous series by you, like The School for Heiresses or The Royal Brotherhood?
SABRINA: Unlike those two, this series focuses on a family dynamic instead of a group of people drawn together by an organization or a cause. Even though The Royal Brotherhood heroes are half-brothers, they haven’t been raised as family. The Hellions have. There is a connection, however, between this series and the Heiress series—Lord Stoneville, who captured the imagination of my readers (a lot of people expected him to be Cousin Michael). When I decided to write a book for him outside of the Heiress series, I came up with a whole new series.
One thing the Hellions do have in common with the Royal Brotherhood is that they’re based on a lot of historical fact. For the Royal Brotherhood it was the history of Prinny’s life with his mistresses and possible bastards. For the Hellions, it’s an actual family from the Georgian period—the Earl of Barrymore and his siblings—who were more outrageous than I could ever make the hellions.
QUESTION: What is the premise of The Hellions of Halstead Hall series?
SABRINA: Oliver (the Marquess of Stoneville), Jarret, Minerva, Gabriel, and Celia were deprived of their parents as a result of a tragedy that happened 19 years ago. It sent them into free fall, which is where they’ve been ever since. Their wealthy maternal grandmother, who owns a successful brewery, has been supporting them, but now she has issued an ultimatum—marry or be cut off. And not just one of them, but all of them. Now they’re scrambling to decide what to do with their lives. Do they give in to Gran’s demands? Or do they fight to thwart her?
QUESTION: Tell us a little about your new book A HELLION IN HER BED?
SABRINA: Mired in scandal after his parents’ mysterious deaths, notorious gambler Lord Jarret Sharpe agrees to tamely run the family brewery for a year if his meddling grandmother rescinds her ultimatum that he marry. But the gambler in him can’t resist when beguiling Annabel Lake proposes a wager. If she wins their card game, he must help save her family’s foundering brewery. But if he wins, she must spend a night in his bed. The outcome sets off a chain of events that threatens to destroy all his plans . . . and unveils the secret Annabel has held for so long—that her “nephew” is really her illegitimate son. When Jarret discovers the darker reason behind her wager, he forces her into another one—and this time he intends to win not just her body, but her heart.
QUESTION: What is your favorite thing about this second Hellions book?
SABRINA: My favorite thing is the secret child aspect. I loved how Annabel deals with not being able to acknowledge her son, and how that plotline is resolved. It was very emotional, for her and me. And her 12-year-old son was such fun to write!
QUESTION: The Hellions is a family saga—albeit one that spans a single year. What did you do to try and make this classic type of book fresh?
SABRINA: Among other things, I included a family mystery that gets solved over the course of the five books. The parents’ deaths are a big factor in how these characters became who they are, so that gets more emphasis than it might otherwise. And I like to think that the outrageous characters also make it fresh.
QUESTION: Tell us one surprising piece of trivia from A HELLION IN HER BED?
SABRINA: I got the alligator bit at the market from something I read in a book called THEN ENGLISH TOWN. There was a description of an alligator being taken around a market, so I couldn’t resist using that.
QUESTION: What comes next for this series?
SABRINA: The next book is HOW TO WOO A RELUCTANT LADY, due out January 18, 2011, in which Lady Minerva finally gets to show off. She was so much fun she had me laughing at the computer. Readers will find out more about the Sharpe parents deaths, and Giles Masters, who was a reader favorite from the Heiress series, will get to strut his stuff. He’s actually far more complex than anyone realized!
Sabrina will give away an autographed copy of A HELLION IN HER BED and a set of playing cards to someone who comments.