Her Heart’s Liege
by Olivia Fields
Tomboy Alex Bonham has fought her male peers tooth and nail to prove herself worthy to become captain of the king’s guard. When her country is invaded by Danes, she is ordered to take the king’s younger son, a charming but irresponsible rake, away from the front lines for safekeeping.
Alex walks a difficult line, trying to balance her growing attraction to Prince Holden with her dedication to duty and her responsibility to keep him safe from robbers, Danes...and even himself. But when they are drawn into the struggle to defend East Anglia from occupation, both the prince and his captain must grow. Can spoiled Prince Holden evolve into a good man who could lead the kingdom--one Alex can trust with her heart?
"I make you nervous." The corner of Prince Holden’s mouth quirked up, self-deprecating.
Alexandra didn't try to deny the truth. "You do. Any time someone treats me like prey, I get uneasy."
He didn't attempt denial. "I don't usually pursue women."
"No, they jump into your bed all by themselves." She gave him a wry stare.
He shrugged, equally off-hand. "Near enough."
"Then all you have to do is find a bed and wait. I want no part of it."
"I'm tired of prey that doesn't put up a struggle." She could see something almost weary in the set of his shoulders.
She raised a brow at him. She'd believe him on a cold day in Hell.
He shrugged and shifted uncomfortably. "Serving girls and barmaids are all very well and good for a night's pleasure, but they have nothing to offer afterward. All the ladies at court are shallow and dull." He pulled a wry face. "I'd rather court a girl with something to her. Like you."
Alex resisted the desire to squirm uncomfortably under his warm regard. "The problem with me," his brow furrowed, "is that everything has always been too easy." He leaned toward her, intent. She could sense how important this was to him.
He reached out and touched her cheek lightly with his fingertips. "But you aren't easy at all, and I find I quite like it."
Talking with Olivia Fields!
Talking with Olivia Fields!
What is your writing environment?
I have a big L-shaped wooden writing desk in the corner of my living room, tucked in a corner next to my television and under my memories shelf. I like to sit at that desk in my mom’s old rocking chair, an original from Woody’s Chair Shop, the most comfortable chair known to mankind. I need a full bottle of ice water and a few salty nibbles at my elbow. I have to have my word processor to write with, because I can only keep up with the flow of ideas when I’m typing at 120 wpm.
Once I’m settled there in front of the computer I can relax, surrounded by comfortable clutter including dozens of different mementos I’ve collected on various trips and various crafts I’ve made, with my dogs sleeping on the floor around my feet. That’s the place and time I can be most perfectly myself and let the world fade away into imagination.
Who is your perfect hero/heroine and why?
J. R. R. Tolkien’s Samwise Gamgee is my perfect hero, and he has been since I was 11. Watching him carry Frodo up the side of Mount Doom in Mordor moved me so deeply it was the first time I ever cried while reading a novel.
Sam is rustic and simple, without a lot of education or polish, but he has the born-in core virtues that make for an ideal hero. He’s sensible, strong, courageous, honest, dutiful, and never abandons hope. He may be only somewhat wise, but even when his flaws surface, he is still trying to do the best he knows how.
Sam is able to make mistakes and learn from them, expanding and growing from follower to leader throughout the course of The Lord of the Rings, gaining honor and also growing in compassion as his arrogance, ignorance, and provincialism decrease. That ability to learn and adapt is a key feature of a really great character, and of a true hero.
Another wonderful aspect of Sam’s heroism is his unwavering loyalty to his friends. It’s a quality I admire and aspire to imitate in my own relationships.
What authors have caught your interest lately and why?
Diana Gabaldon. I’ve been watching Outlander and have plans to read the entire series. Her work is a little too violent for my taste, at least in its televised form, but she certainly knows how to muster what Stephen King calls “the gotta.” As in, “I gotta see what happens to Jamie and Claire.” I like to study how she makes her work interesting and pick out techniques I could adapt for my own use.
Molly Ringle. Her Chrysomelia Stories series is a fascinating adaptation of mythology that seamlessly mingles ancient legend with modern times. The story is rich and carefully structured, balancing lots of characters and weaving an intricate but sturdy plot. I particularly admire the way she handles villains. Her characterization is complex and layered, and her antagonistic characters are believable and sympathetic, working within a moral framework that incorporates all shades of gray, not just black and white. I can’t wait for the third installment!
Z. A. Maxfield. I enjoy reading in the M/M genre, and the St. Nacho’s series is a must-read there, full of smoking-hot scenes well-balanced with sensitive, fully-developed characters in realistic relationships. When I drove the Pacific Coast Highway, I spent the whole time wishing I could actually find the fictional town of St. Nacho’s and settle down there to find my happily ever after….
What type of book have you always wanted to write?
Someday I want to write a book series set in a world all my own, where I create the cultures, landscape, customs, and beings—like Tolkien, George R. R. Martin, Robert Jordan, or Terry Pratchett. I’d like to have that freedom to create without need to research or acknowledge sources, brands and trademarks, etc., but it’s also a heavy responsibility, one I’d need to work up to as I build skill with authorship and learn to handle more and more challenging stories, characters, and relationships.
Top 3 things on your bucket list?
1. Travel to Scotland, New Zealand, and anywhere else I can manage to go. I love seeing new places and learning what the people are like there. Stretching your horizons also stretches your brain; it helps you understand people and better appreciate your own role in the global community. Travel gives me plenty of new material for writing. Once I’ve been to a place, I’m far more confident describing it and using it as the setting for a story.
2. Go parasailing. I nearly took a course in this in college, and have always regretted taking the money and using it to go to New Orleans instead. One day I want to be one of those kick-butt old ladies who goes out and does crazy adrenaline sports on her 80th birthday.
3. Hike the Tanawha Trail up to Rough Ridge next to Grandfather Mountain. Whenever I visit the area, I’ve been taking the trail in small, manageable segments, but that’s the hardest climb. I want to do it in the autumn and take my camera so I can get some incredible landscape shots. With my bad knees it’s going to be quite a challenge, but I think it’ll be worth it!
How did you get the idea for this particular novel?
I like to take established conventions and turn them on their ear to see what changes. For Her Heart’s Liege, I decided to take the common idea of a stoic, masculine warrior in love with the king’s spoiled daughter and do a gender flip to see what I could make of it. That’s not the only unexpected twist in the novel, either, but you’ll need to read to see more! ;-)
I like to write combat, especially since I’ve had some minor martial arts training in jeet kune do. That martial art encouraged me to give Alexandra her job as a captain of the guard. The form focuses on allowing a small, weak fighter to defeat a large, strong one, so I was able to give her a realistic edge over many of the burly male soldiers she would confront as part of her duties.
What is your favorite scene in your new release?
I love the scene where Prince Holden tells the story of how he nearly died rescuing his beloved Captain Alexandra from a fire that consumed the building where she was sleeping. I have fairly extreme pyrophobia, so I’m very proud that I was able to face that fear, work through it, and use it to generate intense sensory imagery. I’m quite fond of the scene where she rewards him after the fire with their first real kiss, too…. ;-)
What are you working on now and when can we expect it to be available?
I’m working on a paranormal romance featuring an adorkable, geeky, reluctant incubus. He’s a nerdy computer tech with a traumatic past that’s left him very shy with the ladies, but nevertheless, he has to harvest a woman’s sexual energy to survive. The story begins at a huge science fiction/fantasy convention and travels through London, Ireland, and India as the incubus learns to overcome his tragic history and tries to find love with the woman of his dreams.
I’m very excited about the novel; I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever written. I sent the book in near the end of April, but my publisher has a year worth of backlog, so… look for my next novel a year from now, give or take!
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I would say “my day job,” but the question asks what I like to do. ;-) I have lots of hobbies, and am always finding new ones. On any given day you might find me hiking, knitting, doing cross-stitch, weaving chain mail jewelry, taking photographs, or tending my pets. I also enjoy cooking, gardening, and watching Cartoon Network. Of course, I have to cram some sleep in around the edges every now and then!
What is one interesting fact about you that readers don’t know?
An early and voracious reader, I was once trapped on a month-long vacation with only a single book: a lighthearted but comprehensive catalogue of American desert flora. I was pretty bored and desperate, so I must have read it about twenty-five times. To this day, I can identify and recite interesting trivia about nearly every species of cactus in the Sonora Desert, from the neomammillaria microcarpa to the boojum tree. As a child, I used this talent to annoy professional tour guides at Southwestern botanical gardens.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
For years, college professor Olivia Fields has been writing romantic tales to pacify her muse and entertain her friends. She believes in making her characters work for their happy endings.
When not at her keyboard, Olivia enjoys nature hikes, photography, and the constant companionship of several rather irregularly trimmed Shih Tzu dogs. Olivia’s first published novel, Her Heart’s Liege, will be released in March 2015 by Rogue Phoenix Press.
Goodreads (book link): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24605417-her-heart-s-liege
Goodreads (author link): https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13043924.Olivia_Fields
Olivia will be awarding $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Follow the tour HERE