Gail Ranstrom’s Sweet Treason

When I first started writing, I was fortunate to meet and become friends with several writers who became my mentors and helped set me on the “write” path. One of the most influential was Gail Ranstrom.

Gail, aside from being one of the nicest people I know, is an incredible writer of emotional, unique, suspenseful historical romances. I am honored to welcome her today on Kiss and Thrill.


Gail’s newest release, due out September 23rd, is called SWEET TREASON and is a historical romantic suspense novel. Here’s the awesome cover and back cover copy.

Passion and deadly secrets…

On the run from British troops, American Revolutionary War spy Ryan Straughn forces Emily Nevins to hide him on her English farm. But Emily already keeps secrets that could mean her demise if discovered. Nevertheless as the long night wears on, attraction sizzles and they give in to unexpected passion, sure they’ll never see each other again…

Deception and desire…

A chance encounter in London society stirs heated memories of their sensual night together. They begin a heady dance of suspicion and desire. Though sympathetic to the struggling Colonists, Emily cannot trust a traitorous spy who may expose her dangerous intrigues. And Ryan risks his very life by trusting a woman privy to his true loyalties. But they are unable to deny their need for one another, even as Emily’s secrets are about to be exposed, and the noose around Ryan’s neck grows tighter. Betrayal and love…

And now someone has discovered both their secrets. The price of silence? Betrayal. Of their causes, their love, their futures. In the end, lives will be lost and sacrifices made. Their choice is impossible. Which will they surrender—their lives…or their hearts?

(shiver) Doesn’t that sound awesome? At the end of this post is an excerpt to whet your appetite for this delightful story even more, but for now, let’s get to know Gail a little bit better. And if you happen to notice a couple of gorgeous outdoor pictures sprinkled in the interview, they are from Gail’s home in beautiful Montana. 

Neighbors Drop By - GailRanstrom

Lena:  Your website describes you as an author of “Regency Noir”. Can you tell us a little bit about what you mean by that?

Gail:  I’d love to!  Traditional Regencies are shorter, sweeter and more about life, customs, manners and courtship in ‘polite’ society from roughly 1800 to 1820.  Most often the plot revolves around misunderstandings and very sweet romances—the bedroom door is closed very tight.  Regency Noir, or dark Regencies, deal with the grittier side of the Regency period—the side that was rarely spoken of or acknowledged in ‘polite’ society.  The ‘real life’ that played out in the shadows.  My stories deal with mystery, suspense and romance about people who walk the fine line between these two worlds.  Occasionally polite, rarely sweet, and always dangerous.

Lena:  (I can personally attest to the gritty, suspenseful nature of Gail’s books since I have read ALL of them. They are truly awesome.) Your newest release – SWEET TREASON, is a bit different from what you’ve written in the past. What inspired you to write a historical with an American Revolutionary hero?

Gail: It is different. But after writing in the Regency era with characters who are British to the core, I yearned for a bigger conflict.  What could be more different than an American spy and a privileged English farmer’s daughter?  The conflict could not be more fundamental than one’s core beliefs.  Examining and adjusting those beliefs can be both dangerous and painful.

Lena:  (I can’t wait to read this book!) Your website lists a series called the Wednesday League, and another one about the Hunter Brothers. Can you tell us a little about these series and whether they are connected?

Gail:  Yes, all the novels are somewhat connected.  They all stand alone, but they take place in the same world with characters who may (or may not) reappear.  The first four books are the Wednesday League novels, about a group of women who, pretending to be a book club, secretly aid other women who have been somehow ‘wronged’ by society achieve some sort of justice.  The Hunter Brother novels deal with the brothers of one of the women from the Wednesday League.  They are involved in service to either the Home Office or the Foreign Office, and their stories tend to deal with the London underworld.

Lena:  (The Wednesday League is such fun and includes bow street runners and clandestine meetings in the backs of milliner’s shops. LOVE these books.) What’s the next project readers can expect from you?

Gail:  Back to the Regency.  I’ve had reader requests for Lord Marcus Wycliffe’s story, and I’m well under way with that.  I think, no matter what I may branch out to do, I’ll always come back to the Regency.  I feel at home there.

Lena:  Have you ever been to England? Tell us about it.

Gail:  Yes!  England is wonderful, and best of all, we speak the same language (sort of) and the natives are friendly.  My ancestral roots are there.  My brother lives in Oxfordshire.  I intend to go back as many times as I can.  There’s always something new to see or do.  Every time I’ve gone, I’ve made little side trips – once to Ireland (St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin—what a party!  I marched with the Sullivans in the parade) and another time took the fast train to Edinburgh for the MiltaryTattoo (there’s just something about bagpipes and a man in a skirt).  Next time I’m going to take the Chunnel to Paris.  Fun, eh?  And there are so many sites that it makes my head spin.  Bath, Stonehenge, Winchester, Penzance, Mousehole, St. Ives, Avesbury, Brighton, I could go on and on.  But I think my favorite excursion was to a little village called Great Tew, where I stayed at the Falkland Arms (, a thatched roof public house in operation since the time of Henry VIII.  Good friends, good food, good beer.  Can it get any better?  I actually wrote the Falkland Arms into one of my novellas, A Christmas Secret in the anthology, A Christmas Visit.

Lena:   Are you a Downton Abbey fan? If so, who are your favorite characters? And what have you found to be the most shocking or surprising thing in the series so far?

Gail:  I loved it.  I watched Season 1 faithfully, then the first few episodes of Season 2, then was traveling for the rest and sort of fell off the grid.  I have promised myself I’m going to get all the seasons and re-watch Season 1 and continue through 3 this winter when the Montana snow is flying outside my window, and before Season 4 premiers on January 5th.  Until then… I think Mary is my favorite with Mr. Bates and Cora running close seconds.  Matthew, though, was rising in my esteem when I left off.  As for shocking…that whole debacle with the Italian count…need I say more?

Lena:  (I won’t spoil Gail’s enjoyment of Downton Abbey by telling her there is something far more shocking in a later season that happens to Matthew – ARGH!)  Is there any other genre you write or would like to write in the future?

Gail:  I’m playing with an idea for a contemporary series featuring women with superhuman skills—not supernatural or paranormal, but heightened natural powers.  Those of you who watch Stan Lee’s Superhumans know what I mean.  For those of you who don’t, .

Lena:  What would surprise readers the most about you?

Gail:  I have a permit to carry a concealed weapon and I’m a damn good shot!  (Bear spray only works when you’re up-wind!  Did I mention I live in Montana?)

Lena: (Remind me to always be nice to Miss Ranstrom and her concealed weapon!) Quick question/answer drill follows…

Lena: Cats or Dogs? Gail: Dogs

Lena: Beaches or Mountains?  Gail: Beaches

Lena: Favorite food?  Gail: Chocolate

Lena: Favorite TV show? Gail: Argh!  NCIS?  Castle?  I can’t decide.

Lena: Chicken or Steak?  Gail: Chicken

Lena: Favorite book ever?  Gail: THE SOURCE, by James Michener

Wasn’t that fun? I hope you enjoyed getting to know Gail Ranstrom a little better. Buy links and an excerpt for SWEET TREASON follow, along with all of Gail’s contact information. But first, she has a question for readers. One lucky commenter will receive either a Nook or Kindle copy of SWEET TREASON (see Contact tab for details).

Is the romance, the mystery or the suspense most important to you when reading Romantic Suspense?


The stranger lowered his head further to leave a path of soft insistent kisses from her earlobe to the well of her shoulder blade. The sensation was like nothing she’d felt before—intimate, urging, almost desperate. Heaven help her, Emily wanted more. He slipped his hand down her back, molding her against him. The hot, hard bulge pressing against her belly ignited an answering heat in hers. Naughty. Wicked. Exciting…

He asked a question, his voice a deep vibration that reached to her toes. Her very flesh tingled, sending shivers of delight through her. Her breasts ached and became exquisitely tender. She gasped as he drew her even closer, his large hands moving along her spine.

“Yes…,” she sighed, affirming her suspicion that this man’s arms would be heaven.

“Sweet…” His voice was hoarse with desire as he lifted his head to speak as he brushed across her lips. “Are you the most courageous woman I know…or the most reckless?”

   Reckless. Unconscionably reckless…

He nudged her robe open with his chin and lowered his mouth to the slope of one aching breast. She caught her breath and choked back another gasp when he captured one tingling crown with his lips and tugged gently. She tangled her fingers through his dark hair to hold him close. The sensation was so foreign, yet so completely delicious, that she wanted it to go on forever. She sighed. “Tell me your…name, sir, that I…may know who my dreams…”

“You mock me?” he growled.

She gave a soft, husky laugh at his pretended outrage.

The deep vibration of his voice against her skin sent shock waves along her spine.

“By all that is holy…I must be mad! Were it any night but tonight, I’d sweep this desk clear and take you here and now.”

Emily fervently wished it were any other night. She’d have yielded him anything—everything—when he nibbled a greedy path back up her neck and cherished the tender flesh at the hollow of her throat before lifting his head.

He brushed tendrils of hair back from her cheeks with this thumbs. “Now that you’ve seen my face, my only safety—and yours—lies in the fact that you do not know who I am.”

She did not bother to deny his accusation. But betrayal had been the furthest thing from her mind. She caught her breath on a gasp as he slipped his hand up her bare thigh, exposed in the gap of her robe.

She struggled free of his arms and moved away, fighting to regain her composure and recall the true nature of this man.

    Blood-red splotches on his shirt sleeve reminded her that this man had murdered someone this very night. She would be fortunate if she escaped with her life. She pushed him away to gather her robe more closely around her. This had to end before she forgot herself again. She was breathless when she spoke. “Your ten minutes are up, sir. If you are a man of your word, you will leave.”



Barnes and Noble:

Amazon UK:



Gail Ranstrom’s Contact Links:



Twitter:  Handle: @gailranstrom



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Posted on September 23, 2013, in Author Interview, Lena Diaz and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. I am so happy to introduce everyone to Gail Ranstrom today. She is truly a delightful, funny, warm person. And her books are SO good. Her narrative style is pure poetry. I just got SWEET TREASON on my Kindle. Can’t wait to read it and I hope you all try it as well. Previously, my favorite book of hers was THE COURTESAN’S COURTSHIP. We’ll see if SWEET TREASON knocks that out of the top spot.

  2. Welcome Gail, I’m thrilled we’ve been introduced to you and your books, and will treat myself to SWEET TREASON after this crazy KOD BIAW (write a book in a week) ends on Sunday. (Shivers with nervousness.)

    As for the Question: an equal mix is perfect. I enjoy all suspense and all romance but when it’s a romantic suspense with a only hint of romance that then doesn’t go anywhere I end it feeling a bit frustrated. And when it’s so heavy on the romance that the suspense plot is silly or difficult to believe that’s also a downer.

    Clear as mud? Yeah, I’m going to do great this week, LOL!

  3. The suspense is more important to me. Can’t wait to read your books.

  4. Sorry I’m a bit late, but the sun isn’t even up here in Montana. And thanks for the lovely intro, Lena. I’d love to take partial credit for your success, but you were a slam dunk! Nothing would have stopped you. You can’t beat the combo of talent and determination. .

  5. Oh, Sarah! You must let me know how the BIAW goes. I’ve always wanted to do that but never quite had the nerve. Right now I’m gearing myself up for NaNoWriMo. If I can do a month, surely I can hang in a week. Right? And I agree with your answer. That’s why they call it ROMANTIC Suspense!

  6. Thanks for stopping by, Deborah. I don’t know if I’d enjoy reading straight romance. I always like a meatier story with more at risk – and the suspense gives us that..

  7. Welcome to K&T, Gail! I love historical romances with suspense and intrigue, so I’m definitely going to have to check out your books. We just did a 12-day tour of the UK in August and it’s fun now that I can picture many of the places in the historicals I’ve read since.

    For me, the romance always comes first. I used to read a lot of straight suspense and thrillers, but was always disappointed when the H/H didn’t have some kind of relationship closure. Not even a kiss! But like Sarah, I like the books best that have a balance of both. I want my happy ending, but give me lots of suspense and danger too. 😉

    BTW, I’ll be out your way next weekend for the Flathead River Writers’ Conference. Can’t wait to check out MT!

  8. Thanks for the welcome, Gwen. And darn! I didn’t sign up for the conference this year! Wish I’d have known you were coming. I’d have loved to see you and hear your talk. (Hmm. Maybe I’ll contact the conference coordinator and see if they are sold out.) I live in Bigfork, a small resort village on the north end of Flathead Lake – about 17 miles south of Kalispell. Pack warm – the weather is iffy right now and will definitely be cold in the morning and evening.

    And I have to personally thank you for your handbook on Scrivener. I could always see the potential, but until your book, I just couldn’t ‘get’ it. Now I’ll never use anything else for writing. So, Thanks! I think I might even be ready for an Intermediate class. Do you teach those online?

    And a big YES to romantic resolution. Without it, the story sort of falls flat for me.

    • Gail: If you go, definitely stop and say hello. So glad you’ve found the book helpful. The 4-week online class that I teach (next one in late Feb/early Mar) starts with the basics and gets pretty deep. Even experienced users tell me they get a lot out of the class.

      Thanks for the weather tips! 🙂

  9. Thank you, Lena, for the awesome introduction to Ms. Ranstrom! I am a big fan of historical romances that walk the side of “gritty”! The conflict of their fundamental beliefs is all I needed to read — I am so in!

    I’m usually a big stickler about reading in chronological order, but this sounds absolutely wonderful and I think I’ll start here! 😀

    • Hi Carmen! I’m so glad you are going to give Gail a try. Her books all stand alone very well and are so so good. She’s not all balls and carriage rides (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Very unique and interesting.

  10. Welcome to Kiss and Thrill, Gail! This book sounds fabulous–like my favorite type of historical with a strong suspense plot that is completely intertwined with the romance.

    For me, in reading romantic suspense, I prefer balance between the two, and for the suspense plot to to be integral to the conflict between the hero and heroine. If I can’t have balance, then I’m okay with the romance being a small part of the suspense, (as long as there is some romance!) but I get bored when the suspense is just window dressing for the romance. 🙂

  11. Hi Carmen, and thanks for dropping by. Sweet Treason is completely unrelated to the rest of my books, so don’t worry about ‘order.’ I’m glad to hear that the conflict doesn’t scare you off. Readers always want a plot, but they can get scared off by anything controversial. Me? Nothing scares me off. Sounds like you’re the same. 🙂 And if you like gritty, you might like Lord Libertine–my edgiest yet, I think.. .

  12. Thanks for the welcome, Rachel. And I hear you sistah! It’s a delicate balance to write Romantic Suspense and do justice to both. I just snagged a copy of Concrete Evidence. I love all things archaeological. My favorite all time book is The Source by Michener. I loved the way he wove the present day with all the layers of history they were uncovering. I decided I wanted to be an archaeologist then and there. But my mother pointed out that I would have to get dirty and live without basic comforts for long periods of time. So… How great that you can use one passion to pursue the other. Archaeology and writing – perfect!

    • Thank you so much, Gail! I hope you enjoy Concrete! I haven’t read The Source, but think my husband has (he’s an archaeologist too). And your mother nailed it with the getting dirty and living without basic comforts advice. 🙂 Fieldwork can be fun and exciting, and it can be cold, dirty, and miserable. I didn’t mind the dirt so much, but working in the rain in November with nothing but a tent to return to at the end of the day… I don’t miss that. 😉

  13. Oh, Carmen – how sweet of you. When you’re done, I’d love to know which one you like best.

  14. Welcome Gail! Lena thanks for introducing us! Like Sarah, I’m heavy into BIAW among some other tiny little things to do like meet my deadline and take exams, but I’m definitely looking forward to the time when I can treat myself to something special like Sweet Treason! Sounds wonderful!

  15. How great of you to spend time with us at K&T, Gail! For me, a good suspense novel doesn’t have to have a romance subplot, but it does have to have a relationship subplot. That’s what adds depth to a suspense or adventure story imho. I think that’s why the non-fiction stories written by Jon Krakauer and Sebastian Junger are so riveting. It’s all about the relationships 🙂 Good luck with Sweet Treason!

  16. Thanks, and I’m in awe of you, Carey. I’m lucky to juggle two things at once, let alone three. Best of luck with the deadline, exams and BIAW! If I survive NaNoWriMo, I’m going to try BIAW. No guts, no glory, they say!

  17. Hi Krista, and thanks for having me. I know what you mean. Krakauer is brilliant. Not many non-fiction books bring me to tears, but his do. And that’s because he weaves in the humanity and relationships of his subjects so seamlessly. I’ve only read Junger’s The Perfect Storm, but I’ll have to read his others. Do you have a particular recommendation?

  18. Hi Gail! I love this trend of suspense in romance novels and hope it continues to grow!
    As far as balance of suspense and romance in the story, I love 50/50 and if it leans a bit more toward the romance, that’s okay too. 🙂

  19. mandacollinsauthor

    Hi Gail! I’m so excited to have a fellow Regency author who writes historical and mystery blended together:) I cut my romance reading teeth on Regency trade and I still like to make side trips back there. I’m very interested in the revolutionary America setting. You’re right about that era being ripe for conflict-and how! Thanks so much for sharing your work with us!

    • Hey Manda! Thanks so much for having me. I’m really enjoying myself here. I think I have cover envy for your Why Dukes Say I Do. There’s something about seeing red that excites the mind, isn’t there? I don’t think I ever read much traditional Regency. I went straight from Roberta Gellis to Kathleen Woodiwiss. Missed the whole Georgette Heyer movement – though I have gone back and read several. Very clever plots, but not much suspense, eh?

  20. Hi Sharon! For me it all started with the Bobbsey Twins, Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.. I loved the little mysteries even then. It was probably ordained that I would always have to have a mystery or suspense (preferably both) mixed in with my romances. I really should look at my own books to figure out the blend. I think I’m roughly 50/50 with the scales tipping toward the romance/romantic conflict. Where did you get your love for the suspense/mystery?.

  21. Thanks so much, Ladies. It’s been a fun day. I feel like I just went to the prom, and had a really good time. Your ‘hospitality’ is unmatched and I’ll be looking in now and then. Gail

  22. WiNNERS of SWEET TREASON!!! Since we only had two eligible commenters (peeps other than us K&T ladies) I’m awarding both of you a copy of SWEET TREASON by the amazing Gail Ranstrom. Deborah D and Carmen Pacheco – please email me at Lena (at) LenaDiaz (dot) com and tell me if you prefer a Nook or Kindle copy and I’ll send you your free copy of SWEET TREASON! Thanks for stopping by.

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