A Chat With Historical Romantic Suspense Author Darcy Burke

I’m very excited to introduce our Kiss and Thrill readers to Darcy Burke, who is one of my critique and plotting partners and an Instant Messenger buddy. Because we spend so much time chatting on IM together, Darcy and I thought it would be fun to do the interview via IM. This way I could blindside her with my deeply insightful questions. Plus I’d have my full range of emoticons to use, and anyone who has ever IMed with me knows I’d conduct entire conversations using only emoticons if I could.35

SEA-600x922-195x300We scheduled the interview in the evening, so we could each enjoy a glass of wine while we chatted…

RG: Starting off with the important question: what type of wine are you drinking?

DB: Viognier, from Jones of Washington. It’s a winery in Quincy, WA. We visit every year when we go see Dave Matthews at the Gorge Labor Day weekend. It was 65 degrees yesterday, so a nice white seemed apropos. (Yes, this bottle was opened yesterday – gasp!)

RG: I’m not one to judge when it comes to wine. Now if it were a beer you’d opened yesterday, I’d be concerned. 3

Your Secrets and Scandals series started off as straight historical romance, but as the series grew, the secrets and scandals became less about gossip within the ton and more about thievery and murder. Was this a conscious decision?

DB: Not really conscious, no, but I suppose the Fight Club elements in books 2 and 3 (His Wicked Heart and To Seduce a Scoundrel) set up a segue into the underworld.

RG: They did! It was a natural progression. In which book did the shift toward historical romantic suspense occur?

DB: Once I realized Jagger, who was the villain in To Seduce a Scoundrel, needed his own HEA, I thought about how to set that up. Secrets and Scandals was only supposed to be three books and end with TSAS. Then Jagger happened, lol. And Lockwood. I was also incredibly interested in Lockwood’s story. It seemed a natural thing that they were in fact half-brothers.

In coming up with their story, which would be the second half of Secrets & Scandals, I wanted an overarching suspense plot that would link the books together. And it had to be suspense because of who Jagger was. If he was going to want redemption (and he sort of had to if I was going to make him a hero), I had to write an arc in which he dug himself out of the gutter. That started with the novella, To Love a Thief, which features Jagger as a major secondary character.

RG: Agreed (see this was a quiz, and your answer about your own book is correct) it was totally in To Love a Thief.

DB: rofl – glad I know my books!

RG: LOL – I learn stuff about my books all the time from reviews. Sometimes I learn that I write smut, but other times I see reviewers catching nuances even I hadn’t noticed.

DB: ditto

RG: Bonus Question: what have you learned about one of your books from a review?

DB: that my name is really Dana Burke.

RG: 24

DB: I don’t know that I’ve learned anything per se, but sometimes people have really pulled out the things I was trying to convey, which is always great.

RG: Have you ever had a book of M/M erotica named after you?

DB: why yes, I have! VAMPIRE M/M erotica.

RG: Lucky!!

Okay, Secrets and Scandals is now complete, but now that you’ve had a taste of writing historical romantic suspense, do you plan to include a suspense plot in future historicals?

DB: Most definitely. My next series, Regency Treasure Hunters is pretty much exactly that: a series of treasure hunts. It won’t have the, ahem, murder and mayhem that some of Secrets & Scandals had, but gosh, you never know!

RTH is in the vein of Romancing the Stone or Indiana Jones, lots of action and adventure.

RG: It sounds awesome! But I’m counting on you for some bloodshed.

DB: lol, I will keep your bloodthirstiness in mind!

RG: Who is your favorite plotting partner? 3 (Don’t worry, I’m sure Eli, Joan, and Erica won’t read this.19)

DB: since YOU are one of my favorite plotting partners and will undoubtedly be helping me plot this series, I suspect you’ll find a way to suggest bloodshed. If memory serves, you are constantly suggesting I blow something up. 3

RG: There is a decided dearth of explosions in historical romance.

DB: Yes, it’s a shame.

RG: Hmm… I notice Darcy hasn’t answered the favorite plotting partner question. She must be drinking more wine. Hands full, can’t type… 5

DB: I said you are one of my faves, doesn’t that count?? 29 (Eli and Erica will be crushed if I answer with the truth.3)

RG: You can tell them I inserted your last sentence. 65 What is your favorite emoticon?

DB: oh, wow, hard to say! Probably the rofl one (24) because the people I IM with the most typically have me in stitches.

RG: Have you ever been flown to a foreign country and appeared on a reality TV show so you could meet a long-lost relative?

DB: Why yes, what a bizarrely accurate question, lol.

My brother and I were flown to Denmark in June 2012 to appear on This is Your Life Paprika Steen. Paprika is my first cousin and I just love, love, love her. Her mother and my father were siblings. They’ve both passed on, which is why we lost touch years ago, but thanks to Facebook, we reconnected and got to meet.

RG: Is there a link? Can we view the episode?

DB: Unfortunately it’s not online. I’d love to find a way to post the part where we meet (I have a copy, of course) because it’s pretty incredible, but I don’t think I have permission.

RG: Does your cousin have a website?

DB: No, but this is her imdb page: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0824785/. You can see how alike we look (not—she’s gorgeous).

RG: Cool!

The first novella—Where the Heart Is—in your new contemporary series was released last fall. Can you tell us a little bit about the Ribbon Ridge series?

DB: Ribbon Ridge does not involve murder or mayhem, lol. It’s a family saga (about sextuplets and the seventh “oops” kid) sort of series, but each book is stand alone. There’s an overarching plot and some subplots carry over between books, but each love story has an HEA.

RG: In the novella, the hero is a friend of the Archer sextuplets. Which sextuplet is the hero or heroine of the first full-length book?

DB: The novella hero is actually their “almost-brother” in that he went to live with the Archers after the death of his mother. His father had died years earlier. He had a really sad backstory, lol. The first full-length book in the series features the youngest sextuplet (as in she was born last), Sara. She’s an event planner with sensory processing disorder, so she’s a little quirky.

RG: I can’t wait to read it! (When do I get to read it?!)

DB: uh, when I finish the revision. 3

RG: Okay, final question – when the heck are we going to get together for more than a virtual glass of wine? I need to plot murder and mayhem with you. 3

DB: right???

RG: Is there anything else you want to add?

DB: I can’t think of anything else, but then I’ve had almost two glasses of wine.

RG: Lightweight.

DB: True.


Darcy is giving away an ebook copy of the Scoundrel Ever After to one lucky commenter! To enter the drawing, tell us what sort of romantic suspense elements you think historical romances could use more of (e.g. explosions).

Scoundrel Ever After
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About Rachel Grant

Archaeologist Rachel Grant writes romantic suspense where archaeology, politics, and war collide.

Posted on March 18, 2014, in Author Interview, Rachel Grant and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. Welcome to K&T, Darcy! I’m definitely going to have to add your books to my (towering) TBR pile. Rachel, the IM format was fun.

    I’d like to see more historical romances that include spies and espionage. 🙂

  2. I also love historical with spies and adventure! The remind me of the Jane Aiken Hodge stories where the heroine was a a Russian emigre who becomes a spy for the British during the Crimea war. Can’t remember the title but loved the book!

    I think there was an explosion in that book. But I know there was a prison escape, a kidnapping, and a race through the woods at night. I love those kinds of elements!
    Good lucky Darcy on your new release!

  3. Welcome to Kiss and Thrill, Darcy! And happy day-after-your birthday!!!

  4. Welcome to K&T, Darcy (er…Dana.) 🙂
    I love the tagline on your cover: “Once upon a time there was a very bad boy…”

    It’s amazing what triggers a person to automatically/impulsively buy a book and that did it for me (and of course Rachel’s hysterical IM interview.) Thank God you passed the quiz about knowing your own plots and characters. 😉

    Hmmm…your question of the day: There doesn’t seem to be a lot of serial killers in historical romantic suspense. And I don’t mean the over-used, true-life Jack-the-Ripper. But maybe, given that the lands and titles went to the eldest, then second eldest, etc…down to some distant male cousin…what if that distant male cousin was offing them in creative ways and having a perfect alibi each time?

    Wishing you the best of luck in sales and continued future success!

    • Ooooh, Sarah, you just gave someone a golden idea!! I’m not sure I could write that. Serial killers give me the serious creeps. There couldn’t be any animal harming or ritualistic behavior. See, I’m already scaring myself!! 😉

  5. Ha ha Rachel and Darcy, what a fun interview. Welcome Darcy. Who knew we had the same name. I can’t tell you how often my Diana also becomes Dana. LOL.

    Putting this on my TBR pile right away.

  6. First off, my now-fave genre is romantic suspense! Started out with early American romances, then Regency and Western historicals (I still read those too), but I gradually moved to romantic suspense ’cause it’s so much more exciting with “love on the edge”! As to what I would like to see added, I can’t really think of a thing because each author in the genre has her own style and includes certain aspects of mystery (spy, action, murder, etc.). And besides that, each author must follow her own muse and what her characters tell her to include. And lastly, I love it all!! jdh2690@gmail.com

  7. Nice work, ladies! I have no idea how you got emoticons into the post, but am impressed with the creative juices flowing all over the place. And the wine too, of course. Darcy, what a pleasure to have you on Kiss and Thrill! Thanks for joining us and congrats on all your success. Scoundrel Ever After looks delicious!

  8. In addition to spies and espionage story lines, I like secret societies and adventure in foreign lands–you know, all those expeditions gentleman scientists and archeologists and explorers were going on. Manda’s WHY DUKES SAY I DO comes to mind 🙂

    Loved the IM format. Darcy, looking forward to reading your Secrets and Scandals series and the upcoming Treasure Hunters series!

  9. not sure; anything sounds interesting and different

  10. I was recently in the very room where Guy Fawkes and chums are reputed to have hatched the gunpowder plot. It occurred to me that the attempt to blow up the English houses of parliament would make a splendid backdrop for a romantic suspense. I think Mary Jo Putney may have already done it, but more explosions, both physical and emotional are scenarios that I would like to see more off!

    Just downloaded your ‘Her Wicked ways’ Darcy …. after the discussion here my expectations are high! 🙂

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