Laura Lee Guhrke is here to kick off the Two Dukes and a Scandal blog tour! Check back a little later for interviews with Caroline Linden and Gayle Callen, and be sure to enter the giveaway!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.
[Laura Lee Guhrke] I am a rebellious, perfectionistic, history-obsessed, morning-adverse procrastinator.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your book?
[Laura Lee Guhrke] When she met the Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he accepted her proposal of a marriage of convenience, the ruined American heiress became an English duchess. Five years later, with her husband living a separate life on a whole other continent, Edie couldn’t be happier with the bargain they made.
With Edie’s money, Stuart was able to pay his family’s debts, and happily agrees to her terms that he leave England forever. But a brush with death in the African bush makes him decide it’s time to settle down and make a real marriage with his American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But he soon discovers that to keep her, he has to win more than her kiss. He has to win her heart.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Laura Lee Guhrke] HOW TO LOSE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS is the second book in my new series: AN AMERICAN HEIRESS IN LONDON. When Edie appeared as a secondary character in the first book of the series, WHEN THE MARQUESS MET HIS MATCH, I knew she had to have her own story. I also knew I wanted to write a marriage of convenience, and this character seemed to dovetail perfectly with that particular plot. I’d never written a marriage of convenience story before, but I was determined to present it in a fresh, new way, so instead of having the marriage of convenience begin in the present, Edie and Stuart’s wedding took place five years before their story opens. During that five years, they had lived completely separate lives. But then Stuart decides it’s time to change the status quo and have a real marriage, a decision that rocks the safe, secure world Edie has built for herself.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
[Laura Lee Guhrke] I really loved these two characters! I try not to get too emotionally attached to my characters, because it can interfere with my ability to be true to the story. But Edie and Stuart really got under my skin, and I was cheering for them to work things out every step of the way.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with this story?
[Laura Lee Guhrke] The ten-day time frame! There is some leeway at the beginning and end, but most of the story takes place in a ten day period. These are two wounded souls, with deep scars, and showing them falling in love over the course of only ten days meant every scene had to make a powerful impact. The sexual and emotional tension is very high in this book. It’s a bit deeper and a bit darker than my usual story, and much more intense.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?
[Laura Lee Guhrke] I Will Survive. I’ve been a working published author for twenty years now, and about half that time writing has been my only source of income. It amazes me every day that I’m lucky enough to have this as my job and that my readers have supported me so loyally. My thanks to them for being such great fans.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing you won’t leave home without.
[Laura Lee Guhrke] My SleepPhones. I have a hard time sleeping when I travel, and these cushy headphones are great for shutting off noise. I play meditation music and relax my way into sleep. I love my SleepPhones!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.
[Laura Lee Guhrke] A funky set of toy blocks that spells: IMAGINE, an essay listing the Ten Commandments for a Happy Writer, and my awesome red stapler, like the one from Office Space. The stapler reminds me of why I chose to leave the corporate world. Oh, and both my cats are on my desk, Sushi and Saké. They are always on my desk, getting in my way, walking across my keyboard, demanding attention. It’s amazing I get any work done.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?
[Laura Lee Guhrke] That’s tough. I can’t imagine being anyone but me! And wanting to be a real person has risks, you know. There’s that saying: Be careful what you wish for. Anyone’s life can seem great from the outside, but inside, who knows? On the other hand, if I could be a fictional character, it’s easier to choose. I’d be Alice because I’ve always wanted to go to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Or, wait, maybe I’d be Lady Grantham because then I’d get breakfast in bed at Downton Abbey, servants to wait on me, and gorgeous dresses to wear as I walk around my beautiful English gardens. Hmm…I can’t decide. I told you that was a tough question!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?
[Laura Lee Guhrke] I just finished reading THE SECRET ROOMS, by Catherine Bailey, a non-fiction account of the 9th Duke of Rutland, who shut himself away in the servants’ quarters of his estate and spent his last days there. It’s a fascinating peek into early-mid 20th century English life. I also just read THE TYPEWRITER GIRL, by Alison Atlee, a wonderful debut novel set in Edwardian England, my favorite period!
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Laura Lee Guhrke] I live in Idaho, and my husband and I have a mountain cabin, so in the winter, we spend a lot of time up there skiing. In the summer, we like to wakeboard on the lakes. I also spend a lot of time in my garden in the summer. We love to cook, and it’s great to use the herbs and vegetables from our own garden.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Laura Lee Guhrke] By visiting my website, www.lauraleeguhrke.com, or my Facebook Author Page. Readers can try to reach me via Twitter, but that’s a bit more hit-and-miss. I’m still working on liking the whole Twitter thing.)
How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days
From USA Today bestselling author Laura Lee Guhrke comes the story of a bargain, a marriage of convenience…and the chance for love to last a lifetime
They had a deal…
From the moment she met the devil-may-care Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he agreed to her outrageous proposal of a marriage of convenience, she was transformed from ruined American heiress to English duchess. Five years later, she’s delighted with their arrangement, especially since her husband is living on another continent.
But deals are made to be broken…
By marrying an heiress, Stuart was able to pay his family’s enormous debts, and Edie’s terms that he leave England forever seemed a small price to pay. But when a brush with death impels him home, he decides it’s time for a real marriage with his luscious American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But is ten days enough to win her heart?
Laura Lee Guhrke spent seven years in advertising, had a successful catering business, and managed a construction company before she decided writing novels was more fun. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Laura has penned over twenty historical romances. Her books have received many award nominations, and she is the recipient of romance fiction’s highest honor: the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. She lives in the Northwest with her husband (or, as she calls him, her very own romance hero), along with two diva cats and a Golden Retriever happy to be their slave. Laura loves hearing from readers, and you can contact her via her website: www.lauraleeguhrke.com.
The image of her moonlit face, as luminous and smooth as alabaster, flashed across his mind, as vivid now as it had been that fateful night at Hanford House—so vivid, in fact, that despite his many efforts over the years not to think of her, he’d failed more often than he’d succeeded. It had been her image that invaded his dreams during his delirium-filled fever, not the dangerous events that had nearly killed him. Even now, he could hear her voice clearly, so resolute and uncompromising. That you never, ever come back. Well, as he’d told her then, never was a long time. Circumstances changed, and plans went awry. His certainly had. He turned on the carriage seat, grimacing as he shifted his weight onto one hip and stretched out his leg. The sea voyage from Mombasa to Constantinople hadn’t been too bad, even without Jones. He felt another grimace of pain that had nothing to do with his leg, and he put his valet out of his mind. Jones was gone, and there was nothing he could do about that. He focused on the pain in his leg instead. That was easier to bear. On the ship, he’d been able to move about freely, but trains and carriages were a different matter. The muscles of his thigh had knotted up before he’d even reached Rome, and by now they were so constricted that he felt his right leg must surely be at least an inch shorter than his left.
“What happened to your leg?”
Stuart glanced at the girl seated opposite him. “Do you always ask impertinent questions?”
That made her grin. “All the time. It drives Mrs. Simmons mad.”
“I don’t doubt it. But to answer your question, I was mauled by a lioness.”
Her brown eyes went wide. “Really? How exciting.”
Stuart settled back in the corner of his seat, giving her a wry look. He unknotted his tie and removed his collar stud, something he’d been longing to do ever since he’d put them on. Nothing like a stiff, tight collar to remind a man of all that was wrong with civilization.
“It wasn’t the least bit exciting, my dear girl,” he assured Joanna as he dropped his stud into his pocket and pulled apart his collar. “I almost died.”