[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Lily! Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Lily Dalton] Sure! I’ve been married to my tall, big-hearted Czech husband for almost twenty years, and we have two great kids, ages 15 and 11, so every day is an adventure in teenagerdom. I love animals, cooking and baking and collecting all sorts of what I call “good junque” like dishes, old linens, interesting cookbooks and “stuff”! We live very far away from Regency England…in Texas! So we love good barbeque, football games, the rodeo, going to the beach and mosquitos. Just joking about the mosquitos part, but we’ve got plenty of those.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Never Desire a Duke?
[Lily Dalton] Of course! Never Desire a Duke is a Regency set historical in which a hopelessly estranged couple, the Duke and Duchess of Claxton, become snowbound together, and by that forced proximity are forced to confront the hurt and betrayals of their past.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Lily Dalton] My agent came to me with the suggestion of writing a Christmas book, and I was immediately taken by the idea. One of the first things that popped into my mind was “Christmas miracle”. What better miracle could there be, in the context of a romance, than bringing an estranged couple together, one who has no hope of reconciliation–and helping them to fall in love all over again? My favorite romances have always been the angsty ones, so that scenario fit the bill and drew me right in. And we see it all the time, couples in the midst of a problem that is only complicated by the presence and opinions of their friends and family. So placing Sophia and Vane in a snowbound situation, where they were finally and at last alone, seemed the perfect way to jumpstart the communication between them. And the kissing.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Sophia?
[Lily Dalton] Sophia is “strong” and “smart” and she’s also a “realist”.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Claxton had a theme song, what would it be?
[Lily Dalton] Imagine Dragons’ song, Demons. Lyrics:
Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide
When I heard this song, I thought – that’s Claxton! He wants Sophia, but he doesn’t know how to be close to someone, and Sophia won’t accept anything less. He’s been hurt very deeply in his past, before he ever knew her, and has a very high wall around his heart. He’s afraid if he lets her behind that wall, she won’t like what she finds.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Sophia is never without.
[Lily Dalton] Her pride.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Claxton’s bedroom?
[Lily Dalton] A book. I know, isn’t it awful? He is very educated and knows the classics, but he doesn’t read for pleasure, and most certainly not in his bedroom.
Birth control. (Author Sophie Jordan made me say it!)
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Sophia’s greatest regret?
[Lily Dalton] That when faced with an upsetting situation, she reacted like a child rather than waiting to calmly talk things through with Claxton. She realizes her actions changed the course of their marriage. Only, she can’t take it–or the terrible tragedy that happened afterward–back.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Lily Dalton] Music. I can be completely empty-brained, and feeling as if I don’t have an ounce of creativity left, but then I’ll plug in to some of my favorite songs and listen to the words and suddenly things start to flow again.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Lily Dalton] A beverage! Coffee. Hot tea! Mexican hot chocolate. Those are my favorites.
Cats (If you visit my website, you’ll see Lord Tango and Sir Oscar. They are always there while I write, laying across my feet or wedged in the chair beside me).
A happy family. I know it sounds strange to say, but if there is some sort of turmoil going on, or if one of the kids are upset about something, it really messes up my mojo.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was your biggest distraction while working on Never Desire a Duke?
[Lily Dalton] My husband and two kids. I have a really great family, and love being distracted by them. ?
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?
[Lily Dalton] I know you said book, singular, but can I say Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series? I read the entire series in the space of a week. I LOVE YOU BARRON!! **faint** Wow, is all I can say. She broke my heart, twisted up all my emotions, made me hate certain characters…and fall in love. That’s a great reading experience.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Lily Dalton] Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. It was the first book I can remember sweeping me away into another place and time. And it broke my heart. I cried on the school bus ride home, reading the ending. That book showed me what books could do, and from that moment on, I wanted more.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Lily Dalton] Eat! Watch football games with my family. Read. Read. And read some more. I also love to meet up with writer friends for lunch and good talks.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!
About the book:
A secret from his past holds the key to their future…
A Marriage Beyond Hope
Lady Sophia has long been estranged from her husband, Lord Vane Barwick, the Marquess of Claxton, whose rumored list of amorous conquests includes almost every beautiful woman of the ton. Yet a shocking encounter with him in a crowded ballroom—and a single touch—are all it takes to reawaken her furious passion for him. But how can she trust the man who crushed her dreams and took away the one thing she wanted most?
A Love Beyond Reason
Lord Claxton has never forgiven himself for the youthful mistake that ruined his marriage to Lady Sophia. Now, after nearly a year abroad, the reformed rogue vows to win back the only woman he’s ever truly loved. He’ll do whatever it takes to prove he can be the honorable husband she deserves—and the passionate lover she desires. As the snowdrifts deepen outside their ancestral home, can they rekindle the flame that burned so bright and find a new path to forever?