When the Lights Go Out – A Night with Mr. Darcy

As a native Northeast New Jerseyan, I had a single thought in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy: Charge. The. Kindle.  If I remembered to do that, (and, for those who are wondering, I did), I had no fears. Of course, the physical needs would be met – I had water, canned soup, batteries, etc. and so on.  But more than that, I had what I needed to take me away from the cold and the darkness.  I had my stories.  I would be fine.
I ignored the fact that my husband, a man of many talents, is no reader.  Furthermore, his boredom would inevitably affect any hope I may have had of solitary moments.  Productive and mind-expanding alone time would be anything but.  And the moment did arrive where the power went out, and I was forced to acknowledge that a hundred hours of reading time on my Kindle would be no good to me, so long as he was bored.
The saying, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ has been around a while, because it’s true.  Or, in my case, necessity (read: desperation) was the mother of ingenuity.  I had a predicament.  I had one, fully charged Kindle, and one bored husband.  Unable to separate one from the other, I decided they simply had to merge.
Happily, I married a man who appreciates a good story, albeit on screen, and provided it was not produced prior to 2005.  It is my very great fortune that the Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice was produced that very year.  My husband is a fan.
Thus, my Kindle and my husband became one.  By the light of a trusted flashlight, I read aloud passages from Jane Austen’s novel that I knew he would recall from the film.  Many of us know the wide grins that result from Mrs. Bennett crying, ‘Its Mr. Bingley!’ or Mr. Collins confessing ‘the violence of’ his affection for Elizabeth, and my husband is among us.
I have since returned to the day job, but my husband’s office remains without power.  And on Monday of this week, what did I find that he did with his day at home?  If you guessed that he re-watched Pride and Prejudice on Bluray, you guessed correctly.
I may not have made it to Mr. Darcy’s proposals that one night during the power outage, but a man who will listen to me read aloud from the classics is a real Mr. Darcy to me. I hear there is a Nor’easter coming our way tonight… I’d better check the battery on my Kindle.
Upon the unexpected death of her parents, Rhianna Braden finds the enigmatic
Lord Guilford Kingsley on her doorstep. He escorts her to Kingsley Manor, where
family secrets and scandals begin to unfold. Her uncommon beauty captures the
attention of the dashing Lord Thayne Brighton of Ravensleigh, but Rhianna is
certain, despite their mutual attraction, that he would never choose her over
his wealthy intended. Meanwhile, Lady Lydia Kingsley suspects her husband’s
attention to Rhianna has led to an affair between them. Events turn deadly when
the truth of their relationship is discovered. Eventually, Rhianna is forced to
make a life-altering decision while discovering that some secrets are not meant
to be kept.
Available at: Crimson Romance ebooks | Amazon | B&N | iTunes

Lady in Red – Amanda L. V. Shalaby

1. Introduce yourself, please (name you write under). Is this a pen or personal name? Why did you make the choice to write under that name? 

My name is Amanda L. V. Shalaby and I am the author of the historical romance, Rhianna. I decided to write under my personal name for multiple reasons, but mostly because this particular novel was… well… so very personal!  It is inspired and dedicated to my grandmother, Catherine M. Fisher, and I just couldn’t see writing this story for her as an alter ego.
2. Let’s get the details out of the way: Single, married, divorced, widowed? Parent? Living where?
I have been married for 7 years to my wonderful husband, Matt.  We have three furry “kids”: Two Shih Tzu dogs, Huntley Rochester & Isabella Jane (yes, those middle names are after Jane Eyre), and a Persian cat named Sebastian. We live just outside of New York City.

3. What’s your secret passion?
Actually, for a long time, writing was my secret passion.  I spent years writing whole novels for myself and never shared them with anyone. I was always very private about my writing, but I’m glad that I came around and decided to start sharing my stories with others.

4. What’s the first creative writing you remember doing outside a class?
When I was 14-years-old, I had this fantastic dream about a world in the vein of Narnia.  I woke up the next morning determined to write it down as a YA short story. I realized then that I was not very good at writing short stories.  My first full-length novel was born.
5. Why do you write romance novels?
I never intended to write romance, actually.  It is only because of my grandmother’s life-long desire to write a historical romance that I began to write one for her. Now, I see the light!
6. What else do you write?
I think I’ve written a novel in pretty much every genre. I finally found a common theme, though – I really love researching different time periods. Not single story I’ve ever written has been from the same time period.
7. What did you cut from your book that felt like severing a body part?
Rhianna was very long.  To cut it down, a couple of chapters were axed detailing events in her childhood. The really important back story was worked in to the current version, though, and I’m really glad to say I like it better than the original!
8. The best part about my writing life is:
I think the best part about my writing life is I can easily entertain myself! Long line at the DMV?  Sitting around all day for jury duty?  Long plane flights? No problem!
9. The worst part about my writing life is:
Definitely, the worst part about my writing life is not having enough time to write.

10. Give us a hint about what the next book’s like.
I feel a very strong connection to the families in Rhianna, and I’ve begun working on a sequel that follows them through the next several years after Rhianna ends.  I’m really excited about it!  If you want to know more, I’ll be regularly updating my blog amandalvshalaby.wordpress.com or look me up on Facebook or Twitter.