Sugar and Spice Tour with authors Amy Sandas and Elizabeth Michels

Amy Sandas interviews Elizabeth Michels

Amy: What was the first romance novel you ever read?

Elizabeth: I’ve always been one to have a book around, but I read across multiple genres without any particular favorite until about 12 years ago.  Whatever book caught my eye or was popular enough to make into a movie, I would pick it up, and dive into it without hesitation.  I blame this entirely on growing up in the country. In a home where my only choices in books were my brother’s science fiction novels, and my mom’s cozy murder mysteries, I was just happy to have something to read, anything to read.  

Then when I was in my late 20s, I walked into my local bookstore and saw a book with a cover depicting a ship at sea.  Bold blue skies, sails billowing in the wind, and a lady in a pink dress all seemed to beg me to pick up the book to investigate.  It was Johanna Lindsey’s CAPTIVE OF MY DESIRES.  That was the day I dove into historical romance novels, and I’ve never looked back.

Amy: When did you realize you wanted to write romance novels?

Elizabeth: I never realized I could write until I was grown.  I know many authors began their first novel at age 10, but that wasn’t me.  I was actually in my early thirties and I’d just had a baby.  I’d been reading romance for a few years at that point.  One day while cleaning out our closets my husband stumbled across my stash of romance novels.  He turned around to look at me with a look of shock on his face.  “You’ve read all of these?  Do you realize how much market research you’ve done on this subject?” 

Leave it to him to look at reading books in business terms.  I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes.  “Market research?  Really?”  

Then he said, “No, I’m serious.  You should try to write a book.”

I could have ignored his suggestion and continued spring cleaning the house.  But I’d just closed my interior design business to be a stay-at-home-mom for our son and I was looking for something to work on in my free time.  So during naptime for my baby the following afternoon I sat down at the kitchen table and started to write.  

That first manuscript is still well hidden beneath my bed even today, but I learned from it.  What’s more, I found I had a passion for story telling that I never knew existed.  I’m so thankful that my husband wanted to clean out the house that day.  It changed my life.  And my husband is still my biggest cheerleader on this journey.  …Don’t tell him I called him a cheerleader, alright? It’ll be our secret. 

Amy: If you had only one book to read for the rest of your life, what book would it be?

Elizabeth: Only one book?! Forever?! Man, ask me a tougher question, why don’t you, Amy.  Geez! I would have to go with the book that will always hold a special place in my heart: the one that hooked me on reading when I was a teenager.  There was a long list of acceptable books for summer reading that year.  I wasn’t a big reader at the time, so I sighed and looked down the list settling on a title that turned out to be AMAZING! After I read it, I wanted more and began devouring book after book for the first time in my life.  But that first one is still my favorite book of all time.  The book that changed my life: REBECCA by Daphne Du Maurier.

Amy: What is the strangest way that an idea has come to you for a story?

Elizabeth: LOL I definitely have to go with the plot of my debut novel, MUST LOVE DUKES, for this one.  I was in the shower one Saturday afternoon after working in my flower beds all morning.  

It went something like this: shampoo, shampoo, shampoo… ENTIRE PLOT OF THE STORY SMASHING ME OVER THE HEAD! I gasped, didn’t even stop to rinse or repeat, and ran for a pen and paper before I could forget the details.  I wrote down a summary of the entire book with shampoo bubbles still dripping from my head.  And the rest is history. 

Amy: If you had to write something other than romance, what would you write?

Elizabeth: Although it would make me sad to step away from romance because of all of the friends I’ve found in the genre, I would shift to writing Women’s Fiction.  My books have been called deeply emotional, and I believe that’s a fair statement.  Even through the romance and the moments of laughter, there is always a layer of character growth happening in the background.  I like people with plenty of flaws.  *shrugs and laughs* But for this reason, I think I could write a heartfelt tale of woe for some poor character in a Women’s Fiction novel.  ;)

Amy: If you had to choose a favorite love scene you’ve written, which couple is it with, and why?

Elizabeth: Without a doubt, it’s Fallon and Isabelle from THE WICKED HEIR, chapter sixteen to be exact.  Isabelle is a true romantic.  She turns everything she sees into fantasy and makes up stories, even about Fallon.  In my favorite love scene from this, or any, book she spins a tale about being held as his prisoner.  Okay, so he *did* kidnap her and lock her in his bedroom, but he had his reasons, and he was a total gentleman about it.  But in Isabelle’s version of events, he’s an evil lord…  

Isabelle knew her smile must have covered half her face, and she giggled as she clambered to her feet. But a second later, she’d arranged her face to be that of a tortured lady. She squared her shoulders to Fallon, staring him down. “I only came here to save my family from harm. We had a bargain, sir. A bargain.”

He raised a brow in question at the story forming in her mind. Wrapping his hands around her arms, he said, “The terms of our agreement have changed, my lady. You shouldn’t have trusted me. I’m quite the wicked gentleman.”
Isabelle gasped and looked up at him. “What will you do with me? I only ask that you spare my life and release my family from captivity.”

“And if I’m so generous?” he asked, his voice drop- ping to a low rumble as he watched her.

“I’ll stay here forever. I’ll be yours forever.” The raw honesty of her words hung between them for a moment.  No matter the parts they played at the moment, at least that much was true.

Things get steamy after that.  

Amy: What author has been the greatest influence on your writing?

Elizabeth: There are so many authors I love to read, and authors I admire and for various reasons.  My number one favorite author though has to be Lisa Kleypas.  Her writing is beautiful! I love her descriptions and the characters she creates are amazing.  Every time I finish one of her books I sit there for a second in awe, hoping I can make a reader feel the same way I do in that moment.  For me, her books are the light house on the horizon that I steer my little boat toward.  I hope I hit land one day and I get to meet her in person.  That would be awesome!

Amy: Of the three heroes in The Spare Heirs series, which would you choose that have as your brother, which would you take as a lover, and which would you make your husband?

Elizabeth: Oh, goodness! What a question! LOL I would choose Ethan Moore, Lord Ayton (THE INFAMOUS HEIR) to be my brother.  He’s a great brother to his sister, Katie.  And I know if something went wrong in my life, he would have my back and would be the first one there throwing punches in my defense.  

I would marry Fallon St. James (THE WICKED HEIR) in a heartbeat! He’s a kind, generous, and powerful man in London. He lives in the elegant, flower-filled Headquarters for the Spare Heirs Society.   He’s…let’s be honest…the Godfather of the mafia, which is cool.  And he would be the one most likely to laugh it off when I do something impulsive and creative around the house.  

And that makes Ash Claughbane (THE REBEL HEIR) my lover.  Ash is adventurous, and fun.  He travels a good bit, so I think he would be a nice wild fling when he comes through town.  Of course, I think the heroines of the Spare Heirs series would have a problem with me stealing their men, so I’ll just stick with the husband I have.  He’s pretty awesome too.

Elizabeth Michels interviews Amy Sandas

Elizabeth: What’s your favorite line from your new release, LORD OF LIES?

Amy: “He knew before he spoke, however, that a sensible lecture would only end in a roll of her fascinating eyes or a snort of derision before she went along doing exactly what she wanted to do anyway.”

Elizabeth: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?  

Amy: I’ve loved writing since I was a pre-teen, but it wasn’t until college that I knew I wanted to make a go of it as a career. It took many years after that to actually commit to a discipline that would make it happen.

Elizabeth: If you had to live within the world of any genre of romance, which one would you choose and why? 

Amy: I’d have to go with contemporary. Specifically, the gritty, rock-and-roll, tattooed, dive bar contemporaries. Oh, to be young and rebellious again!

Elizabeth: Have any of your (adult) family members read your books?  Do you tear out the pages of the sex scenes? Or let them read the whole thing? 

Amy: Yes, many of my adult family members have read at least one of my books. Even my grandpa! And, as far as I know, they read the whole thing. We just don’t talk specifics afterward…

Elizabeth: Do you think there’s a secret ingredient that all heroes must have to be desirable?  Or does that magic “it” factor change from book to book? 

Amy: I definitely think it changes from book to book. To me the “it” factor is in how the hero is perfect for his particular heroine. It’s in the little details she notices when she first sees him and the way his presence makes her feel.

Elizabeth: What’s the best single moment of your career so far? 

Amy: Discovering that Luck Is No Lady hit the USA Today Bestseller list. It was totally unexpected and so thrilling.

Elizabeth: Which heroine in your books is the most like you? 

Amy: Ooh! Tough question. But I would probably have to say it is Lily Chadwick. I have always been very shy, though I’ve learned how to fake it in most situations.  And like Lily, I prefer to avoid conflict if possible.  

About Lord of the Flies

“You do strange things to me, Dell Turner. Tell me I am not alone in what I feel.”

His voice was low and rough. His eyes burned. “You are not alone,” he said.

Portia Chadwick longs for a life of adventure. When a dangerous moneylender kidnaps her sister, she dares to seek help from a man known only as Nightshade. Soon she finds herself charging headfirst into his world of intrigue and danger—and unexpected passion.

Dell Turner grew up in London’s back alleys and gin lanes. Vowing to escape his low beginnings, he hires himself out to society’s elite. When he accepts a job from a beautiful debutante, he doesn’t anticipate her relentless determination to join his mad occupation…or her unnerving ability to inspire emotions he thought long buried. She’s as dangerous to him as his world is to her, and yet Dell can’t bring himself to turn Portia away—even if it means risking her life.

About Amy Sandas

USA Today Bestselling author Amy Sandas’s love of romance began one summer when she stumbled across one of her mother’s Barbara Cartland books. Her affinity for writing began with sappy preteen poems and led to a liberal arts degree from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She lives with her husband and children near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter:  @AmySandas | Goodreads

The Wicked Heir

The Spare Heirs Society Cordially Invites You to Meet Fallon St. James: The Mastermind

When the love of Lady Isabelle Fairlyn’s life is betrothed to her twin sister, Isabelle vows to find a suitable replacement before the end of the season. He must be a talented dancer, have a keen fashion sense, and be perfectly dashing in every way.

Fallon St. James is the farthest thing from perfectly anything. As head of the secretive Spare Heirs Society, he must stick to the shadows…even as Isabelle’s friendship pulls him reluctantly into the light.  But when Isabelle gets involved with the one man who could destroy Spares, Fallon must decide between protecting his life’s work—or risking everything to save the woman whose warm smile leaves him breathless.

About Elizabeth Michels

Elizabeth Michels is the award-winning author of the Tricks of the Ton series and the new Spare Heirs series. She attended Park University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Interior Design.  This Historical Romance author enjoys living in a lake-side town in North Carolina with her husband and son. Elizabeth is a lover of happily-ever-afters, laughter, and things that are sparkly. Tiara optional while reading, but highly recommended. 

Connect: Website | Facebook | Twitter: @SouthernTart | Goodreads


One lucky winner will receive a book bundle containing all three books in each author’s latest series! 

Amy Sandas’ Fallen Ladies Series:
Luck Is No Lady
The Untouchable Earl
Lord of Lies

Elizabeth Michels’ Spare Heirs Series:
The Infamous Heir
The Rebel Heir
The Wicked Heir