It’s my absolute pleasure to sit down with a dear friend and discuss her new release! Without further ado, let’s get to know all about Christina Britton and With Love in Sight!
So tell us a little about the book!
A painfully shy, bespectacled spinster, Miss Imogen Duncan has given up on her dreams of a home and family of her own and has come to accept the fact that she will be forced to cater to her overbearing mother for the rest of her life. Just when things are looking their darkest, she stumbles into London’s leading rake, Caleb Masters, Marquess of Willbrige—and is accidentally and soundly kissed.
Caleb is horrified he kissed an innocent but soon finds himself intrigued by Imogen’s gentle, calm strength. She quiets the demons that clamor in his soul, soothing a decade-old guilt that continues to eat away at him. Against all odds, the two become fast friends. But when friendship turns to passion, they find that the past holds them prisoner. For Caleb refuses to let Imogen be tainted by his sins, and Imogen will accept nothing but his whole heart.
Where did your inspiration for the book come from?
This particular story actually began with a deep desire to see an extremely shy, introverted woman get her happily ever after.
I adore stories of smart, strong, forceful women. But I couldn’t relate to them. I’m incredibly awkward, and shy, and am basically a mess with people, and I wanted a heroine with similar characteristics. It was around that time that I saw a call from Writer’s Digest for a popular fiction contest. So I quickly penned a short story, A Late Bloom.
To my surprise, it won the Best in Romance category! But the heroine wasn’t quite done with me yet. As quiet and unassuming as she was, she insisted on having a bigger role, an entire novel all to herself. And so Miss Imogen Duncan was born. Her hero, an awkward, gentle fellow in the short story, became the very dashing rake Caleb, Marquess of Willbridge. I think I penned the rough draft in roughly three months. It remains to this day my very favorite story. When it won the RWA Golden Heart award in 2017 it was so validating to me, because it meant that other people loved my characters, too!
Did you outline the story, or dive right in?
I tend to have a loose idea of what my stories will encompass, but I typically get a scene in my head and dive right in. The one thing I do make sure to do before I write a word, however, is to do pretty thorough character studies. I want to make certain I know my characters well enough to know how they’ll react to every situation, as my books are incredibly character driven. Which is why I find it impossible to plot out a story ahead of time, as the characters basically take the helm and move the story along. And so as a writer I’m not so much a puppet master as a very frazzled herder.
What’s next for this story – is it part of a series? When does it come out?
With Love in Sight is the start of a brand new series, Twice Shy, which centers around socially awkward heroines and their unexpected love interests. I adore writing heroines who have been overlooked by society and giving them the happily ever afters they deserve.
Book two, tentatively set to release in October 2018 and titled The Viscount’s Promise, takes a character from book one who is not only incredibly shy but has a prominent facial scar. Pair her with a brooding, troubled viscount who has vowed—quite against his will—to watch over her during a house party, and sparks will fly! I’m just finishing up book three right now, which features a companion with the unfortunate propensity for speaking her mind and who holds a strong contempt for libertines, and a flighty, match-making rake who finds himself drawn to the one woman who despises him. Tentatively titled A Match Made in London, it should see the light of day in 2019!
“Imogen,” he began gruffly, “You do not know what kind of person I truly am, what I have done. I am responsible for horrible things, things that you would hate me for should you ever find them out.”
Her eyes softened. “They are all past sins, my lord. We all of us have done things we regret. The point is, you do regret them.”
He ran a hand over his face, even as he felt that wonderful release from the past that she, and only she, seemed to bring. He was losing the will to fight, but he dug deep. He had to tell her.
In that moment, she began speaking. “You and I are friends, are we not?” At his nod, she continued, “I am six and twenty, my lord. And in that time I have not had one friend—until you. I am not going to give you up so easily, I’m afraid. Are you so willing to give up on me?”
The last of his will vanished in a moment. Damn his weakness, his selfishness. He squeezed her fingers and stepped closer. “No,” he said forcefully.
She smiled for the first time that day. “Then there is no question of us ending this friendship, is there?”
Her countenance transformed. He wanted to kiss her, he realized. The urge to draw her close, to gather her in his arms and feel her mouth beneath his, almost overpowered him.
He felt himself bending toward her, felt his heart gallop like mad in his chest. Her eyes widened, her lips parting. His brain took over then, fairly screaming at him, stopping him cold: You fool, this is Imogen, not a common trollop! He shuddered and pulled back.
Taking a deep breath to steady himself, he forced a smile. “No, there is no question of it,” he murmured. “But we must take care. Despite your disregard for your reputation, it is of importance to me.”
“Very well,” she agreed quietly, her eyes bright.
He tucked her arm through his and began to lead her back through the ruins. He was a selfish creature, he thought with disgust. The truth of the matter was, he needed her. She grounded him as nothing else had in ten long years. He was settled and calm with her, who he should have been instead of who he was. If she was strong enough to brave the old tabbies of the ton to keep their friendship, then so was he.
And to hell with the strange surges of desire he felt for her. He could control them if it meant keeping her in his life.
And find Christina on Goodreads or at ChristinaBritton.com