Interview with John Charles on The Booklist Reader!

10 Questions for Minerva Spencer

Rising romance star Minerva Spencer launched her writing career with the publication of Dangerous, the first installment in The Outcasts, her Regency-set historical trilogy, in 2018. Dangerous would go on to earn a spot on Booklist’s Top 10 Debut Romances: 2018. And it was was soon followed by Barbarous, which was chosen as one of BookPage’s 14 Most Anticipated Romances of Fall 2018; and Scandalous, which just earned a rave starred review from Publishers Weekly. A transplanted Canadian, Spencer now lives happily in New Mexico on her four-acre hobby farm with an assortment of animals and a terribly tolerant husband.

Who is Minerva Spencer?

This is not a very flattering admission, but when it comes to writing, Minerva Spencer is a messy, disorganized, seat-of-my pants maniac. Just like in every other part of my life, I’m impulsive when it comes to how I tell my stories. When the muse comes to visit, I’ve written as many as 60 pages in a single day.

Of course I’m just as likely to cut all that the following day.

Here is a recent example of how my writing style can sometimes be painful: two nights ago I woke up at 1:53 a.m. convinced I needed to cut 50 pages from my current work in progress. Fifty pages represents about four average days’ work at the rough draft stage; so cutting 50 pages means throwing away four days of work. Anyhow, I dithered and tossed and generally kept Mr. Spencer from having a restful sleep until I finally put on my slippers, made a cup of coffee, and excised those pages with the ruthless precision of a surgeon.

I immediately felt better and could go back to sleep.

My writer friends who plot, plan, and outline listen to those kind of stories with expressions of horror. I’ve tried to make outlines in the past and it has been a waste of time. I might not always like my writing style, but it’s the only one that works for me.

Tell us about your new book, Scandalous.

I know authors aren’t supposed to say they have a favorite book (kind of like saying you prefer one of your children better than the others) but I have a serious soft spot for Scandalous.

I adore Martín Bouchard, the hero in Scandalous. I love the stuff that comes out of his mouth, no matter how obnoxious it is. As I was editing the story and getting it ready for publication I was definitely tempted to make Martín more acceptable to mainstream, modern sensibility. He is far from perfect and often behaves in ways that don’t cast him in a favorable light. For example, I was tempted to make him more sensitive, less arrogant, and get rid of his habit of hanging around brothels.

It’s lucky for me I have an awesome editor who loved Martín, warts and all, and didn’t want me to sanitize either his dark past or his less-than-proper behavior.

Martín might be mercurial, conceited, and selfish at times, but he is also loyal, brave, loving, and principled. Oh, he’s hot. Like, REALLY hot.

And he knows it.

When you have a character like Martín, who could easily turn into a story hog, you have to be very careful about who you pair with him.

Not only do I love Martín, but Sarah is one of the best heroines I’ve written. I’m not a religious person, but I believe that Sarah portrays the best of what organized religion purports to be, without making her into a Pollyanna in the process.

Sarah is loving, kind, open, and giving without being judgmental or rigid, but she’s human, so she’s beset by doubts and struggles to forgive. She’s also consumed by wanton, distinctly improper impulses toward Martín, even when she knows her reaction is impious and probably foolish given his reputation as a world-class rake incapable of love.

The story itself is a wonderful combination of “road trip” (they are on a ship for about half of the book) and glitzy London ballrooms.

Martín is an escaped slave who has made a fortune as a privateer, but he’s got secrets in his past he is less than eager to share. Sarah was born and raised in the jungles of West Africa, but being the child of strict missionary parents meant that she always felt somewhat isolated from her friends and neighbors in the village she considered her home.

The two outcasts bicker and banter their way to London while tentatively exploring each other’s hearts (okay, and bodies). This is definitely a story in which the journey is as exciting and enjoyable as the destination.

You have had a somewhat colorful career path. Tell us about your journey to becoming a published author.

I laughed out loud when I read this question.

It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that it occurred to me you were supposed to pick one career and stick to that. How is that possible when life has so many fascinating options?

did have a plan—of sorts—but it has never bothered me to deviate from plans.

I went to undergrad and graduate school for history and then taught on the college level for five years. I only had a part-time position and eventually decided I had two options if I was going to make a career that would support me: pursue a doctorate or do something else entirely.

What I’m about to tell you is the height of irony considering where I’ve ended up. I decided the publish or perish nature of academics—not to mention the ridiculous degree of specialization often required these days (best description of this I’ve ever read is Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis)—coupled with the constant wrangling with one’s peers over minutiae, were all things I wanted to avoid.

Having come to that conclusion, I then decided the law would be a less fraught and more straightforward career. (I never told you I made rational decisions!)

I went into law school thinking I’d specialize in tax law, the least glamorous of all legal fields. I figured that would be the perfect job for an introvert. I could work for some firm that would tuck me away in a room somewhere and leave me to myself.

True to form, I never even interviewed for a tax position. Instead, my second job out of law school was that of criminal prosecutor at the Harris County Prosecutor’s office, the fourth largest DA’s office in the country. So, it wasn’t the most laid-back and low-key of positions. My first day on the job I was given an office stuffed with cases and told I had 21 trials scheduled for the next week.

About five years after graduating law school I decided the law wasn’t for me.

At the time my husband was working for a Nigerian company and spent a good deal of time in cities like Lagos and Port Harcourt, where people in his business were often kidnapped or shot.

My legal training served me well and I was able to convince him he should quit his dangerous job and we should strike out on our own.

I had owned a bar with my ex-husband years before (did I forget to mention that career?) and knew my current husband and I were too old to live that lifestyle.

Anyhow, I somehow convinced my very traditional spouse—who’d been in the same career for almost 40 years—to jump ship after only four months of research (about three and a half months more than I usually did before making major life decisions) and buy a bed and breakfast. Because, you know, having thousands of strangers visit your house every year is such an excellent job choice for an introvert.

We ran the inn for eight. Long. Years. At the end of that time, in 2013, I seriously needed a break. For the first time in my life I had no idea what I was going to do next. My husband told me to relax, sleep in, and read a lot of books. That’s what I did for a couple of months. And then one day a story came to me while I was on a six-hour round-trip drive to the airport.

I came home and wrote the story down. And then I wrote another (without taking the drive first, this time) and another.

I wrote a pile of stories before a good friend convinced me in early 2017 that I needed to send them off to somebody.

In terms of publishing, I won the lottery and the fifth query letter I sent out got me my first three-book publishing contract.

I love my current job better than any I’ve ever had. As far as I’m concerned, I’ll keep writing books for as long as I’m having fun. If I ever stop enjoying what I’m doing, I’ll look into going to vet school . . .

What is the book (or are the books) that hooked you as a reader on romance fiction?

I think it is amazing that I actually remember the exact book: The Devil on Horseback, by Victoria Holt. It was the first romance I read and I was titillated by the taboo nature of the relationship (May-December). I recall finding it hard to believe that the young heroine could find the hero—a 35 year-old geezer—attractive. Yes, I was very young.

What three words best describe your own writing style?

Intense, emotional, unpredictable.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received about writing?

Write what you like, because if you don’t like it, nobody else will, either.

If you could be one character in literature for a day, which character would you choose, and why?

Lucy from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I still check out wardrobes from time to time.

What role do chickens play in your life?

I suppose some people (er, Mr. Spencer, maybe) would say I’m a tad obsessed with chickens. Yes, I love all birds, but chickens—one of the most abused animals on the planet—have a special place in my heart.

I’ve had a small poultry rescue for the last eleven years. I don’t buy chicks from hatcheries after learning how horrible they are (think puppy mill, but with cute fuzzy chicks!) so my flock only increases when I take in a new rescue.

Most of my birds are older because people don’t want them anymore when they don’t lay as many eggs. The second category of rescue is birds who were the sole survivors of predator attacks. For example, my newest rescue—a duck hen we’ve named Mrs. Nelly Quackenbush—was the only survivor after a bobcat got into somebody’s coop and killed 25 other birds.

Because we keep four Great Pyrenees guard dogs patrolling the property we rarely have to concern ourselves with predators.

Over the years I’ve gained enough expertise about their illnesses that the local vet has called me more than once to ask me about chicken issues in her own flock.

I guess you could say I truly love chickens. If you know of any needing a good home, bring ‘em on over.

What is next for you as a writer?

I’ve written sci-fi, detective, and fantasy stories as well as a whole lot of historical romance. I’m lucky that my agent, Pam Hopkins, encourages me to write what I like. In addition to continuing writing romances, I’m hoping you will see my name pop up in one of these other genres at some point.

How can readers best connect with you?

You can check out my website: minervaspencer.com if you want to learn more about my books or bird obsession. If you have a question it’s best to contact me by email: minervaspencerauthor@gmail.com.

Steals, Kindle Daily Deals, & Cover Reveals!

A double Kindle Daily Deal on

SEPTEMBER 3rd!

DANGEROUS or BARBAROUS

for 

only $1.99!


Fantastic praise for SCANDALOUS!

Not 1, not 2, but THREE starred reviews!

*”Sexy, witty, and fiercely entertaining.” Kirkus

*”Spencer’s brilliant and original tale of the high seas bursts with wonderfully real protagonists, plenty of action, and passionate romance.” Publishers Weekly

*”Spencer is a storyteller of impressive flair.” Booklist


Check out the new cover for NOTORIOUS!

The cure for a willful wife . . .
 
Drusilla Clare is full of opinions about why a woman shouldn’t marry. But that doesn’t stop the rush of desire she feels each time her best friend’s brother, notorious rake Gabriel Marlington, crosses her path. So imagine her dismay when she finds herself in the clutches of a scoundrel, only to be rescued by Gabriel himself.  And when Gabriel’s heartless—and heart-pounding—proposal comes, it’s enough to make Dru’s formidable resolve crumble . . .
 
. . . is a smitten husband.
 
She’s sharp-tongued, exasperating—and due to one careless moment—about to become his wife. Still, something about Drusilla has Gabriel intrigued. First there’s the delicious flush of her skin every time she delivers a barb—and then the surprisingly sensual feel of her in his arms. Gabriel even finds himself challenged by her unusual philosophies. And when he discovers a clandestine rival for Dru’s affection, his temperature flares even hotter. But the real threat to their happiness is one neither of the newlyweds sees coming. If they’re to save their future—and their very lives—they’ll need to trust in each other and their growing love.


 

 

 

 

 


Cover Reveal for THE ARRANGEMENT !

 

 

 


Did somebody say

BOOK GIVEAWAY?!

To enter to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of the incomparable Anabelle Bryant’s

LONDON’S LATE NIGHT SCANDAL

tell me your FAVORITE HOLIDAY in the comment area below!

Giveaway is for United States only.

Winners will be chosen September 30, 2019

Awesome STARRED review for SCANDALOUS!

What a lovely surprise to get this review from PUBLISHERS WEEKLY!

SCANDALOUS by Minerva Spencer 

 “Complex characters make this historical romance a standout. The illustrious privateer Capt. Martín Bouchard has loved many women, but none has enticed or frustrated him more than the missionary Sarah Fisher, whom he saves, along with hundreds of others, from a slave ship. No matter how infuriating he gets, Sarah remains intrigued with the surly captain, and she quickly becomes admired by his crew for her strong and noble spirit. When they discover that the captain of the slave ship is Dutch royalty, they agree with port authorities to take him to England to meet his fate. Sarah and Martín keep winding up in compromising positions, unable to tame their desire for each other. Martín wants to keep Sarah at a distance to protect the secrets of his painful past and true identity, but that doesn’t stop the forgiving woman from getting under his skin and arousing emotions he’s never experienced. Blackmail makes its way into the ballroom, but Martín is a formidable adversary backed by powerful, loyal friends. Spencer’s brilliant and original tale of the high seas bursts with wonderfully real protagonists, plenty of action, and passionate romance.”

–  Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW

Spring cleaning with style!

 

I know it’s pretty hard to make housework fun, but I’m going to at least try to make it more stylish!

When my brain is functioning I remember to wear gloves and an apron to clean. Not only is it better for your hands and clothes, it is yet another excuse to have a wardrobe change.

So I thought, why not make those boring old rubber gloves something to get excited about wearing? (Okay, so that probably isn’t going to happen, either…)

And then after I made the gloves I just HAD to make an apron to go with it. Because that’s the way I am.

Anyhow, I’ve tried to keep track of the glove and apron making with photos, but I’m a writer, not a photographer, so it might get dicey at times.

Do I sound demented about pinning? Yes, I do–because I AM! I hate pinning, but it is necessary. Why? So you can BLEED for your project. Okay, I’m only kidding about that.

Now, how about that matching apron I promised?

IMG_0207

NO, you can’t have my knitting chickens apron! This is just to show you what I’ll use for a pattern. My mom made this lovely apron for me several years back. It is a bit worn, but I still love it best among all my aprons.

Okay, below I’ve added a picture of the Pink Panther apron. I live in the sticks, so imagine my surprise when I learned I had NO PINK BIAS TAPE!!! How can such a thing happen? Well, it did. But I am crafty, so I thought, “Hey–why not make your own?” I’ve done it before but for some reason the geometry of folding the fabric was eluding me.

Enter Mom!

Yes, I called my mother and she talked me through laying out and cutting bias tape. In case you hadn’t guessed by now, it needs to be cut on the bias.

Here is the cut strip and then I fold it in half, and in half again, and voila!! Bias tape!

I’ve pinned both apron and pocket and now I’m ready to sew.

apron with bias tape

Apron pinned and ready to sew!

But wait, you say! How will I attach the apron? So, below are some pics of the apron ties in progress…

 

Ready for the finished photo???

So, if you want to enter to win this set just comment in the comments section below or come visit me on Facebook!

JANUARY’S Contest Winners Are….

The winner of GIVEAWAY #1 a signed copy of Vanessa Kelly’s THREE WEEKS WITH A PRINCESS is Tiffany T.

The winner of GIVEAWAY #2  a cloth SCANDALOUS tote bag is, Cyndi B.

The winner of a print copy of Shana Galen’s THE THIRD SON IS THE CHARM is Joanna C.

Thanks to everyone who entered! I’ll have more giveaways in my next newsletter.

Happy reading!

 

New Languages…New Covers…New Books!

These little lovelies- the Japanese version of DANGEROUS -just came in the mail the other day…..

IMG_0165 (1)

I have to admit this is the first time I’ve held a Japanese book in my hands. I keep turning it over to look at what we in the West think of as the front of the book. Of course it is the BACK of the book on a Japanese paperback.

Unfortunately I can’t read a thing except my name and the title. I’ve been considering what to do with some of the copies I received. Another writer at my RWA meeting suggested I drop off a copy at our local library or even a Japanese restaurant (sadly we have only 1 where I live!)

Any suggestions?

I also saw the Portuguese cover of DANGEROUS for the first time this week–January is a month full of excitement for me!

Here it is, and I LOVE it!

DANGEROUS Port

This will be available January 22nd 2019.

And the audio version will be available from Tantor Audio on January 30th!

dangerous book cover

BARBAROUS on sale!

Ooops! Forgot to mention in my earlier post that BARBAROUS

is on sale January 4th-8th

for

only $1.99!

Barbarous revised

He could be her ruin

Hugh Redvers is supposed to be dead. So the appearance of the sun-bronzed giant with the piratical black eye patch is deeply disturbing to Lady Daphne Davenport. And her instant attraction to the notorious privateer is not only wildly inappropriate for a proper widow but potentially disastrous. Because he is also the man Daphne has secretly cheated of title, lands, and fortune.
 

She could be his salvation

Daphne Redvers’ distant, untouchable beauty and eminently touchable body are hard enough to resist. But the prim, almost severe, way she looks at him suggests this might be the one woman who can make him forget all the others.  His only challenge? Unearthing the enemy who threatens her life . . . and uncovering the secrets in her cool blue eyes.

Praise for BARBAROUS:

“Deft writing and astute character development….Spencer shines in her sophomore effort, burnishing her reputation as an author to watch.” Kirkus

“A swashbuckling good time” Entertainment Weekly 


 

 

January Giveaway!

JANUARY’S NEWSLETTER PRIZE WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN AND THE GIVEAWAYS ARE CLOSED AND THE WINNERS ARE:

The winner of GIVEAWAY #1 a signed copy of Vanessa Kelly’s THREE WEEKS WITH A PRINCESS is Tiffany T.

The winner of GIVEAWAY #2  a cloth SCANDALOUS tote bag is, Cyndi B. 

The winner of a print copy of Shana Galen’s THE THIRD SON IS THE CHARM is Joanna C. 

Thanks to everyone who entered! I’ll have more giveaways in my next newsletter.

Happy reading!

 

GIVEAWAY #1

To enter to win a copy of the incomparable Vanessa Kelly’s

Three Weeks With A Princess

(along with some really cool swag–all SIGNED by the author!!)

just leave a comment below telling me the name of your favorite movie of ALL TIME. 

 

Giveaway #2
To celebrate the cover reveal for SCANDALOUS (now on pre-order)
I’m giving away a custom tote bag!
All you have to do is answer the same question as in Giveaway #1 and you’ll be entered to win.

Giveaway #3

Yes!! I have MORE historical romance!
I’ve got a print copy of Shana Galen’s THE THIRD SON’S THE CHARM just waiting to wing its way to one lucky reader’s home!

  

Again, one entry is good for all three GIVEAWAYS!

*I’ll pick a winner by January 30th 2019.

DANGEROUS is a Kindle Daily Deal on October 14, 2018 ONLY!

PICK UP A COPY FOR ONLY $1.99…

Amazon Kindle Daily Deal

What are people saying about DANGEROUS?

Wicked repartee, savvy wit, and energetic libidos.” Publishers Weekly

“Spencer is my new auto-buy!”  New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Hoyt

“A remarkably resourceful heroine who can more than hold her own against any character invented by bestselling Bertrice Small . . . deliciously fun retro flavor.”Booklist Starred Review

“Sexy and wildly entertaining.” Bookpage

 

Congratulations to Cheryl M.!!! Winner of the Great Big Bucket-O Prizes Giveaway!

Congratulations Cheryl M. !!! You’ve won the Great Big Bucket-O-Prizes Giveaway!!!

Thanks to everyone who entered! As long as you are on my mailing list you are entered for all subsequent contests.