So…About His at Night II

Now that the page proofs are on back in New York–meaning no more tinkering, ever–I’ve finally posted a full excerpt of His at Night.

(Funny how prescient I was.  Everything that came after what I dared to post earlier changed.)

A quick glance at the excerpt is quite enough to illustrate the difference between this new book and my entire backlist.  All three of my already published books immediately set up the relationship: Private Arrangements plunges into a description of the perfect marriage of the Tremaines; Delicious says in the first line that it is a Cinderella story; and Not Quite a Husband opens on the night Bryony decides to seek an annulment.

By the end of the 2,500-word excerpt of His at Night, the H/H haven’t met yet–and wouldn’t for another 4000 words.  Phew, all that to just set up a meeting.  Yep, no reunited lovers in this story, no past to draw on for instant conflict, no shared history to exploit for poignancy and heartache, just two strangers who’d never clad eyes on each other before.

So that’s one huge difference.  Another is that this book was originally intended to be a comedy.  In fact, when my agent read the proposal–nothing of which has translated to the finished product, by the way–she thought it was a farce.  (After months of bawling my eyes out writing Not Quite a Husband, I was totally ready for teh funneh.)

At one point, I even openly declared that I was writing a Loretta Chase book, Mr. Impossible, to be specific, which I’d thoroughly enjoyed.  Mr. Impossible has a hero who is mistakenly thought by the heroine to be a dumb lummox at the beginning of the book.  His at Night has a hero who is mistakenly thought by the heroine to be a dumb lummox at the beginning of the book, ergo I must be writing Mr. Impossible.

As it turns out, I might have written the anti-Mr. Impossible.  Rupert, the titular Mr. Impossible, is about the most irrepressible, sunny, forthright fellow you can hope to meet in Romancedom.  Vere from His at Night is just the opposite, repressed, secretive, and, gulp, damaged.  I’ve never done a damaged hero before–wounded, yes, but not damaged.  Camden from PA and Leo from NQAH wouldn’t have a single problem if it weren’t for their women.  Even Stuart from Delicious, who’s had a rough childhood, is completely normal. But Vere, Vere is effed up.

So a romp this ain’t.  And although I think it is screamingly funny at times–a dangerous statement as nothing is more subjective than humor–it is also possibly the darkest book I’ve written.  A romantic dramedy, I guess, with a side of suspense.

Let me see.  What else is there in His at Night that I don’t normally do?  I know, a virgin.  Oh boy, this book hits all the possible highlights of a historical romance: a lordship who’s a secret agent, a virgin, a forced marriage, and an evil uncle.  We are only missing a duke–Vere is a marquess instead–and a ball.

And this has been a post in reader expectation management.  Thank you.  🙂

27 thoughts on “So…About His at Night II

  1. This is bizarre. I was just saying in a discussion today that one thing I love about all your books is the history between the characters, because it helps me believe that they really know each other well and that their HEA is really going to last. We were discussing that it’s a lot more difficult to set up a lasting relationship that’s believable between characters who haven’t met before, although of course it can be done, and has been many times. It’s exciting to know that this is the challenge you have taken on! Can’t wait to read it.

  2. Well, I don’t think you could write a book that I wouldn’t like, so I’m excited that a new one is coming. Thanks for the update, and I think a romantic dramedy, with a side of suspense sounds just great.

  3. I’m thrilled to know I’m one step closer to being able to read HAN. I haven’t read Delicious yet, but I loved your other two and am happy to know this one will be different – makes me look forward to seeing what’s in store!

  4. Have (literally) marked my calendar so I don’t miss the release date! I loved your first three…looking forward to this!

  5. Sherry, congrats on your AAR poll results. And I, who love Rupert Carsington beyond what is healthy, am very psyched to discover his antithesis in Vere. My calendar is marked, too : )

  6. SonomaLass,

    I find it interesting myself that the books I consider my very favorites, BEAST by Judith Ivory, THE SHADOW AND THE STAR, FOR MY LADY’S HEART, and SHADOWHEART by Laura Kinsale, none of them feature the reunited lovers theme. Although in FMLH and SH the H/H had met many years before and changed each other’s lives in significant ways, so perhaps that also counts in a way as having a past together.

    So it definitely can be done and done extremely well. Now we’ll see how I stack up.

    Barbara,

    Thank you! I sincerely hope so! (But am nervous all the same.) 🙂

    Katrina,

    LOL, it is different all right. But my critique partner liked it and so there is hope. 🙂

    Ellen,

    Thank you. Though why am I getting nervouser and nervouser as I go down the comments? 🙂

    Peggy,

    Oh wow, that’s an honor.

    Karen,

    Thanks for letting me know the poll results are out; I forgot to check. I hope you will find Vere a riot–which he is to me, when he’s acting the idiot and doing his darnedest to get on Elissande’s nerves. Yet unlike Rupert, who is pretty perfect as he is, Vere has to change a lot of merit his HEA.

  7. Just read the excerpt – awesome! Thanks so much for posting it and pointing us that way. It’s a really intriguing setup; I can feel the loneliness of the characters already. Can’t wait to read the rest and see how you work out their HEA!

    • Hi Theresa,

      You touch on a really interesting point. When I think of my favorite Laura Kinsale books, I’m always struck by how alone the H/H are at the beginning of the book. They are always self-reliant, they are proud, and they can get by perfectly well. But oh, so alone. And my heart always aches for them.

      So I’m really happy you mentioned my characters’ loneliness. Means the beginning is working. And the beginning must be working in order for anyone to reach the middle…and so on. 🙂

  8. I liked the excerpt. Now I have to wait until May to discover why Vere became a spy; the cause of his ennui; and if he eventually chafes at playing the fool in front of Elissande. Any hints?

    • Hi Kim,

      Glad you liked the excerpt.

      At this point, any hint I can give would only be tease you more. But since you asked, here’s one answer: Vere immediately chafes at playing the fool in front of Elissande. How’s that?

  9. Oh, how did you do that? You said that His at Night breaks with all of my favorite aspects of your other novels, and yet *now I am more excited to read it than ever*. Can’t wait. It sounds stunning.

    • LOL, not sure about stunning, but I’ve always really come away with a sense of euphoria from the last chapter. And I suppose that’s not a bad way to come away from a romance. 🙂

  10. The lummox hero reminds me of Patricia Briggs’ Dragon Bones. I really didn’t think it would work for me, but she totally pulled it off and he’s quite damaged as well.

    May is soo far away, couldn’t you sneak me a copy early? I could wait until April if I have to. Thanks for reinvigorating my interest in historical romance, Ms. Thomas.

    • You are very welcome for your reinvigorated interest in historical romance, Ms. Heloise. 🙂

      The book has not gone to print yet. I don’t believe there will be ARCs. So check with me by the beginning of May to see whether my author copies will have come yet.

  11. Great excerpt! But totally disagree about Stewart from Delicious. “Why couldn’t she leave him alone so that his insides could die in peace?” LOL love it.

    • Hee. AB, I had to to reread the post to understand what you were talking about. I still maintain that Stuart is wounded, not damaged. 🙂 But I’m awfully tinkled you remembered that line from the book!

  12. After the original except was posted, I wasn’t too excited( I am sick of death of spy historicals). But add on some rats, train sleeping and an heroine and I’m intrigued. It’s the little things that make up the characters so I’m sure you’ll pull it off.

    =) What’s next on the writing agenda though? Haha >.< Okay, you should take a break….

    • Hi, PI,

      I promise this won’t be the usual spy historical–since I have no idea what the usual spy historicals are like. 😛

      I would love to take a break, but I haven’t. Send a proposal to my agent before my page proofs for HIS AT NIGHT came. And when I was done with my page proofs, the proposal came back with lots of suggestions on how to change and improve it, so that’s what I’ve been working on. And now have sent that one back in, will start on another proposal.

      Maybe it’s time to take a break… 🙂

  13. I can’t even say how excited I am about this book, especially since the longer excerpt got posted on your site. I will admit to totally being a fangirl…yeah, I preordered this in October. Vere sounds so interesting, and I know I can count on Elissande being interesting. I think your heroines are some of the best in romance.

    • Thank you! I always have a better understand of who my heroines are before I figure out the heroes. The heroine is one of the first pieces to fall into place in one of my books, the hero, one of the last. Although I have to say, my crit partner liked the hero in this book tons. 🙂

      And thank you for your faith. Back in October the book was still unreadable! Good thing it’s come a long way since then.

      • Although I have to say, my crit partner liked the hero in this book tons.

        Yes, I carry a torch for Vere. Usually it’s your heroines that capture my imagination, even more so than your heroes, but in this case, you could have paired the guy with a stick figure and I wouldn’t have cared. Not that Elissande lacks depth or complexity, I hasten to add. But I was just so into him.

  14. I really liked His At Night, and I actually thought it reminded me of a Loretta Chase book as I was reading it, so it’s funny for me that you wrote it with that in mind. 🙂

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