Patricia Barletta - Dashing Spy-Heroes and Handsome Dukes
Patricia Barletta is a multi-published, award-winning author of historical and paranormal romance fiction. As a native of the Boston area, she has been inspired by its history, which influenced her stories, and probably had an impact on her decision to become a high school British Literature teacher so she could pay the bills. She received a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree at the fabulous Stonecoast program in Maine. She loves to travel, especially to do research for her stories. When she’s not at a yoga class, gardening, or socializing with friends, she’s writing about dark heroes, feisty heroines, magic, and other fantastical things in her historic old home in Boston. As our Author of the Day, Barletta tells us about her book, The Duke Who Loved Me.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Duke Who Loved Me is about.
Lady Jessica Barclay has struck a deal with her greedy, hateful step-mother, Margaret. Jessica will gamble at the notorious London gaming hell run by the French emigrée, Madame du Barré, and give Margaret her winnings, in exchange for not having to wed a distasteful, older man. She becomes one of the best gamblers in London, until she meets her match in Damien, Duke of Wyndham. Desperate, Jessica cheats on him during a card game. He catches her and demands satisfaction—in the form of a night spent in his bed. That turns out so much better than either of them ever dreamed, until the next morning. Things go from bad to worse when he suspects her of being a French spy. There’s a kidnapping, and more spies, and a race through the French countryside to avoid capture, and a twist that nearly destroys them. But in between, they can’t stay away from each other, so lots of kissing and other stuff.
Tell us more about Lady Jessica Carlton. What makes her so special?
Jessica is brave and optimistic and practical, but she’s also a bit naïve. She jumps into situations without really thinking them through. She has a younger brother, Jason, whom she loves very much and tries to protect from Margaret. I think the reason I like her so much is because she has two sides to her character. One side of her is the glamorous, mysterious gambler, and the other side is the young woman who only wants a family to love and who loves her.
Why historical romance? What drew you to the genre?
I’ve always been fascinated with history, and I fell in love with romance (excuse the pun) when I read Kathleen Woodiwiss and Rosemary Rogers and Johanna Lindsey and all the ladies who came after.
How much research did this book require from you to give it historical context?
I did a lot of research on how people dressed during the Regency period, and the different types of transportation they used. I also wanted to make the duel at the beginning authentic, so that required a bit of digging. And I researched Joseph Fouché, Napoleon’s Minister of Police. The interior of the gaming hell and the card game that Jessica and Damien play came from my imagination.
What inspired you to write about a spy network of daring Dukes?
Ha! What’s not to love about dashing spy-heroes and handsome dukes?
The Duke Who Loved Me is a revised re-release of Ecstasy's Gamble. Why did you re-release this book?
The book was published before ebooks came into existence, and I wanted it available to people who like their books in that form. I also wanted to update it because readers’ tastes have changed since it was published.
Why did you pick a gaming hell in London as the backdrop for this book?
I thought the gaming hell would be the perfect place for Jessica and Damien to meet. It allowed me to play with mistaken identities and secrets. They both have a hidden side to them that doesn’t get revealed until they’re involved with each other.
How does the next book in this series tie in with this one?
The hero of the next book is a school friend of Damien’s, and a spy as well.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I love to garden, and I’m a pretty good cook.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and what would you ask them?
I’d love to meet Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen, and ask them how they crafted their novels. Did they create their characters first, or did they come up with a plot situation first? Did they ever get writer’s block? I’d also like to know what it was like to be a woman author during the nineteenth century.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I usually work for about four or five hours in the morning and then my brain shuts down. I’ll take a long break and then deal with promo stuff or other busy work that doesn’t put too much stress on my creative side.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on Book 3 of the series. The hero is another school friend of Damien’s, and he’s a spy, too. He’s trying to find the person involved in his younger brother’s death two years earlier. The heroine is a modiste, forced into being a spy for the French, and trying very hard to stay out of his way, but of course, that’s not going to happen. This time, the setting is Bath, England.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
My books are available on Amazon, and I welcome reviews. I love getting emails from readers. I can be reached through my website: