Helping me kick off Another Look Book Reviews celebration of “Mature Romance Week” I am beyond excited to welcome Jennifer Ashley. One of my all time favourite historical romance collections is the Highland Pleasures series which is home to the beloved Mackenzie brothers. Today Jennifer is going to take a wee bit of time from her busy schedule to answer a few questions regarding mature, sexy heroes.
Jennifer, 1000 thank yous for the Mackenzie men! Congratulations on all the success that this wonderful series, Highland Pleasures, has brought to you.
Q - The Duke’s Perfect Wife, the 4th book in the Highland Pleasures series, features a very sexy Hart as the main character. Hart is the eldest of the Mackenzie brothers. What made you decide to write about the oldest brother, Hart, at this point in the series?
Jennifer - I’d decided early on to write the brothers youngest to oldest. Hart I think has the most baggage (though Ian had a hard life too), so it made sense to finish with him. But mostly, I had to decide an order, Ian’s story was begging to be told first, so I said “youngest to oldest.” Easy! :-)
Q - Hart is, of course, head of the Mackenzie family as well as a Duke with wealth and power. Do you think Hart’s age and experience gives him that extra sexy edge your readers seem to love with this particular Mackenzie?
Jennifer - I do. He’s got it all—wealth, power, title, influence . . . It’s interesting to see a character like that realize he really *doesn’t* have it all. And of course, the heroine is not afraid to help him find that out.
Q - Do you think Hart’s domineering personality comes from his age or more from his background? In other words, do you think Hart would still be the same person if he and Mac (his younger brother) were switched in birth order?
Jennifer - Hart’s background definitely shaped him. He had to be the protector of the whole family, because both his father and mother were ineffectual. He had to make tough decisions and become the head of the family even before he was technically its head. So, of course that made him much harder than his brothers. Oldest siblings often feel the need to control or take care of the younger members of the family.
If he and Mac switched birth order, Hart might still have the need to protect his brothers, particularly Ian, but I think the age difference between Hart and Ian had a lot to do with Hart’s character as well.
I enjoyed portraying the dynamics between the younger two Mackenzies (Ian and Mac) against the older two (Cam and Hart).
Q – How is it different to write about a mature, desirable hero like Hart (who is well established and set in his ways) compared to a younger hero like his nephew Daniel who is still trying to establish himself in the world?
Jennifer - It’s very different. In Duke’s Perfect Wife, we do see a few flashbacks of Hart when he was younger—arrogant, demanding, sure he was right about everything (well, he still is, but even more so then—he wasn’t willing to admit his mistakes). Part of what broke up Eleanor and Hart in the first place was their youth (they were both in their early twenties). They didn’t have the maturity to work things out yet.
With age comes experience and hopefully wisdom. Because of the years between Hart’s break-up with Eleanor and “now,” Hart can look back over his mistakes and learn from them.
Daniel, on the other hand, is just starting to make his mistakes and discover who he is. Telling his story will be quite different—but he’s still a Mackenzie!
Q- There is this one scene in The Duke’s Perfect Wife early on where Hart and Eleanor were still trying to figure each other out. Eleanor has just “accidentally” managed to spill wine on Lady Murchison who was clinging to Hart like a barnacle. I LOVED that Hart and Eleanor discussed that “accident” and Eleanor boldly states, “I disliked watching her touch you.” (I cheered at the moment) That moment just flows with maturity. No games, just facts. If Eleanor was a younger girl in her twenties, how differently would you have written that scene if different at all?
Jennifer - I enjoyed writing that scene (LOL). Lady Murchison had that wine coming! I’m not sure Eleanor would have done differently in her twenties. She might have been more arch and flirtatious with Hart (who, me? Dump wine on a lady’s gown on purpose? What *can* you mean?).
I like heroines who are straight up with the heroes. Eleanor was jealous and she admits it without stamping her feet, tossing her locks, or running away in tears (or all three). She pretty much said what she thought and why without embarrassment.
Book Recommendation from Jennifer Ashley– Can you recommend to our readers other books that may have sexy, mature heroes (that you have written or that you have read)?
From Me - Many Sins ofLord Cameron has another mature hero (he’s about two years younger than Hart, and he has a seventeen-year-old son and a tortured past).
My Captain Lacey mystery series (which I write as Ashley Garder , features a mature hero—Captain Gabriel Lacey, injured in the Napoleonic wars and struggling to figure himself out in Regency London. He’s about the same age as Hart, and he’s got a lot of past to get over too. A romance weaves through the story arc of that series (heroine introduced in book 2). I just love Captain Lacey!
Paranormal romance offers a good range of mature heroes (though these guys can be hundreds of years old!). The one that springs to mind is Curran from Ilona Andrews’ KateDaniels series. He’s been around a while, in charge, and has learned to survive.
Mary Jo Putney has a wonderful novel from a while ago called Shattered Rainbows. That hero (Michael Kenyon) is one of my favourites in historical romance—mature, has been through hell in the war, and is in love with a married woman. Both h/h are mature in that one. It’s just been reissued on Kindle.
Thank you so much Jennifer for taking the time to answer my questions about Hart Mackenzie, mature heroes and for kicking off my 1 year Blog Anniversary with Mature Romance Week!
Giveaway Time – I am giving away any one of the books from the Highland Pleasures series. If you haven’t started the series, it is a MUST read.
As a thank you to all my followers and and a thanks for visiting my blog, there are no hoops to jump through to win a copy of one of the Jennifer Ashley books. No need to follow my blog (but appreciated though :)
1. If you are international, please just ensure Book Depository delivers to your area.
2. If you are US or Canada, please just mention in the comments below whether you prefer Kindle or paperback.
3. Tell me which of the Highland Pleasure books would you like?
4. Don't forget an email address so I can contact you if you win! Winners announced on Wednesday May 9th for all giveaways.
Come back on Friday for a chance to enter to win $50 Gift Card for online bookstore of your choice.