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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Blog Tour: Wicked Designs by Lauren Smith (Interview + Giveaway)

About the book:
The League of Rogues takes what they want—but have they taken on too much?

For too long Miss Emily Parr has been subject to the whims of her indebted uncle and the lecherous advances of his repulsive business partner. Her plan to be done with dominating men forever is simple—find herself a kind husband who will leave her to her books. 
It seems an easy enough plan, until she is unexpectedly abducted by an incorrigible duke who hides a wounded spirit behind flashing green eyes.

Godric St. Laurent, Duke of Essex, spends countless nights at the club with his four best friends, and relishes the rakish reputation society has branded him with. He has no plans to marry anytime soon—if ever. But when he kidnaps an embezzler’s niece, the difficult debutante’s blend of sweetness and sharp tongue make him desperate for the one thing he swears he never wanted: love. 

Yet as they surrender to passion, danger lurks in Godric’s shadowed past, waiting for him to drop his guard—and rob him of the woman he can’t live without. 

Product Warnings:

This novel includes a lady who refuses to stay kidnapped, a devilish duke with a dark past, and an assortment of charming rogues who have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into.
Buy Links: Amazon | B&N 

Interview with Lauren: 
1. How did you come up with the idea for The Company of Rogues?

        A. When I was in college, I studied abroad for two summers at Cambridge and spent a lot of my free time exploring the grounds of Magdalene College and relaxing by the River Cam. It was there, amidst the history and stories of students from two centuries past that my League of Rogues appeared to me, their backstory fully formed. Cambridge is a beautiful place, peaceful and lovely. I asked myself, what would it be like to have that idyllic setting shattered under cover of darkness? What if five young men, students, mostly strangers to each other, joined together in a fight for the lives of one of them? Charles, one of my League members, was the victim of attempted murder by drowning in the River Cam and it was his struggling in the river that prompted the other four men of the League to unite to save him. The series itself takes place many years after this dark incident, but the idea for the series revolved around the effects of that night and how it bonded the League like brothers ever since. How deep would their loyalty to each other run, would the carefully constructed defenses they’d made all those years ago breakdown when intelligent and brave heroines entered the picture? That’s what the series is all about: the redemption of the League of Rogues.

2. When you write your characters, are there certain traits you want all of them to exhibit?

            A.   For my heroes, they must all start as likable anti-heroes. They are the guys you secretly crush on, while openly exclaiming “I can’t believe he did that!” They don’t apologize, at least not until after they're wrapped around their heroine’s pinky finger. They take what they want, but never by force or hurt. They are dominant and playful and seductive. Everything that breaks a girl’s heart if she falls for them. At the end of the day though, these bad boy heartbreakers always fall for the girl that’s right for them, the one that shines a light through their inner darkness and makes them better men. Some people might not like the inherent wickedness at the beginning, but if you just keep reading with a little faith, you’ll see the journey is worth it. These men become the best lovers and eventually husbands, they are fiercely loyal and will die to save those they love. Their transition from seasoned rakes and rogues to men humbled by love is a powerful story and I hope readers will enjoy seeing the men change and grow in each book. As for my heroines, I really want modern day readers to be able to understand that the heroines are a product of their time, but not weak. They are brave, intelligent, sensible, but just as fun and wild as their male counterparts in the right moments. It is the heroines who have to knock some sense into their heroes, but that’s half the fun of the story, watching the lovers work through their differences. I hope that readers will be able to put themselves in the shoes of the heroines and feel the stories as my heroines feel them.

3. What do you admire the most about Emily and Godric?

            A.   I admire Emily’s trust and believe in the power of love. She is young and innocent but not necessarily naïve. She has lived an entire year with an uncle who barely cares about her, and is mourning the deaths of her parents, who she was very close to. It would be easy for her to become jaded and hard, but she maintains her innocence and her sweetness. She understands a lot about people and so being thrown in the midst of the League she easily adapts to the men and the situation she is. Another thing I really like about her is that she has faith that love will win in the end. She realizes early on that she loves Godric and that she would fight to be with him, but at the same time, she doesn’t want to fully lose herself to him if he can’t love her back, so there’s a bitter sweet hesitancy in her that I think readers will be able to relate to. What I admire most about Godric is the vast change he undergoes by falling in love with Emily and how it makes him better by trusting her with his heart and admitting that love makes him strong not weak. At the beginning of Wicked Designs, he is hard and cold to some degree, but after just a few hours with Emily, he starts to soften. He opens himself for pain and fear of betrayal by falling in love with her and I respect his ability to be strong enough to take that kind of risk, especially since he had an abusive childhood. It would be easy for him to just close himself off to love forever, but he doesn’t. He takes a chance with Emily and in the end it pays off.

4. Which scene was most fun to write in Wicked Designs?

            A.  That’s tough to answer. I’d have to say it’s a tie between two scenes. The scene where Emily hides her riding skills and nearly escapes on horseback was really fun. It shows off Emily’s sneaky side and it then the emotional point where she has to give up her escape to come back and “save” Godric who faked his drowning in order to get her to come back. The other scene that was so much fun to write was the first time Emily meets the League and has breakfast with all of the men. She realizes how like a family they are and she sees the close knit relationships mixed with the different personalities. This helps her fear of the kidnapping fade and she starts to view it as more of an exciting vacation, since they aren’t threatening to her and aren’t keeping her tied up in a cellar. She’s more of a guest and eventually a friend to all of the League. I just loved writing the playful banter of the men as they talked and teased each other.

5. If you could have one of your characters for a best friend, who would it be and why?

            A.   Ideally I’d love to just spend a weekend hanging out with the entire League. But if I had to pick just one, I’d probably say Ashton. He’s level headed, business minded and gentle. But there’s a tantalizing dark side to him that I think would prove interesting. While Godric is the official leader of the League, it sometimes feels like Ashton, as the eldest, might be the secret power in a lot of decisions where the League is concerned. I think as a friend he would provide good counsel and yet he’d still help you get into lots of trouble (the good kind of course).

6. Lastly, would you care some teasers about the second League of Rogues story? 

            A.   I have to say, I’m excited to drop hints about the second book. Its working title is Wicked Seduction and I hope it stays that way. I just sent it off to my editor a few weeks ago and am hoping to get the greenlight for publication around Christmas. The teasers are this: it’s a Christmas set story, taking place only three months after Emily’s marriage to Godric. Without giving away too much…I can say that it’s Lucien’s story and he breaks one of the most important League rules: never seduce another member’s sister. He does do this…and it results in him and another member of the League dueling on Christmas day! Throw in some assassins and the series villain attempting to kill them, and it’s just another day in the life of the League of Rogues.
Thank you for your fabulous answers, Lauren! I really like the idea of seeing bad boy heroes being redeemed by loving, brave heroines. And the brotherly bond these rogues share is fantastic as well, especially seeing as most of them probably just wants to pretend like nothing's wrong all the time. :)

About the Author:
Born and raised in Tulsa, Lauren Smith spent the first twenty-two years of her life in Oklahoma, bridging the worlds between urban girl and cowgirl. After high school she attended Oklahoma State University where she earned Bachelor of Art degrees in history and political science. Drawn to paintings in museums and obsessed with antiques, she has satisfied her fascination with history by writing and
exploring exotic, ancient lands.
Over the years, Lauren’s studies have opened doors throughout the world. From spending two summers at Cambridge to attending classes at such divergent places as Ireland and Chengdu, China, she has discovered fascinating opportunities for enrichment wherever she goes. After completing college, Lauren moved to Michigan to attend law school at the University of Detroit-Mercy and University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. Armed with two Juris Doctorate degrees from both countries, she returned to Tulsa and became an intellectual property attorney.
Since third grade when her English teacher proposed that all students should craft a story for a young writers’ conference, Lauren has been hooked on writing. Her first self-illustrated manuscript described the mysterious disappearance of rare brown bats that were being captured by scientists bent on using them as carriers for an incurable disease. The immense sense of joy in sharing that story with others, and discussing plots and characters, made it clear to Lauren that writing was her true passion.

Here's the tour schedule:

January 28: Cocktails and Books

January 29: Alexa Loves Books

January 31: Peace Love Books
February 4: Gone Pecan
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I'm on my way out the door, but I had to stop by. This is a fabulous book!! Tweeted and shared!

  2. Wow, the interaction by the main characters appears to be a case of lol one-upmanship. Definitely a fun read.

  3. Thank you so much for having me on Buried under Romance Mary!!

  4. Congratulations to Lauren on the release of Wicked Designs on January 14rh, her first book in The League of Rogues Series! After reading the excerpt both at her website and here I can't wait to read it.

    I just had to sign up for her newsletter so I'll also know when the next book in the series is released while I was there!

    I love that Emily is unexpectedly abducted by Godrican, an incorrigible duke, because they do so end up making the best sort of husband!

    I can't wait to read their story (and find out what Lauren has planned for her next book in the series!



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