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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Blog Tour: Always a Stranger by Amara Royce (Interview + Excerpt + Giveaway)

Buried Under Romance welcomes Amara Royce today, for an interview~ :)

** GIVEAWAY Details**
  • Two Digital Copies of ALWAYS A STRANGER or $20.00 Amazon or B&N Gift Card 
About the Book:
When two worlds collide, anything is possible. . .
An international affair, London's Great Exhibition has taken the city by storm. As its newest Royal Commissioner, Lord Skyler Ridgemont must ensure the performers are properly contracted. Among them is the delicate and graceful Hanako Sumaki. Draped in vivid silk robes, Hanako's exotic Japanese fan dance captivates Skyler--and he longs to learn more about her. . .
But Hanako's enigmatic employer keeps his exquisite charge very close. The consummate artist, she shows the handsome nobleman many faces, but never her true heart, which holds a desperate secret. When Skyler learns the real reason Hanako has been brought to London, he will risk his entire world to win her trust--and save her from losing both body and soul. It's a feat that will require the type of courage only love can give. . .

Link to Follow Tour:

Buy Links:
What inspired Always a Stranger?

My initial motivation for ALWAYS A STRANGER was simply that I wanted to write about characters I wasn't often seeing in historical romances, particularly those set in the 19th century. For instance, my first book NEVER TOO LATE featured a 40-year-old widow who owned a bookshop; her age and occupation made her a relatively rare heroine. I also wasn't seeing much diversity in the main characters of British-set historical romances. I loved Meredith Duran's DUKE OF SHADOWS, which features a half-Indian hero, and Mary Jo Putney's ANGEL ROGUE, which features a half-Native American heroine. I wanted more of that! What sparked Hanako's character in particular was a combination of visuals I encountered while doing research for NEVER TOO LATE. I happened upon some PUNCH cartoons depicting the Chinese in Victorian London and some examples of Japanese ukiyo-e art (some of which featured courtesans of the Edo period). Somehow these inspirations clicked into a clear vision of Hanako as the central figure of ALWAYS A STRANGER.

What special research did you do for this book?

Hmm...there was quite a variety of things I researched for this book. I continued research on the Great Exhibition of 1851, and I ended up researching things like Tessen war fans, Japanese international relations prior to 1854, ukiyo-e art, the history of pleasure districts during Japan's Edo period, the cost of running an earldom's estates in Victorian Britain. Doing the research is one of my favorite aspects of writing historical romance!

As your heroine, Hanako, is Japanese, how did you manage the language barrier between her and your English hero?

Ah, an excellent question! Both of Hanako's parents were translators, and she was born with a talent for learning languages. So she is fluent in several, including English. In fact, her employer in ALWAYS A STRANGER occasionally hires her out as a translator.

What attracts Skyler to Hanako, and vice versa?

At first, what attracts Skyler to Hanako is, well, her exoticism. To him, she is unlike anything or anyone he has known before. But when she challenges his idealized image of her, he gets beyond that initial attraction and is captivated by her backbone, her independence, and her loyalty. Hanako is initially drawn to Skyler's kindness and inquisitiveness, and she grows to appreciate his determination, his generosity, and ultimately his obstinate refusal to bow to societal convention.They see and appreciate each other in ways no one else in the world does.

What is coming next for you?

I'm happy to say that I have a contract with my publisher for another two books so I'm currently working on Book 3, tentatively entitled NEVER WITHOUT LOVE. It features a 40-something widow whose youthful elopement with a stranger left her hometown in chaos. Returning 20 years later to care for her ailing grandmother, she faces the long-simmering anger of this close-knit community and happens to find out some disturbing realities about some local businesses. As she tries to make things right, she finds a surprising yet irresistible ally: the brother of the man she jilted so many years earlier. Reluctantly, they find themselves drawn together by more than just circumstances, and the fire kindled between them won’t be denied. It's a second love, enemies to lovers kind of story. 
[Mary]: It's always great to read an Asian heroine in non-Asian historical romance! LOL. ^_^ I'm so looking forward to NEVER WITHOUT LOVE. Thanks for coming today! 
Slowly, he moved closer. When his shadow fell across the entry, she held her breath. 

"Miss Sumaki," he said, with a polite bow. 

She stifled a groan. He knew. How long had he been following her?

"Good evening, Lord Ridgemont," she responded. "What an odd time for a constitutional."

"It is likewise an odd time for a young woman to be traveling outdoors unaccompanied. Indeed, I believe there is never not an odd time for a young woman such as you to travel the streets alone."

She couldn't see his expression. In the darkened alcove, his body loomed. A frisson of fear skittered up her spine and set her scalp tingling. She did not really know this man, no matter how kind and proper he appeared. She was on the street, in the open, without protection. She gripped the handle of her umbrella and took the fan out of her pocket. Without true blades, the fan was a better weapon when closed. If she had to, she could knock him out or at least dislocate his jaw. She could do it. 

As if reading her mind, he stepped back, out onto the sidewalk, and said, "It would be only right of me to see you home safely."

He offered her his arm. She was reaching out when she saw her rough coat sleeve, patched and worn. She knew what she was supposed to look like. 

"I assure you, Lord Ridgemont, that your escort is unnecessary. No one would accost me looking like this." She gestured downward, fully aware of how bedraggled and coarse she appeared. That was the point. His gaze followed down the line of her body with an unreadable expression, one that set her on edge. 

"Far be it from me to contradict one so wise and worldly," he replied, "but even if no one could guess your identity, there are plenty of street thugs who would consider a working boy an easy target. I need not expose your charade, but you should resign yourself to the fact that I shall see you home."

Her teeth clenched. The pinch of the fan against her palm made her realize she'd held it so tightly that it had dug into her skin, leaving deep grooves. They would fade, but her irritation might not. Irritation and the flutter of a trapped feeling in the pit of her stomach. He could not know about the Jade Garden. Or rather, Broek would decide what and when to tell him about the Jade Garden. But then, perhaps, just perhaps, his awareness of the house would precipitate action.

Author Bio’s
Amara Royce writes historical romances that combine her passion for 19th-century
literature and history with her addiction to happily ever afters.
She earned a PhD in English, specializing in 19th-century British literature, from Lehigh University and a Master's degree in English from Villanova University, and she now teaches English literature and composition at a community college in Pennsylvania.
When she isn't writing, she's either grading papers or reveling in her own happily ever after with her remarkably patient family. You can find her at

Author Links

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Two Digital Copies of ALWAYS A STRANGER or $20.00 Amazon or B&N Gift Card) a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for hosting today!

  2. OMG! I need to read this book!

  3. Thanks so much for hosting me! I loved your interview questions! (Took me a little while to post this comment because I had a little trouble getting onto Disqus.)

  4. Thanks for your interest!



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