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January 9th, 2009
Vexing the Viscount with Emily Bryan

My special guest today is Emily Bryan. Emily has a new release coming out on 24 February called Vexing the Viscount and I caught up with her for a quick interview.


1. Tell us a little about Emily Bryan and your upcoming book Vexing the Viscount.

First of all, thank you, Shelley for this chance to visit with your readers! A little about Emily Bryan, huh? Emily is my pen name for my light-hearted, sexy historicals. I wrote 3 dramatic Viking romances as Diana Groe before I told my editor I wanted to try my hand at adding a little comedy. She said to go for it and the result was Distracting the Duchess (Reviewers’ Choice Best KISS Nominee-RTBookReviews). The tone was so different from my previous work, my editor suggested a different pen name and Emily Bryan was born. Last August, Pleasuring the Pirate was tapped by the Official International Talk Like A Pirate website as a recommended read for all would-be scallywags. On February 24th, Vexing the Viscount is coming to a bookstore near you!

Vexing the Viscount is the story of Daisy Drake, an intrepid young miss who enjoys intellectual curiosities like the phallus-shaped lamp on display at the Society of Antiquaries and raiding her great-aunt’s library to read the memoirs of a French courtesan. She is still fascinated by Lucian Beaumont, now Viscount Rutland, whom she first met when they were both children. Lucian has discovered some Roman ruins on his father’s estate and hopes to follow the clues to a legionary payroll that went astray in the 5th century. Because his father has a hatred of all Drakes, Lucian rejects Daisy’s offer to help, but she’s not about to let a little thing like that to stop her! Masquerading as a French courtesan is only the first ploy in her conquest of Lucian. You can read an excerpt here.

2. The Eighteenth century is one of my favorite historical eras. I noticed you have some fascinating information about clothing from this era, and in particular corsets, on your website. Could you tell us a little about corsets. What is Daisy’s opinion of corsets?

A corset was an essential piece of a Georgian lady’s wardrobe. It created a smooth line from waist to breasts. A gown wouldn’t fit properly without it. And because the corset was tailored for the lady’s figure, it should have been fairly comfortable unless laced too tightly. The corset was worn over the chemise, so unlike today’s underwire bra, the boning shouldn’t have chafed.

Georgians did not fetishize breasts as we do today. The daring décolletage that might even have included baring the nipples was as likely to be displayed by well-born ladies as courtesans.

Daisy doesn’t mind corsets, but she is easily irritated by panniers (the wire or wicker contraptions that expand the width of a woman’s hips by several feet.) It’s difficult to be stealthy when one must turn sideways to make it through a doorway.

If you’d like to learn more about clothing in the Age of Deception, please visit my Courtesan’s Closet.

3. Daisy first met Lucian when she was a child. What was it about Lucian that fascinated her so much during that first meeting?

Vexing the Viscount only hints at the sparks that flew when Daisy first met Lucian. One thing we do know for certain is that he bears a triangle-shaped scar on his chin as a souvenir of the encounter.

But I suspect she was drawn to him because unlike the freckled Cornish boys she grew up with, Lucian had his Italian mother’s olive skin and dark-eyed good looks along with vestiges of a perfectly charming Italian accent.

And undoubtedly an Italian temper to match.


I’m delighted to be able to offer a FREE signed copy of Vexing the Viscount to one of Shelley’s readers today. All you have to do to be eligible is post a comment or question. Then be sure to check back tomorrow to see if you’re the winner. I’ll post the winner in the comments section.

37 comments to “Vexing the Viscount with Emily Bryan”

  1. I’ve recently fallen in love with historicals so I’m keeping my fingers crossed you’ll pick me :) This sounds like a great book!

  2. :grin: I look forward to reading Daisy and Lucian’s story. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  3. I’m also partial to Italian men! So I have something in common with Daisy. :wink:

  4. I am so hooked on Lucian, cant wait to read more.

  5. Interesting stuff on the corset!

  6. :grin:
    Hi Emily! What a whirlwind of information there has been this week as I have followed your blogging adventures. Great stuff as always!
    Looking forward to reading this

  7. Just a bit more about Georgian clothing. Because I used to sing professional opera, I’ve actually worn some historically accurate 18th century costumes. When I sang Susanna in Marriage of Figaro, I wore a chemise and corset under my period gown. Since Susanna was a lady’s maid, I didn’t have to don the wide panniers, but I did wear a bumroll that expanded the size of hips and minimized my waistline. The ensemble was surprisingly comfortable, though my posture was incredibly erect!

    However, I didn’t go “commando” as a true Georgian lady would have. Can’t trust the stage hands that far!

  8. This book has just been added to my TBR list. It sounds just like ones I enjouy reading

  9. I would love to win a copy of Vexing the Viscount :)

  10. Great first chapter on your site, I’d love to read more…

  11. Wow, I’d never considered that corsets would actually have been rather comfortable – they always remind me of the scene from Titanic where Kate Winslet’s one is being strung too tight. And what a strange idea, that going commando used to be absolutely normal… :)


  12. Great interview. Cant wait to see what we will read about tomorrow.

  13. Oh this sounds like a lovely book! I love this era for romances, but then I have a corset fetish too- LOL! I mean a trim smooth waist and perky breasts, what more could a girl ask for?

  14. I guess I would have to post my irritation at the fact that publishers so often place a cover on a book that does not depict the time period and/or the characters of the book. I’m sure lots of people say this all the time. You mentioned at your website that the costumes on the cover are not accurate for the 1731 time period. It doesn’t detract me from the book, but I really wish the publisher’s art department would stay truer to the story. So, I guess it’s true what they say: ‘You can’t judge a book by it’s cover’.

    OK, end of rant….I am totally enjoying reading your daily, traveling blog. Learning a lot about you and your writing.

  15. Corsets didn’t chafe like today’s underwires?

    Bring ’em back into style, I say!

    (I wonder if the assumption that they are uncomfortable came from that famous scene in Gone With the Wind, when Mammy was tightening Scarlett’s? I’m sure that corsets got tighter over the years, as smaller waists became in vogue, but as for the modern-day sensibility that they were ALL horrid… I’d blame it on that scene.)

    Oh, no need to enter me. I’m too busy shopping for a corset to read right now… :mad:

  16. I have always been intrigued by Eighteenth century clothing but those 6 inch high Venetian platform shoes look very uncomfortable! I cannot wait to read this book =).

  17. Vexing the Viscount sounds like a keeper. I would love to read it :grin:

  18. Can’t wait to get my hands on this great look’n read!

  19. looks great

  20. I’m really enjoying Emily’s trip through the blogs!

  21. I assumed that this was a Regency from the cover art. So, it’s a Georgian – there’s not as many books set in that period. One of my favorites of the Georgian period is Georgette Heyer’s These Old Shades. I love that book, and it’s Regency sequel, The Devil’s Cub. Oldies but goodies!

    Interesting interview – I’m enjoying these peeks into Vexing the Viscount!

  22. One of the reasons the corset during the early Georgian period might not have been as heinous as its later incarnation was that the main duty of a corset in this time was to create a smooth line from waist to neckline. The breasts were shoved up into the “rising moons” position, but there was no need to artificially cinch the waist since the panniers at the hips gave every woman a small waist by comparison. Scarlet O’Hara was 150 years later and the Titanic even later yet. By then the corset had become an instrument of torture, deforming the natural waistline to ridiculous sizes and even in extreme cases, breaking ribs.

  23. I’ve read a Georgian romance where the women wear patches(similar to temporary tattoos) on their faces. Did all women wear these patches?

  24. I didn’t uncover anything like tattoos in my research, but both men and women wore “beauty spots”–black velvet patches used both to highlight attractive features and also to cover the ravages of small pox or worse, evidence of the “French pox!” Well-born women and men would have worn face powder and possibly even rouge.

    One of the funniest things I found was that male beauty was often judged on whether he had well-turned calves or not. The deep bow with leg extended, toe pointed out was designed to display the calf muscle. If a fellow was spindle-shanked, he might stuff carved wooden “falsies” in his stockings. The ability to “make a beautiful leg” was highly prized.

  25. Book looks exciting thank-you for the giveaway and have a wonderful weekend!

  26. Hey Emily, the more I read about this book the more I want to read it. I love historicals any way. I am not sure I would want to wear a corset. I can’t stand something binding me.

    Don’t enter me, I have already won a copy!

  27. I sooooooo cannot wait to read this book! And I love the idea of the Courtesan! I am getting into re-enacting and my character although a Pirate was raised by a courtesan and I am always intrigued by the intelligence that these women possessed. i am definitely going to take my time sifting through the Courtesan’s Closet and I am so glad that you have linked it! Thank you so very much!

  28. Sometimes I think I would have loved to have lived in the ages where women dressed so fancy. But then I have days like today where I l stayed in my soft comfy jammies, to focus on writing and think “now this is comfy!” Who needs all those clothes! Lots of laughs!

  29. Hi Emily,
    Historical novels are among my favorite to read, and all of yours sound terrific.

    Rhonda :???:

  30. Hi Emily! I love historicals and Vexing the Viscount is sounding better and better the more I hear about it! I’m enjoying your blog tour immensely!

  31. Hi Emily
    I love historicals .What is the hardest part
    in writting a historical book.

  32. Hello, Emily! I always enjoy reading historicals. Vexing the Viscount sounds like a keeper!

  33. Hi Emily! Eighteenth century historicals are one of my favorite time periods! Thank you for the opportunity to win your book, Vexing the Viscount!

  34. Hi Emily – I’m enjoying all the 18th Century info today. It’s one of my favorite historical time periods to read. I don’t think there are nearly enough books set during this time period.

    I’m looking forward to reading about Daisy and learning exactly how much creeping around she did! :grin:

  35. OMG I almost missed this blog. I cannot be a successfull stalker if that would have happened. I love this post, I absolutely adore the historical periods. It is like an addiction when I read books in the time frame. I love to picture all the beautiful clothing and the dancing, I dont relish the thought of chamber pots and once a week bathing but hey you have to take the good with the bad. Wtg and i really hope you DH draws me this time. :)

  36. Peggy Q–The hardest part about writing historicals is not getting the costumes right. It’s not even making sure modern sounding slang doesn’t creep into the dialogue.

    It’s getting into the heads of people who were motivated by a different world view from me. It’s understanding what it was like for women whose options were severely limited by our standards. Maybe I’ll blog about that in one of my coming stops.

  37. Thanks for letting me visit, Shelley! I’ve had a great time on your fabulous site.

    Once again, my DH has picked the winner. (This is a secret process involving complex algorhythms and probabilties. Can you tell he’s both a math major and a fan of NUMBERS?) And the winner is . . . SARA HURT. Please contact me through <my website to send me your mailing information.

    Today I’m blogging with Colleen Thompson and Joni Rodgers at Boxing the Octopus. The theme of this terrific blog is the “many-tentacled beast that is the writing life.” I blog about what happens when an author’s ability to write is ‘interrupted.’

    I’m having a ball on my blog tour. Come on over and join the party! Be sure to leave a comment for your chance to win a VEXING THE VISCOUNT! I’m giving a shiny new copy away every day!