Zoë Archer is the author of the adventure-series about the „Blades of the Rose“, a group of brave fighters who take on the fight against the secret society called Heirs of Albion. (Photo: Copyright Zachary N. DiPego)

Thank you for taking the time for this interview.

Your books are like a mixture of fantasy and adventure with a romance. How did you think of writing a „Indiana Jones“-like novel?

I’d always loved watching adventure films, but felt that the female characters were so poorly depicted.  They usually screamed, fainted, and were generally useless and required saving. I also wanted to read romance novels that had that strong adventure elements in them, but never really found any books that satisfied that need. So I decided to address both concerns by writing adventure-filled romance novels, where the heroines were as strong and capable as the heroes.

The time and place of your books reminds me of the popular Steampunk-literature. Is this genre one that you like?

I’m starting to read more about steampunk, and actually write steampunk romance novellas for Avon Impulse (Skies of Fire: The Ether Chronicles will be out April 3).  I do enjoy the combination of historical setting with advanced technology.  And it looks cool, too!  Especially all the boots.  But when I was first thinking about the Blades of the Rose series, I wasn’t thinking that I’d make it somewhat steampunk.  The steampunk label was applied after the books had been written.  My intent was to use Victorian-era technology in James Bond-like gadgets—all of which are invented by the Blades‘ resident mechanical genius, Catullus Graves.

The English covers of your books are wonderful. How much did they capture your view of the characters and settings?

The art department at Kensington, my English-language publisher, did an amazing job capturing not just the characters and settings, but the overall feel of the books.  One look at the covers and you know you’re in for an adventure, something that isn’t like most romance novels.

How are you going about your research? Do you have to do it extensively?

I do a considerable amount of research.  Actually, more than half the research I do doesn’t even make it into the books!  But I feel that, especially with unusual settings and diverse cultures, I owe it to the place and the people to be as accurate as possible.  Of course, I do have to take a certain degree of liberties with some elements, since I am writing fiction and have to service the plot, but I try to keep that to a minimum.  My research is conducted both through books and the internet. It’s amazing the amount of information that is available online!

How did you keep track of your main plot that spans four books?

I’d write outlines for each book, and make sure that certain elements were carried through and ultimately resolved by the time the fourth book finished.  It wasn’t easy, though!

What books do you read and which would you recommend?

Mostly, I read historical romance.  Some of my favorite authors include Meredith Duran, Julie Anne Long, Joanna Bourne, Shana Abé (for historical paranormal romance), Tessa Dare, as well as the backlist of Judith Ivory.

For the German readers who don’t know your books, yet: What is special about your novels so we should read them?

My books are filled with adventure, and the Blades of the Rose series is set in unusual places, including Mongolia, Greece, and the Canadian Rockies. Also, like I said earlier, all my heroines are capable and intelligent.  There are no fainting, screaming women in my books!  Even when the heroines are frightened, they rise above their fear to meet whatever challenge is put in their path.  I like to think that my heroes are pretty cool, too!

I love the trading cards on your homepage. Were they ever really printed?

They were.  I’ve been giving them away at different romance conferences and conventions.

Your new series „The Hellraisers“ feature dark heroes and brave heroines. What is in store for your readers who loved „The Blades of the Rose“?

The Hellraisers are a group of 18th century English rakes who inadvertently free the Devil and wind up literally raising Hell. This series is definitely darker than the Blades of the Rose, with stronger paranormal elements. The heroes are bad boys, too!  They don’t have good intentions like the Blades of the Rose. It’s been a lot of fun writing in such a dark vein.

Was it easy to immerse yourself in a new series after spending so much time with „The Blades of the Rose“?

I’d been writing the Blades of the Rose back-to-back for nearly two years, so I was ready for a change.  But I do love the world of the Blades.

You also write sci-fi romances. Is that another genre you love? How do you mix the two genre and keep track of your different settings?

Growing up, I watched many sci-fi television shows and movies, including Star Trek and Star Wars, and while these shows and films had romance in them, they seemed perfect settings for romance novels. Despite some big differences, ultimately, I write stories of adventure and romance, so it wasn’t as big a change as one might expect.  I’m also writing steampunk romance, and currently working on a new historical romance series that has no paranormal elements (Nemesis, Unlimited, the first book of which will be out early 2013). Oddly, I don’t have that much difficulty keeping all the settings and subgenres separate. Maybe I have multiple personalities!

Thank you and I am looking forward to the German edition of „The Blades of the Rose“.

Thank you so much!  I’m looking forward to bringing the world of the Blades of the Rose to German readers.