Ruby Tuesday: Elizabeth Essex

Welcome, ladies and gents, to another edition of Ruby Tuesday, that day when we take a moment to get to know one of our Rubies a bit better.  Today we have a special Release Day edition! (With a giveaway!!!)  Join us as we welcome 2012 RITA-nominee and historical romance maven Elizabeth Essex and celebrate her latest release, After the Scandal!  Take it away, EE!


Name: Elizabeth Esses

2009 GH Category & Title: Regency Historical: “Defiant”

What Happened to That Book: It became my 2010 debut novel, “The Pursuit of Pleasure”


What subgenre(s) do you write? Historical Romance

When did you start writing? (And why?) I’ve always written stories, but I turned my attention to trying to write romance seriously in 2005, after finishing writing what seemed like a very dry book about archaeology (although it did involve a shipwreck.)

How many books have you written? At the moment I’ve written eight novels, one novella, and two short stories. And that dry archaeology book.

Elizabeth’s Golden Heart Book

What are you working on now? Gracious, I LOVE the story I’m working on now. It is another historical novel, which begins with the heroine being hanged. From the neck. Until dead. Just my kind of opening.

If you could grow up to be one writer, who would you want to be? I’m having a pretty lovely time being myself, but I do very much admire Tracy Chevalier’s blend of historical fiction.

Where do you get your best ideas? Best ideas come from long road trips, when I am in my car and can’t write them down. I end up repeating the idea over and over to try and impress it upon my brain, like a song. Second best ideas come in the shower, also where I used to not be able to write them ideas down, but the eldest sprig has given me the cleverest waterproof notepad for my shower wall. Blessed girl. And my third best ideas come from reading “The English Home” magazine. It provides lovely realistic backdrops for the movies that play in my imagination.

What are your favorite subgenres to read? I adore historicals. I could live on a steady diet of the past for a very long time.

What was the first romance you ever read? The first full blown romance was “Shanna” by Kathleen Woodiwiss, which my college roommate purloined from her mother’s dresser. And then straight to “The Wolf and the Dove.” But I had been reading a steady course of Georgette Heyer for years by then, so it seemed like a very natural progression from Jane Austen to Georgette to The Wolf and the Dove to me.

What’s your day job? Full time writer and stay at home mom to a batch of very exuberant and active Essex sprigs.

The first Reckless Brides release

What was the first job you ever had? I was the soda fountain/ice cream girl at the Howard Johnson’s in my hometown. I can still scoop a mean three-decker.

What is the worst job you’ve ever had? Telemarketing. I think I lasted a grand total of three hours at that one. It was my version of hell.

College? Major? Post-grad work? I went to a very literary college, Hollins University in Virginia where they make Pulitzer prize winning poets, but I was reckless and headstrong, and only took one English class. Instead I devoted the rest of my time to Classical Studies and theatre arts. My degree was in Mediterranean Art & Archaeology and Art History. So naturally I had no choice but to go to grad school to get my Master’s in Nautical Archaeology, and was a Graduate fellow of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology.

Marital status?  Kids?  Grandkids?  Auntie?  I have been married to the Indispensable Mr. Essex for over twenty years, and am a proud mother to the energetic and exuberant Essex Sprigs, who are all still at home. The eldest leaves for college in the fall.

Where are you from? I grew up in a small town on the Connecticut shore, but I live far from the shore in the middle of Texas now.

Where would you build your dream house? I’m pretty sure I live in my dream house now, because this is where all the people I love live, but I would add on a beach house and a ski house if I were to really pull out all the dream stops.

If money were no object, where would you go on your dream vacation? A personal garden tour of England. With each stop followed my high tea in some cozy, comfortable place  full of deep armchairs. Aaahhh. Heaven.

What is the most interesting place you’ve ever traveled to? Nepal. The Indispensable Mr. Essex and I trekked across Nepal and Northern India on our honeymoon. I remember it so vividly that I set one of my books in Northern India (SCANDAL IN THE NIGHT).

What three words would you use to describe yourself? Just slightly off.

What piece of random trivia would you use to entertain a new acquaintance at a cocktail party? I would go with a compliment instead of trivia. I am always drawn to women with fabulous shoes, and I invariably start conversations with a compliment of her shoes.

What’s your astrological sign? I am a scorpio. And also, according to my children who have done the requisite questionnaire on Pottermore, I am a Slytherin. But I will say that I never would have gone over to the Dark Lord. Never.

What is your Myers-Briggs designation? I have absolutely no idea! Never done it.

Which TV show are you most addicted to right now? The only thing I record and watch faithfully is the BBC chat show “Graham Norton.” It never fails to amuse me. And the eldest sprig has tempted me to begin watching “Black Flag” which I am beginning to like very much (Thank you Toby Stephens!). But generally, I’d rather be reading.

What is your favorite movie of all time? “The Quiet Man.” Marvelous dialog. “Here’s a stick, sir, to beat the lovely lady.”

Do you like sports?  What team(s) do you follow? I like all sports in general, most particularly whatever ones my children are doing at the moment.  I am a big track & field enthusiast as well, and I coach a middle school track team. I am the ‘high jump whisperer.”

What hobby takes up the most of your time? I love to garden. Love it. Love to make things grow and blossom and prosper.

What advice do you have for new writers just starting out? Just keep writing. Keep it up. Just don’t stop.

What is the best writing advice you ever received? The late great Kate Duffy used to say, “Tend to the book.” I always feel that my energy is best spent making each book the best I possibly can.

Thank you, Elizabeth!  And now, here’s a special peek at the fabulous Ms. Essex’s latest release, After the Scandal.  FIVE (yes, FIVE!) lucky commenters today will receive a copy!

Releasing Today! Elizabeth’s Latest Reckless Brides Release

Propriety is no match for passion.


When Lady Claire Jellicoe agreed to a walk in the moonlight, she never imagined her titled companion might have brutal motives. Nor could she have dreamed up such a brave rescue by the most unexpected savior of all: an inscrutable nobleman with a daring plan of escape—and a deliciously tempting embrace…


Timothy Evans, the Duke of Fenmore, has palmed more treasures than he can count. Even for a man who grew up thieving in London’s stews, a stolen bride should be beyond the pale. But Fenmore won’t let scandal ruin the spirited beauty’s reputation. And now that she’s stolen his heart, how can he ever let her go…?

52 responses to “Ruby Tuesday: Elizabeth Essex”

  1. tracy brogan says:

    I looooooooooove The Quiet Man. I used to watch it with my mother and can quote most of it. “A man would have to be a sprinter to catch a woman in a bed that size.” Or my most favorite, “My thirst is so great and the sun is that hot on me pate.” I may go watch that right now. Oh, and it has the best first kiss scene EVAH!!!

    • Tracy,

      Oh, yes! When they’re caught in the rain, and his shirt goes all transparent?(Oh. Goodness. First comment of the day and I need to have a bit of a lie down to recover my aplomb!)

      But recover it I will.

      And I can only allow myself to watch the Quiet Man once a year, or I start to want to write characters with brogues. 🙂

      Cheers & thanks for visiting!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Good Lord, I’ve never SEEN this movie. Eileen Dreyer was just decrying its absence from TV on St. Patrick’s Day.

      Okay, Netflix, bring me THE QUIET MAN.

      • Elisa,

        And Eileen Dreyer knows her Irish (almost as well as I do—I lived there as a student and worked there for several field seasons as an archaeologist).

        You must rent it. LOADS of brilliant dialog, and one of the few times when I really bought John Wayne as a romantic hero—albeit a gruff one. 🙂

        Happy watching! Cheers.

  2. Addison Fox says:

    Wonderful answers, EE!!!! And I particularly loved your answer to your dream house. A house is truly a home when those we love are in it.


    • Addison,

      As corny as it sounds it’s true. I hate being without my family, and I dread when the eldest sprig leaves for college in the fall.

      Perhaps I’ll take on boarders?

      Thanks so much for the hugs! Much appreciated. 🙂

  3. Liz Talley says:

    Just slightly off?

    Yeah, you are. And all writers for that matter – it’s what makes us so lovable 🙂 And I must mention three other words to describe you – generous, warm and witty. You’re the person I love sitting with at a party.

    Oh, and I love gardening, too. I don’t have as much time as I wish for it, but nothing calms me down more than a stroll around my yard checking out what is thriving, what is not. And weeding is a great time to brainstorm books 🙂

    • Amy Liz,

      Then we must get a party together IMMEDIATELY! I feel a little NOLA get-together coming on. 🙂

      And the weeding is PERFECTION for brainstorming. The minute I get out into the dirt some of it seeps into my head, and the most wonderful scenes pop into my brain!

      Looking forward to chatting and laughing some more in NOLA. Cheers!

  4. Vivi Andrews says:

    I love Ruby Tuesdays, especially a release day edition! “Just slightly off” cracked me up. Aren’t we all? LOL. And Nepal! My travel jealousy is peaked. 🙂 Congrats on the new release, Liz! I do adore your Reckless Brides.

    • Vivi,

      Thanks must go to you for hosting these marvelous Ruby Tuesdays. The perfect opportunity to share rubyhood.

      And I do have to say that despite my background and travels, I am one of the least adventurous people I know. It’s the Indispensable Mr. Essex who makes me adventurous. 🙂 He’s the one who inveigled me out to Nepal.

      Thanks again for the chance to chat here today! Cheers!

  5. Barb Han says:

    Hi, Elizabeth!

    I’m popping out of the writing cave to wish you a happy release day!! Love your answers and getting to know you better!

    Take care,


    • Barb,

      Now I feel like I’ve spilled deep, dark secrets. 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind words, and I am wishing you all the success in the world with the new NOIR line you’ll be writing for Harlequin. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by to chat. Cheers!

  6. Tamara Hogan says:

    Aah, Kate Duffy. Her death was a HUGE loss to writers, and to the industry. I have fond memories of Ms. Duffy; my manuscript was in her email in-box when she passed. ;-( Another thing she said that is widely quoted, and deservedly so, is, “Get off the internet and write!”

    Like Vivi, I laughed when I read the three words you’d use to describe yourself. “Just slightly off” would describe most of us, I think!

    Happy release day, m’dear!

    • Tamara,

      My MS was on her desk when she passed as well—which is how her former assistant became my first editor at Kensington. But I am so happy to know my ms was among talented friends.

      And most days I do have to conjure up her gruff voice and tell myself to get off the internet. But not today. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by to chat! Cheers!

  7. WOOT !! EE is in the house ! I am so looking forward to reading your newest !

    What a great interview and the answers don’t surprise me at all. Slightly off puts you in good company, my friend!

    I am so jealous you have been to Nepal! What a fascinating and magical place it must be. One of my deep, dark secrets is I was arrested in Vienna, Austria for participating in a FREE TIBET protest at an international economic summit back in the 80’s. The guy from the American Embassy told me to try and stay out of trouble. SNORT! THAT didn’t happen, but I wasn’t arrested again.

    And I LOVE The Quiet Man! My Dad was a huge John Wayne fan and anytime I was home and a JW movie came on we watched it. The Quiet Man was one of our absolute favorites and I miss my Dad terribly anytime I watch it.

    • Louisa,

      How am I not in the least bit surprised that you’ve been arrested in some of the better countries Europe has to offer? Well done you! 🙂 They do say that well behaved women rarely make history. (And the badly behaved ones rarely make the bed 😉

      I am sorry that the Quiet Man makes you miss your dad. (I was going to say something flippant that watching it makes me miss whiskey, but I would only mean it to coax a smile from you.) What a lovely memory for you to have with him.

      Thank so very much for stopping by to chat. Hugs!

  8. Gwyn says:

    Another gardener. Much of what blossoms on the page is seeded in the garden, at least, for me. Creating beauty in one venue can allow other venues to flourish. The manual labor occupies my hands and allows my mind to run free. A soul-satisfying arrangement.

    The Quiet Man ranks high on my favorite scale, as well. Love Maureen O’Hara.

    So lovely to know more about you Elizabeth. Can’t wait to read the new release!

    • Gwyn,

      How elegantly you put it! Yes that is exactly how I feel about the garden. And just as soon as I finish up these beastly revisions on my current WIP, I vow that I will do nothing but gar end for an entire week. Which will of course fill my head with stories. 🙂 I love how that works.

      Cheers & thanks so much for stopping by to chat!

  9. Oh, I’m going to have to check out “The Quiet Man” – sounds wonderful.

    It’s so nice to *meet* you, Miss Essex. 😉 And how did I not know you were in Texas? That’s my home state. Can’t wait to get back there for RWA!

    And I love how you described your husband as “the Indispensable Mr. Essex” – sounds like a historical title! 🙂

    Congratulations on your new release – the series looks FABULOUS!

  10. Thank you, Anne Marie!

    I am a Texan by migration, not by birth so I don’t always share in the preternatural pride of my offspring at being Texans.

    And you should definitely rent the Quiet Man. Great dialog. Superb comic timing. Lovely, funny story.

    And I call my husband The Indispensable Mr. Essex because he is exactly that—indispensable to my happiness. And he cooks, which is very, very handy as well. 🙂

    Thanks so much for stopping by to chat! Cheers.

  11. Diana Layne says:

    There’s quizzes on Pottermore! Must go take one now! Happy Release Day-love those dramatic openings too!

    • Diana,

      Yes, you need to get yourself sorted into the proper house right away! Fun fact—I also buy all my reading glasses to look as eccentric as possible. I call it the “Do I look like a Professor at Hogwarts Test”. And I have a pair of very round, owlish horned rims, and the youngest sprig put them on last night, and turned himself into the spit of Harry Potter. 🙂 And he objected because he’s a Slytherin. 🙂

      Happy sorting!

  12. A Slytherin, how interesting! Congratulations on your new release, Elizabeth, another lovely-looking book!

    • Bev,

      So I’m told. The Essex sprigs sorted me with their answers, not mine, which are undoubtedly a great deal less rosy than my own would have been. But I will repeat that I would never have been one of ‘those’ Sytherins. I’ve never been much of a blind follower, and have become even less so at my mature age. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by to chat. Cheers!

  13. “I have been married to the Indispensable Mr. Essex for over twenty years, and am a proud mother to the energetic and exuberant Essex Sprigs, who are all still at home. The eldest leaves for college in the fall.”

    Too charming! If this is how you interview, you must write like an angel. I’m pushing yours to the top of the TBR, dear. Can’t believe it’s taken me this long! So lovely to get to know you better.

    • Jamie,

      You are too kind! But if charm is what it takes to move up the pile today, when so many fabulous books have come out (I’m an nearly itchy with the need to get to Julie Anne Long’s latest) then I’ll take it!

      And I find both marriage and parenting always go better with a little charm. Or bourbon. Your choice really. 😉

      Thanks so much for stopping by to chat. Happy reading!

      • How funny! I’m in the middle of JAL’s It Happened One Midnight. I do love the Redmonds and the Everseas, but I can’t quite keep up. I realized soon into this one that I’ve missed a few. Last I heard, Violet was still single!

        • Jamie,

          I have to keep all of JAL’s Pennyroyal Green books in order upon my shelf so I can do a quick review of where things stand with all the principle players each time I start a new one. I think my personal fav has got to be ‘Like No Other Lover.” Just something about that one…

          Happy reading!

  14. Rita Henuber says:

    Super congrats on your new release. No matter how much I think I know about my sisters I learn something new with each of these interviews. I am jealous of your Nepal and India trip. A dream of mine. Sigh. Perhaps in my next life.

    • Rita,

      That trip was a very, very long time ago, back when I was still a working archaeologist and had much laxer standards of both plumbing and personal hygiene. 🙂 It was a long, grubby trek across mountain paths. Now a days I would much prefer crisp linens and cocktails on the veranda. And getting through each day with teenagers is an adventure all its own!

      Thank so much for stopping by to chat! Cheers.

  15. jbrayweber says:

    I’ve always admire you, Elizabeth. Your achaelogy tales fascinate me. Especially shipwreck.

    >>>the heroine being hanged. From the neck. Until dead. Just my kind of opening.< <<< ABSOLUTELY! I love to read write stories that open like this, too. Love the new cover, and CONGRATS on the release. After the Scandal sounds delicious! Jenn!

  16. Jenn!

    The archaeology was fun while it lasted, and I worked with some of the most wonderful people in the world. But I think in becoming a romance writer I have really found my voice. I can say what I think a lot more freely through a character’s mouth than I ever could at a university seminar table. 🙂

    Thank you so much for your kind words about the cover. It was a tiny bit of a struggle, and I still think her dress is a little too slinky for the heroine, but it sure is pretty. 🙂

    Cheers & thanks so much for stopping by!

  17. June Love says:

    “Just slightly off”. LOL. Aren’t we all?

    EE, congratulations on your release and WOW! what an opening hook for the your present story. My first KW experience was via college roommate, as well. The Flame and the Flower, which of course led to The Wolf and the Dove. They weren’t my first romances, but they both had a huge impact on me.

    So glad to learn more about you and super glad you’re a Ruby sister!

    • June,

      Yes I think we all must be a little off—but in the very best way. 🙂

      And I love that hook of the hanged girl too—But I know I am going to have to work incredibly hard to keep the momentum of the story moving from the start! But I will put my big girl writer’s panties on, as all Ruby Sisters do, and get on with it. As soon as I finish revising my current MS from hell. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by to chat. Cheers!

  18. Elizabeth,

    I want to go to Nepal…

    • Katie,

      Namaste! (Which when we were there all those years ago in the pre-kids era, the Indispensable Mr. Essex kept insisting on pronouncing Nam-A-Tahs-tee! The village children LOOOVED him for his goofiness. And I suppose, so do I. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by to chat! Cheers!

  19. Loved learning more about you, Elizabeth! Congrats on the release of After the Scandal. I’m going to hop over to Amazon now to nab me a copy. Also hoping to find a waterproof notepad there — what an ingenious invention! 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Vanessa.

      And I do have to say, Vivi has come up with a truly fun and enlightening set of questions, hasn’t she? Ruby Tuesday is a brilliant idea.

      And the brand of waterproof pad the sprig gave me for Christmas is called AquaNotes. And I do believe she found them on Amazon, so Huzzah for one stop shopping.

      Thanks so much for stopping by to chat. Cheers!

  20. Just slightly off! Love it! You and me both, baby. Loved this, Liz!!! I love getting to know more about my Ruby sisters. So much fun! ~D~

    • Darynda,

      I’m that that cheese in the fridge that’s a bit past its sell-by date, but you might still eat anyway. I look like I can’t hurt, but…. 🙂

      I had such fun with these questions, and I want to read an entire set of them from all the Ruby Sisters. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by to chat with me. 🙂 Cheers!

  21. Love the opening for your new book! Can’t wait to hear how your heroine gets out of that hanging-by-the-neck part!

    Great interview. It’s always so much fun to learn new tidbits about each other.

    • Tina,

      My secret weapon in the hanged girl story is my hero: a professor of anatomy at the Royal College of Surgeons. 🙂

      And I am thrilled that as soon as I have FINALLY finished the revisions that have taken me far too long (dratted appendix) I am taking a trip to London with the eldest sprig to do some research at the RCOS. I can’t wait!

      Thank so much for stopping my to chat. Cheers!

      • Elisa Beatty says:

        “My secret weapon in the hanged girl story is my hero: a professor of anatomy at the Royal College of Surgeons. :)”

        You sold the book to me right there!!! (Not that I would miss one of yours!)

        • And the bonus is that you will get to meet him in AFTER THE SCANDAL. Look for Jack. (Tell him I sent you.)

          And once you’ve read the rest of AFTER, tell me if you can spot the hanged girl as well. 🙂

          Yes, I am that devious!

  22. Elisa Beatty says:

    Sorry to get here so late, but LOVE this interview!!

    “Just slightly off,” indeed.

    I’m so excited to read AFTER THE SCANDAL!!!

    • Elisa,

      I think that is the fun of Vivi’s marvelous questions—they ask all sorts of things that just don’t come up in conversation. 🙂

      And so thrilled for you to read AFTER THE SCANDAL. When I write and edit I often think of the Rubies (and especially my GH Regency classmates) and ask myself if it’s up to their standards. 🙂

      Wishing you hours of uninterrupted reading time! Cheers.

  23. Vivi Andrews says:

    And the randomly selected winners of After the Scandal ARE… (drumroll please)… Addison Fox, Jamie Michele, Darynda Jones, Kaite Graykowski and Elisa Beatty!

    Congrats, ladies! EE will be in touch to arrange delivery. Happy reading!

  24. And one last big hug and thanks to Vivi for planning out our Ruby Tuesdays. Much appreciated!


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