Eileen Dreyer | The Road to Last Chance Academy
July 3, 2012
When I started Drake's
Rakes, it was meant to be a trilogy. And then I realized there were nine
rakes. Well, ten actually, but one of the rakes emphatically refused to have his
own book (his does get his own girl, though. I couldn't leave Chuffy
love-starved and alone). Now, I love long series. But I don't like having to
wait to see how they turned out. I didn't read the Harry Potters until that last
book was out (and a good thing I waited. If I'd gotten to the end of that second
last book and had to wait a year for the outcome, I would have strangled
So how do I fix that? Easy. Nine divided by three is three. I'm dividing the
series up by heroines into trilogies. Which means it's just about time for
Trilogy #2. Last Chance Academy, the nickname given to the school
that our heroines attended. At first that was all I knew about them. Well,
except that they had to meet three (okay, four) Rakes and turn their lives
upside down while the Rakes attempt to save the Empire from nefarious evildoers
(come on. You didn't think I'd write a book without evildoers.)
Then, as I was trying to put together a unifying factor, I was the beneficiary
of a lovely little bit of serendipity. You see, part of the plot against the
throne is to put Princess Charlotte, the heiress, on the throne instead of her
father and grandfather (you can imagine how they're bypassed). Well, it so
happens that in the fall of 1815, when my series happens, the Prince Regent had
decided that his daughter was too popular and exiled her to Weymouth on the
south coast. That was my first happy coincidence. Because the first book is
about Ian Ferguson, who was last seen being shot and falling overboard in the
English Channel somewhere near Exeter. Same coast. Not really that far away.
So I research the coast to find out where I'm going to place the small,
struggling estate my heroine Sarah Clarke is trying to save from her husband's
cousin. Well, right in the middle between Exeter and Weymouth, is Lyme Regis, a
lovely little seaside town that was even then a resort (reference Jane Austen's
PERSUASION). Along either side of Lyme Regis are cliffs called the Jurassic
Coast, because of the fact that the first intact icthysaurus was uncovered there
by a girl named Mary Anning in 1805, setting the scientific and theological
world on its ear (it was the first proof of extinct species. And if God was
perfect, how could he make such a mistake?). There is a wonderful book about
Mary by Tracy Chevalier called REMARKABLE CREATURES. I highly recommend
Well one thing led to another, and suddenly I'm reading about all of the amateur
scientists that populated those early years of the Nineteenth Century. Not just
Mary Anning and her friend Elizabeth Philpott, but Davy and Levaseur and Joseph
Banks, who began the Kew Gardens and was the first President of the Royal
Society, Messier and John and Caroline Herschel. It was a golden age of amateur
scientists, or as they called themselves, natural philosophers.
Which brings us to Caroline Hershel. An amazing woman, she was an astronomer,
who not only helped her brother calculate orbits and trajectories and sizes in
the universe, but discovered a number of meteors herself. Suddenly I'm hip deep
in books on astronomy and the amazing contributions of Caroline and her brother.
I'm harassing a guy at my coffee shop who happens to be an amateur astronomer,
who takes me to a star party with the local society, and for the first time I
see the moons of Jupitor, and Orion's Great Nebula and star clusters and two
galaxies, just smudges on a powerful telescope. And Saturn. My friend told me
that all non-astronomers want to see is Saturn. Well, now I know why. It's like
magic. Like a little miracle hanging up there in the blackness of space, white,
sharp as glass, until you stand there a minute, just breathing, and slowly the
rings separate, and you can see the striations on the planet. It's
And suddenly, I knew that at least one of my heroines has to be just as
mesmerized as I was, just as compelled to look just a little more and a little
more after that. Not only that, she has the rare privilege of corresponding with
Caroline Hershel herself, because that lady was a great friend to amateurs. And
of course, my heroine's avocation will cause problems. But it makes her unique.
She sees the world as no one else does. And she opens my hero's eyes in ways he
But first, I have another heroine, and the research for her book involves a
species of pig called the Great Black. Because she just such a 500 pound pig who
has a bad habit of falling in love with the wrong species, and who she named
Willoughby after another unfaithful pig. Her pig gets her into even more trouble
than the stars do her friend.
Am I going to tell you which is which? No. That's a bit of a surprise. Just like
the connections and directions my research took me on the way to my new trilogy.
Oh, and the prequel I got to write, an e-novelita called IT BEGINS WITH A KISS,
which sets the trilogy up. It's a bit about serendipity itself.
In the meantime, stop by my website, www.eileendreyer.com or my Drake's Rakes Facebook page for
contests and giveaways, especially the limited edition trading cards.
Leave a comment for Eileen and one person will win a BN.com or Amazon gift
certificate, winner's choice.
If you're a fan of romantic suspense, Eileen is releasing five of her suspenses
for the first time in ebook beginning with A MAN TO DIE FOR on July 20th,
107 comments posted.
Re: Eileen Dreyer | The Road to Last Chance Academy
I think sometimes we forget the questing minds of that era in England since so much of what we read in historical romance is about broken hearts and new dresses. This was an era of great discovery. What must it have been like to be the first to find a bone larger than your whole body?
(Monica Stoner 2:08am July 3, 2012)
I am curious as to how the heroine has a large pig, when such creatures were the province of farmers and slaughtered in autumn to provide the winter's food. Could certainly get her into trouble
Wasn't Lyme Regis the location for The French Lieutenant's Woman?
(Clare O'Beara 6:11am July 3, 2012)
We take so much of the natural world for granted that it is difficult to remember when seeing the stars was a miracle. Also with all the artificial lights it is diffficult to identify anything but the moon. I enjoy sets of trilogies withing the same groups of friends. Resolution happens and yet more storylines get to unfurl.
(Lindsey Ekland 6:33am July 3, 2012)
very interesting book i cant wait to find out what the pig falls inlove with and what the herione finds out in her research
(Denise Smith 7:37am July 3, 2012)
all of these books sound amazing...even if I don't win, I will def be seeing if my local library carries any of them!
(Angie Lilly 8:18am July 3, 2012)
Hmm -- I've read Tracy Chevalier's earlier works but not Remarkable Creatures.
It's interesting that you gave your heroine a pig -- very excited to read her story.
(Khristine C Chua 8:27am July 3, 2012)
Sounds like at least one of the books in the series will have some humorous elements which I always enjoy.
(Anne Muller 8:51am July 3, 2012)
Sounds like a very interesting series
(Terri Quick 8:56am July 3, 2012)
Sounds like a great series, I'll be adding them to my TBR shelf.
(Deanna Mancuso 9:04am July 3, 2012)
This book looks to be an interesting read for me. Plus i love new discovery of things in histroical times and the birth of new things to come. Not to mention giving it a woman that will change everything. I can't wait to read this book.
(Anthonia Sharp 10:13am July 3, 2012)
This is the kind of series I would love to read. Thanks so much...
(Bonnie Capuano 10:15am July 3, 2012)
I feel the same way. I was so surprised to see what was going on in science at that time. It's been fascinating research. and some great characters for my characters to meet.
(EILEEn Dreyer 10:23am July 3, 2012)
Clara--You've explained the situation exactly. Not every girl who went to Last Chance Academy ends up rich and titled. At least not at the beginning of their book. Although I will put Willoughby's fears to rest and tell you that he's the daddy pig to provide all the little porkers for sale. And yes, Lyme Regis was indeed the setting for French Lieutenant's woman. I walked out on the Cobb where she stood in the wind.
(EILEEn Dreyer 10:25am July 3, 2012)
I so wish all the books in the new series were finished. I'm afraid you'll have to wait to meet Willoughby. You will meet his owner in my estory (out today!!) It Begins with a Kiss, while she was in school, though, along with the other heroines. And yes, there is humor. And drama. And adventure. And passion. I can't imagine a romance without passion of some kind.
(EILEEn Dreyer 10:27am July 3, 2012)
Sounds terrific! :) I think I like the pig already! :)
(May Pau 10:28am July 3, 2012)
Serendipity is great, isn't it? I'm interested in reading your books. Thanks for a good column.
(G S Moch 10:33am July 3, 2012)
This is going to a great book to read. I love it when the woman is the heroine and she does something that will changes something in a big way. Plus i love the pig and what will come of it in later books.
(Anthonia Sharp 10:42am July 3, 2012)
I am so impressed with the amount of research an author of historical fiction has to do!
(Cheryl Castings 11:09am July 3, 2012)
Not only does the heroine creative, but skillful and clever. I love it, especially when she giving Alex a run for his life after her. This so perfect a woman not tamed and he is so helpless to stop it. Then again he will find a way to make them both happy. This is going to be one funny and interesting adventure for them both
(Anthonia Sharp 11:31am July 3, 2012)
The quality of everything has increased so much in the last 15 years, because it's so much easier to research anything, and research it well. I love that books (and movies) have, for the most part, become so historically accurate. Just like your book!
(Kathleen Conner 11:36am July 3, 2012)
Am always up for a good trilogy. Book sounds good. Have not read you yet. Thanks for the giveaway.
(Pat Lieberman 11:48am July 3, 2012)
Just got It Begins With a Kiss on my Nook! Can't wait to start
it. I appreciate the research that you do and am looking
forward to many more trilogies to come. And thanks for taking
care of Chuffy too!
(Valerie LaMont 11:57am July 3, 2012)
I took astronomy in college. I can remember going to astronomy lab on a cold winter evening in Texas. The air was not as dense and the stars were really amazing. Our telescopes were set up on an old missle base out in the boonies. I LOVED that class, and the lab was AMAZING!
(Sandy Fielder 12:00pm July 3, 2012)
These books all sound very interesting and I plan on looking for some of them.
(Chelsea Knestrick 12:13pm July 3, 2012)
Adventure, humor, passion, love, fun, life, and a female heroine. This is so going to be a great book to read and i know i going to loveit that and the pig.
(Anthonia Sharp 12:14pm July 3, 2012)
Thank for giving us a female heroine. You totally rock.
(Anthonia Sharp 12:14pm July 3, 2012)
Women rule. That is so true and i love female heroines that never give up and go for and fight for what they believe in.
(Anthonia Sharp 12:17pm July 3, 2012)
Congrats on the release Eileen! I can't wait to read it. I love the cover- the dress and roses are a perfect pair. A 500 pound pig... I wonder how easy it is to take care of one. Hope you have a great 4th of July!
(Christine Arcidiacono 12:21pm July 3, 2012)
Kathleen--it's absolutely true. I never could have written historicals before internet. I can't tell you how much time I've saved, and what great resource material is available.
(EILEEn Dreyer 12:39pm July 3, 2012)
Sandy--You've made me incredibly jealous. The most frustrating thing for me is that to see what I want to, I'd need a very expensive telescope, and it's just not practical. So I'm trying to make friends with people with powerful telescopes(hmmm. that sounds fairly salacious)
(EILEEn Dreyer 12:40pm July 3, 2012)
Great post, it is so interesting how the "world" of Drake's
Rakes came together and is still evolving with all your
research. You are a new author to me but these books sound
wonderful. I looked up your site and I have added your
books to my TBR list.
I love finding "new to me" authors.
Thanks for the chance.
(Pam Brewer 1:09pm July 3, 2012)
Researching is such fun and always leads to other rabbit
trails - amazing where you can end up. This series sounds like
a fantastic read and one I must look into! Thank you for the
chance at this fantastic contest.
(Theresa Dunlap 1:31pm July 3, 2012)
Thanks for a chance glad I stumbled upon this looks good
(Robin Blankenship 1:33pm July 3, 2012)
Have loved Drake's Rakes, so just absolurelt know that the new series will be great too!Love strong ans somewaht stubborn Heroines! Can't wait.
(Sue Peterson 1:37pm July 3, 2012)
Your book sounds great - and I'd LOVE to win a copy. Even if I'm not a winner, I'll have to get the book to read. Best of luck with it. Nancy
(Nancy Reynolds 1:42pm July 3, 2012)
I agree, I hate long series and having to wait a long time to the end. Currently watching Once Upon a Time - it is starting to drag a bit and I am loosing interest. Hope they don't drag it our too long!
(Barbara Hanson 1:52pm July 3, 2012)
I love trilogies...I love your books!!!!Thank you for the chance to win!!!
(Leisa Prater 1:53pm July 3, 2012)
I love when I find an intriguing read only to find out that it's part of a series. Score!
Good luck and happy writing!
(Tracie Travis 2:02pm July 3, 2012)
I do like trilogies so I like the idea of breaking up your series into them.
(Maureen Emmons 2:06pm July 3, 2012)
Intrigue set in historical era in England...where do I sign? A series? Even better! Thank you for the opportunity!
(Janice Milliken 2:14pm July 3, 2012)
Just a reminder. IT BEGINS WITH A KISS --is a short prequel (89 pages)or prologue to the second series.I don't want you to be disappointed.
(EILEEn Dreyer 2:29pm July 3, 2012)
I am a first time blogger and cannot wait to read the book and the series. Love historical England settings and cannot imagine the research that goes into getting it all correct. Love strong women and ever stronger men. Love the conflict between the two characters and of course the endings that always has them fall in love. Looking forward to your books and cannot wait to read them. Thank you.
(Cheryl Bezalel 2:34pm July 3, 2012)
Pigs are great!
(Diane Pollock 2:34pm July 3, 2012)
Sounds good and I'd love to win the gift card, too!
(Andrea McGuinness 2:48pm July 3, 2012)
These books sound really fun and, hey, I was into astronomy when I was younger!
(Janie McGaugh 2:53pm July 3, 2012)
Sounds really interesting... a pig huh... I have to look into getting my hands on some of your books... looks like I am missing out!
(Colleen Conklin 3:02pm July 3, 2012)
Oh how I love your books because they always make me not
only laugh but cry as well!
All I know is that I'm hoping the Pig, the the Great Black
type, falls in love with the hero's horse!
(Jeanne Miro 3:04pm July 3, 2012)
I'm a sucker for trilogy series, especially the ones involving witchcraft or sorcery. Thanks for the contest.
(Marilyn Legault 3:15pm July 3, 2012)
This was interesting and the pig sounds good, too. I like books with animals. If there was a second pig he could be named Wickham (I'm keeping the Austen theme running.)
(Michelle Fidler 3:41pm July 3, 2012)
Would love to win...
(Tina Myers 3:51pm July 3, 2012)
I love regencies, and this sounds like a great series - I can't wait to read it. And if anyone has not read A Man to Die For and likes suspense, I highly recommend it.
(Liz Mellett 4:15pm July 3, 2012)
I love to read a series , this sounds great.
(Susan Atkins 4:19pm July 3, 2012)
I appreciate your wanting to keep us informed as to what is going on with your creations as quickly as possible.
(Marjorie Carmony 4:21pm July 3, 2012)
Eileen, I LOVED Never a Gentleman!! I also love your name because it's my sister's name too! Best of luck on your new release!
(Renee Pajda 4:27pm July 3, 2012)
I love historicals with rakes and heroines, especially quirky
and smart heroines. These sound like great books and I'm
going to have to add them to my TBR list. Thanks for the
(LaRonda Atchison 4:57pm July 3, 2012)
I had forgotten about the icthysaurus being found at that spot in England. My university's Geology Museum has a partial skeleton, but I don't think it came from there.
This is definitely a set of series I'll have to invest in, when the budget allows!!
Not just because of the icthysaurus, but because I spent some time on a course at Exeter University many years ago, and I love the area!
Thanks for the books and the contest!!
(Lynn Rettig 5:06pm July 3, 2012)
The book sounds great and thanks for a chance to win it.
(Mary Hay 5:19pm July 3, 2012)
I love the universe you've created for your Drake's Rakes characters. I am so looking forward to reading this.
All the best.
(Annette Briggs 5:21pm July 3, 2012)
Series are the best something to look forward to continuing the journey with
your face characters.
(Darci Paice 5:44pm July 3, 2012)
Amateur scientists and 500 pound pigs---this has me interested already.
(Sue Farrell 5:46pm July 3, 2012)
Sounds like a really good series. Thanks for the chance to win!
(Natasha Donohoo 5:48pm July 3, 2012)
Your books sound great and fun and I like the astronomy--I loved that in school. Looking forward to reading all of these and the new ones as they are released!
(Linda Luinstra 5:52pm July 3, 2012)
I must admit I am so intrigued about this series! I love
anything to do with English history. I will be heading right
over to Amazon for the first book and the novella. I would
love to win the second book too. I am also going to check
out the trading cards. I have some from another author and
I really like putting a face on a character. Thanks for the
(Michelle Whitwam 6:02pm July 3, 2012)
This sounds like just the type of story I love to read!
(Margay Roberge 6:20pm July 3, 2012)
The cover is fantastic and just looks like a wonderful book to read on these hot
(Shelly Itkin 6:22pm July 3, 2012)
I am a longtime fan of ALL of your books. This series sounds fantastic and I can't wait to meet all 9 (10) heroes and heroines....Thanks for the giveaway.
Congratulations on the new series and the ebook release.
(Kimberley Coover 6:32pm July 3, 2012)
I love historical romance fiction and your books sound great; another for my TBR list!!! Thanks for the draw.
(Barbara Studer 6:47pm July 3, 2012)
DID you stick to names of the time period for your people or
do they have names of people you know or do you image them? I
always like a series. Sounds like you created a whole country.
(Chrislin Payne 6:51pm July 3, 2012)
oh - I want to win an Amazon giftcard - i won a kindle last month - :) PAm
(Pamela Faye Howell 6:52pm July 3, 2012)
You are a new author to me. Love your book cover. Your book sounds really good. Will have to check out your other books too.
(Sue Brandes 7:06pm July 3, 2012)
Love the cover, looking forward to reading this one...
(Suzy Roy 7:16pm July 3, 2012)
Like the background info and I love romantic suspense especially if there's some eating involved.
(Alyson Widen 7:31pm July 3, 2012)
I downloaded "It Begins With a Kiss" today and am really looking forward to the next 3 Drakes Rakes books. I've got to be honest though. It's going to be tough to top a heroine more fabulous than Grace in "Never a Gentleman". Grace could do it all!
(Jill Hayden 7:33pm July 3, 2012)
This sounds like my favorite kind of series, and I am thrilled that your romantic suspense stories are now available to read on my Kindle.
(Cathy MacDonald 7:44pm July 3, 2012)
I'm thrilled that you have a novella to go along with the
series! Drake's Rakes series has been so much fun to read
and I'm thrilled that you've saved the best for last and
hopefully Drake will finally get his come-upings! I can't
wait to find out you you've "picked out" for him! I have a
feeling she's going to be one sassy lady who will be able to
stand up to him!
My one regret is that with Drake's book the series will come
to an end. Look closely and you'll see me looking sad!
I just know though that when it's done you'll have something
else fabulous for us!
(Jeanne Miro 7:51pm July 3, 2012)
My interest in astronomy usually resurfaces in the spring
because of the possibility of spotting Mars without any
(Jannielu de Paz 8:16pm July 3, 2012)
I loved the history that aligned with your story. This sounds like a fun trio of trios!
(Jennifer Beyer 8:25pm July 3, 2012)
I'm going to have to wait for the black pig! I am going to get your book's starting with the first trilogy.
(Kathleen Bianchi 8:30pm July 3, 2012)
I like how you figured out to have three trilogies rather than nine individual books. Thanks for taking the readers' opinions into consideration. I could totally relate when you said you were glad that all the Harry Potter books were out before you read them....
(Elaine Seymour 8:32pm July 3, 2012)
Your book sounds wonderful and just like something I'd love to read. I have a few of your books already!
(MaryAnne Banks 8:33pm July 3, 2012)
Sounds like a very interesting book. I'd love to win it.
(Wilma Frana 8:35pm July 3, 2012)
always interesting how one thing can to another & then to something else you wouldn't expect but right were you want. congrats :)
(d Kenney 8:41pm July 3, 2012)
Sounds great! I love reading about science before it gets all mathy.
(Lisa Elwood 8:47pm July 3, 2012)
I love reading historical. Not too many heroines are presented as the scientific types. Love that your heroine is a scientific person.
(Kai Wong 8:53pm July 3, 2012)
Love your Drake Rakes series! You are a wonderful author! Look forward to your
(Laura DeLeon 9:12pm July 3, 2012)
I agree with you about waiting for the series to be out for a bit before starting if it is going to be a long wait between books. I go crazy waiting. This series sounds like something I need to get my hands on though. Thanks.
(Patti Paonessa 9:15pm July 3, 2012)
Rakes and amazing women,sounds like a great series.
(Deb Pelletier 9:42pm July 3, 2012)
You've spent so much time doing research, and having a bit of fun doing so as well!! It was a real eye-opener, to say the least!! The subjects are things that have interested me since I was a little girl, so I can't wait to read your trilogy!!! I'm sure that I won't be disappointed in the least. You have a way with words to keep a reader drawn in. The cover took my breath away. Best of luck with the trilogy. I'm sure it will do well!!
(Peggy Roberson 9:45pm July 3, 2012)
I just received this book in the mail today and can't wait to
sit down and enjoy every page. Thank you for writing such
(Lettetia Elsasser 10:03pm July 3, 2012)
I am looking forward to reading your books. Thank you for the wonderful post, it was very informative.
(Rita Wray 10:15pm July 3, 2012)
Okay - Saturn and the pig definitely got my attention!!
The research alone sounds fascinating - sounds like some great story lines!
(Janet Worley 10:45pm July 3, 2012)
I've recently got into Drake's Rakes & I'm enjoying learning
about Eileen's books.
(Diane Sallans 10:50pm July 3, 2012)
Sounds wonderful! I really enjoy series.
(Anna McKenrick 11:40pm July 3, 2012)
I really enjoy historical romances. I appreciate it that you do so much research to make your books more historically accurate.
(Kathleen Yohanna 1:22am July 4, 2012)
I'm looking forward to reading all of these stories. Just wonderful thank you.
(Mary Preston 1:55am July 4, 2012)
They all sound so interesting. I would love to see what happens to the pig.
(Debbie Penny 7:08am July 4, 2012)
(Roxana Perez 9:38am July 4, 2012)
This series sounds great!
(Cheryl McEwen 3:55pm July 4, 2012)
The research you did is fascinating. I love historical novels and look forward to reading the stories.
(Mary Chin 11:26pm July 4, 2012)
I'll be reading it soon!
(Robin Greene 11:27pm July 4, 2012)
this issomething I would like toread
(Lynne Stillwell 1:12am July 5, 2012)
A good book is one thing, a series even better. Add a pig and who could resist?
(Shirley Nienkark 12:47pm July 5, 2012)
Last Chance Academy sounds like there's no hope except for this like everyone else has given up on the students with an air of indifference. Looks like a good intense read.
(Alyson Widen 8:17pm July 5, 2012)
What great stories - I love them already!
(Felicia Ciaudelli 9:59pm July 5, 2012)
love your books. Can't wait to find out more about the pig. Female heroine is my all time fave.
(Anthonia Sharp 10:07am July 6, 2012)
This so interesting about the academy and the one in charge of bringing her back. i know this is going to be a great reading adventure one step at a time.
(Anthonia Sharp 10:09am July 6, 2012)
Congrats on It Begins With A Kiss Eileen. I LOVED Drake's Rakes. Look forward to the second trilogy. Thanks for the opportunity.
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com
(Carol Luciano 9:16pm July 6, 2012)
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