Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wacky Wednesday: A Visit With Cherry St. Croix from TARNISHED by Karina Cooper

UNWRAPPING ROMANCE is one year old today!! It's so amazing to think that a blog started on a whim and a rant could have actually caught on and is doing so much better than I ever expected after a year. I owe it all to you, my wonderful readers. Thank you.

To celebrate this auspicious occasion and to keep the party going, I'm happy to tell you that I have a very special guest visiting with me today. Of course, I was only able to procure her company with the gracious cooperation of her creator, Karina Cooper, who I would like to congratulate on the release of her newest Dark Mission Novel, SACRIFICE THE WICKED - available now from Avon in print and ebook formats.

Today, we have are joined by Miss Cherry St. Croix. She's come all the way from an alternative London to be with us and to help me give away FOUR (yes, 4) PRINT COPIES of her first written chronicle - TARNISHED.  Several weeks back, I reviewed this amazing steampunk romance so if you'd like to read my review, please click on the title but hurry back because Cherry will be joining me any moment.

While we await Cherry's arrival from where a choking fog blankets Victorian London—and in a stroke of discriminatory genius, Society has raised London to the sky. Let me tell you just a bit about our unusual guest.

Her name is Cherry St. Croix. Society would claim that she is a well-heeled miss with an unfortunate familial reputation. They’ve no idea of the truth of it. In her secret world, she hunts down vagrants, thieves… and now, a murderer. For a monster stalks London’s streets, leaving a trail of mystery and murder below the fog.
Eager for coin to fuel her infatuations, she must decide where her attentions will turn: To her daylight world, where her scientific mind sets her apart from respectable Society, or to the compelling domain of London below. Each has a man who has claimed her time as his – for good or for ill. Though as the corpses pile, and the treacherous waters of Society gossip churn, she is learning that each also has its dangers. One choice will see her cast from polite company… the other might just see her dead.

Ah, she's arrived! Please join me in welcoming Miss Cherry St. Croix to UNWRAPPING ROMANCE.

Amy:  Hi Cherry, thank you so much for taking time from your busy life to join us here today. Please feel free to make yourself comfortable. You may set your knives aside for I can assure you that you are quite safe here.

Cherry:  Well, and thank you for having me here today! I'm quite delighted to be given an invite that does not include ball gowns and frippery. Although I, ah, may or may not choose to keep hold of my weaponry, if 'tis all the same to you.

Amy:  By all means, whatever makes you feel most comfortable. Perhaps you'd like to tell us a little bit about yourself for those of who don't know you yet.

Cherry:  Very well. My name is Cherry St. Croix, and I am the daughter of Dr. Abraham St. Croix and his wife, Josephine. They are quite dead. If that makes me sound cold, I do apologize. 'Tis only that I was very young when they died in a terrible laboratory accident and I don't recall either very well. I am not well-liked by Society, but they can stuff it for all I give a toss. I spend my evenings, when I've the need, below the foggy drift, collecting bounties for coin.

Amy:  I'm sorry you lost your parents at a young age and that you feel such animosity. You do live quite a duplicitous life in a city that has two very distinct personalities, so perhaps you may wish that your life was more settled in one or the other?

Cherry:  Oh, heavens, no. Can you imagine? Stuck into a single world where there is only ever one path laid out for you? For me, more importantly. I certainly don't mean to be rude, please excuse me, but you must understand that in Society above the drift, there is only one thing for a woman to do: marry. Marry well, have children, raise them to be good sons or daughters to be married and inherit and breed like... like kennel hounds. No, thank you. And below! Below can be just as bad, though it takes a good deal of effort to see the similarities. In the fog, a woman must be as ready to fight as the men, to protect herself, her things. Her desires. Most free women below are doxies, and then "free" if only because they've managed to avoid the efforts of a man to collar them and sell them himself.

No, while I enjoy the means of London high and the freedoms of London below, I do not think I'd be willing to marry myself to either. I possess too broad a palate for one.

Amy:  Well,  you're certainly of a strong mind. I admire that quality in anyone but especially in a woman. You mentioned spending your nights collecting bounties for coin - as a collector you live a dangerous life and now that there is a murderer on the loose in London, you are in even more danger. Are you truly prepared to collect this extreme criminal?

Cherry:  Certainly. A murderer of this ilk—this "Leather Apron", if you will—is not a creature of extreme cunning or wit. He is an animal, savage and without conscience, and animals can be corralled. It may take some effort, but I've a promise to keep and the sweets are counting on me. The hardest part will be figuring a place to start. This beast has been roaming free too long; he has made the streets his home. But he will, in time, make a mistake. He likely already has. I only need to find it out.

Amy:  I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor. Perhaps with some help ... then again, I don't suppose you'd ... never mind. You've got two men in your life, one who society prefers you be with and the other who keeps himself at a distance but always seems to be there. Who do you feel you are more likely to put your trust in, Hawke or Compton?

Cherry:  Neither. A woman's trust placed in a man is tantamount to gift-wrapping her freedom and placing a delicate little bow atop. I have no interest in relying on one or the other for anything but company, and even then I'd rather lick a toad than force myself to accept Hawke's company for the pleasure of it. And the earl, good gracious. Earl Compton is playing at a game I don't understand. His mother despises me, and as the unfashionable daughter of Mad St. Croix, it's utterly confounding that he sees me worth any amount of his time. He's a ruddy earl, for heaven's sake. And certainly, I've never given any indication that I am interested in marriage to the man. To any man, for that matter.

No, there will be no trust placed in the hands of either, for trust is a gift that comes with strings. It is power. I prefer my life to be in my own hands.

Amy:  [aside ] I think she protests too much.  *wink*
I have to admit that I find it difficult to put my trust in Compton, for I think there is more there than meets the eye, but Hawke ... he, well ... never mind.

You've recently discovered a lot of things about yourself and those around you. Where do you see yourself heading next in your search for the truth and when can we expect to read the next installment of your St. Croix Chronicles?

Cherry:  There is, of course, a debt to be paid. I believe I shall have to start by visiting a certain laboratory, for all the idea gives me the shivers. In the meantime, I am given to understand that there are those in my circle who know something more of my family than expected. I will have to walk subtly and bide my time, but I am eager to learn what is known that I do not know myself.

There is definitely a mystery afoot, no?

Amy:  Most definitely and we are just as eager as you to get to the bottom of it.
Cherry, it's been a delight meeting you and having you visit today. I understand you're expected elsewhere, some social event I suppose, so I won't keep you any longer. You're such a brave and exciting woman. Do you have any advice for my lovely readers for living a more exciting life admist the day-to-day doldrums?

Cherry:  You are ever so kind; are you sure I can't cajole you into tea? Perhaps a lively game of—no, no, you're right. I mustn't keep Fanny waiting.

As for your readers, why, I am no expert on social matters. Perhaps, then, I should say that one should always strive to be what is unexpected. Society has so many demands levied upon us all: marry well, don't smile in public, walk with an escort, make such frivolous smalltalk as one's eyes must resist rolling back in one's head. Do this, think that, feel this... It's enough to drive a woman mad. Be the person you want to be. None of this 'perhaps one day' rubbish. Live your life as if you already have the life you want, and these things will happen.

Oh, and perhaps look into becoming a collector. It's a dangerous life, but it certainly adds a little kick to one's skirts.

That said, the lady rises from her seat. Gathers her 'tools of the trade' and saunters off into the fog that has suddenly arisen in the corner of the room. As soon as she is through, the fog disappears.

Amy: Wow, what an amazing woman. I hope you enjoyed her visit and learned a little bit more about Cherry St. Croix, the heroine of TARNISHED by Karina Cooper because I've got four - yes, 4 print copies of TARNISHED by Karina Cooper to give away in celebration of UNWRAPPING ROMANCE surviving and actually thriving in blogger world.

So, if you're interested in winning one of these FOUR PRINT COPIES, please tell me what you do to overcome the day-to-day doldrums of every day life?

Remember to leave an EMAIL ADDRESS with your comment in order to be entered in the Giveaway. This Giveaway is open to US Residents Only and will run until 11:30PM EDT on Thursday, September 27, 2012. Four (4) winners will be chosen at random, notified by email, then announced in a special post on Friday.  Remember the formula for entry:

My name is Cherry St. Croix. Society would claim that I am a well-heeled miss with an unfortunate familial reputation. They've no idea of the truth of it. In my secret world, I hunt down vagrants, thieves . . . and now, a murderer. For a monster stalks London's streets, leaving a trail of mystery and murder below the fog.

Eager for coin to fuel my infatuations, I must decide where my attentions will turn: to my daylight world, where my scientific mind sets me apart from respectable Society, or to the compelling domain of London below. Each has a man who has claimed my time as his—for good or for ill. Though as the corpses pile, and the treacherous waters of Society gossip churn, I am learning that each also has its dangers. One choice will see me cast from polite company . . . the other might just see me dead.

If you'd like to learn more about Karina Cooper and her books, please feel free to visit her at her website, follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest (she's got some awesome boards).
Also, Cherry's steampunk adventures will continue in GILDED by Karina Cooper, due to release on December 26, 2012 - how 'bout that for a Christmas gift!  

In the meantime, Happy Reading Everyone and Good Luck!!
Thank you for making this past year so awesome and I'm eagerly awaiting the year ahead of us.  xoxo

TARNISHED, the St. Croix Chronicles by Karina Cooper, Avon Romance, available now in print and ebook formats.



JenniferK said...

Reading. I can pretend to be in someone else's world for a while and it helps me get through my daily grind.


Amy Valentini said...

I hear you, Jennifer, that's a good one.

I was just asked on Twitter, what the day-to-day doldrums are?
Ever have a day when you don't want to get out of bed and face another day of the same old thing? That's what I'm talking about. What helps you through it?

Thanks for celebrating with me and Cherry! xoxo

Elizabeth H. said...

Happy Blogoversary!!! Congrats on your first year! I love to read so that helps me escape the day-to-day doldrum. Thanks to Cherry St. Croix for the interview and for the awesome giveaway!
ehaney578 at aol dot com

KatyaArmock said...

Fun interview!

KatyaArmock said...

Oh, and an email address...

delilah s. dawson said...

I write and play imaginary tennis with Karina. :) delilahpaints (at) yahoo (dot) com

Olivia Kelly said...

My escapes are reading, writing and Twitter. Many scoff, but when most of your conversations revolve around Little Einsteins and Elmo, you too would see Twitter as an escape from everyday life!
Great interview, ladies. I do love a strong-minded woman. ;)

Sharon Stogner said...

doldrums? I have two girls one in middle school and one in high school...there is NEVER a dull moment but if there is...I like to drive with the windows down and the music blasting.

sstogner1 at gmail dot com

Marc Staubitz said...

Reading, reading and more reading. And dressing in strange steampunk gear and hanging out with my equally strange friends. Geek (at)

Amy Valentini said...

Ladies - thank you so much for visiting and for entering for a chance to win one of these copies. I was getting lots of visitors but only 2 takers. I don't mind, it makes it easy to pick winners but hey, Karina's books are always fabulous reads. Cherry is amazing.

Katya - glad you enjoyed the interview.

Delilah, playing imaginary tennis with Karina would certainly cure any doldrums.

Olivia - Twitter can most definitely be an escape. Sometimes, it's the best place to go for a laugh or intelligent conversation.

Sharon - I love to ride with the windows open, music blasting, and I'm usually singing at the top of my lungs. 'Course I'm on country roads so the only ones who might complain are the wildlife. : )

Thanks y'all - glad you came by. xoxo

Amy Valentini said...

Hi Mark,
It's always great to have a visitor of the male persuasion. ; )
Being a steampunk fan, Cherry St.Croix is right up your alley.
Thanks for coming by and for entering. Good luck.

Steampunk Gypsy said...

Reading, reading, singing loudly in public, and reading! jude.morrissey {at}

Jeni Lynn Monroe said...

I read a lot and also go to the gym several times a week.
jeni.monroe921@gmail dot com

Jaye Shields said...

What a fun interview. And I love, love the cover!

jayeshields at gmail dot com

Amy Valentini said...

Hi Jude, Jeni, and Jaye! Sounds like sisters in a romance novel. : )
Thanks for coming by and joining the fun.
I'd say reading is right up there for fueling the spirit and lifting us out of the doldrums. Good Luck - it's a contest now! xoxo

Stephanie Collins said...

I'd have to agree that reading is what takes me away from the day to day doldrums.

Congratulations on a year!!!

steph at bookaholicanon dot com

bn100 said...

Nice interview.


bn100 said...

Reading helps to overcome the day.