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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Oh, The Rakes! Anna Campbell - Guest Blogger

Oh, Those Rakes! By Anna Campbell

Hello, Romance Readers! I’m delighted to be here! Thank you for inviting me.

As a long term romance reader, and someone who spends a lot of time talking to romance readers, I know there are a couple of terms that really get people excited about a story. Bride. Scandal. Scoundrel. Sin. Just check out the titles in the historical romance section of any bookstore and you’ll get a nice list – all very delicious.

But to me, the most delicious of all is ‘rake’.

Think of the images those two words ‘Regency rake’ conjure up. The bad boy who’s irresistibly tempting. Someone wild and reckless and passionate. A man who breaks the rules of his society and just clicks his elegant fingers at any disapproval. Tall. Usually dark (although not always – I’m currently writing a blond!). Definitely handsome. Turned out in those gorgeous Regency clothes – coat, neckcloth, breeches, boots. A man who can seduce any woman with a single look. Witty. Arrogant. Intelligent. Sardonic. Skilled in the sensual arts.

Oh, yeah, we LOVE a rake.

Especially when he meets that one woman who turns his world upside down. That’s one of the reasons I love to read about a rake falling in love. These gorgeous alphas are always completely at sea when that happens. All their charm and sophistication won’t save them from tumbling head over heels – usually into drama! Or comedy. There’s plenty of scope for comedy when a rake falls in love. Mr. I’m Always In Control finds there’s some things he can’t control – and he doesn’t like it!

My June release from Avon, MY RECKLESS SURRENDER, features a notorious rake and I had such fun writing him. Tarquin Vale, Earl of Ashcroft, has his world pretty much as he wants it. He definitely qualifies as my first non-tortured hero!

Then a mysterious woman called Diana proposes a short affair to while away the summer months while most of the ton is away on their estates. At first he says no – he’s suspicious of this woman who is so obviously following a secret agenda. But it doesn’t take him long to succumb. Things get very messy indeed when both he and Diana start navigating deeper waters emotionally than either ever expected.

Before Diana propositions Tarquin, she has a stereotypical image of a rake in her mind. Perhaps she’s been reading too many historical romances, LOL! She has a chance to make all her dreams come true, but first she must seduce the Earl of Ashcroft. She’s sure a careless, selfish libertine won’t endanger her heart.

Instead of the jaded roué she expects, she discovers a man like no other. A man with his own code of honor. A man she falls in love with, even though her secrets threaten nothing but disaster.

You can read an excerpt of MY RECKLESS SURRENDER on my website at: http://www.annacampbell.info/recklesssurrender.html

So do you have a favorite rake in romance? Why do you think the rake is such a mainstay of the historical romance genre? Let’s talk rakes in all their decadent glory!


Helen said...


Who doesn't love a rake LOL bad boy seems to do as he pleases but carefully LOL but don't you love it when he meets the perfect heroine for him who can turn him into a passionate married rake.

Ex rakes make the best husbands I have read that in a few romances.

I am soo looking forward to reading MRS can't wait

Have Fun

Pam P said...

Anna, I love the way you described why we love those rakes. I, especially like seeing them all at sea when they get caught, lol.

One of my favorites is Saint in Suzanne Enoch's London's Perfect Scoundrel. He's self-centered, bad and a wastrel, gets involved in Evie's orphanage solely with seduction in mind. But boy, does she, along with the help of her orphans, turn the tables on him when she gets him chained and imprisoned in a brig. He slowly starts to change as the story unfolds, self-reflection, comes to respect her, especially after she chains him up, lots of time for that self-reflection then, lol.

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, I think you've put your finger exactly on why readers love to read these guys as heroes! We love to see him undone by love - although of course, love helps him turn into the wonderful man he really is underneath all the rakishness! And he never really loses that glint in his eye either which we like to see in a hero, even when he's a happy husband, snort!

Not long till MRS! Only four days!

Anna Campbell said...

Pam, I think Suzanne E does the BEST rakes! They're so naughty and then they're so...bewildered when these women they think they've got it all over turn the tables on them. I never get tired of reading that story! It's always such fun. Another rake who comes to grief/marital bliss (LOL) in a great way is Lord Dain from Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase. He's an absolute classic!

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Hi, Anna! This is perfect timing. Yesterday my husband asked me what a rake is. I'll just send him a link to this post and put your books on his bedside table. :)

Annie West said...

Hi Anna, you're right - there's definitely something about the challenge of a bad boy hero that has universal appeal. Tarquin was a great rake and a wonderful hero - what a book! Loretta Chase also does lovely rakish heroes - like in Lord of Scoundrels. Personally I'm looking forward to sneaking another peak at your next ms and the tempting rake you've created there. You really do have a way with dark and dangerous men.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Anna, I really enjoyed your blog and loved your summing up of the terms that get people excited about a story.
I think the appeal of the rake really is that "taming of the beast"element and watching him come undone through the wiles of a woman. And of course it takes a very special heroine to be able to beat him at his game...
I love your tortured heroes and am so looking forward to meeting Tarquin and watching him tumble head first into love!

Sharon Archer said...

I love your rakes and tortured heroes, Anna! Ooo, and Christine Wells and Anne Gracie's too. And actually, I've just read a couple of fab stories about rakes -
Tracy Anne Warren's "Seduced By His Touch" and Lorraine Heath's "Between the Devil and Desire".

And you introduced me to Loretta Chase's "Lord of Scoundrels"!

It sounds like there's another rake I need to meet in Suzanne Enoch's book, too!

Yep, there's something about those bad boys meeting their match!

Can't wait for My Reckless Surrender to reach the shelf, Anna!


jo robertson said...

Hi, Anna! Congratulations on the imminent release of MY RECKLESS SURRENDER. I generally like my heroes dark and tortured, so I'm eager to read Tarquin's story.

I think the allure of the bad boy is very compelling, the idea that only this one woman can tame him. One of my favorite "bad boys" is Rhett Butler.

Livia said...

A historical only catches my attention if the hero is a "Rake", a "Badboy" with wild sexy ways. I like the character even better if in the long run he is some what tamed. He doesn't have to submit all the way, just enough to make the heroine feel loved.

I'm looking forward to reading My Reckless Surrender.


Tammy said...

Love your books and LOVED the blog! Rakes are definitely the reason I adore Historicals!

You, Tracy Anne Warren and Stephanie Laurens are my absolute favorite historical authors!
I can't wait til MY RECKLESS SURRENDER is available! Only 4 more days!
Keep those sexy hot rakes a coming!


Anna Sugden said...

Hi Anna! Great post on rakes - you're right, who doesn't love them?!

Another Romance Bandit popping by to say how much I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this book - once the Amazon Pigeon does his thing!

You got me into two of my favourite rakes, with Lorraine Chase's Lord of Scoundrels and The Last Hellion. Then, there is Lorraine Heath's Scoundrels of St James - especially the delish Dodger in Between the Devil and Desire. And, Eloisa's Villiers - yum. Ooh and Christine Wells' Jardine in Sweetest Little Sin.

*sigh* so many rakes, so little time!

Sarah S said...

You know, I LOVE to read about them, but don't think I'd ever want one of my own. Kinda like an alpha male, great to read about...not so sure I want one around all the time.

Great post!

Cassondra said...

What an interesting question Anna!

I think, for me, it's because I recognize the rake in a number of men I see. Of course they're handsome, and usually arrogant to a degree, because they can get any woman they want. And they know it. And that's never attractive. And so they don't consider women of much value except for pleasure, and then when they finally find one with whom they cannot live without, it's fun to watch that happen. It's fun to watch them have to re-evaluate their assesment of themselves and of the female gender.

And of course, it's always nice when they have some skill in the bedroom because it's not really fun to be with a clumsy oaf. And the only way to get that skill, really, was to do a lot of it after all. So the rake is kind of the perfect setup to give the reader the whole fantasy. A man who is completely confident and self-contained, doesn't need anybody, finds that he does, indeed, need someone. A particular someone. I think it embodies the core romance story in more ways than perhaps any other.

Anna Campbell said...

Haha, Vanessa, the last time someone did that, they ended up with TWINS! ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, Annie. I'm so glad you're enjoying the latest manuscript (Annie gets to see all my stuff before it heads off to Avon!). He's definitely my most rakish creation yet!

Anna Campbell said...

Kandy, I think taming the beast is a lot of the appeal, you're so right. But we don't him TOOOOO tame, snort! Thanks for saying you're looking forward to MRS!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, Sharon. And can I say you have exemplary taste in reading? Rakes rule!

Anna Campbell said...

Jo, Rhett definitely falls into the category, doesn't he? So does Mr. Rochester - he was fairly rakish in his Paris days! Lovely to see you here!

Anna Campbell said...

Livia, I must say I'm a sucker for most of the historical types, not just the bad boys. But there is something delicious about a bad boy meeting his match. Yum! Thanks for swinging by!

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks so much, Tammy! What a lovely message. I can see you're a connoisseur of rakes! Not long to go now! Whoo-hooooooo!

Anna Campbell said...

Anna, you've listed a whole stack of authors who write absolutely luscious rakes. Perhaps we should have a rake party in the lair. Oh, no, that's right, the cabana boys might get their noses out of joint! Thanks for swinging by!

Anna Campbell said...

Sarah, it's interesting, isn't it? I think there's a challenge to the bad boy but they don't always reform as beautifully in real life as they do in a romance. I think that's a story arc people NEVER get sick of!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Anna, congratulations on the release of MY RECKLESS SURRENDER! I love the way you describe your method of torturing rakes--make them fall in love, of course! When Tarquin falls, he falls hard and it's so delicious to watch that dance playing out. Readers are going to be sighing over this book!

Favourites--hmm, I'd have to say Vidal in Devil's Cub and Dain in Lord of Scoundrels. Quite different types but these are men you'd throw your reputation to the winds for. There is something wonderfully confident about rakes. I think part of their appeal is that a woman knows she's in good hands ... if you know what I mean;)

Anna Campbell said...

Cassondra, that's a perfect description of why we find rakes falling in love so incredibly compelling. Master of all he surveys comes a real cropper! Always works. And it's nice to see the arrogant type have to grovel. Always love the grovel scene! ;-) And I think you're right about him knowing his way about! Certainly forms an essential part of this particular fantasy.
Diana in My Reckless Surrender has been happily married for a short while many years ago - but she has no idea what she's got waiting for her once she falls into Tarquin's highly skilled clutches!

Anna Campbell said...

Ooh, Christine, you picked out two of my absolute favorite rakes in romance. Dain and Vidal - what a delicious duo. And it IS believable that women throw their reputations to the wind for a night in their arms. Hmm, I'm free, Mr Dain! And it's interesting that both of them come a cropper when they meet strong, rather no nonsense heroines who are the last women they ever thought they'd find attractive. The dance (beautiful put!) is wonderful to watch. Thank you for saying such lovely things about MRS!

Lori said...

Gotta love a rake! Especially when he falls hard and true love becomes the ultimate revenge for his playboy ways!

Anna Campbell said...

What a great way of putting it, Lori! True love as revenge? Great stuff!

Glo said...

Love your blog, and how you describe rakes. Even the best rakes fall. And that's just the kind of story I love to read. Looking forward to reading your story.