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Friday, April 6, 2012

Guest Tracey Devlyn: Becoming a Spy

Linda Banche here. My guest today is Tracey Devlyn and her debut Regency historical, A Lady's Revenge. A Lady's Revenge is a spy story, and Tracey tells us all about Regency spies.

Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win the copy of A Lady's Revenge which Sourcebooks has generously provided. Tracey will select the winner. Check the comments to see who won, and how to contact me to claim your book. If I cannot contact the winner within a week of selection, I will award the book to an alternate. Note, Sourcebooks can mail to USA and Canada addresses only.

And the winner Tracey selected is Mel K! Congratulations, Mel K, and thanks to all who came over.

Welcome Tracey!

Tracey Devlyn:

First off, a big thanks to Historical Hussies for having me today here today!

Cora deBeau’s journey to becoming the Raven, England’s most valuable spy, began at the inconceivable age of ten. The year she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders. That fact alone, though, wasn’t enough to propel her into a life of intrigue and loneliness.

A deeper motivation drove her to greater, almost obsessive, lengths to track down a murderer. What, you ask? Oh, I cannot share, for the answer would spoil one of the suspense elements of the story. J

What I can tell you is how Cora gained her special skills for becoming a British secret service agent. Cora grew up in an interesting family. The deBeaus traveled all over the world, exposing a young Cora to many different cultures and philosophies. But the most significant impact on Cora’s future vocation was the fact that her father led an elite group of international spies known as the Nexus. The Alien Office housed this secret division within the walls of the Foreign Office. Now some of you might be aware that the Alien Office was actually under the auspice of the Home Office, but my special group of spies took their direction from the Foreign Office. Fiction’s great, isn’t it? Thankfully, I found a reference in Elizabeth Sparrow’s Secret Service: British Agents in France, 1792-1815 that the Foreign Secretary appointed the Superintendent of Aliens, so my scenario isn’t outside the realm of possibility.

Pardon my digression—I love talking about a great reference book! Given Cora’s father’s access to intelligence, he believed there to be a looming threat of civil revolution in England, similar to what had occurred in France. To give Cora, her brother Ethan, and their friend Guy the best chance at survival—should the worst happen—he taught them how to pick pockets, gather intelligence, and self-defense tactics. Cora’s father never counted on his pupils’ aptitude for nefarious pursuits. What began as a means to ensure their safety wound end up securing them a spot with the Nexus.

Especially Cora. Her specialized training provided her with a means of avenging her parents’ murders. Something she desperately desired, even knowing her course would prevent her from ever taking her rightful place in society. For nine years, every decision she made, every task she mastered, and every sacrifice she endured had but one focus—find the killer.

Until the eve of her first mission, when her childhood friend and comrade in nefarious pursuits became her one regret. During her last summer in England, Cora began noticing small things about Guy Trevelyan, like the magnificent length of his ebony eyelashes, the adorable dimple in his right cheek, and the fine hairs that peppered the backs of his hands. Her newfound awareness made her feel awkward and guilty around him. Guy was her friend, a brother to her in so many ways. But her preoccupation grew and her admiring gaze had drifted from small things to intimate things like the breadth of his shoulders, the musculature of his thighs, and the beauty of his angular face. Her friend had become her living hell. He kept her insides in a quivering knot and her easy quips would lodge in the back of her throat with just one of his teasing winks.

When she started imagining all her days spent in his company and when her lifelong quest began to fade, Cora set off for France, leaving Guy behind. Distance and distraction, she hoped they would be enough to rid her of the unbearable longing Guy stirred in her heart.

She hoped in vain.

So now you know how my Regency lady became a notorious spy. J

Have you ever run away? Even for an hour? What can you tell me about spies in the Regency period?


A British agent flees her French captor’s torturous dungeon and falls in love with the decoder responsible for her imprisonment.

British agent Cora deBeau has spent the last three years seducing secrets from the most hardened of French spies while searching for her parents’ killer. When her latest assignment goes awry, she suffers at the hands of her French captor until Guy Trevelyan, the Earl of Helsford and master cryptographer, saves her during a daring rescue. Scarred and wary of men, Cora shies away from the one man who could heal her savaged heart.

After rescuing Cora from a French dungeon, Guy discovers it was one of his deciphered messages that led to her captivity. Guy strives to earn her forgiveness while outwitting their enemy. But will he find the scars on her wounded soul run too deep?

Tracey Devlyn writes historical romantic thrillers (translation: a slightly more grievous journey toward the heroine's happy ending).

She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Australia Romance Readers Association and the Windy City, Beau Monde, Women’s Fiction, and PASIC Romance Writers of America chapters. Tracey’s also co-founder of Romance University, a group blog dedicated to readers and writers of romance, and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, Chicagoland’s exciting new reading salon devoted to romantic fiction.

An Illinois native, Tracey spends her evenings harassing her once-in-a-lifetime husband and her weekends torturing her characters. For more information on Tracey, including her Internet haunts, contest updates, and details on her upcoming novels, please visit her website at: | |


Maria D. said...

I don't know a lot about regency era spies but I would imagine that they were men and women of means who did not need to hold down an ordinary job that would require them to be at a certain place every day. I would imagine that they would be educated both in scholarly pursuits and possibly with weaponry. It's a very interesting topic. Congrats on your new release and I hope you have many sales!

Linda Banche said...

I love spy stories! Must have to do with secret identities. I love Superman.

Meljprincess said...

Oh my! I must have this book, Tracey. It appeals to me greatly. I enjoy stories about spies. I have spent my whole life running away. From everything. Now I've settled down and I will stay put. I don't know anything about Regency spies. However it seems in books they are almost always women. Very cool. I want to get out my Handbook of Practical Spying. Happy Easter! PS. If I don't win I'll buy the book. Are you in Goodreads?

Mel K.

Kitchen Witch of the West said...

All I know about Regency spies is since reading Joanna Bourne I cannot live without them in my fictional life!

Every time I pick up a Historical Romance or Urban Fantasy I am running away. They are my escape where sometimes I learn all sorts of cool things, and certainly have more appreciation for my drama free life.

Congratulations on release and delicious cover!

Jennifer Ann Coffeen said...

"A Lady's Revenge" sounds fantastic! And thank you for mentioning the Secret Service book. I can't wait to read both of them.

Tracey Devlyn said...

Hi Maria D, Thanks for joining me at HH! Spies in the Regency period were probably much like today's spies--intelligent, ambitious, loyal, and slightly ruthless. :)

Tracey Devlyn said...

Linda, thanks so much for having me today. There's no getting around the fact that spies have a certain mystique about them. Superman's a great hero.

Tracey Devlyn said...

Meljprincess--thanks for stopping by! Now, I have to look up this Handbook of Practical Spying book. Sounds right up my alley! Yep, I'm on Goodreads. Thanks!

Tracey Devlyn said...

Kitchen Witch--Joanna Bourne is QUEEN when it comes to spies, English and French. LOVE HER. You read historicals for the same reason I read (and write) them--escape. I can get so lost in them. Thanks for coming by!

Tracey Devlyn said...

Hi Jennifer--So glad you could stop by. The Secret Service book is out of print, I believe. So, you'll have to do a bit of searching for it, but there are copies out there!

Sarah Simas said...

A Lady's Revenge sounds fabulous! I adore spy stories especially ones set in the Regency. I appreciate the way Cora's motivation isn't geared around catching a man for marriage, but for revenge! Very fun! I'm definitely wanting to read her story to find out what happens.

Tracey Devlyn said...

Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!

Robin said...

This looks like a very enjoyable book!

KimH said...

This story sounds really exciting! This is one of the things that attracts me to historical romance--and mystery. Thanks for offering the book--I'd love to win it! Even if I don't win I still plan to read it!

Tracey Devlyn said...

Everyone, thanks so much for stopping by! Had a great time chatting with you.

Mel K.!


Meljprincess said...

YAY! Thank you, Tracey! I'm going to send you a private e-mail. Thanks, Linda, for having this contest. I'm thrilled I won!

Mel K.

Betty said...

I love spy stories too, any spy story... for instance, just finished reading The Rx Factor by by J. Thomas Shaw, an intriguing medical/political thriller full of espionage and romance- I was in heaven! Can't wait to check out "Becoming a Spy." Thanks for the great suggestion.

Tracey Devlyn said...

Thanks, Betty! I hope you enjoy A Lady's Revenge!!

Betty said...

I am sure I am going to LOVE "Becoming a Spy."