But before The Gypsy Bride, was The Robber Bride. And today I've invited my hero and heroine here for an interview so you can get to know them. Everyone, please welcome Phineas Dartwell, Earl of Leyburn, and-Oh, dear...
Jerrica: Lord Leyburn, where is Miss Barclay?
Phineas: How the devil should I know? Blasted girl keeps disappearing.
Jerrica: Well, she said she'd be here, and if I know Miss Barclay, she is a woman of her word-
Phineas: [scoffs] Clearly, you don't know Miss Barclay at all.
Jerrica: Well, perhaps we could get started anyway. I do have a few questions I wanted to ask you.
Phineas: All right...go right ahead.
Jerrica: I heard you've been working on a secret project in your studio. [Phineas blushes] Would you mind telling us the subject of the secret painting.
Phineas: Ahem. Well, then it wouldn't be a secret, would it?
Jerrica: That's true, but then again, I don't think you and I run in the same circles, seeing as you live almost 200 years in the past.
Phineas: Nice try, Mrs. Knight-Catania, but I am no fool. I know you have very close relationships with several people of my acquaintance, including one Victoria Barclay.
Jerrica: You're not a very trusting person, are you?
Phineas: My closest friend is constantly lying to my face and evading my company. How could I possibly have confidence in people I hardly know at all?
Jerrica: Point taken. All right then...if you won't talk about your paintings, will you tell me about your association with Lady Beecham?
Phineas: [nearly falls out of chair laughing] I will gladly tell you that I would rather have all my teeth pulled barbarically from my mouth than spend a single moment in the company of that woman.
Jerrica: [slightly taken aback] Goodness. Is she that bad?
Phineas: [levels me with an evil eye] You should know. You wrote her, didn't you?
Jerrica: [blushing] Oh, right. Sorry about that.
[Victoria rushes in, hair askew, color high in her cheeks]
Victoria: Have I missed anything? I'm so sorry I'm late. I was unavoidably detained.
Phineas: You ought to give warning to people when you're not going to be on time, Vickie.
Victoria: [rolls her eyes] What would you have me do? Send a messenger all this way to tell you I would be a mere five minutes late?
Phineas: Don't be obtuse, Victoria.
Victoria: I shall try to refrain from obtusivity in the future, my lord.
Phineas: [grumbles] Do you see what I put up with?
Jerrica: Now, now, let's not argue. Miss Barclay is here now, isn't she?
Victoria: Exactly. And isn't that what matters?
Phineas: Would it really hurt you to be a bit more respectful of other people's time?
Victoria: Have you a pressing engagement, Finny?
Phineas: Perhaps I do, but frankly, what I have to do is none of your concern.
Victoria: I never said it was, I-
Jerrica: Stop! [Phineas and Victoria turn to look at me] Perhaps it would be best if we continued this interview another day.
Phineas: [to Victoria] Now do you see what you've done?
Victoria: Me?!?! You're the one who won't stop harping on my timeliness-
Phineas: Or lack thereof, as it were-
Victoria: Yet look at all the time you've wasted scolding me when we could have been nearly done with this whole thing by now.
[Phineas glowers at Victoria; Victoria crosses her arms over her chest and gives him a haughty look]
Jerrica: All right...well, thank you both for being here today. It was...interesting, to say the least. But despite this interview-gone-wrong, I do hope our readers will check out The Robber Bride, available now in e-book and print formats at all major retailers!