Today, I have author Fiona Zedder in the interview chair. We’re discussing her latest release House of Agnes, a f/f contemporary romance. Be sure to check out my review of this novel. And don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
1. How did you come up with the title for House of Agnes?
Fiona: It was actually my editor at the time who came up with it. My original title for the novel was Hunting Bliss but, because the lovers in the book were named Hunter and Bliss, he thought it was too cheesy so he cut it in half.
2. What is your favorite part of the book and why?
Fiona: My favorite AND least favorite part of House of Agnes was the challenge of writing it during the mess of 2020. Everything last year felt harder than anything else I’ve ever done. Whether that was being a consistent writer or being a good partner.
All the events of 2020 made the simplest things more difficult. It also made writing House of Agnes an immense task on top of the huge challenge of attacking a new sub-genre of romance. Many writing days felt never-ending and unproductive. Sadness and alarm bombarded me from all sides. After that, it felt amazing to come out on the other side with a good book. An intense fist-pumping session came after I pressed “send” on that email. Of course, the success of Agnes as it is now, I owe completely to my editor. Without her, I’d still be crying in my wine over an unfinished manuscript.
3. If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Fiona: I’d love Gina Torres to play the lead. That woman is perfect. Statuesque. Able to deliver a killer line with an equally killer raised eyebrow. Did I mention how sexy she is?
4. What did you enjoy most about writing House of Agnes?
Fiona: I loved how organic the experience was. At least in the beginning. Agnes leapt off the page with her own obsessions, desires, and loves in such a complete way that the first part of the book was a breeze to write. I’d never written a character like her before so I enjoyed how she mentally took me to new places.
5. Tell us about a favorite character from any novel you’ve written.
Fiona: One of my all-time favorites is Rémi from my third published novel Hungry for It. She was a secondary character from the first book in the How Sweet It Is series. I had absolutely no intention of writing about her, but then she captured my attention during the writing of the first book and basically forced me to begin the series. She ended up being the most popular character with my readers.
6. What can we expect from you in the future?
Fiona: Right now, I’m working on another lesbian romance, Stud Like Her, set for a December release. It’s an age gap, stud4stud (butch/butch), slightly forbidden romance that tackles self-identity, the changing nature of relationships, and has a cute dog. It’s already up for pre-order here: https://books2read.com/StudLikeHer
7. What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Fiona: This is the cruelest question. It reminds me that I’m not able to travel right now. My last “pilgrimage” was to Paris to follow in the footsteps of James Baldwin and Josephine Baker. My writing partner and I did a couple of “Black Paris” tours and did some writing of our own. With all the baguettes and Camembert cheese we ate along the way, it was magical.
8. What are you passionate about these days?
Fiona: These days, I’m most passionate about really enjoying life. For me, this means living absolutely in the moment, noticing the beauty (or the bizarre) around me, and trying something I’ve always wanted to but, for one reason or another, just never got around to it before.
After having gratefully survived cancer, every breath I take reinforces that while nothing is promised, I can still drink up all the juices of life, let them drip down my chin, mess up my clothes, and make my hands sticky from the joy of it. The alternative isn’t worth considering.
9. What are you currently reading?
Fiona: Right now, I’m reading everything by Nalini Singh. The latest book in her addictive Guild Hunter series, Archangel’s Light, comes out this October and I’m SUPER excited about it. A few months ago, I finished her first thriller called A Madness of Sunshine which is set in New Zealand and has an incredible sense of place. Her second thriller and latest release, Quiet in Her Bones, is on my TBR list.
A lesbian romance filled with intrigue and sizzling sexual tension as enemies discover that the other side of hatred…is desire.
Blurb: Agnes Noble is private, mysterious, and untouchable. She rules House of Agnes, the most exclusive escort agency on the East Coast, with a diamond fist. Crossing her is a mistake no one makes twice.
Investigative reporter Lola Osbourne is not afraid. She’s gunning for the House and its so-called queen. She’ll make sure no other innocent gets dragged into Agnes’s alluring web, to be used and discarded the way Lola’s sister was.
But her plan to get close to the elusive madam shatters the moment her eyes meet the Queen’s. One look and everything’s different. More complicated. Dangerous.
Now, Lola’s not just fighting to topple a queen from her throne, she’s also scrambling to escape their explosive collision with her suddenly vulnerable heart intact.
I planned on only hosting this book tour at my blog, but I will admit the blurb intrigued me enough to also do a review. I’m new to the author and I must say her writing is impeccable. She fleshes out real characters, and even her secondary characters.
There is a lot going on in the plot. Lola is determined to seek revenge after the death of her sister, and Lola holds Queen Agnes responsible. So Lola, an investigative reporter, worms her way into the House of Agnes. Lola’s youth shows in the novel. She doesn’t have a true plan and seems to “wing it” throughout the novel. It made me think she was never going to bring down Agnes since she didn’t quite have the (I won’t say brains), but a “something” to pull off her scheme.
As for Agnes, she’s everything I expected a madam of an escort service to be. She’s cold, she’s tough, and she’s extremely private. It’s going to take a lot to crack this ice queen’s heart. There is also a little girl named Meredith in her life, and as a reader, I wanted to know who Meredith was.
The secondary characters are brilliant. I really enjoyed White and Jamika. I will admit I sort of wished Jamika was the one who was setting out to take down Agnes, because Jamika had the brains and wits about her to go up against Agnes, but it was Lola instead. I’m not saying I did not like Lola. I enjoyed her character as she set out to maneuvor her way around life inside of an escort agency, but she lacked the steeliness Jamika possessed to go up against a person as tough as Agnes.
There is much suspense through the novel, and everything is a guessing game which kept me reading. The scenes were beautifully painted. The dialogue was true to each character. I did feel the ending was a bit rushed.
Still, if Fiona Zedde does another tour and requires a review of another novel, I’ll be the first in line because she’s a wonderful writer, and I am looking forward to reading more of her works. I recommend House of Agnes. The book possesses a great cast of characters and a very suspenseful plot wonderfully written.
She is the author of six novellas – “Pure Pleasure,” “Going Wild” and “Sexual Attraction” appear in the collections, Satisfy Me, Satisfy Me Again, and Satisfy Me One More Time, respectively.
Her novels include Bliss, A Taste of Sin, Every Dark Desire, Hungry for It, Kisses after Midnight, and Dangerous Pleasures. To find out more about her, log onto her website at www.fionazedde.com.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!