Spotlight & Giveaway: In Search of Scandal by Susanne Lord

Posted December 17th, 2015 by in Blog, Spotlight / 41 comments

Today it is my pleasure to author Susanne Lord to HJ!

Hi Susanne and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, In Search of Scandal!


Please summarize the book for the readers here:

In Search of ScandalIN SEARCH OF SCANDAL is the love story of Will Repton, a wounded, traumatized explorer, and Charlotte Baker, a popular, London society miss. Will has just returned from Tibet after surviving a grisly massacre. Injured and with nightmares still plaguing his sleep, Will calls upon Charlotte’s brother-in-law to solicit funds for a return to Asia. When Will is mistakenly led to a parlor of Charlotte’s suitors, Charlotte falls hard for the handsome exploring, imagining him the man of her dreams. The only problem is, love is the last thing on Will’s mind.

Please share the opening lines of this book:

“For God’s sake, man. Make way.”
The impatient command came from close behind, startling in its proximity. Will Repton clenched his teeth against a reply and edged to the right of the pavement, his limping gait either too slow or too unsightly for the haughty Londoners passing him.


Please share a few Random facts about this book…

  • IN SEARCH OF SCANDAL is my debut novel.
  • The nature walk, that strands Will and Charlotte in the woods, was inspired by a hike in England where I became lost for several hours. (But not overnight, and sadly not with a handsome man.)
  • My visits to 18th and 19th century gardens in England and the exotic and varied flowers and trees on display there, led to my interest in plant-hunters, which spawned the London Explorer series.
  • Charlotte and Will were “born” in my first book, which is the story of Charlotte’s sister, Lucy, and her romance with Ben Paxton.
  • The Derbyshire country estate in IN SEARCH OF SCANDAL was inspired by Chatsworth and Lyme Park in England.
  • I am currently writing the second and third books in THE LONDON EXPLORERS series, and have plans for a fourth and fifth.


Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?

When I first pitched the story of IN SEARCH OF SCANDAL, one of the first questions I received from an editor was, “Is he rich?” The fantasy of wealth is understandable for anyone who works for a living, but I was at a loss for an answer. I’d already finished writing Will and Charlotte’s story and they were both common-born and uncomfortable in the aristocratic world. Even Charlotte, who was ‘bred for a coronet’ and popular, is not really one of “them.”

In getting to know Charlotte, I began to understand how little happiness she found in the money and possessions at her disposal, and Will, likewise, never placed any value on having a great deal of money. So rather than what my hero and heroine are able to enjoy in their power and wealth, I was far more compelled by the value Will and Charlotte placed in one another.

What I hope the readers of my book respond to is the same thing I respond to in my favorite historical romances: not the luxurious life the character lives, but the universal struggle he undergoes to love another person and, more importantly, to feel deserving of being loved in return.


Do you think there’s a common trait or a je ne sais quoi that your heroes must have?

Of the three heroes I’ve written, they all share a common trait: they are deeply wounded. I don’t know why, but I just love torturing them! Their wounds isolate them from the world in some way, and have left them with a sense they are not deserving of complete acceptance and love. Will Repton, the hero of IN SEARCH OF SCANDAL, has experienced a trauma that no one should endure, and has been unable to heal on his own. He is a good, decent man, but he is blind to the depths of his pain and his own self-worth.

The most fun I have in writing romance is in those moments when my hero is forced to confront and deal with his issues. The challenge is to show that he can only do that hard work because the unconditional support he feels from the heroine, or his awakening to the fact that he has no choice but to heal if he has any hope of being with the love of his life.

Did any scene have you crying or laughing (or blushing) while writing it?

Lady Wynston is a Grande Dame of the ton and friend to Charlotte. I always smile a little when I read her dialogue. Her ladyship is well into her eighties, socially-powerful, and says anything she wishes.

(The scene: Lady Wynston and Charlotte’s sister, Mrs. Paxton, meet Will for the first time over a cup of tea. Charlotte has hurriedly excused herself from Will’s presence.)

“I do not know what Charlotte is about these days,” Lady Wynston said. “Dashing to and fro, her pretty head everywhere but atop her shoulders. In my time, a lady was careful not to exert herself lest she excite herself to a swoon.”
“Charlotte would never swoon,” Mrs. Paxton assured him with a smile, pouring their tea. “She thinks it extravagant.”
Lady Wynston nodded approvingly. “Excellent girl. Very modern.” Her ladyship rapped her cane on the floor and Will straightened to attention. “You young men may find the notion of a beautiful girl fainting dead away into your arms a pleasant sort of pastime, but do not hope for it, Mr. Repton. In truth, swoons and their recovery are perfectly tedious.” She patted her hat. “Though I daresay Charlotte would swoon very prettily. Accomplished creature…she could not help but make charming work of it.” Lady Wynston shook her finger at Will. “But do not hope for it.”
“No, I…hope for what, exactly?”
“Perfectly tedious,” Lady Wynston murmured, accepting a plate of cake from Mrs. Paxton. “Thank you, my dear. Though I cannot say I approve of Charlotte’s excessive interest in your adventures, Mr. Repton. Still”—she tilted her head to study him—“I am not so ancient as to deny the appeal of the rugged adventurer, hurtling bravely into the undiscovered country. His virile body sculpted to brawn and sinew by the very forces of nature he seeks to tame. His taut, bronzed skin glistening—”
Mrs. Paxton coughed.
“—with the dew of toil beneath the relentless sun. And Charlotte, beautiful innocent of the world, her insatiable curiosity a tender bud blossoming beneath the experienced ministrations of the bold explorer—”
“Biscuit, Mr. Repton?” Mrs. Paxton shoved a plate of sweets beneath his nose, her cheeks red.
Will held up a defensive hand. “Thank you, no.”
Lady Wynston sniffed. “But I suppose it is a harmless sort of diversion. If one is intrigued by the Orient. I, myself, have a most charming chinoiserie wallpaper in my morning room, but that is neither here nor there.”


If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters?

Actors portraying my much-loved characters would be a dream come true. Without question, the scene I’d most love to experience is the moment Will and Charlotte meet. I have always loved Will’s conflicted feelings toward beautiful, buoyant Charlotte, and his need to preserve his pride and safeguard his heart.

“I beg your pardon,” he muttered as he picked up his case and sidestepped past her. “I was directed to the wrong room.”
“The wrong—? Oh, but…sir?” Her hands fluttered up but withdrew. The tentative gesture, to delay or help, he ignored. The little doll and—Christ—her chaperone, followed him into the hall.
“It must have been Mr. Penny, Ben’s valet,” she said, hurrying to keep pace at his elbow. “He is at the door today because Mr. Goodley, our butler, had eaten a little mutton that had gone off, I’m afraid, and he must have assumed…well, today is Sunday—”
Will stopped in the middle of the hall. Every door was closed.
And Miss Baker was still talking.
“—and as it is Sunday and you are…well, you are”—she shrugged and tilted her head—“well, not here for me, as I am now aware. I am very sorry.”
Will tensed at her remorse. Stemming from pity, no doubt. With his drab suit and shaggy hair, he would not compare favorably to her suitors.
Or had he imagined the remorse? More likely she laughed at him.
Easing his gaze onto hers, his mind stumbled to see eyes of such pure blue they appeared almost violet. No, not violets. Delphiniums.
He redirected his gaze and blew out a frustrated breath. Damn it all, he didn’t think flowery thoughts. He was a botanical journeyman, paid to catalog and classify. Blue eyes. Merely blue.
Yes, she was a pretty girl.
Not that it mattered in the least.


If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?

The moment someone opens the first page of IN SEARCH OF SCANDAL, I want her to feel lighter and happier than she’s felt all day. With so many challenges in our lives, I want my reader to feel what I feel when I pick up a historical romance—eagerness and excitement in escaping into a different world for a time. And at the end of the book, I want her to look forward to reading another book (especially my next one)!

What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2015?

DISCOVERY OF DESIRE is the next book in THE LONDON EXPLORERS series, and follows Seth Mayhew’s adventure to India and back to London.

Thanks for blogging at HJ!


Giveaway: Print copy of IN SEARCH OF SCANDAL (London Explorers) by Susanne Lord


To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: What was the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Excerpt from In Search of Scandal:

(Charlotte and Will have just waltzed in a moonlit garden, but an argument ensues…)

She whirled to leave but a steel hand gripped her arm.
“God! Blast it! Now what have I done?” he growled, his blue eyes wintry in the moonlight. “I thought we were getting on. I wouldn’t mind being your friend, as long as you understand that’s where it ends.”
“Wouldn’t mind? I have more friends than I can count, I hardly need—”
He yanked her hard against him. “Then what do you want?”
“I…I will not argue—”
His hands gripped her waist. “What do you want, Charlotte?” He growled. “What do you want me to do?”
Her words died in the face of his rising frustration.
What did she want? What had she ever wanted but him? She wanted him still. From the first sight, the first instant. Every day, every hour, she wanted him. In a deep, tender, precious place she could not touch with reason. And all he did was sneer and push her way.
“Why didn’t you ignore me as you normally do?” she asked hollowly. “Why did you talk to me at all tonight?”
He said nothing. He didn’t move. Something furious and wild thundered through her breast. “You don’t belong here!” Her fist clenched, wanting to slap that frozen look off his face. “Say something!” She launched against him, gripping him about his hard neck. “Say anything!”
But his stubborn lips were sealed, and before she could stop herself, she mashed her mouth against them.
Instantly, she regretted it. Their chins knocked, their teeth scraped, and a grunt of surprise sounded from his throat.
Oh God, what was she doing? She didn’t know how to give a kiss and he certainly didn’t want hers. His hands dropped off her and she sobbed sharply against his mouth. Mortified, she crumpled against his neck.
Oh God, oh God, how will I face him?
A hard hand seized her neck and forced her head up. Blue eyes blazed into hers. “Damn it all!”
Warm lips clamped to hers expertly. Shocked, she sank to her heels but his arm tightened and locked her against the hard wall of his body.
His deep groan shook her.
But it was a sound of surrender.


Book Info:

All of London is abuzz with the tale of Will Repton. The lone survivor of a massacre in Tibet has returned to England a hero, but the traumatized explorer has no time for glory. Another dangerous expedition awaits. Nothing will deter him from his quest, and no one will unearth his secret—until Will meets Charlotte Baker.

Vivacious Charlotte Baker also has a mission—to find a man whose bold spirit matches her own. When she meets Will Repton, she immediately recognizes him as her soul mate, and she’s naively willing to turn her back on the rules of propriety to ensnare him. Will is torn between his fascination with Charlotte and his vow to finish his quest. He knows what it is to risk life and limb—but what if his most perilous adventure doesn’t lie across an ocean, but within his own lost heart?

Buy Links:

Meet the Author:

Susanne LordSusanne Lord is a writer of Victorian-era romance and author of the London Explorer series published by Sourcebooks. Originally from Okinawa, off-base and on, she now makes her home in Chicago where she is an active member of Chicago North RWA. When not writing, attending theater or reading, she enjoys hiking the English countryside and visiting historic homes and gardens. For more about Susanne, visit

41 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: In Search of Scandal by Susanne Lord”

  1. clickclickmycat

    If I told you that, I might get in trouble. I have ridden in helicopter about a dozen or more times.

  2. Debbi Wellenstein

    I guess I’m not very adventurous. I did marry my husband only 6 months after I met him!

  3. conniefischer

    When my husband called me to say that in his position at NASA, he had been offered a job on loan to a NATO scientific research and development agency in Paris France. We both agreed and packed up our possessions and our two young sons and made the move. What a fabulous experience. Yes, it took guts and determination to move to a foreign country but we loved it. After three years, we returned to the U.S. but returned to the same job ten years later to do it all over again. Paris has become another home for me. I love it and treasure the experiences that we had. Never be afraid to try something new. Life is too short so go out and live it!

  4. V

    I did a bit of traveling and staying in hostels in Ireland? I’m a bit cautious and too much of an over-thinker to be very adventurous

  5. Meredith Miller

    I haven’t done anything too adventurous. I’ve been on roller coasters, jumped off a high dive, both when I was much younger.

  6. Diane Sallans

    I’ve done some travelling, had a few small adventures – riding a mule thru Bryce Canyon, snorkeling off Kauai …

  7. vadensmommy1

    I traveled the us by greyhound bus at the age of 12 by myself, I’ve bungee jumped off buildings, I got married at 16 divorced at 17 married again at 18 divorced again at 20, but the most adventurous thing I’ve ever done is being a mom it has been one crazy ride

  8. Leanna

    I dropped everything and moved 1200 miles to Texas and I had never been here, I didn’t have a job here. I love it here!

  9. marcyshuler

    Before I was 20 I flew across the country by myself (it was my first flight) to meet someone I’d only met through letters/phone calls. This was prior to the internet.

  10. kermitsgirl

    I used to go rock climbing, spelunking, white water rafting, and camping every year with some girlfriends, but since those were planned trips, I’m not sure they’re considered all that adventurous.

  11. erinf1

    I went to Israel on a class trip, only mildly against my parents’ wishes. They refused to pay, so I fundraised and finally talked them into letting me go 🙂 thanks for sharing!

  12. Melinda

    Exploring Ireland! We drove every day from Dublin to the other parts of Ireland, driving the other side of the road :o! It was exhausting but wonderful! 😀

  13. Irma

    I once went with my class on a sea. We were away for 5 day, no parents, just us. We were 12 years old and did everything by ourselfs.

  14. Patricia B.

    I joined the Peace Corps right out of college. I had never left home, living at home while attending a local college. Getting on the plane and leaving Northern New York State to fly to the other side of the world was a big step. While in the Philippines for 3 years, I explored as much of the country as I could. Upon leaving I had a 3 month trip planned through Asia and the Middle East. I did make it to Singapore and Indonesia & Bali before getting word my mother had only a few weeks to live. I flew directly home. I got to climb active volcanoes, attend local ceremonies and see cultures that sadly have become westernized since. It is a loss for the countries, the people, and the world.
    It is sad that so many of the places I had planned to visit over 40 years ago are now not safe to visit. Conversely, those places closed at the time in Southeast Asia are now welcoming visitors.

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