C.H. Admirand: Aut Vincam, Aut Periam: I will either conquer or Perish!

C.H. Admirand’s Purcell ancestors’ family motto, and her promise to her husband when he was losing his battle with Pancreatic Cancer to keep writing, gave her the strength to continue writing after losing the love of her life and keeper of her heart.

LONDON – 27 March 2023

C.H. Admirand was born in Aiken, South Carolina, but her parents moved back to northern New Jersey where she grew up.

She believes in fate, destiny, and love at first sight. C.H. fell in love at first sight when she was seventeen. She was married for 41 wonderful years until her husband lost his battle with cancer. Soul mates, their hearts will be joined forever.

They have three grown children—one son-in-law, two grandsons, two rescue dogs, and two rescue grand-cats.  

Her characters rarely follow the synopsis she outlines for them…but C.H. has learned to listen to her characters! Her heroes always have a few of her husband’s best qualities: his honesty, his integrity, his compassion for those in need, and his killer broad shoulders. C.H. writes about the things she loves most: Family, her Irish and English Ancestry, Baking and Gardening.

Who are your favorite writers?

Nora Roberts, Julie Garwood, and Kit Morgan—all of whom I re-read. I discovered Nora Roberts attending my first NJRW Writer’s Conference in 1995 and became an instant fan of her Contemporary Romances. My neighbor introduced me to Julie Garwood’s Medieval and Regency Historicals. I discovered Kit Morgan when my husband was in the hospital, and I wasn’t sleeping nights—thank God for my e-reader! She swept me away with her Sweet Prairie Romances.

What genres do you especially enjoy reading?

Historical and Contemporary Romance—and their sub-genres: Small Town Romance, Romantic Suspense, Regency-era Historicals, Medieval Romance, Time Travel Romance, and Western Historical Romance.

What do you read when you are working on a book? And what kind of reading do you avoid while writing?

I’m currently writing my fourteenth Regency Historical Romance for Dragonblade Publishing. After spending so much time immersed in 1815 England, I need to read something completely different! I just finished reading Lynn Shannon’s,  Tactical Force: Christian Romantic Suspense (Triumph Over Adversity Book 6)

What kind of a reader were you as a child?

A voracious—under the covers with a flashlight after “lights out”—kind of reader.

What is the single most important advice you give to aspiring authors?

NEVER give up and remember rejections are not personal—publishing is a business. You never know just how close you are to achieving your goal of becoming a published author if you give up. I was rejected 99 times with a number of different books before I received “the call” in 2000. My first book was published in 2001.

Have you ever received an invitation to write for a publisher?

In 2019, I received an invitation to submit a Regency Historical series to Dragonblade Publishing. I had been writing contemporary romance for a number of years, but decided to accept the challenge and stretch my writing muscles. My proposal was accepted. I signed my first contract with them, and three months later I met the first of four deadlines. But life isn’t for the faint of heart, and two months later my husband was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer.

How long have you been writing, and how many books have you published?

I have always loved to write poetry and short stories, but in 1994, I started writing with the goal of being published. In 1995, I joined Romance Writers of America (RWA) and NJRW (New Jersey Romance Writers) and began my journey, honing my craft, and learning the ins and outs of the publishing industry. I received the call in 2000 and my first novel, The Marshal’s Destiny, was published in 2001. As of today, I have forty-one books published, with five more due before the end of the year.

If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be?

Jane Austen, Cicely Mary Barker, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I’d love to sit down and chat about our writing processes over a cup of tea—I’d even bake the cream scones!

Spots from her upcoming March 23rd release: The Duke’s Dragoon (The Duke’s Guard, Book 4):

Excerpt from Chapter One: (Note: Finn O’Malley and Mollie Malloy are the main characters and both are employed by the Duke of Wyndmere. Finn is a member of the duke’s personal guard, and Mollie as one of his household staff.)

“You’re leaving?” Mollie Malloy’s heart literally stopped, then slowly began to beat again. “Has His Grace reassigned you?”

Finn O’Malley, one of the sixteen men who guarded the Duke of Wyndmere and his family with their lives, shifted his gaze away from her. “Ye could say that, lass.”

She frowned as a flash of déjà vu warned her what was to come. She’d been in this very spot before, having this same conversation. “I thought you would be staying at Wyndmere Hall this time.”

“Nay. ’Twas only for a week or so, like the last time I returned, when me brother was healing from the lead ball he took protecting the twins. I’ve been away from Penwith Tower too long as it is. I’m sure ye heard I was in the Borderlands, visiting the baron and the duke’s sister at the duke’s request. ’Tis more than time for me to return to me duties there.”

“Cornwall seems so far away.” She would eat dirt before she told the stubborn Irishman he was breaking her heart—again! She’d been a scullery maid the first time he left her. Since then, she’d risen to the shared position of lady’s maid to the duchess and—once Their Graces’ twins were born—relieving the nanny in the nursery. The one constant in her life was her love for Finn O’Malley…and bracing herself each time he walked away.

The first time was after she’d nursed him back to health when he was injured in the attack against Wyndmere Hall. The duke’s enemies had plotted against him, but thanks to the combined efforts of the duke and his private guard, the attempt failed. She shuddered remembering the violent battle between Hollingford’s men and the duke’s. He’d walked away after delivering urgent news to His Grace. Was this to be their lot, sharing searing moments of pleasure locked in one another’s arms and dealing with long separations while their hearts, and bodies, ached to be together?

Mollie curled her hands into fists at her sides to keep from giving in to the powerful urge to place a hand to her heart to keep it from shattering. She refused to break down and weep like a newborn babe. Malloys came from strong stock, according to her da. She would trade her life, if it would spare Finn’s—not that she was ready to tell him that. Wasn’t it enough that she tossed her pride away and was his for the asking every time he returned to Wyndmere Hall? After last night, he had to know.

A black thought plagued her… Did he think she gave herself freely to any man?

Dear Lord, she wished she’d been strong enough to resist his crooked smile, dancing green eyes—and those lips! Her heart raced as she remembered how they’d kissed a path from the base of her throat to her…

She still couldn’t fathom the power of his desire for her—or hers for him! She swallowed against the lump of emotion lodged in her throat. The passion burning between them could not be denied. His callused hands, the weight of him—

“Are ye all right, lass?”

Mollie blinked, surprised to find herself in his embrace. The worry etched across his brow warmed her heart. Though she knew he would not change his mind and stay, he did care for her. But he’d made a vow to the Duke of Wyndmere and his older brother. To dismiss that vow in favor of another would tarnish the honor of the men in the duke’s guard—his brothers, cousins…and his own. He’d die first!

“I’m fine,” she assured him. The men in the duke’s guard served in a continuous rotation between the duke’s estates and the homes of his brother and cousins. It could be months before she saw him again. “Just tired.”

The lie weighed heavy on her conscience. What good would it do to tell him the truth? The first time he left had been the hardest to bear. The second time he left, she’d been consumed with worry that her nausea was the result of the night they’d spent together.

Had they been taunting fate one too many times, spending the night rekindling the desire that burned so brightly between them? Why hadn’t he asked if she’d been faithful to him? Why hadn’t she told him she was devastated—heartbroken—every time he left her?

She drew in a cleansing breath and slowing exhaled. She’d made the choice not to add to the responsibilities already resting on the man’s broad, but capable, shoulders when she suspected she carried his babe months ago. It turned out she’d fretted herself into an upset stomach and dizzy spells. Would fate be kind to the lovers again if he left without sharing what was in his heart?

She sighed deeply. Either way, Finn was leaving…again.

“If ye’re certain, lass. I could fetch Merry or Constance for ye.”

The very last thing she needed was the housekeeper or the cook as witnesses when she fell apart at his feet, begging him not to go. By all that was holy, she was a Malloy, and Malloy women held strong till their last breath!

She gathered her resolve and her courage to say goodbye, burying the worry that it might be for the last time. “May God watch over you on your journey, Finn O’Malley.” And the rest of your days, she silently added.

Excerpt from Chapter Two: (Note: Finn O’Malley and Fenton Flaherty are cousins and both employed by the Duke of Wyndmere in the duke’s sixteen-man private guard)

Finn O’Malley heard an ominous creak above him—a split-second warning. The men laying the last course of stone didn’t need to be told—they scrambled to the ladder. Half the men jumped to safety when they were a few feet off the ground, rather than wait their turn to descend.

He rushed past his men toward the swaying scaffolding, grabbed the section of framework that threatened to collapse, and dug deep to brace it with every ounce of strength he possessed. They’d spent months rebuilding Penwith Tower’s curtain wall…and this was the last section. If it collapsed, his plans to leave tomorrow to surprise the fair lass he’d left behind at Wyndmere Hall would change. It had to hold!

His cousin rushed forward, adding his muscle. For a heartbeat the rumbling and creaking above their heads stopped and Flaherty grinned at him. “Never doubt an Irishman when he’s saving the world.”

Finn chuckled. “Ye’re right, even if ye’re a bloody eedjit!”

Timbers cracked above their heads. “Shite!” There was no saving the scaffolding, now. Finn’s heart thundered in his chest as he shouted, “She’s coming down!” He grabbed his cousin’s arm and shoved him toward safety. “Move yer feckin’ arse!”

Dust billowed as dagger-like splinters of wood rained down on them. A deep rumble beneath their feet had them lifting their arms to cover their heads as they ran like hell!

Flaherty, lighter by a stone, made it to the entryway. Finn pushed for more speed, dashing beneath the arch of stone. His cousin’s warning shout could barely be heard above the crash of rubble that sounded too close to his heels for comfort.

The first stone hit point-blank on his right shoulder. Another bounced off his back. Flaherty motioned for him to hurry. Finn knew he had to reach freedom—the other side of the ancient archway.

He heard the scaffolding and part of the wall collapse behind him as the ground shifted beneath his feet, pitching him forward. He twisted at the last second, so he wouldn’t land on his face, and landed hard on his shoulder.

His stomach roiled as his arm was forced out of the socket, but he’d be damned to Hell and back before he gave in to the weakness he’d suffered from the decade-old injury. Ignoring the pain, he lifted his head and locked gazes with his cousin—it would up to Flaherty to assume command. Flaherty’s grim expression alerted Finn that his silent message had been received. Flaherty would take the reins as head of the duke’s guard at Penwith Tower should Finn be incapacitated.

On his hands and knees, he took another hit. Sharp pain lanced through him. He ignored the useless arm dangling at his side and struggled to his feet. Arms pulled him to safety as more stones from the wall shook free behind him.

Instead of the sympathy he expected from Flaherty, his cousin chuckled. “Well now, what was it ye’ve always boasted about brawn over brain?”

Finn shoved free from the two men steadying him. “Nearly caught you that time, too.”

The amusement in his cousin’s eyes faded, and a look of concern took its place. “Sure and I thought ye were done for.”

Finn snorted with laughter and nearly lost his breath as the pain jolted through the entire right side of his body. Determined not to appear weak in front of their men, he scoffed, “Faith, ’tis only a scratch.” He narrowed his eyes. “A Flaherty will never beat an O’Malley in a test of strength.”

“Ah, ye may be right, but we Flahertys are swift of foot and canny in a bare-knuckle fight.”

Finn narrowed his eyes at his cousin. The memory of the last time they’d sparred—and Flaherty’s hard clip to his jaw—surfaced, irritating the shite out of him. “Care to put that to the test?”

Flaherty’s laughter was a healing balm to Finn’s wounded pride at not being able to keep pace with his faster cousin. “Well now, shall we go a few rounds before or after I set yer arm back where it belongs?”

Finn grimaced. The remedy was as painful as the injury. “I’ll do it meself.”

Bollocks to that! The last time, it took ye three tries, when ye know I can set it right in one.”

“Bugger it! I don’t want yer help.”

The glint in his cousin’s eyes should have warned him. Flahertys never gave in. “Fine, then. I’ll just sit here and watch ye make a bloody fool of yerself in front of our men. That will add spice to the talk already circulating that ye’re one of the smugglers plying yer trade along the coast.”

Finn knew better than to turn his back on his cousin. One minute he was on his feet striding along the path to their quarters, the next he was spitting out a mouthful of dirt and cursing a blue streak as Flaherty had indeed put his arm back where it belonged in one try as he knocked him to the ground.

Testimonials and awards:

C.H.Admirand was delighted to discover that she received recognition for her contribution to Western Fiction as one of the authors listed in the Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Literature (on page 5) by Paul Varner, Scarecrow Press, Inc., a subsidiary of The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc. Lanham, Maryland, USA and Plymouth, United Kingdom. Copyright 2010/ISBN: 978-0-8108-6092-6.

C.H. Admirand’s short Regency Historical, The Lady and The Rake, won first place in Full Moon Press’ 1999 contest—publication in their annual anthology, The Dancing Rose.

C.H. Admirand received  The Lories Award 2002 Best New Author Historical for her debut book, The Marshal’s Destiny (book one in her Historical Irish Western series,) published in December 2001. She was also nominated for the Dorothy Parker Award for The Marshal’s Destiny.

C.H. Admirand’s Historical Irish Western series (the first four books) earned the number one spot on Amazon’s Historical Western Romance list and remained in the top ten for four months running when re-released by C.H. in e-book format in 2013.

C.H. Admirand received Dragonblade Publishing’s Bestselling Author Award for September 2002 for The Duke’s Sword (The Duke’s Guard, Book One.)

Follow C.H. Admirand;

This “Editor’s Choice, Award of Excellence”
is presented to Ms. C.H. Admirand 
and a select group of exceptional authors.

This interview is published on magazine’s 38th issue.
Click image to see on mag’s page.

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