Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Nicki Bennett, Ariel Tachna for stopping by today. Please give them a warm welcome.
Title: All for One
Author: Nicki Bennett, Ariel Tachna
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Release Date: 09/23/2016
Aristide, Léandre, and Perrin pledge only three loyalties in life: their king, their captain, and their passion for each other. So when the musketeers discover a plan to accuse M. de Tréville of treason, the initial impulse to kill the messenger, Benoît, is tempered by their need to unmask the plotter. But their first two suspects, the English ambassador and Cardinal Richelieu, prove to be innocent, forcing the musketeers to delve deeper into the inner machinations of the French court.
Meanwhile, Aristide finds himself falling in love with the ill-fated messenger, a blacksmith without a home who rouses all of his protective, possessive instincts. Benoît, however, has no interest in any man. Torn between desire and duty, Aristide must find a way to protect the king and clear his captain’s name—all while heeding the demands of his heart.
Recent Release Spotlight with Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna
We are here today to talk about All for One. What can you tell us about it?
All for One is the second book in the All for Love series. It takes place in France during the reign of Louis XIII and is a swashbuckling story of three musketeers—no, not those three musketeers, but their contemporaries—who rescue a wounded stranger and discover he’s carrying a letter accusing the leader of the musketeers of treason. While Aristide, Léandre, and Perrin try to discover who is behind the accusation and what purpose it serves, the relationship between them is threatened by Aristide’s attraction to the messenger, Benoît.
Please tell us more about your main characters.
We have four main characters in All for One. Three of them—Aristide, Léandre, and Perrin—are Royal Musketeers. They are everything you’d expect from seventeenth century career soldiers: brash, loyal to their king, skilled with a sword, and determined to live life to the fullest because the next battle may be the last, but they are far more than that as well. Aristide might drink and brawl and curse with the best of them, but he has an inherent nobility that makes him a leader of men. Perrin is blunt to a fault, but he has a sharper mind and a kinder heart than anyone but his two best friends will ever realize. Léandre is, in many respects, the peacemaker. He wants those around him to be happy, and he’s willing to make sacrifices in order for that to happen. Benoît comes into this trio, as mentioned above, quite accidentally, but once his life is embroiled with theirs, he can’t seem to walk away. He’s mourning the death of his wife and unborn child, one step away from starvation himself, his heart as damaged as his body. The musketeers save his life from a bullet wound. Can they—can Aristide—save him from himself?
What do you want to tell those who may be new to the series?
The biggest thing to know about All for Love is that while the three books qualify as a series because of recurring characters, All for One is very much its own story, not a continuation of Checkmate. Don’t have any interest in Spain? Bothered by the idea of the Spanish Inquisition? Had some other reason for skipping Checkmate? No problem. As long as you’re willing to accept established couples on page as secondary characters, you can read All for Onewith no problem.
What about All for One makes you the proudest?
That’s a hard question. There’s so much we love about the book. We had a great time writing it. Finding the balance in tone between the bawdy (the book starts with an extended threesome scene), the adventurous (there is a political plot afoot here), and the romantic (some characters were easier to persuade than others) was a challenge, but also a real point of pride.
What is next for these characters? Is there more to this series? If so who will we hear from next?
The third book in the series, Stronghold, is Raúl and Gerrard’s story, but the characters from both Checkmate and All for One have parts to play in it.Stronghold will be available this November.
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Write about something you’re passionate about.
What do you think is the most rewarding thing about writing M/M versus other genres?
A lot of things, but the most rewarding thing is probably the chance to envision happy endings for a group of people who, until recently, faced challenges in even imagining a happy ending, much less in living it out.
What part of a new story comes to you first? Characters? Plot? A scene? A theme? Or does it vary from book to book?
*snicker* That varies according to book, but also according to which of us you ask. Ariel tends to start with a scene and then just write. Nicki likes to have a detailed plot outlined. You should see us trying to find the middle ground for those two extremes.
How important are secondary characters to your story telling? Do you actively try to have women characters in your M/M to balance the male focus of the MCs?
Secondary characters are extremely important to us, to the point that we’ve sometimes found ourselves in situations of having a character we created for the sole purpose of being a sounding board for someone else become so endearing that we have to continue to include him/her. (Javier fromCheckmate, anyone?) We actually stopped working on a book for close to two years because the only resolution of the plot required us to kill a secondary character, and we didn’t want to.
As far as female characters are concerned, that depends very much on the story. All for One has very few female characters because of the time period and milieu in which it was set. As soldiers living away from their families, Aristide, Léandre, and Perrin don’t have a lot of contact with women. That said, Anne d’Autriche, Queen of France, is a very present—and powerful—character in the book as the recipient of undying loyalty and fierce protectiveness on the part of the musketeers. You think they’d willingly die for their king? They’d go ten times as far for their queen.
That said, both of us have written books with strong women characters. Caylee in Nicki’s The Cattle Baron’s Bogus Boyfriend and Molly in Ariel’s Lang Downs series are two notable examples, and nearly half the cast of Partnership in Blood was female.
Do you have a character in your head that you have yet to write a story for?
Mary Calmes is (in her sweet way) pushing us to write more about Perrin’s backstory. How quickly that will happen depends on a few things out of our control, but it’s next on our list as a joint project.
If you could have a conversation with any famous author, who would you want to get writing tips from and what skill of theirs would you like to emulate?
J.R.R. Tolkien (Ariel says without consulting Nicki) because nobody but nobody does worldbuilding the way he did. He didn’t just invent a universe with complex characters and cultures, three different languages with complete dictionaries, grammar rules, etc, and a mythology and history dating back to creation. He created an entire genre. Don’t believe me? Find me a fantasy (high fantasy, not paranormal or urban fantasy) that isn’t an offshoot of Lord of the Rings. If it isn’t, it’s an offshoot of Narnia, but I like Middle Earth better. 😉
Nicki doesn’t disagree, but I’d also like to be able to write dialogue as witty as Jane Austen’s.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
The ability to add more hours to the day to have more time to write.
What are you reading right now and what is next on your to-be-read list?
Ariel is reading Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. It came highly recommended from her cousins who share her love of high fantasy. After that, it’s eitherBlackveil by Kristen Britain or Chosen Pride by Mary Calmes, depending on how quickly she finished Mistborn and whether she ends up deciding to pay shipping on the H.V. Gavriel books she wants to order from France.
Nicki is trying to finish a biography of Cleopatra and is looking forward to reading Sunshine by Robin McKinley.
- Harry Potter or Lord of The Rings? Ariel: Lord of the Rings (no surprise there) Nicki: Same!
- Spring or Fall? Ariel: Spring Nicki: Fall
- Sushi or pasta? Ariel: sushi Nicki: sushi
- Australia or England? Ariel: Australia Nicki: Australia
- Read or writing? Ariel: do I have to choose? Nicki: reading (braces for Ariel to hit me) Ariel *smack*
- Shifters or Vampires? Ariel: Shifters Nicki: Vampires
- Twinks or bears? Ariel: Bears Nicki: Bears
- Kirk or Picard? Ariel: Picard Nicki: Picard
What are you working on? What is next?
Right at the moment, we aren’t working on anything together, although we’ve promised Mary that when our individual commitments free up, we’ll start on Perrin’s story.
Individually, Ariel just started the third in her series of books inspired by waiters and restaurants from trips we’ve taken around the world. This one is a crêpe restaurant in a small town in Germany.
Nicki has outlined another Dreamspun Desire and is finishing up some research so she can begin writing soon.
About the Author
Growing up in Chicago, Nicki Bennett spent every Saturday at the central library, losing herself in the world of books. A voracious reader, she eventually found it difficult to find enough of the kind of stories she liked to read and decided to start writing them herself.
When Ariel Tachna was twelve years old, she discovered two things: the French language and romance novels. Those two loves have defined her ever since. By the time she finished high school, she’d written four novels, none of which anyone would want to read now, featuring a young woman who was—you guessed it—bilingual. That girl was everything Ariel wanted to be at age twelve and wasn’t.
She now lives on the outskirts of Houston with her husband (who also speaks French), her kids (who understand French even when they’re too lazy to speak it back), and their two dogs (who steadfastly refuse to answer any French commands).
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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