My Guest, Mr. Essex!

Mr. DiPasqua:   After the fun-filled day we had yesterday celebrating the launch of Lila’s latest book,  I would like to welcome you back to the A MIDNIGHT DANCE Blog Party.  Today I have the privilege of interviewing Mr. Essex.  Can you tell us who you’re married to and what she writes?

   Mr. Essex:  I am married to Elizabeth Essex and she writes sexy, adventurous historical romances. 

Mr. DiPasqua:   Your wife’s fans would like to know the RH (Romance Husband) behind the author better.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?  Scholar?  Athlete?  Businessman?  Artist?

Mr. Essex:  I am an urban planner and I own a land use consultancy business.  I help people understand and navigate the land development review and approval processes.  It’s pretty detailed and boring—no one writes me fan letters when I win their case in front of the Zoning Board, and I don’t think our conferences are nearly as much fun as romance writers.’    For fun I like to ride bicycles. I ride with a group of dads and we tend to ride 60 – 100 miles on Saturday mornings.  I do have to sneak in and out of the house in my stretchy clothes, as our kids are not too keen on having their dad being seen in day-glo nylon.

Mr. DiPasqua:   I would image that the Day-glo look might be tough to pull off :)  Where did you and your wife meet?  What convinced you that she was “the one”?

Mr. Essex:  My wife and I first met over the phone, while I was a client of the law firm firm she was working for in Chicago, while she was in graduate school. I found that I enjoyed talking with her on the phone and found an excuse to call her most days for about two years.  Finally, I talked her boss into hiring me and I came to work for the land use law practice.  The first time I saw her I knew she was the one, and I asked her to marry me before we have even gone out on a date.  Eventually, after a long, long courtship, she finally said yes and we eloped on a trip to Nepal, but then got married for real when we came back home.

Mr. DiPasqua:   I think there is a great Romance to be written about that story.  Where were you when she got THE CALL from her agent/editor?  What was your reaction when she told you she’d sold her first book?

Mr. Essex:  I was not there when she got the call, but as soon as she stopped dancing around the house like a maniac, she called me.  But it wasn’t really a surprise to me.  I always knew she was really disciplined and dedicated, and I thought she was a good writer and would get signed, but it made me very proud to see that others thought the same.  I am still very proud of her writing abilities and work ethic.  Whoever thinks writing is easy, has not seen my wife at work in the middle of the night.

Mr. DiPasqua:    Is the hero in your wife’s last book:

a)      Just like you;
b)     The opposite of  you;
c)      You wish it were you;
d)     More like Mr. May in the NYC Firefighter calendar.

Mr. Essex:  I would like to think the hero was just like me (or at least based on me), but the truth is that I would not make a good sea captain.  In all honesty, I have never read her books as I think it would embarrass her. I have been told that they are very good, but the heroes are not really like me at all. 

Mr. DiPasqua:   On your first date with your wife, were you most like:
a)      Prince Charming;
b)     Prince (bad boy) Harry;
c)      The Artist formally known as Prince;
d)     Prince, the family pet. 

Mr. Essex:  I think I would fall into the Prince Harry, Bad Boy category, but that was just a pose to get her interested in me.  I was actually dating someone else when I fell for, and
proposed to Elizabeth, and once she found out about that I had a girlfriend, Elizabeth moved to another country, Ireland, just to make sure I got the message.  I eventually lured her
back, but that took a lot longer than I had bargained on.  I must say that I am very thankful that Ms. Essex is a patient woman.

Mr. DiPasqua:  Nowadays when you hear the word “ball” do you immediately think:
a)      Baseball
b)     Basketball
c)      An uncontrollable weeping reaction of fans upon meeting your wife in person? 
d)     A gathering of lords and ladies.           

Mr. Essex:  I have been transmogrified from a person who has always associated balls with sports to one who wonders what Mr. Darcy would wear to a ball.  Unfortunately, I am discouraged from attending any balls, as I am not a very competent dancer. It is now apparent that I wasted my youth.

Mr. DiPasqua:   You seem to be doing all right at the A Midnight Dance Blog Party…How long have you been a RH? (Romance Husband). What advice would you give new RHs about what you’ve learned being married to a romance author?  What should a new RH do or not do when his wife is under deadline? 

Mr. Essex:  I have been a RH for about eight years.  A couple of things to remember is that they work a lot and they read other people work a lot. This appears to be more of a calling than just a job. It is definitely not what I expected when I understood that she was going to be a writer.  When she is under a deadline, I stay away and keep the young Essex sprigs away as well.   It is dangerous to get between a writer and her deadline.  One also must remember that if the deadline is Friday at 10, she will be writing until Friday at 9:55.  I also strive to make dinners that can be served cold, as when she is in the middle of writing a scene, we should not expect to see her until that scene is in the computer.  
The young Essex sprigs call that period her “writer’s coma.”  We don’t always understand what she’s doing there, hunched over the computer, so do visit her Facebook page to keep up with her, although we must say, she is pretty good about attending school and sports functions during deadlines—she’s the mom who shouts HUZZAH!—but we have to recognize that she does take her work seriously.

Mr. DiPasqua:   Writer’s Coma– I didn’t know there was an actual name for that condition LOL!  Okay, you know I have to go there . . . What’s your response when asked, “So where does your wife get the inspiration for her love scenes?” (Usually by a guy smirking.)

Mr. Essex:  All her inspiration comes from me of course.  Well, at least that is what I tell my friends.  But everybody knows in the real world the hero is the guy who knows how to stick around even when things get tough, and that’s what we’ve been doing together for twenty years.  I think in reality, she just has an instinct as to what is needed in a story.  She knows what her characters look like and their mannerisms, and she writes scenes that are true to them and no one else.  That’s why I think the scenes are romantic and believable.

Mr. DiPasqua:   Which character in your wife’s books would she say most resembles you and/or your personality? 

Mr. Essex:  It must be the gardener?  Actually, she tries to write heroes who have a sense of humor, so when a hero makes a joke to amuse the heroine, she’s usually working with material I  gave her.

Mr. DiPasqua:   Thanks so much for participating in the A MIDNIGHT DANCE Blog Party. You’ve been a great sport!  One last question:  What would you like us to know about your wife’slatest or upcoming release.

Mr. Essex:  She has a new book coming out in November, which I understand is her favorite one she has written yet.  It is called THE DANGER OF DESIRE, and this is what she tells me is a blurb:

An Unlikely Alliance and and Uncontrollable Desire

Royal Navy Captain Hugh McAlden is accustomed to relying upon his own wits to take on deadly, high-stakes assignments for the Admiralty, but to accomplish his latest mission, he’ll have to risk more than just his neck.  He’ll have to risk everything on the dubious help of the larcenous young pickpocket with the shapely ankles who just relieved him of his pocket watch to keep her from stealing his heart.

Meggs’ prowess as a pickpocket depends upon remaining un-tethered and unnoticed.  But she will give up her hard-won freedom to the icy-eyed naval officer in exchange for the chance to escape from her grim life of crime.  Even as she accepts his risky proposition, she keeps herself ready to cut and run at a moment’s notice.  Yet, as Meggs and Hugh are drawn deeper into the maelstrom of danger, there is nowhere left to run, and all thoughts of distrust and betrayal are overshadowed by a passion worth every risk.
GIVEAWAY: We would love to give away two pairs of copies of Elizabeth’s first two Brava books, THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE and A SENSE OF SIN!  And we’ll even send them anywhere in the world if you stop by to comment today! 


To win you must:

1. Ask a question or leave a comment below—We’re men. We can take it. :) Remember: the more you comment, the greater your chances at winning the GRAND PRIZE.

2. You MUST be a follower/subscriber of Lila DiPasqua’s blog (through Google Friend Connect).

3. Must be at least 18 years of age.

4. Winner will be selected at random on SUNDAY.

Ways to increase your odds at winning are found at the very bottom of this blog.

Mr. DiPasqua:  What a great giveaway! Thanks again for the great interview, Mr. Essex!  Now, folks, let’s hear your responses. :)

  • So modest, you know you could tell us that all her inspiration and book cover pictures all came from you and we would be none the wiser =)
    Your wife’s books sound great, who doesn’t lke some action on the high seas…unless you get sea sick…


  • A sense of humor is very important for fictional as well as real life heroes. So, kudos for supplying jokes for your wife’s books!

    Also, it’s fun to mortify your kids, right?

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  • I hope the transmogrification was not too painful. I’m sure Mr Darcy would approve.

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  • Great post loved the answers Mr Essex I am sorry to say I have not as yet read any of your Wife’s books but that will change I have added them to my must have list.

    You have a great sense of humour and I gotta say I am sure that your kids have some fun photos of you in your bike riding gear.

    Have you ever visited Australia

    Have Fun

  • Ora

    Have to agree it’s important to have a sense of humor with characters in a story.
    It’s good to know that Elizabeth made you work at luring her back to you. I think every woman wants a bad boy at times, but he better have some redeemable qualities in order to want to keep him. Considering you were able to win her heart and still have it, you must have done something right.

  • May

    wow… you and your wife have such a romantic story… :) Your meeting was like something out of a book… :)

  • Ivy

    a sense of humor is a must have. She really left & went to Ireland? Wow, she was adamant. I flat out love these interviews. Brings some much needed laughter into my days!

  • What a gorgeous cover for your wife’s next release! I enjoyed reading your answers to the questions.

    Wow! That’s amazing that you and a group of dads ride 60-100 miles. Hope it’s not too hot where you are!

    Q: If there was a story based on your long, long courtship with Elizabeth, what would the title be?

    Kati R@Romancing Rakes

  • Thanks everyone, for stopping by to chat with the indispensable Mr. Essex!
    I’m going to let him answer as many of the questions as I can, but for myself, I’m thrilled that you all have found my books through Lila! A MIDNIGHT DANCE is next up in my TBR pile and I’m working hard to finish up some page proofs for THE DANGER OF DESIRE so I can do what I love best – READ!
    As for a story based on our long courtship? Well, one of Mr. Essex’s best lines throughout our early days, and one he has repeated through the years, is “Stick With Me Kid.” So that’s what it would be. :)

  • And Ivy, yes, I moved to Ireland.
    Long before I became a writer I was an underwater archaeologist, and I moved to Ireland to work on an archaeology project in a lake in the Irish midlands. But also to put as much space as possible between me and my dear Mr. Essex, in order that he might sort out his priorities. :)
    And besides, the adult beverages available in Ireland were really quite superior. I found good whiskey of immeasurable assistance in staving off a broken heart.

  • Thank you very much for your kind words. Our story was very romantic, but heartbreaking while living through it. The sense of humor helped, as it does in most situations. if I had to name our story, I would call it the Redeemable Cad.

    Thanks again for your comments.

  • With the humor in the interview I can see how you help give your wife some jokes for books.

    I’m curious since you don’t read her books what if any kind of books do you read?

  • Thats such a romantic story. Can’t beleive she moved to Ireland! Btw your wife has an amazing name!

  • Thank you, Mr. Essex, for an enjoyable interview! It sounds as if you & Mrs. Essex have visited some really spectacular places; what is the best vacation you have taken as a family and what is the most romantic vacation you have taken since you’ve been married?

    Karen C
    GFC follower and newsletter subscriber

  • Hi Mr Essex – on the phone every day for two years, an immediate proposal, and Ireland. What a romantic story!

    From your very funny responses, I can see why your wife’s heroes have a sense of humour and I’m looking forward to picking up her new one with the gorgeous cover!

  • I love this interview, Mr. Essex. You are married to the bestest gal.

  • Mandy, I can tell you Mr. Essex is a very disciplined, omnivorous reader, but he mostly reads historical non-fiction, with a heavy emphasis on military history. Although the one period he’s not to keen on is the Napoleonic era. Those piles of books are mine! But since both of us, and at least one of the Essex sprigs are voracious readers, we are always planning new bookshelves at our house to help deal with the stacks of books. And I’ve switched to a Kindle, although no one else has, to help deal with the piles of reading material.

  • Elizabeth – I can only return the compliment! My writing name is a combination of my real name and the place I grew up, but I’m not telling which is which. :)
    And I would move back to Ireland in a heartbeat, only I would take Mr. Essex with me this time, of course.
    Thanks for stopping by!

  • Ivy

    Underwater archaeologist, how cool is that? I bet you could write a heck of an adventure/treasure story. I’m w/ you, priorities are important and you don’t date (or anything else) another woman’s fella. I think y’alls story would make for some great reading.

  • Karen, I can say that our best vacations as a family have been skiing. We all really enjoy being together and are all very active, so we plan school vacations to head to the mountains.
    I would also have to say that Mr. Essex and I take one ski weekend a year to ourselves and I always think those are wonderfully romantic.
    But I would guess Mr. Essex would choose a different vacation. I’m curious to see what he will say. :)
    (And then of course, I’ll make sure to do THAT again!)
    Thanks for stopping by!

  • Carolyn, thanks so much, but you’ll have to wait until November to read THE DANGER OF DESIRE. So in the mean time, do what I’m doing and grab up A MIDNIGHT DANCE. Or maybe you’ll win the copies of my other two releases. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

  • Ivy, you sound a lot like my agent, who has great plans for me to write nautical archaeology fiction.
    And I’ve got some ideas in the hopper, which hopefully I’ll be able to get to before too long. So be patient, and you’ll get that story!
    Cheers, and thanks for stopping by!

  • Ivy

    I’ll take that as a compliment…:) Looking forward to it!

  • Your wife’s book are being adding to my wish list! They sounds amazing! Thanks for stopping by and sharing with us! BTW, please pick up your kids from school in your biking clothes! They will love it! LOL!

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  • Hahaha…”The Redeemable Cad” hilarious! Your story is indeed a very romantic one. There’s something to be said about relationships that are tested and in your case have proven to be wonderful. What interesting vocations you have both had/have. Ms Essex – as an underwater archeologist did you have the chance to drop into sites and physically investigate or uncover any worthy treasures? I could imagine a sort of timetravel story where the heroine (nautical archeologist) uncovers a piece that sends her back to her soul mate hmmmmm…:)! Mr Essex, 60-100 miles of cycling!!! That takes some mighty dicipline! Do you generally choose the same route each saturday or does your group switch venues on ocassion? PS…those clingy cycling outfits are a hazzard to drive behind that’s for sure :) Ciao!

  • Great interview! I love the way you two met. Do you see a book coming out that would be a story about how you met? I think it would be an awesome story. I have not read your wifes work before but will be looking for her books.


  • Thanks so much Vicki! You are so sweet. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Aww, the way you and your wife met is so sweet! Its nice to hear you two were able to overcome your obstacles and got your happy ending. Your books sound wonderful books Mrs. Essex and im looking forward to reading them!

  • Johanna, I must discourage Mr. Essex from following your advice about the bike shorts! We want the Essex sprigs to ENJOY our company, and that means I can’t pick them up in yoga clothes either, unless I don’t get out of the car! :)
    Thanks so much for stopping by today and hope you enjoy the stories!

  • Melsch, I did do scuba diving and excavate sites underwater in loads of beautiful-looking, far off places (which inevitably never had indoor plumbing). And I am one of those strange people who love the mundane artifacts that illuminate people’s everyday lives, and not the just the shiny, bright, valuable ones. But you’ve given me a great idea – I’ve never thought of doing a time travel/underwater archeology piece, but I think I’ll try out that idea with a novella. Hmmm. I can picture it now …..
    Thanks so much for coming by and for the great idea!

  • Virginia, thanks so much for coming by. I probably won’t ever write an entire piece about the way we met, just because it’s so personal, but I’m sure I’ll use bits and pieces of our obstacles on the way to Happily Ever After in every book I write.
    Hope you enjoy them!

  • Thanks for stopping by, Shadow. I think having gone through our own obstacles gives me a lot of insight into the tribulations of my characters. I hope you enjoy the books!

  • Na

    I absolutely enjoy reading adventurous romances and even better when it is paired with a passionatel love story. I can tell you both share a zest for adventure in real life. Elizabeth’s books are new to me but I’m going to add them to my wishlist. They sound wonderful.


  • Great interview and thank you so much for making me smile. Very refreshing to hear from a man’s perspective ;)

    Rita from South Africa


    Fan on Facebook
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  • Wow, what great comments. I have never been on a blog before and with such active participants, I can see why the Lovely Mrs. Essex enjoys her work.

    I must say that the most romantic vacation we have had without the critters was to Greece for a wedding of a friend. We spent time in the Plaka area of Athens, ate at outdoor cafes and actually started to get a taste for the local retisna wine. We found out the Greek weddings can be a lot of fun, even if you don’t speak the language and they last until the wee hours of the morning. We then went to a small island called Spetses which was a great place to relax on the beach and eat fresh seafood. A very nice vacation from the trails and tribulations of urban planning. I must agree with the Mrs on family vacations. Skiing with the entire family is my ideal vacation. Being outdoors, a little toddy with lunch, board games after dinner.

    Thanks for the great questions and stopping by.

  • I love how you and your wife met. That is so sweet. That is definitely a romance story.

    Danielle @Ramblings From This Chick

  • Thanks for answering my questions about the vacations. The family skiing trips sound like great fun, but I loved the description of the Greece vacation. So now, Mrs. Essex – looks like you can go again!

  • Di

    Mr. E. – sounds like you had to work hard to get Mrs. E (and that’s as it should be). Sounds like you work hard to keep her, so cudos to you!. Looked up the word ‘transmogrified’ and got “To change into a different shape or to transform, often with bizarre or humorous effect. Sounds like you’ve got a good sense of humor; do you have any bizarre traits? Mrs. E. – you can address that question too.

    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  • I erally enjoyed your post, Mr. Essex. Sounds like you have a great sense of humor and your wife does also.

    Elizabeth is a new author for me and after reading your post, I have to check out her books.

    What a great romance story! I am surprised that you were dating someone else when you proposed to Elizabeth though. Sounds like she really blew your socks off and then gave you a run for your money by moving to Ireland so fast.

  • Mr. Essex,
    I thought my husband was the only one crazy enough to propose without dating. I was crazy enough to say yes. It must have been the right decision, we just celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary. Most importantly, they have been good and happy years.

    No mater what the job, no one can do their best without the full support of the family. With writing, it is so much more important: must not interrupt the flow of ideas, must put up with weird hours and the frenzy of the “writer’s coma” period. You seem to have mastered dealing with it all pretty well. She is lucky to have such an understanding and supportive family.

    Hoping the release of THE DANGER OF DESIRE goes well.

    I am a GFC Follower, librarypat.

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  • Hello, Mr. Essex : ) I really admire a man who feels secure enough to wear neon stretchwear and admit that he doesn’t read the books written by his wife. Also, you used one of my favorite words of all time: “transmorgrified”! I may start an international fan club in your honor ; )

    I really think that you need to make a return visit. The more you talked, the more juicy tidbits you revealed. We might even be able to get you to let loose some Zoning Board secrets! I live in a very small town which is boggled by very big red tape, so we could use some insider tips : )

    US Resident, GFC Follower, Subscriber

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  • Mr. Essex –

    Thank you for participating in the husbands blog with Mr. D!

    It’s fortunate that you don’t live in our state or your Saturday morning bike rides would be a lot shorter. I live in Rhode Island and if you go 40 miles in any direction you’re out of the state! On the other hand your work hands would be full because there is so little land getting anything approved is almost impossible. This is the Ocean State after all and with all the water protection laws that doesn’t live much land left over. The one advantage is you wouldn’t be spending much time tied up with the Zoning Board – they’d just answer with a two letter word – NO!

    I would like you to pass onto Elizabeth my thanks for having a book come out in time for my birthday in November! I already know I’ll love it because I married my husband because of his dress white Navy uniform back in 1971!

  • Oh! That was you biking by the other day! I do so love a man in really tight lycra. Will I see you next Saturday???

  • Oh, how did I forget about that vacation in Greece. It WAS magical. We had a strange schedule with big dinners that started at 11:00 at night, so we would have our own little early supper at little cafe where we would get one Greek salad, and he would eat all the tomatoes and I would eat all the cucumbers.
    And that’s marriage in a nutshell. :)
    We we obviously need to so that again!!!!

  • Di, I’m trying hard to think of bizarre traits. Hmmm.
    Ah. I can tell you the most bizarre thing about Mr. Essex is how he came to be called “The Indispensable Mr. Essex.”
    The fact of the matter is the most bizarre thing he does is, every morning, just as he is about to leave the house, he makes me the most delicious, fresh, foamy latte. And he delivers it to my bedside.
    Indispensable. :)

  • Wow, such wonderful comments!!!
    I’m going to have to address everyone all together, but you have been the most wonderful, receptive batch of blog visitors I have every been privileged to encounter.
    Lila and Mr. DiPasqua certainly have the loveliest followers in the blogosphere.
    Thank you all so much for you wonderful companionship today, and we wish you all the best of luck in the drawing and hope, even if you don’t win, you’ll find some time to read on of my books. After you’ve devoured A MIDNIGHT DANCE, of course. :)
    But I can let you in on a little secret I was happy to be told today: my November release, THE DANGER OF DESIRE, was named a Publishers Weekly Fall Top Ten pick. So look for it in November.
    Give yourself an early Christmas present. :)
    Thanks again for a wonderful, happy day.
    And thanks to Mr & Mrs DiPasqua for hosting us!

  • Hi everyone! I’m so glad to see you all at the A MIDNIGHT DANCE Blog party.

    Thanks so much for being here, Mr. and Mrs Essex. Mr. Essex, I had the pleasure of meeting your wife in person and after reading your interview, I’m delighted to have learned about you. You’ve got a great sense of humor!

    Elisabeth…I loved your response: I found good whiskey of immeasurable assistance in staving off a broken heart. :)

    I can’t wait to get my hands on THE DANGER OF DESIRE!


  • Eloping to Nepal? Well isn’t that a romantic story right there!

    I do have a question….when are you going to read one of Elizabeth’s books?

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  • Amy

    Wow, every guest RH has basically said that same thing about deadlines. The authors must be scary women during the period right before the deadline; I would not want to mess with them! But I do really applaud the hard work they put into their writing so that we fans can enjoy it.

    GFC follower: Amy
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  • Hi Mr Essex, Elizabeth is a new Author for me and she’s already on my TRL.I once again enjoyed the interview. With every post I read it becomes very clear that the DH & DB have a strong sense of pride, love and belief in your women.And there’s that wonderful sense of humor as well.Thank you for sharing .
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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  • Great interview.
    I am a GFC follower Patti P
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  • Hi everyone! I just wanted to thank you all for being here today…and to Mr. and Mrs. Essex. It was a privilege having you both here. :)

    Mr. D

  • another one i loved the answers too. Your answers rocked Mr. Essex. and your love story with Mrs. Essex is something unto itself.


  • Fun post! The book looks excellent!

    Robin D
    robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

  • I loved how you chased after your wife. That would make a great romance novel!