For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.
For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.
As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Penguin Publishing Group
The Bourbon Kings #1
I really tried to like The Bourbon Kings. I’ve liked some of Ward’s other contemporary books, so figured I’d enjoy her new series. Sadly, The Bourbon Kings was a DNF (Did Not Finish) read for me. I loved the 80’s primetime soap operas, but felt The Bourbon Kings was just a little too over the top for me. Honestly the only main character I even liked was Lizzie and she basically was a servant to the Bradford family, or at least treated like one. I wasn’t a fan of Tulane “Lane” at all and couldn’t understand why Lizzie would have waited around for him. I actually gave up at about 30% so I can’t say for sure that the story didn’t get better. While The Bourbon Kings didn’t work for me, I believe it will work for other fans of contemporary books. I do plan on giving the next book in the series a try, and plan to read it with an open mind.
Even without finishing The Bourbon Kings, there was no way I was going to miss out on a Ward Q&A session. Luckily, Ward was in Nashville for release day.
Q&A at Salon@615 in Nashville, TN at the Nashville Public Library
JR Ward started out talking about her new series. The Bourbon Kings takes place in the South, and Ward stated the South is a character in itself. Ward moved to the South 10 years ago from the Boston area and said it was a bit of a culture shock for her. When asked it she had trouble moving from writing paranormal books to contemporary books, she said it wasn’t an issue as she basically has the same process for all her writing. I have to say she totally cracked me up trying not to cuss during the entire Q&A, but have to say she wasn’t successful and soon the f-bombs and s-bombs were flying. J
Once the audience was allowed to ask questions, the Q&A pretty much turned into a BDB Q&A session, though The Bourbon King series had a few questions mixed in as well.
Ward currently has 6 books planned out for the BDB.
She does currently have 3 books under contract for The Bourbon Kings and totally admitted it was very much like Dynasty/Falcon Crest/Knots Landing from the 80’s. She totally wants to be Alexis Carrington Colby. Ward said The Bourbon Kings books have good conflict, romantic relationships and offers multiple POVs. She wants people to be invested enough to come back for book after book.
Unlike in the BDB series, Ward actually based some of the characters in The Bourbon Kings books on real people. She named Lizzie, Greta and a few other characters.
Her writing process is the same no matter what she is writing. She says she actually sees pictures of the stories in her head and writes down what she is seeing.
Ward did say The Bourbon Kings has an element of mystery in the book, and she totally said who died in the book…one of the first f-bombs that was dropped.
Ward was asked if she drank bourbon and she said no, that she doesn’t drink. Actually said “could you imagine this shit drunk?”
Lassiter will be in Blood Kissed and he wears the funniest outfit in the history of outfits.
Devina will be back at some point in the BDB books.
Asked if she would write any other paranormal books and she said maybe…tried to say more, but had to leave it as maybe.
Asked if iAm and The Queen would appear in future books or have more stories and she said they were pretty much done.
People asked about the pronunciations of the characters changing on the audiobooks. Ward said they had never asked how to pronounce the names in the beginning, and no one ever thought to give them out. They changed the pronunciations for The Shadows.
No one will ever find out John Matthew is actually Darius. She did say Xhex does have an idea that JM is something more because of the shadows she sees around him, but doesn’t know why.
There is currently a TV option for The Bourbon Kings and while Ward can’t talk about it in detail, she did say she feels the right team of people hare working on it.
She keeps no notes or drawings about the house or the characters.
Blood Kiss will only have 4 POVs. Butch, Marissa, Craeg, and Paradise.
Layla & Xcor will have page time in The Beast…she really acted like she wanted to say more, but they shut her down.
Muhrder will be back. Ward thought he would appear in The Shadows. We might see him in The Beast. JM has to get into the Brotherhood first. Plus big issues with Xhex and Muhrder and their past as we know so little about Xhex’s past after leaving the Symphath colony.
I really feel like she will say more about everything at the Louisville, KY signing and Q&A on Saturday. As the Nashville event started at 6:15 at night, I think her Q&A session was shorter than normal.