New and Debut: Antonia Aquilante


My guest in today's New and Debut feature is Antonia Aquilante, author of the mm fantasy series Chronicles of Tournai, published by Dreamspinner Press. Come meet her and learn about the inspiration behind her stories and what's next for her. There is also a short excerpt from her latest release, The Sorcerer's Guardian at the end of the post.

Meet Antonia

1. Tell us about yourself and why did you decide to become a romance writer?

Thank you so much for having me today! I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing—or at least coming up with stories. When I was little, I would draw them or act them out with my dolls. I decided I would be an author when I was in middle school. We had a short story writing assignment, and I turned in 60 pages. I never stopped writing, though it took me a long time to seriously pursue publication. As for romance, I think I always wanted to write romance too. No matter what I wrote, someone fell in love and lived happily ever after. I started reading romance when I was about twelve and realized not long after that I was writing it too.

2.  Can you share some of your favourite books and authors?

I could talk all day about favorite books and authors! I’ll try not to go for that long, though. Here are some favorites: Jordan L Hawk (especially the Whyborne & Griffin series), K.J. Charles (I don’t think I can pick a favorite!), Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter is one of my favorite historicals of all time), Avon Gale (her Scoring Chances series, especially Power Play), Rhys Ford (especially her Sinners series), Heidi Cullinan (Love Lessons), Joanna Chambers (her Enlightenment trilogy), Tessa Dare (A Week to be Wicked is so good). I’ve also recently read Peter Darling by Austin Chant and The Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian and loved them.

3. Who/what do you consider your writing influence/inspiration?

My inspiration comes from everywhere—things I see or hear or read and then my mind somehow puts them together and presents me with characters or story ideas. I find travel so inspiring. I love seeing and learning about new places, immersing myself in the history and culture. I always come home (reluctantly!) with so many new ideas. I wish I had the budget to travel all the time.

4. What kind of stories can the readers expect from you (contemporary/historical/sci-fi, adult/NA/YA, etc)?

So far, all of my books are adult fantasy romance, but I’m working on a contemporary too, so thought I love fantasy romance and fantasy worlds, I’m sure that isn’t all I’ll write. All of my books are really romantic and emotional and always end in happily ever after.

5. Please, introduce your latest/upcoming release.

The Chronicles of Tournai series is fantasy romance, set in the fantasy world of Tournai, a place of magic and legend. Each book stands alone with a complete plot and romance with happily ever after. They’re full of magic, romance, and intrigue. The latest book, The Sorcerer’s Guardian, came out in November. It’s the story of a sorcerer sent on a mission for the prince and the soldier sent to protect him. They clash and are attracted and ultimately fall in love while working to protect their country. The next book is in edits now and should be out in September (and it has dragons in it!).

The Sorcerer’s Guardian Buy Links: 


Savarin, the most powerful sorcerer in Tournai, has honed his Talent through years of study and made magic his life. Among the wealthy and noble circles he moves in, no one would suspect the handsome, refined, and arrogant sorcerer’s humble beginnings, which is how Savarin prefers it. Tournai’s princes task Savarin with studying and strengthening the spells that protect the principality from magical attack. They are complex, centuries old, and exactly the type of puzzle Savarin is eager to solve. To his annoyance, the princes insist Loriot accompanies him.

Loriot worked his way up the ranks of the royal guard to captain and takes pride in his service. He must obey the princes’ orders to protect Savarin, despite believing his skills would be best used elsewhere. And despite his wariness of magic. UnTalented himself, he has learned not only the benefits of magic but also its potential for harm—and how to counter it. Loriot and Savarin clash during their journey, but there’s another reason for the tension between them, and passion develops into feelings neither expected. But Savarin must still fortify Tournai’s magical barrier, and his only solution endangers both him and the royal family.

Author Bio and Links

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent - they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the New Jersey Romance Writers, and the Rainbow Romance Writers.


The sound of water splashing came from the other side of the screen, followed by a long sigh. He could picture Savarin stepping into the tub, but he shouldn’t. He turned back to his boots and wrestled them off one by one, dropping them beside Savarin’s. As the splashing from the bath continued, he fought with the rest of his sodden clothes, undoing ties and buttons to remove each layer. He dropped the clothing on the floor and was mildly surprised at how much water remained in it. It pooled around the growing pile of wet fabric. 

His skin was damp and clammy, and he shivered even though the room was warm. Grabbing the towel from the corner of the screen, he dried himself off. More noise came from the other side of the screen, water being poured into water. 

“The tub is full for you, Loriot,” Savarin called. 

“Thank you.” He wrapped the towel around his waist and gathered his wet clothes from the floor, now puddled with water. When he came out from behind the screen, he found Savarin in the bath, his knees sticking out of the water because his legs were far too long for the tub. It would have been funny seeing the elegant sorcerer scrunched up in the too-small tub if it wasn’t for Loriot’s uncomfortable awareness of Savarin being naked. 

Savarin didn’t seem to have the same problem. 

The maid was back, replenishing their supply of towels and gathering the used ones. She reached for the clothing in his arms. “I’ll take those from you, sir.” 

He relinquished them into her hold. “I’m afraid we’ve made something of a mess. The floor is quite wet from the clothes, and us.” 

“I’ll mop everything up, sir.” She bobbed another quick curtsy and left with the wet clothing and towels, shutting the door behind her. 

Left him alone with Savarin, who seemed to be relaxing, eyes closed, in his cramped bath. “Are you going to use the water they carried up here for you or just stand there all night?” Savarin asked suddenly. 

“I thought you were asleep, though I don’t know how you could be in there.” 

Savarin’s lips quirked into almost a smile. “It isn’t the most comfortable of tubs. The one at home is much larger. I can stretch my legs in it.” 

He didn’t need to think of whatever luxurious tub Savarin had at home or Savarin in it. Was he really expected to just bathe next to Savarin as if it was nothing? 

“Seriously, though. Are you going to use your bath? If not you could add some of the hot water to mine. But you must be cold. It’s summer but it hardly feels like it out in this storm.” Savarin still didn’t open his eyes. 

Irritation rose in Loriot at Savarin’s offhand remark, fed by irritation at his inability to ignore Savarin tonight. “And whose fault is it that we were caught out in it to begin with?” 

Savarin’s eyes flew open, and he glared at Loriot. “Excuse me? How is that my fault?” 

“You were the one taking far too long this afternoon. We would have beaten the storm here if it weren’t for that.” 

Savarin struggled to sit up straighter and twist to face Loriot but seemed to give up when he realized there was no room for him to do so. “What I was doing out there was our whole purpose for being on this journey.” 

“Yes, but then you stopped doing it to think about it and pace around. Which you could have done here and not gotten us soaked by the rain.” 

“The storm arrived far earlier than even the weatherworkers anticipated. I can’t be blamed because it caught us off guard.” 

“But if you had kept the time limit we agreed on, we might not have nearly drowned out in it,” he said through gritted teeth. 

“And now you’re just being overdramatic. We were far from drowning. We got wet.” 

“We could barely see out there! We might have wandered off the road and gotten ourselves killed.” He probably was being ridiculous, but he didn’t care. Savarin had to admit his fault in this. He couldn’t just arrogantly go about doing whatever he pleased. 

“The light I made guided us. We wouldn’t have wandered off the road.” Savarin’s eye roll sent Loriot’s irritation shooting into anger. 

“Do you not understand how dangerous that storm is?” As if to punctuate his words, thunder boomed, and he could have sworn the whole building shook. For an instant, everything froze, but the inn didn’t fall down around their ears. “Your friend warned you about how dangerous they would be. It’s why we’ve been planning so carefully. To make sure we were safely here before the storms and not trying to ride around or camp out in them.” 

“I’m quite aware of what Gemella said.” 

He stalked closer to Savarin. “Then why are you being so arrogant and ridiculous about this?” 

“Ridiculous?” Savarin’s voice went quiet, and he stood in the tub, long legs unfolding beneath him. “Did you just call me ridiculous?” 

“I see you have no objection to my calling you arrogant.”

“I’m arrogant? You need to listen to yourself. You arrogant, smug—” Loriot had no idea which of them moved first. Maybe they moved together; he didn’t know. What he did know was that one second Savarin was hurling a litany of insults at him and the next they were kissing. Only kissing was too tame a word for what they were doing. 

He and Savarin were devouring each other. 

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