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More Questions…and Answers

The other day I did questions and answers about my writing in general, today I’ll answer a few about my books.

1. In His Contract Bride, isn’t it a little stereotypical and superficial that Regina falls in love with Edward just because he’s a blond?

Absolutely! But I don’t think that’s why she fell in love with him. At the start of the chapter, it just says that Regina would never forget the day she fell in love, not that it happened the instant she set eyes on Edward. I personally think he caught her attention with his dashing looks, and held it when he showered her with his undivided attention (something she’d never experienced before), but I think at the end of the chapter is when she actually falls in love with him:

Edward Banks, forever the ideal gentleman in her mind, was running, not walking, in the direction of the school to seek help—sans coat. It was at that moment she knew for certain he’d captured her heart and would hold it captive until the moment she took her last breath.

I think this is when she knew she was in love. He wasn’t standing and gawking at her friend’s bared breasts, he immediately took off his jacket and handed it to her while averting his eyes and instead of sauntering back to the crowd to find help, he was running. To Regina, he was the perfect hero.

2. Would Caroline really say the word “erection”?

Yes. Why? Because she’s really scientifically-minded. Let’s face it, that word isn’t new. It was also used very candidly back then for things such as buildings or towers, because well, they were erected therefore they are considered erections. With how scientifically minded she was, I’d be surprised if she hadn’t heard that word in connection to that. She likes biology, she studies it. She reads things young girls shouldn’t. I just don’t think this is a stretch–especially when you consider the conversation she has at the end where she explains to Alex how it’s possible for a lady to conceive even when some things are left undone. As a side note, I struggled with this at first, too, and discussed it with a friend who writes in the same genre who I thought might try to talk me out of it. Without me saying anything, she mentioned all the same points that I mentioned. So I decided it stays. Would it fit any other heroine? Not likely. (Well, maybe Emma after she read Lady Bird’s Ladybird Memoir.) But it certainly fit Caroline and her personality.

3. Who was Lady O’s baby’s daddy?

Mr. Robinson, Marcus’ former valet.

Marcus flashed her a smile. “Actually, if you’re interested in the truth, the baby isn’t his, or at least that’s the story she tells. She claims my former valet, Robinson, is the father. I would have doubted her claim if he’d stuck around and told me otherwise. But, since he ironically disappeared earlier that day, I couldn’t ask him.”

He wouldn’t have left if he wasn’t guilty!

4. Is it possible to die from a spider bite or was that embellished for the sake of a plot device?

Actually, yes, it is possible to die from the bite of a fiddleback spider (brown recluse). This was seen in The Officer and the Southerner, the heroine was bit by a spider and very soon thereafter (within in 24-48 hours) she had an escalated fever and an open sore. These spiders are real and they really do eat your flesh. Today this is treatable for the most part, though still very painful and not without leaving scars where the flesh was eaten away. (Most likely a skin graft will be needed, too.) Back then, such a nasty, incurable, rapidly growing infection coupled with a high fever, it’d kill a person in a matter of days unless the limb was amputated. Then again, there’s all sorts of infections that can result from amputation, too.

5. How dare you kill off Edward without an explanation!

I’m assuming this question might have come from someone who has only read the Banks Brothers’ Brides series where Edward is alive and well in the first two (Contract and Yankee), but is only mentioned that he’s deceased in Jilted and Brother’s without a lot of explanation. Quite simply, he had some sort of infection in his chest–probably by today’s standards lung cancer. All the details of his illness are seen in Her Sudden Groom, which was written before His Contract Bride and His Yankee Bride–both of these were written later as prequels. Had I written these two books first, Edward probably still would have lived; however, since I wrote Sudden first and a major plot point was Alex dealing with the sudden illness and death of his father, I had to stick with the storyline in all future books. I did not, however, want to go into great detail about his death again because it was hard enough the first time! Besides, it had happened approximately five years before either of those books, so there was no need to rehash it.

6. What’s been the hardest intimate scene for you to write?

All of them. I am not even kidding. I struggle with these in the worst way. Are they too graphic? Wait, now is it too vague? Are people going to know what’s going on? Is it getting too long? Did it go too quick, is someone going to think he has a problem of the embarrassing variety… Okay, I think he’s gawked at her enough, let’s get this show on the road. Now hold on a second, he can’t just charge in! There’s a science to it, and to just put all pride aside, many times when I read back over these scenes for editing, my eyes start to bulge, my face heats to 1,000 degrees and I think to myself I wrote that?! Then I take a deep breath and try to forget that anyone of my personal acquaintance will ever read it and think I do any of it. On a side note, I’ve been told by a handful my scenes are just flat out nasty–shameful. This always makes me feel awkward. However, I’ve also been told (and not just by 20-something year olds, but by ladies ranging all the way up to their 70s) that my scenes are very tame…almost G-rated compared to most others. So, at the end of the day, I just shrug and go on. Sorry, not really the answer this asker was looking for, but it’s true, they’re all difficult to write. But I do think I winced during John and Carolina’s (battering ram, anyone?) and started to itch while writing Marcus and Emma’s (okay, seriously, outside sounds great, but grass is itchy, folks– just saying).

7. Why are so many of your heroes virgins?

Because it’s what I like. I know, I know, it’s not the norm. But it’s my niche and if you ask some of my long-time readers, it’s what I’m known for. Why do I like that so much? Several reasons: 1. I kind of like to see the guy to be just as vulnerable as his lady. Not to make fun of guys, but I like to see them unsure or not get it “perfect” on her first time. I also think this adds to their relationship and growing together–probably boosts her confidence, too, that she’s not totally unsure what to do while wondering what his expectations for her are. 2. I have a hard time wrapping my head around that a guy who’s been carelessly sewing his wild oats is suddenly going to change for one woman. My mind just can’t comprehend that. Not to say it’s not possible, but in my mind, I don’t see that working out long term. Nor do I really want to know anything about any of those past lovers he’s had. 3. I’d rather not wonder if he has any STDs he doesn’t yet know about that he’s about to share with the heroine… Yes, I know it’s fiction, and admittedly, I, too, expect people to bend the rules of reality and allow the “it’s fiction” umbrella to come over them when they read my books, however, these are personal hang ups for me. Am I able to read (and enjoy) a book with a Casanova Hero? I absolutely can. I can push back reality and do that. But, when I write one it’s a little harder because logic comes into play and as I’m getting to know my hero I have to decipher these things: Just how many lovers has he had? Does he still have a tendre for one of them? Do any of them still have a tendre for him that might threaten his new relationship? How does he know he doesn’t have a bawdyhouse disease? None of this is particularly romantic for me to think about, so I’d rather not. It’s just a personal preference–love it or hate it, it’s what I like so it’s what I write. (And yes, I have had a handful of experienced heroes, but the majority aren’t.)

There have been more and I’ll try to get to them soon, too. Feel free to ask others in the comment section or email them and be sure to have a wonderful weekend!

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8 thoughts on “More Questions…and Answers

  1. I can’t believe anyone thinks your love scenes are nasty and shameful. Aren’t they all between husbands and wives? I can’t remember any you’ve written where they weren’t married.

    I’ve always been leery of dark closets because of the brown recluse. I’m terrified of them. I think I would rather encounter a black widow.

    • Not to be rude, but I think some of those who find my scenes to be nasty and shameful, I often think are the ones who’d like others to think their own children were conceived by immaculate conception. I have to shamelessly admit, mine were not. But yes, all my bedroom scenes are between married couples–which is why I really don’t let that bother me (it’s mostly those from church who even mention it anyway).

      When I was 15 we moved to Oklahoma, a hotbed for brown recluses, from Oregon where such a spider does not exist. I was terrified. Absolutely terrified of being bitten by one and that entire first year I lived here I was so careful about where I went and to check my bed every night before getting in. That fear kind of wore off until about a year ago right after I moved out to the country and one night as I was coming down the stairs, I saw one on the wall! I killed that little…er…pest instantly and called the next day to have an exterminator come spray. They’re just not something I want to mess with. Oh, and like you, I’d rather take my chances with a black widow.

  2. I love that so many of your heroes are inexperienced! It’s what drew me to your books. When I read books where the hero has an extensive past, like you, I can’t help but consider the disease factor (especially in historical romances).
    🙂

  3. Yep on the spider bite thing. I have a son who watches shows like Nature’s Deadliest Creatures, and spiders are one of the things that pop up. Some don’t kill people right away either which make it hard for them to even know that is what killed them unless they know the signs. One of the most surprising creatures was a snake that spits venom in the eyes which causes blindness that moves on to other unpleasant things before death. Truly, if you ever wanted to do a horror novel, anything with a poisonous creature would fit great.

    LOL on the erection thing. Why not use it? I don’t know what’s so disturbing about it. I get some questions when I use the word penis, but sometimes it just flows better (to me) in the story.

    I agree with you on the love scenes. Those are the hardest to write. The easiest ones to write are those that “almost” get there. It’s amazing how unsexy the actual writing of such a scene really is.

    I love virgin heroes. There aren’t enough of them in the romance genre. I always love knowing how the hero responds to the heroine after his first time. There’s something special about the hero who hasn’t been with someone else.

    I love reading through the question and answer posts. 😀

    • Ruth, my boys love that nasty show, too. Every Friday night we have to watch it after dinner.

      I agree, sometimes the real word just fits. We all know what it’s called and I’d personally see the real word for it than some nasty slang. Just my thoughts.

      LOL isn’t it unsexy tough. I couldn’t agree more with your terminology. I think some people have the idea that romance authors constantly have sex on the brain, but the truth is, we don’t. That’s just a small part of the whole book.

      Glad you like the Q&A posts. Oh and I LOVE virgin heroes, too. There really aren’t enough of them out there.

  4. This was so much fun to read both the posts and the comments. 🙂 I can’t even tell you how much I love your books. When my husband is overseas I read a lot of different books but when I need a comfort book I will shamelessly read your stories over and over.
    I agree with Lynn – I love your heros. For all the reasons you mentioned in the post I enjoy reading about them more and they draw me to your books as well. Every now and then I try to pick my favorite and the best I can do is a top five (maybe ten…) list. 🙂 That and I am totally with you on the disease thing. Anytime I read a story where this isn’t addressed it’s in the back of my mind. Even as I was reading His Brother’s Bride again I was thinking about poor Laura and worrying for her because who know what she might have gotten from Robbie…

    • Stiffianie, Thank you for coming by and commenting! I am thrilled to hear it how much you love my books. Since you were shameless, I’ll be shameless, too. There are a few books I have that while I obviously know the outcome, I have read and reread when I just can’t get into writing or I get bored.

      LOL well, I have a feeling Laura and Robbie didn’t do it too terribly often anyway so I think she was safe. Also, if I’m not mistaken, he seems the snobby sort who’d only sleep pure women–not prostitutes.

      By the way, have you happened to read my book The Officer and the Traveler? This is somewhat addressed in that book.

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