All questions on this page are questions that have arrived in my inbox and how I answered them here on my blog.
INTENTIONS OF THE EARL–
1. Why did/didn’t (fill in the blank here) happen or get explained in Intentions of the Earl?
Please keep in mind this is a three-book series, and while some of the reasons behind the actions of the hero/heroine/secondary characters are obvious right off, others aren’t. However, all shall be revealed (I hope so, if not I didn’t do my job right…) by the end. But just in case, I will post on May 16th (one month after the release of the third book), a list of common questions I’ve received and answer them completely from the author’s view from inside the character’s head.
2. What was Gateway’s real motive for hiring Andrew?
3. Is your husband Andrew Black, Earl of Townson?
No. As much as my own parents like to argue that with me, he’s not. The two do have two physical similarities: unusually tall and a broken nose. That’s it. Hair is different, eyes are different, body build, the reason for the broken nose, etc, all different. As for the personality, completely different. My husband is for the most part very carefree and laid back, his tongue would never get away from him and get him into such a bind.
4. Did you intend to make Paul and Liberty despise each other so much in the first book, and how do you plan to resolve that?
Talk about a loaded question! I’ll answer part of that and let the second book answer the rest! I did not intend to make them dislike each other so much. When I started writing Intentions of the Earl I knew it was to be the first in a three book series and I wanted to include enough of the secondary characters to spark interest. However, my plan for Liberty and Paul was not to dislike each other at all but to have a mutual secret attraction that they both tried to deny because of her father (Paul’s mentor). But then Liberty burst into Brooke’s room–all the sudden my fingers took on a mind of their own and instead of writing that she thought she’d fallen in love with Mr. Grimes, she said she hated him!
At first, I stared at the computer–stunned. What was I going to do now? Then I remembered this nifty little key labeled “backspace” and just as I started to backspace, I stopped. While a secret love affair might be fun, it was too soon for those two to be in love. For goodness’ sake, the hero and heroine of the current book weren’t even in love yet, how could the secondary characters be?! Besides, I think it turned out better this way. Liberty has a lot to learn about herself and life before she can fall in love! And she’ll do just that in her own book, Liberty for Paul.
5. Was it really necessary for Brooke to bind her breasts?
Uh, yes. At the time I wrote that scene I realized those two were moving fast. Very fast. I needed something to not only slow them down and get them to stop just then, but also so they’d not go so far the following night (more on this in a minute). In order to get them to abruptly stop kissing I need something to happen. I didn’t want her to have a sudden, “Oh my goodness, what am I doing” moment right then, so I opted for another kind of distraction to bring things to a screeching halt. Therefore, she bound her breasts. From there I just played off it and wrote the rest of the book with her having that insecurity. It was not originally part of the plan.
6. Why did I need things to slow down? (Continued from previous question.)
I felt if she’d allowed him to lower her bodice and caress her breasts, she’d not have stopped him from reaching up her skirt the following night.
7. And why didn’t Andrew ruin her in truth in the woods?
There is no simple answer to this. First, Brooke was a strong character. Though many historical romance heroines easily give up their virtue, she was written to be herself and stand her ground, no matter what. She may flout the rules, but she clung to her morals in this regard for several reasons: a. though she loved him, she didn’t really know if he loved her, b. she was afraid of being used and neglected (this foreshadows what we learn about her sister in book 3), c. she was truly worried about the same of breaking that rule tainting her sisters’ marriage prospects, d. Brooke had the kind of personality that would have always left her wondering Andrew’s change of heart about marrying her only came about because he’d taken her innocence.
Also, Andrew had no intention of actually ruining her in truth. He’d decided that long before that night. Just the appearance would be enough to serve his purposes; he didn’t really need to rob her of her innocence.
Not to mention, the floor of the forest isn’t usually the best place to have sex for the first time. (Especially since Gateway—followed by Lady Algen and Alex—make an appearance soon after Brooke ended things. Talk about awkward!)
8. Is it true you passed up a publishing contract because of Brooke’s lack of easy seduction?
Yes. I guess it could be said I cared far more for my characters than I did for money, fame, a publishing contract and all that goes with it. I was asked to follow the norms of historical/Regency romances and have Brooke give into Andrew that night while he was so lust-fogged he forgot the promise he’d made to himself not to ruin her in truth. As I mentioned before, I didn’t think Brooke had the personality that would accept Andrew’s marriage proposal as anything other than an offer made out of guilt for taking her innocence. I also wanted Brooke to stay true to character, which meant putting things to a stop that night in the woods and effectively costing me a publishing contract. But not for one minute have I regretted it.
9. Did you forget something? Like the EPILOGUE?!
In a word: no. I’ve tried to write an epilogue for Intentions of the Earl, but I can’t. If the epilogue goes any further into the future then there needs to be an explanation for why things happened the way they did in the book. If I do that, it’ll ruin a future book for those who read them in order.
LIBERTY FOR PAUL–
1. Liberty despised Paul just because he asked her to use his Christian name after first meeting, that’s a little pathetic, don’t you think?
Yes, that’s why that’s not the real reason. If you read closely while they’re at the masquerade together, she admits when she first sees him she’s attracted to him and becomes nervous because she’s attracted and chats his ear off. Because of Paul’s quiet personality, he just sat and listened, giving nods and one-word answers periodically. While this is typical male behavior, to Liberty, who was used to being ignored or dismissed, she took it as disinterest. Thus, not only was she hurt he’d rebuffed her in her mind, but she was embarrassed she’d made such a fool of herself.
2. So if she despises him, or claims to anyway, why doesn’t she just leave him alone?
This is left up to the reader to decide. Either she truly doesn’t like him after being rebuffed, or she does and it’s her love for revenge that keeps drawing her to him to do unkind things, OR considering her age, she’s just trying to catch his attention. You can decide this one.
3. Liberty taking Paul’s clothes and having him chase her around the room doesn’t seem like something the Propriety Queen would do. Why on Earth did she do that?
Sometimes propriety takes a backseat. Even for Liberty. At the time she was so mad/embarrassed that he’d taken it upon himself to strip her of her clothes and look at her naked (even though it was unavoidable) that she let propriety be damned and sought full revenge.
4. What about the Propriety Queen kissing—and more—another man at a masquerade?
This one is actually easier to explain. As said before, she’d always been easily dismissed or overlooked, particularly when compared to her sisters. So to have a man—even a stranger—desire her, sparked something she wasn’t familiar with. Yes, she loved Paul, she even knew it at the time, and yes, Paul sparked those feelings in her, she didn’t deny it, but Paul hadn’t looked at her the same way the mysterious Mr. Daltry was. Paul had never had desire in his eyes when he looked at her, nor had he ever given any other indication he was attracted to her. So while she loved him and desired him, she fell into a lustful snare when another man looked at her thus and sparked the same feelings she felt for Paul. Not to mention, if Paul truly had 14 illegitimate children, like she thought, surely he would have already tried to seduce her if he’d wanted her that way!
5. Why the blazes did Paul not have more of a reaction when he realized it was Liberty at the masquerade and she was kissing—and more—a man she thought to be a stranger?
At first he was going to give her a reaction. And not a good one. He was mad she was at a masquerade ball with a man she thought was someone other than her husband. However, once she confessed she thought he’d been unfaithful to her, his heart softened toward her while at the same time he wanted the whole truth out of her as to why she thought such a thing and he knew she’d never tell him if they were Liberty and Paul, but she’d be more willing to divulge her secrets in disguise. That’s why he kept his identity concealed when they went off together. Why he kissed her back and didn’t unveil himself or get angry with her then is a combination of things: 1. He wanted to kiss her and touch her just as much as she wanted it. 2. If he told her who he was or he got angry with her at the time for what she was doing he could have driven them apart again. 3. Paul really didn’t have a high-handed personality. It just wasn’t in his make-up to be angry with her, haul her off and teach her a lesson in seduction like so many heroes in (historical) romance books.
6. Why didn’t Paul seduce her at the masquerade, she practically asked for it?
When I first started writing the masquerade scene my plan was for them to sleep together then for her to realize his identity afterwards by glimpsing his scar. However, from a writer’s standpoint that just didn’t seem like a good plan in the end. Those two had trust/communication issues already; I’d have a very hard time getting them past such an obstacle. Which goes hand in hand with the emotional impact on the characters because the guilt, doubt, blame, hurt, deceit etc etc would have swamped both of them to a degree the book may not have been salvageable. I honestly didn’t see either Liberty or Paul being able to wake up the next morning and realistically be at a place where they were ready to make amends and go off on their merry way after everything was on the table.
7. Where in the world did you come up with the term “love musket”?
I love this question! However, I’d rather not post the story here. But if you’re really that interested, e-mail me and I’ll tell you.
8. Is it true Liberty was voted, “Worst heroin (sic) ever?”
Yes! You can read her nomination and my “acceptance speech” here.
9. Is it true, Liberty was you most “written about” character from your first series?
Yes, again. I blogged about that, too.
TO WIN HIS WAYWARD WIFE–
1. What was Gateway’s real motive for hiring Andrew?
Though Andrew believed in the first book it was because Brooke had rebuffed Gateway that was not the real reason. The real reason is addressed at the end of the third book. Gateway’s real motives were to drive the family away from England and back to New York where Madison could find her happiness, even if it wasn’t with him.
2. What if Andrew had picked Madison?
Moot point. He wouldn’t have for two reasons. 1. When they first met, Andrew was genuinely attracted to Brooke; therefore, he picked her because their mutual attraction made her seem the best/easiest for his task, which leads to 2. Madison showed not a hint of interest in him, only confirming his choice. (It should be blindingly obvious why he didn’t pick Liberty.)
3. Why in the world did Benjamin have to be so jealous of Andrew?
He wasn’t always. He was when they were lads because he’d truly never been wanted. Not by his parents at least. Elizabeth is the only one who’d ever wanted him and when she could no longer have contact with him it hurt. Therefore, he’d acted in revenge against Andrew by having him tortured because he was jealous. However, that ended badly and put out Benjamin’s jealous feelings for many years. It wasn’t until he suspected Madison had secret feelings for Andrew that he became jealous again.
Thinking about it from his perspective, it’s easy to see why he’d suspect she had those feelings. Madison and Andrew had an easy relationship, whereas he and Madison didn’t. She openly talked and jested with Andrew, she just seemed comfortable in his presence. And don’t forget, she pleaded to Andrew for him to rescue her the day after their wedding and had many times asked to be taken back to Rockhurst, Andrew’s home. (And then there’s the infamous letter…)
In short, Benjamin had nothing else to be but jealous. He was once again watching the woman he loved give her trust, faith and perhaps her love to another man.
4. Did Robbie have to have such a large role in the third book? I was ready for him to die in the first chapter!
So was I! Unfortunately, I didn’t think him dying in the first chapter was a good idea unless I wanted to put a swift end to Brooke and Andrew’s happily-ever-after by sending Andrew to the Tower for murder. Nor did I think it really would have solved anything if Robbie just went back to America like a dog with his tail between his legs. The man needed to die so he couldn’t later come back to harass the happy couple. That’s why he had such a large role.
5. When did you know Benjamin and Madison would be a couple?
Before I finished writing the first chapter of Intentions of the Earl I knew they’d end up together. Just as I finished the second chapter, I knew the plot/motives.
6. And now, for the clues that gave it all away!
In the past month I’ve gotten a wide variety of responses to who the hero of the third book would be, some were sweet, “I was hoping the engagement ring he carried would be given to Madison” while others were of complete shock “No freaking way…Gateway? Wow.” But whether you guessed it or not, here’s the trail of clues that led to the hero’s identity:
1. There wasn’t a believable motive given for Benjamin’s actions in the first book. I mean, yes, Brooke did reject him at the beginning, but that’s nowhere near reason enough for him to act so drastically.
2. At the house party in Intentions of the Earl during the dinner where Lady Olivia snagged Andrew from Brooke and she has to sit between the drunk Mr. Cook and Gateway, it was Gateway who asked about the origin of Madison’s name.
3. This was the biggest hint: he gave Liberty the engagement ring to hold onto while he took Paul’s watch to London in Liberty for Paul. This is a big clue for two reasons: a. the fact he even had an engagement ring, and b. he told her the woman he planned to give it to wouldn’t mind it was in her possession. Of course she wouldn’t, they’re sisters.
4. At the end of the second book when Brooke first sees Robbie the ball and asks what he’s doing there, Liberty thinks she’s talking about Gateway who’s standing alone in the corner. So we know he’s there, we also know he’s carrying an engagement ring in those overstuffed pockets of his, and Liberty even mentions he’s come to London for a wife.
5. If you follow my blog you’ll notice nowhere in the character interviews I did leading up this book did I actually name the hero. Every time one of the character or I went to use his name, the other person in the interview would jump in and cut the sentence off. Even on my interview with Robbie, I didn’t call him the hero. I labeled it: Character Interview with Robbie Swift, Character from To…
6. The first chapter of the 3rd book tells you it can’t be Robbie because she’s in the hall with an unnamed man and Andrew catches them–followed by the busybody gossip lady–and they become affianced. The shock Brooke and Madison express at learning his identity when he steps out of the shadows was a hint, too.
7. One last, and somewhat obvious but overlooked hint is I don’t name a hero in the description. I just say a man who’s loved her all along.
So the clues were both subtle and blunt, but since Gateway really wasn’t a character anyone cared to read about, the clues were probably just ignored. Many people–including my own husband–were surprised.
1. Was Elizabeth really a necessary character?
Yes. Though a certain editor and with publisher didn’t think so, I did. She may have seemed an extra or unnecessary in the first book. However, she became vital to the second—someone needed to talk some sense into Liberty!
2. Will she have a HEA?
I honestly don’t know. I’ve thought of writing a novella for her where she meets the real Mr. Daltry and finds love. However, I have a problem writing novellas. I’ve tried before and they tend to turn into novels. Also, with all my other projects right now I don’t know when I’d have the time.
3. Will any of the characters from this series show up in the next?
Of course! The first book of the next series starts with Alex, so not only will we get to see him again, but it’s inevitable that his cousins will make a visit or two!
4. Why didn’t you mention the impending war or the political tensions between the countries in any of these books?
Did you really want me to? Obviously one person did, but to be honest, I have no idea how that would have enhanced the plot so I left it out.
5. Will the next series be so closely linked?
Yes and no. I have a tendency to write overlapping characters/plots and I do it again in the next series, but I don’t have a villain-turned-hero again.
If you have a question that wasn’t asked, please feel free to contact me with your question.