When I started listing FAQs, I added new ones to the bottom, but that seems not
to make so much sense to me now. So from now on, I'll put the newer
questions at the top, ok? And, in tidying up, I've tried to group the older
Duchess of Love series questions
Q. What comes after the Naked books?
A. The Duchess of Love series: a prequel novella that tells how the
duchess met her duke and then three books, one for each of her sons.
Q. I see that the novella, "The Duchess of Love" is being released
only in e-format. I prefer print. What can I do?
A. I'm happy to say that the novella will be included in the print
version of Bedding Lord Ned, so anyone who hasn't made the shift to digital
won't be left out!
Q. How are the Duchess of Love books connected?
A. The duchess, who's real name is Venus Valentine, Duchess of
Greycliffe, is the ton's premier matchmaker, but she hasn't been able to
find suitable matches for her three sons. Bedding Lord Ned is the
story of her second son, Lord Edward--Ned for short--who's been mourning the
death of his first wife and son in childbirth for four years. Venus is
hoping that at this year's house party, Ned will finally put his tragedy behind him and
see Ellie Bowman as more than merely a childhood friend. Surprising Lord Jack
starts as Ned ends. Jack, the duchess's youngest son, flees the ball
after Ned's betrothal is announced to avoid a particularly persistent miss. But
the roads are icy, so he's forced to take refuge at an inn and share a bed with
a schoolboy--Frances Hadley, who is actually a damsel in disguise. In Loving
Lord Ash (March 2014), Ash, the oldest son and heir, leaves Greycliffe
Castle the day after Jack to finally resolve matters with Jess, his estranged
Q. How long does it take you to write a book?
A. I'm still figuring out the answer to this question. I think it took me over two years to write
my first book, The Naked Duke, but I worked on it in fits and starts. I'd write
regularly for a month or two, and then when things got busy with the kids, I'd
stop for a while. I was also learning how to put a novel together. I went
through three or four full drafts. Now I write faster--but not very fast,
especially when life intervenes. And it never gets easier--it may even get
harder. At the moment, I'm writing a book in
about a year.
Q. How did you get published?
A. After I'd finished a draft or two of The Naked Duke, I joined the Romance Writers of America. I stumbled onto an email loop of people writing Regencies just when published author Susannah Carleton was beating the bushes for manuscripts to enter the 2004 Golden Heart contest and keep the Regency category alive. Since I'd saved our neighborhood swim team and school Cub Scout pack, I was used to helping groups in need. I edited my manuscript to fit the category length and, after Susannah graciously helped me write my first ever synopsis, sent it in. The story made the final round. One of the editors who judged it called to offer me a contract.
Q. Why don't you use a pseudonym?
A. When my editor called, I was so shocked, I couldn't think. It's probably just as well. I have a hard enough time remembering one name these days.
Q. Where do you get your ideas?
A. I don't know. I've read many, many Regencies over the years, so I have a pretty good feel for the genre.
Deadline panic helps. And often I follow my characters--as they
develop and interact, they guide the plot and even generate ideas for
future books. The idea for The Naked Marquis, for example, came
when I wrote a scene in The Naked Duke. Charles, the hero in The
Naked Marquis, tells Sarah, the heroine in The Naked Duke, that he
doesn't envy his brother his title, that he would never want to be the
marquis--so of course I killed off his brother for The Naked Marquis.
Naked series questions
Q. Is your husband the Naked Duke?
Q. The Naked Baron happens before The Naked Gentleman--did your
publisher make you do the books out of order?
A. Not at all. While I would love to say I have a grand plan
for the Naked books, I'm afraid I'm more of a "pantser," which means I
sort of figure things out as I go along. I met Grace and David as
I was writing The Naked Gentleman. They intrigued me, so
when I got offered a new contract and the chance to continue the Naked
world, I chose to explore their relationship. Also, Gentleman was set in
1820 which is the year Prinny became George IV. I didn't want to
go much beyond that historical marker, so I went back to 1816 and began the
Baron at the Duke (of Naked Duke fame) of Alvord's ball.
Q. So how do the Naked books fit together? You don't
have a dateline in any of them.
A. I don't put a dateline on the page because a date in black
and white just seems so...definite. I like to leave myself wiggle
room. I try to get things historically correct, but history isn't
the focus of my books. For my own story-planning purposes, though,
I need to have an idea of when everything is happening. But here's a
Duke, The Naked Baron, and "The Naked Laird" (in Lords of Desire), roughly
concurrently--the Laird takes place during the Baron
1816, a few months
later--The Naked Marquis
1819--The Naked Earl
and The Naked Viscount, roughly concurrently
Naked Prince" (in An Invitation to Sin)
1821, a few months
later--The Naked King
Q. Do the books need
to be read in order?
A. I don't think
so--especially since I didn't write them in the order they "happened."
Q. How are the Naked
A. Perhaps a sort of
scorecard of heroes and heroines might help:
The Naked Duke:
James Runyon, Duke of Alvord, and Sarah Hamilton, American
The Naked Marquis:
Charles Draysmith, Marquis of Knightsdale (Alvord's friend) and Emma
The Naked Earl:
Robbie Hamilton, Earl of Westbrooke (Alvord's friend and Sarah's cousin) and
Lady Elizabeth (Lizzie) Runyon (Alvord's sister)
The Naked Gentleman:
John Parker-Roth (Westbrooke's friend) and Meg Peterson (Emma's sister)
The Naked Baron: David
Wilton, Baron Dawson, and Lady Grace Belmont (stood John Parker-Roth up at
altar years before Gentleman)
The Naked Viscount:
Edmund Smyth, Viscount Motton, and Jane Parker-Roth (John's sister)
The Naked King:
Stephen Parker-Roth (John's and Jane's brother) and Lady Anne Marston
Q. Are the novellas connected, too?
A. Yes. "The Naked Laird" happens during The Naked
Baron, at the house party hosted by Viscount Motton. "The
Naked Prince" occurs a few months before The Naked King.
Part of that story involves the "prince" trying to keep Stephen
Parker-Roth from being trapped into marriage by an unsuitable female.
Q. Was the Naked series carefully planned?
A. I'd like to say "yes," but I'd be lying.
Odds and ends
Q. Is your family proud of you?
A. Hmm. Sort of. When your immediate family consists of five conservative males and you are writing stories with s-e-x in them, mortification seems to be the predominant emotion.
Q. Who are your favorite authors?
A. Over the years I've had a number of authors on my must read list--Georgette Heyer, Joan Wolf, Mary Balogh, Madeline Hunter, Nonnie St. George, Julia Quinn, and Barbara Metzger. I also like science fiction
and paranormal romance. (My husband has accused me of never being
And I'm a slave for life to Lisa Kleypas, who gave me a cover quote for The
Naked Marquis; Eloisa James, who provided a quote for The Naked Earl;
and Elizabeth Hoyt, who so kindly read "Duchess of Love" and Bedding Lord Ned.
Unfortunately, now that I'm writing, I'm not reading as much.