Sunday, March 12, 2017

Eleven Years in the Making! The Story Behind LORD LOVELY

Lord Lovely is the first book I wrote when the writing bug bit, way back in 2005. I love Regency, and I love secret identity stories. I combined the two in Lord Lovely, a secret identity story without masks about a Regency gentleman who writes romance novels on the side.

All of my books go slightly against the most familiar tropes in Regency romance. You won’t find many noblemen, and if they are there, they have the lower titles (dukes need not apply). And most of my heroes have to work.

So, in this story, my poor gentleman hero, heir to a baronet, has to make his own way. He earned a scholarship to Cambridge and then he found a job. His work has made him an expert in his field, and also gives him respect. Alas, expertise doesn’t translate into much money.

Enter Lord Lovely, so called because the ladies sigh “Lovely” when they read his books. To everyone’s surprise, our hero’s romance novels become smash hits. The books earns him some decent money, for which he’s grateful. But what happens to his non-book career if anyone finds out his real name?

Lord Lovely owes a big debt to the old television show, I Dream of Jeannie. The genius in that show was making the genie’s master an astronaut. The ordinary man in the street would have tossed away his job and lived in the luxury the genie could provide. But an astronaut? Throw away years of education, training and respect, not to mention some adulation? Not likely.

Same with my hero. He’s worked long and hard at his career, he’s attained some eminence and respect, and he doesn’t want anything to destroy that. His identity as Lord Lovely, writing romance--what trash say the men! (Sound familiar?) could do that.

So, Lord Lovely was born--a poor hero who works and has to muddle his way out of the unwanted notoriety his book’s success has spawned. Since Lord Lovely is a romance, of course everything works out well.

I shopped the book around to agents in 2009. No one was interested. So, I wrote a time travel novella which I entered in a contest at a small press (I didn’t win), but they subsequently did publish that story and another four novellas.

Then I went indie. After some more books, the time had come to publish Lord Lovely. But first, I published Book One in The Feather Fables series: Goosed! Or A Fowl Christmas, a Regency with fantasy elements, and in which Lord Lovely plays a supporting role. Then I rewrote Lord Lovely, taking advantage of everything I’d learned about writing since I first penned the book.

A romance also needs a heroine, and I originally named her Elizabeth. But, in my research, I found that one of the historical characters in my book was named Elizabeth. So, I had to find another name. (I used the name Elizabeth for the heroine in A Gift from the Stars.)

I’d already used up the common Regency names. There aren’t many, and the same names crop up over and over, so I needed something new. I kept my heroine’s name as Elizabeth almost up to the end, when I had no choice but to rename her. I named her Belinda.

“Belinda” is a Regency name, albeit an uncommon one, and I have her use the nickname “Bel”, which is very pretty.

I also had an ulterior motive for naming her Belinda.

I love all my heroes, but Lord Lovely was my first, and I have a special place in my heart for him. So, I named the heroine after myself.

I couldn’t use “Linda”, though, because Linda isn’t a Regency name, but “Belinda” is close enough. Bel and I aren’t the same person, but I can imagine I’m the heroine and that the hero is mine.

That’s it. My latest sweet Regency romantic comedy, Lord Lovely, has finally come to publication eleven years after I started. Some things take a while.

The Feather Fables
Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Inktera and other retailers:

Lord Lovely, Book 2 of The Feather Fables

Goosed! Or A Fowl Christmas, Book 1 of the Feather Fables

Thank you all,

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