Inside the Story

Inside Mr. Cavendish, I Presume

  • For years I’ve wanted to write a two-book set based on the premise: “Two men say they’re the Duke of Something. One of them must be wrong.” (Two points if you can guess where that line comes from. Or you can just peek at the soundtrack to The Lost Duke of Wyndham.)
  • The Lost Duke of Wyndham and Mr. Cavendish, I Presume take place concurrently, and their plots are very closely intertwined. When I began to develop these two novels, it became clear that if I didn’t want the plot or characters of one book to be dependent upon the other, I would need to write the two books simultaneously. Many scenes occur in both books, but from different points of view.
  • As with The Lost Duke of Wyndham, the cover was meant to evoke a romantic movie poster. I got to pick out the cover models for this one!
  • I have always been a total geek for maps, so I was very excited to be able to include some cartography in the book. The first map that Thomas and Amelia look at (the one in which Greenland looks so big) is a Mercator projection:
    Cavendish_mercator
  • Here is an example of a Mercator projection circa 1820:
    Cavendish_mercator_1820
  • Finally, this is a cordiform projection:
    Cavendish_cordiform
  • I’ve loved the idea of the Outer Hebrides ever since I saw Barbra Streisand in What’s Up Doc? Wondering where they are?

Inside The Lost Duke of Wyndham

  • For years I’ve wanted to write a two-book set based on the premise: “Two men say they’re the Duke of Something. One of them must be wrong.” (Two points if you can guess where that line comes from. Or you can just peek at my this interview I gave.)
  • The Lost Duke of Wyndham and Mr. Cavendish, I Presume take place concurrently, and their plots are very closely intertwined. When I began to develop these two novels, it became clear that if I didn’t want the plot or characters of one book to be dependent upon the other, I would need to write the two books simultaneously. Many scenes occur in both books, but from different points of view.
  • The working title of this book was The Two Dukes of Wyndham. In the end, that became the name of the two-book set.
  • The model who portrays Grace on the cover is actually the actress Ewa Da Cruz, who plays Vienna Hyatt on As the World Turns. I’d originally written Grace with brown eyes, but when I saw the cover, I changed them to blue!
  • This portrait of Marie-Louise O’Murphy by Francois Boucher is the painting that so captured Grace’s imagination:

wyndham_francois_boucher

  • The Lost Duke of Wyndham contains no references to any characters in previous books. After eight Bridgerton books, I think I was eager to create an entirely new fictional world.

Inside The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever

 

  • Version 1.0 of The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever was written in 1994, just after Splendid (my first novel) was bought for publication. For various reasons, it never quite made it onto the publishing schedule, but I always thought it was the best of my early books, so I kept waiting for the right moment to finally publish it. With the Bridgerton series complete, 2007 seemed the perfect time. I’d planned to spend 2-3 weeks cleaning it up, but I quickly realized I’d need 2-3 months. I found the process enormously exciting and enriching–it was the first time in years I was free to just write, without having to worry about what was going to happen next.
  • I resisted the temptation to drop a Bridgerton into the story, but I did keep the mention of the Duke of Ashbourne, who was the hero of Splendid. I’d included him back in the first version and saw no reason to change him.
  • Most of the book is a blend of what was written in 1994 and 2006, but some large chunks and scenes come from just one version. The prologue is almost entirely from 1994, while Chapter One is completely new. The scene in the bookshop is also almost entirely from the early version.
  • Miranda lives in the Lake District, in the village of Ambleside, which in the 19th century was in the county of Cumberland. In 1974, however, the UK enacted the Local Government Act 1972, which reorganized many administrative counties. Cumberland was absorbed into Cumbria (along with Westmorland and parts of Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire) and was wiped off the administrative map. The name still exists as a geographical and cultural term, however. But it’s a warning to historical romance writers everywhere–make sure you look at maps from the time period in which you are writing! It would have been terrible if I’d had Miranda living in Cumbria.

    1824 map of Cumberland

Inside On the Way to the Wedding

  • I came up with the title of this book during the painful title search for It’s in His Kiss. I was going through the classic movie section at Amazon, and I stumbled across A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. I thought—hmm, funny things could certainly happen on the way to a wedding. On a related note, I appeared in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum my junior year of high school. I played the pivotal role of “Third Roman to the Left.” This is not to be confused with my pivotal role in the feature film Heartwood, in which I played “Bridesmaid #2.”
  • In the summer of 2005, after nine years of marriage (and seventeen years together in total) I learned something new about my husband. He can’t stand it if his shoes are put away with the left on the right and the right on the left. (He tells me he can’t stand it when my shoes look like that, either, which they frequently do, but I’m relieved to report that he just turns and walks away.) Anyway, since I had already decided to give Lucy a few obsessive-compulsive tendencies, I thought she could have Paul’s shoe issue. But just to be fair, I gave her my OCD thing as well, which is that I always count the stairs as I go up. (My mom says she does that, too!)
  • Did you all catch the reference to opera singers (and Kate’s distaste thereof)? If you don’t understand why she’s not fond of sopranos, read The Viscount Who Loved Me.
  • Quite a few people have asked if the name “Hermione Watson” is an ode to J.K. Rowling (whose character Hermione Granger is played by Emma Watson in the Harry Potter movies.) The answer is no, it’s just a coincidence. Or possibly something from the subconscious. At any rate, Lucy is much more like Rowling’s Hermione than my Hermione is.

Inside It’s In His Kiss

  • This was actually the second version of the story. Originally, I had been aiming for a romantic adventure, so I had Hyacinth get accidentally kidnapped by privateers. After sixty pages, however, I realized that the story wasn’t working, and I set it aside. Gareth was always Lady Danbury’s grandson, though–I knew from the outset that I wanted Lady D in the story!
  • Eloisa James provided much needed help with Italian. Initially, she was just translating a few passages for me, but then I realized that what I really needed was to give her a passage in English, have her translate it into Italian and then back into English. Hyacinth isn’t idiomatically fluent in Italian, so when she translates, the sentence structure would end up somewhat awkward. And the double translation was the only way to get the full effect. For a more in-depth view of the translation process, visit Eloisa’s review of It’s in His Kiss on her website.
  • Did you see Jane Hotchkiss, from How To Marry A Marquis? Once I realized that she was about the same age as Hyacinth, and that she was related to Gareth by marriage, I knew I had to find a spot for her.
  • I had to research Little Bo Peep to make sure it was okay to mention the character in a book set in the 1820s. It turns out that the earliest mention (that I could find, at least) was in Shakespeare. Okay, okay, it was actually my dad who did the research. I was writing in Starbucks, back before they had free wifi, so I called him on my cell, and he did a web search for me. I told him I should put him on retainer, and he said, “Honey, I’ve been working for you since 1970.”

Inside When He Was Wicked

  • When He Was Wicked takes place at the same time as both Romancing Mr. Bridgerton and To Sir Phillip, With Love. This turned out to be a major pain, but I’d mentioned Francesca just enough in both of those books that I had to set the book then. (Note to self: plan things out better next time you write a series!) This is why neither Colin nor Eloise is married at the beginning of Part 2. (Part 1 takes place four years earlier.)
  • Did you notice that one of the major scenes is set at Violet Bridgerton’s birthday party? Those of you who have read Romancing Mr. Bridgerton know what Lady Danbury is going to do next when she says, “This party needs livening up.”
  • One of my favorite scenes in this book is when Violet and Francesca talk about widowhood. Readers have long asked to learn more about Violet, and I realized that I wanted to learn more, too.
  • There was no working title for this book. Even my computer files still just say, “Francesca Folder.”

Inside Lady Whistledown Strikes Back

  • Make sure you read all four novellas in order! Otherwise you’re going to know “whodunnit” before you’ve read all the clues.
  • Did you see Benedict Bridgerton in chapter two? He wasn’t mentioned by name, but fans of An Offer from a Gentleman will recognize him by his description.
  • The menu for Lady Neeley’s dinner party comes straight from Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management. My copy dates from the Victorian era, but I figured I could take a little poetic license when it came to food.
  • The Lady Whistledown columns narrating all four stories were written by me. It was rather fun to “comment” upon characters written by other authors.
  • To learn more about the other stories in the anthology, please visit the websites of the other authors: Suzanne Enoch, Karen Hawkins, and Mia Ryan.

Inside Where’s My Hero?

Hero_minxHero_dancingHero_splendid

 

  • Over the course of these books, he grew up from a slightly immature
    university student to a more adult overprotective brother, finally emerging as a shameless flirt. But although readers asked me to write a story about him, I wasn’t quite ready to do so. To me, at least, Ned was still a bit young, and I needed time for him to grow up in my mind. Then, unfortunately, Splendid and Dancing At Midnight fell out of print. There was no way I could write a full-length novel about Ned without bringing back characters from those novels, and I didn’t think it would be fair to new readers who might want to learn more about Emma, Belle, and the rest of the gang from the Splendid trilogy. Three years later, Splendid and Dancing At Midnight were brought back into print, but by then I was very involved in the Bridgerton series and didn’t want to take time off to write a novel for Ned. So when the Avon editorial department came up with the concept for Where’s My Hero (in which authors bring back a secondary character who always deserved a story of his own) I jumped at the chance to write a novella for Ned. It was really well past time.
  • Only two characters from the Splendid Trilogy appear in “A Tale of Two Sisters.” I wish that I could have included more than just Belle and Emma, but the space constraints of a novella just didn’t allow it.
  • If you like the concept for Where’s My Hero don’t miss Hero, Come Back by Stephanie Laurens, Christina Dodd, and Elizabeth Boyle. This anthology features secondary characters who finally get their time in the limelight.
  • To learn more about the other stories in the anthology, please visit the websites of the other authors: Lisa Kleypas and Kinley MacGregor (Sherrilyn Kenyon).

Inside To Sir Phillip, With Love

  • To Sir Phillip, With Love begins mere hours after Romancing Mr. Bridgerton ends. Which means that Eloise doesn’t know RMB’s big secret! Her family could have told her halfway through the book, but I decided they wouldn’t, just to be cruel. (Not to mention that the logistics for me, as the author, were too daunting…)
  • Many of my books have a working title which never sees the light of day, but To Sir Phillip, With Love had two: The first was For Eloise, Wherever I May Find Her, inspired by the Simon & Garfunkel song “For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her,” which I think is one of the most romantic songs ever written. (Naturally, the S&G song is included on my “soundtrack”  for this book.) The second working title was The Importance of Being Eloise.
  • Eloise’s letters (which serve as epigraphs for chapter #2 and on) were written well after I’d finished the book. I wanted to do something fun, along the lines of the Lady Whistledown entries in my previous books, but the muse didn’t strike until To Sir Phillip, With Love was well into the editorial process.
  • Willow bark contains the same active ingredient as aspirin and is indeed quite useful in reducing a fever.

Inside The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown

  • Suzanne Enoch, Julia Quinn, Mia Ryan, and Karen Hawkins moments before posing for our official publicity photo. I have no idea what we're looking at.
    Suzanne Enoch, Julia Quinn, Mia Ryan,
    and Karen Hawkins moments before
    posing for our official publicity photo.
    I have no idea what we’re looking at.
    All four stories in this anthology take place concurrently, and many of the characters “overlap.” For example, Susannah (my heroine) is knocked down by Anne Bishop, the heroine of “One True Love” by Suzanne Enoch, while ice skating. And when Susannah attends the theater, she does so with characters from “Two Hearts” by Karen Hawkins. We sent a LOT of emails back and forth to make sure that we got all the details right.
  • Even though Lady Whistledown is my character (introduced in The Duke and I with further appearances in The Viscount Who Loved Me, An Offer from a Gentleman, and Romancing Mr. Bridgerton), the idea for this anthology was not mine. It was actually the brainchild of Karen Hawkins, who put the whole thing together. I had a fabulous time writing it, though!
  • The opening scene takes place at a ball hosted by Lady Worth, the mother of Arabella Blydon, heroine of Dancing At Midnight.
  • The winter of 1813-14 was the coldest on record in London, and the Thames really did freeze over.
  • The Lady Whistledown columns narrating all four stories were written by me. It was rather fun to “comment” upon characters written by other authors.
  • To learn more about the other stories in the anthology, please visit the websites of the other authors: Suzanne Enoch, Karen Hawkins, and Mia Ryan.