The Dashing Duchesses welcome New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Regency romance Grace Burrowes.
It’s been an excellent year for Duchess Grace Burrowes.
Not only is her book, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish, nominated for a 2012 RITA, but it also won the 2012 Romantic Times Best Historical Romance Reviewer’s Choice award.
Now, Lady Sophie’s sister gets her own story in Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, due out May 1.
Taking a quick break from picking up kudos and writing the next installment in her “Duke’s Daughters” series, Her Grace joins The Duchesses for a chat about her latest title…and her whirlwind year.
Duchess Grace is also giving away three signed copies of Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, so leave a question or comment to enter to win!
Duchess Di: Your latest book, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal (I love the title) comes out on May 1. Tell us a bit about it. What inspired you to write it?
Grace Burrowes: Maggie’s story is in part a function of what I see representing children in foster care court. It’s very hard to transplant a child from one family, where things may not be going so well, to another. The second family is full of good intentions, often materially quite secure, and yet, the child’s loyalties are torn, and the child may feel guilt, bewilderment, inadequacy, and other uncomfortable emotions—and sometimes not even be able to recognize what they feel.
Maggie is torn too, trying to protect everybody and in the process, forgetting to protect her own happiness. Fortunately, our friend Mr. Hazlit comes along….
Duchess Di: This is book five in the Windham series, how many more will there be in the series?
Grace Burrowes: The Windham siblings number eight, and then there’s a novella planned for Their Graces, as well as at least a dozen spin-offs and related books. Some of the upcoming books will feature Darius Lindsey, Nick Haddonfield, Nick’s brother’s Ethan and Beckman, Axel Belmont… so many heroes, and they each deserve a book.
Grace Burrowes: My schedule is simple: I get out of bed, tend to my animals, and then write. If I don’t have to go into the office, I write until I run out of steam, then switch to a revision project, or blogging, or promo. When I’m tired of that, I switch to another revision project, or beta reading for writing buddies. Some days, I feel like Scrooge McDuck in his money bin, frolicking the hours away with books, books and more books.
Duchess Di: Your career has been on an amazing trajectory! You’ve gone from unpublished contest queen, to published author, to New York Times bestselling author, to RITA-nominated author, in just about three years. Has it seemed like a whirlwind to you?
Grace Burrowes: Yes—a qualified whirlwind, in that I don’t know any better. It’s also the case that my parenting responsibilities are past the time-intensive phase, so I have a lot of time to devote to writing. And it’s also not a whirlwind. In recent years, I’ve been happiest when I’m writing, and I’m in the hands of a very well run publishing house (Sourcebooks) so there’s a sense of order and repose about all the activity.
Duchess Di: Congratulations on your RITA nomination for “Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish!” Can you tell us what it was like to receive “The Call” and how you feel now that the news has had a chance to settle in a bit.
Grace Burrowes: I am flattered and surprised, also chastened and humbled. When the phone rang, all I thought was: “Please do not haul me away from today’s writing project and dragoon me into an emergency child welfare hearing. Please not today….”
Not until I was driving into the courthouse a couple hours later did it occur to me to be really, really grateful for the implied honor of a nomination. Many talented, dedicated authors work long and hard without getting this recognition.
Duchess Di: You’ve enjoyed great success in the publishing industry at a time of great transition – many traditional bookstores are closing while the e-book market has soared. How has this impacted you as an author? Has it been difficult to navigate?
Grace Burrowes: Again, I don’t know any better, I have no frame of reference for what it was like “before.” My first book, The Heir, hit the shelves in December 2010, and rode the first big wave of Christmas e-reader purchases to wonderful sales rankings. The changes seem to be working in my favor, or at least not against me. Then too, my publisher has an ethic of embracing change, and that outlook can only help in the current environment.
Duchess Di: What is the secret to writing a compelling book everyone wants to read?
Grace Burrowes: If I had the answer to this one in my pocket, I’d have a lot more than five books on the shelves!
As a historical romance writer, it’s all about the characters for me. If I fail to build reader empathy for my characters—to create characters the reader can fall a little in love with—all the clever surprises and ticking bombs will only result in a whole lot of skimming and yawning. A character’s wounds and weaknesses will dictate the twists the plot must take to challenge him or her optimally, and to get the reader rooting for the character and the Happily Ever After. Once the empathy is in place… watch out!
Have a question for Duchess Grace? She’s been gracious enough to join us for a bit of tea and conversation. Three lucky readers, who leave a comment, will win a signed copy of Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal. You can also visit Duchess Grace on the web at graceburrowes.com.
Duchess Diana Quincy