Interview & Giveaway with Her Grace, Grace Burrowes!

Author Grace Burrowes

Author Grace Burrowes

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.


Duchess Di: Tell us a little about your writing schedule. Do you have a favorite time of day to write? Do you set a goal for yourself to write a certain number of hours/days a week?

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



Duchess Diana Quincy



on “Interview & Giveaway with Her Grace, Grace Burrowes!
81 Comments on “Interview & Giveaway with Her Grace, Grace Burrowes!
  1. What a delightful interview! Congratulations on your Rita nomination, I know all the Duchesses will be cheering you on. I agree that the story is all about characters. You’ve done an amazing job of making that connection with readers. And I must say, Sourcebooks has blessed you with the most gorgeous covers. :)

  2. Thanks for joining us on the blog today Duchess Grace! I, too, am a big fan of your covers (and the rest of the book). They’re elegant and romantic. It makes me sad that you haven’t attended a cover shoot. Surely, that should be an author’s privilege!

  3. Congratulations to Grace! She is one of my absolute favorites, and I can’t wait for Maggie and Benjamin’s story.

    • Amie, I was a little surprised that Benjamin Hazlit strutted into the book as Maggie’s swain. I didn’t know him well, and didn’t expect him to reappear quite so soon in a leading roll. I’ll be interested to see if readers think I did him justice.

  4. Lovely post Grace and as you already know I love your books and the covers are to die for! Congratulations !

  5. Welcome, Grace! I am so happy for all of your success and can’t wait to read your Lady Maggie’s book.
    You are always such an inspiration and I never tire of hearing about how long it took you to sell or how winning the prestigious Maggie Award helped seal the deal.
    Looking forward to seeing you at the retreat this weekend!

    • Your Grace, Duchess Sharon: It’s hard to say any one thing gets a person published, but winning the Maggie may be the exception to that rule, in two ways. First, the publisher wanted to know why she could get yet another Regency debut author under contract, and the editor came back with the Maggie win and some other contest successes. Second, the Maggie judges are exceedingly generous in sharing their wisdom and making any trips to the woodshed highly productive. I am much in their debt and can recommend that contest to anybody.

    • Greetings to Your Grace, Duchess Ashlynn: Thanks, and I’m told the covers for my Scottish Victorians are just as yummy. Can’t wait to see the first one, though “The Bridegroom Wore Plaid,” doesn’t come out until December.

    • To Her Grace, Duchess Diana: That’s a tough question, but among my heroes, I’m very partial to Douglas, Viscount Amery, whom readers met in The Heir and The Soldier. There’s a story between Douglas and Gwen that I love (and hope to have on the shelves in Fall 2013). Among the published books, it would be a choice between The Soldier (Devlin and Emmy), and “The Virtuoso,” (Valentine and Ellen). More readers said “The Soldier” made them cry than any other book, and in Lord Val’s story, I was able to redeem some of my lost musical sensibilities.
      That said, the book I’m working on right now is the book I’m most in love with…

  6. I love your books Ms.Burrowes. Did you always want to be a writer? What kind of stories do you like to get “lost” in? I like the ones that are so romantic you lose track of time & space and just get wrapped up in the story,or in short–yours.

    • Gail, I never wanted to be a writer. I wanted to marry a dairy farmer and raise a lot of kids. Then I wanted to be an endocrinologist, then I wanted to be a music historian. Yes, well… It never occurred to me I might have publishable writing skills until I’d been writing for a few years, and figured, “what the heck, why not cast my bread upon the waters?”

      I love a good historical romance (Carolyn Jewel, Joanna Bourne, Loretta Chase, Judith Ivory, Mary Balogh, among others), but I’ll stay up all night reading JR Ward, too.

  7. Great interview, very helpful and inspiring for an unpublished historical romance writer like myself!

    I like Grace’s books and I think it’s awe-inspiring how fast things have seemed to pick up for her. I’m also jealous of the amount of time she has to write, LOL.

    • Virginia, don’t be too awfully jealous. I have time to write because I’m alone a lot. Yes, I thrive in solitude, but I miss my kid, miss my family, and get lonely. Then too, most of my best, best scenes involving children came from all the years when I was in parental overdrive. You think those responsibilities are keeping you from the writing, but they’re the years where you really, truly learn about love. For a romance writer, there’s no better use of your time.

      Any time you’d like somebody read some pages, feel free to send ’em my way.

      • This is great inspiration for a writer/mommy like myself! Thanks Grace. I have a 4 yr old and another baby on the way. It seems like the quiet days to write are very, very far away. But I sit down when I can.

  8. Great post! Congratulations on your Rita nomination!! Like the other commenters aheahd of me, I love your books and look forward to this one as well as all the others to come. Kepp up the great work!

  9. Hi, Grace. I have an off-the-wall question for you. You have two different names for two very different careers. Are you successfully able to partition them? Does it feel odd signing a nom-de-plume? (or have you ever started signing the wrong name?)

    • Bonnie, I’ve thought about this… and no, it isn’t hard to be Grace here, and Somebody Else there. I think part it’s because I grew up with a lot of nicknames. One of my brothers calls me Dee, the other three use a different name for me. Then too, I got to choose my pen name, and a name you choose is special.

      I’ve never mis-signed a book… yet.

  10. Grace,

    So lovely to have you on the Duchesses! I love how very human your stories are. Have you always been a romance reader? My fingers are crossed for a RITA!

    • To Her Grace, Duchess Emily: I have always, always, been a romance reader, sometimes a book a day. I consider Loretta Chase, Mary Balogh, and Judith Ivory my daughter’s honorary godmothers, because with their books, those ladies got me through so much. The idea that I might be able to pass along that gift to some of my readers is rewarding and inspiring.

  11. Great interview and congratulations on your Rita nomination!! Love reading your books.
    Who is your favorite character in your books so far and which book was the hardest for you to write.

    • Kimmyl, that is an insightful pair of questions. My favorite character is a fellow you haven’t met yet. His name is Sir Joseph Carrington, and it’s his great good fortune to fall in love with Louisa Windham. Sir Joseph limps except when he’s waltzing with Louisa. His voice is growling, unless he’s reciting poetry to her. He has no aptitude for romance but falls in love with a woman who appropriates his dressing gown when she’s waiting up late at night to make sure he gets home safely.
      Love that guy….
      As for difficult to write… I’m working on a novella for Their Graces, and because it’s a story of married love in Georgian times, it’s new territory on two fronts, in addition to being a paradigm shift regarding Percival and Esther. It’s a challenge, but a fun one.

    • Dang…that was meant to be in response to your list including Carolyn Jewel, Joanna Bourne, Loretta Chase, Judith Ivory, and Mary Balogh. Of course, my shelf also has Grace Burrowes.

      Thanks so much for being here today, and congratulations on the RITA nomination!

      I loved LADY SOPHIE’S CHRISTMAS WISH…it reminded me of Mary Balogh’s wonderful Christmas stories!

  12. Love Grace’s books. Loved Lady Sophies Christmas Wish. Great interview. Congrats on the RITA nomination. This book looks great, love the cover. Thanks for the giveaway.

    • To Her Ladyship, Chris Bails, Glad you like the books. I had great fun with Sophie in particular, never having considered the topic of a Christmas romance previously. Louisa will also get a Christmas story, which was a challenge, because I’d used up my bag of Christmas tricks. Lady Jenny ALSO will finish out the Windham series with A Christmas book… good thing my Christmas memories are so many, varied and happy!

  13. Hi Grace,

    Wow, I really enjoyed this interview, and look forward to reading “Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal”. When you’re writing your books, do you fall in love with your hero? I ask this because I always do when I’m reading them, and I always go to sleep with a smile on my face. :-)

    Congratulations on your RITA nomination, and for this wonderful opportunity to win.

    • Diane, yes, I fall in love with my heroes, and this can create problems. I’m so pleased with him, I usually have to go back on revisions and examine the heroine to make sure she’s sympathetic too. I’m getting better about giving her her due as the story unfolds in the first draft, but those heroes do draw a lady’s attention…

    • To Her Grace, Duchess Alyssa: Thanks! The RITA nomination was a big, very pleasant surprise. The idea of writing a Christmas book originated with my publisher’s marketing department, and required a lot of logistical and moral support from editorial, bookmaking, PR, and other folks. In that sense, the book is more than ever, a cooperative effort and deserving of appreciation.

  14. Grace,
    You write some of the most realistic male characters that I think currently exist in Regency period novels (many of whom would fit SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy) criteria today).

    What gives you such good insight to the male psyche?

    You know I love your books…


    • Lord William, thanks for that heady compliment. If I write a compelling male character, it might well be because I have four brothers, three of them older. Younger siblings pay attention to their elders, usually. I’m also a single mom, which has meant I’ve had to take on a lot of roles my father fulfilled in my family of origin–I’m the only breadwinner in this house, the only repairman, the only yard guy, the only tax accountant, the only auto mechanic. When you get to explore male territory first hand, you can gain some insight into Why Guys Are Like That.

      And I joined the legal profession back when it was still male-dominated, so there’s another opportunity for study.

  15. Welcome to the Duchesses, Grace, and thanks for stopping by! I have thoroughly enjoyed your books. I looove the big, rich historicals with prose that makes me want to cry for the beauty of it. I wish I could win your new release :) Alas, May 1 is just around the corner.

    Question: How do you fill the well for creative inspiration? Nature? Poetry? Art? Cooking?

    • Lady Leigh: This is a wonderful question. One of the hardest things for me to learn is when not to write. Sometimes, I’ll be hammering away at a book, and realize I’ve written myself into a corner, or I’ll get a sense that a scene just isn’t RIGHT but not know how to fix it. The temptation is to keep staring, staring, at the screen. Check some emails, play a game of Spider, stare some more. What I’m trying to do lately is Turn the Computer OFF.

      I have to trust that the scene will compost in the subconscious and eventually emerge more clearly in my head.

      As for general inspiration, I try to read in the period on as many topics as possible, primary sources if I can. A London newspaper from 1817 has loads of fascinating details, as does any period autobiography… like, say, Harrirtte Wilson’s “Memoirs of a Courtesan.” Wouldn’t you want to know what one of his lovers thought of the Duke of Wellington?

  16. Thank you for another lovely installment in the Windham family history. The brothers were amazing, and the sisters’ are managing to out do them.

    • Thanks, Larisa, but I have to say I’m surprised myself. I am a hero-centric reader and writer, so when the decision was made to write books for the Windham sisters, I had some trepdidation. In her own book, a lady ought to get more than passing consideration. Turns out, the sister’s books are drawing more on my heart than ever–maybe a testament to growth as a writer, but more likely a testament to the idea that the brothers were a “safe” place to start.

  17. Hi Grace
    As you know who my favourite hero of yours is, then I want to know , Which of your hero’s that you have mentioned or written about is youR favourite?

    • Hello, Jayne and thanks for stopping by. In response to Lady Kimmyl, I mentioned Sir Joseph Carrington, who will appear in October in “Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight.” I love all the heroes, of course, but St. Just is special to me. His struggle is not just for happiness, but for his very life.

  18. Welcome, Your Grace! (Ha! See what I did there?) I’ve been longing to read your books for so long and clearly must vault them to the forefront of my TBR room (so much more than a pile, I’m afraid). From reading the comments, The Soldier sounds like it might need to be #1.

    You mentioned reading period autobiographies. Do you have a favorite?

    Thanks so much for being here today!

    • To Her Grace, Dary: Hariette Wilson’s memoir are funny, touching, insightful, and ultimately sad. She never violates a man’s intimate confidence, but she gives a glimpse of an age where values were different, but still not necessarily any more favorable to women. I would not undertake to write about the Regency without having read a biography of Wellington, or biographies of George III and his offspring. Working through a biography now on Beau Brummel, “The Ultimate Man of Style.”

  19. Congratulations on your new release. Have you ever started a book and the hero or heroine is just not working, so you wind up scrapping that character and creating a new one?

    • Lady Kim, it hasn’t happened yet, which isn’t to say it won’t. The following advice made sense to me about writing: Whatever your process is, pantser, plotter, outline the first half and wing the second–WHATEVER your process–a really good book will come along that will require you to embrace the approach you thought you never would.

      It’s probably true that some story concept I think will be my best ever will result in the very scenario you envision: They just don’t like each other THAT way, and I’ll have to abandon ship.

  20. Congratulations on both the new release AND the RITA nomination, so exciting for you! Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal looks great and I can’t wait to read it.

    bas1chsemail at gmail dot com

  21. Grace an Di,

    What a fantastic interview. I truly enjoyed reading The Heir, feeling as if I’d landed upon a recently written sumptuous novel, the like hasn’t been seen in over a decade. I loved that the story took its time. I’m so over the moon for you and its success.

    And I positively LOVE LOVE LOVE your likening yourself to Scrooge McDuff diving into books instead of money bags. What a positive way to embrace what you do.

    Thanks for sharing

    The Dark Duchess Maire Claremont

    • To Her Grace (D2), Maire Claremont: That image surely dates me, and also reveals that I spent many afternoon with nose plastered to a Disney comic book. That is how I feel, though, and hope I always do.

  22. Duchess Grace,
    I do wonder, how long do you plan to continue in the legal field? I cant imagine going back and forth between the two the way you do. It obviously works for you. But I was curious.

    • Greetings, Lady Lisa, and yes, it’s getting harder and harder. Writing, I’m dealing in happily ever afters, in the child welfare biz, there are too many unhappily ever afters. That said, it’s meaningful work, and I have a daughter in college who has significant academic potential. I might be suiting up to head for court for a while longer.

  23. I read a lot of historical novels but The Heir really got me because the characters were fleshed out, not stereoypes, with real emotions and feelings – I loved it! Have since read every book and look forward to Lady Maggie. Keep up the good work!

    • Lady Ruth, many thanks! The initial reviews for Maggie are positive, so I hope she’s up to your standards. Look for Lady Louisa and Sir Joseph in October (“Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight”) and my first Scottish Victorian, “The Bridegroom Wore Plaid,” in December.

  24. Grace,

    Congratulations on your nomination! Your books are wonderful, just wonderful. You show just how extraordinary the daily moments of our lives can be. Sophia caring for a child. Val showing his love for others through music, Dev’s protective nature, Westhaven bearing the responsibility for the benefit of his family, Anna and her flowers and sweets, the meddlesome Duke, etc. I love that there is minimal intrigue, no real duplicity… I remember reading that you are a lawyer, and after reading your books, I said, “She HAS to be a family laywer!” The evidence is all throughout the pages!

    My question for you… If each of your books could have a soundtrack, what would it be?

    I think The Heir needs something majestic and brooding… One of the moody Russians, I should think…
    The Soldier needs something healing, like Mozart
    The Virtuoso… Beethoven… definitely
    Sophia… Something baroque… Locatelli?
    And Maggie – Judging from her appearance in Sophie’s book… Segovia – Spanish classical guitar, I think.

    • Lady Olivia, thanks for those kind words, and yes, I am a family law attorney, though I don’t do custody or divorce work (if I can help it). My focus is child abuse and neglect, and adult pubic guardianships. I also spent ten years before the mast as a contract attorney for Fortune 100 companies… And before that I got a degree in music history (I know we’re way past TMI), so…
      Soundtracks: The Heir: Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini
      The Soldier: Slow Movement to Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto
      Virtuoso: Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring, as performed solo piano by a handsome, dark-haired fellow in formal Regency attire with lace at his throat and cuffs…
      Lady Sophie: The Christmas portion of “Messiah” by Handel, played over and over again…
      Maggie… Brahms’ Clarinet Sonatas… Though I could be talked into Chopin’s Nocturne in E minor…

      Have to think on this further… wonderful question.

  25. Grace Burrowes,

    I am so happy these families have you for an attorney. Your work must be a roller coaster – heartbreaking and rewarding. Thank you for what you do.

    As for the music… I love your choices! Since the characters are of your creation, I bow to your inimitable wisdom on this one…

    Give me 5 more minutes, I would come up with more alternatives…

    Endless fun!

  26. I’m so happy to hear that there are lots of siblings and secondary characters that will get their own books. That means there will be lots of great stories to come in the future and I’m happy about that. I’m looking forward to reading Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, it sounds like a fantastic story.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

    • Lady Barbara, if you (or anybody else) would like an excerpt from some of the upcoming books (Douglas, Heathgate, Greymoor, Lady Louisa, Lady Eve, Nicholas, Darius, Hadrian…) then just send me an email at I’m also hoping to get and e-novella done for Their Graces next April…

  27. Congrats on the great nominations! They are definitely deserved :) I”ve been loving this series and it’s great to hear that all the siblings are getting their own books!

    • Lady Yadira, I’m reading Mary Balogh’s “The Proposal” and I just finished JR Ward’s “Lover Reborn.” Also working on a biography of Beau Brummel, and a craft book called, “Story Engineering.” So many books, so little time!

  28. Ladies Anita, Na, and BN, many thanks for coming to call, and for your kind sentiments.

    Lady Yadira, I just picked up JR Ward’s “Lover Reborn,” I’m working through “Story Engineering,” and also “Beau Brummel, the Ultimate Man of Fashion.”

  29. As a family law attorney, I assume you must have lots of experiences with divorces and the reasons for them. From some of the situations you encounter with your clients, do you glean ideas for your books?

    I love everything you write!!

    • Connie, thanks so much for that sentiment (complete with exclamation point, I do note). I stopped litigating divorces in any quantity years ago, and have kept my focus on child welfare cases for the most part, though I also mediate divorces and handle some elder care matters.
      I would never EVER use a client as the template for a character, but I do probably build emotional settings on what I see in court. Maggie having to chose between family of origin pathology, and family of choice good emotional health, is something a lot of foster children face. It’s hard for somebody not in their shoes, to gauge the magnitude of the dilemma those children have to resolve.
      So yes, the day job illuminates the writing, but I hope only generally.

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