I have finished copyedits on the The Luckiest Lady in London. And thank goodness I didn’t need to rewrite half the book during copyedits–which isn’t something I can say about every book.
So here I should officially thank Loretta Chase, who is now responsible for a quarter of my creative output in single-title historical romances. His at Night was my attempt at recreating Mr. Impossible–and like most my efforts at mimicry, ended up being quite something else.
The Luckiest Lady owes its genesis to The Lord of Scoundrels. I read the book late in the previous century and thought to myself, Hmm, what if, after a pretty horrendous childhood, instead of turning into Lord of Scoundrels, a man turned into The Ideal Gentleman instead? Two sides of the same coin, right?
And thus was born the fastest book I’d ever written, called, of course, The Ideal Gentleman. I completed it in three months, loved it, and declared to His Hawtness that I expected to produce four books a year from there on out. And then I promptly spent the next two month napping–I happened to be very pregnant with my second child and the lethargy was fearsome.
I did send the book out during my last trimester to an agent. The day I came home from the hospital, Jr. Kidlet in tow, she called and offered representation. Ah, what a happy week that was. But the book would go on to not sell, I would go on to write manuscripts the agent hated, and we would part ways several years later.
But I never stopped liking the book. After Not Quite a Husband was done, this was the book I tried to pitch as my next book–didn’t take. Summer of 2011, I’d almost decided to self-pub it, when I realized that it actually fell under my option clause, and I would be violating my contract if I didn’t offer my publisher a first look. And then, last year, when my agent said that I should not just walk away from historical romance, I said I would consider a new contract only if my publisher was interested in purchasing this one as part of a two-book contract.
And yes, my publisher was interested in the book. And no major revisions required either.
Easy peasy. I schedule the month of February 2013 for revisions and went back to working on the sequel to the YA fantasy.
Came February, however, I had a problem: I had changed since the last time I’d read the book and I didn’t like it as much anymore. In fact, I’d turned completely against it. The hero was a total wimp and the heroine far, far too smug.
Nothing to do but rewrite the book from scratch. And clearly the month of February wasn’t going to be enough. So I asked for an extension, finished the first draft of book 2 of the YA fantasy in mid-March, and then set to work again on the historical romance, now rechristened The Luckiest Lady in London.
I have to say, I don’t remember having so much fun writing a romance in a long, long time. Now, the author having fun and the reader having fun are two entirely different experiences and may or may not overlap. But I can’t help but believe that my own glee must come across somehow, somewhere.
The spine of the book is still the same, a boy with a horrendous childhood growing up into a paragon of manhood–or at least appearing to be so. But underneath he is a bit evil and when the right girl appears, all that scoundrel-ness comes to the fore. And once the girl finds her footing–after all, one usually doesn’t expect The Ideal Gentleman to be anything but–a battle of the sexes ensues.
Telescopes are deeply involved.
Gigi, Lady Tremaine, makes a guest appearance–the incident is referred to in Private Arrangements. The year is 1888, she has just run into Camden in Copenhagen, and has returned to England distraught and in need of comfort. What do you mean Lord Wrenworth, her good friend and former lover, has married in the weeks since she left to tour Scandinavia?
(Come to think of it, Lord Wrenworth and/or his estate has been mentioned in five out of my seven books. In Private Arrangements, he himself was on page. In Delicious, the secondary heroine, Lizzy, had wanted to marry him because he was so rich. In His at Night, when Freddie joins Vere at the beginning of the book, he’d just come from Huntington, his friend Lord Wrenworth’s place. And from the Fitzhugh Trilogy, when Hastings finds out about Helena’s “affair,” they were at, you guessed it, Lord Wrenworth’s country seat.)
(Lord Wrenworth is the connecting thread in all my books!)
An excerpt is up on my website. Click here to read.
And of course, there is no getting out of here seeing a couple of foreign covers.
Next up, romance-wise, the martial arts epic that had long baffled me over how to fit an enormous backstory and three effing separate timelines–and you thought my alternating timelines were bad–into the constraints of a historical romance. (No, it wouldn’t have worked as historical fiction either, since it is pure, unadulterated wuxia, closer to historical fantasy than actual, history-based fiction.) There is no doubt I have to throw out the whole coming-of-age backstory. So now the question is, do I let go of it completely, or do I beef it up into a book of its own, a prequel to the portion that functions as a historical romance?
It would be fun–and probably lots of work–figuring that out. But it’s totally work I cannot wait to do.
Overall, I am at a very good place writing-wise. Everything on my plate is something I am itching to sink my teeth into, from revising Book 2 of the YA fantasy, to figuring out how to tackle the martial arts epic.
Hope you are having a fantastic summer too.