I originally met Valerie Bowman online through the Beau Monde’s RWA Chapter and Twitter. Then I got to meet her last Christmas while I was in Florida visiting family. Time just flew by as we sat in Starbucks chatting about writing and our experiences so far. It was great catching up with her at Nationals and watching the buzz and excitement grow as her release date approached.
So to celebrate her debut novel, SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT, I’d like to welcome Valerie and thank her for taking the time to answer some questions. I hope you guys find her answers as interesting and informative as I did.
AND we’ll be doing a giveaway! One random commenter today will receive a copy of SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT!
*** UPDATE: THE WINNER OF THE COPY OF
SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT IS:
1. What drew you to writing Historical Romances in general and specifically to setting stories during the Regency Era?
VB: I’ve been a life-long fan of historical romance and a total anglophile so when I decided to write a novel, there just wasn’t any question. Every romantic story in my head was based in the Regency. Despite the Napoleonic wars, it was such a time of fun and revelry. To me, it’s the perfect backdrop to stories of love and romance.
2. What’s the strangest bit of historical trivia you’ve picked up in your research?
VB: I’m not sure if it’s the strangest but one of my favorites (and I intend to write a blog post about the details of this for www.DashingDuchesses.com soon) is the fact that the Prince Regent himself married a woman, Maria Fitzherbert, and everyone knew it and was strangely ok with it, but she was Catholic so it wasn’t technically legal and so when he married Princess Caroline no one batted an eye. I just find that so crazy.
These next few questions assume that time travel is possible. And I know you were recently photographed by the New York Times as part of the Beau Monde’s soiree at the RWA National Conference in Regency garb, so I know you’d be able to handle dressing the part. So, if you could go back to Regency England…
3. What modern conveniences would you miss most? What would you miss least?
VB: Oh, what a fun question! Without a moment’s hesitation I have to say I’d miss air conditioning the most. I grew up in Illinois in a home without it, but now that I live in Florida, I’m strangely addicted to it.
4. What would be the hardest for you to adapt to in the Regency Era?
VB: The hardest thing to take would be assuming without question that men have all the knowledge, power, and rights and that women are weak and need to be taken care of. I’m pretty sure they’d kick me out of Regency England. Hopefully not before I asked a lot of questions and learned a lot though. : )
5. Where would you fit into the society? Where would you like to visit most?
VB: Wouldn’t we all like to be duchesses? But given my family name, Bowman, I’d probably be working class. And life was absolutely awful for those poor people. That’s why all the stories are about the nobility. No one wants to write about the scullery maid who spent twelve hours a day scrubbing kitchen utensils in the basement and cleaning out chamber pots. I’d most like to visit Bath (I’ve been there, but to see it during the Regency would be such a treat).
6. How long have you been writing? What advice would you go back and give yourself as a beginning novelist if you could? Would this advice differ from what you’d say to an aspiring author now?
VB: I’ve been writing since June 3, 2007. Yes. I remember the exact day. : ) If I could go back, I’d tell myself to come up with a better “hook” for that first novel and the second one, frankly. It wasn’t until I’d written two that I realized that just writing the same old story about a girl falling in love with her brother’s best friend wasn’t going to get the attention of agents and editors. I’d definitely give an aspiring author now that same advice. I’d also add to write to the market. I’ve had so many friends who are writing American Civil War historicals or other time periods that don’t tend to sell well. It’s difficult enough to break into publishing but if you’re writing a story that’s not popular in the marketplace, you’re upping the odds against yourself just that much. Of course that assumes that your goal is to be published by certain houses and that you’d rather be well-published than write the book of your heart. If those things aren’t true, then ignore that advice completely. : )
7. Which character (Lily or Devon) or which situation came to you first that made you realize you had to write Secrets of a Wedding Night?
VB: The truth is, what came to me first was the title itself. I’m pretty sure I thought of it in the middle of the night. Isn’t that always when the best ideas strike? I came up with the title and THEN I worried about the plot later. I just thought it was such an intriguing title. Soon after I realized SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT was going to be the title of a very scandalous pamphlet that was selling like hotcakes about the <em>ton</em>.
8. You recently became engaged (betrothed?) and are planning a wedding of your own, any secrets to share with us? Just kidding, what describes your perfect Romance Hero?
VB: Ha! I’ll never tell. (wink) My perfect hero is TDH (tall, dark, handsome), uber smart, compassionate, and a bit humorous. And he’s almost always tortured by his past. But aren’t they all? : )
9. Are you reader? What are some of your favorites?
Perhaps not surprisingly, I’m a huge fan of historical romance. All of Judith McNaught‘s historicals, anything written by Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn and Suzanne Enoch are some of my favorites but the list is too long, really. My all-time favorite romance novel, however, is McNaught’s Once and Always. Just absolute perfection as far as I’m concerned.
10. What is the most challenging part of being a writer?
The most challenging part is to make myself better, every word, every book, every story. I listen to workshops, read craft books, and study other authors’ techniques every chance I get. But I always know that my work is right for me because I can honestly say that if I won the lottery—and I mean the BIG one—I would still wake up every single morning and write romance novels. And that is a true gift, to know what your calling is in life. I’m so lucky to have found mine.
About the Author
Valerie Bowman writes Regency-set historical romance novels with a focus on sharp dialogue, engaging storylines, and heroines who take matters into their own hands! Publishers Weekly calls SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT, an “enchanting, engaging debut that will have readers seeking future installments” and Romantic Times Book Reviews says, “This fast-paced, charming debut, sparkling with witty dialogue and engaging characters, marks Bowman for stardom.” Booklist gave it a starred review!
About SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT
HOW TO STOP A WEDDING
Young, widowed, and penniless, Lily Andrews, the Countess of Merrill, has strong opinions on marriage. When she spots a certain engagement announcement in The Times, she decides to take action. She will not allow another hapless girl to fall prey to a man—particularly the scoundrel who broke her heart five years ago. Anonymously she writes and distributes a pamphlet entitled “Secrets of a Wedding Night,” knowing it will find its way into his intended’s innocent hands…
HOW TO SEDUCE A WIDOW
Devon Morgan, the Marquis of Colton, desires a good wife and mother to his son—someone completely unlike Lily Andrews, the heartless beauty who led him on a merry chase five years ago only to reject him. When Devon’s new fiancée cries off after reading a certain scandalous pamphlet, he vows to track down the author and make her pay. But when he learns it’s his former fiancée Lily, he issues a challenge: write a retraction—or prepare to be seduced—to find out how wonderful a wedding night can be…
“Secrets of a Wedding Night is the most charming and clever debut I’ve read in years!”
—New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas
Publication Date: Sep 25, 2012
St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency Romance
Your Turn: What would you include in such a pamphlet? What do you wish someone had told you to expect on your wedding night or if you’d like share a secret about your wedding night or your hopes for that night (PG-13 please!).
Don’t forget, one random commenter today will get a copy of SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT.