Be gentle with me, please, since this is my first time posting on Nights of Passion.
When I began writing The Duplicitous Debutante, which is being released on September 1, I had a very clear impression of what my heroine would be like. The series is about one family in New York, and the various siblings have been popping in and out of the previous five novels, so I knew Rosemary’s goals and motivations. But my hero was an unknown. He had to be manly, strong, sensitive and handsome. He would not be intimidated by a strong woman. It was a tall order.
I decided to make him a fencer. Not only would fencing improve his physique and his mental sharpness, the analogies between fencing moves and courtship moves was irresistible. With my hero taking shape in my mind, I had to quickly research where one went to obtain fencing instruction in America during the late 1850s. I discovered the Ivy League colleges did not have fencing clubs until later in the century, and was informed by Eton that they had a club which formed sometime in the late 1800s, but it was still too late for my purposes.
In desperation, I reached out to the Museum of American Fencing in Shreveport, LA. The curator there is a gentleman named Andy, and he provided invaluable advice for the book. He told me the fencing capital in the United States in the late 1850s was New Orleans, where fifty fencing masters lived and provided instruction. Most were of French origin. So my hero became half-French, and a badass fencing instructor, well able to match wits, and swords, with a strong woman such as my heroine. You just never know where research may lead your story line. That’s half the fun of writing historical romance.
Here’s the blurb for The Duplicitous Debutante:
In 1859, ladies of New York society were expected to do three things well: find a husband, organize a smooth-running household, and have children.
Rosemary Fitzpatrick’s agenda is very different. As the author of the popular Harry Hawk dime novels, she must hide her true identity from her new publisher, who assumes the person behind the F. P. Elliott pen name is male. She must pose as his secretary in order to ensure the continuation of her series. And in the midst of all this subterfuge, her mother is insisting that she become a debutante this year.
Henry Cooper is not the typical Boston Brahmin. Nor is he a typical publisher. He’s entranced by Mr. Elliott’s secretary the moment they meet, and wonders how his traditional-thinking father will react when he brings a working class woman into the family. Because his intentions are to marry her, regardless.
Rosemary’s deception begins to unravel at the Cotillion ball, when Henry recognizes her. The secretarial mask must come off, now that he knows she is a member of New York society. But she can’t yet confess who she truly is until she knows if Henry will accept her as F. P. Elliott.
The more time they spend together, the closer they become. But when Rosemary reveals her true identity to him, will Henry be able to forgive her or has her deceit cost her the man she loves?
Becky Lower Author Bio:
Becky Lower has traveled the country looking for great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it on a covered wagon headed west in the 1850s or present day middle America. Historical and contemporary romances are her specialty. Becky is a PAN member of RWA and is a member of the Historic and Contemporary RWA chapters. She has a degree in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. She loves to hear from her readers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website at www.beckylowerauthor.com