Be Daring, Duke is out tomorrow! Kate was kind enough to answer some questions for us.
You can get your copy of this delightful historical romance HERE!
What drew you to the era you write in? Is there something about the time period you think most people don’t know about? What do you think would be the most difficult part about living in that period?
I grew up reading the time periods from Georgian to Regency to Victorian. Everything from Pamela and its hilarious counterpart Shamela, to authors Austen, Dickens, Trollope, Thackeray, Collins, Elliot etc. Then I went on to Barbara Cartland and Georgette Heyer. So, that world feels very familiar and comfortable.
I think one aspect of the time period people sometimes forget is that rules and habits were not set in stone. They were people just like us and did not always follow the proscribed dictates of society, especially among friends and family. Just as we put on our best behavior when walking into a formal setting and then slob around at home, so they would have done. (At least, I slob around—you may be a much better person about those things.)
Now, actually living in the time period would be anything but comfortable. Aside from the glaring problem of lack of human rights for anybody but a rich white man, there are the more pedestrian problems. The dentist, the bathroom situation, lack of vaccines, childhood life expectancy, the dangers of childbirth, no air conditioning or central heating, no light switches, the chance that the meat you bought might kill you, the impossibility of moving up the rungs of society, and on and on.
Though the current world has a host of problems, I like to remind myself of the glories of things I might otherwise take for granted. The grocery store is an amazing cornucopia, hot water comes out of the tap, I have ice in the freezer, and my Jeep will take me anywhere without ever trying to bite my leg.
What are your favorite kind of characters to write? Do you have a specific trope that you’re drawn too?
My favorite characters, which I think I do a lot of, are victims of their own human foibles. In A Very Fine Muddle series, the books are filled with these people—Miss Mayton, teller of tragic and rather gruesome tales of imaginary lost loves, Lady Rawley, proud hostess of the worst theatrical evening in London, Mr. Tattleton, the long-suffering butler who imagines the fate of the whole family rests on his shoulders, puffed up valets, and lady’s maids who pretend they are French—those are a few of the reappearing characters who are confident in their deluded perceptions.
The daughters of the series are all so approving of one another that none of them ever know what they’re bad at. Juliet writes awful odes to great acclaim. When Rosalind plays the pianoforte, it sounds like a cat fell on the keys and she is lauded as original. Viola takes up painting that is mainly blobs of something or other and her sisters stand in awe of her developing talent. Cordelia reenacts Desdemona’s death from Othello in the most dramatic terms while the family celebrates the poignancy of the performance. With the family’s constant and enthusiastic approval, all the sisters cannot help but be rather confident in their genius.
Jane Austen did this remarkably well, as did Dickens who I suspect learned it from Jane. These misinformed and deluded people are everywhere in real life and the real trick is to realize (and laugh about) the fact that we are one of them.
See any Nextdoor app to check my theory—earnest postings about the importance of putting away shopping carts! Outraged soliloquies about dog poo left on a lawn—you know who you are Janis with the retriever! Ring video reporting a suspicious kid trying to sell cookies—how do we know she is actually a Girl Scout??? Has anybody heard of this scam???
Humans are hilarious and we are all in it together.
Where is your favorite place to write? Does it change depending on where you are in the process?
Most of the time, I am in my very quiet apartment—I write all day Saturday and Sunday. In winter, I have my electric fireplace going and a light classical music channel on. In summer, I have the windows open when I can. A tropical smoothie is essential and I will talk your ear off about why you should switch from banana to avocado as a thickener.
When that glorious time comes round when the book has been written and I’m giving it a last go over, I pack up and go to Panera. Around here, it’s the only place that won’t frown if you just stay and stay and stay over one sesame bagel you finished three hours ago.
From all your books, who is your favorite hero and why?
I always do like a curmudgeon with a good heart. Along with that, I like a heroine who’s got her own problems—both of them need to fix some things before the HEA.
I did adore Lord Dalton from The Dukes’ Pact series, as he spent the first five books trying to stop his friends from marrying, and then the sixth book trying to stop himself from marrying. (Unsuccessful on all counts, by the by).
In A Series of Worthy Young Ladies, I have a soft spot for Lord Bertram, or Bertie, as Caroline calls him, from The Undaunted. He is the stickiest of the sticks and his well-ordered life is turned upside down when Miss Upton arrives to his aunt’s house. Poor Bertie is entirely flummoxed when he is exposed to somebody who only follows the rules when she feels like it.
At the moment, I hold Viscount Van Doren from A Very Fine Muddle close to my heart. He is nearly always in a state of simmering outrage. Van Doren is ready to fight everybody in the world, except for the people he loves. The rest of society better be sure to avoid a misstep in his presence, but it turns out that his wife could misstep her way to the new world and still remain highly approved of.