Stealing the Duke is out tomorrow! Lexi was kind enough to answer some questions for us.
You can get your copy of this delicious 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?
Like many readers, my introduction to romance was through historical romance, and while a trip to Scotland first interested me in writing a Medieval Scottish romance, that book has never seen the light of day, and for good reason. However, as a literature major, I was fascinated by the time periods of the literature I was reading from Beowulf to Charles Dickens.
What I enjoy about the Regency era is that for all its social rules, it was more lax than the Victorian era, yet in the middle of the industrial revolution. I love finding curiosities within the period that spark more ideas for my stories. For example, in STEALING THE DUKE, Joanna gets to visit a Mechanical Museum where she sees a mechanical silver swan that is still in existence today. In addition, I discovered that some Regency gentlemen would by books with false covers to hide the true salacious content to be found within the pages. In fact, it is this type of book that Joanna steals from the duke!
I think for a woman of modern sensibilities and independence, like myself, the hardest part about living in the Regency period would be the role I would be expected to fulfill. I’m the opposite of a housewife. I can’t even cook and don’t try to, though I have learned how to make my own ice cream. Oh yes, and two of the Regency’s favorite ice cream flavors were Strawberry and Parmesan Cheese. Now, I’ve made Mascarpone Cheese ice cream which is one of my favorite flavors, (Joanna’s too), but I haven’t had the nerve yet to try Parmesan Cheese ice cream 😊
Which comes first for you: the plot or the characters?
Definitely characters. My romances are inspired by classic literature. I don’t retell classic stories, I write new ones, but elements from those classics start my mind racing, and it always starts with the characters. For example, in my Marrying a Mabry series, I was inspired by Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women. In fact, each of my heroines is modeled after one of the March sisters in the classic. So STEALING THE DUKE features Joanna Mabry (Jo March), and she’s quite the intellectual. She’s also like Jo in that she is a bit unconventional but tries to stay within society’s parameters. She also tries to improve herself as Jo does, so her character really drives this story. That’s not to say that a reader needs to have read Little Women. Not at all. But if a reader has read the classic, they will find another layer to my stories.
Do you know where the story is going before you begin, or does it come to you as you write? Do scenes come to you fully formed or are you as surprised as the reader?
I’m not a plotter, but I do need a few pieces of the story before I can start writing. I need to know my main characters backgrounds, their motivations, their goals, and what the big black moment will be, when it looks like they won’t ever be able to reconcile. Once I have that, I start writing. Many of my scenes grow organically, so while I think I know where a scene is headed, many times my characters take over. I usually go with it since they are acting true to themselves. Most of the time, it actually works out better than what I had in mind. Plus, I love being surprised by information they reveal or what they do.
From all your books, who is your favorite hero and why?
I really enjoyed James Huntington, the Duke of Northwick in STEALING THE DUKE because what girl doesn’t love a well-read man with a library she can only dream about? He’s also wonderful because he can accept that he isn’t perfect and learn from that. However, I have to admit that my favorite hero to date is my version of Frankenstein’s monster. As an immortal “born” in the Regency period from Mary Shelley’s genius, I enjoyed learning about him and how he lived after Dr. Frankenstein died. It was a pleasure to give him not only a name, but his own love story in HEART OF FRANKENSTEIN.
What do you like to read when you’re not reading in your genre? Did you have a favorite book or series when you were growing up?
When I’m not reading romance, I read classic literature. I know that sounds deadly boring, but the craft, the vocabulary, and the multiple themes hidden within it are such an inspiration to me.
I love that you asked about my favorite book or series because whenever asked that question, my answer is always the same, the Little Women trilogy. You can imagine how thrilled I am to be writing my own spinoff from my favorite books. I consider them my favorite series because of how they influenced me as a tween. It’s a lot easier to answer that question with a book from my growing years than what has been my favorite romance or favorite fiction book. That’s like trying to nail down my favorite ice cream. Impossible!