His Enterprising Duchess is out in a few days! Peri was kind enough to answer some questions for us.
You can get your copy of this heartfelt historical romance HERE!
Did you always know you wanted to be an author? What is the first story you remember writing? How did you get from there to where you are today?
I have always been a reader, though grad school beat it out of me for a while. As far as a writer… I probably did, though I wasn’t sure where to start. I do remember tying a stack of notebook paper together and writing a title on the first page—“The Maverick” (I think it was going to be a western romance with horses in it). I didn’t get past the first few paragraphs, but I was 13, I think.
And then I had a trusted high school teacher tell me I wasn’t creative, and it stuck. Instead I studied literature, gender studies, and technical writing in college. I was a paralegal, where I wrote a lot of legal documents. I also had a LOT of life experiences before I sat at the keyboard with something to say.
The first story I wrote was…not good. Seriously. Two nice people falling in love. No conflict, no character arc, full of every romantic cliché you can think of. And it was a head-hopping nightmare. But the second one was better, and the third was better still.
As far as historical fiction, and this series, I had an idea that was made for historical romance—which is the majority of what I read. I was terrified to write it because I didn’t want to mess up my research. A dear friend, also a lover of historical romance, dared me to try.
And here we are.
How much research do you do into the time period and places you write about? What drew you to the era you write in?
I live in the southern U.S., and I’ve never been to Britain. I do as much research as I can to make sure my characters seem like their British and not American transplants. I tend to research enough to make sure my details are accurate. I’m a fan of Google, though I do have a few reference books on my shelf. I definitely want to get the places right, and that includes everything to what flowers would be in the gardens and what happens in different seasons.
His Enterprising Duchess has a lot of food involved. I did frequent research on menus and customs. Thea is an herbalist, so I needed to know what herbs grew where (and when) and what they could be used to treat. Since Oliver owns a lumber mill, I did a ton of research on the lumber industry and saws run by steam engines. This series deals with business owners, and I want the details of those businesses as right as I can get them.
I like the Victorian Era because so much was changing, but so many things were still the same. I chose early Victorian because if my research drew me into the Regency Era, I could fudge a bit. LOL. I wanted to tell stories outside of London, or at least outside the ballroom, and I wanted to write about rule-breakers. I think the Victorian Era lends itself to those types of stories.
My background in women’s history played a part in forming the theme for the series and the lending circle that’s the unifying device. I like writing about women who have the courage to go after the lives they want but don’t let their ambition get the better of their social responsibilities.
What are your favorite kind of characters to write? Do you have a specific trope that you’re drawn too?
I love writing stories where both characters are flawed and must grow. An already “perfect” person will rarely fall in love with someone who doesn’t have their life together. And, just like in real life, those “perfect” people are usually boring and fake. My heroines, as a rule, won’t dither or wait on someone to come save them. My heroes usually think they’re in charge–until they meet their match.
I haven’t met a trope I didn’t like. The next two books in this series are spins on best friend’s brother/friends to lovers and boss’s daughter/enemies to lovers. I have stories planned for bluestocking spies/marriage of convenience, spinster/seasoned romance, and a forced proximity (I think).
From all your books, who is your favorite hero and why?
From all my books, my favorite hero is almost always the last one I wrote. However, I will say I adore Oliver in His Enterprising Duchess. He has this approach to life and loss, and how love endures, that is special.
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 was growing up, I loved Little Women and Louisa May Alcott. I also enjoyed the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Now I adore the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, The Lynley Mysteries by Elizabeth George, and The Mitford Series by Jan Karon. I try to regularly read craft books and improve my writing skills.