The Riskies Welcome Back Nicola Cornick!

Risky Regencies is thrilled to welcome back Nicola Cornick, to tell us all about her new trilogy from HQN! (Out May, June, and July) For more information on these and upcoming stories, you can check out her website here–and be sure and comment on today’s post for a chance to win a copy of The Scandals of an Innocent!


Thank you so much for inviting me to visit the Riskies today. It’s always such a pleasure to visit this blog! Amanda very kindly invited me along to talk about my new Regency series, The Brides of Fortune, the first two books of which are currently in the shops. And as this is Risky Regencies I thought I should focus on what is risky and different in these stories!


The idea for the overall Brides of Fortune trilogy was sparked by something I read in the newspapers. Even though I write historical fiction I get a lot of my ideas from contemporary papers and magazines. That in itself is a risky if rewarding approach because you have to make sure that in taking a modern idea and adapting it to a Regency context you aren’t doing anything anachronistic. But the more I research, the more I realize that there are so many themes and ideas that are fundamentally the same now as they were in the Regency period and perhaps throughout history. One of these was the idea of the rights and laws associated with the title of Lord of the Manor. This sparked the Brides of Fortune series. A couple of years ago I read about a village in England where someone had bought the title of Lord of the Manor and then discovered that he could impose lots of ancient taxes on the villagers. He started to charge them for walking their dogs on the village green and for parking their cars when they went shopping. Naturally there was uproar with the villagers rebelling. I thought this would be great idea to explore in a Regency series and so the Brides of Fortune trilogy was born! Sir Montague Fortune imposes an ancient tax on the villagers that means that every lady has to marry or lose half of her dowry. Penniless gentlemen come flocking to the village and so Fortune’s Folly becomes the marriage mart of England!

The first book in the series is called The Confessions of a Duchess and it tells the story of Laura, Dowager Duchess of Cole, who featured in my previous book for HQN, Unmasked. After Unmasked came out I had so many emails from readers asking for Laura’s story that I couldn’t resist. Confessions of a Duchess is set four years after Unmasked and Laura has retired to live quietly in the country with her young daughter Hattie. Then her former lover, Dexter Anstruther, comes back into Laura’s life and turns everything upside down. Dexter and Laura parted on bad terms and now he has to marry a rich heiress to save his family but despite knowing that he has to marry for duty, Dexter finds it hard to resist his attraction to Laura. There are so many secrets keeping them apart and so many reasons why they cannot be together, not least that Laura is eight years Dexter’s senior and she thinks that to have a toy boy lover is totally scandalous! I absolutely loved writing a book with an age difference between the hero and heroine. Laura is quite a risky heroine – she’s a former highwaywoman for a start and as Dexter works for the government to keep law and order, he’s not that thrilled when he finds out!

This month the second book is out and it is called The Scandals of an Innocent. The trilogy heroines are all friends and this is Alice’s story. Alice is a former housemaid who inherited her late employer’s money so she is struggling with the snobbish attitudes of some members of society towards her – they look down on her socially even though they’d quite like to have her fortune! One of Fortune Folly’s penniless adventurers, Miles Vickery, decides to blackmail Alice into marriage and sets out to seduce her. Miles is an out and out rake, a real scoundrel, but Alice is determined to reform him so it is a battle of hearts. I have to confess that Miles is probably my favorite of the trilogy heroes! Although I love heroes who have integrity and a strong code of honor, I am a total sucker for rake heroes and Miles is a very, very bad boy indeed. He totally does not want to reform and fights really hard against it but Alice is no pampered society miss, she’s got a tough background, and she’s not going to just let Miles walk in and take what he wants! The risky thing about this book… Alice’s rose tattoo! Tattoos for women were rare during the Regency period and not at all the done thing for a respectable female. In her fabulous series about Mrs. Merlin’s Academy for Select Young Ladies my fellow Word Wench Andrea Pickens also has heroines with tattoos, which perfectly fits the racy ambiance of her lady spies! In Alice’s case it’s yet another thing that marks her out as deeply unrespectable!

And for book 3, The Undoing of a Lady, the risk I took, I think, was to create a heroine, Lizzie Scarlet, who is so outrageous that I suspect some readers may feel she goes too far. Lizzie starts the book off by exercising her droit de seigneur over the hero and goes on from there! It can be difficult to write a young heroine who is a bad girl and yet who still commands a reader’s sympathy. My editor described Lizzie’s characterization as “brave” which made me very nervous! Hopefully to understand Lizzie and her background will be to love her. She is right on the edge of control – just when you think she couldn’t possibly behave in a worse fashion she goes off and does something even more shocking. But I loved Lizzie to bits and felt enormous compassion for her (after all, being the half sister of the wicked village squire and his even more appalling brother is no picnic!) So I hope that readers will love her too. And she does have a very, very strong man as her hero – he needs to be!

I hope that in Fortune’s Folly I have created a “Regency world” that readers can step into. There is an e-book prequel to the series, The Secrets of a Courtesan, which is available to download from e-harlequin. It sets the scene and introduces some of the characters and is also a steamy love story! And I deliberately left a few story threads loose at the end of The Undoing of a Lady because I don’t think I wanted to let go of the Fortune’s Folly trilogy completely. I have a sneaking feeling I will want to go back there sometime and find out what has happened to a few of the characters! In the meantime I’m working on a new series for HQN. The first book is set in London and the Arctic. Now that really is risky!

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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Helen
13 years ago

Nicola

I started Confessions Of A Duchess today and am loving it.
I really enjoy books in a series because it gives me a chance to meet up with “friends” from previous books and getting to know them even better.

I got the Australian release of this book and the cover is beautiful.

Congrats Nicola

Have Fun
Helen

Nicola Cornick
13 years ago

Thanks so much for welcoming me back to the Riskies and thank you, Helen, for your comments about “Confessions.” I’m thrilled you are enjoying it! I loved the Australian cover too. This is the first time for me that the Australian edition has been out at almost the same time as the US one, and way before the UK one!

margaret blake
13 years ago

Very interesting, Nicola and giving just enough tempting information for me to go out and buy these books.

A Regency-Arctic? Can’t wait

jcp
jcp
13 years ago

I’ve heard so mant great things about your books!!

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Welcome back, Nicola!

Love the concepts of these books and especially the fact that you took risks with each one of them. Do your former characters take an active part in the subsequent books?

I was curious about Secrets of a Courtesan, it being an ebook prequel. It was a little hard to find on eHarlequin ebooks site (Okay, not so hard if you just put the title in the search field)

Anyway, here is a shortcut, for any of you who are interested.
http://tinyurl.com/nat77z

Nicola Cornick
13 years ago

Thank you so much, jcp! And Margaret, I’m glad that I have tempted you!

Thank you for the welcome, Diane, and also for posting up the link to the e-book. A few readers have commented to me that it was difficult to track down so I really appreciate this.

Yes,the Brides of Fortune is a very closely woven series so all the characters are in all three of the books. I loved being able to develop their stories through the series. Which reminds me, I’ve just read the review of The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor in the Chicago Tribune. Congratulations to you and Amanda and Deb! I loved the book and was so keen to get my hands on it I bought the US version! Lovely to see it getting such a great review!

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

What a compliment, Nicola! I’m so pleased you liked our little trilogy!

And thanks for the mentioning the Chicago Tribune Review! You were the first to tell me about it!

Louisa Cornell
13 years ago

Hello, Nicola!

You know I LOVED The Confessions of a Duchess and I LOVED The Scandals of an Innocent even better. Miles is SUCH a bad, bad boy, but Alice is more than a match for him. This is a wonderful, sexy, poignant love story! I can’t wait to read the next one.

What a fascinating bit of information that sparked this story. I can just the villagers up in arms over a tax to walk their dogs! What a fool! You do NOT want to get between and Englishman (Englishwoman) and their dogs!

Nicola Cornick
13 years ago

Hello Louisa! Thank you so much for dropping by! I am so excited that you have enjoyed the first two trilogy books. Must confess that I have just been indulging in a champagne afternoon tea because The Scandals of an Innocent is at number 10 in the RWA Borders Bestsellers List! Woot! So exciting for me because this is the first time one of my books has made the lists so a BIG thank you to everyone who has helped it get there!

Louisa Cornell
13 years ago

YAY Nicola on your Top Ten listing!! Completely deserved. Have a glass of the bubbly for me!

CrystalGB
13 years ago

Hi Nicola. Your series sounds wonderful. Beautiful covers.

Jane Austen
13 years ago

I’m intrigued.

Kit Donner
Kit Donner
13 years ago

Hi Nicola,
I’ve ordered my Duchess book and can’t wait to get started. You certainly are prolific- do you write 23 hours a day with an hour for sleep? I must say the 3rd book in your trilogy sounds very intriguing! Only a tremendous writer like you could pull off something completely different! Good luck with your series! Kit

Mari
13 years ago

Hello Nicola, I really enjoy your regencies.

M.
M.
13 years ago

I think other authors may secretly stick pins in a Nicola Cornick doll. Those covers are stunning, one and all.

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

So–tell us about the Arctic, LOL!

robynl
13 years ago

He totally does not want to reform and fights really hard against it but Alice is no pampered society miss, she’s got a tough background, and she’s not going to just let Miles walk in and take what he wants!

*this really intriques my curiosity of the book. Sounds wonderful. Thanks for the excerpt.

Patricia Barraclough
Patricia Barraclough
13 years ago

What a wonderful premise for a series. Your books are always a delight. I look forward to reading them all.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

The book sounds just wonderful! I cannot wait to read it!

Kathryn

Nicola Cornick
13 years ago

Hi Crystal! The covers are gorgeous, aren’t they. I was thrilled when I saw them. M, I *hope* no one is sticking pins in a Nicola Cornick doll LOL! Those stunning covers were just the luck of the draw! I have been very lucky. They are very lush and vibrant.

Caffey
13 years ago

Hi Nicola!! I so been waiting for these books! Huge congrats to you. And thank you for all those many hours of joy to read your books! I so can’t wait til I’m able to get these! Congrats! I’ll then be looking forward to those new series you are working on!

Nicola Cornick
13 years ago

Hi Kit! Yes, I know it looks as though I am prolific because I have three books out in a row but actually it took me two years to write the trilogy so I don’t write that quickly! People often seem disappointed when I say that because I can’t give any tips on how to write fast. I do know some authors who are very prolific and when I first started I think I was faster than I am now, which doesn’t really make sense given that I was also working in a full time job at the time as well! I’m glad you like the sound of the books. It was fun thinking what it might be like for Alice in book 2 to be plunged into society when she had been a housemaid only a year before and as for book 3, well, Lizzie just sort of wrote herself. She’s like a force of nature!

Nicola Cornick
13 years ago

Mari, it’s lovely to see you here! Thanks for dropping by and I’m so happy you enjoy my books. Robynl and Jane, I’m glad I’ve intrigued you!

Amanda, you were asking about the Arctic book. I went on a trip there two years ago and immediately thought it would be fascinating to set a book there. Once I started to research the history I came across all the reports of the naval expeditions to try and find the north east passage, which gave me the idea of a hero who was an explorer and adventurer. The heroine is a society girl who has to go to the Arctic on a very special quest and he’s her reluctant escort. Her major concern is whether she has the most fashionable boots for the expedition whilst he’s pointing out that if she doesn’t take the Arctic conditions seriously she’ll starve or freeze to death or be eaten by a polar bear. They have the most enormous personality clash. But the best bit, of course, is being able to have a bear in the story!

Nicola Cornick
13 years ago

Hi Caffey! How lovely to see you here and thank you very much! Pat and Kathryn, I do hope you enjoy the books. I had such fun writing a series and I hope everyone enjoys the village of Fortune’s Folly as much as I do! Thanks so much, everyone!

Deb Marlowe
13 years ago

Nicola! I’m so happy to see this series is finally here!

LOL–you’ll never have to worry about stick pins–you are a fabulous writer and an amazing person–everyone wishes you nothing but success!

Nicola Cornick
13 years ago

Thank you, Deb. That is so nice of you! I was thinking today, with the National coming up and the chance to catch up in person with so many people I’ve been longing to meet, how lovely it’s been getting to know you all!

Katie
Katie
13 years ago

I absolutely am so excited about the books!! I wanted to ask Nicola a question: what inspires you when formulating a plot?

I can’t wait to read your books,

Katie

Nicola Cornick
13 years ago

Hi Katie! Thanks for your question. What inspires me when formulating a plot? Usually I get the spark of an idea that I want to explore and then it’s the characters that take me forward. I find plotting hard – I’d have terrible trouble writing a thriller, for instance – and for me it tends to be all about the characters. So I get my initial idea and then I develop my characters and see how they take it forward. The initial inspiration could come from anywhere though; something I’ve read, a place I’ve been or a snippet of conversation I’ve overheard!