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Tag Archives: Amanda McCabe

Amanda McCabe has written 11 books and 2 novellas for Signet Regency, with more on the way! She’s been a finalist for the RITA, RT’s Reviewer’s Choice Award, and the Daphne DuMaurier Award, the winner of the Holt Medallion, National Reader’s Choice Award, and the Bookseller’s Best.
When not reading or writing romance, she loves doing needlework, taking dance lessons in ballet and flamenco, and digging through antique stores in search of new treasures. She lives in Oklahoma with two cats and a Pug dog. Learn more at


“LADY MIDNIGHT will enchant and enrapture readers with its great depth of character—enhanced by Kate’s conversations with her mother—a tantalizing plot with wonderful gothic overtones and a daring hero.” — Kathe Robin, for Romantic Times Bookclub
4 1/2 Stars, TOP PICK! Read the review

“LADY MIDNIGHT is a satisfying read for those who prefer their historicals modeled on the gothic overtones, luscious prose and extensive introspection of Charlottë Bronte’s Victorian-era novels rather than on the witty repartee of Jane Austen’s regencies.” — Mary Benn, for The Romance Reader Read the review

“…a lovely, uncomplicated, and completely believable story of two people falling in love over passion and mutual interests.” — Jeanne W, for All About Romance Read the review

The Interview

Q. How did you think of writing this particular book? Did it start with a character, a setting, or some other element?

It actually started with the opening scene! I had a vision of a woman in a ballgown washed up on a beach. How did she get there? Who was she? I had to find out the answers. That’s often the way stories evolve for me–a flash of a scene, a character, maybe sometimes a setting that screams out to be peopled!

Q. How long did it take? Was this an easy or difficult book to write?

It took longer than my trad Regencies, that’s for sure! By the time I got to page 220 and still had half the book to write, where a trad would be finished by then, I wondered what I was thinking. But it wasn’t a particularly difficult book to write. It was one of those stories where the characters just take off in the direction they want to go and I follow them. Unfortunately, it meant that a couple of the secondary characters started taking over toward the end of the book, when they weren’t meant to do that at all. Very naughty of those characters!

Q. Tell me more about your characters. What or who inspired them?

Well, the heroine, Kate, arose from that first scene. It soon became clear that she was Italian, the daughter of a courtesan, who wanted something different for her own life than what her mother had. She seizes the chance to make a new start the only way she can–by becoming a different woman, a respectable governess. But she can’t quite leave the past behind, no matter how much she tries. The hero is the same, in that he did things in his past, made mistakes that he still pays for. But together they learn that amends can be made, and the future made brighter by love. This seems to be a theme that pops up often in my stories–love as redemption.

Q. Did you run across anything new and unusual while researching this book?

I had huge fun researching the lives of courtesans in the Regency period! I actually compiled quite a list of great books, if anyone is interested. I also set the story in Yorkshire, a place I never wrote about before (and only visited once, very briefly, a long time ago), but it’s a spot that can get a strong hold on imagination. It inspired a very Gothic-ish, slightly spooky atmosphere. The legend of the Semerwater lake, which plays a huge part in the book, is a true story. I first found it in “James Herriott’s Yorkshire” and then found more information on the story online.

Q. What do you think is the greatest creative risk you’ve taken in this book? How do you feel about it?

Well, writing a longer book was a risk! I was very intimidated at first. 🙂 And my heroine is not your run-of-the-mill debutante. She’s older, Italian, was raised in the demi-monde. It also appears that making the villain slightly sympathetic was risky, though I didn’t realize it at the time.

Q. Is there anything you wanted to include in the book that you (or your CPs or editor) felt was too controversial and left out?

Well, Janet asked if I considered making my heroine a real ‘ho, which was funny because in the first draft of the proposal Kate WAS a real courtesan. Her character was really more like what her mother’s became in the end. The publisher thought that might be a hard sell for my first historical, so I changed it to an almost-‘ho. But her character remained essentially unchanged. She was still wary, slightly cynical, cautious, always looking over her shoulder at the past.

Q. Your stories often feature unusual or exotic settings and/or characters who come from places other than England. What draws you to incorporate these exotic elements in your stories? Your own travel, reading or something else?

I DO like foreigners, don’t I! A heroine (actually 2) from Jamaica, a hero from India, a heroine from Russia, one from Italy. Wow, I never thought about it much until now. I think I like the concept of the “outsider” coming into Regency Society. How do they see it? How do they deal with their differences? How does it affect the story that they have a slightly different viewpoint form everyone else? And how does it change the views of the character who is more the “insider”? I’m also very interested in a variety of cultures, especially Russia and India, and read so much about them I felt like I needed to use that knowledge for something.

Q. What are you working on now?

To quote the Pythons, “and now for something completely different.” I’m finishing up the first in a trilogy set in Renaissance Venice. At least the first book is set in Venice (it’s a very dark, suspenseful story with a pirate hero and a perfumer/alchemist heroine, lots of fun!), the other two are set in England, at the court of Henry VIII as he attempts to divorce Katherine of Aragon, and in the misty Balkans. I’m enjoying them very much, but I also miss the Regency. I’m hoping to go back to it when these books are done. The villain of LADY MIDNIGHT, Julian Kirkwood, has been bothering me to tell his story. 🙂

Today I’m on my way to the Romance Writers of America conference in New York City. As if that were not exciting enough, I’m getting there by car!

Lest you think a road trip from Virginia to NYC via the New Jersey Turnpike is nothing to get excited about, I’m riding with Lavinia Kent, and Julie Halperson, my long-time writing friend. Julie and I hardly ever get to see Lavinia so 4 or more hours to talk will be a super treat.

I’ve spoken to Amanda, who is rapidly recuperating, but must miss the conference, a real bummer, because this year, as Laurel McKee, she is a RITA finalist, for Countess of Scandal. I’m betting you’ll hear from her in her normal Risky time tomorrow.
Because Amanda will have to miss RWA, I thought I’d celebrate several years of us attending the conference, at least the Regency part. The Regency writers chapter of RWA, The Beau Monde, tacks on its own festivities the day before the conference. Each year the Beau Monde holds a Soiree, where many of us dress up in Regency garb. Amanda has stretched this a bit to include other eras, but she is always the best dressed.
Here’s a pic from 2002. Amanda’s dress is inspired by Kate Winslet’s in Titanic
My dress was made by my “modiste” and friend, Helen. It is from an authentic period pattern
Here we are again in 2003. Amanda is dressed as a milk maid, a la Marie Antoinette.

My modiste Helen made this dress for me, too.

This costume of Amanda’s was her best ever! This is the 2008 Beau Monde Soiree.

I didn’t even recognize Amanda at first in this costume. And I was with her when she purchased the hat in Williamsburg.

This is also the only photo I have of all the Riskies (at the time). From L to R, Elena, Cara (who bowed out of the Riskies and Carolyn took her place), me, Amanda, Janet, and Megan.
Someday we must get our current Riskies all in one place for a new photo. Unfortunately, both Elena and Amanda will not be at the conference this year.
And here is Amanda’s dress from last year. It is also the dress on the cover of her RITA finalist, Countess of Scandal.
(L to R in photo: Louisa Cornell, Amanda, Megan, Keira Soleore, Cara Elliott, also a RITA finalist)
I’ll try to get photos from this year’s Soiree, but it won’t be the same. I suspect we’ll have to wait a whole year to see what wonderful confection Amanda has for us next.
On Friday night, between 8 and 10, be thinking about Amanda/Laurel and sending good wishes. That’s the time of the RITA and Golden Heart Awards ceremony. Maybe our good wishes can make Countess of Scandal a winner!
And while you are sending good wishes, consider participating in the auction for LA Banks. Her friends in the Romance community are raising money to help with her medical expenses.
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Happy Sunday, everyone! I am soooo excited to be launching my new book, The Shy Duchess, because it’s a return to the Welbourne Manor family. After working on The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor anthology with Diane and our friend Deb Marlowe (whose own Welbourne book, How to Marry a Rake, is out in May!), I felt like these characters had become my friends. I wanted to know what happened to them, if they were happy, if they were having more adventures. With The Shy Duchess, I got to do that! I had so much fun catching up with them all, and getting to know Lady Emily Carroll, who was a very special heroine to me after my own childhood battles with deep shyness…

“McCabe knows her time period, the mores and expectations of her characters…her stories have made her a fan favorite and she does not disappoint” –RT BookReviews

Our hero is Nicholas, the eldest (legitimate!) son of the rambunctious family, and now the Duke of Manning. The heavy responsibilities of being duke and taking care of his family have been weighing on Nicholas, making him take life much more seriously. He’s also burdened with a tragic secret in his past–a secret, youthful marriage that ended after less than a year when his beloved wife died in childbirth. He mourned her alone, not even telling his siblings what happened, and he’s determined never to hurt a woman like that again. Never to give her the “cursed” title of Duchess of Manning.

But of course he can’t quit thinking about our heroine, Lady Emily Carroll, can’t quit wanting to make the too-serious young lady smile. Even though she seems all wrong for him…

Emily was born with the gift of great beauty–and the curse of paralyzing shyness. She freezes whenever she tries to talk to a man, stumbles when she tries to dance, and ends up hiding in the corner at every ball. The only time she feels comfortable is when she is doing her secret charity work with “fallen women” trying to make new lives for themselves! Her silence has earned her the nickname The Ice Princess–and no offers of marriage. She knows her penurious parents are counting on her to marry well, but all she can do is long for Nicholas from afar.

Until a masked ball at Vauxhall reveals an explosive passion, which leads to a scandal and a forced betrothal, which leads to a Welbourne honeymoon–and Nicholas begins to thaw his ice princess’s heart as well as heal his own.

If they can get past a blackmailer, Nicholas’s protective family, and Emily’s mother’s terrifying pre-marital advice…

“Come sit by me for a moment, Emily dearest. I want to speak with you about something very important.”

Emily’s stomach clenched. Whenever her mother had that tone in her voice, Emily knew she wouldn’t like what she heard. “Oh, Mama, I am very tired, and tomorrow is such a busy day. Can it not wait?”

“No, it cannot,” her mother said sternly. “This is very important. Now, come sit by me on the bed and listen to me carefully.”

Emily went with her in silence, letting her mother hold onto her hand. Her fingers were very tight, pressing the heavy emerald engagement ring into Emily’s skin. “Now, my dear, a wife has many duties, especially a wife who is a duchess,” her mother said. “I have taught you to run a house properly, to dress fashionably and to remember to be charitable and kind. But there is one last, most important duty I must tell you about, as my mother did for me the night before my wedding.”

Emily very much feared she knew what was coming next. “Oh, no, Mama.”

“Yes.” Her mother’s lips pressed together grimly. “You will have your duty in the bedchamber. Now, Emily, I warn you it will not be pleasant. It will hurt, and be rather messy. You must lie back and do as your husband tells you, and it will soon be over.”

“Mama!” Emily groaned. “I don’t really need to know…”

“Let me finish. There are ways to make it easier. I used to close my eyes and plan a party.”

Emily stared at mother numbly. “A party?”

“Yes. I would choose the china and the silver, and design flower arrangements and guest lists. Then I would devise a menu and decide on my gown. By the time I knew what to serve for dessert, it was all over and I scarcely felt a thing! As a duchess, you could plan very elaborate parties indeed.”

Emily closed her eyes, trying not to shudder. She knew the rudiments of anatomy, of course; she often visited galleries full of classical nude statues. And she knew the basics of the marriage act, what went where and so forth. But… “Mama, what exactly happens that I must fear?”

“Oh, my dear, you needn’t fear! It is our natural duty and we must bear it. The duke will show you what to do, and I am sure he will not demand anything–extra of you.”

“Extra?” Emily choked out.

“Yes. You must not touch things, or move about too much. That just makes it last longer. You are his wife, not a hired mistress. All will be well, Emily dearest, and in the end you will have beautiful babies, as I did. That will make everything worthwhile.”

Emily was utterly stunned. Pain, and–and mess? It sounded utterly appalling. She could hardly reconcile it to the pleasure she felt when Nicholas kissed her. “Is that all, Mama?” It was surely quite enough…

Please visit my website for more excerpts, plus a Behind the Book glimpse at the history of Vauxhall Gardens! You can also see more about the book on eharlequin. I will be giving away an autographed copy of The Shy Duchess (so you can see for yourself what actually does happen on the wedding night!) to one commenter on today’s post.

And who else is excited to watch the Oscars tonight????

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