Thanks to the Riskies for having me today! I’m so excited to be here, and even more thrilled to be kicking off a three-day Welbourne Manor event!
In case there are any Riskies out there who might not know —The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor is an anthology that Diane, Amanda and I wrote together. We were given free reign to come up with an idea or theme—which was exciting and a little daunting! We decided to meet for a plotting/planning weekend in Williamsburg and it was there, amidst the historical touring, shopping—and lunching—that the scandalous Fitzmannings were born.
We were inspired by the blended families of the Duchess of Devonshire and her sister Lady Bessborough and also the Elizabethan family of Lettice Deveraux, Countess of Essex that Amanda had been reading about. We were intrigued with the notion—What might happen if a Duke left his wife for his vivacious, married mistress, and lived happily with her for the rest of their days? Such a decision would have far reaching consequences for their children, both his, hers and theirs together—and we were off! The result is The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor, which chronicles the story of the three daughters of this mixed family and their difficulties as they grow to a marriageable age.
Now that I’ve introduced you to our fascinating family, on to the interview questions!
Riskies: What did it mean to you to write an anthology with two friends?
It made the whole process so much easier and a lot of fun! We were comfortable bouncing ideas off of each other and not shy about saying what we thought would work and what might not. The three of us have been friends a long time and have a history of pulling for each other. Because there was already a foundation of trust and friendship, we were free to let loose and give our imaginations free reign. Plus, now we get to spend time doing promo together! We don’t have to worry if one of us writing the Sunday blog on Saturday—LOL! And we get to go to NYC for a weekend together at Book Expo America and go to the ballet and cocktail parties—What’s not to love?
Riskies: What was it like to write connected stories? What was the most difficult?
One of the best things about this anthology is how the stories are interconnected. We sent a lot of emails after that initial weekend and it was very easy to ask each other to include something that would spark an event or affect a character in one of the other stories. I truly think it adds to the richness of the world we have created.
One of the best things is that we have all had the opportunity to do additional, related projects. I’m sure you all know that Diane’s related Undone, The Unlacing of Miss Leigh, has been burning up the bestseller charts at eHarlequin! Also at eHarlequin, I have a free, online read taking place through the month of May. Journey to Welbourne Manor is the story of a distant relation, and provides a peek at the original scandal of the Duke of Manning and his married Countess.
The most difficult thing will be saying goodbye to this family and their world, but I have hope that Stephen and I will be spending a significant amount of time together soon!
Riskies: Tell us about Annalise and the Scandalous Rake.
Annalise is the most sensitive of the Fitzmanning sisters. She prefers the isolation of her studio to worrying about Society’s scorn. She is perfectly happy pouring her emotions into her painting—until Ned Milford is invited to a Welbourne house party. What no one knows is that Ned is also Prattle, a famous, and anonymous, caricaturist bent on exposing her family’s secrets. Many obstacles litter their path to love, including a pompous suitor, a slightly scandalous scavenger hunt and a devastating artistic duel. I truly loved the time I spent with Annalise and Ned—I hope readers will too!
Riskies: What was risky about your story?
I think the riskiest aspect was having a hero who is artistic. I know that my editor expressed the worry that an artist wouldn’t be masculine enough to appeal to readers, but I believe he turned out incredibly hunky and adorable!
Riskies: What’s next for you?
Coming in October I am very excited about the North American release of Her Cinderella Season! Jack Alden was the scholarly brother of Charles Alden, Viscount Dayle in my first release, Scandalous Lord, Rebellious Miss. Jack also played a vital role in solving the mystery of the Pharoah’s Lost Jewel in An Improper Aristocrat. Now, at last, he has his own story!
He was somewhat shocked to find himself in the midst of an ancient mystery and a kidnapping plot in AIA. The experience shook him up—and shook loose a few demons, too. He’ll need the help of Lily Beecham to confront them. The daughter of Evangelical reformers, she’s determined to experience something of life at last—even if she has to drag Jack Alden along with her!
So, what do you think about The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor? Do you have any questions for Deb?
Comment for a chance to win a signed copy of The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor! And come back tomorrow for Day Two and prize two.
*Deb’s author photo is by Trevor Borchelt of Borchelt Photography