History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

27 May 2010

Welcome, Debra Mullins!

Tempting A Proper Lady
by Debra Mullins


Two years ago, dashing Captain Samuel Breedlove disappeared without a word. But he's resurfaced in London a wealthy man, only to discover his fiancée planning to wed another. Now Samuel needs to restore his good name and expose a villain--and tempting, temptable Cilla seems an ideal accomplice.

Priscilla Burke knows the marriage of her charge, Annabelle Bailey, to the Earl of Raventhorpe must be perfect. It would be madness for her to even consider doing anything that would mar this beautiful day and destroy her fledgling career as a wedding planner. Why then is she so drawn to this irresistible stranger who insists she help him sabotage the impending affair?

But a proper lady’s desire is nothing to toy with. And a man whose character has been questioned cannot allow himself to dream of happily ever after. This not-so-innocent seduction may have unforeseen consequences…

TEMPTING A PROPER LADY is set in Victorian England. Is there a particular reason you chose that year?

I needed Americans in the book, and it was one of the periods where England and America were not at war!

How did you become interested in this time period? What you love about it?

I’ve written mostly Regency set historicals and wanted to do something a little different. The Victorian era appealed to me because of what was going on in America at the time with the Golden Age of railroad and coal barons. I’ve always been fascinated with that period in history right before the turn of the century.

What do you like least about this period? Anything that constrained you or that you had to plot carefully around?

Believe it or not, I had to plot around all the technology! The mail service was up and running, people took trains for long distances, the transatlantic telegraph was operational. I was used to writing Regencies and had become accustomed to plotting in that timeframe with much slower ways of doing things. I had to make adjustments!

Anything you flat-out altered or “fudged”? If so, why?

Not so much altered as ‘translated.’ In this era, there was no such thing as a wedding planner. That concept did not come around until much later. But I needed the equivalent of a contemporary wedding planner to make the plot work, so while Cilla Burke’s job is technically assistant to Mrs. Bailey, she happens to specialize in organizing weddings. Just sort of fell into it. However, on some of the promo, you will see the publisher referring to her as a wedding planner for the sake of quick understanding for the reader.

Any gaffs or mea culpas you want to fess up to before readers get their hands on the book? I know I always seem to find one after the book has gone to press. *sigh*

Hopefully I caught any errors before we went to press! I did have someone running off to Gretna Green, only to discover that law ended about 20 years before my book takes place. But people could still run off to Scotland to get married without parental consent, as long as one of them had resided in Scotland for at least three weeks. So I got around that by giving the groom an estate in Scotland.

Tell us a little about your hero. Something fun, like his favorite childhood pet, or his first kiss.

Samuel Breedlove used to sing to his sweetheart Annabelle at night as they sat on her parents’ porch.

What sparked this book? Was it a character? An historical event? A scene you just couldn’t get out of your head?

The idea for this book came from a casual conversation with my editor at a conference. She was about to be in a wedding and I had just planned my own wedding, so we were chatting about how crazy people get when they have to be in a wedding. Later that day, I found myself scribbling down the first inklings of the idea that became the Brides of Nevarton Chase series. This is book one.

Did you have to do any major research for this book? Did you stumble across anything really interesting that you didn’t already know?

The Victorian era was new for me, and a lot was happening in England at the time. The world in general was exploding with new technology. One thing I did learn was that most of our current traditions around weddings started with Queen Victoria, including the bride wearing white on her wedding day. Before that a girl would just wear her best dress.

What/Who do you like to read?

I love the classics like Julie Garwood, Loretta Chase and Amanda Quick. Nora Roberts is my favorite writer, especially her J.D. Robb series. I also love Jayne Ann Krentz in all her incarnations, Marjorie M. Liu and Robin D. Owens. Mercedes Lackey is another favorite.

Care to share a bit about your writing process? Are you a pantser or a plotter? Do you write multiple drafts or clean up as you go?

I am a pantser for the most part. I write a synopsis of the whole story and then I start writing the story. If I know where I am going, I can write very quickly, and the characters come to life on their own. Most of the time I read over what I wrote the day before, make some edits, then move forward.

What are you planning to work on next?

I just finished TOO WICKED TO LOVE, book 2 in the Brides of Nevarton Chase series, which is about John Ready and Genny Wallington-Willis. It’s due out from Avon in June 2011. I am currently planning book 3 about Annabelle and Black Bill, and I am also working on a paranormal contemporary series for Tor Paranormal Romance.


Blogger Unknown said...

Wow, Deb, you sound like one very busy woman!

Branching out into a whole new era would be such a tremendous amount of work, but branching out into other subgenres at the same time verges on "intrepid", LOL!

I’m sure this series will be a great success for you! People love weddings (personally, I resisting the urge to form and addiction to Say Yes to the Dress).

11:01 AM  
Blogger Pam Rosenthal said...

Congrats, Deb. How exciting to have so much going on.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

Welcome, Debra! Thanks for visiting us! As someone who consistently writes in the Regency/Napoleonic era, like Kalen I really admire you for branches into other eras and even more so other genres. Your new book sounds great. The Gilded Age is fascinating, and stories that deal with both British and American characters are really interesting.

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will say the words "wedding planner" in the blurb were a bit jarring.
This sounds like it will be a good book. You are going to be one busy lady with the other books you have lined up to do.
Best of luck with it all.

9:28 PM  
Blogger Kim in Baltimore said...

Aloha, Debra! Tempting a Proper Lady has a gorgeous cover ... no doubt the story will be a fun read!

Are you attending RWA in Orlando? Perhaps the Dapper Dans can come over and serenade RWA!
(we talked about barbershop singning last year in DC).

9:32 PM  
Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

Another Debra Mullins book. Yay! Interesting that you had to write AROUND the technology. I can see where that might be a problem. I love the idea of a Victorian era wedding planner. And the Gilded Age has so much potential.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Brownpaperbaggirl said...

I enjoyed reading this post! Just to add, I'm happy that I've come across this blog, as I have just began writing a more historical type novel myself.

8:56 PM  

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