SPECIAL INTERVIEW WITH MEREDITH DURAN
Meredith Duran is the best selling author of over a dozen historical romances. Meredith’s passionate and well-drawn characters are original and always exciting to read. She is also known for her atypical and complex story lines. Plots that have kept fans on their toes, wondering what this sly author has in store for them next!
In her latest book, A Lady's Code of Misconduct, she continues her Rules for the Reckless series. It is set to be released this February 2017. And I had to find out more!
1) How did you start writing historical romance? Is there a favorite time period you enjoy the most and why?
As a teenager, I loved historical fiction but couldn’t find many novels that featured female protagonists. (The 1990s were a different time, indeed!) Then one day I stumbled on a Judith McNaught book and discovered everything I’d been searching for: a close attention to the history of everyday life, to customs and social rituals, and to female characters to boot! I was an avid reader of historical romance long before I started writing them.
Most of my own novels are set in the Victorian period, which is by far my favorite to read about. Do you remember life without the internet? If you’re in your thirties, you probably do. You also probably have paused to marvel over how much the internet altered all the things you took for granted as a child. Think of what the daily mail delivery (or the library, or video stores, or shopping trips) meant when you were little, compared to now.
Late Victorians also lived in the interstices between two eras. The advent of the telegraph (and the spread of railways and improvements to steamships, and, in the very late Victorian period, the telephone) made the world feel suddenly smaller, and far-flung places more accessible. But my heroes and heroines also remember reading by candlelight, and waiting three months to hear from relatives gone overseas. It’s a fascinating time to explore.
2) What do you think makes historical romance in particular so special?
History can feel like a dry recitation of facts about distant, bloodless figures. Historical romance insists that we apprehend the past as it truly was: full of living, breathing people who woke up in bad moods, fell in love despite their better judgment, stayed awake too late worrying over relationships and bills, and lived through the great moments of history with the same anxieties and aspirations that we feel today. Historical romance recoups the humanity of those who lived before we were born.
3) Is there any era in history or historical event you would love to write about but may not so popular?
I am fascinated by early Roman Britain, but it would be hard to set a romance in a period so fraught by violence and upheaval.
4) Historical books often limit female characters. Their education and positions. Do you find these constraints make it difficult when you write about your heroines? How so?
This is one of the reasons I enjoy writing books set in the late Victorian period. Women’s roles were expanding dramatically. It was not unusual to see women working as clerks in the postal service, for instance. The question of a woman’s role in public life was up for active debate in late Victorian England, which means that when my heroines question the norms, they are, in fact, being historically accurate. :)
5) How did you come up with the Rules for the Reckless series? How many book do you plan to write in the series?
I set out to write about a trio of women who (wittingly or unwittingly) violated the extant social codes that governed polite society. Lizzie (That Scandalous Summer) is an unapologetically merry widow; Olivia (Fool Me Twice) is unapologetically illegitimate; Lilah (Lady Be Good) is a reformed thief. I intended to stop the series there, but Lilah’s employer, a cold-blooded businesswoman named Catherine, so caught my fancy that I ended up writing her book as well (Luck Be a Lady). In short, the series is an organic development at this point, and I’ve no notion of when it will officially conclude!
6) Can you tell us about A Lady's Code of Misconduct? What inspired you to write about a hero with such complexity? (I thoroughly enjoyed reading this romance. I have to admit it is a rare author that can create a villain and turn him into a hero of such worth!)
You nailed it when you used the word “villain.” I try to set a new challenge for myself with each book, and for this one, I decided to start with a proper villain – the sort of dark, dangerous bad boy that mothers warn their daughters about – and put him through the wringer until he emerged a hero. I’m so glad you think I succeeded!
7) What makes A Lady's Code of Misconduct special to you?
Oh, so many things about this book make it special to me! First, I always wanted to write an “amnesia book” – this is such a classic device in our genre – but it took ten years (!) to find the right story.
Second, this book felt like a pretzel when I was beginning to write it; the plot is so twisty that it took weeks to wrap my mind around it. But once it clicked, it made for the most seamless writing experience I’ve ever enjoyed.
Third, no scene has ever intimidated me as a writer like Crispin’s speech in Parliament. I spent days buried in books on parliamentary procedures, period descriptions of parliamentary sessions, transcripts of speeches, and so on. I still vividly remember my exhilaration when I finished writing that scene.
And, of course, Crispin himself makes this book special. I don’t think I’ve ever written a bona fide villain-as-hero before.
8) Your characters have had a wide variety of backgrounds. What quality do you think is essential for your hero/heroine to possess and why?
Since this is romance, I think we all idealize our protagonists to some degree. I like my heroes with a modicum of self-awareness and humor (dark or no), because these are crucial qualities when the going gets rough, and my heroines deserve a man who knows why he’s upset, is able to explain it, and even to laugh about it shortly thereafter. My heroines—I think I’ll be honest and say that I invest each of them with a degree of shrewd self-interest. I don’t write about martyrs. I write about women who want happiness for themselves as well as for those whom they love.
9) Yes, I do feel that your characters have a real sense of humanity which makes them more relatable and loveable. Do you think you would ever write a contemporary romance or a time travel romance?! Or is that too bland?
I love both of these subgenres but my imagination hasn’t yet inclined in those directions. That said, who knows what the future may hold?
10) Can you give us sneak peek and tell us about future books on the horizon?
I’ve received a lot of email over the years asking me when I intend to write about the man whose story will be told in my 2018 release. Those who finish A Lady’s Code of Misconduct will know exactly who he is!
Whoo hoo! Cannot wait! Thank you so much for gracing us with your pesence :)
For Additional Information you can check her out at:
Upcoming and Recent Books by Meredith Duran:
A Lady's Code of Misconduct -Feb 2017
A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL...
Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows--a rising star of politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart.
...NEVER GOES TO PLAN.
The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. But when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for. . .
Sweetest Regret -Nov. 2016
At a house party in the countryside, the joyful spirit of the Christmas season threatens to sweep Georgiana Trent under the mistletoe—and back into the arms of the dashing rogue who broke her heart two years ago. Little does she know that Lucas Godwin has no intention of leaving until he has reclaimed her as his own.
Luck be a Lady -Aug 2015
They call her the “Ice Queen.” Catherine Everleigh is London’s loveliest heiress, but a bitter lesson in heartbreak has taught her to keep to herself. All she wants is her birthright—the auction house that was stolen from her. To win this war, she’ll need a powerful ally. Who better than infamous and merciless crime lord Nicholas O’Shea? A marriage of convenience will no doubt serve them both.
THE CRIME LORD
Having conquered the city’s underworld, Nick seeks a new challenge. Marrying Catherine will give him the appearance of legitimacy—and access to her world of the law-abiding elite. No one needs to know he’s coveted Catherine for a year now—their arrangement is strictly business, free from the troubling weaknesses of love. Seduction, however, is a different matter—an enticing game he means to ensure she enjoys, whether she wishes to or not. . . .