Which may have led her to wonder, “What woman would refuse a Duke’s kiss?”
(Or maybe that’s just what we were wondering, after we saw the cover of her new book, What a Duke Wants . . .)
One lucky commenter will win a “Go to Bed with a Duke Tonight!” t-shirt.
I originally planned to write about muses versus hard work and how great it is to have both, but if you only have one, choose hard work. I’ve written ten blogs in the past two weeks, and I can promise you that my muse would have been out shopping for fall boots after the first two. She is not the most patient of beings.
But she did pull through on this one.
I was sitting here, thinking of her, and whether I really needed to add green to my wardrobe (clearly I should have put down the Vogue magazine a little earlier), when my mind started wandering to dukes. I always have my current cover up as a screen saver on my computer, and if you had my duke staring at you, you’d spend some time staring back.
What a Duke Wants is my first published “duke book,” and I’ve been amazed at just how enthusiastic readers have been. I’d always heard that readers liked dukes, but I still wasn’t prepared for the response.
First, I should confess that I love a good duke book – they are probably my favorites. I know that when I advise friends on what romances to read, I’m always a little embarrassed by how many of the have “Duke” in the title. (Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I, Galen Foley’s The Duke, and of course Mary Balogh’s Slightly Dangerous – which may not have a duke in the title, but is certainly a perfect duke book.)
I’d always been a little bit hesitant to write one myself, because once you’ve written a duke book, where do you go? And then there’s this picture, “Ten Dukes-A-Dining.”
A friend sent it to me a while ago and I was forced to confront the reality of dukes as they are (completely not thinking about the new Duke of Cambridge, or I’ll start thinking about his wife and my new obsession with nude pumps). Now, there are several men pictured here who are quite distinguished and may once have been dashing and handsome. Number Seven, the Duke of Argyll, actually plays elephant polo and I can almost imagine him wading through the pages of one of my books. But I must face the fact that this picture does not have one thinking of the seven or so six-foot-two, dark-haired, flashing-eyed dukes who wander through What a Duke Wants and The Real Duchesses of London – and I am sure that I have another couple just waiting to find their way onto my pages. And I am not even going to consider how many dashing dukes we’d have if we were to put all the romance dukes together in a room, a building, a park, a town . . .
And does it matter? That is my ultimate question.
I love my duke, Mark Smythe, Duke of Strattington. He is tall and handsome and, although he has a learning curve, in the end he knows just how to win Isabella, his heroine – and hopefully the reader, too. I am more than willing to follow him through cases of mistaken identity, a little blackmail and scandal, an accusation of murder – and more than a few steamy encounters. I don’t care that he might not have a counterpart in the real world.
All historical writers have their story of being called out on some fact they got wrong, but I’ve never heard anyone complain because there are just too many dukes in that book.
What do you think? Where do you want fact and reality in your romances, and where do you want delicious fantasy?
Let me know, and I’ll send one lucky commenter a signed copy of What a Duke Wants and a “Go to bed with a Duke tonight!” t-shirt. (And – with due respect to his Grace - I promise it won’t feature number nine, the Duke of St Albans.)
Thank you so much for having me at the Rockville Eight. I’ve always wanted to come and visit.
For more information on Ten Dukes A’Dining: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1218628/Ten-dukes-dining-Gathered-lunch-unique-picture-grandees-2bn-340-000-acres-them.html