It is—or shouldn’t be—a surprise to you all that I love Regency England. I’ve previously gushed about my love of British culture, and wanting to be a duchess (Come on Prince Harry, call me!) So it’s no surprise that I’m extremely excited to dive into my guest, Elizabeth Boyce’s, historical romance Once a Duchess this weekend! I had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth (twice) and can tell you that she’s a great person. So sit back and enjoy the interview.
Me: Tell me a little about yourself.
Elizabeth Boyce: My name is Elizabeth Boyce. I’m a 30-something gal living in South Carolina. I’m married to a wonderful man, and we have three children. I was going to tell you how great my kids are, but that’s kind of overplayed. The newest addition to our family is Berkeley, a 3-year-old Balinese cat we recently adopted from a rescue.
Me: Describe your publishing journey.
EB: Like every other writer you’ve ever met, I grew up loving books and reading. I wrote lots of little stories and poems as a child, and idolized my favorite authors. My dream was to see my own books on the shelf alongside my heroes. I didn’t know anything about how someone actually became a published author, though. In 2004, I decided to learn how to get there.
After writing one terrible contemporary manuscript, and then a much better fantasy one, I decided to try my hand at writing in the genre I most loved to read, Regency romance. A crash-course in the ins and outs of writing romance helped me get started, and in 2008 I finished my first Regency romance manuscript, then called Reconciliation (a working title which was later changed to Once a Duchess). My novel won an award just as I started querying agents, and I got a lot of interest.
Then the economy collapsed. The requests for partials and fulls kept coming, but many agents were reluctant to sign new authors while the industry was in crisis mode. So, I finally set that novel aside and just kept writing, waiting for things to settle down before I started submitting again.
I finally put my toe back in the water early this year, and focused on submitting Once a Duchess to smaller houses and ebook publishers. This spring, I caught wind of Crimson Romance, a new imprint of Adams Media. I sent my query. Requests followed, and I was offered a contract in less than a week!
My note: I love that you kept writing!
Me: Tell me about your book?
EB: Once a Duchess follows the story of Isabelle, a woman who was wrongfully divorced for adultery, as she strives to find redemption in Regency London. The Season throws her back into the company of her ex-husband, Marshall, the Duke of Monthwaite, who quickly comes to doubt the circumstances under which he divorced his wife. As they struggle to come to terms with their history, the passion they shared flares to life once more. But the past won’t leave them alone. Old secrets and bitter resentments threaten to destroy Marshall and Isabelle’s second chance at love.
Me: Who or what inspires you as a writer?
EB: Research inspires me! I absolutely love the Regency era of British history. Every time I pick up a book and learn something new about the period, I get ideas!
Me: When do you make time for writing?
EB: Right now, I’m very fortunate to be able to write at home during the day while my kids are in school. This is a new development. Previously, I was stuffing bits of writing in during naps or after bedtime.
Me: Why do you write romance?
EB: I write romance because I’m interested in human relationships, and romance often explores far more than the primary love relationship between the hero and heroine. There are usually other relationships surrounding the leads that need mending or nurturing for love to prevail. Relationships with friends, parents, and siblings all play a part in my novels.
I’m particularly drawn to Regency romance because it was a time of shifting societal attitudes about marriage. Previously, love matches had been déclassé, and considered wildly imprudent for those with titles and entails to worry about. Love was for a man’s mistress, not his wife. During the Regency, young people started to follow their hearts in matters of matrimony, rather than focus solely on property and connections.
Me: What advice do you have for other writers?
EB: Work on your craft. Improve. And if you want to be published, don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. Maybe it won’t be this story that catches on, but another will. Write more. Write something better. Keep going.
Me: Last fun question, if money were no object what hobby would you pick up?
EB: This is totally frivolous, but if money were no object, I would take up shopping. I didn’t really discover I was a girl until I hit 30. Makeup and shoes can be fun! Who knew? If I had the money for it, I’d like to get my wardrobe out of its sad jeans and t-shirts rut and become a bit more fashionable. Shopping stresses me out because everything is so darn expensive, so I tend to just drool at pretty shoes from afar. It would be nice to occasionally hit the shops and get what I like.
Me: Sign me up for the shopping hobby, too! I’ve always wanted to be glamorous, but can’t afford it J