Please join me in welcoming the talented author Meredith Duran as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress.
Meredith’s latest delectable Regency Era tale, WICKED BECOMES YOU, went on sale Tuesday.
Meredith dropped by today to answer some questions for me about her new book, as well as her writing. In addition, Meredith and Ayelet at Simon and Schuster are offering two copies of WICKED BECOMES YOU to visitors (sorry, U.S. residents only) who comment on Meredith’s post between today and 8 p.m. Thursday, May 6. If your profile doesn’t include an e-mail address, but sure to leave one with your comments. Now for Meredith.
Did you draw on people you know to create the characters of Gwen and Alexander?
Nope, I’m not a fan of “writing from life,” as it were. I love figuring out brand new characters: what makes them tick, what scares them enough to wake them in the middle of the night, what gives them the courage to keep going in spite of endless obstacles. Developing the main characters is one of the chief pleasures of writing. To base the hero and heroine on people I already know would mean ruining the fun of discovery!
You said you had 16 false beginnings for WICKED BECOMES YOU. Why so many and how did you finally decide on the one that ended up in the book?
I got hung up on wanting to see Alex through Gwen’s eyes before the main inciting event of the book (her jilting). I was having far too much fun writing about their history back when she was determined to be good: Alex rescues Gwen from the train station when she runs away from boarding school at age 15; Alex taunts Gwen at some ball where she’s doing her best to smile through a slew of insults being tossed at her by a snob; and so on and so forth. Finally I realized that while all these scenes were fun, I wasn’t out to write a book about the good girl and the bad boy who was tempting her to try corruption for a change. I’ve written one of those books, and I’ll certainly write more of them in the future (because I LOVE that dynamic!), but this book was about a good girl who has already decided to be wicked. At that point, I knew I needed to cut to the chase and start where the adventure begins for Gwen: in the church, on the way to the altar.
What inspires you to write Regency Era tales rather than steamy stories of modern men and women?
I enjoy immersing myself in fictional universes that feel definitively foreign to my everyday life. And so, while I’ve got several half-finished contemporary paranormals on my hard drive, I’ve only very rarely tried writing a straight contemporary romance. I did pen a contemporary romance about a jewel thief and her debonair jet-setting victim back when I was in college… but I recommend that we let that one languish in the closet.
What's next for your readers? Have you considered a second book with Gwen and Alex or do you already have new characters in mind?
Of all people, my father wants a sequel to this book – he thinks the host of the house party outside Monte Carlo just begs for a bit more screen time. But at least in terms of my next historical, Gwen and Alex won’t be a part of it. In the future, though… who knows?
Anything you'd like the readers to know about you or your writing that hasn't been covered?
I did not make up the Pretty Housemaid corset; it really did exist. Moreover, the words used in its advertising are exactly as Gwen reads them. I found this completely hilarious.
Meredith, thank you so much for stopping by today and talking with us. It's always interesting to find out some background on a book. BTW, I love the book cover. The beautiful purple gown really catches your eye. For more on Meredith and her writing, be sure to drop by her website at www.meredithduran.com
Here’s a brief synopsis of her new book: “When a beloved society girl is left at the altar, the entire town wants revenge—but the abandoned bride has other ideas. She is pretty, popular, and rich. But what high society loves most about Gwen Maudsley is how nice she is. So when a cad jilts her on her wedding day, the people of London are out for blood. Gwen reacts differently, deciding that since being nice doesn’t work anymore, it is time to learn to be naughty. Gwen has just the person in mind to teach her—Alexander de Grey, best friend to her late brother and a notorious rogue. Though his aloof demeanor suggests otherwise, Alex likes Gwen the way she is and wants their relationship to be more than teacher and student. But fearing the secrets from his past will make a future with Gwen impossible, Alex tries to keep his distance. An educational tour through the glittering casinos of the Riviera turns Alex and Gwen’s friendship into something hotter, darker, and more dangerous. Gwen must convince Alex that his wickedest intentions are exactly what she needs.“