Each book I write teaches me something new. Would it surprise you to know that there are two completed novels sitting in my computer right this second? That I have three more in my head, each more different than the last? …Does anyone else do this, or is there something wrong with me? Don’t answer that last part.
I try to pace myself, and keep each project separate from each, because I don’t want any of these lessons wasted.
My first book in the series, A LADY’S REVENGE, taught me how to show the reward of effort without success. I tell people that it’s my “Rocky” book, but very few people understand the reference. Perhaps the Venn diagram of historical romance readers and Sylvester Stallone movie enthusiasts have very little overlap.
I wrote my second book, THE BOXER AND THE THE BOXER AND THE BLACKSMITH, when I was grappling with how to be a mother. My son was a newborn, and I struggled with post-partum anxiety. I felt kinship with Bess Abbott trying to learn how to take care of Violet, a girl who ends up on her doorstep. But the warm, open-hearted Os Worley helped me too: a grown man searching for his mother. It allowed me to view motherhood from different vantage points, and gave me a better understanding of my own place in it.
A LADY’S FINDER, the third book, and the one I consider my COVID book, (the world was in the throes of the pandemic and I had long-COVID while writing it) was all about finding happiness. Indeed, Jack About Town challenges many norms, but never once does Jack believe his happiness is forfeit. Writing Jack and Agnes’s Happily Ever After made me think—what is my ideal? I realized that my happiness was to slooooooow down.
My most recent book, A VISCOUNT’S VENGEANCE, the fourth in my When the Blood is Up series, taught me to settle into uncomfortable emotions. There are few characters, and because this is the penultimate book in the series, most of the previous characters are busy living their Happily-Ever-Afters. I had already done my research on women’s boxing, so making Pearl a history buff was easy. She bemoans “the old days” of boxing, when a woman of her stature—short and slight—had as much of chance as anyone, since they were allowed weapons.
But I’ve been curious about Gothic literature for a while now. Part of that aesthetic is where the main character (typically a young woman) is isolated from her friends and family in a foreboding house on the moors. Well, I already set my world firmly in London, but I did have some wounded people who self-isolated—James and his mother. They had a house full of secrets, and James had told people in A Lady’s Finder that his mother hated to entertain. There was my gothic isolation, though no wind-whipped moors.
But Pearl and James don’t really know each other. And James doesn’t believe in marriage. In fact, marrying anyone makes James feel as if he were becoming the nightmare version of himself—his father. Pearl has no idea how to make herself the main character of any story as she is so accustomed to living on the kindness of others.
Making them even see each other was difficult. In fact, my early drafts had them being entirely too polite to each other, as they avoided conflict due to their coping mechanisms, which doesn’t make for a good story. This book taught me to get closer to my characters, let them feel their emotions in a way that I, as the author, felt uncomfortable delving into on the page (give them some privacy!).
In the end, I hope you enjoy their sometimes caustic frankness, tender banter, and thwarted expectations. They did their best with what they were given, and as a human, that is quite a lesson to learn.
Here is the back cover synopsis, and I hope you can help me celebrate its publication on March 1!
A brooding viscount carries the weight of his dead father’s misdeeds. An unassuming young woman who knows more than she lets on. A marriage of convenience that comes to blows in the boxing ring.
One morning, for reasons of his own, Lord Andrepont proposes marriage to the first eligible woman he sees: Miss Pearl Arthur, the younger sister of his good friend, the prizefighter John Arthur. She’s barely said a word in his presence, but of course she’ll accept: he’s everything women like her dream about: wealthy, titled, handsome. The marriage will be easy—he’ll go his way, and she’ll go hers.
Pearl Arthur has never had a home. Bounced from family to family as a child, Pearl has always been an afterthought. When Lord Andrepont—a handsome man whose brooding rivals her sister-in-law’s moodiness—proposes, how can she not accept? She could finally find a home of her own. A place to call hers. And dare she think it? A family?
But when Pearl arrives as the new Lady Andrepont, nothing is as it seems. Can Pearl build a life in a house with secrets hidden in every corner?
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Edie Cay writes award-winning feminist Regency Romance about women’s boxing and relatable misfits. She is a member of the Regency Fiction Writers, the Historical Novel Society, ALLi, and a founding member of Paper Lantern Writers. You can drop her a line on Facebook and Instagram @authorediecay or find her on her website, www.ediecay.com