I’m pleased to welcome Wendy May Andrews back to the blog to talk about her new release, Regency novella The Governess’ Debut.
First, as ever, the cover and the blurb . . .
After her parents died in an accident and her brother gambled away her inheritance and dowry, leaving her to fend for herself while he ran off to the colonies, Miss Felicia Scott must find a way to keep a roof over her head. No longer able to enter the Marriage Mart but certainly not of the servant class, the only option is to find a position as governess.
Her luck finally turns when an acquaintance refers her to the haughty widower, Lord Victor Astley, Earl of Standish. His spoiled, seven year old daughter has been through three governesses in the 18 months since her mother died.
The earl is highly doubtful the young, inexperienced Miss Scott could possible manage his irascible daughter but since he is desperate he agrees to give her a chance. Much to the astonishment of the entire household Felicia succeeds beautifully, bringing the little lady under control and brightening the lives of everyone she comes in contact with, including the jaded earl.
Will her joyful spirit be able to finally melt his resistant heart?
And I can never resist an excerpt . . .
Lord Victor Astley, the fifth Earl of Standish, was surprised by his own undisciplined reaction when the young woman was announced. He was always in control of himself and his environment. It was decidedly out of character that he would be unnerved by the presence of a young woman in his library.
“Miss Felicia Scott to see you, my lord,” Alfred, the earl’s aging butler, had announced in even tones, not revealing anything about his own reaction to the elegant young woman who had been recommended to fill the post of governess to the earl’s hoyden of a daughter.
The earl nodded to her from behind his desk, not bothering to come around to bow over her hand. “Thank you, Alfred. Please see that a tea tray is brought in momentarily.”
Miss Scott dipped into a respectful, deep curtsy, forgetting for a moment that her new position in the servant class did not require the varying degrees of courtesy. When it did cross her mind she dismissed the thought, surmising accurately that the haughty looking earl would consider the extra depth to be his due.
Felicia had made every effort to appear as serious and trustworthy as possible. Her sober gown of brown worsted material was just perfect for whatever activities she would be involved in while chasing after a seven-year-old child. Realizing she looked quite young, she had scraped her thick, curling, brown hair into the severest hairstyle she could manage, hoping it lent her an air of maturity.
Of course, in her innocence, she was unaware of the things that were impossible to hide – her obvious breeding was evident in her proudly erect carriage. Intelligence shone from her wide, shining, green eyes as she glanced around the earl’s handsomely appointed library.
Her own governess had done her best to prepare her but since this was the first time Felicia had applied for a position she was somewhat uncertain as to proper protocol. The earl was still gazing at her with a rather arrested expression on his severe, but still handsome face, so she surmised that he was waiting for her to say something.
“Thank you for agreeing to see me, my lord.”
The earl blinked away his momentary inertia. Despite the glowing recommendations he had received it was obvious to him she would be impossible for the position. He was uncomfortable with the strange reaction he had felt to her presence, besides she was much too young. There was no way she would be able to control his daughter. He supposed he still had to interview her.
Welcome back to the blog, Wendy! So, where did you get the inspiration for this particular story?
This particular story came about from a writing prompt a publisher had in a call out. They were looking for governess stories set in the Regency period for something they were calling The Governess Club. I hadn’t written a novella before and found it to be a pleasure to do. It’s much simpler structurally without subplots and so on.
Did you need to do much research?
I love the Regency period and am pretty familiar with it. This story, being only 25,000 words long, didn’t need too much research. I usually need to do a little bit of fact checking for things like description or just to make sure a certain piece of etiquette is accurate.
Do you research as you go along or do you prefer to write the story first and fill in the ‘facts’ later?
It really depends on the story with this. Sometimes an entire story can sprout from a certain fact that I’ve researched. Like my last book, The Duke Conspiracy, when I read about the Congress of Vienna my villain was born. So I prefer for that not to happen when I’m in the middle of a story! But I do research certain points about locations or description as I go. You can find old maps online which are fascinating! And Pinterest is becoming a great source to find what clothes my characters are wearing.
It’s amazing what you can find online nowadays, isn’t it? Could you give us a little insight into the personalities of the hero and heroine?
My hero, Victor Astley, Earl of Standish, is haughty and stuffy when the story opens. He is set in his ways and not too happy in general. On the other hand, my heroine, Miss Felicia Scott, is the ray of sunshine the earl’s household has been lacking despite the tragedies she has already faced in her young life. It was really fun to write the affect Felicia has on those around her.
I like the sound of Felicia very much! So what is it that draws you towards writing historical romance, rather than contemporary?
I love the Regency period. And I love Regency England. The clothes, the manners, the historical events – I find them all fascinating. I have not yet tried my hand at writing contemporary. I’m not sure if my voice could pull it off. The good news is, I have no end to ideas for writing my historicals so I’m going to be busy for a good long while.
That’s good to hear. Have you started working on your next book, and if so, could you tell us a little about it?
I’m almost finished writing a sequel to my previous release, The Duke Conspiracy, which shares the same villain. My heroine finds herself married to a man who is rumored to have killed his first wife. I’m having a great time with this one 🙂
Sounds intriguing! Thanks so much for visiting, Wendy.
You can buy The Governess’ Debut by clicking on the links below:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Wendy May Andrews has been reading whatever she could get her hands on since the age of five. She has been writing for almost as long but hasn’t been sharing those stories with anyone but her mother until recently. Wendy lives in Toronto with her own real-life hero. When not writing or reading, they love to travel wherever the mood takes them. This is Ms. Andrews’ second publication with Clean Reads. You can find Wendy at:
Social Media: www.facebook.com/WendyMayAndrews & Twitter: @WendyMayAndrews