Regency Romps and Valerie Bowman’s Odd Inspiration
I have a confession to make. My latest novel, The Unexpected Duchess, (which comes out today!) was inspired by my intense desire to break up with my friend’s boyfriend for her. Okay, okay. So it was actually more than one friend. The fact is that right around the time I was thinking up a brand new Regency romance series, I had two different friends whose boyfriends were acting like colossal jerks. On more than one occasion I’d say to either of my friends, “Just give me the phone and I’ll break up with him for you!” Of course, my friends never took me up on my offer. Hmm. Seems it was much easier for me, with no emotional involvement, to want to break up with someone who they loved. Imagine that?
But the experience got me to thinking…what if that was a service that was offered? Something you could order over the phone? A break-up service! If you’re not feeling emotionally strong enough, call me. I’ll say what needs to be said. That idea made me laugh but it also intrigued me. Then it occurred to me…it’s actually the opposite of the Cyrano de Bergerac story. It’s a ‘reverse Cyrano’. Because I’m an author, my next thought, of course was, “How can I set this in Regency England?” Hence, Lady Lucy Upton with her sharp tongue and penchant for bluntness was born. Lucy isn’t afraid to say anything to anyone and often lands in trouble as a result of it. But when Lucy sets out to help her friend, Cass, dissuade the newly minted Duke of Claringdon from courting her, Lucy’s finally met her match. The duke has faced down Napoleon. He isn’t one to admit defeat easily.
After coming up with the idea for Lucy’s character and story, I thought about how fun it would be to base the stories of the rest of the characters in the series on famous plays as well. I adore a romp so I set about picking the most fun plays I could think of. Cass’s story, The Accidental Countess, (October 2014) is based on Oscar Wilde’s, The Importance of Being Earnest. And Jane and Garrett’s story, The Unlikely Lady, (Spring 2015) is based on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Each of the books has been an absolute blast to write and each is filled with unexpected twists and turns that make them different than the original stories upon which they are based.
So, yes, the truth is that writers are often inspired by song lyrics or a snippet of conversation they overhear, but sometimes, just sometimes, we’re inspired by not being able to do the things we secretly want to do in real life. It certainly was the case in the story of how The Playful Brides series began. And perhaps that is the greatest part about being a writer!
Tell me, what inspires you? Is there something you secretly would love to do in real life that you’d like to read a story about?
About the author
Valerie Bowman is an award-winning author who writes Regency-set historical romance novels aka racy Regency romps! Valerie has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a minor in history from Smith College.
Originally from Rantoul, Illinois, Valerie lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her family including her rascally rescue dog, Roo. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV or PBS.