Titel: Secrets of An Accidental Duchess
Autor: Jennifer Haymore
432 Seiten, ISBN: 0446573159
I’ve always loved to write. I thought I’d spend my life just doing it for fun, because I had it in my mind for the longest time that becoming published was an impossible dream. I actually started off writing historical fiction--my first completed novel was a historical fiction novel. But my critique partner was a romance writer, and she told me that my book was really focused on the relationship between the hero and heroine and that she thought romance might be the way for me to go if I was serious about getting published. She was right.
My latest novel is SECRETS OF AN ACCIDENTAL DUCHESS. It’s about Olivia Donovan, who has spent her life being overshadowed by her sisters, who are a bit larger-than-life. Olivia suffers from recurring bouts of malaria, and her family tends to overprotect her and shelter her, assuming she’s meek and weak. But in this story, Olivia comes out of her shell, learns that the malaria doesn’t control her, and she ultimately finds love with Max, the Marquis of Hasley.
Max is intrigued by Olivia at first sight, and soon he finds himself trapped in a bet even he doesn’t approve of. He’s bet the Marquis of Fenwicke that he can get Olivia into his bed. Soon, he becomes embroiled in the lives of the Donovan sisters, especially Olivia, who he can’t get off his mind. Max isn’t used to being out of control, but everything about Olivia (including her illness) spins his world off its axis.
When I started thinking about writing SECRETS OF AN ACCIDENTAL DUCHESS, I was intrigued by the idea of strong women with vulnerabilities and heroes who help them conquer those vulnerabilities. In the 1820’s, people could control malaria with a drug called quinine, but it wasn’t curable and it was still very dangerous. It reminded me of so many diseases we deal with as a society today.
It wasn’t until after the book was finished that I realized that there were many similarities between Olivia and myself. The truth was that I had just gone through a year-long struggle with breast cancer--also an incurable disease that often seems random and uncontrollable. I was still dealing with the residual effects of the illness (in my case, from the chemo and other drugs and not the disease), just like Olivia does in the story. And after a year of the ups and downs of fighting cancer, I learned a very valuable lesson: I can’t let cancer rule my life. I have a career, family and friends, a life that I love, and I can’t let that disease take that away from me… It’s a lesson very similar to the one Olivia learns in SECRETS OF AN ACCIDENTAL DUCHESS.
I think it’s funny that I wrote SECRETS unaware of those similarities between me and the heroine. Of course, I knew that I had been sick and that Olivia was sick. But on a subconscious level, I was writing a story that paralleled my own. For this reason, SECRETS is a very special book to me. It’s about conquering everything that brings you down--all the obstacles in life--and embracing live and love with open arms. I really hope that readers will enjoy this theme and love Olivia and Max’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Thank you so much for inviting me to blog with you!