Historical Romance Author Amy Quinton on the Regency, Humor in Romance, and The Agents of Change
Tea with Amy Quinton
What are you drinking?
Sweet tea (iced). Yeah, I’m from the South… lol
What can you tell us about What the Duke Wants?
What the Duke Wants is about a duke who falls in love with an inappropriate woman – a woman from trade. This is a problem because during Regency times, a duke cannot simply ignore the rules of society and take a woman outside of his social class to wife. Especially, if said man is already tasked with restoring his tarnished family name.
Oh, and if the woman he is falling in love with also happens to be his fiancée’s cousin…? Yikes. ☺
As our duke fights his desire for this woman, he grows more frustrated, jealous, and angry over the fact that he, with all his power and wealth, cannot have what he wants. The result is that every time he tries to behave honorably, he ends up behaving dishonorably instead. It isn’t until he learns to be true to himself, that he can find his honor, peace, happiness, and… love.
Our heroine is quite strong, but she is also kind and sensitive. People are cruel to her, yet she maintains her kindness and honor throughout her ordeal. You see, she has a plan for her future, and she is determined to make it happen. She intends to go into business for herself.
Our heroine’s strength is a different kind of strength from your typical kick ass heroine – but no less valid and admirable. Our heroine also tends to be a bit of klutz, which results in some rather humorous situations in the story.
On top of all of that, we have spies (our duke is an agent for the crown), assassins, a secret society (of bad guys), jealous antagonists, and lovable secondary characters that really make for a well-rounded story.
What draws you to the Regency period?
I love the Regency period because I love settings that are quite removed from my own reality. When I read, it is to escape to another world and Regency fills that bill for me quite nicely. I realize it’s a romanticized view of the time period, but hey, it’s fantasy.
However, I must admit I like to see my heroes and heroines take a bit of a modern attitude for the times – it allows me to connect with them in a more meaningful way while still taking me to that fantasy world I adore. I firmly believe there were plenty of sassy Regency women who snubbed the rules.
I also love England. I’ve been there many times… my husband is from there, so reading books that take place in England or Scotland really speaks to my heart.
Finally, I love the clothing of the time period and the way the people connect with each other considering there are no telephones, much less smartphones and Facebook. There’s something to be said for delayed gratification.
You’ve said that your English mother-in-law reviewed What the Duke Wants while you were writing it. I was so worried about what my mother-in-law would think of Tyburn! What was that experience like?
That was a crazy, wonderful experience. My mother in law is not a fan or romance at all. So I thought, if I can survive her critical review of the book, I can survive just about anything…lol.
She was here for three months, and we spent hours talking plot points on my back porch... Till she almost wanted to run and hide every time I walked outside (to see her) with a certain contemplative look on my face. And in return, I would tease her with “You remember, you were there…” whenever I questioned her about historical facts, places, or English phrases. lol
In the end, we finished with our relationship intact, which is good.
How important do you think humor is in romance?
Ah, humor… The ‘funny’ thing about humor is that I’m not actually a very funny person in reality, though I wish I had that skill. Still, I find humor incredibly important – not just in romance, but in any genre. My favorite books are those that make me laugh out loud.
Laughter reduces stress; I believe that’s universally agreed upon. So, my goal is to include humor in every book I write.
Some authors like to stick to writing a certain kind of heroine, or they’re partial to specific themes or subjects. Although it’s still early in your career, do you think there are any signature features that make an Amy Quinton romance?
LOL – an Amy Quinton romance. Well, I do not intend to stick to a certain kind of heroine. At all. My goal is to explore as many different personality types and backgrounds as I possibly can through my books. I must admit, I do tend to lean toward pairing people with their opposite. In my first book, my heroine is unusually nice and my hero is almost a bit mean – yet you still feel for him if you can learn to empathize with his frustration at the unfairness of his situation. In my second book, I’ve taken a female antagonist – one everyone hates – and paired her with the most charming, sexiest, laid-back character ever written ;) – My heroine in book 2 is absolutely nothing like my heroine in book 1. The men are very different, too. Because of this, you’ll find that my second book is quite different from the first – from the writing to the number of sex scenes to the dialogue.
Overall, I hope every Amy Quinton romance brings you to laugh, cry (a bit), and catch your breath with love. But most of all, I believe that what you should expect most in an Amy Quinton romance – is the unexpected. I hope no two book will ever be alike.
Are there any other places or periods you’d like to set your books in in the future?
I do intend to look into Scotland. Scotland speaks to me on a level I can scarce explain. I love it there… the scenery, the people, the culture… They take my breath away.
I do want to look into Paranormal Historical. And I have considered looking into an antebellum series to take place in my hometown of Charleston, SC – a place steeped with its own magic, mystery, and history.
What the Duke Wants has been very well-received and is already a bestseller! What was it like when you got the news? Did you do anything special to celebrate?
It’s been somewhat surreal; I must admit. Honestly, we didn’t do anything special as it sort of just crept up on me. For the longest time, I simply couldn’t believe it. I mean it’s what we hope for, as writers, but… I was just honored and stunned and in a strange way, humbled, by the support of the romance community.
I’ve heard a little about What the Marquess Sees and I’m already so excited to read it. Can you tell us about it?
What the Marquess Sees – I adore this story. I’ve started getting feedback from my beta readers and I think I’ve pulled off the unthinkable – making a strong, and well hated antagonist into a likable and dare I say it, lovable, character. It scares me a little because the book is quite different from the first – and because I’m writing this antagonist/bad girl for a man who is universally loved by everyone who read my first book – Dansbury.
Book 2, with only a little overlap, essentially picks up where book 1 ends and considers the premise: Does the end justify the means?
The Marquess of Dansbury is an agent for the crown tasked with keeping safe the one person in the world he actively disdains, Lady Beatryce Beckett. She has information that puts her life in jeopardy, and he must see her to safety – if he doesn’t kill her first. Or fall in love with her.
Lady Beckett is mean – and that’s an understatement. She has a long and unfortunate past, one that has shaped her character and driven her to behave the way she does.
In What the Marquess Sees, I do not attempt to pretend that Lady Beatryce’s past misdeeds are anything but deliberate. Yes, Lady B knew what she was doing and she has no regrets. We may not agree with her methods, but she is a fighter – a survivor.
The Marquess of Dansbury might be the one man in all the world who is capable of seeing beneath the surface to the person of worth within Lady Beatryce Beckett.
Besides our primary love story, we have the continuation of our mystery – our assassin from book one returns and turns out to be someone completely unexpected. We also have new traitors and of course, the return of some of our lovable secondary characters from book 1.
What’s next for you and The Agents of Change?
Book 3 will follow our gruff Scotsman, Alastair MacLeod and an American heroine introduced in Book 2, Miss Barbara Hughes. Then, two more books will follow before we reach the conclusion of the mystery surrounding our team of agents… for a total of five books. Further books with these characters may be forthcoming; we’ll see how things unfold.
What the Duke Wants
Agents of Change, Book 1
Author: Amy E. Quinton
Genre: Romance - Adult, Regency, Historical
Length: 320 pages / 92,000 words
EBook ISBN: 978-1-62210-184-9
Print Book ISBN: 1503304698
England 1814: Upstanding duke desperately seeks accident-prone wife from trade…
She is from trade. He is a duke and an agent for the crown with a name to restore and a mystery to solve. Miss Grace (ha!) Radclyffe is an oftentimes hilariously clumsy, 20-year-old orphan biding her time living with her uncle until she is old enough to come into her small inheritance. Much to her aunt’s chagrin:
- Reserved – not with her shocking! tendency to befriend the servants…
- Sophisticated – highly overrated if one cannot run around barefoot outside…
- Graceful – she once flung her dinner into a duke’s face… on accident, of course.
But she is:
- Practical – owning a fashion house is in her future; unless someone foils her plans…
- In love… maybe… perhaps… possibly…
The Duke of Stonebridge is a man with a tragic past. His father died mysteriously when he was 12 years old amid speculation that the old duke was ‘involved’ with another man. He must restore his family name, but on the eve of his engagement to the perfect debutante, he meets his betrothed’s cousin, and his world is turned inside out… No matter:
He is always:
- Logical – men who follow their hearts and not their heads are foolish…
- Reserved – his private life is nobody’s business but his own…
And he isn’t:
- Impulsive – it always leads to trouble…
- Charming – that’s his best friend, the Marquess of Dansbury’s, area of expertise…
- In love… maybe… perhaps… possibly…
Can he have what he wants and remain respectable? Can she trust him to be the man she needs?
…her chuckles died in her throat as she caught sight of the very man who occupied her mind day after day: Stonebridge.
Her hand rose to her chest as if she could physically steady her racing heart. He was so mind numbingly handsome and her heart literally ached with the knowledge that he would never be hers. It was so ridiculously unfair.
She watched as he entered a nearby building. He hadn’t seen her amidst the crowd, of course. Once out of sight, she was able to walk again. She strode forward hesitantly. Honestly, she should flee to the safety of the hotel, not loiter outside, dying with curiosity and the desire for just another, quick glimpse, but alas, she couldn’t make herself leave.
She passed the building he had entered and tried hard not to be so obvious as to ogle the door, but she did look and made note of the sign identifying the place as the offices of Tolley and Brinks, Esquire.
She passed a few more shop fronts, then turned. Her face was warm with embarrassment.
What am I doing?
She walked past the solicitors’ office again and passed a few more shops before shaking her head, resigned.
“Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Prince Regent plans Grand Jubilee in London!” called out a young boy, hawking broadsheets nearby. She heard him above the general din of horses, carriage wheels and people bustling about their business as she maneuvered her way through the throng of carriages to the opposite side of the street.
Once there, she purchased a paper, then made her way to a nearby bench which happened to be situated directly across the street from the duke’s solicitors’ office.
Convenient, that. She sat, only for a moment, mind. To read the paper. Honestly.
Oh, who am I trying to fool?
For half an hour, her heart missed a beat every time the door to the solicitors’ office opened. Really, what was she planning to do once he did come out? Dash into his arms? Call his name from across the thoroughfare? Run away and hide? She asked herself these questions, over and over again, the entire time; she certainly was no more aware of the latest news than from before she’d bought her paper.
Finally, at long last, he came out of the building, and he saw her instantly. She stood on reflex and looked back. For an eternity but only a minute, they stared at each other across the avenue, and her heart thundered faster than ever. Before reality intruded. This wasn’t wise and just as she recognized the truth of that, she saw his expression change from surprise to murderous.
Right. Time to go.
She tried to go around the bench at the same he stepped out onto the street.
Zounds! He was coming.
But in her haste to leave, she rounded the bench too carelessly, only to have her reticule catch on the bench’s arm, jerking her to a stop. Unfortunately, her nerves, along with the bench, conspired against her, and she stumbled to her knees.
The hand holding her bag came down hard onto the bench seat, over the arm rest. She’d have a bruise under her arm tomorrow from that. The straps of her reticule, still caught, pulled tight on her wrist, turning her skin white, then red and puffy. Her other hand, which had whipped out reflexively, hit the ground. It just stopped her from cracking her chin on the bench.
Why, oh why, did I even get out of bed this morning?
She closed her eyes in humiliation. All around her, people fell silent; even the boy no longer peddled his papers. She could make out the occasional horse and carriage, but even the whinnying of a nearby horse sounded like laughter to ears colored with embarrassment. She could hear the sound of running feet, boots striking on cobbles, and she knew that Stonebridge was dashing across the street—coming to rescue her.
He arrived a moment later, slightly out of breath, and she smiled at the thought that he’d run all that way…in public. For her.
Amy Quinton is an author and full time mom living in Summerville, SC. She enjoys writing (and reading!) sexy, historical romances. She lives with her husband, two boys, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to go camping, hiking, and canoeing/kayaking… And did she mention reading? When she’s not reading, cleaning, or traveling, she likes to make jewelry, sew, knit, and crochet (Yay for Ravelry!).