As an author of historical romance, I often draw inspiration from fascinating
true life events I come across in my research.
For example, Luddites feature prominently in my debut novel, SEDUCING CHARLOTTE. Once I
learned about these machine breakers—weavers, tailors, and other workers
who'd been put out of work by mechanization—a story began percolating in
my mind. What if my hero owned a factory that used the new machinery, while the
heroine had close ties to the machine breakers? Voila! The basic structure for
SEDUCING CHARLOTTE fell
The same is true of my second novel, TEMPTING BELLA, which was
inspired by the true story of the heir to a dukedom who is married off to a
young girl to settle a gaming debt between their fathers. He does not see her
for many years after that, but when he finally does see her again, he falls
instantly in love, not realizing she is already his wife.Â What an excellent
concept for a romance!
However, the idea for COMPROMISING WILLA started
out a little differently. I was touched by the story of an older friend of the
family who never married because her parents disapproved of the gentleman she'd
wanted to marry as a young woman. When our family friend was in her forties, and
both of her parents had passed away, her early love was still single and
remained interested in marrying her.
To my young, romantic mind, this was perfect: the star-crossed lovers would
finally marry and live happily ever after. The only problem was that our family
friend no longer felt the same about the man. The spark, she said, was gone.
Her story loosely inspired COMPROMISING WILLA. As a
young girl, Willa, our heroine, is eager to marry Augustus, the young neighbor
she grew up with, but his father disapproves of the match. Years later, once his
father dies, Augustus is determined to make Willa his wife, even though she no
longer feels the same about him.
In my story, Augustus, the old love, becomes the villain in the piece because he
is determined to make Willa his no matter what the cost. And the price is very
high for Willa, whose reputation is ruined due to Augustus' machinations. Enter
the true hero, the Duke of Hartwell, who appreciates Willa for both her beauty
and her sharp mind, and doesn't care about her dented reputation.
History and real life make for fascinating starting points for novels. However,
I always put my own twist on things and my books veer far away from the original
incidents that inspired them. They sprout in my imagination and start growing in
every direction and I am never quite sure what will happen. Except to say there
will always be a happily ever after!
Lady Wilhelmina Stanhope is ruined and everyone knows it. Back in Town for the
first season since her downfall, Willa plans to remain firmly on the shelf,
assuming only fortune hunters will want her now. Instead she focuses on her
unique tea blends, secretly supporting a coffee house which employs poor women
and children. If her clandestine involvement in trade is discovered, she'll be
No one is more shocked by Willa's lack of quality suitors than the newly minted
Duke of Hartwell. Having just returned from India, the dark duke is instantly
attracted to the mysterious wallflower. His pursuit is hampered by the ruthless
Earl of Bellingham, who once jilted Willa and is now determined to reclaim her.
Caught between the clash of two powerful men, a furious Willa refuses to concede
her independence to save her reputation. But will she compromise her heart?
Hartwell frowned. "I scarcely see how Lady Wilhelmina can belong to
Bellingham if there is no betrothal."
"There is certain talk no gentleman would ever repeat." Heenan
reached for his mother-of-pearl snuffbox. "Some say it is why the lady has kept
herself away from Town for so long."
"And this is commonly discussed in society?"
"It is not the kind of thing one hears in Mayfair's drawing rooms,"
Selwyn answered in halting tones.
"But most gentlemen about Town eventually hear the talk," Garrick
added with a lascivious smirk.
Heenan leaned over and inhaled snuff into his nose. "Not that anyone
dares to cut her in public." Leaning back in his chair with a satisfied sigh, he
used a handkerchief to wipe remnants of the powdery substance from his upper
lip. "Impeccable family lines and all. The family carries on as though nothing
has happened. She is under the protection of her cousin, the Marquess of Camryn,
who is quite influential in the Lords. No one dares risk his wrath."
"I don't follow."
Garrick leaned forward. "They say the chit is compromised. Utterly
and completely, if you get my meaning." He winked at Hart. "But she still acts
the frigid princess, all high and mighty. Otherwise, who wouldn't want to toss
up those skirts and give her a good hard—"
Something in his head snapped loose, blinding him to anything but the desire to
crush the drunken whoreson beneath his boot heel. He bolted to his feet and
shoved the table back with a loud clatter. Towering over Garrick, he grabbed the
man's cravat with one hand and drew back his fist with the other. Garrick shrank
back in his chair, wide-eyed, his face pinched with fear. Action at the other
gaming tables screeched to a halt. Silence descended; all eyes were riveted on
Selwyn jumped up and placed a calming hand on his shoulder. "Now
Hartwell," he said, partially positioning himself between the two men. "This is
just a friendly misunderstanding among gentlemen."
His neck burned. It was a lie. It had to be. "It is hardly the act
of a gentleman to insult a lady's honor in the most grievous way possible."
Willa did not appear surprised to find herself sitting next to Hartwell at
supper. Nor did she seem to mind.
"I find I have the best seat at the table," he said as they took
"Are you certain the air won't be too brisk for you?"
He grinned. "Why Lady Wilhelmina, in your own Arctic way, I do
believe you are flirting with me."
"You are our guest," she answered in smooth tones. "Pray don't
mistake polite discourse for something that it is not."
"Ouch." He touched his heart in dramatic fashion. Sitting next to
her, he'd have no need of dessert. She was like a Gunter's lemon
ice—tangy, tart, and delectably frosty.
She curved those pillowed lips into a smile, a reluctant one, but he
still counted that a victory. "Surely you are not so easily wounded, Your
"Actually, as a second son, I have heard far worse. One is not as
popular when he is not in line to inherit a dukedom, or at least a vast fortune.
As fate would have it, I am now in possession of both."
"Clearly modesty is not something you are in possession
Hart gave a mischievous smile. "Usually a title and deep pockets are
sufficient to attract the attention of a lovely creature such as yourself." He
sipped his wine. "Otherwise, I shall have to win you over with my equally deep
reservoirs of charm and good looks."
Her closed mouth wobbled with laughter until she managed to wrangle
it into submission. "I should like to know when you decide to begin employing
Hart shot her a surprised look. She was teasing him again.
Promising. He softened his tone. "Oh, believe me, my lady, I intend to make you
well aware of my charms."
Cam regarded Willa with weary resignation. "Your reputation cannot survive
"We shall marry," Hart said in decisive tones, certain of the
inherent rightness of his decision. "It is the only answer."
Willa's arms crossed under her chest, drawing his eye to her
abundant, softly quivering bosom. One that would soon be his to
cherish—along with the rest of this heavenly woman. The thought of it
triggered a surprising burst of gladness in him.
But she didn't seem to be reacting with the same equanimity. "You
two and your misplaced sense of honor are not going to force me into marriage
with a man who has made his disdain for me quite clear."
A glancing pain stung Hart's chest. "Do you find the idea of
marriage to me so abhorrent?"
"I won't consent," she said stubbornly to Cam. "My reputation be
gone. I won't be forced into a silly charade of a marriage for no good reason. I
won't do it."
"I cannot force you." Sadness weighted Cam's voice. Willa exhaled
with obvious relief, but then Cam turned to Hart. "She leaves me no alternative.
I demand satisfaction."
"What! Are you cracked?" Willa blurted. "Don't be a fool. There is
not going to be any duel!"
Tension snaked into every muscle in Hart's body. "Name your seconds,
Willa whipped around to Hart. "Don't be so beetle brained," she
cried. "Cam's a perfect shot. He'll kill you."
"So be it." A sense of calm infused him. "Your honor has to be
"Avenged?" Willa's voice rose in panic. "What of your mother? You
would leave her alone in this world? She has already lost one son. You would
condemn her to a life without either of her children?"
"It is not ideal, but I have little choice in the matter." Heaviness
settled in his heart. His mother's grief would be unimaginable. "Name your
"Not ideal? Aren't you the last of your line?" she asked in a voice
gone shrill with a rising sense of panic.
He nodded in assent without taking his eyes off Cam's stony
expression. "What will it be, old friend, bullet or blade?"
"Wait!" Desperation edged her voice. "You must give me time to
consider this. If marrying Hartwell is the only alternative to you two killing
each other, I should at least have a few days to consider it."
"No." Cam's impenetrable stare moved from Hart to Willa. "I will
have your consent now."
Diana Quincy is an
award-winning former television journalist who decided she'd rather make up
stories where a happy ending is always guaranteed. Growing up as a foreign
service brat, Diana visited many countries and is now settled in Virginia with
her husband and two sons. When not bent over her laptop or trying to keep up
withÂ laundry, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family and dreams of
traveling much more than her current schedule (and budget) allows.
Who is your favorite author to read? Thank you for the chance (Vickie Schultz 10:41am January 8, 2014)
Hi Vickie - It's hard to pick one favorite! But the authors I enjoy reading include Lisa Kleypas, Joanna Bourne, Loretta Chase, Sherry Thomas, Mary Balogh and Madeline Hunter. (Diana Quincy 11:35am January 8, 2014)
It's difficult to select one favorite author. There are so many I enjoy such as Sharon Sala and Catherine Anderson. Right now I'm reading and enjoying one by Sabrina Jeffries. (Anna Speed 1:08pm January 8, 2014)
My favorite romance author is Heather Graham. My favorite crime/mystery authors are Preston and Childs. (Vennie Martinisi 1:43pm January 8, 2014)
Loving the sound of COMPROMISING WILLA... Thank you so much for sharing a bit about it with us! (Colleen Conklin 3:26pm January 8, 2014)
Sounds like a great read. My favorite mystery writer is Gemma Halliday. Favorite historical writer is Diana Quincy. (Denise Austin 4:11pm January 8, 2014)
At the store I go for the story description I like the most. Like Munroe, Nora Roberts. (Beth Elder 4:12pm January 8, 2014)
I have found so many authors new to me on this site. Love the authors! I usually read the story description on books, I'm an avid reader and don't want to buy two! That has happened to me. I have purchased some of these books and have never be disapointed. Thank you for the giveaway. (Barbara Wells 4:43pm January 8, 2014)
I read the first two book of this series and love it! I can't wait for the third book! I love the excerpt (Sandy Xiong 5:07pm January 8, 2014)
I'm dying to read this book. My heart sped up when reading the story of your family friend- the romantic in me was hoping to hear that true love prevailed in the end. Your twist on that story seems very interesting. :) (Kezia King 5:51pm January 8, 2014)
This sounds like an enjoyable read. (Janie McGaugh 8:42pm January 8, 2014)
Hi Diana. I read and thoroughly enjoyed Seducing Charlotte and Tempting Bella, and am looking forward to Compromising Willa. My mom has read it and loved it. After reading your excerpts, I'll be getting to it soon.
My favorite cup of coffee is laced with a shot of Bailey's and Amaretto :-) (Maria K. Alexander 8:44pm January 8, 2014)
Hi Anna & Vennie - There are so many talented authors out there! What a luxury it is that we readers will never be without something to read!
Hi Denise - *Blushes* Thank you!
Beth - The back of the book blurb influences me as well. Along with the author and the book cover.
HI Barbara - I hope you won't be disappointed with COMPROMISING WILLA if you end up giving it a try :)
Hi Sandy - Thank you! I'd love to hear what you think of Willa's story.
Kezia - Sadly true love did not prevail. However, my family friend was true to herself and was a very accomplished person.
Janie - Thanks :)
Maria - I'm so glad you Mother enjoyed COMPROMISING WILLA. I hope you will too :) (Diana Quincy 9:04pm January 8, 2014)
Wow, Congrats on your new book: COMPROMISING WILLA. I like the book cover too! Your new book sounds fascinating and I would love to win and read your new book in the New Year 2014. Thank You very much. Cecilia CECE (Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez 9:20pm January 8, 2014)
There are so many great authors, I like to read It's hard to chose. Book sounds great. Thanks for a chance to win your book. (Linda Hall 10:09pm January 8, 2014)
sounds like my kind of read. adding to my list. love the carmel brule lattes. (Barbara Studer 10:49pm January 8, 2014)
I really like the sound of this book. I like a stubborn and feisty heroine. (Marcy Shuler 11:27pm January 8, 2014)
I have read any of your books. I do love Compromising Willa since the excerpt does interest me as what do Willa do to compromise herself into ruins. Thanks for the interview and excerpt. (Kai Wong 11:40pm January 8, 2014)
I love it! Bonus excerpts! Compromising Willa looks great! It's been on my wish list since I saw the first blurb. (Glenda Martillotti 1:09am January 9, 2014)
I'm really looking forward to reading this book, because it mirrors someone in my own family that did the same thing. They dated for years, until his Mother passed away, then they got married. The thing is, when I saw them, they didn't seem deliriously happy, and were too old by then to have children, so they adopted a child. When the child was in their teens, I believe, he passed away, leaving her all alone to raise the child. There's much more to the story, but I don't think it was a very happy story in itself. They should have married when they were young, and the Mother was still living, in my opinion. I think they dated for over 20 years, which was a shame, and wasted the best years of their lives. Reading your book will probably have a lot of parallels to this person. I'll have to read the others as well, since they sound equally as good!! Congratulations on your book!! (Peggy Roberson 9:56am January 9, 2014)
Looking forward to reading this book. Loved the excerpts. My favorite author is Julie Garwood's historical books. (Carol Woodruff 11:10am January 9, 2014)
I love a wallflower story and look forward to seeing Willa get back at that nasty Earl! I love a strong cup of coffee with a shot of French Vanilla creamer. (Diane Sallans 1:55pm January 9, 2014)
Thank you for the fabulous excerpts. (Mary Preston 9:57pm January 9, 2014)
Sounds like an interesting read. I like to read the works of many authors and love stories of romance. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity. (Kathleen Beale 9:09am January 10, 2014)
I always love learning new things when I read. That's why I love Historical Romance so much as I am always learning about interesting tidbits of history. (Sharyn Lewis 11:54am January 10, 2014)
Congratulations on the publication of Compromising Willa! It sounds like a fascinating book. Love the cover. Thanks for sharing the great excerpts. (Bonnie H 9:05pm January 25, 2014)