Keira: You believe everyone has a story worth remembering. What is a story that has surprised and touched you from your work with aging adults?
Samantha Grace: Probably the most common thing I ask people is how they met their spouse. One couple I worked with met on a train to Chicago. Another met on a street corner the day the man returned from war. One lovely, devoted couple met while on a double date, only they each were out with another person. Then there was a story of a couple that fell in love through letters. She read an article he had written in a newspaper and wrote a heartfelt letter telling him how touched she was by his writing. They exchanged correspondence and love blossomed.
My favorite stories came from a couple that met when they were musicians during the thirties. She was a singer and he was a band member, and they performed together at a fancy hotel. (This was the Big Band days, which already has an air of romance to me.) After only knowing him a few days, she marched up to him after rehearsal and said she was going to marry him. She was right, except she became much more than his wife. She was the love of his life. The gentleman also had great tales about run-ins with gangsters and playing in speakeasies. I could’ve listened to them tell stories all day. But the best part was how they told the stories together, as if their stories wouldn’t be complete without the other’s participation.
Keira: How does that translate into your writing?
Samantha: I never use these couples’ stories in my books, but they inspire me. I think I’m most drawn to the couples that met in a fun situation and developed a deep friendship over the years, in addition to being mates. Maybe that’s the reason I enjoy adding a little humor when my hero and heroine meet and building a friendship between them before they fall madly in love.
Keira: A gentleman from the Regency era looks for a wife who fits these qualities...
Samantha: Well, it depends who you ask in Lady Vivian Defies a Duke. Lady Vivian’s brother thinks a young lady who is obedient, docile, and domesticated makes a good wife. The Duke of Foxhaven thinks if he valued those characteristics, he could get a dog. Luke really isn’t looking for a wife, but he’s drawn to Vivian’s adventurous spirit, kindness, and freshening curiosity.
Keira: Haha! Love it! Some might say gentlemen from today look for this particular quality...
Samantha: I think modern men want a wife who will be a companion to share in the activities they enjoy. That might mean having an adventurous spirit. I’ve met a lot of women who started hunting, golfing, riding motorcycles, etc. because that’s what their husbands liked to do, and they’ve found they love those things too.
Keira: What is the weirdest (at least in terms of today's mores) Regency rule you've encountered?
Samantha: I think it’s strange that it was considered scandalous to wear drawers when they first came on the scene. I believe the outrage came from the fact the trim was often visible beneath the skirts. It’s hilarious to me that a little frilly lace would send someone into the vapors, but going commando was perfectly fine. It does make writing love scenes easier for authors, though.
Keira: Why does Lady Vivian Worth flout the rules of her era?
Samantha: I wouldn’t say she actively sets out to break the rules. She just lives life at a full gallop. Sometimes she’s impulsive and that gets her into trouble. I loosely based her personality on my daughter who lives life fully and without reservations. I admire her bravery and determination. This characteristic leads to accidents for my daughter, whereas Vivian is more likely to wind up in trouble, but their responses are similar when they get hurt. They may shed a tear or two, but then they pick themselves up and try once again to tackle the world.
Keira: How did the Duke of Foxhaven get his name?
Samantha: I know Luke Forest is a stone cold fox, but that’s not how he got his name. LOL. I think of all the Forests as too clever for their own good, and they are a very close-knit, loyal family. Their parents created a safe haven for them all their lives, and they flourished in a happy home. Foxhaven just seemed to fit, and of course Luke inherited the title from his father.
Keira: Does he ever find that other man to fulfill the role of husband to Lady Vivian in Lady Vivian Defies a Duke?
Samantha: Now, I can’t answer that without spoiling the story, but let’s just say she ends up with her perfect match.
Keira: What is your favorite moment in the book?
Samantha: It’s hard for me to pick a favorite moment. I really enjoyed the time I spent writing Luke’s and Vivian’s story. They were a fun couple, but I guess if I had to pick just one, I’d say the moment Luke opens up about his accident is my favorite. It’s sweet, tender, and deepens their connection. It’s no longer about physical attraction, but about trust and compassion. It’s not easy to admit to weaknesses, especially if the person is in a position where others look to him to be strong. To be able to open up to another person and have her listen without judgment is priceless.
I’d love to ask readers a question. When the heroine and hero meet for the first time, this is often called the meet-cute or cute meet. It’s an entertaining way the couple comes together for the first time, for example, when Edward is lost in Pretty Woman and stops to ask Vivian how to get to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, and she makes him pay for directions. What is one of your favorite cute meets from a movie or book?
Author Bio: Samantha Grace is the author of several Regency romance novels. Lady Vivian Defies a Duke is the final installment of her Beau Monde Bachelor series. Publisher’s Weekly describes her stories as “fresh and romantic” with subtle humor and charm. She writes what she enjoys reading: romantic comedies about family, friendship, and flawed characters who learn how to love deeply.
Samantha is a part-time hospice social worker, moonlighting author, and full time wife and mom. She enjoys life in the Midwest with her husband, two witty kids, and a multitude of characters that spring from her imagination. To learn more about Samantha’s books, you can visit her website at: www.samanthagraceauthor.com.
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