Jen: Today we are excited to welcome Theresa Romain to Romancing the Book. Theresa, will you tell us a little about yourself?
Theresa: Historical romance author Theresa Romain pursued an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on. She then worked for universities and libraries, where she got to read even more. Eventually she started writing, too. She lives with her family in the Midwest.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Theresa: SECRETS OF A SCANDALOUS HEIRESS is the story of a troubled heroine who adopts a false identity in Bath, then gets recognized by an acquaintance, an Anglo-Indian with his own secrets. They form an uneasy truce, then help each other, and—of course!—fall in love.
This is the third historical romance in the Matchmaker trilogy, and the hero and heroine (Joss and Augusta) both appeared in the second book though they never met on-page. When I started planning on their story, I wanted to research some aspects of Regency history that were new to me—setting, social class, and race. Apart from that, both Joss and Augusta have alpha tendencies, so it was a lot of fun to write their sparring.
A half step ahead of her, he made the final turn into Queen Square. She looked up at him; his profile was chiseled so sharply that he would have made a beautiful coin. He did not even glance at the manicured garden where they had recently passed a few cheerful minutes.
Feeling out of step, left behind, confused, she hurried after him. The long wool cloak caught around her ankles, flapping sodden and heavy. He seemed so sure-footed as he walked ahead.
At the steps to Emily’s house, he bowed a farewell to her. “Be well, Mrs. Flowers.”
One of her hands reached from the folds of the cloak and caught his coat sleeve before he could turn. “Why did you kiss me when we were in the mews?”
His smile was harsh and wry. “Because it was unthinkable not to.”
“And now?” Breathless, her words were almost a gasp.
His gaze skated away, as though the sight of her pained him. “I am not a fool. It would be unthinkable to kiss you again.”
Yes. This was good sense, and so there was nothing to say but: “I see. Thank you for the dinner, and—and for accompanying me home.” Releasing his sleeve, she hurried up the steps. She had beat a quick tattoo with the door knocker before she recalled that no one in the house knew she had left.
When the door opened, she slipped inside before the butler could ask any questions. She permitted only one glance behind her before the door closed again.
And this was what she had seen: Joss Everett, his shoulders square and hands folded behind his back, watching her with a face of desolation. He looked like a man hungry for something who had just realized he would never be fed.
Her hands went icy again—which made her realize that, as she walked at his side, they had been warmed.
No, it would be unthinkable to kiss him again. And yet somehow, it was all she could think about.
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Theresa: In the most low-tech of all ways: I scribble them down. I have notepaper on my nightstand, in my purse, in my car, in my kitchen…you get the idea! Often these scribblings make no sense to me later, especially the random things I write if I wake up during the night. But sometimes I think up a character trait or avenue of research that comes in very handy later.
Jen: If you were able to travel in time, where would you go and what 3 things would you take with you?
Theresa: I can come back to the present, right? I’m not living in the past forever? (I’m too fond of electricity, indoor plumbing, antibiotics, and all that good stuff.) In that case, I’d love to go to Regency England and check out the setting for my books in person.
Three things to bring…hmm. I’d need my glasses, or I wouldn’t be able to take in a single detail. I’d also want a smartphone or some other kind of camera/video recorder for documenting everything I could think of. That would probably eat the battery quickly, so I’d also need a hand-cranked battery charger.
Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one you most identify with?
Theresa: My favorite characters are always the ones I’m working on, because I love the process of digging through personality and figuring out what makes someone tick. This doesn’t always go smoothly, which is why the characters I’m working on are also always my LEAST favorite.
There are bits I identify with in all my characters, like Joss’s impatience (in SECRETS OF A SCANDALOUS HEIRESS) or Jane’s worry about fitting in to unfamiliar situations (in SEASON FOR SCANDAL). My husband teased me that Louisa, the introverted bookworm heroine of SEASON FOR SURRENDER, was very much like me. Ahem, wrong. Sure, we share a love of books–but honestly, she’s a lot braver and quicker with a quip than I am.
Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book? Do you do anything to celebrate a sale, new contract or release?
Theresa: When I got the first sale call from my soon-to-be editor, I was at work and totally missed it. My husband went home for lunch that day, heard the message, and called to tell me an editor was trying to reach me. I don’t remember exactly what I did; probably flailed my arms around and tried not to shriek. (Remember, I was at work!)
I’m a reluctant cook, so my favorite way to celebrate anything—a sale, meeting a deadline, having a new book hit shelves—is getting takeout. Having someone else cook tasty food that I get to eat? That’s always a treat.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Theresa: I’m working on two new historical romance series. Some of the details are still TBD, but I should be able to share a lot more information soon.