Jen: Today we are excited to welcome our next Historical Romance Retreat author, Valerie Bowman. Valerie, will you share a short bio with us?
Valerie: Valerie Bowman’s books have received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus. She’s been an RT Reviewers’ Choice nominee for Best First Historical Romance and Best Historical Romance Love and Laughter. Two of her books have been nominated for the Kirkus Prize for fiction.
Valerie grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven). After earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, and watching crazy reality TV.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Valerie: The Irresistible Rogue is a Regency retelling of Philip Barry’s The Philadelphia Story. It’s part of my Playful Brides series in which every book is based on a famous play. It’s an adventurous racy Regency romp!
By the time Rafe pushed open the door to the library and strode inside, Daphne was a bit winded keeping up with him. Her hands hadn’t yet stopped shaking, either. What else could he possibly have to say to her? He’d already made clear his demands and the fact that he had no intention of leaving the party.
He strode into the middle of the room and then turned and crossed his arms over his chest, glaring down the length of his nose at her.
“Well?” she said, trying to calm the rapid beating of her heart.
“Well?” he echoed.
She clasped the back of the settee with both hands. “What did you want to say to me?”
“You said you refused to continue our conversation in the ballroom. I thought perhaps we should go somewhere more private.”
“We don’t have to have any conversation.”
“I say we do.”
“What else is left to say?” She put a hand up to her forehead to swipe away a curl. Her reticule dangled crazily from her wrist.
“Quite a lot, actually.”
She put her hand to her hip. “Really, that’s amusing. I thought I said it all when I found that blond doxy in your bed.”
“Damn it, Daphne. I told you a dozen times, she wasn’t—”
“She wasn’t what? Blond? A doxy? In your bed? Which one of those things isn’t true?”
Rafe gritted his teeth. “Individually, they are all true, but—”
“I don’t want to hear any more of your excuses.”
“Fine. At least I’m not attempting to engage myself to a bore.”
Daphne gasped. “A bore! How dare you?”
“You heard me. The man is a bore. A social-climbing bore.”
“He’s not a bore.”
Rafe pursed his lips. “But he is a social climber?”
Daphne tossed a hand in the air. “Some people in our Society find social status important.”
“And some of us find it boring.”
Daphne took a deep breath. “There’s no need to argue. You have your blond. I have my baron.”
“She’s not my blond. I—”
Daphne raised her palm. “No. No. Please spare me. You were quite clear on the subject. We were married due to a business arrangement only. And our annulment will be yet another business arrangement. There’s nothing more to say.”
Rafe’s eyes were flashing ice-blue fire when he stepped closer to her. “Perhaps, but what if there is more?”
She narrowed her eyes on him. “What do you mean? I told you I’d go with you on Sunday night.”
“What if I tell you I want one more thing from you as part of the agreement?”
Daphne turned away and stared hard, yet unseeing, at the vast wall of books in front of her. Why was he making this so difficult for her? She knew she should have insisted he leave for the remainder of the party. She should have pleaded her case to Julian. She should have forced Rafe to leave. “What else? What else is there, Rafe? What else do you want?”
There was a pause. A pause in which she could hear and feel the beating of her own heart. A trickle of sweat ran down between her breasts.
Rafe’s voice was low and clear. “A kiss.”
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Valerie: I’m a mixture of both, really. I have to have a general outline of a plot before I begin or it can quickly go off the rails. But once I get into it, anything can happen and I’m often surprised. In fact, a surprise character arrives at the end of The Irresistible Rogue. It was completely unexpected until I was writing that scene.
Jen: Describe your writing in 3 words.
Valerie: Racy Regency Romps!
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you reading now?
Valerie: Some of my favorite authors include Lisa Kleypas, Judith McNaught, and Georgette Heyer. Right now I’m catching up on Julie Anne Long’s Pennyroyal Green series. Such a great group of books!
Jen: What’s been the highlight of you career to this point?
Valerie: The highlight has been meeting Lisa Kleypas. Reading one of Lisa’s books inspired me to begin writing and I just adore her and her work. I met her and she was gracious enough to read my debut, Secrets of a Wedding Night, and give me a quote to use on the cover. A complete dream come true!
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Valerie: In my spare time I like to read (of course), travel, play with my dog, and watch crazy reality TV.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Valerie: This Christmas I have a holiday novella coming out. The Duke and Duchess Trap will be in an anthology called All I Want for Christmas is a Duke! Then I’m writing the 6th novel in my Playful Brides series. This one is based on Pygmalion.