March 01, 2017

Meredith Duran

Forgetting yourself (literally) and falling in love
Interview by
A member of Parliament takes a strange path to love in our Romance Top Pick for March, the captivating and clever Regency love story A Lady’s Code of Misconduct. Duran, who has always been a fascinated by English history, was kind enough to answer a few questions about love, amnesia and more!
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A member of Parliament, Crispin Burke, takes a strange path to love in our Romance Top Pick for March, the captivating and clever Regency love story A Lady’s Code of Misconduct. Meredith Duran, who has always been fascinated by English history, was kind enough to answer a few questions about love, amnesia and more!

Describe your latest novel in one sentence.
When a dark-hearted politician is stripped of all his defenses, he must turn to a sheltered idealist for his salvation—a woman who has every reason to hate him, and with whom he’s about to fall helplessly in love.

Memory loss and head injuries are unusual fare for a romance novel! I have to ask you where you found inspiration for this novel.
You’re right, amnesia is pretty uncommon in recent romance, but I came of age on historical romances in the ’90s, when amnesia was a relatively common trope. There’s so much that can be done with a character who is suddenly rendered a stranger to himself! I always hoped to write a book that served as a tribute to those classics, but I had to wait until I found a story that could exploit the trope to its fullest potential. I think (hope!) that Crispin’s arc qualifies as such.

You’re big fan of British history. Do you have a favorite love-struck couple from English days of yore?
Out of respect for the romance genre’s devotion to happy-ever-afters, I’ll pick Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. He defied every one of his friends, as well as his Privy Council, in choosing to marry a widow who brought no political advantages or real wealth. However, if you asked me to name a star-crossed romance, I’d pick Anne Boleyn and Henry Percy. I contend that she truly loved him, and had Cromwell not interfered (at the behest of Percy’s father’s petition to Henry VIII—so I believe), she would have lived a long and happy life as the sixth Countess of Northumberland.

Crispin Burke is a pretty complex man. What’s your favorite trait of his?
I find his ambition both fascinating and fearsome. Paired with his perseverance, it makes him just as likely to be a force for evil as for immense and lasting good. Thank goodness he’s got Jane to steer him straight!

What’s your favorite part about being a romance author?
I love the history of everyday life, and historical romance allows me to dwell in and on those mundane details that shaped people’s daily lives: how they talked, shopped, ate, dressed, socialized, fell in love and so on. Politics, battles, economies, monarchies—these were always the structural backdrop for daily experience. Historical romance allows me to foreground the same emotions and rituals and hopes and fears that still govern our modern lives. It draws the past close, and I love that.  

What do you do to unwind after a day of writing?
I read! I’ve always been a voracious and omnivorous reader. The only kind of fiction I tend to avoid is mystery (although I do like a good psychological thriller a la Laura Lippman), largely because I cannot stop myself from flipping to the end to find out who did it—and that makes me feel guilty, like I’ve wronged the author.

What’s next for you?
Later this year, I have a short story coming out in an anthology that features five romance writers who were tasked to pen a short story in a different subgenre than they typically write. The gimmick for the anthology is actually borrowed from a Victorian anthology that kept the authorship of each story a secret for a time. Likewise, with this anthology, we won’t reveal which author wrote each story until a few months have passed.

2018 sees the publication of my next historical romance, which tells the tale of a gentleman whom readers have been asking about since the publication of my debut novel back in 2008. It took me quite a few years to work my way around to his story, but I hope readers will decide that the wait was worth it!

ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our review of A Lady’s Code of Misconduct.

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