General Mark Grimaldi has sacrificed everything for his military career, working his way through the ranks without the benefit of a nobleman’s title. Now, his years of dedication are about to pay off—with an offer for a prestigious promotion to Home Secretary. There’s only one condition: Mark must be married. Aside from the small matter of not actually wanting to be wed, Mark faces another troubling problem: he already has a wife.
Nicole Huntington Grimaldi has spent ten contented years in France without her husband—and without regret. When Mark asks her to return to London and play the part of his beloved wife, she sees her chance. But neither of them is prepared for news that will throw Mark’s future into chaos…nor the undeniable desire they’ve rekindled. Maybe happily-ever-after can happen the second time around in A Duke Like No Other, the next Regency romance from Valerie Bowman.
Valerie Bowman’s Playful Brides novels are:
“Wholly satisfying.”—USA Today
“Smart and sensual…readers will be captivated.”—RT Book Reviews
Q: How did you come up with the story of the reluctant duke that is Mark Grimaldi?
A: Mark actually first appeared in Playful Brides book #4, The Irresistible Rogue and then again in book #7, Never Trust a Pirate. He’s the spymaster who works with the heroes of those books, twins Rafe and Cade Cavendish. The more Mark’s character was revealed, the more I wanted to write his book. I really loved the idea of making him a duke somehow even though is father was Italian. Once I began thinking about what he wanted most (his next promotion) and what he wanted least (ties to his mother’s aristocratic side of the family), I thought of lots of great ways to make things difficult for him before he gets his happily ever after.
Q: Was the fact that Mark is so contrary intentional?
A: Yes. Mark is a general. He’s used to being in charge and doing whatever he wants. He has to learn to overcome that aspect of his personality if he’s going to make it work with his long lost wife, Nicole, who isn’t going to put up with his domineering ways.
Q: The crime plot seems to hail back to Agatha Christie’s novels. Is she an influence to you? If not, what other crime authors are?
A: Agatha Christie is fantastic, but the truth is that I love true crime! I watch it. I read it. I can’t get enough. I’ve seen a lot of things that would be totally unbelievable in a book but REALLY happened.
Q: Mark and Nicole aren’t young as historicals go, which is very refreshing. Why do you think there aren’t many historical romances with mature protagonists? Do you think there should be?
A: I see readers talking about this a lot on blogs and social media…specifically that they don’t want to read about an eighteen-year-old heroine, and I get that, so I do try to mix up the ages in my books when it makes sense. The issue with historicals is that most young ladies were making their debuts at that age (or near it) so it can also be unrealistic to other readers who are sticklers for historical accuracy. I’ve written both younger and older heroes and heroines and will continue to do that.
Q: If Mark and Oakleaf were living in our world today, do you think they would have been feminist allies?
A: Yes! Definitely. Why am I so certain? Because I like to write intelligent men and I think any men alive today, who are intelligent, are feminist allies.
Q: Will Regina and Oakleaf have their own book?
A: Yes! It’s already written. It’s called Kiss Me at Christmas and comes out this fall. I’m editing it now. I’ve had so much fun with them.
Q: Do you have any future project(s) you could speak of? What can readers expect from you in the near future?
A: In the near future, Kiss Me at Christmas (Book #10 of the Playful Brides series) will be out at the end of October 2018 and the final book of the series, Delilah and Thomas’s book, will be out in May 2019.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about the writing process from the moment you have an idea to the moment when the book is out and in your readers’ hands?
A: My favorite part is when I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea so good I have to get up and write it down. When that happens it’s like magic. A gift from the universe. One I’m always grateful for.
Q: What was the most useful advice you’ve gotten or lesson you’ve learnt from another writer or from reviewers/critics?
A: Goodness. There’s so much. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America and they’ve taught me more than I can say. Lately, I’ve been really into some advice I heard from author Damon Suede. He said each character should have their own verb. In A Duke Like No Other, I think Mark’s verb would be to control and Nicole’s would be to thwart, which makes for terrific friction!
Q: What was the most uplifting praise or comment you’ve ever gotten from a reader?
A: I’m never more humbled or happy than when a reader tells me they were up all night reading because they couldn’t put down my book. As far as I’m concerned, there is no greater compliment for a writer than that.
Q: When you’re taking a day/week/month off what do you like to do? What do you do to “charge batteries”?
A: I always enjoy a good spa day, but mostly I’m a big home body who just wants to be home with my family including my two mini Schnauzers, Huckleberry and Violet.
Q: What do you do to battle writer’s block?
A: I’ve always found that writer’s block melts away if you just sit down and start working.
Q: What is the most satisfying thing or things about being a published writer?
A: Having someone tell you that your book got them through a difficult time in their life. That’s the reason I began writing, because romance did that for me. I just want to pass that along.
Q: Do you have a final message to give to your readers?
A: Oh, thank you for asking. I’d love to personally thank each and every person who has ever picked up one of my books and read. I know your time is valuable and you have many choices and I never take that for granted. Thank you for trusting me with your time.