Thursday, March 7, 2013

WAGERED TO THE DUKE by Karen Lingefelt

The Truth About Georgiana, written in 2005, had a secondary character for whom I never intended to write a book.  Her name was Kate Baxter, and she was the hero’s sister.  She wore spectacles, enjoyed playing the pianoforte, and expressed opinions that everyone else preferred she keep to herself.  In the original version of Georgiana, Kate was betrothed at the end of the book to a timid widower old enough to be her father.  Early last year, as I gave Georgiana a final polishing before submitting it for publication, I had a sudden, inexplicable hankering to write a story for Kate.  It was almost as if she was screaming for her own story.  
So I started writing something in which she was still betrothed to the widower, waiting for his one-year mourning period to end.  Apparently she was still determined to go through with it, but then along came the widower’s long lost son who was much closer to her age.
I’d written several chapters when I received the revisions and edits for Georgiana’s book, in which the editor singled out Kate and wanted to know why she was so willing to settle for a much older widower?  Kate was in her late twenties, which in Regency England was the equivalent of pushing forty, so maybe she thought this was the best she could do.  But surely she could do better?  Since I didn’t like what I’d written thus far on her story, this was like a gift from the heavens—or at least the editor—so I removed any hint of Kate’s betrothal or supposed interest in the widower from Georgiana’s story.  It never happened!  This allowed me to start over from scratch and do whatever I wanted with her.
I’d always wanted to write a “road romance” as well as one where the hero won the heroine in a wager and here was my chance to do one or the other.  I decided to stick a bar of chocolate into the jar of peanut butter and do both.  I resolved to complete this book before the end of 2012.
At the Tampa Area Romance Authors, or TARA, we have what’s known as the Book Challenge.  At the start of each year, the participant pays $10.00 for each book she or he intends to write that year.  It can be a book already started from a previous year, but the whole point is to finish writing the book by the following December.
If you finish the book by the December deadline, your name goes into a drawing at the TARA holiday party.  Whoever wins the drawing receives half the money in the Book Challenge pot, with the other half going to TARA.  I won in 2006 with the manuscript that later became Pride and Promises.
Usually we have “mini-challenges” within the Book Challenge.  The most popular of these is called the 100 x 100:  The goal is to write 100 words a day for 100 days, which gets one in the habit of writing every day.
When I took part in the 100 x 100 back in 2008, I turned it into the 1,000 x 100.  I wanted to see if I could write a book in 100 days, and to do that I had to turn out a word count of approximately 1,000 words a day.  I crashed and burned on Day 88.
But in 2012, when our Book Challenge launched its annual 100 x 100 challenge, I resolved to write the whole book in those 100 days.  And I did, using my1,000 x 100 formula.  The first draft of Wagered to the Duke was written in 87 days, from May 1 to July 26, 2012, with a total word count of 93,297 that was pared down in the revision process that began a month later after Baby Bear started a new school year.
And I won the Book Challenge again in December!
I love the cover of this book.  Even though the story is set in Regency England, the cover has a sort of 1930’s screwball comedy look to it that fits the overall tone of the book.  Think Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn.  Or Cary Grant and Irene Dunne.  Or Cary Grant and Myrna Loy.  Or Cary Grant and—well, you fill in the blank.  And the artist, Harris Channing, took great care to give Kate green eyes. 

En route to a dreary governess position, Katherine Baxter meets a frightened young woman whose brother wagered and lost her to a Scottish duke traveling to London, where Kate longs to go and be reunited with her own brother. Craving the adventure she’s never had, Kate brazenly takes the girl’s place but must hide her growing attraction to the dashing duke she can never hope to have.

Nathan Fraser, Duke of Loring, has no need for the plain, bespectacled woman he won at cards, for he plans to choose his bride from a bevy of beauties at a London ball. But when an enemy from his past threatens to claim the prize, Nathan’s honor forces him to keep this headstrong lass under his protection. As they travel incognito on a rollicking odyssey as husband and wife, the high-spirited Kate proves to be more trouble than he gambled for, yet Nathan risks all to win her heart while losing his own.

Buy here or here.   

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