Susana Ellis comes on board today to tell us about how Lady Pendleton (who has been her friend for a while, and who is a key, ongoing secondary character in her new series) evolved.
Agatha Tate, Lady Pendleton, has become the star of my new series, The Lady P Chronicles, but she started out as the eccentric aunt of Damian Ashby in my first published story, Treasuring Theresa. In that story, Lady Theresa is the country lady who despises the superficiality of London and her distant cousin and father’s heir, Damian Ashby. Damian, a Corinthian through and through, dislikes country rustics, and mostly particularly, Lady Theresa. But as the story progresses, he sees Theresa in her natural setting and begins to appreciate her courage, intelligence, and commitment to the community. In order to win her love, he has to prove his own strength of character by adapting to country life.
It’s a good story the way it is, but I really wanted to lengthen it in order to give Theresa the opportunity to prove herself in London society as Damian did in the country. The intended publisher had a limit of 12,000 words, and it was already nearly 13,000, so I couldn’t do it. However, once the story was published—in the Blush Cotillion line at Ellora’s Cave—I wrote an epilogue for it which is still available on my website.*
In the epilogue, Lady Pendleton is Damian’s aunt who accompanies her to the modiste’s in order to help her prepare for London society. I had no thought at the time of her being a time traveler.
But when I was developing my blog, Susana’s Parlour, I thought having Lady Pendleton time-travel to my house to give me insights into Georgian history might be interesting for readers. At the time, I was thinking of my family and friends who hadn’t read historical romance before and wanted to learn more about it. So Lady P was kind enough to describe her experiences to my readers. She even followed me to Florida the first year I became a snowbird. (Which is why she tells Helena in A Home for Helena that she is familiar with Helena’s home state.)
Originally, I depicted Lady P as my mother in a bonnet (and my sister as Lady Beauchamp, who appears in the epilogue). Once I began writing Helena, however, I realized that Lady P was more my own age than my mother’s. So I found a stock photo to serve as her photo, although I do wish I could have found one with her hair up, as one would expect of a proper Regency lady.
It only occurred to me later that Lady P would make a great character for a time travel story. And that’s how A Home for Helena was born… and then The Ultimate Escape**, which is the story of Lady P’s daughter Julia’s time-traveling adventure. Ultimate takes place five years earlier, so it’s Book 1 in the series, and Helena is Book 2
*Treasuring Theresa will be re-released next month with a new cover and the epilogue, so watch for it.
**The Ultimate Escape appeared in the Bluestocking Belles’ Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem, which remains on sale for 99¢ through March 31, 2016. Soon after that, The Ultimate Escape will be released with a new cover.
ABOUT A HOME FOR HELENA
After a gypsy suggests that she has been misplaced in time, Helena Lloyd travels back two hundred years in an attempt to find out where she belongs.
Widowed father James Walker has no intention of remarrying until he makes the acquaintance of his daughter’s lovely new governess.
Lady Pendleton, a time-traveling Regency lady herself, suspects that these two belong together. First, however, she must help Helena discover her true origins—and hopefully, a home where she belongs.
A Home for Helena is Book 2 of The Lady P Chronicles.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Susana Ellis has always had stories in her head waiting to come out, especially when she learned to read and her imagination began to soar.
A former teacher, Susana lives in Toledo, Ohio in the summer and Florida in the winter. She is a member of the Central Florida Romance Writers and the Beau Monde chapters of RWA and Maumee Valley Romance Inc.
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