Or perhaps it isn't her secret, after all. If you have been hanging out at Romance Bandits for any length of time, you know that we are always a-twitter when Claudia Dain posts a comment. If you know Claudia's work, you will understand our excitement. If not, you may wonder why we call her The Incomparable Claudia Dain (TICD for short). You're about to find out. I am thrilled to welcome Claudia to the Bandits' Lair once again. Welcome, Claudia!
You know I love it here, Caren. It's like my second home...and I'm that freaky guest that will not leave! Here I am again, proving the point. It's your own fault for creating such a warm and happy blog in the cyber universe. Yes, that's right. I just blamed you for my tendency to loiter at Romance Bandits. Deal with it, Bandita.
Claudia, I am a huge fan of your Courtesan series. I read The Courtesan's Daughter (Oct 2007) at a speed that shocked my turtle-paced brain. The scenes clipped along, the chapters sped by and I was left panted and breathless for more when I galloped to the end. I am thrilled to note that your next book The Courtesan's Secret will be released tomorrow. Claudia, for those who may not yet have enjoyed The Courtesan's Daughter, what should we know about the Courtesan who stars in the title of these books?
My favorite topic: Sophia Dalby. Those who've read The Courtesan's Daughter have asked me about Sophia, noticing that she's not typical for a secondary character. She isn't! She's what I'm calling my anchor character. The series twirls around her, she's the fulcrum of all the action, but each book has a hero and heroine who enjoy (or not) their journey to love, marriage, and baby carriage.
Sophia's backstory is what makes her so interesting as a character and it took me two years of research for her to develop into a full-blown woman. She's the daughter of an Iroquois warrior and an English noblewoman, raised in the woods of upstate New York, mysterious events ensue, she winds up alone in Georgian London as a teen, forced to make her way as a courtesan.
Being Sophia, she's very good at being a courtesan and at negotiating her way through London's underbelly. She marries an Earl, gives him two children, he dies, and it is her daughter's love story that is covered in The Courtesan's Daughter. Sophia, being more intelligent and more devious than anyone, and who can arrange difficult love matches with apparent ease, is quickly becoming the Go-To Girl for the pretty young things in Regency London. In The Courtesan's Secret, Lady Louisa seeks help from Sophia in bringing the skittish and scrumptious Lord Dutton to the altar. Louisa gets far more than she bargained for, which is typical for those who tangle with Sophia.
Claudia, Sophia is a fascinating character. At the risk of inciting a riot, I confess that I have already read The Courtesan's Secret. Yes, friends, I tore through the ARC as if I were being chased by a band of savage Iroquois. Okay, that's not true. If Sophia's brother and nephews were after me, I wouldn't run at all and I raced through The Courtesan's Secret! I can say for a fact that Sophia knew far better than the heroine, Louisa Kirkland, what Louisa wanted - or perhaps what she needed. Sophia is a master at manipulating people and events and she is building a reputation as a matchmaker. How many matches will Sophia get to arrange? I hope it's lots, since that will mean more books for me!
I hope it's a lot, too! That would be my dream career, to write Regencies with Sophia skipping through the ton, whistling merrily as she has her way with all of them. When I created Sophia, or rather, as she arose from my research into Georgian and Regency England, as well as Colonial America and the important part the Indian nations played in European politics, I knew I wanted to stay with her for as long as possible. Because of that wish on my part, the series is very open ended. I know what's going to happen to Sophia ultimately, but I can write as many books as I want, stretching her journey out for the conceivable future.
But as enamored as I am with Sophia's character, I think the hero and heroine of each book do stand on their own well against her. She is not the focus of each book and as more characters arise within each book, I get excited about writing their love story, their stumbling tumble into each other and into marriage. And while I'm thinking of it, I should probably mention that just because an appealing, gorgeous character is introduced in any of the books doesn't mean that character will ever get her/his own story. I'm not sure if readers will love me or hate me for that, but it will keep things interesting!
Of course all your heroes and heroines do a fine job holding their own against Sophia. At least, they believe they do! *g* But I understand we will get a glimpse into Sophia's past in a novella coming out this year.
Very true. In Private Places, an anthology coming out in August, the reader gets to see one night in Sophia's life as a working courtesan, the night she meets Lord Dalby, as a matter of fact. As in all the Courtesan novels, Sophia is a secondary character in this story, but as in all the Courtesan novels, she is pulling quite a few strings to make sure everything turns out the way it should. I wish I had a Sophia in my life! I could use someone like her in my corner.
Thank you for being with us today, Claudia. It is always a thrill! Now, dear readers, Claudia has a question for you:
Do you have a Sophia in your life? Someone who watches your back, who knows you better than you know yourself, who can see the important details that you miss? Of course, your mom, but anyone else? I'll be giving away a signed copy of The Courtesan's Daughter to a lucky commenter.