Message From The Author

Author's Message

My daughter graduates from high school this year. With typical teenage plain-spokenness, she says if she hears one more person say, The Class of 2000, in a tone of awe, shes going to throw up.

She doesnt understand that we adults, when we were her age, calculated how old we would be in the year 2000, wondered what we would be doing, whether wed be married, have children, be happy. If we were baby-boomers (I was), we even wondered if wed be alive, since wed be somewhere between 40 and 55 and that was just ancient.

Now its the year 2000, and were
all doing exactly what we want, married to flawless mates, have 2.5 children and are forever young. At least I amthats my story and Im sticking to it.

But because my daughter is going through such a rite of passage, Ive been thinking a lot about the past and comparing her to me. She is organized, determined, knows just what she wants to do and how to get there.

I was nothing like that. When I was five, I wanted to be a nurse. When I was 10, I wanted to be a pilot. When I was 15, I wanted to be a princess (eternally practical, thats me) and when I was 20, I had become a draftsman who designed roads, sawmills and mines. At no point in my childhood or adolescence did it occur to me to seek employment as, of all things, a romance writer. But looking back, its clear the seeds were always there.

My daughter goes to see movies like The Green Mile and reads books like Tuesdays with Morrie.

In my teens, I saw The Sound of Music five times and, ignoring the hard facts, I imagined myself to be just like Maria, wide-eyed, beautiful and capable of enticing a wealthy, arrogant sea captain. I read Jane Eyre over and over, and decided to be just like Janeproud, independent, clever and worthy of enticing a wealthy, arrogant Englishman. And sometime in high school, I read the book on which both Anna and the King and The King and I are based, and dreamed of going to a foreign land and there enticing a wealthy, arrogant and barbaric king.

The truth is, I was destined for romance writing because Im a dreamer and a romantic, and the stories that speak to me the most are governess stories. Maria and Captain von Trapp, Jane and Mr. Rochester, Anna and her kingI watch the movies and read the books again and again.

So as I was thinking about my past and the winding road that had led me to romance writing, inspiration came to me. Write interconnected stories about three friends who, determined to make their fortunes and gain control of their lives, band together to form a Victorian placement agency for governesses. When I told my daughter what I intended to do,
she looked up from reading Jane Eyre and said, This is such a good book, Mom.

Hmm, maybe we have more in common than I realized.

My first story about The Distinguished Academy of Governesses is called RULES
OF SURRENDER.

Lady Charlotte Dalrumple is the Miss Manners of Great Britain, a governess of never-failing propriety who teaches the youth of England how to behave in society. She agrees to take on the agencys first, most onerous commission, that of teaching English courtesy
to two noble children raised abroad.

But her greatest challenge comes not from the children, but from their father, English-born Lord Wynter Ruskin. He is outspoken, aggravating, and sadly uncivilized by the dangers and adventures of his journeys. Rising to the challenge, Charlotte resolves to instruct him in manners, but instructing this man involves late nights, improper conversations, and peril of the sort this beautiful spinster has never encounteredthe peril of desire.

The second in my governess series will be out Sept. 00, and the third in 01. Each book tells the story of a beautiful, proud, independent governess who entices her wealthy,
arrogant English employer. I hope youll join me in my celebration of governesses, and pick up your copy of RULES OF SURRENDER, on sale March 7.

Oh, and by the way, please dont worry about my daughter. This spring, shes going to hear The Class of 2000 a lot, and if I know her (and I do), the worst shell do is roll her eyes.

I love to hear from readers! Visit my website at www.christinadodd.com or write to me via snail mail, P.O. Box 323, Stafford, TX 77479.


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