The Big Reveal: Sarah MacLean On Her Exciting Epilogue

Let’s get this out of the way first: MEGA SPOILER ALERT AHEAD. If you haven’t read Sarah MacLean’s latest, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (and really, what are you waiting for?) look away unless you want to find out about the BIG REVEAL in the epilogue. But if you can’t wait to hear more, read on!

***

We LOVED the reveal in the epilogue of No Good Duke. Did you always know that Chase was a woman, from the very first book?

Always. I knew I wanted the Scoundrels to each have been fallen
 aristocrats, and there are so many ways for a woman to fall in
pre-Victorian London, so I knew she would be a she. And I knew she 
would be the most powerful of all four — the one who brought them all
 together. The trick was writing all her scenes without giving it away 
to readers!

We went back and looked at some scenes with Chase, and, indeed, you never use a pronoun! Did you do that through all three books? Was that difficult?

I did it through all three books, and I confess, I'm happy the secret is 
out, so I can use words like “she” and “her”!

 I had a very clear rule: The only time Chase is mentioned using any
 gendered pronoun, it's when she's referenced as “he” or “him,” and
 this is only allowed if that someone who does not know the truth. The
 Scoundrels don’t ever refer to her with pronouns — they never lie to
 the readers — but the heroines (and others) do — at least, until they
 are let in on the secret.

It wasn't easy to write Chase’s scenes, we use pronouns a lot! They 
definitely slowed down the writing and they absolutely slowed down the 
editing, because I had to be so vigilant about never referring to her
 as a her. I will say, though, that if you read the series again, you 
will find that there are some inside jokes in there for you now that 
you know she’s a she. All sorts of moments will read in a different
way — and I had a blast writing those double meanings.

It seemed that it became far more clear in No Good Duke that Chase’s identity was a secret. Was that an intentional ratcheting up of tension, to prepare for the reveal/fourth book?

It was an intentional ratcheting, though there are a few small moments
 where her secret identity is mentioned during the earlier books. I’ve 
known the Chase reveal would happen in book three from the beginning of the series, but I also knew (as a romance reader) that once it got out 
that Chase’s secret was A SECRET, readers would start hunting for the 
truth. There are a number of red herrings in the series (male and 
female) designed to throw close readers off the scent and to get them 
thinking “Who Is Chase?” All I can say is, her being female isn’t 
the only secret for readers. Her actual identity will be another (I 
hope good!) surprise!

What did you think of the big reveal? No Good Duke Goes Unpunished is on sale now. For more romantic stories, visit our Everything Romance page!

Genre: