Spoiled: Meredith Duran On Her Upcoming Release At Your Pleasure

Meredith Duran is one of the freshest new voices in historical romance. With several RT Top Pick! ratings and RT award nominations already under her belt, fans are eagerly anticipating the release of Duran's sixth book, At Your Pleasure, next month. Today the author shares with us some details about the revenge-seeking hero, Adrian, his hostage, heroine Lady Lenora, and how these two enemies become lovers.

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Adrian Ferrers is a man seeking revenge. What can you tell us about his situation? 

I was in a dramatic frame of mind when I began writing At Your Pleasure. I wanted to tell the story of a truly epic love — and a star-crossed couple who, in the world’s eyes, absolutely could not be together. My aim was to capture that dreadful, wonderful, intoxicating feeling that comes of yearning desperately for someone whom you know in your bones you were meant for — but who is destined to never be yours. As a result, Nora and Adrian’s story is dark, intense, and (I think) the most romantic book I’ve written.

Adrian was born one of those rare creatures, a member of the English Catholic aristocracy. In the Georgian period, Catholics — aristocrats included — faced suspicion, persecution, and punitive laws that restricted their freedom of movement, their political rights, and their ability to receive an education.

The Catholic nobility had strong networks in England and France that allowed them to circumvent many of these restrictions. Perhaps Adrian would have been content with his lot, then, if he hadn’t fallen in love with Nora, whose family is not Catholic. Her family had no intention of letting her marry him, and the terrible way they put an end to the affair not only scarred both Nora and Adrian, it also changed the course of their lives.

As the story opens, circumstances have reunited our hero and heroine after six long years of silence. Adrian is no longer the laughing charmer he once was. He is battle-hardened, cynical, and weary. He has abandoned his religion and (so he tells himself) his conscience and heart. But no amount of cynicism can protect him from the shock of seeing Nora again. At the first look, all his hard-won defenses shatter.

Of course, he’s no longer the idealistic boy who first wooed her. This time around, neither his love nor his intentions are gentle.

Your heroine, Lady Lenora, is being detained on her estate by Adrian and the king’s men. What is it about the hostage heroine that ignites your imagination — and why do you think that readers will respond to her?

By definition, the hostage heroine might be considered powerless, trapped at someone else’s mercy. There’s something uplifting and inspiring, then, in watching the heroine turn the tables on her captor. When that captor is a lost love, the stakes rise even higher.

I think readers will find Nora a sympathetic heroine. She has been hurt terribly, and survived these last six years on sheer will and the courage of her convictions. She has vowed to defend those convictions even if they cost her everything. What she never foresaw is that it will be Adrian who becomes a direct threat to her. She’s shocked to learn that he still kindles in her all the hot emotions she’d imagined numb or dead. She is a courageous woman in a terrible bind: to save her family, she has to defeat the only man she’ll ever love.

Many authors write about English spies, but in this story you actually show the country in a time of war. What do you find intriguing about this period in English history, what kind of research did you do to bring that feeling to life?

When we think of Jacobites, we tend to think of 1745 and the Highlanders. But English Jacobites were always central to the movement, and never more so than in 1715, when there were uprisings of various scales all across England. While the events in At Your Pleasure never move to the battlefield, I found it a fascinating time in which to set a story. On a shallow note, it’s also fun to write about men who wore swords and knew how to use them!

Researching this period required a shift from my usual methods, but I still managed to find some primary material, including The Female Tatler, a ladies’ magazine that was published in 1709-1710 (five years before the story opens) and gave me a great feel for contemporary vocabulary and fashions. I also hit gold with a dissertation about Catholic nobility in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I can’t tell you how loudly I squealed when I spied that one on the shelf!

Mark your calendar, you can pick up At Your Pleasure when it is released on March 27. In the meantime, for more genre coverage check out our Everything Romance Page and find out which soon-to-be-published books we are eagerly anticipating on our Upcoming Releases Page!

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