Behind the scenes: It’s Hard Out Here For a Duke

One of the frequently asked questions I get is where do your stories ideas come from? The short answer is everywhere. But with each book, I love to share a few behind the scenes story and the inspiration for the characters and stories.


Devoted readers know that each book in the Cavendish series is a Regency version of a contemporary Romantic Comedy, because romantic comedies are my favorite art form and I believe I should watch them in the name of “research” and “work.” It’s Hard Out Here For A Duke is loosely based on…The Princess Diaries!

AKA it is also a story in which an unsuspecting Normal Person In America unexpectedly discovers that they are royalty (or something like it) and in which they must come to terms with their newfound responsibility and their inherent goodness and decency means that they accept this role for the goodness of all people. This was also my #1 daydream when I was seven, but I digress.


And YES, the duke does get a big makeover! HIs makeover scene was one of my favorites to write 😉 And I totally imagine Josephine as Julie Andrews.


The other major  #Inspo for It’s Hard Out Here For a Duke is….Grey’s Anatomy! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this show, especially the romance between Mer Der in seasons 1 & 2. Look closely and you’ll see that the beats of James’s romance with, er, Meredith echo those of the show. Ditto the angst between a “lowly intern” and an “attending surgeon” or a lady’s companion and a lofty duke.

This is because I utterly and unapologetically LOVE GREY’S ANATOMY and I LOVE MER-DER and I have never, ever, ever cried harder than I did when McDreamy died. I renewed my vow to never, ever kill off a beloved main character and to inflict such emotional devastation about the tender hearts of my readers.

Meredith+ Derek: making elevators sexy again.


Fun true fact: I threw Meredith’s name in as a placeholder in my proposal and in Lady Bridget’s Diary and then I forgot to change it, even though I every intention of renaming her character. Of course, I didn’t realize this until after the book was already in print. EEEK! And so, the name hath stuck.


This book—this series—would not be what it is  if not for a mildly adventurous NYC subway ride with my fellow historical romance author Sophia Nash, in which I, a seasoned New Yorker, led us to the wrong train. This fortunately allowed us time to converse beyond the basic pleasantries, and I learned that she was an expert equestrienne and historian and was thus able to answer my pressing questions about this series idea I was kicking around about horse trainer and horse breeder from Maryland. . . and which helped me decide to go ahead with it. So thank you to Sophia for sharing her knowledge and for fate forgetting us lost!


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