Duels and Deceptions
By: Cindy Anstey
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: April 11th, 2017
Miss Lydia Whitfield, heiress to the family fortune, has her future entirely planned out. She will run the family estate until she marries the man of her late father’s choosing, and then she will spend the rest of her days as a devoted wife. Confident in those arrangements, Lydia has tasked her young law clerk, Mr. Robert Newton, to begin drawing up the marriage contracts. Everything is going according to plan.
Until Lydia—and Robert along with her—is kidnapped. Someone is after her fortune and won’t hesitate to destroy her reputation to get it. With Robert’s help, Lydia strives to keep her family’s good name intact and expose whoever is behind the devious plot. But as their investigation delves deeper and their affections for each other grow, Lydia starts to wonder whether her carefully planned future is in fact what she truly wants…
1. If you emptied out your purse, wallet, desk drawer, pockets, backpack, beach bag, saddle bag, or fanny pack, what would we find?
Cindy: In the corner of my desk drawer, I have a collection of loyalty cards that might be deemed slightly…very slightly, unusual. Two Belgian cards that I should probably get rid of since we moved two years ago: one for Baele (a pet/garden store in Aalter) and AD Delhaize (Grocery Store in Aalter). Then there is the expected assortment of local shops Pet Smart, Wheaton’s (gifts), Plum Rewards (bookstore)…and the key chain version of my library card. At the bottom there is my National Trust Member card—giving me access to over 200 historic houses in the UK… if only I had the time!
2. What is your writing process? Are you a plotter or a panster?
Cindy: A plotter all the way! I start a book with chapter outlines firmly in place. And yet… chapters split (too much to cover in one chapter) or take a different direction than expected. My characters often throw me a curve ball and I have to rewrite my plot.
3. What is your number one writing tip?
Cindy: Read. I believe reading is the best way to learn how to write. Listen to the cadence of the words; recognize how the author connected with you—garnered your empathy. Even books that don’t resonate offer lessons. Why did it not work for you (remembering, of course, that likes and dislikes are subjective)?
4. Describe your book in 5 words or less
Cindy: Regency Romp. Kidnapping. Scandal. Surprises.
5. A book goes through a lot of different versions and rounds of editing before it’s complete. What are some “fun facts” or behind the scenes info you can share about the characters from your book or the world you created for it that may or may not have made it to the final draft of the book?
Cindy: The original title of Duels & Deception was Carried Astray. Lydia’s daily routine is scheduled to the minute… until Robert comes along to show her the delight of surprises. The death of Robert’s brother affected him far more than is addressed in the book as it stands.
6. Do you have a special story behind your inspiration for the book?
Cindy: My plot inspirations almost always arise while researching something entirely unconnected. A word, sentence or oddity seeds my imagination and I am awash with ‘what ifs’. Duels & Deception was born from a headshaking moment when I came across the whys and wherefores of dueling—most often a perilous huff, as Robert would say!
7. Who was your favorite character to write and who gave you the most trouble?
Cindy: I have a great deal of fun writing my main characters, Lydia and Robert in this case. I enjoy spending time with them and watching them change throughout the book. However, Lydia’s good friend, Cora, was a little difficult to draw out of her shell. When the book begins, she is dealing with the loss of a favored suitor and is consequently withdrawn and melancholy. It would be easy for the reader to assume that Cora is a rather bland girl based on her initial behavior. I had to devise scenes that brought the spark in her eyes back.
8. If you could ask a character of your choice from DUELS AND DECEPTIONS one question what would it be?
Cindy: As I know the internal thoughts of all of my characters, any question I had would be about experiencing the Regency World first hand. How do you keep warm in the winter? Do the cities really stink? How close did you have to sit next to others in a carriage?
9. What scene from the book are you most proud of (because of how you handled the atmosphere, characters, dialogue, etc)?
Cindy: I love writing dialogue—especially the banter between the main characters. There are many so described scenes—I would be loath to chose between them.
10. Is there a scene that you had difficulty with and just had to “power through” to finish the book?
Cindy: No, not really. I find if I am having difficulty with a scene, it means I’m in the wrong place. I start deleting—first the sentence, then the paragraph—page, chapter etc. I go back as far as I need to. This is often where the characters take me away from the plot—veering in another direction. The book is usually all the more stronger for it.
11. What was the best, the worst, and the hardest thing about writing your sophomore novel?
Cindy: The best: Euphoria took me more than halfway through—I was already working on Duels & Deception (Carried Astray) when Love, Lies and Spies stepped into the sun. The worst: Self doubt. It’s a terrible thing! Hardest: Launching one book while trying to write another… but I’m getting used to it.
12. What are the top five things we should know as a reader before starting DUELS AND DECEPTIONS? (about the main character, their love interest, the antagonist, their world/home town, etc.)
Cindy: To understand the characters and the world they live in I would suggest that readers know:
- The Napoleonic War had just ended and as a result there were fewer eligible bachelors in 1817
- Girls and their mothers were obsessed with finding husbands because estates were usually passed down to the next male heir—leaving unwed daughters dependent on their relatives to survive
- Second and third sons (fourth etc.) were left without any funds as well—forcing them to join the military, church or take up law.
- Upper class girls could not work; they would be considered completely beyond the pale if they did, losing their social standing entirely (there were a few exceptions such as being a companion or governess)
- Being in the company of a young man without a chaperon present for any length of time was a great scandal!
Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.
She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.
Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester. Love, Lies and Spies is her debut novel.
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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. The author image, info, giveaway, and more were provided by Xpresso Book Tours.