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  • Jane Walsh

My Labour of Love

This year has passed by in a blur, and all of a sudden it’s only ten days away from the Nov 1 early launch of my debut historical romance novel. I would ask where the time went, but suffice it to say that it’s 2020. We all know where it went, don’t we?

Her Lady to Love was written as a labour of love, and I am so excited that I get to share it with the world. This is a sweet and fluffy f/f Regency romance, and I would love for it to sweep you away into another world for an evening or two. It's a love story with a shy wallflower, a popular party girl, a saucy shopping spree, an ill-timed kiss in a ballroom, and lots of queer friendships along the way.

Although I started writing this story in late 2017 with a promise to myself that I would finish it, I wasn’t actually convinced that it would ever be done - let alone published. I have wanted to write historical romance ever since I got my hands on a contraband Jo Beverley when I was 10, but I’d started and dropped any number of projects since then.

The furthest I ever got was probably in 2005 with my m/f Regency manuscript about a bisexual love triangle. It featured an earl who had an affair with a duke, but who was torn by his passion for a debutante. Being bisexual / pansexual myself, this was rep that I wasn’t able to find at that time in historical romance. But like many first attempts to write a book, this one had potential but not much else to recommend it.

I also wrote a draft or two of a m/f Regency about a pair of senior citizens, who were trying to prevent their grandchildren from marrying - and of course they fall in love themselves. I wrote a double wedding in there, and overall it was charming but without much plot.

Dressmaking heroines had their moment in historicals in the 2010s, and you can be sure I had a third of a book done about a pensive seamstress visiting the country estate of a sweet and bumbling fishing enthusiast. Again, m/f Regency. Again, unfinished.

I won’t even mention the many other books I outlined or first chapters I wrote. Most of those projects petered out after a mere few weeks of excitement. By the time I started Her Lady to Love, I hadn’t written anything at all in at five or six years.

I didn’t know what would happen or really what I was doing when I was writing. There was a strong possibility that it would be a discarded draft like the rest of them were, and there were times the length of a London Season where I didn’t work on my book at all. Times where I gave up. Times where I wondered if I would ever have it in me to finish anything.

Most of the characters went through name changes. There were personality trait revisions. Plot devices were introduced and dropped and edited out. The title went from Regency Queers (which is now my personal name for the series), to Damsels in Undress (which I think is a great title but more suited to erotica), to finally Her Lady to Love.

I don’t know why this one was different, or why I was able to finish it. Is it because I'm older now, and I've seen a lot more of love and relationship? Or have I finally accepted the adage that perfection is the enemy of completed, and I am more forgiving of the many flaws that I still see in my research and my writing?

But whatever the reason - I’m so grateful that I finished Her Lady to Love . I’m delighted that Bold Strokes Books accepted it for publication. And I am honoured to be able to share it with all of you soon. Thank you for taking a chance on my debut novel, and I hope you enjoy it.

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