You’ve waited, and it’s finally here! Halwyn Fitzpatrick, oldest son of Becky Lower’s Cotillion Series, is ready to tell his story! And don’t worry, you don’t have to have read Books 1-4 to read Blinded By Grace, (but you’re going to want to, so I’ll have links to them below). In the meantime, I don’t see any reason for further delay – each moment we spend here is precious moments you could be reading this novel! Becky, let’s get to it!
While researching this era, I was intrigued by how little a woman controlled her own life. When she married, all her assets were put in her husband’s hands. Quite different from today. Of course, the suffragette movement began to change the dynamic, but it took years. So, I decided the greatest conflict I could imagine if I was a woman living in the 1850s would be to be granted a trust but be unable to get to it and administer it myself.
Halwyn is the oldest of the Fitzpatrick children, but you decided to start the Cotillion Series with his younger sister, Ginger. How did you decide the timing of Halwyn’s story?
Since women in this era were considered over the hill by age 20 or so, it was imperative to marry off the sisters first. Pepper was already married in the first book, and expecting her first child. I always wanted to write a story about a young woman who falls for an exotic American Indian, so Ginger’s story was an obvious first. Heather and Jasmine are twins, and only a year behind Ginger in age, so they had to come next. But, I got so much mail after Heather’s book saying how despised Jasmine was, I decided I needed to carve out some space between the twins’ stories and give my readers a chance to forget how bad she was. It was either Basil or Halwyn, and Basil had been such a predominant part of Ginger’s story, I decided to write his story first. So, by the time I finished Jasmine’s story, Halwyn was getting on in years. I decided he had to be next.
I am a huge fan of the development of your characters. Tell us how you came to know Halwyn and Grace’s personalities.
Grace is the kind of woman I would like to have been if I’d lived in the 1850s. She takes control of her own life, and digs deep to find the strength of character to withstand her evil stepfather. Halwyn has made guest appearances in several of the earlier books by this point, but always managed to stay in the background. We knew he worked with his father at the bank, and was the quiet, studious type. But beyond that, not much was known. I decided that, in order to give him the spotlight, he needed to have some kind of affliction that kept him in the shadows up until now. Hence, the eyeglasses.
How much fun is it to research the clothing of the period? Your descriptions of 1858 New York style absolutely brings the past to life.
My mother started me on the clothing obsession when she unearthed a framed Godey print from under my sister’s porch in Maine. I began collecting other fashion prints and now have so many, I’ve run out of walls. Kent State University has a fashion museum that also provides useful information. And last year, Case Western Reserve had a traveling exhibit of wedding gowns, highlighted by a Charles Frederick Worth gown. Along the way, I’ve collected and framed odd bits of hand-tatted lace, old handkerchiefs, lace cuffs, and the like. I always knew my fascination with period clothing would come in handy someday.
Who of the Fitzpatrick children can we look forward to reading about next?
I’m under contract with Crimson to write the remaining four stories about Rosemary, Valerian, Pepper and Saffron. I’m working on Rosemary right now. She’s an author of dime novels, so I had to write a dime novel to go along with the book. I’m getting close to the end of the first draft. After I finish those four books, I’m thinking about writing a prequel, and featuring the parents, George and Charlotte’s, courtship that started it all.
That all sounds amazing, Becky! I can’t tell you how glad I am to have you with me today.
If you want the first four (4) in Becky’s Cotillion Series, click on the pictures below for a direct link to my Goodreads reviews and the purchase links:
For a limited time, Book 1, The Reluctante Debutante, is on SALE for .99 at Amazon. Click HERE.