Friday, April 12, 2013


    “…confidence comes almost exclusively as a result of our failures. We become confident not from success, but from the try, try, again aspect of getting to success.”

It’s my pleasure to have, historical romance author, GraceBurrowes, again visiting Over Coffee. Grace is a relatively new author; her first book debuted in December 2010. It hit the Bestseller’s lists. 
Over night success? Hardly. 
Grace writes truly enthralling Regency romance and filled with fascinating families and unforgettable characters that touch your heart.  I truly love how Grace explores the complexities of the era—it’s not all lightness and parties. Her characters face some tough choices amid some of the darker aspects and problems of Regency society. Always her tales are entertaining—they make you laugh, sometimes want to cry, and you always feel good at the end. 
Grace was nice enough to answer some questions. No worries, I offered her sustenance and a spot of her favorite beverage for her efforts. J
  • What is it about the Regency era that draws you to set your stories there?

My very favorite keeper authors write Regencies: Mary Balogh, Loretta Chase (though she’s drifting Victorian of late), Mary Jo Putney, and others. I love the diversity of the world—the elegance and the looming threat of war, the class structure with the emerging rights of the common man (sic), and so forth. Then too, there are horses in the Regency—always a plus. 
  • You don’t write the usual Almacks, endless balls and assemblies, and silly debutantes thankfully, but you do write your stories to fit the mores and culture of the era—you just shift the focus a bit. I know as a reader I appreciate seeing more of the regency world aside from Ton parties but what intrigues you, as a writer, to explore darker issues or the edges of the Regency society? What makes it fun for you?

I’m increasingly aware that some of what we think of as the Regency (the balls and simpering debutantes, the strict propriety) is what the Victorians wanted us to think of their parents and grandparents. And while that picture isn't wrong, the reality also included child brothels, horrendous odors, infant mortality, childbed fever, and much unpleasantness, particularly for women and children. That complexity, and how members of society ignored it or dealt with it, fascinates me.  
  • In your latest release, Darius, you write about balancing honor with hard choices one has to make to take care of family. Despite his choices, what are the things you really about Darius? Is he someone you’d like your daughter to meet? 

Of course I’d like my daughter to meet him! He’s fundamentally honorable, though suffering what I think of as moral fatigue. Darius’ strength and heroism lies in his honesty. He’s not whitewashing his choices, not minimizing their impact on his well being  He recognizes that his choices take a toll on him, ethically, and that he can’t keep paying that price indefinitely. When the woman he loves is threatened by the choices he’s made, he un-makes them. 
  • Lady Vivian seems to defy people’s expectations. On one hand she comes across as weaker a damsel in distress. But, she’s not really, is she?

Some might view Vivian as “passive,” though considering her absolute lack of legal rights and material resources, and her lack of honorable male family, I think of her more as pragmatic. She’s ready to make the same compromise Darius did: To stay where she can keep somebody she cares about (her child) safe, she’ll make a deal with the devil. That’s the choice of somebody who doesn't realize they’re truly, deeply loved by others. It’s an orphan’s choice, but when she trusts Darius, she makes the heroine’s choice and gambles everything for love. 
  • Without spoiling the story, what was your favorite scene in Darius?

The fight scene, oddly enough. I am not a fan of violence in any form, but readers have told me that in the past, I've let some bad folks get off with a wrist slap. Darius was nearly at the end of his rope, contemplating dire alternatives when he instead found something to live for. The fight wasn't so much about administering justice as it was about Darius’s struggle to hold onto his honor, to fight his way back to a place where he could love and be loved. That surprised me. 
  • Even though your stories are set in the past, you tend to write about worries, flaws and insecurities people face; regardless of what time period they live in. Is the fascination in pitting those personal issues against the restrictions and limitations of the times?

Hmm. Not consciously?  As you note, people are people, regardless of the era, and true love is true love.  What often solves the conflict for a romance is the hero and/or heroine healing an old wound in themselves. They regain the courage to love, shed their old dysfunctional coping habits, and in so doing, regain parts of themselves they’d discarded previously. Thus renewed emotionally, they can approach some external problem (the wicked uncle, the murderous cousin) with a wider view of the possible solutions. This isn't an era-specific process. 
  • In your working life as attorney, you do deal with families and children in crisis. How much do you that do you draw on for your stories? (For instance, there is quite a bit of realism to Sophie and Maggie’s (Windham series) choices and worries over children of their world.) 

Excellent question, and spot on. I see both tragedies and miracles in my lawyer life, and have often witnessed children in foster care unable to choose options many would say were “obviously” in the child’s best interest.  As children, the instinct to stay with and protect our progenitors, even when those people are dangerous to us, trumps the survival instinct. It’s probably the most heartbreaking reality of my work, and one I relied on specifically in Maggie’s story.

Grace, speaking from a professional counselor’s perspective, I would have to agree, and what I appreciated about most Maggie dilemma. You do a great job with showing the worry, guilt, and sense of responsibility the child in question may face in such a situation. I really loved Maggie’s story. 
  • As a writer, how do you deal with doubts and setbacks?

Another excellent question. I’m a reader with specific tastes, so I absolutely respect that not every book I write will work for every reader. It’s the reader’s hard-earned money, and he or she should spend it on books they love. That said, I've become very, very selective about who I associate with as a writer, where I browse on the web, and what discussions I’ll become part of. I love to write, so I try to stay close to that aspect of published authordom—and stay away from places of contention, sniping, competition, and destructiveness. 
  • Do you think we benefit from setbacks or even failure?

I recently came across a study that concluded most of us radically underestimate the effort required to achieve success (Gladwell’s 10,000 hours being just the start), and that as a result, confidence comes almost exclusively as a result of our failures. We become confident not from success, but from the try, try, again aspect of getting to success. That rang true for me. 
  • If you could spend your day however you wanted, what would you do? 

WRITE, take a walk with my dog, meet one friend somewhere quiet and unpretentious for some good food and good talk. 
  • What’s coming next from Grace Burrowes?
The Lonely Lords series launched with Darius earlier this month, and the rest of the fellows are schedule at the rate of about one a month though early next year. I have many books in production, but I’m also working on a Regency trilogy about the things, people and ideas that can hold us captive. And I feel a Scottish Victorian Christmas story coming on… For more info and updates on coming titles, please visit my website,

Grace, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. I also want to thank you for the wonderful stories you tell. They have given me hours of pleasure. You have renewed my love for a good historical. 

“What often solves the conflict for a romance is the hero and/or heroine healing an old wound in themselves. They regain the courage to love, shed their old dysfunctional coping habits, and in so doing, regain parts of themselves they’d discarded previously.”


A story that breaks all the rules...
Darius is a gripping and remarkable tale of desperation, devotion, and redemption from award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes. Her gorgeous writing and lush Regency world will stay with you long after you turn the final page...
With his beloved sister tainted by scandal, his widowed brother shattered by grief , and his funds cut off, Darius Lindsey sees no option but to sell himself—body and soul. Until the day he encounters lovely, beguiling Lady Vivian Longstreet, whose tenderness and understanding wrap his soul in a grace he knows he'll never deserve...


Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Poor brave daffodils tried hard to bloom, it was their time to shine,
But winter’s fingers were still present all cold and icy and blind.
Valiant tulips and lilies shot forth spreading their leaves a furl Still winter's breath blew crystals of lace and sharp edged pearls...

The Good Lord knows spring has taken it’s own sweet time getting here, hasn't it? Two weeks ago we had snow. Spring was on hold. The profuse blooming of the daffodils was a nonevent this year. They didn't like the snow a’tall.

This week’s warm south winds have brought in warmth and soft misty rains with days of sunshine. I now have tiny baby leaves on my Golden rain tree. My tulips, which are usually well in bloom by now, spread out their greenery but not a bloom was in sight. I looked at them Sunday and sure enough, there are the buds nestled low in the leaves but they’re on their way. The Day lilies have lost the sickly yellow-green and are now standing six vibrant inches and growing strong side by side with the Iris.

Last Wednesday, not a flowering tree was to be found in the surrounding woods. Saturday the first of the Forsythias started to open and the wild plums have gone, well, wild with overnight blooms. The Dogwoods and Redbud are filled with buds and will be in full bloom by the weekend. 

My Swallows returned this week and is busy repairing the winter wear and tear on their nest. The last flocks of geese were moving overhead to their summer homes this past weekend. The small herd of does is here and in what I call the nursery. The matriarch has her babies here
every spring. Looks like her daughters are about to do the same.  She has had twins the past few years and before you know it I’ll be seeing the fawns running and playing across the road near the pond. They’re so fun to watch.

Everywhere I look I see spring and my heart rejoices as I breathe in the rich warm fragrances of the earth’s awakening.

It’s been a long time coming.

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –

Monday, April 8, 2013


I've mentioned, a time or two that I live in a small valley in the middle of nowhere. We’re talking country, with the nearest neighbor a little over a mile away and the next house after that is two or three miles further down. As the crow flies, I also have two neighbors on the other side of me and about two miles from me across a stand of trees and a huge hundred-acre pasture. Put a dot on the map locating my house and draw a pie of lines out three miles from my dot, in any direction and most of those sectors are empty. In other words, no taxies, public transport, malls, or street lights.

We do have more animals than people out here.

I like it that way.

Given how few neighbors I have, it’s always amazing to me how many stray critters end up in my yard. We’re talking cats, cattle, a stray horse or two, and dogs. In fact, most of my ‘neighbors’ now know if your dog is missing it’s probably gone to Sia’s. My number is now well distributed through out the area. I usually will get a phone call several times a month, “Hey, Sia, is____insert name, over at your house?” He/she did a Houdini and we figured they had gone to Sia.

I know the name of most of the animals better than I know their people's names. 

One of the neighbors I mentioned that live across the pasture had a bulldog that liked visiting, They used to live a bit closer to me—about a half mile away in a mobile home while waiting for their house to be built. Bruiser found his way to my house several times a week. We thought it would end once they moved to the new house. Nope, my Danes would go off and I’d walk outside to see what the racket was. The trees were decorated with various furry cats looking down and there would be Bruiser, tongue lolling, looking highly satisfied with himself, laying in the grass or on the patio.

We have another neighbor who lives about three or so miles away. They have a Basset hound (Waylon), another mutt type (George), a brindle Pit (Ruatha), and one of the most beautiful American Pit Bull Terrier I've ever seen. His name is Rocky. I love Rocky! White with black patches. Dignified and sweet as can be. I know their names because periodically they get out of their kennels and wander and Waylon loves visiting. It’s Waylon’s fault that the others have found their way here. Took me awhile to figure out where Waylon lived. Yep, I’m now on speed dial with that family, too. The family knows that if any of their dogs get loose and are missing, chances are they've gone to Sia’s. 

Then they got their kennels fixed. It’s been a while since Waylon has visited. Rocky knows his way to my house. Today he brought another beauty with him, Gypsy. She’s a Blue with white markings and just about a year old. Sweet as can be. Just came on up and laid at my feet while I was reading out on the patio. Then decided I was a cool lady and climbed up on the patio couch and laid her head on my lap while keeping a wary eye on my cats. The cats are old hands at this visiting dog routine. They’re cautious but they don’t decorate the trees like they used to.

Oh, what a sweetheart she is. Man, I wanted to keep her so badly. She’d be the perfect inside outside dog and companion. But, it wasn't to be. I guess I'll have to wait until she has pups.

There was no answer at her house but a few hours later the big king crew pick-up truck slowly drove by my house. One of the girls was hanging out the window looking. I was in the back yard with Gypsy, watering my horses. I couldn't get out front quick enough to flag them. I knew they’d be back so Gypsy and me waited in the front yard and sure enough, twenty minutes later I heard them coming and waved them down. They were thrilled to see Gypsy.

Kid told me that his mother said 'she’s probably gone to Sia’s'.