Ms. Friedman: Welcome to my home Lord and Lady Valentine! [Enthusiastically tries to shake their hands, but changes her mind and gives them all an awkward curtsy]
Madam Author, It’s such a pleasure to welcome you back to my home. Please, sit and make yourselves comfortable and I’ll pour us some tea….It is an honor and a pleasure to host you all at the same time.
Madam Author: Greetings!
Lord Valentine Windham: [bowing over his hostess’ hand] Enchanted, Miss Friedman.
Lady Ellen Windham: [curtseying] Good day.
Ms. Friedman: Now, the questions I have are quite personal, but fun never the less. But before I get to them, tell me how have you all been since last I saw you? Lord Valentine, how is your hand doing and is it giving you any trouble? Lady Valentine, my dear, how are you adjusting to the new family life [leaning closer to Lady Valentine, whispering so only she would hear] Are Their Graces treating you well?
Madam Author, I believe that Congratulations are in order, are they not? Can you tell us a bit about the exciting news you received last week?
Lord Valentine: My hand fares very well, thank you, provided I do not overtax it.
Lady Valentine: Their Graces treat me wonderfully and His Grace has referred to me more than once as Lady Mozart.
Madam Author: I suppose you’re referring to “Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish,” being nominated for RT Reviewer’s Choice Historical Romance of the Year? That is a quite an honor for Lady Sophie, and for the brothers who played such a magnificent supporting roles in her tale [winks are Lord Valentine, who is too busy gazing soulfully at his wife to notice].
Ms. Friedman: This question is for all of you. If you don’t mind, would you be so kind to share with us your greatest accomplishments and regrets thus far….
Madam Author: It’s not an accomplishment, but it’s the thing that defines me: I love and am loved by my family. As for regrets… none of any significance, thank heavens.
Lord Valentine: Had I regrets, I’d be implying that somehow the road that brought me to Ellen’s door was imperfect, and that I could not do. Perhaps I ought to have realized she was meant for me when first I laid eyes on her, but then I would have missed my time in Yorkshire with Devlin, and that would not serve. My greatest accomplishment shall be—I vow this—a lifetime of devotion of my Ellen equal to the devotion His Grace shows his duchess.
Lady Valentine: Well, I have regrets! I regret that I wasted years allowing That Odious Little Rat to affect my wellbeing and limit my options. If Valentine hadn’t come along… but I suppose that brings us to my greatest accomplishment: I found the courage to accept the love of this fellow here, and to act on my love for him.
Ms. Friedman: I grew up in a village in Eastern Europe and truly cherish my childhood memories, so I wondered…Your childhoods were vastly different, I presume. Would you share with us a childhood memory that brings a smile to your face or makes you tear up?
Lord Valentine: I caught my older brothers sampling His Grace’s brandy when I was about eight. Oh, the favors I was able to extract from them in exchange for my silence! The bribery went on for years.
Lady Valentine: I used to love to garden with my mother. She’d sing as she planted the Holland bulbs, while I got my hands and my pinafore wonderfully dirty.
Madam Author: My mother got me a horse when I was twelve years old. A pudgy, lazy old gelding, but to me, he was the Steed of Steeds, and I knew much happiness in his company.
Ms. Friedman: Here’s another question for all of you… Have you a wish or a dream unfulfilled and what would that are?
Madam Author: I want to write books that bring joy and comfort to many, many readers for many years to come.
Lord Valentine: I’m working on a piece for Ellen, or in celebration of my love for her. It shall be titled… Ellen puts her fingers over his mouth.
Lady Valentine: “Little Weldon Summer Christening.” I can’t change his mind on this. I suppose my greatest dream is to raise more Windham sons and daughters who will live up to the legacy that name implies…. And I shall love their doting papa, of course.
Ms. Friedman: Lord Valentine, you are a Virtuoso so tell us what piece are you working on now?
Lord Valentine: In addition to “Little Weldon Summer Christening” I’m doing a set of children’s pieces for my niece, Rose; though I hope these works see wide circulation among the family’s younger generation.
Ms. Friedman: Madam Author, I have come to care for many of the secondary characters in your novels and in this particular one I was so taken Darius and the boys as well, Day and Phil. How hard is it to ‘draw’ secondary characters?
Madam Author: Secondary characters are tricky. They have to be three-dimensional and interesting without stealing the show, or the book. I become so enamored of them that most of my secondary characters (Darius, Nick, Axel, Hadrian, et alia) end up with books of their own.
Ms. Friedman: Lady Valentine how is Marmalade and won’t you tell us about your gardens? Have you any other news….perhaps…?
Lady Valentine: Marmalade—not Marmaduke—thrives on a diet that includes regular servings of cream. My husband has decreed that the only other creature to share my bed must be kept in proper style—and the cream bowl kept in the kitchen.
Ms. Friedman: Now, let’s have some fun and lighthearted questions, shall we?
Lady Valentine, do you have a favorite scent?
Lady Valentine: The one my husband wears.
Ms. Friedman: What about you Madam Author?
Madam Author: I wear Penhaligon’s Opus 1870, though I’m fairly certain it’s intended for men.
Ms. Friedman: This question is for both Lord and Lady Valentine. What is your favorite mode of transportation?
Lady Valentine: I’ve gotten used to being carried by my husband, at least from the chaise to the bed.
Lord Valentine: The wings of song, of course.
Ms. Friedman: [winking at Madam Author while turning to Lord and Lady Valentine with a big smile] And now some questions that would make all young debutantes blush, but never the less all want to know:
Silk or cotton? Outdoors or indoors? Top or bottom?
Lady Valentine: Neither, both, either.
Lord Valentine: As my lady pleases in all things.
Ms. Friedman: I will forever be in Madam Author’s debt for making the introductions, and to both of you for being so gracious to indulge me with this visit. Thank you all so much for an enlightening and fun visit! Please be sure to convey my regards to Their Graces…
For all you bookworms out there,
Ms. Grace Burrowes is giving away one signed copy of
to one lucky commenter.