OUT NOW: THE CLUB
THE CLUB is a twist on the classic “rake and innocent” story. My heroine Jane, Lady Sherringham is a widow and not a virgin, but she knows nothing of a healthy and loving sexual relationship. My rakish hero, Christian, Lord Wickham, is determined to give the heroine the pleasure she deserves until he discovers he is out of his depth—he doesn’t know how to heal an abused woman. They must learn together, but first, they must find Christian’s missing sister, Del, whose disappearance is linked to a scandalous London gentleman’s club.
The club itself is a Regency version of a swingers club. There were many real racy Regency couples, including Lady Oxford, whose children were known as the Harleian Miscellany since they had so many different fathers.
After talking to other authors, I’ve discovered that every writer seems to have a ‘gimme’ book (the one that writes itself), while other stories are challenges. For me, THE CLUB was the most challenging book I’ve tackled.
In my first drafts, I found it tough to bring sexual attraction into the beginning of the story. The problem—I wanted Jane to find Christian attractive and respond, but it just didn’t make sense that she would melt at a kiss on her hand when she was searching for her missing friend Del. She would be too worried about Del. I realized that in my previous stories, my heroes and heroines were the ones at risk. For example, I’ve always shied away from writing a “child in jeopardy” story, because I could just not imagine feeling sexy about anyone while worrying about a child’s welfare. It’s a careful balancing act!
Interestingly, it was my struggle to blend Jane’s attraction to Christian, her rejection of those feelings, and her fear over Del’s fate that made me understand how she would feel. And it made me realize her attraction to him would be emotional more than blatantly sexual. When story events allowed Jane and Christian to respond to their desires, they’d already built up a powerful emotional attraction.
Another challenge was to ensure Jane, who had survived an abusive marriage, was a realistic character. An amazing resource book I found for understanding her experience is “It’s My Life Now” by Meg Dugan and Roger Hock. This book deals with one of the most critical times for a woman coming from an abusive relationship—the time after she leaves.
In my first drafts of the story, Christian’s travel in India was alluded to, but I realized his character was not shaped by it. This meant more research into India. Of course, time is always short, so I took my copy of the Kama Sutra out to a family dinner and read it surreptitiously before the food arrived.
But after the journey of writing and re-writing, I am really thrilled with THE CLUB, and I hope readers enjoy it too!