Before I wrote The Rogue, I had written noblemen heroes who expertly wielded swords. But I longed to write a hero without wealth or a noble title who made his living teaching swordsmanship. Even so, my sword-fighting rogue Saint Sterling was not the original inspiration for this novel.
My father came up with this novel in a dream.
Dad had vivid dreams, and he could remember every detail of them. One evening we were relaxing in the family room before dinner (I crocheting a blanket, he doing the crossword, both of us drinking cocktails) when he began narrating to me an elaborate plot he had dreamed the previous night. In this dream an Englishman gained staggering wealth in the East Indies, then returned home to purchase a magnificent estate upon which he raised a strong, independent daughter. “Staggering wealth” and “magnificent estate” seemed to me a very good start to a romance novel. A strong, independent daughter cinched it. That the Englishman had gained all of this through colonial enterprises—which were deeply disadvantageous to the peoples England colonized—complicated matters significantly. Anyone who’s read my books knows that is catnip to me.
Thrilled that my father was inventing exciting plots for my books while he slept, I (tossed aside the crochet and) grabbed a notepad, and scribbled down the dream.
I lost the notepad. (Possibly. It could be buried in a sock drawer.) But for more than a decade I carried the details of that dream in my imagination. And those bits of story grew. They became a rich world of lifelong friendship, horrible tragedy, shadowy intrigue, and above all passionate love. The estate became Fellsbourne, the home of the Marquess of Doreé, who promised his son in marriage to the strong, independent daughter of his closest friend, the Scottish Duke of Read.
But that daughter, Constance, was not content playing by the rules of these powerful, controlling men. She had other ideas. Other desires. Like learning how to wield a gleaming length of steel.
Both The Rogue and In the Arms of a Marquess arose from the world inspired by my father’s dream. If Dad were still here, I think he would be proud of these two truly honorable heroes and the strong, independent women to whom they lose their hearts.
As for Constance’s lessons in swordsmanship, and the real live sword fighting research I did to write those, well that’s a story for another day…