Hey everyone, welcome to my spot on the Blog Tour for Paullett Golden’s new book “A Counterfeit Wife.” I’m so excited to be a part of this tour! Below you will find a fun interview that I did with Paullett, followed by my review for her book, and then a Giveway link at the very bottom for your chance to win a copy!
Melissa: First of all, I want to say congratulations on the release of “A Counterfeit Wife”. That’s so exciting! When did you first start writing this story and how long did it take to finish?
Paullett: It’s funny you should ask this question, Melissa, as this particular book has been a long time in the making! Originally, it was the second novel I drafted. My plan was to release both The Enchantresses and The Sirens together, alternating the publication of books in each series. In the end, I focused on The Enchantresses and put The Sirens on the backburner to simmer. I started Counterfeit roundabout in 2018, put it on hold, then came back to it this summer. I’m thankful I did because the original plot was quite different. The premise was the same, but from about Ch 10 onward it was a completely different book. This summer, I replotted everything. This required a hefty amount of revision for the first 10 chapters, as well, since those needed to fit the new direction. Funny how things work out, isn’t it? I much prefer this story over its original inception.
M: How did you come up with this story idea?
P: The inspiration for Counterfeit might surprise you! When I was conducting the research for The Baron and The Enchantress in preparation for writing about the heroine’s “invention” (I’m trying not to give spoilers!), which is research I was doing during the writing of The Earl and The Enchantress, oddly enough, I wanted to write a story from the perspective of one of the women the heroine aided. I jotted several possibilities (we might see more heroines in the future who were aided by Baroness Collingwood) but was so enchanted by J’non’s story that I simply had to write hers first. I crafted her backstory when I did the research for Baron, and then I leapt ahead to see how her life unfolded after receiving Baroness Collingwood’s aid. Thus birthed A Counterfeit Wife.
M: How much research did you have to do for “A Counterfeit Wife”?
P: If it’s possible, I believe I’ve done more research for this book than any other book, and that’s saying something! Much of the research focused on the legalities of fraudulent marriages. This involved traveling several avenues, from understanding the definitions, cases, proof, and outcomes of fraudulent marriages to exploring alternatives should the hero not wish to sue for fraud, such as annulment possibilities, divorce proceedings, and more. I spent a great deal of time reading Old Bailey cases and transcripts to see what examples existed of annulments, divorce, bigamy claims, etc. Each method of ending a marriage (by whatever means) had to be researched separately, so digging into divorce legalities, then digging into bigamy charges, then… you get the idea. Now, before your eyes bleed at the thought of legal research, there were other topics researched, as well, such as farming methods for Yorkshire terrain and climate, flooding incidences and prevention methods in Yorkshire, dowries and marriage settlements, marriage registers and licenses, canals in and around Yorkshire, petitioning to Parliament, and so much more! Many of the events and characters in this book were based on real events and real people, even including a cameo of an historical personage.
M: Who is your favorite character in “A Counterfeit Wife”?
P: Would you laugh if I said Gunner the dog was my favorite character? Hands down, he’s the best! If I had to choose between, say, the hero and heroine, I’d have to admit that my loyalty shifted while writing the book. I started off favoring the heroine since it was her backstory that inspired the plot. The hero remained a mystery. I had crafted his backstory, but he was almost as mysterious to me as to the heroine. The more I got to know him while writing, the more my alliance transferred to him. By the end of the novel, he had completely won me over! Hopefully he’ll win over readers, as well. *wink* I’m eager to see if he becomes someone’s new Book Boyfriend.
M: Will there be a sequel to “A Counterfeit Wife”?
P: Yes, there will be a sequel! Currently I have three books planned for the series. It’s possible more could be added if I receive enough reader request, but currently, only the three are slated. The next book is Phoebe’s story. We’ll be able to find out if she won the heart of the earl or went in a different direction. Since she’s shown as being spoiled and self-centered in this book, I’m eager to see her growth in the next book—is she already a changed woman, or will she start the next book still conceited, only humbled as the story proceeds? We must wait to find out! The third book is Lady Osborne and Sir Roland’s story, so we’ll get to know them better, find out if Sir Roland is really a spy, and discover Lady Osborne’s dark secret.
M: How long have you been writing?
P: How does one define “writing”? I’ve been crafting stories since before I learned penmanship. I began drafting fully plotted stories in my early teens. Somewhere around the start of college, I stopped most of my creative writing to focus on academic writing, eventually turning that attention to scholarly, peer-reviewed articles for journals, as was expected in my field. My writing was exclusively technical rather than creative. I assured myself I would return to creative writing “one day,” but that “one day” didn’t happen for a couple of decades. I finally took the plunge in early 2018. My inspiration was the big C and being told I had only a few months to live. That “one day,” I realized, was today because there may not be a tomorrow. Proust captures the sentiment as no other can: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0d2ts9dua0 And yes, that’s Alan Rickman reading Proust. Why am I linking this particular reading? Because it’s Alan Rickman. *toothy grin*
M: We have already discussed this question but for those who don’t know, you used to write steamy fiction but have recently switched to clean fiction. Why did you make the switch?
P: I made the big switch from steamy to sweet for a multitude of reasons! Rather than recount them all, I’ll focus on one of the primary reasons. I am, first and foremost, a Jane Austen devotee. She was my original inspiration for wanting to write “romance.” That said, the genre is a bit muddled. She’s not historical romance in terms of genre but finding that contemporary fit for what us humble modern writers compose is challenging. After attending countless romance conferences and writing groups over the years, it was made clear to me that the only way to publish in this genre was to include steam. Given the popularity of sweet historical romance, my naivety at the time in believing that is almost laughable, but that sentiment is still alive and well and something I hear from other authors in the genre. Quite a few interviews I’ve seen, heard, or read from other authors include confessions that they would rather write sweet, but they include the obligatory steam because their publisher requires it. What finally prompted me to depart from steam was the number of readers who requested clean versions of my books. This ranged from existing fans to their family members (such as children, parents, grandparents, etc.). There was such a demand for it that I decided to test out a clean series to see how it goes. When the reception was even better than for my steamy series, I decided it was time to break from convention. It’s inspiring to see so many new releases in the genre being clean!
M: Right now “A Dash of Romance”, “A Touch of Romance”, and “A Counterfeit Wife” are the only clean books you’ve written correct?
P: What a great opener, Melissa, for my news update! Currently, these are the only three, but I’m in the process of editing all the books in The Enchantresses series to provide clean editions (the steamy ones will still be available via Amazon for those who like steam!). My goal is that by Christmas, ALL my books will be available as clean reads. For those eager to read The Enchantresses but do not want to read those open-door scenes, stay tuned! I’ll post announcements on social media and my website when the books are ready. I will provide download links on the website to snag a copy of each book’s clean edition.
M: What is your favorite book you have written?
P: This is akin to asking someone which child is their fave. I love all my children equally! Truthfully, I think each time I write a new one, I’m so proud of it that I see it as my new fave. “Oh, this one is the best so far,” I’ll tell myself. Seriously, though, each book is so different, with each connecting to a different audience, that it’s difficult to choose a fave. How does one compare something like The Colonel and The Enchantress to a book like A Dash of Romance? Colonel, for instance, is a heavy read dealing with physical disabilities, paralysis, rehabilitation, and depression, while Dash is a lighthearted romantic comedy. They’re incomparable, but I love each for what they offer and what they accomplish. That can be said about all of the books. Touch was incredibly fun to write since I was one part in the head of an intellectual genius and one part in the head of an extrovert from mixed cultures. I so loved that book for the juxtaposition of character types, but then, how do you compare it to something like Earl where you’re dealing with a misfit heroine ahead of her time and a manic-depressive hero? The point being, I love them all, but each for a different reason. I try to recommend reads based on what I think the reader might like best, so to one person I might recommend Counterfeit, while to another person I might recommend The Heir and The Enchantress. Each book offers a different journey and reading experience!
M: For those who don’t know, what time period and location do your books take place?
P: All books currently take place in England, but the county differs with each book, more than not taking place in the north. Future books will feature Scotland and Ireland, such as the third book in The Sirens where we’ll start out in Ireland. As far as time period, I primarily write (at least for now) in the Georgian era, just before the turn of the century in the 1790s. Heir takes place in the 1750s since it was a prequal to The Enchantresses, but otherwise, all of my books are set in the 1790s. We’ll see other time periods for different series, such as the Regency when I write the stories of the children of my current characters. The 1790s is a fascinating decade where a great deal was happening in terms of politics, revolution, science, fashion, and more. For instance, in fashion, there was already a movement towards the high waisted and Greek inspired dress, pre-Regency style, amongst the younger generation, but the older crowd could still be seen favoring the panniers, wigs, powder, and more. When attending a ball, one would not see that typical Regency look of everyone dressed, essentially, the same, and that monochromatic suit made popular by Beau Brummel, rather there would be a richness of hues and colors and designs with some ladies rocking extravagant wigs, wide panniers, embroidered stomachers, and so forth, while other ladies were trendsetters with unpowdered, natural hair complemented by a high-waisted dress with a natural silhouette. Similarly with the gentlemen, we would see a combination of long frockcoats, intricate embroidery, and extravagant colors next to a subdued suit with a shorter coat of minimal embroidery and nature-inspired colors.
M: We know you are an author but do you also like to read? What are some of your favorite books?
P: I am an avid reader! I confess most of my favorites are classics rather than new publications, such Austen’s Persuasion and Brontë’s Jane Eyre. In newer literature, I heartily admire Mary Balogh. My absolute favorite of hers is The Secret Pearl.
M: What other hobbies do you have besides writing?
P: I keep myself quite busy outside of writing time, hobbies ranging from butterfly gardening to drag racing! My most recent addition to the hobby list is Spartan racing, also known as Obstacle Course Racing. At this point in my life, I’m doing things to celebrate my survival in the face of death and to thumb my nose at all the oncologists and physicians who told me I would never do xyz or abc again. Not only have I done everything they said I wouldn’t, I’ve far surpassed those things
M: What is your beverage of choice when reading?
P: I’m a lover of lattes and macchiatos in the morning and teas in the afternoon, my fave teas being Earl Grey, Darjeeling, and Oolong, although I default to Earl Grey more times than not.
It’s been a pleasure talking about writing with you, Melissa! Now for an important question: what is your beverage of choice when reading?
M: I think we all know that I enjoy coffee but my favorite coffee is Huckleberry White Chocolate Mocha! Thank you so much for talking with me and congratulations again on “A Counterfeit Wife”. I really enjoyed reading it!
A Counterfeit Wife by Paullett Golden
*Mistaken Identity/False Identity
J’non is a ladies maid to Phoebe Whittington. Phoebe is to be married to Trevor Gaines the Marquess of Pickering against her wishes but her father is making her. Phoebe takes J’non with her to meet her betrothed but when they stop for the night Phoebe tells J’non to take her place and pretend to be her. Phoebe is planning to elope to Scotland with another man. J’non does not want to pretend to be Phoebe and tells her so, but the next morning J’non wakes up and Phoebe is nowhere to be found. J’non goes to the Marquess of Pickering to explain what happened but never gets the chance.
Trevor Gaines sees J’non get out of the carriage and mistakes her as his betrothed Phoebe. But why is she wearing such worn out clothes when her father is rich and he is gaining a large amount of money by marrying her. After all that is the purpose in this marriage to get the money for he is in great need of it. Her father must treat her poorly he assumes. He doesn’t give J’non a chance to talk and they are soon married. J’non decides to sign Phoebe’s name to the license and pretends to be her. Over the course of the book Trevor opens up to his wife and they grow very close. The only trouble is his wife is not the one he intended to marry and what will happen when he finds out she is not who she claimed to be?
First of all I love Trevor! He is such a grumpy guy in the beginning but then he opens up and is very caring and loving and happy. Not only does he care for his wife but for his people. He takes on all responsibility when tragedy happens to his people even goes as far as thinking it’s his fault. J’non is a great character too, she loves her husband and does all she can to help him. I loved watching their relationship grow. I also really liked Gunner the dog!
Content: There is a fade to black scene. Not much detail. 1 D word and 1 H word
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.