I’m so excited to spotlight Never Fall For Your Fiancée and also share an interview I did with the author, Virginia Heath.
Welcome Virginia! Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Can you start off by introducing yourself?
Thanks for having me! And as far as introductions go, I suppose I should start off by saying that I write RomComs set during the Regency. I gave up my job as a History teacher to write full time in 2015 and Never Fall for Your Fiancée is, unbelievably, my 21st published book. I live in London with my long-suffering husband Mr H. I have a fully grown daughter and a son who have both flown the nest, a spoiled, diva dog called Trevor who adores me and posts his diary in my Facebook group Virginia Heath’s Headstrong Hellions every Tuesday. I also have a grumpy old cat called Steve who bullies poor Trevor and hates me more than life itself. I have absolutely no idea why he loathes me so, except to say he’s never been one for people and only tolerates them because they feed him.
How has the publication experience been for you?
This isn’t my first rodeo, as I’ve been writing for Harlequin Historical for five years already and have two UK Romantic Novel of the Year Award nominations under my belt, but it is certainly the biggest book of my career to date as I’ve never published a trade paperback before on both sides of the Atlantic. Nor had an audiobook before, for that matter either. But while I am used to seeing my books on shelves, this has been a very different experience as far as all the hype is concerned. Book bloggers and Bookstagrammers have taken a huge interest in it in the last few months and even in libraries it’s receiving an exciting amount of buzz about. Which is all hugely flattering and exciting-I just hope it lives up to peoples’ high expectations now that it is finally released into the wild!
How would you describe Never Fall for Your Fiancée in one sentence?
A Romcom cross between My Fair Lady and The Importance of Being Earnest with some of the farcical aspects of TV’s Frasier tossed into the mix.
Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of Never Fall for Your Fiancée?
Hugh Standish, the Earl of Fareham, is a lovable rogue allergic to the idea of marriage. Unfortunately for him, his mother has been unsubtly trying to push him up the aisle for years, so Hugh being Hugh, rather than upset his mother with an awkward confrontation, he invents a fake fiancée to get her off his back. A plan which works brilliantly while his mother is safely ensconced across the pond in Boston, Massachusetts, but which is about to bite him on the backside now that she is on a boat bound for England! Minerva Merriwell is a down-at-heel engraver on the cusp of destitution unless she can make some money fast. Left as the sole guardian of her two younger sisters at the tender age of eighteen after their feckless father abandoned them six years ago, she has had to be both mother and father to the girls while keeping the leaking roof over their heads. Since then life has ground her down and made her very jaded. She yearns for a fresh start well away from all the bad memories and the dodgy part of London where they hover on the breadline, so when a chance meeting with a handsome earl leads to an offer of the king’s ransom of forty whole pounds to pose as his fiancée for a few days, she grabs it with both hands…
Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your characters decide their journey?
I don’t know what’s going to happen from one page to the next-let alone how a book will end! I cannot plot at all. Bizarrely, I see and hear the story ‘live’ in my odd head like a film as I type, so the characters are always in charge. To be honest, nobody is more shocked than me at the shenanigans some of them get up to. Hugh and Minerva misbehaved from the first scene to the last, did exactly what they wanted but it all turned out OK in the end, so who am I to argue with them? The side characters in the book also led me on a merry dance but I still love them all-or almost all. There’s one rotter who throws a spanner in the works but the rest are a riot- especially Hugh’s match-matching mother, his best friend Giles and Minerva’s two sisters- the acid-tongued Diana and the prim and proper teenager Vee. Then there’s Payne, the put-upon but irascible Fareham butler and a Regency method actress who causes no end of problems for everyone.
Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?
I rather like the opening lines… “The trouble with lies is they have a tendency, if not well managed, to catch a man out. Hugh’s out-of-control, grossly overembellished falsehood was like a snarling, rabid dog about to sink its foaming teeth into his backside and there was not a damn thing he could do about it.”
What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed Never Fall for Your Fiancée?
The Discerning Gentleman’s Guide
Redeeming the Reclusive Earl
Miss Bradshaw’s Bought Betrothal
Not by me-
Romancing Mr Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
When a Scot ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore
What’s next for you? Anything you can share?
I have just finished writing Never Rescue a Rogue, the 2nd book in my Merriwell Sisters trilogy and the sequel to Never Fall for Your Fiancée and cannot wait to unleash that on the world too. But before I do, there’s another new Romcom series in the works- My Very Village Scandal series. The 1st book in that- The Earl’s Inconvenient Houseguest– is released in February 2022.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The first in a new historical rom-com series, a handsome earl hires a fake fiancée to keep his matchmaking mother at bay, but hilarity ensues when love threatens to complicate everything.
The last thing Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, ever wants is a wife. Unfortunately for him, his mother is determined to find him one, even from across the other side of the ocean. So, Hugh invents a fake fiancée to keep his mother’s matchmaking ways at bay. But when Hugh learns his interfering mother is on a ship bound for England, he realizes his complicated, convoluted but convenient ruse is about to implode. Until he collides with a beautiful woman, who might just be the miracle he needs.
Minerva Merriwell has had to struggle to support herself and her two younger sisters ever since their feckless father abandoned them. Work as a woodcut engraver is few and far between, and the Merriwell sisters are nearly penniless. So, when Hugh asks Minerva to pose as his fiancée while his mother is visiting, she knows that while the scheme sounds ludicrous, the offer is too good to pass up.
Once Minerva and her sisters arrive at Hugh’s estate, of course, nothing goes according to his meticulous plan. As hilarity and miscommunication ensue, while everyone tries to keep their tangled stories straight, Hugh and Minerva’s fake engagement starts to turn into a real romance. But can they trust each other, when their relationship started with a lie?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When lifelong insomniac Virginia Heath was a little girl, she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. She did this every night for over forty years until one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Now, to her absolute delight and utter astonishment, her slightly racy Regency Romcoms are published in many languages across the globe. Amongst them are her critically acclaimed Wild Warriners and King’s Elite series for Harlequin Historical.
Unashamedly addicted to happily ever afters and terminally cheerful, Virginia cannot wait to launch NEVER FALL FOR YOUR FIANCEE, the first book in her upcoming Merriwell Sisters trilogy for St Martin’s Press loose into the world.
When she isn’t furiously writing romance fuelled on far too much English tea, she likes to travel to far flung places, shop for things she doesn’t need and drag her long suffering husband and her devoted Labrador Trevor on long walks around her native London.
And in case you were wondering, two Romantic Novel of the Year Award nominations and twenty-one books later, it still takes Virginia forever to fall asleep.