Meet author Lorri Dudley
Lorri Dudley, author of The Duke’s Refuge and Leeward Island Series, lives in Ashland, Massachusetts, with her husband and three teenage sons, where writing romance allows her an escape from her testosterone-filled household.
Tell us about your newest book.
Summer on Bellevue Avenue is a novella set during America’s Gilded Age. Wealthy heiress, Amanda Mae Klein, plans to marry business tycoon, Wesley Jansen, until a woman is found unconscious at the bottom of his stairs, claiming Wesley pushed her. To avoid being drawn into the scandal, Amanda flees to Newport, RI. But when Wesley follows, swearing he awoke to the sound of the woman’s tumble, Amanda must choose whether to trust the man she loves, despite the strange life-threatening occurrences pitting them against one another, or break their engagement. Jilting Wesley would decimate her heart and leave her to navigate her social fears without Wesley as her life raft, but it also could save her life.
What inspired you to write Summer on Bellevue Avenue?
My family and I vacation in Rhode Island, and once my boys were old enough, we’ve visited the Newport Mansions each summer. The elegant lifestyle and extravagant parties of the Vanderbilts, Astors, and Oelrichs spurred my imagination along with the conflict between old money “nobs” and new money “swells.” Similar to England’s Regency Era, there was discord between above stair and below stair domestics but with an added rivalry between the newly immigrated Irish and Italians.
What genre do you focus on and why?
I typically write Regency romance that is either set in the Leeward Islands during Britain’s colonization of the isles or the rolling green hills of England’s Cotswolds. I’ve always been fascinated with the Regency Era. The complex societal rules and etiquette make for great conflict and plot lines, but what leaves me all woozy is how a gentleman is taught to respect and protect a lady even at the cost of his life. America’s Gilded Age holds a similar charm and richness.
Why do you write?
I love the creativity of writing. It’s as if I get to play pretend in my mind as a grown up and not feel guilty about it. It also gives me a girlie outlet from my three boys and all the wrestling matches, lacrosse, basketball, and football games where I spend my other spare time.
Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?
Amanda Mae Klein is a wealthy engine manufacturer heiress whose mother’s scandal and death instilled in Amanda social anxiety. Her reserved nature entices the Newport elites because she comes across as snobbish and someone to impress, when in reality she suffers from social anxiety. The name Amanda Mae Klein is typical of that era and the Dutch roots of New York’s Knickerbockers who summered in Newport. My favorite aspect of her name is that the hero, Wesley, uses it as a term of endearment that rolls off his tongue, Mandy Mae.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?
I’m blessed to have Fridays off my regular job to write, so that is when the majority of my writing takes place. There is something to a consistent writing time to push through and meet word counts or deadlines, and I find I can also accomplish a lot in the hour between my children leaving for school and me going to work.
What is the hardest part of being an author?
Time management and deadlines are challenging. With a busy schedule it’s hard to balance family time and writing time. The thought I should be writing constantly runs through my mind, and I’ve learned to carry my computer with me while I sit in the car waiting for my sons to get out of their sports practices.
What’s the best part of your author’s life?
My favorite part is the excitement of writing. Even though I plot my stories, my characters will take on a life of their own and do something even I didn’t expect. One of my hero’s passed out at the sight of blood after cutting his hand on a loose nail. I didn’t see that coming but it tied in nicely to the end and the things he needed to overcome. Writing can also be a worship experience, especially when a character sees God’s hand in their life and how He’s carried and upheld her by His righteous right hand.
What is your favorite pastime?
Other than writing, I enjoy drawing and painting. Before writing, I used to teach art on Fridays at a Christian elementary academy and loved seeing the kids faces light up when a project turned out better than they expected. My favorite artist is impressionist Mary Cassatt, who featured mother and children portraits done in pastels or oils.
Do you have other books? We’d love to know.
I’ve written the Leeward Island Series, which is a six book Regency Era series that starts with The Duke’s Refuge. I loved exploring different islands with my readers and calling the compilation the Leeward Island Series allowed me to island-hop in various books. My favorite spot was Nevis, so three out of the six books take place there including The Duke’s Refuge. Nevis boasts of white sand beaches, rich mineral hot springs, rainforests, lush foliage, and a sugar and spice history complete with Caribs, pirates, and a legacy of slavery and colonization. It also helped that the island was under British control during the Regency Era.
What are you working on now?
Currently, I’m in the process of writing a four-book Agents of Espionage series that takes place in the Cotswolds of England. I’m enjoying combining Regency romance with secrets, spies, and clandestine surveillance. The first book Revealing the Truth will be releasing May 30, 2023.
Link to book: https://www.wildheartbooks.org/lorri-dudley.html
Social media links: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063777469647
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