The Jaunty Quills are excited to welcome back historical romance author Theresa Romain. Theresa’s upcoming release is To Charm a Naughty Countess. Keep reading to find out how to win a copy!

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Shana: Welcome back, Theresa. The important question first: How is Little Miss R?

Theresa Romain: She’s doing great—thanks for asking! (Readers, Little Miss R is my kindergarten daughter, who seems to be a romance heroine-in-training just like Princess Galen.) Lately she has started writing her own books, which have “chapters.” I put that in quotation marks because each chapter is about one sentence long. But she’s so proud of her stapled-together stories! The last one was about two kids whose mom made them work a lot; not sure what she is trying to tell me. J It’s fun seeing her discover the joy of words—not just reading them, but writing them too.

Shana: Tell us about To Charm a Naughty Countess. This is part of the Matchmaker Trilogy, of which It Takes Two to Tangle  was the first. The heroine, Caroline, was introduced in that book, right? What makes the Countess of Stratton so naughty?

Theresa Romain: She’s naughty because she doesn’t play by the rules of romance or society. For example—in the first chapter of the book (which you can read on my site), we see her in bed with a lover. Sometimes historical romance heroes get to start the book that way, but how often does a heroine have a lover? It was fun swapping the usual gender roles for this book. Since Caro is widowed and wealthy and knows she’s beautiful, she takes her pleasure where she wishes.

As for her attitude toward society: Because she once had neither rank nor reputation, she doesn’t take them for granted—and she can’t bear the idea of losing them again. And so she breaks through the strata of society by being pleasant to everyone. She wants to make herself socially indispensable.

Of course, this comes at a high price. Being Caroline—always entertaining, always on display—is exhausting, and it’s all a surface. No one knows what she’s truly like or what she really wants, because she doesn’t dare let anyone see. She doesn’t dare risk losing the goodwill of society.

Until our hero turns up, that is.

Shana: The hero in To Charm a Naughty Countess is rumored to be mad. The blurb mentioned anxiety. We don’t often think of people suffering anxiety in the nineteenth century. It seems more a product of current times, though I know people in every time think their period is the most stressful ever. Did you research anxiety and the treatments for it then?


Theresa Romain: I did research anxiety, because I needed to know if that was even a concept in peoples’ minds at the time. And as a general word for anguish or distress, it’s been around since the 1500s. So during the Regency, people might have used “anxiety” to talk about a feeling rather than a condition or diagnosis—which does still make sense to us today.

Of course, Michael doesn’t like to talk about his anxiety at all. About some things, he’s very confident, such as his ability to handle his dukedom’s affairs. Emotional matters and social situations are different, because they’re out of his control, and that’s what triggers his anxiety.

Two hundred years ago, there was no such thing as mental health treatment or medication—and even today mental health diagnoses aren’t as well understood by most people as physical ailments. I wanted to give Michael a hope for recovery that would have seemed plausible in the Regency, and one way that jumped out at me is what we today call cognitive behavioral therapy. Caroline uses these methods, which seem like common sense to her, to get Michael to confront the false beliefs at the heart of his anxiety. But his recovery is on his own shoulders.

Shana: Tell us about your writing schedule and style. Plotter or pantser? Early morning, midday, or late at night? Daily goal or whatever you feel like? Any must-haves when writing?

Theresa Romain: Coffee is the only must-have to get me started. Everything else varies! I usually start with a synopsis or outline for my editor, so I have to come up with the bones of a plot and a basic idea of character. Details get filled in as I write, and sometimes the story or characters twist in a way that surprises me. I do most of my writing during the day while my daughter’s in school, but every day is different since I have another job too. Sometimes I get more writing done in the evening, and I even have a notepad on my nightstand to jot down middle-of-the-night ideas (though my writing’s usually illegible in the morning). I set weekly goals to keep me progressing toward deadlines…but sometimes that deadline itself is also very motivating.

Shana: Finally, tell us what you have coming next.

Theresa Romain: Thanks for asking! To Charm a Naughty Countess is the second book in my Matchmaker trilogy, and the third will be out next January. It’s called Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress, and readers will meet the hero and heroine as secondary characters in Countess. That book is set in Bath, which I loved researching—and let me just say the characters’ backgrounds led me down some interesting research pathways as well.

I’ll have another release before then, though. The fourth historical romance in my Holiday Pleasures series—Season for ­­Desire­—will be out in October. The hero’s a grumpy American who sets off fireworks (the romantic kind, not the literal kind) with a woman who seems to be a spoiled aristocrat, but who proves to be more than either of them expects.

Readers, now it’s your turn. While Michael can handle matters of business with great confidence and efficiency, the only part he really likes about a ton ball is the end of it. What would be your favorite part of a ball? Would you dance every reel with dashing young nobles, or would you rather find a special someone for a quiet walk in the garden? Or maybe you would enjoy tasting the lobster patties—or spiking the punch?

One reader who comments will be randomly chosen to win a copy of To Charm a Naughty Countess. This giveaway is open to entrants from U.S. and Canada. The winner will be announced and contacted Sunday.




Brilliant but rumored mad, Michael Layward, the impoverished Duke of Wyverne, has no success courting heiresses until widowed Lady Stratton takes up his cause–after first refusing his suit.


Caroline Graves, the popular Countess of Stratton, sits alone at the pinnacle of London society and has vowed never to remarry. When Michael–her counterpart in an old scandal–returns to town after a long absence, she finds herself as enthralled with him as ever. As she guides the anxiety-ridden duke through the trials of society, Caroline realizes that she’s lost her heart . But if she gives herself to the only man she’s ever loved, she’ll lose the hard-won independence she prizes above all.

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Ebook: kindle • nook • ibook

67 thoughts on “Bring a Friend Friday with Guest Theresa Romain

  1. ki pha says:

    Hi Shana and welcome back Theresa!!! Super fabulous interview!!And it’s always good to know Little Miss R is doing great! By the way, she might that story skill from you~ LOL

    But Shana, how’s Baby…errr Princess Galen? Forgot what she wanted to be called now~

    As for me, my favorite part of the ball might have to be when it starts, you know, I get to see everyone coming through the doors and what they’re wearing, and also when it’s about to end just to see who’s been drinking too much and all the rowdiness! I don’t think I’ll dance, I might spike the punch just for fun and take a sip myself or two. But I know I’ll be roaming the halls of the house and the library. You may never know what you may find hiding in the corridors~ liaisons and all!

    1. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

      You’re lucky she can’t read, ki pha. She would have reminded you in a millisecond! She’s good. Excited to try riding her bike without training wheels this weekend.

      1. Shana, thanks for letting me join you and the JQs today! And please wish Princess Galen luck with the bike. We haven’t taken the step yet of removing Little Miss R’s training wheels, but that day is coming. *snif*

        1. ki pha says:

          Awww They grow up so fast.

      2. ki pha says:

        That’s so awesome! At least it’s warm enough where you are to practice.

    2. Ki, that is an ingenious plan for the ball. Spiking punch…roaming corridors…you sound like a writer gathering fuel for a new story. 🙂

  2. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

    Welcome, Theresa! Thanks for stopping by 🙂 My favorite part of a ball would be the gown. Please no dancing for me or small talk. I just want to dress up!

    1. That sounds like something our daughters could get on board with too. 🙂 You will be “Queen Galen.”

      Thanks for hosting! It’s always such fun to visit the JQs.

  3. lois losh says:

    Being a “Leo ” sort of lady, I want to do it all …dance every reel stroll in the garden taste the lobster patties, & spike the punch. A life 1/2 lived is not lived at all…

    1. Lois, maybe you could be the hostess! Let the evening include a little of everything, and even pick the music when you’re ready to hit the dance floor.

  4. Kate Sparks says:

    Watching the fellow guests arrive in their fancy dress!!

    1. Kate, that does sound wonderful! The evening clothes of the Regency were so elegant.

  5. Kathleen O says:

    For me it would be the dancing til dawn… I use to be able to do that… But I would be wearing out my dancing slippers in the arms of all the handsome gentleman, flirting and enjoying myself.

    1. Kathleen, I wish you a full dance card–and maybe a gentleman who forgets his manners a bit and tries to sweep you out onto the moonlit terrace.

  6. Susan G says:

    I think my favorite part would be getting dressed in a gorgeous gown and a midnight stroll in the gardens with someone tall. Dark and handsome!
    Have a great weekend Shana and Theresa!!!

    1. susan, you’ve written a scene from a romance novel right there. 🙂 Hope you have a great weekend too!

  7. Cindy Hutcheson says:

    Getting dressed up and watching all the beautiful couples.

    1. Cindy, if I could be at a Regency ball, I’d be watching right along with you. And I’d be wishing for more eyes, or a video camera, to take everything in.

  8. Hi, Theresa! So happy to have you visit today – you know how much I love your books, and I’m eagerly looking forward to your naughty countess. As for my favorite activity at a ball, I would have two. First, spiking the punch. Second, drinking it! Hey, wallflowers gone wild, baby!

    1. Bwahaha, Vanessa! I should have known you’d have a cunning plan for the ball. Maybe if I drank enough of your punch, I’d give one of those complicated Regency dances a try. Thank you for the kind words about the Countess-hope you enjoy her story!

  9. Sue P says:

    Hello you two – so love you both! I think it would be fun to just people watch. All the fine clothes, all the flirtations and interactions. Watching the rakes, the wallflowers, the diamonds, the old biddies, the crusty old dukes. Would be great fun!

    1. Yes! It would be a historical romance writer’s (and reader’s!) dream to get to see all of that.

  10. Diane Sallans says:

    I’m not fond of attending big events, especially if I don’t know many people. I tend to lurk around the edges and look for a quiet out of the way spot to pass the time, so I’d probably be out in the garden a lot. In reality I’d just try to avoid going to those balls, except as an observer – watching from a gallery or from behind some pillars or plants could be fun.

    1. And those big houses always have a library, don’t they? We can take a page from Ki Pha’s book and check out the rest of the house.

  11. Kathleen Kathleen says:

    Hi, Theresa! Great to have you here today, especially with such an intriguing book to share! I love the idea of a hero with anxiety issues–the wounded hero can be so dreamy, especially if, like yours, he has areas of sublime confidence, as well. (And your cover is gorgeous, too!) I think I’m with Vanessa on the ball thing. I’d be hanging around her spiked punch until I was rosy-cheeked enough to forget how abysmal I am at dancing. It might take a while.

    1. Kathleen, ha! I thought the same. I love to dance, but I could NOT do any of those complex Regency dances. If I’m at a ball, I’d probably be best off pretending I have a hurt ankle.

      Thanks so much for the kind words about TCANC!

  12. CrystalGB says:

    Great interview. I love the cover to your book. I would want to walk in the garden with someone special.

    1. That moonlit walk somehow seems even more private and quiet if you’ve just slipped out of a crowded ballroom. In fact, the hero in TCANC does just this (though not with the heroine, and it doesn’t go at all well…oops).

  13. erinf1 says:

    Congrats Theresa on the new release!!! I’d be a happy wallflower 🙂 I’d love to sit and people watch and drink the punch. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Mmm! That sounds like a good plan, especially since a few others have vowed to spike the punch. 😉

  14. catslady says:

    Love your first book in this series! I wouldn’t choose one thing, I would want to do them all!

    1. Thanks, catslady! I like your style. 🙂

  15. Julie Duffy says:

    An interesting interview and congratulations on your new book, it sounds wonderful.

    1. Thank you, Julie! Glad you could stop by.

  16. Julie says:

    If I were invited to a ball, I’d take every opportunity to wander down halls and explore. Maybe come across a lovely library…

    1. So much yes. If I’m in that ballroom and you find the library, come back and tell me!

  17. Gretchen H says:

    I’d love to see everyone arrive in their beautiful dresses, but it wouldn’t be long before I’d be looking for the library or strolling outside. My 21st century nose wouldn’t be able to tolerate the crowd for long!

    1. Ha! Gretchen, that’s a good point. Our historical romance characters bathe all the time and smell great, of course. 🙂 But in real life…probably that wasn’t the case for most.

  18. bn100 says:

    the food

    1. I always enjoy writing about food at a ball; I know I’d be hungry for dinner long before the Regency crowd was.

  19. Melissa Terry says:

    The ball gown would be my favorite part. I am not much of a dancer or good at small talk. 🙂

    1. You could have a fan as an accessory to your ball gown, and flutter it before your face. The whispers will begin: “Did you see Miss Terry? So mysterious!…”

  20. Quilt Lady says:

    Great interview! I love the cover of this book and it sounds fantastic. I think I would like the beginning of the ball just setting back and seeing what everyone is wearing. I also think a quite walk in the garden with someone special would be for me.

    1. Thanks, Quilt Lady! I agree, it would be so interesting to watch everyone arrive. Once the room gets crowded, the garden sounds like a good escape. Just watch out for courting couples hiding out in the dark corners!

  21. Barbara Elness says:

    I think I’d love it all, but taking a walk in the gardens with a handsome man after dancing would be very enjoyable.

    1. If he’s a romance hero, he’s definitely going to be handsome!

  22. Robin says:

    My favorite parts would be the outfit, and a quiet walk in the garden

    1. Robin, I think the ton women must have felt so beautiful in their evening gowns. How could they not, in clothes fitted just for them and hair dressed by a maid? I doubt I’ve ever been so fancy in my life–not even when I got married!

  23. JoannaM says:

    I wouldn’t possibly choose one! Dance with all those dashing nobleman, lock eyes with theat special someone while dancing. Meeting him out in the garden for a stroll under the moonlight. Then together plan a joke on the ton by spiking the punch. Laughing at them while nibbling at the last of the lobster patties. And finally, furtively take leave, before any one notices… *sigh* pardon me while I go pick up one of my Rom reads 😉

    1. Joanna, I think you have just written the perfect ballroom scene!

  24. Xoun J. says:

    I would dance several times, stroll out in the terrace with a handsome gent, and then hide in linen closets for a little kiss… or kisses. 😉

    1. Spoken like a true romance reader. 🙂

  25. Marcy Shuler says:

    Hi Theresa! I’m so looking forward to Caro and Michael’s story! If I were at a ton ball, I’d be a wallflower and do a lot of people watching. I think that would be a lot of fun.

    1. Hi, Marcy! I love people-watching too. You never know when you’ll spot something that will spark a story idea.

  26. Lisa Hutson says:

    Well, I do love people watching. Can I be one hiding behind a palm and seeing who follows who out the doors into the gardens or some other hiding place? Then try reading lips of whats being said on the dance floor? No? Oh well, all right, I would try it all. The dancing, the eating, the punch spiking!! haha

    1. Lisa, I like the lip-reading idea! You could find out all the scandalous on-dits before anyone else.

  27. Anita H. says:

    Hi Theresa! I wouldn`t be doing too much dancing at the ball, I`ll be the one standing with all the other Wallflowers! And checking out who is dancing with whom, and definitely sampling the food! Can`t wait to read Michael and Caroline`s story!

    1. I think the wallflowers could make a great party all on their own! No pressure, just fun–and definitely, lots of snacks.

  28. Laurie G says:

    For me the best part would be dressing up and seeing all the other women in their outfits and the men in their finery!

    1. Laurie, did you ever go to the RT convention? There are so many costumes there–I think that must be a pretty interesting modern equivalent.

  29. eap says:

    I have this on-pre-order.

    1. Thank you so much!

  30. Maureen says:

    I would love to see what everyone was wearing like watching celebrities on the red carpet.

  31. Welcome back, Theresa! So glad to have you here. I would be the one dancing every reel. One of my favorite things about that era is the dancing. It’s so seductive in its own very proper way.

  32. Glenda says:

    Hi Theresa! I’d like the dancing AND the quiet walk in the garden — assuming of course I have shoes with low enough heels (or none) so that I don’t trip over my own feet and hurt myself and others. 😉

  33. Ada says:

    I would love to take a walk through the gardens with that special handsome someone, hopefully get a kiss (or two!) Nothing naughty about that, right? 😉

  34. I would probably dance a couple of dances, but then go sit with that person I’ve had my eye on. A walk in a garden sounds lovely!

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