Thursday, April 14, 2022

Welcome back, Lorri Dudley!

Welcome back, Lorri Dudley!

Linda: Congratulations on your recent release, The Marquis’s Pursuit. I’ve enjoyed the Leeward Islands series and look forward to reading this story. What was the inspiration? 

Lorri: The hero of The Marquis’s Pursuit, Max Oliver Weld, Marquis of Daventry, was the spirited and confident eight-year-old boy from book one, The Duke’s Refuge. Max was the son of the island schoolmaster who turned out to be a duke in hiding. Having three teenage boys of my own, I wanted to discover how Max matured into his role as a marquis, what it would be like to return to the nostalgic island where he’d been raised, and what kind of woman would capture his heart. His best mate, Charlie, battles consumption, so Max takes him to Nevis’s famous healing springs, determined to see God heal his friend, but God plans to mend hearts first. 

LM: What draws you to the time period where you set your stories? 

Lorri: I love the chivalry of the Regency Era, where honor and reputation were worth dueling over. Also, the romantic aspect of couples engaging in courtship at balls and country dances. The tiered social classes ranging from the opulent splendor of the aristocrats and gentry to the working servant classes and destitute poor allow for an underlying current of tension and fodder for plot points. Add to that, the issue of slavery coming into question on islands where over planting and erosion has diminished production of their cash crop—sugar. 
LM: The Leeward Islands are not exactly a tourist destination that I’m aware of. How did you discover them, and what made you decide to set your books there? 

Photo: Pixabay/
Heike Kaldenbach
Lorri: My husband and I traveled to St. Kitts on an awards trip, and I fell in love with the quaintness and beauty of the island. St. Kitts is one of the Leeward Islands (a chain of small islands that include: Antigua, Montserrat, Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Martin, and Guadeloupe—to name a few). I loved the idea of exploring different islands together 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 Marquis’s Pursuit. 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. 

LM: What sort of intriguing information did you uncover while researching The Marquis’s Pursuit

Lorri: Part of Max and Charlie’s backstory is that they chose to go to India as missionaries instead of taking a grand tour after university. Max carries guilt over Charlie’s first symptoms of consumption appearing during their mission trip, and while in India, Max was also traumatized by the Hindu practice of sati (which plays symbolically into the heroine, Evelyn’s life). Sati was a voluntary act of a Hindu widow who would courageously follow her husband into the afterlife by dutifully throwing herself into the flames of her husband’s funeral pyre. In some instances, involuntary acts were recorded where widows were drugged or tied with wet rope to the bodies of their deceased husbands. Some widows were pressured to sacrifice themselves by sati rather than be a burden to their families. The act of sati is now illegal and frowned upon in India. For more information, check out these resources: and

LM: In addition to being an author, you have many family obligations. How do you balance your responsibilities with meeting deadlines? 

Photo: Pixabay/
Theodor Moise
Lorri: I tend to be lopsided more often than balanced, but I’m a stickler for deadlines. I try to pace myself with attaining a certain word count each week instead of by the day, because—let’s face it—life gets in the way. If I’m only able to write forty words one day due to my boys’ sports schedules, tests, or (Lord help me) teaching them how to drive, I just have to make it up later in the week. I’ve been known to bring my computer with me almost everywhere. I’ve sat up in the stands of wrestling meets typing away, in my car during sports practices, and especially on planes. I get up early (4:30 am), hit the gym, and then sit down and write before heading to the office and later to sports practices. I’m blessed in that I’m able to reserve Fridays for writing, but I have to protect those hours like precious jewels. 

LM: What advice do you have for fledgling writers?

Lorri: I tell people it takes fortitude, grit, and passion. There’s a wall I hit around 60,000 words where doubts plague me. I wonder if my manuscripts are any good, if I’m making any sense, and if people will hate it. I thought this would get easier after the first book, but then there’s the added pressure of questioning if this book will be as good as the last one. I have to muscle through and keep my fingers on the keyboard. 
Learning how to be a better writer and the process of getting published takes grit. One must constantly be seeking feedback, critiques, and criticism. It’s how we improve, but the process can be brutal. At first, I shed a lot of tears, but over time, I’ve learned to shake off the hurt and appreciate different perspectives. I’ve also worked on creatively finding solutions. 
Writing is much easier when it’s a passion. If no one purchased my books, I would still write. It’s my creative outlet where I get to play pretend as a grown-up. The catharsis I received from writing helped me not to give up when in the valleys of the writing/publishing cycle. 

LM: You seem to be coming to the end of the Leeward Island series (I only see one more book listed on the book page). Is that true? What do you have planned next? 

Photo: Courtesy of PBS
Lorri: Yes, the last book in the series, The Heir’s Predicament, has begun the editing phase. After that, I have been tossing about ideas with my publisher about either a Regency spy series or a Boston Brahmin series. Boston Brahmins period is best described as a New England version of the Regency Era. It was a time of prosperity between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, where fortunes were made from textiles, trade, and suitable marriage alliances. I also would love to head back to the islands with either a Windward Island series or a Greater Antilles series. 

LM: What else do you want folks to know about you? 

Lorri: I’m a mother of three teenage sons who go through six gallons of milk a week. I’ve been forced to become an expert on aggressive sports, like football, lacrosse, basketball, and wrestling. I broke up fights all my boys’ lives, but now, go figure, I’m supposed to cheer for them to rough someone up. My household’s high testosterone level is why I use writing romance as my escape, but my husband and boys give me lots of insight into the hero’s perspective, and I love my family dearly. 

Linda: Where can folks find you on the web? 


About The Marquis’s Pursuit 

She's desperate to keep her secret hidden, but he's a determined Marquis.

As the son of a duke, Maxwell Oliver Weld, Marquis of Daventry, is allowed entry into the finest of London’s ballrooms, access to political figures, and advice from the best physicians. Yet, his wealth and contacts won’t heal his friend, Charlie, who is dying from consumption. Hopeful for a miracle, Max persuades Charlie to sail across the Atlantic to stay at the Artesian Hotel on the island of Nevis and bathe in its famous healing springs. Max’s optimism is washed in doubt as the truth unravels about the hotel, its hot springs, and the beautiful caretaker. 

The blaze of Evelyn Mairi Sheraton’s fiery side has long been snuffed out. Hunted by a vengeful man from her past, only fortitude and the island’s sanctuary have kept Evelyn alive. She will do whatever it takes to keep her precious secret safe, even work for the demeaning Artesian Hotel owner, Edward Rousseau. However, when a jaunty marquis and his ailing friend arrive, sparks ignite, but Evelyn fears the revealing of her secrets will burn her to ash. 

The elusive Evelyn may tend to Charlie’s well-being, but she stirs Max’s protective nature. He’d like nothing more than to remove her from the wretched employment of Edward Rousseau, yet that might endanger Charlie’s health even more. Refusing to give up on a miracle, Max waters her guarded heart, certain beauty will rise out of ashes. But when her secrets come to life, will love be worth the price?

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