Today’s guest takes into the secretive world of female Regency pugilists and reveals her own not-so-secret publisher side. Please help me welcome Edie Cay! Let’s take a peek at her bio and then we’ll find out how she got started writing and what keeps her motivated.
Edie Cay has an MFA in Creative Writing and other degrees. She is a history buff, an avid traveler, and an eager reader of all genres. She has lived all over the United States, but currently calls California home. Under her other name, she has published articles and participated in documentary filmmaking. She is a member of the Paper Lantern Writers, a historical fiction author collective, as well as a member of the Historical Novel Society. A LADY’S REVENGE is her first published novel.
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Betty: When did you become a writer?
Edie: When I was ten. I wrote a book series which took one sheet of 8.5×11” paper, cut into pieces. Each book was 14 pages long, done by hand with colored pencil. I employed other children to write in the series and help me make the books. Each book cost ten cents.
Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?
Edie: I published my first short story in college, while I worked on my Bachelor’s degree in English. After that, I pursued my MFA in Creative Writing. I continue to read craft books, style books, and reading all genres helps to keep me aware of what is my style and what is others’.
Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?
Edie: Margaret Atwood—she is very direct. I was more lyrical early on, and then became so very curt and short, because I was emulating Hemingway, and now I am attempting a happy medium, which I think is more Atwood’s style.
Betty: What prompted you to start writing?
Edie: When I was nine, a teacher had us write stories for class assignments. I haven’t stopped.
Betty: What type of writing did you start with?
Edie: Short stories. I think maybe about a worm?
Betty: What do you most enjoy writing? Why?
Edie: I enjoy building a world the most. I always start with characters, figuring out what motivates them, why they do what they do.
Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?
Edie: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing, an MFA in Creative Writing, and I continue to take online classes about specific topics, including Writing the Other, and classes from RWA’s Beau Monde Academy. I go to conferences when I can, and I read craft books.
Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?
Edie: To just get out of my own way.
Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?
Edie: I wanted to write a romance to help me with plotting. I was (and still am) writing a historical novel that is literary or upmarket women’s fiction, and I was flailing with plot. So I thought genre would be a good exercise. I picked Regency because it was the most popular historical time period. I started writing, and I wrote a novel. It was full of inaccuracies, because I had done cursory research. But in that novel, I met Lydia. And I knew her snark came from somewhere. She had a heart underneath all that coldness, and I knew she had a secret. But what? So I did more research, read a ton more books, and I found that she was a boxer. She just had to be.
Lady Lydia Sommerset is an earl’s daughter. At the ripe age of twenty-five, she still wears the lavish gowns and dances the dainty steps of the haute ton as if she were pursuing a husband; but her goals are far more personal. Instead, she pursues her tormenters: the men who bet that taking a girl’s virginity—her virginity—really can cure a brothel’s plague. She has her cousins and sister to aid her, but no one can understand what it feels like to be helpless. Pugilism, England’s manliest pastime, is her only relief. Training in secret with a female boxer keeps her sane, but when her instructor is hired away by one of the men she is seeking to destroy, she is in a bind. Her new teacher, a former prizefighter with a ready joke and a quick wit might do more than just correct her technique.
John Arthur is made of money. A street kid who dazzled with his fists, he now impresses as a miracle worker on the London Stock Exchange. But a man can’t forget a boyhood spent in the gutter. Easy-going and affable, John Arthur knows he shouldn’t tangle with bluebloods. He should be happy with a full belly and coin-filled pockets. But when he finds a woman who finds boxing as vital as he does, his life gets suddenly complicated.
Caught between revenge and finding love with a man who might truly understand her, Lady Lydia must commit to opening her heart or closing it forever.
“We haven’t been introduced,” Lady Lydia said, as if she were speaking to a child. It was like she knew all the tones that could put off a person and didn’t mind using them.
“Walk with me for just a moment, here, in public, with chaperones.” He gestured to her sister and the driver. “And that will surely remedy our acquaintance.” He offered her his arm.
“That isn’t how it works.” She folded her arms across her chest. “Perhaps if you had better breeding, you would know.”
If this had been a turn-up, all bets would be against him. “I’ve spent my life taking chances, my lady. I always weigh the risk to benefit. Making your acquaintance, however I can get it, is worth the risk. And knowing me is always a benefit.” He meant to give another non-threatening grin, but he was in earnest. This was the grin that marked him as rubbish. The Quality didn’t smile—they didn’t need to. But it was the winning bits of his domino box that made folks relax and trust him.
She narrowed her eyes and watched him for a moment. It was only then that he remembered his black eye. He must be a wretched fright for a lady like her. No wonder she wouldn’t talk to him.
“Agnes, get in the phaeton. We’ll walk a single block, sir. Make your case. Vasily will follow us.”
“But—” Lady Agnes protested.
“Done,” John said, feeling like this was the hardest bargain he’d driven all year.
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I’m intrigued by the worm story, Edie! Was it an inchworm, perhaps? I’m also intrigued by a woman boxer during the Regency. That’s a pretty cool historical fact to uncover. Thanks for stopping by and enlightening all of us!
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