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New York resident Elizabeth Everett can often be found perambulating from her present location to historical sites, most frequently those that have a strong connection to women’s suffrage and civil rights history. Her debut novel, A Lady’s Formula for Love, combines Everett’s passion for female rule breakers and happy-ever-after endings.
Who is Elizabeth Everett?
Well, I am an avid perambulator, obviously. Oftentimes you will spot me lolloping (apt description of my running style at my advanced age) through one of my favorite places in my hometown, Mt. Hope Cemetery. Mt. Hope was the first municipal cemetery in the United States and is the final resting place of two local heroes, Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony. I love offbeat history, stories about strong women, and early Victorian aesthetic.
Sense a theme?
Tell us about your debut novel. A Lady’s Formula for Love.
A Lady’s Formula for Love tells the story of Lady Violet Greycliff, a widow who has taken the bulk of her fortune and built Athena’s Retreat, London’s first social club for ladies. Behind closed doors, however, Athena’s Retreat serves as a secret haven for women scientists of all disciplines. When the Crown tasks her with developing the antidote to a chemical weapon, she needs protection. Enter Arthur Kneland, a counter-assassin who has spent the last 20 years abroad in a self-imposed exile. Arthur knows very well the dangers to be had if he becomes distracted while protecting his charge. Still, he cannot resist the elemental (see what I did here?) attraction between himself and Violet. What begins as a purely physical affair soon becomes something more.
The question is whether Violet will risk her beloved club for a scandal, and whether Arthur will be forever burdened by the events of his past.
What kinds of research was involved in creating your “clandestine sanctuary for England’s most brilliant female scientists?”
My starting point was sheer fantasy. Ladies clubs, like the famous men’s clubs of London, such as Whites and Boodles, did not exist until the very late Victorian and Edwardian periods. I took the idea and set it back 50 years. Next, I did some research on women scientists of the time. What I found is not surprising. Most women of the lower and middle classes were not given scientific educations. Women were not allowed at university in the early 1840s and any further pursuit in the sciences depended on their determination and their family circumstances. Many women of historical note were women of means—they had access to tutors and books and were not relied on to work and support their family.
I had to stop researching at a certain point because I spent too much time reading and not enough time writing. For example, I have three books on Caroline Herschel, the first salaried scientist in England, and neither she nor anyone like her appears in A Lady’s Formula for Love. I simply became obsessed with her story.
What three words best describe the flavor of your writing?
Light-hearted. Humorous. Blue Raspberry.
Has getting your first book published changed your writing process in any way?
I think the pandemic has had a greater influence on my writing than being published. Virtual schooling and the cancellation of most after-school activities means that quiet spaces are few and far between in my house these days. Try writing a steamy love scene when a kid pops up over your shoulder every five minutes asking if there is anything good to eat. My kingdom for an empty house!
What is your writing kryptonite?
That’s easy. My kryptonite is that silly little part of a book called the plot. All I want to do is describe the wild characters that crowd my brain and get them to kiss. That’s it. Just wacky people kissing. Most of my time spent “writing” is me trying to convince my characters to do interesting or clever things so that I can write it down.
What is/are the book/books that hooked you on the romance genre as a reader?
I was obsessed with historical mysteries about 12 years ago. I loved Tasha Alexander and Deanna Raybourn and I trusted Amazon when they told me if I enjoyed this book, I would love that one. So, when The Perils of Pleasure, by Julie Anne Long, came in the mail, I sat down and started reading. About halfway through, I lowered the book and thought . . . this is not historical mystery. This is something else. This is . . . WONDERFUL! All my preconceived notions of romance went by the wayside as I began devouring every single historical romance novel I could get my hands on.
What three things would you insist on having with you on a desert island?
My husband (Is this cheating? I would need someone to fetch the coconuts as I’m very short.)
What is next for you as an author?
A Lady’s Formula for Love is the first book in The Secret Scientists of London Series. This means more hijinks, sexy times, and science to come. I can tell you that the second book features a mathematician. This character is based on one of the women I learned about in my research, Sophie Germain. While I will continue writing historical romance featuring STEAM heroines, I am also considering what to do with my growing collection of research. A biography of an intriguing woman scientist at some point? Delving more into the history of my hometown and the crazy collection of prophets, saints, and serial killers that seem to find their way here over time? Perhaps. One thing I’ve learned from this pandemic is not to look too far ahead into the future and to appreciate all the lovely gifts I have in my arms right at this very moment.
How can readers best connect with you and learn more about your writing?
Readers are cordially invited to visit my website to find out what I’m up to and sign up for my hilarious newsletter (my mom swears this is true). I pop up on Facebook now and again at https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethEverettAuthorBooks. Readers can ask me questions and enter giveaways on my Goodreads account. If they follow me on BookBub they can find out about special discounts at https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethEverettAuthorBooks.
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