Ask the Author III

emerald ring

Happy Friday!  I hope each of you had a wonderful, restful Thanksgiving.  It’s time for Ask the Author again.  Lauren has kindly volunteered to check in throughout the day and answer any questions you may have about The Deception of the Emerald Ring.

It’s also time for us to let Lauren know which Pink III quotes won the popularity contest!  Lauren, we’ve voted on these, and here are the top three:

  1. “Patience is only a virtue when there is something worth waiting for.”
  2. “That’s where you’re wrong.  Perfection may be admirable, but it’s not very lovable.”
  3. “Ever since she fired on that boot manufactory in Calais, Miss Gwen has had difficulty controlling her incendiary impulses.”

There you have it!

Pink Enthusiasts, thanks for voting.  Now feel free to ask Lauren your questions in the comments section below – one lucky commenter will receive some Pink III swag!

22 thoughts on “Ask the Author III

  1. Hi Lauren! How upfront was the discussion really about the marriage market? Would the young men and women of the ton really have discussed the eligibility of marriage worth with each other?

    • From contemporary fiction and letters, it looks as though people were, indeed, frank about these things. When you think about it, it makes sense– for the most part, marriages were financial and dynastic alliances rather than love matches. Marry a wastrel and you could wind up in the gutter. In an era before the internet, word of mouth was the best way to ascertain someone’s true situation….

  2. Hi Lauren!

    Is there any chance that after “Moonflower” (or during) we might get some of the adventures of Jane and Miss Gwen? The boot factory adventure seems like it would be a great novella, or a full account of the raid on the Swiss gold. Thanks!

    • Hi, Karen! I’m afraid not. I would have loved to, but now that I’m also writing the stand alones, there isn’t as much time to explore the Pink byways as there used to be. I’m not ruling out returns to the world of Pink, but it probably wouldn’t take that form.

  3. Hi Lauren! My burning question is two fold- first, why did you title this book after a non-flower? And second, if you were to change the title to go along with the floral theme, what would you change it to?

    Thank you!

    • Oh, titles. The horrible truth is that the author often has very little to do with the title. In this case, my publisher wanted a flower, to go with the theme, but also something that represented Ireland. Shamrocks were ruled out very quickly… which about did it for flowers with a connection to Ireland. So they decided to go Ireland rather than flower, which resulted in some very amusing back and forth. (They were not amused when I suggested that the book be titled “How the Pink Carnation Stole Me Lucky Charms”.) In the end, my editor suggested “Emerald Ring”, because Emerald implies the Emerald Isle, and there was, after all, a spy ring…. And that’s how it all came about, largely via my publisher’s marketing department, which tends to have a large say in these things.

      I’m so used to it being “Emerald Ring” now that it’s hard to imagine it as anything else– or to remember what other titles I might have, originally, suggested. (This was all happening back in autumn/spring of 2005/6.) But something sweet for Letty, I would think.

      What flower would you choose, Beth?

      • Oh, publishers. I didn’t even think of that – but I love ‘How the Pink Carnation Stole Me Lucky Charms’! That’s hilarious!

        I’m sure there are many who have brilliant ideas about flowers for Letty- but if I got to choose, something sweet, sturdy, unassuming but also beautiful. Daisies, maybe, or magnolias, or azaleas! (Obviously I should never be in charge of picking book titles 🙂

  4. Hi Lauren!

    After having Geoff pine after Mary for two books, what made you decide to pair him with Letty? Was this always in your mind for Geoff, or did the idea evolve once you were ready to write the third book? As far as character development, Geoff is so different from Richard and Miles – not at all flamboyant. Did you purposefully pick him to be more grounded (except for his Mary obsession)? Also, had you decided at this time that Lord Vaughn would become respectable? I’m just curious as to how your plot line develops.

    Thanks again for another great book! I’m very thankful that this event gives me a chance to reread and interact with others at the same time.

  5. Ok, this is a nit picky kind of question but it jumped out at me. At Lettys wedding when Hen is talking to her about being ruined, it says “Henrietta, who had only escaped a similar fate through the felicity of having committed her own indiscretions in another country—”. I thought it was in Sussex? Is this just a mistake?

    • Hi, Carly! You’re absolutely right about Henrietta having been ruined in Sussex. (Doesn’t that sound like a letter to Dear Abby? “Signed: Ruined in Sussex.) Letty, on the other hand, was ruined in London, right in the midst of all sorts of gossip-y people.

    • It’s hard to remember what I was thinking back then, but it would either have been “in another county” (which is what I’m guessing I meant the line to read), or “in the country”.

      There is also the possibility that I was being cutesy about historical usage. At the time, people would refer to their county as their “country”. So when they said, “In my country…” they didn’t mean England, they meant Sussex, or Devon, or wherever else. I do recall going with that usage a few times and being rapped on the knuckles by copy editors who found it confusing. In hindsight, they were right– there’s a point where historical accuracy becomes counterproductive if it throws people out of the story.

  6. Happy Thanksgiving and happy reading! I have a question about the social seasons. When Letty and Geoff were married, was it toward the end of the season? Also once Letty arrives in Ireland and discovers what’s really going on with Geoff and Jane they decide she can’t leave during the season. Would the seasons be staggered so people could travel or was it just a need for the story line?

    • Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Bridget! You’re right– it was at the very end of the Season that Letty and Geoff were married. The London Season sounds so official, but it was really something of a moving target. It shifted based on the opening of Parliament. For the most part, for the eighteenth century, it ran from roughly October to May. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, it began pushing back– November, December, January– and running a little longer on the summer end, until, eventually, it was running from February through July.

      I have to confess, I can’t really remember exactly when the Dublin season would have been. (The research for this book was done back in 2004/5, so it’s been rather a while.) The seasons would have been based on local conditions– in London, based on when Parliament was sitting; in Dublin, based on the Lord Lieutenant’s schedule– rather than around travel plans. The season, in both London and Dublin, was a really rather commonsense sort of arrangement. People were in town for government business, so there were parties to entertain them. Over time, this became a more formal arrangement.

      I am guessing that I probably played with the timing of the Dublin season for the purposes of the book. If I recall, it was actually held in the early spring (January to March).

    • Bridget, thanks for participating today! You are the winner of a Pink III mug! Email me your address at, and I will get your prize on its way.

  7. Lauren! I’m not sure if its too late to post a question, but here you go! Were Geoff’s friends happy that he did not end up with Mary but ended up with her sister and if they had known he was going to elope, would they have done something? Or let it run its course (similar to Penelope later?

    Thanks for your time!

    • Hi, Rebecca! Not too late at all. I am guessing that Richard and Miles were both turning cartwheels over Geoff’s escape from Mary (or would have been, if they were speaking to each other at the time). Being boys, though, they probably wouldn’t have intervened if they’d known of the planned elopement….

  8. Hi Lauren! I would like to know how you write and integrate the modern story with the historical story. It seems to flow together so seamlessly. Do you write them simultaneously, and how do you know when to cut to Colin and Eloise? And how do you name your characters? They are always perfect. Geoff’s name is especially great. I really like him. I also really want to thank you for these amazing books and characters that I love, and for taking the time to interact with your readers here and in so many other ways.

    • Thanks so much, Paige! That’s so kind of you.

      Layering the modern and the historical has been different with every book. With some books, I write the modern chapters in real time, i.e. as I get to that chapter– I can tell you that “The Masque of the Black Tulip” was written that way, in exactly the order you read it, as was “The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla”. With others, like Pink I, or “The Orchid Affair”, I wrote the historical story in one fell swoop and added the modern chapters in later. (I generally know where I want the breaks to happen, so I’ll leave a blank space for that chapter in the manuscript with ELOISE AND COLIN CHAPTER UNDER CONSTRUCTION in block letters.) Most of the time, though, what I wind up doing is using the modern chapters to get around historical writer’s block. So I’ll focus on writing the historical chapters, but cut over to the modern when I’m stuck on the historical. So it’s written a little out of sync, but not entirely. If that makes any sense at all! My writing process can probably best be described as “winging it”.

      On the name front… isn’t it funny how once you’ve named someone it seems like it’s an inalterable law of nature that they be called that? Bizarrely enough, Geoff’s name wasn’t originally Geoff. In very, very early notes, dating back to spring 2001, he was called Sebastian. And he wasn’t Richard’s best friend (or a viscount). He was Richard’s valet! I can’t remember when the change occurred, but it must have been very, very early on, since I’d forgotten all about that until I rediscovered those old notes.

      Sometimes, a name will pop into my head and just be right. Other times, I’ll play around with names, not quite liking them, until I hit on one I do– or just settle. I try to stick with first names I know were in use in the period (if I can’t find a real person who had that name, I won’t use it). Nothing can pop you out of a story like a historical character with a modern name!

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