Giveaway & Guest Post: ‘Inspiration behind How the Duke was Won’ by Lenora Bell, author of How the Duke was Won

Posted July 1, 2016 by Charlotte in Guest Post / 2 Comments

Inspiration behind How the Duke was Won

Today I am delighted to welcome Lenora Bell, author of How the Duke was Won  onto the blog, a book that I really loved. Today Lenora is discussing her Inspiration behind How the Duke was Won. And also there are some hints of what is to come in the next two books (One that I am particularly excited about!!).


 Also (big hint!) answer the question at the end of the post (highlighted red!) and you will be in with a chance of winning free Amazon link for How the Duke Was Won. The best answer will win and the giveaway is open until 8th July and it is INTERNATIONAL!!

Jacket How the Duke...


Hi Charlotte, thanks for hosting me at Escapades of a Bookworm!  I know you’re more of a fantasy and chick lit fan, so I’m honored to be here representing historical romance.

How the Duke Was Won is my very first novel and it’s been such a thrill releasing it into the world. I’ve heard from lots of readers who say that the book feels “fresh” to them. I take that as a huge compliment because when I was writing the first drafts I consciously set out to subvert as many romance tropes as possible. I wanted my duke to be a rebel with an illegitimate child, my debutante to be a courtesan’s daughter in disguise, and my hidden identity plot to revolve around a business opportunity instead of revenge.

Of course just writing something a bit different isn’t going to necessarily sell a book. I also knew I needed to have that elusive something known as the “high concept.” But what exactly does high concept mean? A few definitions I’ve heard are: a unique concept with mass market appeal, a description of your book in one sentence as “X meets X”, or an idea that immediately paints a picture (i.e. friends to lovers).

This was the element that had been lacking from my previous attempts at selling romance novels. I had interesting plots, lush settings, and characters with chemistry…but my pitches took about ten sentences of convoluted explaining to get to the point (plus I never actually finished any of the books I was working on. That helps, too :)).

Then, one Christmas holiday, I was browsing in a used bookstore and I came across Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I really loved the book as a child, and enjoyed the movie versions. But that day, for some reason, the idea struck me. Hey, this is kind of like a romance novel plot! The rich magnate who requires an heir for his fortune and invites a bunch of people to compete for him. I immediately thought of a title, Charlene and the Duchess Factory. And that’s the way How the Duke Was Won was born!

I pitched the book to agents as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets The Bachelor in the Regency era. Voila! High concept 🙂 In order to make the book follow the pitch, I decided to set it at the duke’s country estate instead of in London during the Season.

The DISGRACEFUL DUKES series is interconnected so Books 2 and 3 feature characters you’ll meet in How the Duke Was Won. The second book, If I Only Had a Duke, releases from Piatkus in only a few months (there’s already a cover!) This is Lady Dorothea and the Duke of Osborne’s story and was pitched as “The Wizard of Oz meets Arrow.” I’m writing the third book in the series right now. Blame it on the Duke features Miss Alice Tombs and the scandalous Marquess of Hatherly and is inspired by Alice in Wonderland.

One book I’m really looking forward to is Sarah MacLean’s A Scot in the Dark which is coming soon from Piatkus. She pitched this high concept series as “TMZ in the Regency.” Love it!

Giveaway Question: Do you have any favourite high concept books? Any upcoming books you’re really looking forward to reading?




What do you think about Inspiration behind How the Duke was Won?

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2 responses to “Giveaway & Guest Post: ‘Inspiration behind How the Duke was Won’ by Lenora Bell, author of How the Duke was Won

  1. Jayne

    One book I’m really looking forward to is Sarah J. Maas new book Empire of Storms. I love Throne of Glass series and cannot wait to see what happens next!

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