Q&A: Carol Cox
Steven Pierce is in love. But being in love with the niece of his business's savior is the least of his troubles. Because niece and aunt are the same person in disguise... and that person is in great danger.
1. What can you tell us about your latest book, Love in Disguise?
Love in Disguise is a historical romantic suspense about an out-of-work wardrobe mistress. Jobless and down to her last dime, Ellie Moore hears about a position with the Pinkerton Detective Agency and believes it’s the perfect opportunity to put her skills with makeup and costumes to use. Reluctantly, the agency agrees to give her one chance to prove herself. Disguised as Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow, Ellie travels to Arizona to begin her investigation. When the need arises, she also transforms into the dazzling Jessie Monroe, whose vivacious personality encourages people to talk.
Mine owner Steven Pierce is going to lose his business if he can’t figure out who’s stealing his silver shipments. In his wildest dreams, he never expected to receive help from a gray-haired widow...or to fall in love with her beautiful niece.
Then the thieves come after Lavinia and Jessie, and Ellie isn’t safe no matter which character she plays. Should she give up and reveal her true identity? What will Steven do when he realizes the woman he’s falling in love with doesn’t really exist?
2. Where did the idea for Love in Disguise come from?
I’ve always been fascinated by stories featuring a master of disguise. Imagine being able to change your appearance so completely that you could be unrecognizable, even to people who know you! The idea intrigued me so much that I began toying with the idea of creating a character who had that ability.
3. What do you want your readers to take away from Love in Disguise?
Fear of acceptance is a very real issue for many of us. We often show only certain facets of ourselves to others, depending on the circumstances and who we’re with. Much like Ellie, we tend to wear a disguise of some sort rather than letting others see us as we really are.
I hope my readers come away pondering the question of what their true identity is and, like Ellie, find the courage to let that identity be the face they show to the world.
4. What led you to choose Arizona as a setting for Love in Disguise?
My family came to Arizona in 1917, only a few years after it became a state. I grew up on a dairy farm in Phoenix, back in the days when the landscape was dominated by dairies and cotton fields instead of asphalt and concrete. As a third-generation Arizonan, I’m very proud of my Southwest heritage, and I want to do my part to see that it isn’t forgotten.