Q&A: Rachelle McCalla (Defending the Duchess)
Q: What inspired your latest Romance Defending the Duchess?
I’ve always been fascinated by royalty. Though oftentimes many of us consider royals to be vastly different form the rest of us, as Christians, we’re all children of the King and heirs to the Kingdom. So though the royals of the Lydian family might have bodyguards, jewels, and a palace, we can still sympathize with their struggles and adventures. This is especially true in Defending the Duchess, because Julia Miller has only recently been elevated to the title of duchess, and that [is] simply because her sister married the king. So as Julia adjusts to her royal status, we as readers get to see what royal life is like from the perspective of someone like us.
Q: What do you think readers will find interesting about this story?
The Kingdom of Lydia traces its’ history all the way back to the book of Acts in the Bible, to Lydia, the dealer in purple cloth, who became a Christian and hosted a church in her home (see Acts chapter 16 for the full story of Lydia). The kingdom was first featured in my Reclaiming the Crown series, and also in my historical novel, A Royal Marriage, which tells the story about how Charlemagne’s daughter, Gisela, came to be queen of Lydia. Besides its’ fascinating history, Lydia is a land of mysteries, from the attacker who tried to kidnap Duchess Julia, to the secret passages inside the palace.
Q: Who is your favorite character in this book?
The book may focus on the duchess, but I’m just as fond of her love-interest, Royal Guard, Linus Murati. Speaking of mysteries, Linus has a few secrets of his own, which he fears will prevent him from ever being worthy of the queen’s little sister. But though he fears he can never win her heart, that won’t prevent Linus from saving Julia’s life…even if it means risking death himself.
Q: How does your faith influence your writing?
My faith comes through in my writing in many ways, from the Bible-bound history of the kingdom of Lydia, to the choices my characters make, and even in subtle analogies of love, sacrifice, and forgiveness that appear throughout my stories. I like to shine light in dark places. That means my characters walk through darkness so readers can see that light.
Q: Why did you feel you had to tell this story?
Throughout my Reclaiming the Crown series, the Royal Guards of Lydia risked their lives time and time again to keep the kingdom from falling into the clutches of the evil forces that opposed them. Since the focus of those stories was on the royal family, the guards never had a chance to tell their stories. In Defending the Duchess and the books that follow (including Royal Heist, which comes out this July), readers finally get to meet these brave men whose sacrifices kept the royal family safe.
Q: Where do you get your best ideas?
Ideas can come from any source. Sometimes when I’m reading the newspaper, minding my own business, story ideas come out of nowhere and tackle me, and the next thing I know I’m jotting down notes in the margins! Other times I may be walking down the sidewalk, lost in thought, when I observe something out of place, and the wheels start turning. By the time I get home I race to my computer to record my thoughts before I forget them. I also love to read history books—they’re full of inspiring events and especially those “could-have-been” moments that beg to be re-written with their own happy endings. Ultimately, I know God promises all of His children a happy ending for all eternity. I try to give my readers a taste of that in my stories. To me, that’s the best idea of all.