Brains and Beauty
by Jeanette Watts
GENRE: Historic Fiction
Regina Waring seems to have it all. A loving husband, a successful business, and the most expensive wardrobe in town. But nothing is what it appears to be. Her husband is critical and demanding, the business teeters on ruin, even the opulent wardrobe is a clever illusion.
Regina’s life is one long tiptoe through a minefield; one wrong step and her entire life is going to blow up and destroy her. Attempting to hold it all together, she appeases the husband, dresses the part, and never, never says what she is really thinking. That would get in the way of getting things done. And, if there’s one thing Regina did really well, it was getting things done.
Enter Thomas Baldwin. Young and handsome and completely off limits, Regina is smitten at first sight. Then, to her great astonishment, he slowly becomes her best friend. He’s the one person in her life who never lets her down. Torn between her fascination with him and her desire not to ruin a marvelous friendship, she tries to enjoy each moment with him as it comes.
If only that were enough.
Regina pounded the pavement from bank to bank, begging, taking out loans, laying awake night after night trying to figure out how she was going to keep everything afloat. As Tom had said, times were hard, businesses were failing daily.
Regina’s businesses would not have been among the ones in danger – if only Henry had seen fit to give her the benefit of the doubt. But eight years of marriage and one successful business arrangement after another meant less to him than the chemistry of male bonding.
As with every crisis she had faced thus far in her life, Regina gritted her teeth, and looked for the lesson to be learned. This time, she concluded that no one really listens to what you have to say. Telling people not to do something is pointless. They will do what they want. The people you trust most will let you down. Her parents had. Her husband had.
When Lucy returned from the ladies’ cloakroom, Regina excused herself and went in. After she’d deposited her cloak and retrieved her fan, she stared blankly at her reflection in the long mirror.
Her youngest sister Abigail was the cleverest seamstress in the States. Having a good dressmaker was a special sort of secret weapon. The more prosperous she looked, the less anyone would suspect how desperately close to ruin the Waring empire was.
She forced herself to smile and lifted her chin a little. “Attitude is everything, my girl,” she told herself. “Go in like a queen, not a pauper. Men will do favors for queens much more eagerly than they will for beggar girls. Abi can make you look like a queen; your job is to act the part.”
An Interview with the Author:
1. How long have you been writing?
Since about fourth or sixth grade. I used to make up stories for my best friend. She made me write them down when I couldn’t tell them as well the second time around!
2. How long have you been a published author?
Author of novels? If we’re only counting novels, three years. If we count all the way back to the first time I saw my name in print, then since 1982.
3. What titles do you have available?
Wealth and Privilege – historic fiction about life and love in Pittsburgh during the industrial revolution
Brains and Beauty – more historic fiction about the same characters, still living in Pittsburgh…
4. What made you choose the subject of this book?
I love Pittsburgh and I love history!
5. Do you have any new titles coming soon?
Brains and Beauty has only been out for a month, I am now in final production on a completely different sort of book, a modern satire called Jane Austen Lied to Me.
6. What is your favourite genre and why?
Biographies! Ever since I discovered the biography section of the library when I was in fourth grade, most of my reading for pleasure is biography. Fiction is fun, but as they say, truth is stranger than fiction! It’s also incredibly good reading.
7. What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process?
Falling in love with the characters…and then having my readers send me letters, or write reviews, and telling me how they’ve fallen in love with the characters, too.
8. If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why?
Margaret Mitchell. Because that woman knew how to tell a good story, and knew how to do her research!
Thanks so much for being my guest.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Jeanette Watts only lived in Pittsburgh for four years, but in her heart, she will always be a Pittsburgher. She missed the city so much after her move to Ohio, she had to write a love story about it.
She has written television commercials, marketing newspapers, stage melodramas, four screenplays, three novels, and a textbook on waltzing. When she isn’t writing, she teaches social ballroom dances, refinishes various parts of her house, and sews historical costumes and dance costumes for her Cancan troupe.
Jeanette Watts will be awarding a Victorian cameo necklace to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.