Becky Lower Interviews Grace Wagner from Blinded by Grace
Grace Wagner was no different from many other daughters of successful businessmen in bustling New York City. They were expected to marry well, and bring a considerable dowry into the marriage. The stage was set for just such a scenario, and then her father passed away. Her grieving mother remarried to the first man who expressed an interest, and her choice of husband was not a good one. So Grace did what any self-respecting woman coming of age would do–she arranged a marriage of convenience for herself.
BLL: Where and when were you born?
GWF: I’m Grace Wagner, now Grace Fitzpatrick. I was born in August 1838 in New York City.
BLL: What drew you to the person you fell in love with?
GWF: I met Halwyn when I was only thirteen. I loved spending time with his large family, since I was an only child. His twin sisters, Jasmine and Heather, became my closest friends. Halwyn came home from college one day while I was at their house, and he had brought home gifts for each of his sisters. When he realized I was also in attendance, he found another hankie to give me so I wouldn’t feel left out. That simple act of generosity was all I needed to fall madly in love with him. I still have the hankie.
BLL: Tell us why you believe women really are/are not the weaker sex?
GWF: A woman’s role in society is changing, slowly, but we have been held back for years by antiquated laws. I had to take an extreme measure to keep my inheritance from my father from falling into the hands of my stepfather, Simon Huffman, upon my 21st birthday. I needed to marry before then, and since Halwyn had never looked upon me as anyone other than his sisters’ playmate, it was a hard transition for him. Fortunately for me, he also has an enormous heart, so he went along with my crazy idea to have a marriage of convenience.
BLL: What do you want from life?
GWF: I have everything I could ever want now. Every day, I have the love of a good man who supports me in everything I do, and we are now blessed with three children.
BLL: What parts of loving come easy for you? Hard?
GWF: To say my road to the altar was easy would be so incorrect, even though I thought the plan was sound when I suggested it. And Halwyn, bless his heart, went along with my wild scheme. Things were rolling along nicely, much to my stepfather’s ire, so Simon agitated the horse Halwyn was riding, causing the horse to rear up, and Halwyn fell and hit his head. He suffered short term memory loss and didn’t remember anything of our arrangement. He actually thought we were in a traditional engagement. I wanted to tell him right away, but his crafty mother, Charlotte, saw his memory loss as a way to heighten his awareness of me. She allowed me to act as his nurse and to take care of him. Halwyn fell in love with me slowly during his recuperative phase. I had loved him for nearly nine years at that point, so he had a bit of catching up to do.
BLL: How would you describe yourself?
GWF: I never thought of myself as a particularly strong woman until I realized I could lose everything to my unscrupulous stepfather. My mother married him in order to not be alone, but I quickly realized sometimes being alone is the best option. I learned how to take charge of my life because of him.
BLL: What really moves you, or touches you to the soul? GWF: The first time my husband kissed me, not out of obligation but because he wanted to, was one of the most moving experiences of my life. And then, with the birth of each of our children, my capacity for love, for truly having a life-altering change in my life, has grown.
BLL: What are you most proud of about your life?
GWF: I am proud of the fact that I took my fate into my own hands instead of letting Simon Huffman get the best of me. I’m also extremely proud of the bond Halwyn and I have for one another, and of course, I’m proud of my children.BLL: Describe your ideal mate.
GWF: Let’s see. He’d be tall, with dark hair. Oh, and yes, he’d need to wear glasses in order to see the world clearly. I do so love a scholarly man with spectacles.
In 1858 New York City, Halwyn Fitzpatrick thinks he’s off the hook for attendance at the annual Cotillion Ball. He has no sister to shepherd down the grand staircase this year and no real desire to go through the rituals of courtship and betrothal himself. Besides, he’ll know the right girl when he sees her, especially now that he has new spectacles. But his mother has other plans for him. At 27 years of age, her son is in dire need of a wife.
Grace Wagner needs a husband by July, in order to inherit the trust her father has left for her. Her stepfather, though, has plans for the money that don’t include Grace, and the last thing he wants is for her to find a husband before she turns 21, thereby fulfilling the terms of the trust. She’s been in love with Halwyn since she was thirteen, but he hasn’t noticed her at any of the balls they’ve attended over the years. With the aid of his new eyeglasses, he spies Grace from across the room and they share a dance. Grace decides to present him with a business proposition that will satisfy them both. But, can a clueless knight in shining armor and a desperate damsel in distress find a way to turn a marriage of convenience into something more?
Amazon best-selling author Becky Lower has traveled the country looking for great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it on a covered wagon headed west or in present day small town America. Historical and contemporary romances are her specialty. Becky is a PAN member of RWA and is a member of the Historic and Contemporary RWA chapters. She has a degree in English and Journalism from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. She loves to hear from her readers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website at http://www.beckylowerauthor.com