This week’s interview is with Elizabeth Everett whose debut novel, A LADY’S FORMULA FOR LOVE will be released next week. Preorder now!
Below, Elizabeth talks about the story behind her book’s title, advice for her younger self, her editing process and her love of early mornings. Enjoy!
Elizabeth Everett lives in Upstate New York with her family. She likes going for long walks or (very) short runs to nearby sites that figure prominently in the history of civil rights and women’s suffrage. A Lady’s Formula for Love is her first novel, inspired by her admiration for rule breakers and belief in the power of love to change the world.
Tell us about the title of your book. What is the story behind it?
The title of my book, A Lady’s Formula for Love, refers to the main character’s “occupation” as a chemist. This book is the first in a trilogy of love stories involving female scientists who are all members of Athena’s Retreat, a secret club within a club. Violet’s great passion is chemistry – aerostatics to be precise. And while she can easily formulate an antidote to an unknown poison, the formula to love has always eluded her – until Arthur Kneland comes into her life.
Are your characters based on real people?
The female scientists of Athena’s Retreat are loosely based on real women in science. Violet is somewhat modeled on Elizabeth Fulhame, although Fulhame’s work was on oxidation reactions. Like their real counterparts, the characters must overcome societies expectations for what a women should be occupying herself with and her own internalized prejudices. Violet put aside her groundbreaking discoveries in order to fulfill what she believed to be her primary duty as a wife and hostess. The tragedy is that so many real-life women did the same, and the world lost whatever scientific advances they might have made if given the time and encouragement to pursue their passions.
If you could tell your younger writer self anything, what would it be?
I started writing fiction about five years ago and found an agent with my second book. Looking back, I would tell myself to spend a little more time learning how to write a book before launching right into writing one. Learning about the craft after-the-fact has given me agita more times than I can count. I don’t know that I would have listened, however. I hate when people tell me what to do – even wise women like myself!!
Did anything change significantly in your book during the writing or editing process?
There are wounded and damaged people who try their best and still manage to hurt others, and there are also good people who do deliberately bad things. I am a fan of writing about the former. What changed significantly for me during the process of writing this book was that I had to allow the “villains” to look for their redemption off the page. If I could, I’d write pages full of folks finding their HEAs (happily-ever-afters) and kissing and eating tarts and living the good life. Satisfying to me – boring to everyone else. I had to trust that readers will accept ambivalence in these characters and stop trying to tell everyone’s story all at once.
What time of day do you love best?
I am a morning person! It is the only time of day, especially during the pandemic, when no one else is around. I sit and listen to the crickets while I savor my first cup of very, very strong coffee and try to get an hour’s worth of writing in before anyone else stumbles downstairs. This also means I go to bed before anyone else and have been known to fall asleep during family movie night. I haven’t seen the ending of almost every three hour long movie out there!
WHAT THE REVIEWERS ARE SAYING
“Explosive chemistry, a heroine who loves her science, and lines that made me laugh out loud—this witty debut delivered, and I’d like the next installment now, please.”—Evie Dunmore, USA Today bestselling author of Bringing Down the Duke
“A witty, dazzling debut with a science-minded heroine and her broody bodyguard. Fiercely feminist and intensely romantic, A Lady’s Formula for Love is a fresh take on historical romance that’s guaranteed to delight readers.”—Joanna Shupe, author of The Devil of Downtown
“A brilliant scientist and her brooding bodyguard discover that love can find you when you least expect it. A Lady’s Formula for Love is full of wit, charm, and intrigue. You don’t want to miss this exciting debut from Elizabeth Everett.”—Harper St. George, author of The Heiress Gets a Duke
“With its beguiling blend of danger, desire, and deliciously dry wit, the brilliantly conceived and smartly executed A Lady’s Formula for Love is an exciting debut and a first-rate launch for Everett’s The Secret Scientists ofLondon series. Fans of Evie Dunmore’s A League of Extraordinary Women books or Olivia Waite’s historical romances will savor this fiercely feminist, achingly romantic, and intensely sensual love story.”—Booklist, starred review
“Smart, sassy, sexy, and sweet…it’s The Bodyguard meets Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy, with his brooding sexiness, doesn’t have a damned thing on Arthur Kneland. This book is an all-around winner.”—Minerva Spencer, author of The Academy of Love series
“A secret society of rule-breaking women…irresistible! You’re going to love Elizabeth Everett’s adventurous debut.”—Theresa Romain, author of The Holiday Pleasures series
“A sparking debut full of humor, heart, and sizzling romance.”—Jeanine Englert, award-winning author of Lovely Digits
“A fabulous debut filled with danger, imperfect but fierce found-family, and the love story of two stubborn protectors, A Lady’s Formula for Love is everything a romance reader who likes to ponder as well as cheer could want.”—Felicia Grossman, author of The Truitts series