Michaeline: Three Questions for Nancy Yeager

Cover: Four Corners of Heaven, young woman in fancy dress,

Four Corners of Heaven came out March 12. (Image courtesy of Nancy Yeager)

Our own Eight Lady, Nancy Yeager, has a new book out this week! Four Corners of Heaven is part of her Harrow’s Finest Five, a period-romance set in the 1860s and 70s (see below for past posts about her series). I got the chance to read the book in beta, and it was a good read. Botany, women’s empowerment and fizzy romantic feelings!

I took the opportunity to ask Nancy three questions about her book, and here is what she said:
1. What’s your new book about? (Is it a stand-alone?)

I’ll take the easy part of that first. This can be read as a stand-alone book, but it the latest release (5th of an eventual 7) in my Victorian romance series, Harrow’s Finest Five. Regular readers of the blog might recall that the series is about “smart women, sexy men, steamy passion, and the occasional scandal.”

Four Corners is about two scientists pursuing a place in history who learn that love confounds logic every time. When their research unravels and forces them onto opposite sides of a scientific controversy, they’re forced to choose between their careers and their love .I think of it as my geeks-fall-in-love story. My goal, though, wasn’t to make them out as awkward or obtuse, absent-minded scientists. It was explore the way that two people who have single-mindedly, almost ruthlessly, pursued a goal and have their eye on the distant prize might be ill-equipped to handle or even recognize love when they trip right over it. And steamy passion. All the books in the series have some steamy passion!

2. What about the book makes you most proud?

I’m most proud of wrapping the science into this romance and still having it read like a love story. Those who read my series novella Too Clever by Half might remember that leading lady Tessa was a scientist. But she interested in theoretical physics. Adelia, the leading lady of Four Corners of Heaven, is both a nurse and a laboratory researcher, a “hands-in-the-hood (referring to a chemical exhaust hood) scientist” by today’s vernacular. And good old Harry, who gave me fits when I dragged him away from South America and back to London, is an ethnobotanist looking for the next plant-derived medical miracle drug. Their scientific exploits are based on real-life 19th-century exploration and research, with some liberties, of course, because it’s fiction and it all had to work within the timeframe of my story.

Oh, and speaking of medicine, there’s also mention of the Edinburgh Seven, the first group of women to enter medical school in the UK, in1869, the year before Harry and Adelia’s story takes place. Savvy reader might even pick up on one character’s name which is adapted from the unofficial leader of the group, Sophia Jex-Blake.

3. What was the biggest obstacle writing the book, and how did you get over it?

I have affectionately called Four Corners of Heaven the book that tried to kill me. I started, stopped, tore apart, and threw out chapters upon chapters of this manuscript before I unearthed the actual story. As a consummate planner, this is not at all the way I normally work. But I’d spent much too long thinking of–and in the other books, even referring to–Harry as the one of the Five who had hied off to South America. Thus, I’d never really developed him on the page, while at the same time I’d drawn in just enough background to keep me coloring between some pretty tight lines. In other words, I’d written myself into a corner before I even started writing the book.

As for getting over it, well, paraphrasing the Beatles (as you do), I got by with a little help from my friends. A couple of my writing besties set up an accountability/commiseration group text with me. And I was working with my amazing book coach, Sheila Athens, who talked me off the writer’s ledge an untold number of times. At one point in late October, I told Sheila I was ready to abandon this story and move onto the next book. She made me promise to take a week to think about it. Just one week, and then to call her back to tell her my decision. Smart lady. In that week, I rebuilt the story outline into the final version, fixed the first 50-ish pages of the book, and wrote two new chapters. Two months later, the first draft was finished, and after that, the story revisions and edits went better than those of any book in I’ve written in the series thus far. Now it’s out in the world, finding its audience, and giving readers a chance to fall in love with two geeky–and passionate!–scientists.

Here’s the blurb from Nancy’s book:

Two scientists pursuing a place in history learn that love confounds logic every time. But is it enough to keep them together when their futures fall apart?

Harrison Stafford, the future Baron Chelton, has devoted his life to finding a medical miracle drug. When his once-promising research appears doomed, he agrees to work with a lady scientist and treat her as he would any other colleague. That would be so much easier if he didn’t find her so beguiling. Adelia Dawson’s last hope for entering medical school is saving Mr. Stafford’s research. She’s determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, until she catches a glimpse of his passionate nature and can’t help thinking of him in a deeply personal way. But when their research unravels and forces them onto opposite sides of a scientific controversy, they could lose more than their careers. They could lose their chance at love.

Buy it here: https://books2read.com/u/bP9ePr

And if you’d like to start at the beginning, here are the posts about Nancy’s books:

Too Clever by Half: https://eightladieswriting.com/2018/11/26/nancy-release-day-cometh/
One Kiss from Ruin: https://eightladieswriting.com/2019/02/25/nancy-one-kiss-from-ruin-and-a-special-surprise/
Two Scandals are Better than One: https://eightladieswriting.com/2019/05/06/nancy-preorder-party-a-sale-and-a-snippet/
Third Husband’s the Charm: https://eightladieswriting.com/2019/09/02/nancy-catching-up/

And there are still more to come in the Harrow’s Finest Five Series!



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