Daryl Devore's Blog

Daryl Devore's Blog

Friday, 5 February 2021

Discover the secret behind how the fabulous, best selling, historical romance author - Jenna Jaxon - names her characters. Only a Mistress Will Do #JennaJaxon #historical #romance


A Violet by Any Other Name

I’ve always been very particular about the names I give my characters. In Only Scandal Will Do, the hero and his sister have names from Shakespeare. In Only Marriage Will Do the hero has a rather unusual name (Amiable) that simply sprang to mind when I needed a random man’s name. And the names of the hero and heroine of Only A Mistress Will Do have their own story as well.

The hero, Tristan, Lord Trevor, appeared first in Only Scandal Will Do, as one of Duncan’s friends and a second at his duel. (The two characters have a history of dueling that returns with a vengeance in Mistress.) When writing Scandal I found that I really liked the name Tristan. It sounds very romantic to me and has, of course, the tragic history of the love affair between Tristan and Iseult whenever the name is mentioned. (I do manage to bring that reference into the story as well.) And this tale is meant to be tragic (but only up to a point, naturally).

The heroine’s name had its genesis in Only Scandal Will Do as well, though rather subtly. Just before Duncan and Katarina’s marriage, Tristan is complimenting Katarina on her swordsmanship, and states that he probably won’t be able to find a wife with her skills. He says instead, “I am afraid I shall have to manage with an ordinary rose or shy violet instead.” To which Katarina replies, “When you find her, bring her to me and I will see that she transforms from shy violet into a tiger lily at least.” At that moment, I determined that when Tris found his love, her name would be Violet.

As a side note, the secondary character of Dora Harper in Only A Mistress Will Do has an interesting story for her name as well. When I was promoting the release of Only Scandal Will Do, I ran a contest where I offered to name a character after the winner, which I thought was different and fun. As it turned out, the first name of the woman who won the contest was Fedora, which I personally think is a very cool name. However, as I write historical romances, I simply couldn’t use the name in my next book, which was Only A Mistress Will Do. As a compromise, I shortened Fedora to Dora (perfectly respectable in the 18th century) and that’s how Dora Harper, Tristan’s fiancée, was named.

Each of my House of Pleasure books has characters with a story behind their names. I promise to elaborate on more of them when Only Seduction Will Do releases this summer.


Tris had called on her every evening, to share Mrs. Parker’s delicious cuisine and to relate the news of his progress in securing her a position. A distinct lack of progress, actually. With all the people Tristan appeared to know, in London and all over England, she’d steeled herself for the inevitability of a swift departure from Lammas House. To her surprise, he’d had no success at all. Surely, one person, somewhere in all his acquaintance, needed a companion or governess.

After the third evening of disappointing results, Violet had decided to take the reins into her own hands. She proposed to go out herself in search of a position with one of London’s less illustrious seamstresses. It was respectable work and usually plenty of it, as long as the seamstress didn’t think she’d be absconding with Tris’s mistress.

She’d have thought she’d plotted to steal the crown jewels.

“Absolutely not!” Tris had paced back and forth in front of the fireplace, the flickering light catching glints of gold in his brown Jacquard silk suit. “You cannot venture out of the house, Violet. It’s not safe.”

“Thomas or Charles and Susan can accompany me. No one would dare accost me with such an entourage.” Patience with the situation at an end, she’d pointed this out while clinging to her temper.

“But someone might recognize you.” He’d made it sound like she was a criminal.

“What if they do? They don’t know where I’ve been living for the past week. You are worrying needlessly, Tristan.”

“What if they saw you come out of the house? Or go back into it? Certain men know this was my mistresses’ house. If there were even a hint of a suspicion you lived here under my protection—”

“I know. I’d be ruined beyond even your repair. You have mentioned it.” Of course, he feared for her safety and thought her a retiring woman who couldn’t take care of herself. She must disabuse him of that notion as soon as possible. For the sake of peace, and against her better judgment, however, she had agreed not to go out of the house except for the back garden, a small patch with wilted grass and a few half-hearted blooms in pots. The air at least was fresh, except for the days when the smoke and fog lay heavy on the city.

So she had poured herself into her music, reveling in the familiar thrill of the keyboard under her fingers. If only she had her harp she wouldn’t mind being locked away so much. At least she did have Tris’s company, although it was brief. His nightly visits were the most welcome part of her day. They dined and chatted together on so many evenings he became as comfortable to be around as an old shoe. They never ventured into such personal subjects as they had over tea last week, still she watched him when he wasn’t looking. His carefree nature showed itself in full force as he laughed and teased her. Yet, she had caught him several times in unguarded moments when he stared at nothing, a frown marring his otherwise handsome features. Did he think of Miss Harper during those pensive moments? Or of her?

“You will not entertain those thoughts, my girl,” she scolded herself as she swept the music from the stand and stacked it on the music chest. Any thought of Tristan other than as a friend or protector would lead to nothing but disappointment or worse. Life was seldom fair. Best for her to acknowledge that and find a way to move on, despite the ache in her heart each time she saw him.

“Penny for your thoughts.”

She whirled around to face Tristan, standing in the doorway, so handsome in a rust and jade striped jacket she had to catch hold of the chest as her heart beat wildly. “You of course.”

Blurb and Buy Link

 Will a handsome rake be her salvation…or her downfall?

Friendless and destitute, Miss Violet Carlton has no choice but to seek work in London’s most notorious brothel, The House of Pleasure. She steels herself for her ultimate ruin at the hands of her first customer, only to be offered a reprieve in the form of a position as the gentleman’s mistress—in name only. Grateful for his benevolence, Violet agrees to the proposition and enjoys the life of a pampered courtesan—until her dashing rescuer puts her heart in jeopardy. Violet’s growing desire for the gentleman must be squashed when she discovers he belongs to another woman.

Tristan, Lord Trevor enters the House of Pleasure bent on a final night of carousing before donning the leg-shackle of marriage. To his shock, he recognizes the woman in his bed as a lady of the ton and resolves to save her from life in a brothel. After whisking her away under his protection, Tris endeavors to find her a husband, to secure her future and stem his own intense longing for the beautiful woman. With growing anguish Tris fears he can never make Violet his own for the impediment of his coming marriage pales in comparison to the secret he must hide from her or risk her loathing him for the rest of their lives.




Jenna Jaxon is a best-selling author of historical romance, writing in a variety of time periods because she believes that passion is timeless. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, Jenna has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories.

She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets--including two vocal cats, one almost silent cat, a Sharpei-beagle mix (Sharp-eagle), and a very curious bunny.

When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre as a director. She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.

Jenna equates her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can't stop.



BLOG: https://jennajaxon.wordpress.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/jenna.jaxon/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Jenna_Jaxon

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/passionistimeless/



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