Grace Hitchcock is the award-winning author of multiple historical novels and novellas. She holds a master’s degree in creative writing and a bachelor of arts in English with a minor in history. Grace lives in the New Orleans area with her husband, Dakota, and their sons and daughter.
In this interview, Grace talks about her new novel, His Delightful Lady Delia, which is the third book in her American Royalty Series.
FF: Please provide a brief summary of your new novel His Delightful Lady Delia.
His Delightful Lady Delia is a sweeping romance that follows our dear Kit Quincy. Blackmailed into posing as an enigmatic phantom, Kit is tasked with saving the Academy of Music by furthering a rising Italian opera star’s career. But when a second phantom appears, more than Delia’s future is threatened.
FF: Can you tell us a little more about what or who were the inspirations behind this book?
I was researching for the American Royalty Series when I came across an article following the great opera house wars between Mrs. Astor, who supported The Academy of Music with its knickerbocker opera patrons, and the nouveaux riche, who built The Metropolitan Opera House as a solution to the knickerbocker’s exclusive ways.
FF: What about New York during the Gilded Age first captured your imagination?
I loved that women were finally getting more freedom in the Gilded Age, which allows me to place my heroines in occupations they wouldn’t find themselves in even a few decades before. In the midst of great change for women in society, there is still the element of sweet romance with suitors and ballrooms, beautiful gowns, and handsome gentlemen paying call to woo their sweethearts.
FF: What did you enjoy most about delving into the world of music and theater for this novel?
I have been listening to opera and Broadway since I was fourteen, so it felt like returning to an old friend in the research. My first Broadway show I ever attended was The Phantom of the Opera in the historic Saenger Theatre in New Orleans at the age of five, and I have been enchanted ever since.
Also, I am from a large Italian family, so learning about the Italian opera companies was especially fun to delve into.
FF: Did you do any research for your novel? Did you learn anything new about the Academy of Music or the Metropolitan Opera House while writing?
Every book I write, I do intense bouts of research, making certain I have the correct names for roads in the past, where buildings used to be, the architecture of historical houses, opera houses, hotels and rooftop gardens, along with what operas were playing in what theater at the time. One of my favorite resources was referencing old newspapers during the debut of the new opera house. Very helpful and fun! I’ve a scene in the book featuring an ice cream shop, Horton’s, which I found advertised in a newspaper from 1883.
FF: What about the character of Delia Vittoria do you think your readers will most resonate with?
Delia has experienced deep hurt in her childhood with her father’s abandoning her and her mother, making it difficult to trust any man. I think her journey to healing in Christ is something a lot of us can relate to in some form or another.
FF: Without giving away any spoilers, what makes the Academy phantom such a thrilling mystery? How did you work to build suspense within your story?
Well, there is the fact that I changed the real phantom’s identity about three times (ha-ha), so his identity was a surprise even to me in the end! Hopefully readers will enjoy the suspense leading up to the grand finale.
FF: Did you explore anything new as a writer while working on His Delightful Lady Delia? What continues to motivate your writing?
Storytelling has been a part of my life for so long, I have quite the list of stories to write next, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever reach the end of it! So I’d say my motivation is that I simply can’t NOT write.
As for trying something new, I used a lot more Italian phrases than I have ever used in a book before and had to do significant research to ensure I got the tense correct, as well as the vernacular of the time.
FF: What lessons do you hope readers will gain from reading this novel?
I’m hoping to offer the reader a clean, entertaining story with deep characters and their journeys toward healing and love, while also delivering a twist or two that readers do not see coming.
His Delightful Lady Delia
American Royalty Series #3
Genres: Historical Romance
Release Date: November 1, 2022
Behind the curtain, she must put on the performance of a lifetime…while love and risk take center stage.
Delia Vittoria’s mother has lost her voice at last. After five years of being her diva mother’s understudy, it is time for Delia to assume her place as the lead soprano onstage behind the Academy of Music’s faded velvet curtain. And she is all that stands between the Academy and its greatest threat–the nouveaux riches’ lavish new Metropolitan Opera House.
Kit Quincy never misses opening night, but when his sister begs him to help get her husband out of an Italian opera star’s arms, Kit accidentally confronts the younger Lady Vittoria instead. When he meets the stunning young diva again, he attempts to make amends, but then finds himself pulled into a society matron’s plot to win the great opera war. To draw attention to Delia Vittoria as the Academy’s new soprano star, Kit is convinced to act as both Delia’s patron and the enigmatic phantom who once haunted the Academy years ago. But when a second phantom appears, more than Delia’s rising career is threatened.
Buy His Delightful Lady Delia from the FF Store HERE!
Buy His Delightful Lady Delia from Amazon HERE!