Guest Author: Valerie Bowman & Giveaway!

As you know, I love hosting debut authors on my blog.  I’m particularly excited about today’s guest–she’s historical romance author Valerie Bowman.  Valerie’s first book, Secrets of a Wedding Night, was just released from St. Martin’s Press and it’s been getting great buzz and great reviews.

Let’s turn the blog over to Valerie to hear all about her new book.

The Name that Got Away

Let’s talk about names. My name. Your name. Heroes’ and heroines’ names. What would your name have been if you had been the opposite sex? Or, in my case, if I had been named the name my mother had actually picked out for me, but more about that in a minute.

In my debut romance novel, SECRETS OF A WEDDING NIGHT, the heroine is named Lily Andrews and the hero is named Devon Morgan. I named the heroine after Lily Lawson, one of my favorite heroines in one of my favorite novels of all time, Lisa Kleypas’, THEN CAME YOU. Lisa’s story is actually set a bit later than SECRETS and someone once pointed out to me that as a general rule, women in England were not named after flowers until the Victorian era. So technically, Lily’s name might be a bit anachronistic. But I choose to believe it’s entirely possible that her parents were ahead of their time. Plus, I was more interested in the homage to one of my favorite characters, than in the factuality of the thing to be honest. Hence, my Lily.

Morgan, Devon’s last name, is a nod to the famous Rand Morgan of Laura London’s incomparable, THE WINDFLOWER. Morgan also a family name for me. Devon’s first name just sounded good and popped into my head when I was trying to think of Lily’s hero. Sometimes I just get lucky that way and the name just appears in front of my mind’s eye.

Now, about my own name. Unfortunately, I was born about two months premature and my mother, not expecting to be in labor, had left the list of baby names she’d decided upon back at the house. I had jaundice and was breach and had severe complications. My mother was rushed into an emergency C-section and my father was told that they were hoping to save my mother, not me. Eek.

Ok, so flash forward and I was born and weighed like 4 pounds and was very sick. My mother was still out of it from the anesthesia and the doctors told my father. “You’d better name your daughter quickly or she’ll be named Jane Doe on the death certificate.”

Can you imagine?

So, as the story goes in my family, my dad rushed home to get the right name from the list. My mom had circled the one they’d finally agreed upon. He couldn’t remember! He came back to the hospital and scanned the list and realized none of the names were circled. So he picked the one he happened to like best, the one that had his sister’s name as in the middle: Valerie Gale.

When my mother came to, she realized that my father had picked the wrong name. For the name she had circled on another piece of paper at home. The one they’d decided on was… Mary Grace.

Now, I adore both the names Mary and Grace, but I’ve never quite imagined myself with that name. It just doesn’t seem like me. Perhaps a bit of serendipity was at work that day in June at the hospital in Illinois. Especially given the fact that I made a full recovery.

So, confess, what is the alternate name your parents were planning to name you? One lucky commenter will win a copy of Secrets of a Wedding Night.


Young, widowed, and penniless, Lily Andrews, the Countess of Merrill, has strong opinions on marriage. When she spots a certain engagement announcement in The Times, she decides to take action. She will not allow another hapless girl to fall prey to a man—particularly the scoundrel who broke her heart five years ago. Anonymously she writes and distributes a pamphlet entitled “Secrets of a Wedding Night,” knowing it will find its way into his intended’s innocent hands…


Devon Morgan, the Marquis of Colton, desires a good wife and mother to his son—someone completely unlike Lily Andrews, the heartless beauty who led him on a merry chase five years ago only to reject him. When Devon’s new fiancée cries off after reading a certain scandalous pamphlet, he vows to track down the author and make her pay. But when he learns it’s his former fiancée Lily, he issues a challenge: write a retraction—or prepare to be seduced—to find out how wonderful a wedding night can be…

 Secrets of a Wedding Night is the most charming and clever debut I’ve read in years!” ~ NTY bestselling author Lisa Kleypas

Vanessa, here.  Wow, Valerie, that’s an amazing and scary story!  We are all VERY glad that things turned out okay.  Now, how about you, readers?  Did your parents have more than one name picked out for you?  If not, is there a name you wish they’d given you?  One person who comments will win a copy of Valerie’s wonderful new book!

And be sure to visit Valerie’s website to read an excerpt from Secrets of a Wedding Night and for all the buy links.