Christi Caldwell – Interview and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Christi Caldwell who is celebrating the recent release of Along Came a Lady. Leave a comment or ask the author a question for a chance to win a print copy of the book *US and 18+ only please*

Christi told me she can pinpoint the moment she knew she was going to be a writer. She was in 6th grade and had started writing her first romance novel (all hand-written in a one-ring notebook – she had about 20 of them). However. life went on, and she went on to college and graduate school, her love for historical romance led her to get an history education major.

“I always say my writing can be divided into two parts: the romance novels I wrote before my son was born…and then after him,” she explained. “My path to motherhood was a challenging one. I’m one of the 6.5 million women in the US dealing with infertility. As such, all my emotional energies and really my whole life became fixed on my infertility treatments. When my son was born, we learned of his diagnosis of Down syndrome. My world was completely rocked. I confess, my knowledge and understanding of Ds was limited. I learned quick that there were many health conditions that accompany Ds: GI issues, of which my son had and has many of. Cardiac conditions, which required frequent monitoring (before we were ultimately discharged from his cardiologist… that was one of the happiest days of my life.) Needless to say, there were constant specialist appointments and therapies. Books remained as they always had been throughout life, a great escape. Writing however, proved the greatest.

“When my son was just a baby, he was hospitalized. After a serious health issue and a hospitalization, we were forced to give up our house and moved into a one-bedroom apartment. My husband and I slept in a walk-in closet so our son could have a bedroom and space for his therapy. We couldn’t afford food, let alone books. (Thank God for libraries. Truly. They kept me sane and brought me joy.)

“I still remember the night, unable to sleep, I walked out of my closet-bedroom, and grabbed my old laptop and decided to resume writing. The decadent, lavish life of Regency England was one I felt so removed from. I couldn’t even heat my house. And yet, that world was one I loved so much to read and write. In that moment, I decided to write the stories of characters I could relate to. The working-class heroines and heroes who knew financial struggles, and who found themselves thrust in the ‘fairytale’ worlds of High Society. Imperfect characters whose lives seemed charmed but were a challenge. Characters who struggled…and ultimately triumphed. Characters whom most of us can relate with and to. Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride was the first full-length book I wrote in our tiny, cold apartment and became the first full-length novel to land on the USA Today Bestseller list.”

She has since seen 65 books published and has 3 more in various stages of production.

I asked her if she could choose a favorite.

“I always say when I’m asked to pick a favorite, that it’s like a parent whose been asked to pick their favorite child. It’s really an impossible task. That said, in that same vein…there are certain things about each of my children that makes them special, and fills my heart. Along Came a Lady is one of my favorite stories I’ve written. I’d had the idea of a duke with illegitimate children whom he wants to make amends with for many years, and was sooo eager to dive into the world. This story fed so much of what my author soul LOVES to write about: big families. Light moments. Heartwarming ones.”

“What comes first, the plot or the characters?” I wondered.

“Ooh! I LOVE this question. For me, it’s always the couples. More specifically, I start with one character, and because my worlds tend to be interconnected, a series where secondary characters in one book will have their happily-ever-after in a future one, I’ll know them in some way. In my head, I explore the layers of the hero or heroine, and consider what their ARC will or should be, and then build their happily-ever-after character, and ideal partner with this question in mind. As I believe all the best relationships are partnerships, I try to provide each hero/heroine with the person who can challenge them, but also help them grow.”

She knew she always wanted to be an author, so she pursued a history education degree so she could teach and also write. She did this for a while, but then life threw a spanner in the works.

“I found myself on bedrest with my now 7-year-old twin daughters. As a teacher in Connecticut, I didn’t have maternity leave or long-term disability, and as such, when my pregnancy became complicated, I was out of a job, and out of a paycheck. I spent my days writing…and also self-publishing those stories I’d had on my laptop.

“I oftentimes say I wish I could go back and show my younger self that I was living the dream I’d always carried.”

Her writing schedule is pretty strict. Before Covid, when her children were all in school full time, she would work from 9-2. But, she’s had to adjust her writing habits and her schedule.

“I write from 9-11:30 where I’m writing for 25 minutes with my sprinting partner, LaQuette, and then we have 5 minutes off where we can do social media or email checks,” she told me. “We’re so productive when we’re together. Then, I’ll join my kids for their school lunch break from 11:30-12:30. Then I resume writing for a block of 1-3. I tend to see to my social media work at night when the kids are sleeping!”

Finally I asked, “What is your most embarrassing moment?”

“I come from a family where my parents are extremely proud of everything I do. My dad, who is one of my best friends, has always been my most ardent supporter in EVERYTHING. When I had my first job interview for a teaching position, I had to perform a demonstration lesson. Basically, a teacher is asked to prepare a grade-appropriate lesson for a class of students you only just meet. I was obviously both excited and nervous.

“But because I’d been living away from home, and because I wanted to share the news about my first interview with my dad, I forwarded him the email from the school district.

“After I completed the first person of my interview, a one-on-one interview with the principal…I stood up to go for my demonstration lesson…when the principal slid a piece of paper across the desk. It was the email I’d forwarded my dad…only, he’d accidentally replied to all (which I discovered in the interview that day.) In it, he wrote about how much he loved me, and called me a #1 Draft Pick (we were big baseball fans and watched all the Yankee games together.) and proceeded to explain how foolish the district would be not to hire me. The principal circled his email, highlighted it, and walked out.

“I was so embarrassed in the moment. To this day, however, our family joke whenever my sister or I have special news to share is: email it to dad.”

Rafe Audley detests his father, the Duke of Bentley, for abandoning his family. Born illegitimate, he has worked the mines his whole life to care for his younger siblings. Edwina Dalrymple has spent her life making a name for herself as an instructor in etiquette, and she has yet to fail in preparing her charges for Polite Society. When Edwina is tasked with teaching Rafe the ways of a gentleman, she soon learns that Mr. Audley is no ordinary charge. Rafe is wholly uninterested in joining the Gentry, making his lessons Edwina’s most difficult undertaking yet. Taming the unruly man would surely elevate her status, but can Edwina put her own feelings aside in order to get the job done? As the bold teacher and stubborn pupil work to sabotage each other at every turn, Edwina and Rafe will learn that while opposites attract, the unlikely pair have more in common than they think.

About the Author: Christi Caldwell is the USA Today bestselling author of the Sinful Brides Series and the Heart of a Duke Series. She blames novelist Judith McNaught for luring her into the world of historical romance. She enjoys torturing her couples before they earn their well-deserved happily ever after. Originally from Southern Connecticut, Christi now resides in North Carolina, where she spends her time writing and being a mommy to an energetic little boy and mischievous twin girls who offer an endless source of story ideas.



  1. Debra Guyette says

    Thanks for the great post. I love the sounds of the book.

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