12 Rogues: Susanne Bellamy

The 12 Rogues of Christmas: Warm Regency Romance Novellas to celebrate the season Anthology will give you marriages of convenience, dukes with secrets, sly rebellious debutantes, reunited lovers, friends to lovers and mistaken identity. All your favourite regency romance tropes are here in this delightful, limited-edition collection full of sigh-worthy, satisfying happy-ever-afters.
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Four Calling Cards – Susanne Bellamy
Her fiancé is missing, so his best friend takes his place. What could possibly go wrong?

What inspired your story, Four Calling Cards, in the 12 Rogues of Christmas: Warm Regency Romance Novellas to celebrate the season anthology?
My title, “Four Calling Cards”, was in place when I joined this wonderful group of writers, so the title inspired what became a key scene towards the end of the story. I love the concept of our box set being based on the Christmas carol, and the variety of stories that have come from this idea.

What is your favourite thing about Christmas?
Christmas has always been about family, and the chance to get together, no matter where we live. It’s fun, creative, and loving. This year may be more challenging, but we’re already planning how to bring our family together via FaceTime to open presents. Our daughter, partner, and granddaughter live in Melbourne. Given the current state of lockdown there, we decided to plan for worst-case scenario ie. That our Christmas gathering will have to take a different form this year. The main thing is that we get to share time together in whatever ways we can. I’m already planning what to put in their Christmas box!

What is a fun fact you discovered while researching your story?
I researched so many things and absolutely loved all that I discovered! From the cost of attending various levels of Regency balls and events; the clothing worn by a French abbess, and how to manage an abbey; the uses of various parts of Hyde Park; the de-Christianisation of France after the Reign of Terror; Napoleonic battles—it was all fascinating.
However, researching Regency calling cards and how they were used was also an eye-opener. Simple uses included leaving with friends to tell them you were back in town; they were displayed on a silver salver so visitors could see who had called upon you (naturally, the most prestigious names were placed on top of the pile – the equivalent of a selfie with a celebrity!).
Calling cards could also convey messages by the simple expedient of turning down a particular corner. Some elaborate cards had the words (written in French) Visite, Felicitation, Affaires, and Adieu imprinted on the reverse side, on the corners. So whichever corner was turned up, one of those corners appeared and explained the reason for the visit.
I chose to use the calling cards in “Four Calling Cards” in a couple of these ways, as well as introducing a rather unusual (for the times) application. I hope you enjoy the final ball scene and the inventiveness of Clementine’s friends!

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