This Renaissance Faire Rom-Com Will Have You at 'Huzzah!'

Posted by Marie on September 1, 2019
Jen DeLuca
"I didn't choose the wench life. The wench life chose me," says Emily, the heroine of Jen DeLuca's debut rom-com, Well Met.

The last thing Emily wants to do is participate in a school Renaissance Faire. Role-playing historically accurate tavern wenches isn't her forte (or her interest), but she'll play along if it means making her niece happy. Unfortunately, her cavalier attitude doesn't endear herself to the Faire's director, Simon. She thinks he takes the Faire too seriously. He thinks she doesn't take it seriously enough. Sparks are flying, but not in a good way.

Things take a turn when Simon's pirate persona meets Emily's tavern wench persona. Is this simmering desire just a side effect of their acting? Or is it a sign of real passion? We'll leave it to Jen DeLuca to answer these questions and more.


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Goodreads: This one's for the Renaissance Faire rookies: What does the expression "huzzah!" mean?

Jen DeLuca: "Huzzah!" is just an antiquated way of saying "Hurrah!" or "Hooray!" It's what you say when you want to cheer for something, and it's absolutely a common thing to yell out at a Renaissance Faire. Yell it out anywhere else and you risk sounding like Tobias on Arrested Development.

GR: What's your own experience with Renaissance Faires? How did that inspire you?

JD: I've been a patron at a local Renaissance Faire for several years, and I recently spent two seasons as part of its cast as a pub wench. I was struck by how I felt like a completely different person in the outfit—the corset and long skirts made me move differently, sit differently, even breathe differently.

I also felt free to flaunt my cleavage for tips and flirt with guys dressed as pirates, neither of which I typically do in my day-to-day life. All this made me think of an enemies-to-lovers-type story…about a couple who didn't like each other but then saw a different side when they were in costume.

GR: What, in your opinion, makes Renaissance Faires romantic?

JD: Problematic aspects aside, invoking the Renaissance or Elizabethan period (which lots of Ren Faires do) brings in the concept of courtly love with its wooing, along with knights in armor, dashing pirates, men in kilts, pretty girls in flower crowns and elaborate gowns…what's not to love? And if you've adopted a Faire persona, there's something freeing in being another person for a little while, shedding your inhibitions and doing things you might not always do.

GR: It's not love at first sight when Simon and Emily meet. What is it about the other that rubs them the wrong way?

JD: Simon and Emily are extremely similar in terms of core values, which made it so interesting for them to be at odds. It all comes down to the Faire and how they see it. For Emily, it's something silly that her niece wants to do, so she shrugs and goes along with it. She doesn't see at first why Simon is such a taskmaster about it all. Can't he loosen up?

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And of course for Simon, it's the most important thing he has. He looks forward to it every year because it's such a tangible reminder of his brother and because he gets to escape into his pirate persona. So when Emily comes along and seems to scoff at everything about this Faire that means so much to him, well, he doesn't have time for that.

GR: What's the most delightful thing about writing characters who are "sworn enemies" in the beginning?

JD: For me, it's when the ice starts to melt. There are these moments early on when Simon and Emily start to share a connection. Or she starts to understand him a little better, and she has to remind herself that she doesn't like him. So it goes from "Ugh, this guy" to "It's too bad we aren't friends" to "Oh no, he's hot" to "Oh NO, he's a great kisser," and is there any better progression than that?

GR: One thing Simon and Emily seem to have in common is family baggage. How does this affect their relationship?

JD: It's something that brings them closer once they understand that about each other. When Simon accuses her one time too many of not taking Faire preparations seriously, she kind of blows up at him about everything she has on her plate, including taking care of her sister and niece. That starts to reorder Simon's thinking about Emily. And when Emily comes to understand Simon's attachment to the Faire, that reorders hers.

GR: What can you tell us about Simon and Emily's alter egos?

JD: Simon really was right about Emily in that she didn't work too hard on hers. Emma the tavern wench is basically Emily with a bad English accent. But she also finds some safety in the new identity, letting Emma flirt with Simon-as-a-pirate when real-life Emily wouldn't dare.

Simon, on the other hand, has been honing his Captain Blackthorne pirate persona for years and he looks forward to it every summer. Simon is a quiet, steady, buttoned-down kind of person in real life, so getting to put on eyeliner and leather pants and live life out loud for a few weeks every year is a welcome departure for him.

GR: What's the most tantalizing thing about writing characters with alter egos who are "in love" with each other?

JD: It's so much fun when the lines blur. When the alter egos get carried away with flirting, but then their eyes meet and there's this jolt, seeing a glimpse of the real person underneath. I love the push and pull of "Oh no, I forgot I don't like you" combined with "Who just kissed me? Was that in character or was that for real?"

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GR: Were there any other lines between Simon and Emily that were your favorites?

JD: One of my favorite little exchanges comes when Emily unexpectedly shows up at Simon's house one night after a Faire day. She brings a bottle of rum to break the ice, and when he sees it, he says, "You know I'm not actually a pirate, right?" and she responds "Oh, I bet he's in there somewhere." And, well, she isn’t wrong…

GR: What are some common misconceptions about Renaissance Faires that you'd like to debunk?

JD: That they're a niche kind of entertainment, just for nerds who want to wear a costume and speak in antiquated language. It's a great (mostly) family-friendly day of entertainment out in the sunshine. Go find your local faire, slap a flower crown on your head, have a turkey leg and some mead, and watch a joust! Take in the shows, do a little shopping. There's something for everyone. But if you do find that you want to put on a costume and explore your pirate side, there's nothing wrong with that!

GR: What projects are you currently working on now? Will we see more Renaissance Faire romances from you?

JD: I'm currently working on the follow-up to Well Met, tentatively titled Well Played, which is about Stacey, one of the supporting characters. She had a couple of mysterious dates in Well Met that no one knew anything about…so we get to learn more about her and what's behind her bubbly personality.

GR: Which books would you recommend to our romance readers?

JD: If anyone hasn't read The Hating Game by Sally Thorne or The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, you should definitely get on that. I’m a huge fan of the Chance of a Lifetime series by Kate Clayborn—start with Beginner's Luck.

Also, Tikka Chance on Me by Suleikha Snyder is a hot, funny, nerdy novella that I would love to shove into everyone's hands. If you like historical romance, I recommend The Governess Game by Tessa Dare or Dare to Love a Duke by Eva Leigh, and if you want some sci-fi in your romance, check out the series by Vivien Jackson that starts with Wanted and Wired.

GR: And finally, which books are currently keeping you company on your nightstand?

JD: I'm currently glued to Unbreak Me by Michelle Hazen, but I've also been on a little bit of a Christina Lauren kick lately—The Unhoneymooners was so much fun! I also have Wicked Fox by Kat Cho waiting for me on my nightstand. YA fantasy isn't my usual genre, but it looks so intriguing!

Jen DeLuca's new novel, Well Met, is available in the U.S. on September 3. Don't forget to add it to your Want to Read shelf. Be sure to also read more of our exclusive author interviews and get more great book recommendations.

Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)

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message 1: by Carla (new)

Carla I enjoyed reading this interview and can't wait to read the book.


message 2: by Dana (new)

Dana This book was such a great read!!!!


message 3: by kittykat (new)

kittykat CASSANDRA wrote: "Hello my name is CASSANDRA FARRIN ,i'm from USA and i want to testify of a great and powerful spell caster. my husband left me and the kids for 2 weeks when i called him he didn't pick up when he c..."

mess 3- flagged


message 4: by kittykat (new)

kittykat CASSANDRA wrote: "Hello my name is CASSANDRA FARRIN ,i'm from USA and i want to testify of a great and powerful spell caster. my husband left me and the kids for 2 weeks when i called him he didn't pick up when he c..."

mess 4- flagged


message 5: by kittykat (new)

kittykat CASSANDRA wrote: "Hello my name is CASSANDRA FARRIN ,i'm from USA and i want to testify of a great and powerful spell caster. my husband left me and the kids for 2 weeks when i called him he didn't pick up when he c..."

mess 5- flagged


message 6: by kittykat (new)

kittykat CASSANDRA wrote: "Hello my name is CASSANDRA FARRIN ,i'm from USA and i want to testify of a great and powerful spell caster. my husband left me and the kids for 2 weeks when i called him he didn't pick up when he c..."

mess 6- flagged


message 7: by Javelyn (new)

Javelyn kittykat wrote: "CASSANDRA wrote: "Hello my name is CASSANDRA FARRIN ,i'm from USA and i want to testify of a great and powerful spell caster. my husband left me and the kids for 2 weeks when i called him he didn't..."

Thank you for flagging her. Honestly she’s been showing up on almost every post. I’ve tried to flag her on my own several times but damn woman keeps showing up everywhere. So I am glad to see this.


message 8: by Javelyn (new)

Javelyn And I looooved this interview so much, so excited for wellmet!


message 9: by Elyse (last edited Sep 07, 2019 10:05AM) (new)

Elyse The book was cute. I received an e-ARC of it. Gets a little steamy but not overly.

My review


message 10: by Smut (new)

Smut Report This sounds like such a fun book! Adding it to my (giant) TBR!


message 11: by Elizabeth H. (new)

Elizabeth H. I love the book and I love the interview! Thanks for sharing! I hope we get more books from this Ren Faire world!


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