Posted by Anna Campbell May 16 2013, 12:03 am in Anna Campbell, Australian Authors, Banquet of Lies, Daughter of the Sky, food, Historical Fiction, historical romance, Michelle Diener, The Emperor's Conspiracy, Victorian Historicals
I love bringing the Bandits and Bandita Buddies great Aussie authors who may have passed under your radar.
Today, all the way from Western Australia, I’m delighted to introduce Michelle Diener who writes historicals set in a variety of periods for Simon & Schuster (among others). Publishers Weekly has lauded Michelle’s books as “a rousing read.”
You can find out more about Michelle and her books on her website: www.michellediener.com
Michelle, welcome to the lair! I love introducing our Banditas and Bandita Buddies to great Australian authors. Your latest release is called DAUGHTER OF THE SKY. Can you tell us about this story?
This is an slightly unusual historical with strong romantic elements, set in Zululand during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, during the Victorian era. Here’s the blurb:
The Victorian Empire has declared war on the Zulus if they don’t accede to their outrageous demands. The clock is ticking down to the appointed hour. With no idea why the British are marching three massive columns of men and guns towards them, one Zulu general is prepared to take an impossible risk. But the life he’s gambling with isn’t his own . . .
The sole survivor of a shipwreck off the Zululand coast, 15 year-old Elizabeth Jones is taken in by the Zulus, the people of the sky. Six years later, her white skin becomes useful to the Zulu army as they try to work out why the Victorian Empire has pointed their war-machine at the Zulu nation. Elizabeth is suddenly Zululand’s most important spy.
While infiltrating the British camp, Elizabeth’s disguise as a young soldier is uncovered almost immediately by Captain Jack Burdell. However, he believes the tale she spins of searching for a missing brother and shields her from discovery, allowing her to bunk in his tent and giving her a job as his batman. Burdell is war-weary and disillusioned – no longer willing to follow regulations at all costs.
But as Elizabeth and Jack explore their growing attraction to each other, the two armies move towards their inevitable clash. Elizabeth is torn between the guilt of betrayal and her fierce loyalty to her Zulu family, and when Zulu and British meet on the battlefield, both she and Jack find their hearts and their lives caught in the crossfire.
Sounds great! What were the inspirations behind this book?
I grew up in KwaZulu-Natal, and the battlefields were the stomping ground of my childhood and early adulthood. I have always been fascinated by this time in South Africa’s history and it was a natural thing for me to take my love of the landscape and people and write it into a novel.
What’s coming up next for you?
I’m really excited that BANQUET OF LIES, my Regency-set historical that is loosely connected to THE EMPEROR’S CONSPIRACY, is due out on October 22nd. I just completed the copy edits this week, and I’m in love with the story all over again. It is about a woman who is in possession of an important diplomatic document, but people are trying to take it from her, and she goes into hiding in London as a cook to a viscount while she works out who she can trust. Unfortunately, her new employer becomes far to interested in her for his and her safety.
You’ve written a couple of books based in the Tudor era. What do you think is the perennial appeal of Henry VIII and his numerous spouses?
There was just so much intrigue, backstabbing and double-dealing going on in the Tudor court. More than an author could hope for. Not to mention it was the Renaissance, so there was an explosion of ideas, art, and music throughout Europe. It was an exciting time to be alive. And last, but not least, everyone is always fascinated by power, and they didn’t get much more powerful than Henry VIII.
You’ve written books set in a range of historical periods – Tudor England, the Napoleonic era, the Victorian British Empire. Do you have a favorite setting? Is there a setting you haven’t yet used that we can hope to see from you?
I’d love to write a book set between WWI and WWII. And just before WWI as well. I actually have a couple of outlines, waiting to be written from that time period. I have a difficult time choosing a period. I find them all fascinating.
It’s like a banquet, isn’t it? Ha ha, pun intended. How did you get started as a writer?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, from the time I was a child. I wrote on and off my whole life, although just for myself. I didn’t think I had enough life experience to write a full-length novel, but I always planned to. Then, when I turned 30, I realized I hadn’t done anything toward my dream in too long. It took quite a few years (and I had two children shortly after that realization!) before I started submitting work seriously with the view to being published, and shortly after New Year’s day in 2010, my agent called me to say Simon & Schuster had made an offer on IN A TREACHEROUS COURT. It’s been a wild ride ever since.
Could you tell us a bit about your corner of the world?
I live in Western Australia, which is a very beautiful part of the world. The weather is almost uniformly fabulous (sometimes a little too hot!) we have lovely beaches, amazing coastlines, forests, bush. I’ve lived here for nearly five years now, and constantly think how lucky I am to live in such a wonderful place!
I love that part of the world! Your upcoming October release, BANQUET OF LIES, involves someone masquerading as a French cook. Do you include a lot of food in the book?
I do! Let me first say my character is a good cook, and she is half-French, so she isn’t exactly out of her depth in the kitchen. I absolutely loved writing her character. She is the daughter of a wealthy academic who has been knighted, and her family home is actually a few doors down from where she is hiding as a cook. She knows how a French chef behaves, and she plays her part to the hilt, hamming up the accent, and being a terror to everyone in her kitchen. Because the hero of the story (Lord Aldridge, who made an appearance in THE EMPEROR’S CONSPIRACY) is desperate for some decent cooking, he is seduced by my heroine’s food, which I enjoyed describing. I love cooking and baking, and so many people who know me have asked if I’ll ever write a book with food in it, because it’s such a passion of mine. This is the book! I have made everything my heroine makes in the book, and I can vouch for it being delicious!
I’d love to know, do you enjoy it when there is wonderful food in books? Any favorite food books? I’ll go first and say LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE is one of my favorites, with the movie BABETTE’S FEAST being a close second.
Thanks, Michelle. That was all fascinating. And we wish you all the best with DAUGHTER OF THE SKY!
Michelle has very generously offered up a download of DAUGHTER OF THE SKY to someone who comments today. Good luck, people!
Posted by Anna Campbell May 10 2013, 12:01 am in Agatha Christie, Anna Campbell, BBC, British TV, cozy mysteries, Marple, Midsomer Murders, Miss Marple, mysteries, Poirot, Sherlock, Television, TV shows, writer's life
Do you North American girls get much chance to see British TV?
Here in Australia, we get lots and lots of it. I’ve always loved it, partly because my parents were fans, and partly because I became addicted very early on to all those wonderful British costume dramas. The original UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS, the Austen adaptations, ANNA KARENINA, TO SERVE THEM ALL MY DAYS, Brontes galore, NORTH AND SOUTH. For a historical romance fan (and future writer), those shows were catnip to a cat!
We have a government funded public broadcaster, a little like your PBS network. No ads during the programs by legislation, although the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which is confusing for Americans used to your ABC!) puts on plenty of ads for its shows and its merchandise in between its programs. This has been the home of great British drama here.
And then my parents got cable/pay TV which included whole channels devoted to the BBC and its ilk. Not to mention numerous hours to fill with programs that the other channels, particularly our Lifestyle Channel, devote to men with cut-glass accents wandering around Devon or Somerset checking out country houses. Happy sigh!
Oh, man, this little Britophile was in heaven. It was BETTER than catnip!
One particular genre of British TV that I really enjoy is a nice cozy murder mystery. None of the shows I’m talking about today are big on blood and gore (although the Brits do dark crime really well). They all rely heavily on the charm of their actors and wonderful supporting casts who seem to be on a carousel. If you see one familiar face in a POIROT one week, you’ll see her again in MARPLE the following week. And these shows nearly always feature wonderful settings. As you know, I’m a sucker for an English country house. I don’t even think I care if the vicar or the lady of the manor get murdered in it. I’d take it anyway! Especially if it featured one of those terrifically handsome English actors (and he survived the murder and mayhem – that’s a condition of purchase!) like Richard Armitage or Rupert Penry-Jones.
A show that seems to have been running for a hundred years is MIDSOMER MURDERS, based on a series of books that I haven’t read by Caroline Graham. The setting for these seem to be somewhere in the Cotswolds (although I remember visiting Somerset in 2004 and going through a string of villages with Midsomer in the name) but it’s classic fantasy England. Stone thatched cottages and beautiful manor houses and bijoux villages and people with enough money to go riding, have rose gardens and murder their neighbors. The principal character is genial Tom Bellamy played by genial John Nettles. Over the years, he’s been assisted and hindered by a variety of sidekicks.
Then it came time for John Nettles to retire to be replaced by his genial cousin John Bellamy played by genial Neil Dudgeon. It’s all very…genial. But my goodness, it’s such relaxing television. People only get murdered in the best of taste! And the new Bellamy has given the series an injection of energy that it really needed. This is all round a fun show, although I think anyone would be crazy to move into the Midsomer area however pretty it is – the death rate is through the roof!
Another staple of television here is the Agatha Christie adaptations. This will really shock you, but I’ve only read two Agatha Christies. I keep meaning to read more, but the TV adaptations are so good, I really don’t feel I need to. Oh, dear, I’m going to reader hell for saying that!
David Suchet is a marvelous actor who has made Hercule Poirot his own. The walk, the fussy manner, the dandyism, the moustache, but above all the kindness and the intelligence in his beautiful dark eyes make this rather grotesque character come alive. He veers right to the edge of caricature but doesn’t topple over. Instead we get an eccentric genius with a warm heart and a razor-sharp brain.
I love the stories in the Poirot series. I love how the murders are generally based in such real emotion. Love twisted by fate. Jealousy. Revenge. You name it. I love the Art Deco world. I love all the supporting cast. These are really well done, so if you like an English mystery story and great acting, and they’re not on your TV station, grab them from your local DVD supplier. You won’t be sorry.
On a side note, it’s always been a regret of my life that I missed seeing David Suchet on stage back in the 1980s, well before his fame as Hercule P. He was Iago to Ben Kingsley’s Othello at a Royal Shakespeare Company production in London. I had tickets but ended up getting stuck in Ireland with a ferry strike. Still gnash my teeth over that. The reviews indicated that Suchet out-acted Kingsley ten to one!
To my taste, the adaptations of Christie’s other famous detective, the spinsterish but fiendishly clever Miss Marple, haven’t been quite so apt. At least the earlier series starring Geraldine McEwan. The producers seemed to want to ‘sex’ Miss Marple up which just didn’t work. Miss Marple with a married lover in World War I? Oh, please! She’d be too busy knitting for the troops!
The MARPLES are set in the 1950s too rather than the 20s and 30s like the POIROTS. It’s not quite as attractive a period, although the dresses are nice. Geraldine McEwan while obviously a very fine actress is a little too sharp and knowing. Without having read the books, but having seen the TV shows, I get the impression that one of Miss Marple’s strengths is that people often overlook or underestimate her and that’s when she gets her clues to whodunnit. I can’t imagine anyone overlooking Geraldine McEwan!
More recently, there’s been a casting change and Miss Marple is now played by wonderful Julia McKenzie who manages to make this amateur sleuth a compelling character without changing her from a self-effacing well-bred spinster.
For all my criticism of the MARPLES, they’re still great television (especially when you can catch Richard Armitage as a supporting character, be still my beating heart!). All three of these series, POIROT, MARPLE and MIDSOMER MURDERS are perfect Sunday night viewing and well worth checking out if you’ve never seen them. They’re gentle in their murderous way, beautifully acted and very beguiling.
Just as long as they don’t kill Richard!
So are you a fan of cozy murder mysteries, either in print or on film? Our wonderful Kate Carlisle writes some of the best so keep an eye out for her A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY in June. Are you a Christie fan? If you are, any suggestions for which books I should start with? I really should read them!
Posted by Anna Campbell May 3 2013, 11:12 pm in Anna Campbell, Anything but Vanilla, Bandita Booty, English Authors, Harlequin Mills and Boon, Liz Fielding
Didn’t we have a fun day in the lair yesterday? Thanks to everyone who swung by and a special thanks to Liz Fielding who was a fantastic guest. The only problem is that I’ve now got this awful yearning to go back to the UK!
Liz very generously offered three copies of her latest release ANYTHING BUT VANILLA to people who commented. The winners are:
Congratulations, girls! Please email Liz on Liz @ Lizfielding.com (no spaces) and let her know your contact details and whether you’d like a print or an e-book. Happy reading!
Posted by Anna Campbell May 2 2013, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Anything but Vanilla, Bandita Booty, contemporary romance, Eloping with Emmy, English Authors, favorite authors, Harlequin Kiss, Harlequin Romance, Liz Fielding, Sweet Romance, Tempted by Trouble, the Beaumont Brides, Wild Fire, Wild Justice, Wild Lady
I’ve got a huge treat for the Banditas and Bandita buddies today!
Liz Fielding writes some of the best romance out there. I’ve loved every book of hers I’ve ever read. Particular favorites include A WEDDING AT LEOPARD TREE LODGE (which I reviewed here: http://www.theromancedish.com/2010/11/liz-is-biz.html) and TEMPTED BY TROUBLE which features one of the most delicious heroes I’ve ever read. Delicious as ice-cream! I reviewed TEMPTED BY TROUBLE here: http://www.theromancedish.com/2012/01/harlequin-round-up-yee-ha.html
Now I’m delighted to introduce Liz to the lair and also to bring to your attention the follow-up book to the scrumptious TEMPTED BY TROUBLE, ANYTHING BUT VANILLA, which is out this month from Harlequin Mills and Boon. I can’t wait to read this one! Here’s the blurb:
Even more tempting than ice cream!
Sorrel Amery is determined to make her summer event the talk of the town, and she knows just the way into people’s hearts—champagne sorbet! It’s the perfect strategy… Until the ice-cream parlor’s owner runs off, leaving Sorrel’s plans melting faster than a sundae in the summer sun.
All Sorrel wants is to get back into her comfort zone, but when the gorgeous Alexander West arrives to help pick up the pieces her life gets shaken up more than ever before! Especially as this globe-trotting adventurer is determined that nothing in Sorrel’s life should ever be boring old vanilla again…
You can find out more about Liz and her marvelous books on her website: http://www.lizfielding.com/
Liz, it’s such a thrill for me to host you today. As you know (because I keep telling you!), you’re one of my favorite writers so thank you so much for popping over to visit us in the lair. Congratulations on your latest release ANYTHING BUT VANILLA. Can you tell us about this story?
Thanks, Anna – I’m having a bit of a fan girl moment here, too.
ANYTHING BUT VANILLA is the second book in a series of three. The first, TEMPTED BY TROUBLE, introduced the Amery sisters, their eccentric family and an ice cream van called Rosie. In ANYTHING BUT VANILLA, Sorrel Amery – the middle, ambitious sister – has taken the family events business based around Rosie and is aiming for the big time. She’s doing pretty well until the woman Ria, who produces high-end, exclusive ices for the business, does a disappearing act. In her place is the “post card man”, Alexander West, who is intent on closing Ria’s business down before she causes any more harm. It takes all Sorrel’s ingenuity to persuade him to give her a break.
Sounds fabulous! Love the name Alexander for a hero! What were the inspirations behind this book?
My original inspiration for this series was a mug given to my best mate author, Kate Hardy which she photographed for her blog. It was shaped like an ice cream van and the minute I saw it I wanted to write a book about it. And ice cream… With that kind of research temptation, obviously I wasn’t going to stop at one book!
What’s coming up next for you?
I’m writing a new book for KISS series, they’re being released as Sexy Duos in Australia, involving a sculptor and a real estate agent whose reputation revolves around selling his less than perfect family home. It has that perfect balance where they each want something from the other.
I notice you’ve been really active releasing some of your older books in digital format. We’d love to hear about some of these classic stories that are finding a whole new audience.
It’s been enormous fun re-releasing stories that have been out of print for a while. I started with the longer length, slightly sexier Beaumont Brides trilogy I wrote in the late nineties for a British imprint called “Scarlet”. Again this revolves around three sisters, all directly or indirectly connected with the theatre – WILD JUSTICE has a revenge plot, WILD LADY involves a bodyguard and WILD FIRE is basically a reverse Cinderella scenario.
This proved so successful that I couldn’t wait to get some of my Mills and Book backlist online. So far I’ve only managed to regain the rights for four books, but ELOPING WITH EMMY – a madcap romp in which the hero has his work cut out keeping up with the heroine – has always been one of my favourite books and it’s on special offer this month.
How did you get started as a writer?
I always wanted to write but I didn’t actually get seriously started until I was a full time mother. I was listening to the radio, LISTEN WITH MOTHER, with the first born and after I’d heard the little story, thought – as you do – I could that. Believe me, writing a 600 word story for pre-schoolers is a lot harder than it looks, but I stuck with it and eventually I had my stories on the programme. Then, just at the point I was looking for something longer, I read a magazine article about Anne Hampson and Charlotte Lamb and the idea of writing romance took hold. I grabbed an armful of the books and – ten years later – I finally made it!
And we’re so glad you did! Could you tell us a bit about your corner of the world?
I’ve recently moved across the border from Wales into the English west country. We’re about ten miles from Bath, within shouting distance of Stonehenge and Glastonbury and I can see the famous Westbury White Horse from my writing window. It’s been a hideous spring – wet, cold, windy, but we can’t wait to get out and explore this new part of the world.
Sounds magical, Liz!
I have three copies of ANYTHING BUT VANILLA to give away – print or ebook. Obviously you’re going to have to work for a chance to win one of them, so I’d like to know which part of the UK you’d love to visit and why.
Thanks so much for visiting, Liz, and for your very generous offer of THREE copies of ANYTHING BUT VANILLA! Our buddies are in for a treat – or three! So get commenting, people! You don’t want to miss this one.
Posted by Anna Campbell May 1 2013, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Christina Brooke, coming attractions, Deb Marlow, Dorie Graham, Jane Graves, Kate Carlisle, Kate Walker, Kathleen Baldwin, Liz Fielding
Wow, May is HUGE in the lair! You won’t want to miss a single day.
Here’s a sneak peek as to some of the great things coming up in the next thirty-one days.
But first, have you signed up to be a Bandita Buddy? Just click on the Members button on the bar across the top of the blog and it will take you to where to sign up. Bandita Buddies get a great newsletter every month and access to special lair-only material (like signed photos of Paolo in his loincloth – or out of it, as the case may be!). Well, if not Paolo, exclusive interviews and excerpts. Not to mention a huge PRIZE every month. This month’s prize which will be drawn at the end of May is eight fantastic books: SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED by Anna Campbell, DAUGHTER OF THE SKY by Michelle Diener, ANYTHING BUT VANILLA by Liz Fielding, A SEAL’S SURRENDER and A SEAL’S SEDUCTION by Tawny Weber, THE PROUD WIFE by Kate Walker, RENEGADE by Nancy Northcott, and THE PATRICIAN’S FORTUNE by Joan Kayse! Wow! And all you have to do to be in the draw, is join up here: http://romancebandits.com/login-3/
Now on with May! For me, tomorrow will be a huge treat where one of my favorite authors Liz Fielding ventures into the lair for the very first time to talk about her wonderful new Harlequin Kiss release ANYTHING BUT VANILLA. I’m so looking forward to hosting Liz. If you don’t know her books, run, don’t walk to your nearest bookseller and grab one! You won’t be sorry.
On Friday, 3rd May, Suzanne Ferrell brings Kathleen Baldwin to the lair to talk about her new joint project with Andrea Sisco, DIARY OF A TEENAGE FAIRY GODMOTHER. This twist on Cinderella sounds fantastic and right up the alley of our discerning Bandita Buddies.
On Monday, 6th May, Nancy welcomes Dorie Graham to talk about her new release, A Family Reunited, and chat about summer reading. Looking forward to meeting Dorie as I love SuperRomances and I haven’t read hers yet!
On Tuesday, 7th May, Bandita Kate celebrates SHE’S HAVING THE BOSS’S BABY. Aww, it’s a beautiful miracle! Oh. Wait a minute. Kate’s not having the boss’s baby. That’s the name of her latest sexy Harlequin Desire and she’s having a wild and whacky launch party to celebrate! Don’t miss the fun!
Can’t wait for that one!
Caren Crane throws herself a combination birthday and book launch party on Monday, 13th May! Come by for a sneak peak of her debut novel KICK START and some virtual birthday cake. Definitely a day worth celebrating
On Thursday, 16th May, Aussie historical romance author Michelle Diener visits us for the first time. Michelle has just released an exciting new historical novel, DAUGHTER OF THE SKY, with romantic elements centered around the Zulu Wars in Victorian-era Africa. Wow, that’s something fresh! I can’t wait to hear about this one!
On Sunday, 19th May, Caren Crane will interview Lair favorite Deb Marlowe about her new release THE LOVE LIST, the first book in her new Half Moon House series. They will talk about the infamous List of Lightskirts and how the gently-raised daughter of a Baron ends up entangled in a scandal that will rock Regency London from the Crown Prince down to the lowliest pimps, bawds and street urchins. You won’t want to miss that one!
On Tuesday, 21st May, Jane Graves is back in the lair to tell us about her latest release COWBOY TAKE ME AWAY. Bad boy Luke Dawson is on his way to a bull riding championship when he’s called back to his hometown of Rainbow Valley, the place he swore he’d never return to. There his relationship is rekindled with the woman he left behind, forcing him to choose between the future he’s always dreamed of and the only woman he’s ever loved.
On Thursday, 23rd May, Duffy Brown will be back in the lair as Donna MacMeans’s guest to talk about weddings and her latest mystery release, KILLER IN CRINOLINES.
On Friday, 24th May, one of the Lair’s favourite authors Kate Walker returns to talk about life, love, cats and her latest release from Harlequin Presents THRONE FOR THE TAKING which just got a great review in RT Book Reviews. Kate will also be talking about how her 61st book is really a first! I can’t wait to hear more!
May is always a huge month in Romancelandia too because of Brenda Novak’s auction to raise funds for research into a cure for juvenile diabetes. Check out the great items up for grabs at her site: http://brendanovak.auctionanything.com/ And make sure you check out the offerings from the Romance Bandits and from individual bandits, including me! I’m sure you’ll find something to tempt you there.
I’ve got a great new contest on my website where three lucky people will win a download of my latest e-novella DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES plus their choice of a book from Heather Snow‘s backlist. There are two consolation prizes of downloads of DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES. You just need to tell me the name of the hero and heroine from DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES. You might just find the answer here: Then email me on anna @ annacampbell.info (no spaces). Good luck. For more information, please check out the contest page on my website: http://annacampbell.info/contest.html
And don’t miss Kate Carlisle’s great contests to celebrate the release of A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY.
Goodreads Giveaway! To celebrate the June 2013 publication of A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY: A Bibliophile Mystery, Kate is giving away three Advanced Reader Copies on Goodreads. Contest ends May 31. Click here to enter! http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15808442-a-cookbook-conspiracy
And be sure to visit Kate’s Facebook page for a chance to win a stack of autographed mystery novels or a $25 gift card to the bookstore of your choice! For one week each month leading up to the release of A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY in June, Kate will join three of her mystery writing friends for a themed contest and fun giveaway. It would be a crime to miss out!
Another contest you won’t want to miss if you live in the United States is the GoodReads giveaway of two ARCS of Christina Brooke’s latest, LONDON’S LAST TRUE SCOUNDREL! The contest closes on 12th May and you can find details of entry here: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/49426-london-s-last-true-scoundrel
So make note of all our great guests, enter all our great contests (and I can pretty much guarantee there will be great giveaways through the month on the blog too) and we’ll see you around the lair in May! We’ve got a cabana boy with your name on it waiting! What have you got planned for the month ahead?
Posted by Anna Campbell Apr 25 2013, 10:21 pm in Alison Stuart, Anna Campbell, Australian Authors, Bandita Booty, By the Sword, Gather the Bones, Secrets in Time
Thanks so much for a great day in the lair yesterday when my Aussie historical romance writing friend Alison Stuart visited us to talk about her new release SECRETS IN TIME and the mysteries of cricket – not sure if any of us are any wiser, I hate to say, but it was fun! Alison has very generously donated a download of her EPPIE winning English Civil War historical romance BY THE SWORD as a prize. The winner is:
Congratulations, Carol. Could you please email Alison on alison @ alisonstuart.com (no spaces) and let her know what format you’d like the book in and which email address you’d like to send it to her? Happy reading! I’m sure you’ll be bowled over!
Posted by Anna Campbell Apr 24 2013, 12:03 am in Alison Stuart, Anna Campbell, Australian Authors, Cavaliers and Roundheads, English Civil War Romance, Gather the Bones, historical romance, Secrets in Time, Time Travel Romance
It’s always a pleasure to host a friend in the lair. Today’s guest Alison Stuart and I have been buddies forever and I’m delighted to bring her here to talk about her latest time travel romance SECRETS IN TIME.
Here’s the blurb for SECRETS IN TIME:
Can love endure across time?
When a seventeenth-century cavalier hurls himself over her garden wall, Doctor Jessica Shepherd is more angry than surprised. Although she’s no stranger to military re-enactors, there’s something different about Nathaniel Preston. If he’s to be believed, something…or someone…has sent him forward in time from the midst of a civil war to the quiet English countryside of the twentieth century.
With time working against them, Nathaniel has to convince Jessica why fate brought them together before he’s forced to return to his own era…and certain death in battle.
Can the strength of love overcome all obstacles, even time itself?
You can read an excerpt and find out more about Alison and her books on her website: http://www.alisonstuart.com/index.html
To order SECRETS IN TIME from Amazon, just click on the cover! We like to make life easy for our Bandita Buddies!
Alison is talking to us today about something non-British Commonwealth people find perpetually mystifying. The glories of the national game in Australia, CRICKET!
Time Travel and the Rules of Cricket
There are few things more quintessentially English, or more mystifying, than the game of cricket. Some of you may be familiar with this little summary…by which the rules of cricket are made perfectly clear.
You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that’s in the side that’s in goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out. When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side thats been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.
When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!
Writing a time travel was probably the most fun I have had in the writing process than anything else I have written. It was like putting together a puzzle, making sure each piece slotted into the next to make a seamless whole. Every move I made had to be accompanied by the question “What if…”
The hero of SECRETS IN TIME is a very dashing seventeenth century cavalier who comes forward in time to 1995. Because it was originally written in first person only from the heroine’s point of view, I had to “show” the hero’s reactions to life in the twentieth century.
Nathaniel’s first encounter with running water…
I went to the tap in the kitchen and turned it on. Behind me, the chair scraped, and Nathaniel joined me at the basin. He ran his hand under the flow of water and as I turned the tap off, he shook his head and said with what sounded like wonder in his voice, “Do that again.”
I complied. He put his hand on the tap, turning it on and off. Before I could stop him, he’d turned the hot water tap on hard. Scalding water shot from the tap and he drew his hand back.
“Incredible,” he marveled, shaking his hand with a grimace. “Hot water on command. Do you have a servant to heat it for you?”
“No,” I replied, instinctively grabbing his hand and holding it under the cold water. “I am all out of servants. The gas board does it quite adequately…”
Setting the story in 1995 presented its own little time travel problems. Do you remember 1995? Life was comparatively primitive…no ipods (the heroine has a Walkman), limited internet, no mobile phones, no email…. The hero of SECRETS IN TIME still has to cope with cars, bicycles, television, women’s lingerie shops…women’s lingerie… Fortunately he has an innate curiosity and a scientific bent, but some things like cricket and military re-enactments leave him completely mystified.
Some of the perils of writing time travel: Clothing … if he’s wearing a sword when he arrives in 1995…why is the same sword on display in his former home? How would you react if you knew the exact time and method of your own death and those of everyone you loved? What is the potential to affect the course of history? What if you know the cause you are about to die for is doomed and your King will die on an executioner’s block? What if Nathaniel tells King Charles I not to take the field at Naseby? Supposing the King listened to him and didn’t have him hanged as a witch, would that have changed the outcome of the English Civil War? What if….
Sending the heroine back in time to 1645 was comparatively easy. The poor thing might bemoan the lack of a toothbrush and wonder if she can remember her pony club days, but I don’t think she had nearly as much to cope with as poor Nathaniel.
Which brings me back to the rules of cricket…a game I adore (and, yes, I do understand the rules of cricket!). As I write historicals, it was liberating to write in a (comparatively) contemporary setting and I couldn’t resist weaving a few cricketing analogies into the story…
When I got home that evening, Alan and Nat were sitting on my sofa, drinking my beer while Alan tried to explain the rules of cricket to Nat.
Nat stood as I entered. “Jessie,” he said, sweeping his hand at the sofa. “Come sit down with us and perhaps you can explain to me what it is about this sport that your brother finds so entrancing?”
“Call yourself an Englishman?” I chided as I plopped down next to him…
Thanks for having me to visit, Romance Bandits. I am wondering if your readers would like to tell us about something in their world they find completely mystifying? For me it is the game of soccer…makes no sense to me whatsoever. Why spend two hours kicking a ball up and down a field and not score anything?
I have an ecopy of my award winning English Civil War historical BY THE SWORD for a commentator.
Thanks for the great piece, Alison. You’ve done a marvelous job of clearing up the whole mystery of cricket for everone! LOL!
Get commenting, people, and good luck in the draw.