Frequently Asked Questions
On WritingOn HistoryOn The Books

On Writing:

When did you first start writing? What made you want to become a writer?

I suppose I first fell in love with writing when I was at school. I went through a phase of writing English essays stuffed with flowery adjectives and adverbs – until my English teacher asked if I’d swallowed a dictionary! It wasn’t a conscious decision to become a writer. I loved reading, historical and romance novels in particular, and eventually I decided I’d like to try to write one.

Did you always know you wanted to write romance novels?

No, not at all, but since I love reading them it seemed a good place to start.

What do you believe are the three most essential ingredients in writing a romance novel?

A plot that grabs the reader from the first line and doesn’t let them go, characters that are lovable and a chemistry between the hero and heroine that sizzles!

What do you like best about writing?

I love working at something I enjoy so much. It feels like such a luxury to do a job I love.

The other thing I like about writing is the friendships it has brought me in both the romance reading and writing communities. I value those very highly.

What advice would you give to budding writers?

Believe in yourself. Believe that you will be successful even if you are trying to juggle your writing with a job, family and a hundred and one other responsibilities. Don’t give up. Writers need to be determined to succeed!

Your next book, The Silent House, is different from your previous Regency historicals. Can you tell us more about it?

The Silent House is a book with a triple timeline, with history, mystery, romance and adventure! It could be described as a time slip book if you take the definition that time slip is a paranormal phenomenon in which characters from both past and present are able to connect through an alternate version of reality, existing outside our “normal” linear notions of time and space. I prefer to think of it though as a book for anyone who enjoys the wonderful books of Barbara Erskine and Susanna Kearsley. They have inspired me!

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On History:

You work as a guide and historian in a seventeenth century house. What is it like to have a job like that?

Inspiring! Simply standing in the entrance hall and feeling the layers of history wrap around me gives me a shiver down the spine. I love my work at Ashdown House and it provides endless excitement in terms of research opportunities and story ideas. I also love the fact that the people who come to visit are so knowledgeable and interested and I learn as much from them as I hope they do from my tours.

How important is research in your writing?

Very important. Luckily I find research fascinating – I’m always learning new things and reading snippets that give me plot ideas.That’s how I discovered the Regency lottery and cult of celebrity. I was reading up on something completely different and saw a reference to lottery tickets being sold in bookshops and after that I had to find out more. I frequently get sidetracked when I’m researching and spend hours reading when I should be writing. I believe it’s really important to get all the historical details of the story right. There are a lot of very knowledgeable people out there and someone will tell you if you make a mistake. That said, I believe in the background and setting being a vivid backdrop for the characters and not the story itself so I hope I always drop my research in gently!

Which historical character would you most like to meet?

Oh, there are so many of them I’d like to talk to! King Richard III because he strikes me as being such a courageous and able man and I’d like to ask him if he really murdered the Princes in the Tower. I’d probably be very disillusioned if he turned out to be guilty, though. I’d also like to interview Henry VIII’s wives. And Prince Rupert of the Rhine would definitely be one of my dream dinner party guests!

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On The Books:

At the end of the Brides of Fortune trilogy there was a hint that Lydia might have her own romance with Viscount Jerrold. Will Lydia have her own story?

Yes! Lydia’s story is coming out towards the end of 2012. More details soon! Keep checking my coming next page, where more information will be posted in the future!

Is there a book telling the story of Sally Saltire and Justin Kestrel’s romance?The Last Rake in London

The Pirate's KissSally and Justin’s story is told in the epilogue of each of the Bluestocking Brides books so that readers can trace the progress of their romance from one book to the next. I really enjoyed writing their story this way! Later on, in the novella The Pirate’s Kiss they are happily married and of course Jack Kestrel, in The Last Rake in London is their great-grandson so you could say that they have a timeless romance.

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