Maggi Andersen, author of A Baron in Her Bed, has agreed to join us today to talk about Barons, Earls and other denizens of British nobility, who could have existed during the Regency period, even if they didn't. We're so glad you could join us and encourage you to grab your favorite beverage and relax with your feet up.
Okay, Maggi, why don't you start off by telling us how long you wrote before you were published?
Some years, but it was time well spent learning about the industry, improving my writing and finding my voice.
I gather you love Regency England, and it's one of my favorite time periods, too. But what other genres do you write besides Historical Romance?
I write contemporary romantic suspense, mysteries and young adult novels/novellas and short stories.
Research is essential for Historical Romances. Tell us what sort of research you did for your book? An enormous amount. Writing a historical requires a lot but my contemporary romantic suspense, Murder in Devon needed plenty too as it was set in England. I have shelves of research books here and there’s heaps of good sites on line. You can find some links on my blog.
What were the challenges you faced in bringing your latest book to life?
I had to make sure my facts about Regency customs, history, food, costume, houses, society were correct. I needed to know what a woman could get away with back then. Morals were strict, very different from today, and a woman’s freedom was limited. Horatia fought against these things by turning her back on the idea of marriage. She is a romantic who wants only to marry for love.
Who or what inspired your main characters?
I think reading Georgette Heyer ingrained a love of certain characters. Horatia is a bit Heyeresque in character. She’s energetic, sometimes rash, hurls herself into anything and is brave to the point of idiocy at times, but you can’t fault her good heart or her determination. She’s honest and loyal too.
For a little more personal flavor, tell us where you write.
I have a cozy little study off the kitchen. Bit close to the refrigerator unfortunately. The view from the window is lovely. I look onto a nice old house, a Himalayan Dogwood tree and a creek filled with ducks.
Confession time. What is your best guilty pleasure? (And by best I mean worst, of course.)
Dark nutty chocolate. Once I eat a piece I have to have several more. It’s good for you isn’t it?
What are your current projects?
With Murderous Intent, a contemporary romantic suspense was recently released on March 16th with Black Opal Books. It’s set in Ireland and the Australian Outback. I’ve just completed Taming a Gentleman Spy – The Spies of Mayfair, Book Two, which will be released in September. I’ve begun to write What a Rake Wants – the third book in the series.
Sneak preview time. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
What I’m writing now? Here’s a taste of What a Rake Wants, featuring Althea, Lady Brookwood and Flynn, Lord Montsimon:
Her aunt’s bright violet eyes fastened on hers. “I’ve seen the way Montsimon looks at you. If you play your cards right, you’ll be the one to tame him, my dear. Well worth the effort, I’ll wager.”
Surprised and curious despite herself, she asked, “How do you suggest I do that?”
“You take him into your bed. Eventually. But first, you play him like a salmon on a hook. You never promise what you won’t deliver, mind. That would not be sporting.” Her aunt fluttered her fan as if the thought made her too warm. “At first let him get to know you. Let him begin to want more from you than merely someone to warm his bed. When he can’t live without you, then….”
Althea gasped. “Aunt…”
Her aunt laughed. “You’re surprised?”
“I knew you to be wise and shrewd, but I never suspected you capable of such….” She fell silent.
Snapping her fan shut, her aunt nodded with a wink. “I’m as crafty as a fox, my dear. And you are my niece, just as intelligent and smart yourself.” She gazed over Althea’s shoulder. “The prey advances. No doubt to ask you to dance. I would advise you not to shun him.”
Althea turned. Lord Montsimon made his way towards her.
Did you learn anything special from writing your book?
I discovered I love to write series. I like my characters to appear at least briefly again in the next book. It gives a glimpse of how theirs lives have turned out after their happy ending.
What advice, if any, do you have for other writers?
Most new writers lack confidence and need to develop a thick skin. We are subjected to criticism and rejection during our careers. No one escapes, not even the bestselling writers. If there’s a nugget of truth in the criticism, take it on board and ignore the rest. Take every opportunity to study and refine your craft, and never let go of your dreams.
Lastly, is there anything specific that you'd like to say to your readers?
If you get the opportunity to read A Baron in Her Bed and enjoy it, I’d love a comment or even a rating on Goodreads or Amazon. If you like the series, the next book Taming a Gentleman Spy is to be released in September with Knox Robinson Publishing. John Haldane, Earl of Strathairn, appears first in A Baron in Her Bed with gun smoking. Strathairn shows up when Guy Trusedale, Baron Fortescue, is waylaid by footpads in a London alley:
A Baron in Her Bed Excerpt
He’d come here to claim his inheritance, and claim it he would. There was no returning to France now.
Dusk turned to evening, hastening his footsteps. Guy decided on a shortcut and hurried down a shadowy laneway which, by his calculations, would lead into a main thoroughfare.
He was halfway along it when the sound of running feet, made him spin around. Two men appeared out of the gloom and advanced towards him.
Guy moved back until his shoulder brushed the wall. “What is it you want?”
When neither of the men answered, cold sweat gathered on his brow.
His glance flicked ahead to where the laneway joined a busy road. “Répondez-moi,” he demanded. His throat tightened in fear.
“’e’s the one all right,” one of them murmured. They separated and each took a menacing step closer, blocking off any avenues of escape.
The moon sailed above the narrow gap between the buildings and shone on the knife held by one of the footpads.
Guy drew his swordstick. “Back away.”
At the sight of it, they stepped back apace, hesitated, and stood regarding him.
A feint might work. When he had them off guard, he would run for it.
He moved away from the wall and drew circles in the air with his sword. “Come on, you want to fight? I’m willing.”
“’e can’t take both of us,” the tallest of the two said.
“Yer, but he could run one of us through,” the other replied. “And we weren’t paid enough for that.”
“Shut up, you fool.”
Surprised, Guy stilled, his heart thudding in his ears. “Who paid you?”
“Say nothin’,” the tall man warned. He then whispered something to his companion.
He watched them, his swordstick at the ready. Did they mean to kill him?
As the taller man raised his arm to throw the knife, Guy lunged to the left. A pistol shot blasted through the confined space, rattling the nearby windows, and the knife clattered to the ground.
The tall man shrieked. “I’ve been shot.”
“Hey, you there!” Highlighted by the light from the street behind him, a caped figure strode towards them from the main thoroughfare, a pistol in each hand, one smoking. “Next time I’ll aim to kill.”
The injured man snatched up his knife and the pair scuttled back the way they’d come.
As their footsteps faded into the night, the gentleman tucked the pistols into the pockets of his multi-caped greatcoat. He walked towards Guy. “I saw them follow you. I’m sorry I didn’t get here faster, but I turned the corner and wasn’t sure which way you went.”
With a swell of gratitude, Guy sheathed his sword, shelved his suspicion, and bowed. ”I am indebted to you, monsieur, one obviously needs to be well armed in London.”
“It is wise to be on your guard; footpads will tackle an unarmed man.”
Guy clutched his cane. He had been armed, and it had not deterred them.
“We’d best get out of this dark place.” The man led the way towards the lit street. “New to London? I don’t advise you to walk alone around these parts.”
“Oui. I arrived from France this morning.”
“You can’t think much of us, an attempted robbery on your first day.”
“There was more to it than a robbery.” Guy studied his rescuer. He was of a similar age to himself, mid-thirties.
The big, fair-haired man raised his brows. “The war might be over, but not all of the English can forgive and forget.”
A grim smile tugged at Guy’s mouth. “I’m sure that’s so, my friend.” He remembered the footpad’s words, he’s the one. It was him they were after. Who would want him dead here in England?
“Where are my manners?” His rescuer held out his hand. ”John Haldane, Earl of Strathairn.”
Guy shook his hand. “Guy Truesdale.”
The earl’s brows met in a perplexed frown. “Truesdale? Why, that means you’re a…”
Guy nodded. “Fortescue, oui.”
“A relative of the baron?”
“I am Baron Fortescue.”
“Why this is grand news! Your father and mine were close friends.” John frowned. “But this means, of course, that your father is dead. I’m sorry. Not by the guillotine one would hope.”
“Not directly.” They crossed the road. Under the circle of light from an oil lamp, Guy gazed into John’s smiling eyes. “I am indebted to you. I hope to repay you should we meet again.”
John slapped him on the back. “Nonsense, Fortescue. Where do you stay?”
When Guy told him, John said, “Not one of our best hostelries. You must come home with me.”
“I couldn’t presume . . .”
“Not another word. Father, if he still lived, would have been justifiably angry if I failed to offer you hospitality. We reside in Berkley Square and have plenty of room. Feel free to stay as long as you wish. I’ll send a servant around for your luggage.”
“Merci. I plan to travel to the country in a day or two.”
“Your seat is to the north, Hertfordshire I believe.”
Guy nodded. “It borders Sherradspark Wood in Digswell.”
An empty hackney turned the corner, and Strathairn stepped into the road to hail it. As the jarvie pulled up the horse, Strathairn gave directions and whipped open the door.
Guy settled on the squabs beside him. “Je suis dans votre dette,” he said with warmth. “You are most généreuse.”
“In my debt?” Strathairn dismissed the sentiment with a wave of his hand. “Nonsense, Baron. It’s been my pleasure. But once my sisters get a look at you, I may change my mind.”
Guy frowned. “I’m not sure of your meaning.” He had always been proud of being half English, but since he arrived in England, he’d felt terribly French.
“My dear fellow. If you aren’t used to ladies fighting over you, you soon will be.”
Guy shook his head.
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I am an Australian author with a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing. My lawyer husband and I live in a pretty, historical town in the Southern Highlands with our spoiled Persian cat, plus the assorted wildlife we feed: chickens wander in from next door and give us lovely eggs, ducks swim in our pool, parrots and possums line up for bananas and seed. I write historical romance, contemporary romantic suspense and young adult novels.
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