MBA&M IS HONORED TO WELCOME……
~SENSUOUS,SASSY, AND STIMULATING HISTORICAL AUTHOR~
From Regency,to Sheilah,to Highlanders…..
MBA&M: Good morning, Marguerite and welcome to MBA&M. Now, please tell our readers, who may not know you a little about yourself and your writing?
Hi there, and many thanks for inviting me along. I write historical romances, and I like to think of them as being ‘with a twist’. I write about Regency rakes, desert sheikhs, and a few Highlanders too. In my short stories (Harlequin Historical Undone! imprint) I’ve been more experimental, delving into the paranormal world in the form of a trilogy about a pack of Highland shape-shifters, as well as stories about Selkies, a white witch, a Regency vampire, and a trip to the Roaring Twenties. As you can see, I don’t like to be pigeon-holed!
I’m Scottish and I live in Argyll, which is in the southern Highlands, and where quite a few of my books have been set. For leisure (and in a vain attempt to get fit) I like to go walking or out on my bike into the lovely local countryside. I read avidly – the back of a cereal packet, as my mother would say, if there’s nothing else available – and I like to garden and cook (so I grow things to eat instead of flowers) and I think that’s about it. Oh, I do like the odd martini when I feel like I deserve it.
MBA&M: What was your inspiration behind writing “BEAUTY WITHIN”?
A while back I read a biography of Lord Byron’s daughter, Annabella Millbanke, who was a serious mathematician and a contemporary of Charles Babbage (who invented the first ever computer). Poor Annabella was force-fed maths originally by her mother as a sort of antidote to her father’s wildness. As a result, she lived in a bit of an emotional vacuum, and was more interested in facts and numbers than feelings. I thought it would be a fascinating character study to have such a strictly logical heroine (and also in keeping with my ‘with a twist’ mantra), and so Cressida was born.
MBA&M: Who was your favorite character to write? why?
Lord Armstrong. He’s Cressie’s father, and also (obviously) the father of her four sisters, three of whom have their own books. He’s a widower, an ambitious diplomat with a very self-centered view of the world who sees his daughters as pawns to be played in his game of political chess. Needless to say, so far all four of his daughters have rebelled, and to a degree each of them are both defined and changed by their extremely volatile relationship with their patriarchal father. I must confess, I am really enjoying bringing Lord Armstrong down a peg or two with each successive book!
MBA&M: Why a female scientist or one interested in science and an artist, what was your inspiration for these two characters?
I’ve already mentioned Annabellla Millbanke being the inspiration for Cressie. What I wanted for my hero was someone who was, on the surface, the complete polar opposite of her. She thinks she’s the ugly duckling of the family, and so Giovanni is drop-dead gorgeous. She worships logic, he’s an artist who has made a living out of depicting beauty. She believes that beauty can be reduced to a mathematical theory. Giovanni thinks that beauty is about truth and comes from the heart. Of course, underneath all that, they’ve both got some very similar emotional issues they have to deal with. The romance, for me, is bringing two people together who should hate each other or at the very least simply not ‘get’ each other, and set them on a journey that ends with them realising they’re perfect together.
MBA&M: If you could pick an era to time-travel to, what era and why?
New York in the Roaring Twenties. I LOVE that era. I love the clothes, I love the pace that life seems to have been lived, such a direct contrast with the tragedy of the Great War which preceded it, and I love the idea of all those glamorous parties, the music, the cocktails – and did I mention the clothes? Of course the reality for many was different but as it’s a fantasy question I think I’m allowed to want to inhabit a Fitzgerald novel.
MBA&M: What was the hardest scene to write in “BEAUTY WITHIN”?
The hardest scenes to write emotionally were the ones set in the studio between painter and subject. The intimacy generated was crucial, but there was a danger that if not balanced it could feel claustrophobic and insular. So I had to find ways of breaking them out of their closeted world and provide some light relief and different perspectives. Getting that balance right was the most difficult challenge for me.
MBA&M: If you could have dinner with any one of your characters in any of your books, who would it be and why?
Virgil Jackson, who is the hero of The Lady Who Broke the Rules. He’s a freed slave who has overcome some truly dreadful experiences to forge a life for himself in a society that really would rather he wasn’t there He also has a strong moral and social conscience. To top it all he bears a striking resemblance to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga the tennis star!
MBA&M: “The Beauty Within is the third story in the Armstrong sisters series which started life as the Princes of the Desert series“. How many books will be in this series and what’s next? And are they considered stand alone, or do you need to read the first one first?
Each of the books are written so that they can be read stand-alone, and I’ve been delighted to see that several reviewers agree. I never intended them to be a series, but as one of four sisters myself, I found the theme fascinating, and so kept going back to them. So far, they are, in order:
1. Innocent in the Sheikh’s Harem (Celia)
2. The Governess and the Sheikh (Cassandra)
3. The Beauty Within (Cressida)
4. Rumours that Ruined a Lady (Caroline, out November 2013).
That leaves just one sister, Cordelia, and though I have plans for her, I haven’t scheduled her into my writing workload yet.
MBA&M: Please tell our readers where they may connect with you and where they may purchase “BEAUTY WITHIN”?
I love to interact with readers, and have a very active Facebook page where we share views and books, have a bit of a laugh, and where I also often get great ideas or input to my work in progress. I’d love to see you there. Information on all my books with background and excerpts can be found on my website, and I also have pretty active Twitter and Pinterest accounts. All contact details are on my website.
Thanks again for having me, it’s been a pleasure.
You are so welcome! It is always a pleasure to have you visit with us and our readers!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Born and educated in Scotland, Marguerite Kaye originally qualified as a lawyer but chose not to practice. Instead, she carved out a career in IT and studied history part-time, gaining a first-class honours and a master’s degree.
A few decades after winning a children’s national poetry competition, she decided to pursue her lifelong ambition to write, and submitted her first historical romance to Mills&Boon. They accepted it, and she’s been writing ever since.
You can read excerpts and more on Marguerite’s website at www.margueritekaye.com and you can chat with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/margueritekayepage.
The Beauty Within
UK and North America, May 2013
Harlequin Mills&Boon Historical
Available in paperback and ebook formats
ISBN (UK) 978-0263898255
ISBN (US) 978-0373297382
The Beauty Within is the third story in the Armstrong sisters series which started life as the Princes of the Desert series.
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