Today we are honored to welcome author Marguerite Kaye.
Linking up the Past and a Giveaway
Thank you so much for inviting me onto My Book Addiction, it’s great to be here. There are many things I love about writing historical romances, but I wanted to discuss making connections with the past. In this case, my own past. I love to incorporate real places into my stories, to establish a connection between my characters and me. I sometimes share this with readers, for example when I have my characters stay in a stately home I know well (Inverary Castle, just an hour away from my home, is the setting for my current Christmas release, An Invitation to Pleasure). But sometimes it’s a secret, a little bit of insider information just to make me, or someone who knows me really well, smile.
One of my favourite ploys is to give my heroes titles from local place names. I live in Argyll in Scotland, which is known as the gateway to the Highlands, and if you look at a map, you’d quickly realise that I’ve borrowed scores of names from the area. I also like a little joke, so one character in my novella Spellbound and Seduced, is called Lachlan McSween, after a well-known Scottish brand of haggis! I’ve named lochs after my sisters, witches after my aunts and a fey wife after my cousin. The Gaelic name of the hero’s fishing boat in The Highlander’s Redemption came from the boat built by a Highland cousin of my mother’s, and the description in another story, The Highlander and the Sea Siren, of the boatshed, with its evocative smell of tar and wood shavings, came straight from my mother’s childhood memories.
More subversively, I confess to using (adulterated) names of personal bête noire for my baddies. I know, it’s a terrible thing to admit, but let me tell you, it feels good when you have the alter ego of the boss who gave you a terrible appraisal die in a coach accident, the guy who once told you that your jeans were too tight fatally wounded in a sword fight, or the teacher who told you not to talk so much spurned at an Almack’s ball. It’s like that trick, when you write the name of your enemy down on a bit of paper and lock it away, only much more effective.
My current release, The Lady Who Broke the Rules, is part of the Castonbury Park series of eight linked books written by eight different Harlequin Historical authors. It’s a Regency ‘upstairs/downstairs’ (or Downton Abbey, to use a more topical example), with each of the stories featuring one of the aristocratic Montague family members, and all of them telling a very scandalous tale of love between the classes. In my story, the heroine is Lady Katherine Montague, the daughter of the house, and the hero is Virgil Jackson, a freed African slave. As you can imagine, such an outrageous combination makes sure that the path of true love is a very rocky one indeed.
There are lots of personal connections embedded in The Lady Who Broke the Rules. Virgil visits the city of Glasgow, where I attended university and lived for many years. The descriptions of the Merchant City, of Robert Adam’s fabulous Trade’s House, and the atmospheric Merchant’s Graveyard are all gleaned from my own first-hand experience. Virgil meets Kate at a party hosted by Josiah Wedgwood, the abolitionist son of the Josiah Wedgwood who founded the Etruria pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, and cast the famous anti-slavery medallion (Am I not a Man, and a Brother?). I visited Stoke-on-Trent regularly for work, and first came across a copy of the medallion in the hotel I stayed in. The description of Kate and Virgil’s drive across Derbyshire reflects the many journeys I made across the beautiful Peak District back then. And most personally of all, there’s the series bad guy. He features in several of the books, but I named him for my Nemesis in primary school, a red-haired pesky boy who made my break-times miserable. His crimes were so heinous I regret to say I can’t actually recall them, though I suspect they included pushing me out of the way in the dinner queue. Dr Johnson knew what he was talking about when he said that revenge was a dish best served cold!
I hope sharing some of my in-jokes has made you smile. And just to whet your appetite for Castonbury Park, I have a print copy of The Lady Who Broke the Rules to give away to one commentator. Just tell me which character from your past would you happily see meet a gruesome fictional fate.
Thank you for having me, it’s been a pleasure to visit.
Links and Info
‘Your rebellion has not gone unnoticed…’ Anticipating her wedding vows and then breaking off the engagement has left Kate Montague’s social status in tatters. She hides her hurt at her family’s disapproval behind a resolutely optimistic facade, but one thing really grates…For a fallen woman, she knows shockingly little about passion! Could Virgil Jackson be the man to teach her? A freed slave turned successful businessman, his striking good looks and lethally restrained power throw normally composed Kate into a tailspin! She’s already scandalised society, but succumbing to her craving for Virgil would be the most outrageous thing Kate’s done by far…
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The Lady Who Broke the Rules
December 1818, Scottish Highlands. Susanna Hunter once ignored Captain Fergus Lamont’s warnings not marry a fortune hunter –a decision she lived to regret. Three years later and since widowed, she’s surprised by his unexpected invitation to spend Christmas with him in the Highlands. But even more shocking is Fergus’s new proposition: that she pretend to be his fiancée, with all the accompanying pleasures….
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Thank you to Marguerite for visiting with us today. It’s been fun! Don’t forget to answer Marguerite’s question for your chance to win!