What was the initial spark that put this story in your head?
We'd have to call it sparks, plural, I think. Most of the time my stories start when several different thoughts or ideas start to pull together. Being a member of the Beau Monde, over the years, I've been a part of many deep discussions and research sharing. A number of questions had come up about the position of women, marriage, women's inheritance, divorce, etc. It's really hard in this day and age to grasp just how restricting and often demeaning the state of women was in Regency England--and actually in this country at that time as well.
I've seen a lot of change in marital rights in my own lifetime, but it's nothing compared to how different things are from the early Nineteenth Century. A married woman, particularly one of the aristocracy, literally had no rights. She did not even legally exist, for the marriage state had made the two one- and that 'One' was the
Theoretically a man would protect the woman who by church and state is considered a part of him. But the situation was ripe for abuse, and abuse was common. And so I began to ask myself what would-and did- happen to a woman whose husband wanted to get rid of her at any cost? The documentation of such things is appalling. Divorce was always looked upon as being the wife's fault, and no matter her situation or innocence, she became a social pariah. She could not even testify in her own behalf.
I'd also thought a lot about a story using a hero and heroine who were almost anti-hero and heroine. And I began to see Davina and Lord Savoury, two outcasts who, in saving each other, save themselves.
It seems that most authors use something from their own lives, or the lives of people they know as an integral part of the story. Is there anything in this story like that? If so, what?
We have to write what we know, whether we experienced it or learned it. And our heroes and heroines are ultimately ourselves. The one question I had to answer in this book was: What would happen to someone who was wrongly accused and could do nothing about it, yet who wouldn't bend under the weight of the oppression?
I did have a bad marriage- not just an unhappy one, but an abusive one. I have learned escape was possible, and that the surest way to find the way out of a very dark place is to just keep going. I was a social worker for many years, and I learned far more from my clients than they learned from me. From them, I learned just how much the human spirit can triumph. I don't have much interest in people whose lives are always wonderful, who never have to rise above adversity. But a person who has done what others say is impossible, who perhaps didn't even believe it herself but kept on trying, is a person who intrigues me, one I admire. So these are the people I write into my books.
Lady Wicked, I have a man who has lost his moral compass and a woman who cannot allow herself to hope. In giving her hope, he finds his path, and in lighting his way, she finds the depth of her courage and ultimately, her heart.
Is there a particular scene in this book that you really loved when you finished it? Which one and why?
I really had to think about this, because this book is full of scenes I love. My Lord Savoury and Lady Wyckham develop a deep friendship as well as love, and they have a lot of fun together. So I think- maybe-
the scene I love most is the one in which Davina discovers for the first time that she can give as good as she gets. Savoury is always needling and teasing her, and she's finally catching onto it. So when he offers her a ride as he's heading down to Matlock to market, and she discovers he has a big knot on his forehead, and he doesn't want to talk about it, she seizes her advantage and razzes him as badly as he has her. I think this is the place where Savoury glimpses for the first time he not only desires her but perhaps really loves her. And he has embarked on a path he can no longer abandon.
Does this story background relate to previous or future books? If so, in what way?
Not directly. I have thought about sequels, but I like for each story to bloom entirely on its own, not take its plot from another book. It's like my other books regardless of time period or genre, in that all my heroes and heroines face deep struggles. Ordinary people, I've discovered, are actually not all that ordinary. So I write about what's deeper than the social surface.
If someone wants to check out your backlist based on loving this story, where would you suggest they start? Or which books would be in a similar vein?
That doesn't sound like a hard question, but it is. All of my stories interlace deep dilemma and humor, which is the way I think many people deal with their deepest sorrows. Fire Dance has a lot in common with
Lady Wicked even though the time periods are so far apart. And Sins of the Heart deals with a woman hiding from a past that could bring her death. And it has a hero whose war experience has left him feeling like his soul is dead. His Majesty, Prince of Toads is a battle of wills between two people who should not have been forced into marriage. But it's not your typical marriage of convenience, for these two have deeply embedded secrets and pains.
You have found yourself a great niche in the Regency period. What is it about this period that so entrances you?
I love most historical periods. The glitter of aristocracy is not what catches my attention, though. I'm not quite the Cinderella type. But I like the pre-industrial revolution times, and the Regency period sits right at the very edge between the medieval past and the modern age of machines, speed, and mass communication. Only a few years later, locomotives are chugging across the land at impossible speeds and steamships cross oceans in half the time. Social change is on the edge. People talk about the vice of slavery, corruption in government,
even whether married women ought to be allowed to own property. Napoleon is on the Continent and revolution is in the air. The world is about to be turned upside down. It is a simpler time, in some ways
a safer one. Pasteur has not yet looked into a microscope. One in which we might see each other with clearer vision, or perhaps not truly see at all.
Do you write any books that are not Regency? If so, where can reader's find those and are they under the same name?
I have two medievals available, Fire Dance and Loki's Daughters. Both are available on Amazon. I also have some historical paranormals that will be available soon. Faerie is set in Norman England, in a world in which the superstitions and beliefs people had are real. And a completely fantasy sea myth re-told, Siren. I recently co-authored a contemporary novella with SamMarie Ashe, The Boss Word Red in the Cupid Gone Wild anthology, which will be released Jan. 28th. It's a wacky Big City Fashionista vs Cowboy story, just right for a fun Valentines Day read.
Thank you for joining us, Delle. Remember readers, commenting and following this blog gets an automatic entry into the drawing for a book. Say hello Delle and we will draw a name for a copy of Lady Wicked. In the meantime, run out and download a copy of Lady Wicked into your favorite e-reader or order the print copy.