The Highwayman's Daughter.
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book, The Highwayman’s Daughter?
The story is about a young female highway robber who holds up a carriage and gets more than she bargained for!
Is it a crime to steal a heart?
Hounslow, 1768. Jack Blythe, heir to the Earl of Lampton, is a man with great expectations. So when his carriage is held up by a masked woman, brandishing a pistol and dressed as a 'gentleman' of the road, he wholly expects to have his purse stolen. And when he senses something strangely familiar about the lovely little bandit, Jack also expects to win his cousin Rupert's wager by tracking her down first.
But as Jack and the highwaywoman enter into a swashbuckling game of cat and mouse, uncovering an intricate web of fiercely guarded family secrets, the last thing Jack expects to have stolen is his heart.
The Highwayman’s Daughter is your first historical novel, what inspired the change in writing direction?
The idea came to me when I visited Hounslow Heath, where the action of the novel takes place, and tried to imagine what the place would have been like at the height of the highwayman era. When thinking about highway robbery, those famous words “stand and deliver!” often spring to mind. In reality, robbers would probably have said something along the lines of “stand fast and deliver your goods!” or words to that effect, but the shorter version has become almost synonymous with highwaymen in our collective minds, and I wanted to use that phrase.
Are you currently working on a new book? If so, are you able to tell us anything about it?
My work-in-progress is another contemporary romantic suspense novel like my two previous books. It’s set in a casino in London’s Soho, and features an enigmatic barman, a trainee croupier, and a casino owner running from his past. I’m hoping for a 2015 publication date.
Are you a plot planner or a start writing and see where it takes you kind of writer?
I’m very organised and write detailed outlines which I tend to follow quite closely. I have to because my stories all contain a number of red herrings and false clues, and it’s important that I know what’s going on, otherwise it’s easy for the plot to run away from me.
If you were going to write a famous person into a story, who would it be and why?
Queen Elizabeth I. The Tudor/Elizabethan world was a time of great change and political unrest, and I’m impressed by her courage and sagacity when negotiating the treacherous waters of this male-dominated and dangerous environment. It was not unheard of for queens to lose their heads in those days(!), yet she survived and reigned successfully for many years.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Perseverance. That is the only magic formula in existence. Sorry :)
When you’ve finished writing a book, do you treat yourself to a reward?
Uhm… er, I tend to tidy my office. I know this sounds extremely unglamorous, but it’s actually a real treat for me, and it helps me clear my mind and prepare for the next book.
Where would be your idyllic location for a writing retreat?
Overlooking a Welsh mountain, feeling snug and warm indoors while it’s raining outside. Oh, and there has to be lots of tea in the pot!
If you could invite any three authors, alive or dead, to a dinner party who would you choose and why?
Charles Dickens because he was not afraid to write what entertains, Shakespeare because I’m sure he must have been a man of great wit (and he might even have some insider info on the Queen…), and Barbara Cartland because I’d like to talk to her about her breath-taking output.