Author: Maggi Andersen
Publisher: Knox Robinson Publishing
Length: 302 pages
Subgenres: Historical, Suspense, Romance
Horatia’s plan to join the London literary set takes a dangerous turn. Now that the war with France has ended, Baron Guy Fortescue arrives in England to claim his inheritance. When Guy is set upon in London, a stranger, Lord Strathairn, rescues and befriends him. But while traveling to his country estate, Guy is again attacked. Guy suspects his relative, Eustace Fennimore, is behind the attacks on his life. Horatia refuses to believe her godfather, Eustace, is responsible. Secure in the knowledge that his daughter will finally wed, Horatia’s father allows her to visit her blue-stocking aunt in London. But Horatia’s time spent in London proves to be anything but a literary feast, for a dangerous foe plots Guy’s demise. She is determined to keep alive her handsome fiancé, who has proven more than willing to play the part of her lover even as he resists her attempts to save him.
Thank you, Maggi, for chatting with me today. I want you perfectly comfortable, so picture your favorite place in the world. Now, can you tell us a little bit about the place you’ve pictured?
I’ve visited a friend in her home in Richmond, England many times. The lovely historic town nestling beside the Thames River is often featured in my books. The ton during Regency times traveled from London to picnic in the park where King Henry VIII used to hunt deer. Deer still roam the park. The view from Richmond Hill takes in the graceful bend of the Thames which has been painted by many famous artists.
That sounds wonderful. I’ve been to London once and would love to back. What was the last book you read that made a lasting impression on you?
Seven Nights in a Rogues Bed by Anna Campbell. I really enjoy her writing and her characters are wonderful.
I’ll have to check that out. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
It took me some years. But I studied the craft and honed my voice, so that time wasn’t wasted.
Most excellent. Craft study is the first thing on my agenda everyday. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
To have my family around me, all happy and in perfect health.
I completely agree with you and I love that you added healthy. We’ve all suffered with colds this last month. We are very ready for spring. What turns you on creatively?
My mother was an artist. I’ve inherited her love of color, interior design, architecture (especially Georgian) art and sculpture. These things often feature in my books. Old black and white movies can sometimes give me ideas for a story.
My mother used to paint and I keep bugger her to pick her brushes back up. She’s quite talented. Old black and whites, interesting, a new source for plot bunnies I’ll need to check out. What quality do you most admire in a man?
Humor and warmth.
What quality do you most admire in a woman?
I read in your bio that you support the RSPCA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals) and that animals are often feature in your books. Can you tell us a little more about this?
Cats and dogs frequently appear in my stories. In A Baron in Her Bed, Horatia rides her father’s magnificent black stallion, The General, without his knowledge.
In my Victorian novella, How To Tame a Rake, Wilhelmina adopts a fox cub, annoying her reluctant fiancé Blake, no end. Here’s a bit:
Spying a statue on a plinth in the distance, Willy strode towards it. Before she reached it, she saw something lying stretched out on the grass. At first, she thought it a pile of autumn leaves. On closer inspection, she found a fox cub. As she knelt down to him, he lifted his head, his dark eyes pleading.
“Oh, you poor, poor thing,” she said, stroking the red-gold coat. How beautiful he was. He’d hurt a leg, probably in one of those horrid traps. It was broken, dangling at an odd angle. She knew just what to do about it. She’d splinted one of her dogs back home when he broke his leg jumping from a high wall.
Picking the cub up carefully, she cradled him against her chest. He didn’t struggle. Perhaps he knew that she was a friend, or was too weak to care.
Willy carried him along the path. As she rounded the corner of the house, she came face to face with Blake.
“I’m glad to see you out and about,” he began. He looked surprised. “What on earth do you have there?”
“A fox cub. He’s hurt his leg. I’ll have to splint it.”
“You’ll do what?”
“A splint. You use a straight piece of …”
“I know what a splint is, Willy! But this is fox hunting country. We can’t keep a fox here.”
“Why not? When his leg is healed he will go and join the other foxes.” Her lip trembled. “And then you can hunt him down and kill him.”
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My children, grown up now.
Aw, I love that. My kids are still young and I totally can see where you’re coming from. They’re the most important thing to me. Tell us a bit about the projects you are working on now?
I’ve just completed Taming a Gentleman Spy – Book Two of The Spies of Mayfair Series. The hero is John Haldane, Earl of Strathairn, the heroine, Lady Sibella Winborne, who comes from a very large family. I’ve grown quite fond of them all, including her acerbic mother, and would like to write more books about them.
Here’s a taste (unedited):
Lord Strathairn picked a full creamy bloom and held it out to her. “You look lovely tonight, Lady Sibella.”
“Thank you, my lord.”
“I always enjoy seeing your mother.”
“Do you? Not everyone does. She is very plain spoken.”
“That is what I like about her.”
“Have you been visiting your estates?”
He leant over her to brush away a branch scattering petals. “You’re remarkably inquisitive this evening. Why do you ask?”
“I don’t know. Perhaps because you are a bit of a mystery. You intend it that way, I suspect.”
“We’ve discussed most of my past: my schooling, Eton, then Oxford, and the army.”
“I know only what you wish me to.” She couldn’t explain the feeling she’d always had that his life held more excitement than he revealed. Would he be content concentrating on mundane matters after his years away at war? A keen rider herself, but surely even horses had limited appeal. “It’s just …do you miss the army life?”
“Many men find it hard to settle down. I admit to suffering that for a while.”
“But you’re settled…now?”
“As much as I wish to be.”
She glanced at his profile for a sign of annoyance. She was too inquisitive. He always affected her so.
I am now working on Book three, What a Rakes Wants.
Thank you, Maggi. That was fun.
“This is a dance with which I’m familiar,” the baron said, drawing her close in his arms. “We danced it in Paris long before it came to England.”
She supposed he considered England far behind Paris in most things fashionable. Finding herself pressed up against his hard chest produced the memory of how it looked unclothed. Her breath caught, and she wriggled within his arm. “We do not dance this close in England, my lord.”
He let her go in surprise then took up the pose again, leaving space between them. “Merci. I did not know. You have saved me from making a faux pas.”
She suspected he knew quite well, for the devilry in his eyes betrayed him. “You might learn by observing others, my lord,” she admonished him.
At least now she could breathe. But this was unlike the night they had spent together, when her disguise had protected her. Did he find her attractive?
She had no idea if his charm was merely part of his personality. It shouldn’t matter, for he would choose a bride from the aristocracy, but somehow it did.
His hand at her waist, guiding her, made her recall their time in the hut and his indecent revelations of lovemaking. Her breath quickened at the thought of such an act perpetrated by him on some woman, and even possibly her. His proximity and the strength and pure maleness of him overwhelmed her.
Breathing in the familiar woody Bergamot scent, intermingled with starched linen and soap, she closed her eyes, but that made her dizzy. After examining his masterfully tied cravat adorned with a sapphire pin the color of his eyes, she raised her eyes to his. “I have not seen a cravat tied in that way before. What is it called?”
He smiled down at her. “I believe it is called Trone d’Armour.” The style hailed from France most likely. He was different from the English in other ways too. The French had a disconcerting way of looking at someone. Was he the real Baron Fortescue or an impostor?
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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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