I have an awesome treat for you all today. Maggi Andersen is here to promote her new book, A Baron in Her Bed. She stopping by to talk to us about her love of historical romance. I’d like to thank Goddess Fish Promotions for letting me host this stop today. Maggi is also having a giveaway. Maggi will be awarding the winner’s choice of a backlist eBook to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour, and a $30 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter. So, without any further adieu I am going to hand the reigns over to Maggi. Let’s welcome Maggi Andersen.
When I read Georgette Heyer’s Devil’s Cub, about intelligent practical Mary Challoner and wicked, Dominic Alastair, Marquis of Vidal, I was hooked! I already knew I would someday be a writer, but now I knew I wanted to set my books in that world. I read all Heyer’s novels as a teenager. I loved the Georgian and Regency periods she captured so beautifully. I’ve re-read them over the years, and the great contemporary writers who have followed in her wake. Writers like Jo Beverley, Amanda Quick, Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Stephanie Laurens and Mary Jo Putney.
Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters’ fabulous novels made an indelible mark on the romance genre. Rochester in Jane Eyre was the first of the romance heroes, troubled and dark. Who doesn’t like Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion and Emma? Victoria Holt’s wonderful Gothic novels are a favorite too, set in the Victorian era.
With a view to taking up writing seriously, I completed two degrees, a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing, while raising my family. Rules of Conduct was my first Regency romance novel which I submitted to Mills & Boon. It didn’t fit their requirements, but they were very encouraging. Rather than try to write my stories to suit them, I dashed off a Regency novella, Stirring Passions, and in a matter of weeks was surprised when a publisher took it and asked for more.
I enjoy writing about rakes, alpha males and strong brave heroines. My characters emerge as I write, like the baron, Guy, Lord Fortescue in A Baron in Her Bed. He is half-French, which adds an interesting dimension to the story. My heroine, Horatia Cavendish’s world turns upside down when she discovers him lying unconscious on a road near her house.
Since Stirring Passions, I’ve written more Regencies and Victorian novels. I’m fascinated by the past, and enjoy the research and the period detail, the history, architecture, fashion, interiors and the mores of a society so different from my own. I’ve acquired a huge research library of beautiful books. I have to keep writing to pay for them!
A glorious book on Georgian Jewelry assisted with the writing of my Georgian romance, The Reluctant Marquess. I had to have it!
For those interested in research, I can recommend these:
All Things Austen. The wonderful Encyclopedia of Austen’s World Volume I & II.
The Prince of Pleasure and his Regency by J. B. Priestley.
English Country House Interiors by Musson.
The English Country House by Mary Miers.
Georgette Heyer’s Regency World by Jennifer Kloester.
I write contemporary romantic suspense too, but always come back to historical romance. It’s the perfect dreamy escape.
London, 1816. A handsome baron. A faux betrothal. And 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, abandoned over thirty years ago when his father fled to France after killing a man in a duel. When Guy is set upon by footpads in London, a stranger, Lord Strathairn, rescues and befriends him. But while travelling to his country estate, Guy is again attacked. He escapes only to knock himself out on a tree branch.
Aspiring poet Horatia Cavendish has taken to riding her father’s stallion, “The General”, around the countryside of Digswell dressed as a groom. She has become bored of her country life and longs to escape to London to pursue her desire to become part of the London literary set. When she discovers Guy lying unconscious on the road, the two are forced to take shelter for the night in a hunting lodge. After Guy discovers her ruse, a friendship develops between them.
Guy suspects his relative, Eustace Fennimore is behind the attacks on his life. He has been ensconced in Rosecroft Hall during the family’s exile and will become the heir should Guy die. Horatia refuses to believe her godfather, Eustace, is responsible. But when Guy proposes a faux betrothal to give him more time to discover the truth, she agrees. 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 fiance, who has proven more than willing to play the part of her lover even as he resists her attempts to save him.
She patted The General’s nose and fed him an apple. By the time the last of it had disappeared, she heard the clip of a horse’s hooves on the gravel drive. She peeped out of the barn door and saw the baron, tall in the saddle, riding towards the house.
Horatia stepped out and beckoned him. He caught sight of her and rode towards the stables then dismounted and led the horse inside.
“Sorry, my lord,” Horatia said, adopting Simon’s gruff voice. “We have no footman here. No under-groom neither. I’ll stable your horse.”
“Simon, good fellow,” he said warmly. “I came to thank you again. I am indebted to you.”
“No need for that, my lord,” she said. “Everything’s right and tight here as it happens.” She turned her back to lead his horse into one of the stalls. Seizing a brush, she bent and swept it over the horse’s flanks.
He came to rest an arm on the stall door. “I am relieved. If you had lost your job, I was going to ask you to work for me.”
She straightened to brush the horse’s back, confident of the poor light. “Mighty good of you, my lord. But not at all necessary.”
“Eh bien, merci encore.” He turned towards the door.
Relieved it had gone so well, Horatia stepped out from behind the horse. She looked up to see if he had gone and found him watching her with his arms folded.
The elation left her, and she took a deep, shaky breath.
“Did you really think you could go on fooling me?” A note of outrage lay beneath the humorous tone in his voice. “How many people around here have red hair like yours?”
“My hair’s not red,” she said, incensed. “It’s chestnut.”
“I wondered how far you would carry this ruse, Miss Cavendish.”
She backed into an empty stall as he strode towards her.
He followed her inside. Reaching over, he whipped off her hat, and her hair came loose and tumbled around her face. “So, what do you have to say in your defense?”
“Nothing, my lord.” Horatia lifted her chin, her heart pounding loud in her ears. She chewed her lip. She would have to brazen this out.
Annoyed blue eyes stared into hers. “I do not like to be toyed with. I thought there was something wrong with me.”
“Watching you bend over in those breeches. Zut! From the first, I felt a strong attraction to you. And then, when I saw you dressed as a woman, I understood.”
“You knew it was me at the dance?” She scowled. “And you deliberately teased me?”
“Don’t you think you deserved it?” He seized her shoulders and gave them a shake. “You tricked me. Why?”
She swallowed. “No trickery, my lord. I was dressed this way when I found you, if you recall. I needed to keep up the pretense.”
He shrugged. “But why do you dress like that?”
She couldn’t explain her restlessness to him and tossed her head. “I prefer to ride astride.”
He raised a brow. “You like a strong beast moving beneath you?”
She bristled at the insult. “I like to ride alone.” He made it sound as if she gained some sort of indecent enjoyment from the exercise. Her face heated. To ride astride was unfeminine, she knew, but that fact had never bothered her before.
“But to do so places you in peril.”
Horatia drew herself up. “I can handle myself as well as a man.”
“You believe that, do you?” His gaze flicked over her. What was he thinking? She quivered under his scrutiny.
Maggi Andersen and her lawyer husband are empty nesters, living in the countryside outside Sydney with their cat and the demanding wildlife. Parrots demand seed, possums fruit, ducks swim in the stream at the bottom of the garden, and the neighbours chickens roam their yard providing wonderful eggs. She began writing adventure stories at age eight. Three children, a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts in Creative Writing degree later, her novels are still filled with adventure and suspense, but are also passionate romances. Georgette Heyer among others, brought inspiration to her seductive Regencies and she also writes darker, Victorian novels, contemporary romantic suspense and young adult.
She supports the RSPCA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals) and animals often feature in her books.