There’s nothing like an historical novelist to give a blog a little class. Rosemary is using names I can’t even pronounce. But, hey, what is a day without learning something new? And having read an excerpt of her novel (see chapter one below), she’s a terrific writer! But first, her interview:
1. What is your favorite book?
The Bhagavadgita As It Is translated by A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
2. Who is your favorite writer?
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who has translated the great Sanscrit classics which rival those of classical Greek mythology.
3. How old were you when you were first published?
4. What writing style do you most abhor?
Historical fiction in which the characters act like 21st century people and the research is inaccurate.
5. What is your favorite writing cliché?
Eyes which do peculiar things such as fix, dart etc.
6. When and how do you write? (typewriter, Mac, in a café, for four hours each morning, etc?)
Mostly on computer, in my office i.e. the spare bedroom from 6 a.m.to 10 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. if I’m not out and about.
7. What is your greatest fear when you first turn in a manuscript? Rejection.
8. In what era do you wish you’d been born?
In the golden age of India.
9. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind vies with the Duke of Avon in These Old Shades.
10. How would you like to die?
In full consciousness remembering God.
Richelda Shaw stood silent in her nursery while thunder pealed outside the ancient manor house and an even fiercer storm raged deep within. She pressed her hands to her ears and, eyes closed, remained as motionless as the marble statues in the orangery.
‘Nine years old and you’ve not yet learned to be neat!’ Elsie, her mother’s personal maid, pulled Richelda’s hands from her ears. ‘Come, your father’s waiting for you.’
Richelda’s hands trembled. What was wrong? Until now Father’s short visits from France meant gifts and laughter. This one made Mother cry while the servants spoke in hushed tones.
Followed by Elsie, Richelda hurried down the broad oak stairs. For a moment, she paused to admire the lilies of the valley in a Delft bowl. Only yesterday, she picked the flowers to welcome Father home. After she had arranged them with tender care, she placed them on a chest, which stood beneath a pair of crossed broadswords on the wall above.
Elsie opened the massive door of the great hall where Father stood to one side of the enormous hearth. Richelda’s eyes searched for her mother before she spread her skirts wide and knelt before him.
Father strode forward and placed his right hand on her bent head. ‘Bless you, daughter, may God keep you safe.’ He smiled. ‘Upon my word, sweetheart, I vow the colour of your hair reminds me of a golden rose. How glad I am to see roses bloom in these troubled times.’
Richelda chewed her lower lip again. She did not know him well and dared not speak. Therefore, when he sat and beckoned to her, she hesitated.
Putting an arm round her waist, he drew her to him. ‘Come, do not be nervous of your father, child. Now, my daughter, do you know King James II now holds court in France and that his daughter, Mary, and William, his son-in-law, seized his throne?’
‘Yes, Mother told me we are well rid of King James and his Papist wife,’ she piped up, proud of her knowledge.
With a sigh, Father lifted her onto his knees and held her close. ‘Richelda, I must follow His Majesty for I swore an oath of allegiance to him. Tell me, Richelda, while the king lives how can I with honor swear allegiance to his disloyal daughter and her husband?’
Unable to think of a reply, she lowered her head.
Father held her closer. ‘Your mother pleads with me to declare myself for William and Mary and begs me not to return to France, but I am obliged to serve King James. Do you understand, Richelda?’
She nodded. Her cheek brushed against the softness of his velvet coat and she breathed in his spicy perfume.
‘If you remain in England, you will be safe. Bellemont is part of your mother’s dowry and I doubt the Crown will confiscate her estate.’
If she remained in England! Startled, she stared at him.
Smiling, he popped her onto her feet and stood. ‘Come, we shall ride. I have something to show you.’
Before long, they rode away from the house and estate. They drew rein on the brow of a hill. At its foot lay Field House, their ancestral home seized by the Roundheads soon after poor King Charles I execution.
He pointed at the Elizabethan manor house. ‘Richelda, I promised my father to do all in my power to regain the property.’ Grey-faced, he pressed his hand to his chest. ‘Alas, so far I failed to keep my oath and now I cannot,’ he wheezed.
Richelda yearned to help him keep his promise to her grandfather. She also yearned to find the gold and jewels legend said her buccaneer ancestor, Sir Nicholas, hid.
After her father breathed easy, she ventured. ‘If we found the treasure trove you could buy Field House.’
‘Ah,’ he teased, ‘You believe Sir Nicholas did not give all his plunder to Good Queen Bess.’
‘Elsie told me legend says he hid some of his booty in Field House,’ Richelda said, excited by the thought of pearls and rubies, diamonds and emeralds, gold and silver bars and coins. Less shy of him, she asked. ‘In his old age, when Sir Nicholas retired from seafaring, did he put his ship’s…’ she broke off for a moment in an attempt to remember the word and continued triumphantly, ‘…his ship’s figurehead, Lady Luck, in the great hall?’
‘Yes, for all I know she is still above a mighty fireplace carved with pomegranates, our family’s device.’
‘I want to find the treasure.’
He chuckled and wheeled his thoroughbred mare round. ‘Come, time to ride back to Bellemont.’
‘Do you know our family motto, Richelda?’
‘Fortune favours the brave.’
‘Are you brave, my little lady? Will you swear on the Bible to do all in your power to regain Field House?’
To please him, she nodded.
Forthcoming releases from MuseItUp
Tangled Love January, 2012
Sunday’s Child June, 2012
False Pretencers, October 2012