Sophie is plagued by the shadows of the past…
While driving his curricle, Rufus Solgrave, Earl of Luxton comes across Sophie Clifford lying unconscious in the road, having fallen from her horse.
Not too far from home, he takes her back to Ashby, his country seat, leaving her in the care of his mother, Elizabeth, Countess of Luxton, and his sister, Lydia. Under their kindly supervision, Sophie soon begins to recover.
Upon discovering that Sophie has never mixed with London society, Elizabeth invites her to accompany the family to town for Lydia’s come-out. Unhappy with her homelife and eager to sample the delights of the season, Sophie accepts.
However, her enjoyment is marred when talk of an old scandal surrounding her birth resurfaces. What’s more, her devious stepbrother, Francis Follet, has followed her to London, intent on making her his bride.
Sensing Sophie’s distress, Rufus steps in to protect her from Francis’s unwelcome advances.
And although neither Rufus nor Sophie are yet thinking of marriage, both soon begin to wonder whether their comfortable friendship could blossom into something warmer…
– When and where do you prefer to write?
I can be found at almost any time during my waking hours with my laptop on a cushioned tray (intended for food I think but works beautifully with the laptop) and mostly sitting in the unhealthiest of positions. I have one of those wonderful armchairs where the feet come up, you know the sort I mean? I do set a timer to encourage me to get up and walk around at intervals but if I’m honest I’ll work straight through if I’m in the middle of something and don’t want to lose the flow.
– Do you have a certain ritual?
Only in so far as I have to get the daily jobs out of the way before I start writing. By those I mean checking my emails, and replying if necessary; spending some time on Facebook and Twitter and allowing myself one game of online solitaire before settling down with my wip. I find it impossible to focus while these things are sitting on my shoulder. Once they’re done I can plough on with a clear head.
– Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
One hot chocolate mid-morning. Otherwise it’s tea.
– What is your favourite book?
That’s a tough one because it often depends on what I’m reading at the time. Then there are those full of childhood memories. My own and my children’s as I liked nothing better than to read to them when they were little. They had an illustrated book on mythology called Gods, Men and Monsters that I love to this day. Jane Eyre which I did for O Level and still read again. Agatha Christie – I couldn’t possibly name just one. Having said that, I return to my favourite author, Georgette Heyer, many times during the course of a year and of all her wonderful Regencies I think The Unknown Ajax might be THE one. The denouement is nothing short of genius.
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
Yes, if only to see if I can. I love cosy crime and I’ve started a contemporary cosy crime novel which is a world away from the early nineteenth century in which I usually write. Commercially, who knows, but I’m having a lot of fun with it and I love my main character. It’s a ‘watch this space’ at the moment.
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
Not to my knowledge, nor do I recognise any of them after they’ve been written, but I suspect some character traits are there all the same. Possibly a flick of the hair or a certain way of holding the head. Personality-wise though, no, I don’t think so. My characters are all very real and individual to me, not a shadow of someone else, possibly because they tend to lead where for the most part I meekly follow. I do have to rein them in sometimes or I’ll lose the plot, in more ways than one!
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
Just a tiny one, maybe 5” x 3”. One reason being that even at rest my handwriting is illegible so if I’m one the move or leaning the pad on someone’s shoulder or in the palm of my hand the likelihood is that I won’t be able to read it when I get home. If something really important occurs to me I’ll record it on my phone.
– Which genre do you not like at all?
It’s funny how one’s taste changes over the years. I used to love reading horror and many are amazingly well-written, but they began to give me nightmares. Even now I remember with dread some of the things I read years ago, so these days I steer well clear which is a pity because I know I’m missing some fantastic books. I can’t watch films in the genre either.
– If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
I’m in awe of people who are able to do this. I’m not one of them.
– If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
It was customary as a rite of passage in the 17th and 18th centuries for upper-class young men to undertake what was known at The Grand Tour, a journey through Europe to discover the cultural and other delights of the Continent. Imagine what fun that would be!
Thank you so much for having me on the blog today.
Thank you, Natalie Kleinman and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
Natalie’s passion for reading became a compulsion to write when she attended a ten-week course in creative writing some sixteen or so years ago. She takes delight in creating short stories of which more than forty have been published, but it was her lifelong love of Regency romance that led her to turn from contemporary romantic fiction to try her hand at her favourite genre. Raised on a diet of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, she is never happier than when immersed in an age of etiquette and manners, fashion and intrigue, all combined into a romping good tale. She lives on the London/Kent border, close to the capital’s plethora of museums and galleries which she uses for research as well as pleasure. A perfect day though is when she heads out of town to enjoy lunch by a pub on the river, any river, in company with her husband and friends.
Natalie is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, the Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists.